Building without plans

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by gonzo, Feb 14, 2015.

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  1. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    How many of you have experience on building without plans? I work both ways. I have been lucky to work with experienced shipwrights that build by eye. They carry centuries of experience to very refined designs.
     
  2. Saqa
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    Saqa Senior Member

    I cut the ply for a 4' hull by 'eye' and it stitched together perfectly for my babys boat shaped cradle
     
  3. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    If sketches on a cigaret pack aren't counted as plans so yes :)
     
  4. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I've done a bit of planning, without builds, but never building without plans. :p
     
  5. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    Of course, everything can be built without plans.
    If you want to make things a little better, cheaper and faster, my opinion is that the plans are essential. But everyone is free to work as he wants. I've always seen that the builders used drawings and have always thought that a good carpenter was a professional who also had a knack for drawing the details, in pencil, on a board or cardboard. These sketches are, of course, plans.
    If I were a customer and saw that the builder works without plans, I would look for another constructor. I wonder if the builder does not need plans or, if he does not have enough training to understand them.
    Drawings, if someone tries to reason in this direction, are not the product of the computer age. The Egyptians, for his papyrus ships, used "drawings". In the caves of the Neanderthals we can see "drawings" in which, with a sketch, the expert indicated where they had to nail the lance to Buffalo.
    Naturally, the question is, what kind of "thing" you've built without plans ?. What kind of market you want you concur with this construction system?. Is it enough your art to fight against competitors ?. It is your business and you do what you want.
    Moreover, no one can be asked to do what he can not (does not know how to) do.
    Let's be logical, if there are very refined designs is because, somehow, there are plans.
     
  6. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    People pay top dollar for boats built on the eye. For example, I worked with Omie Tillet, the first builder of Carolina Sportfishermen. On that type, also with Buddy Cannady and Sonny Briggs. I apprenticed with a Gallego shipwright as a kid, and he could build all the traditional Northern Spanish workboats by memory. Some years ago, I worked with Doug Wilmot. He builds viking type boats in Norway. There are no plans for those. I agree with TANSL that "Moreover, no one can be asked to do what he can not (does not know how to) do." Building by eye is a skill that, many people that learn to design with the aid of computers, don't master.
    TeddyDriver: Nope, cigarrete boxes and plywood scraps don't count as plans.
     
  7. Moneymakerspy
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    Moneymakerspy Junior Member

    these are memory of a plan/design, no?

    I think there is a difference in those who build by memory of specifications/measurements and those who free-form a boat by eye where as every boat is a totally unique vessel created by feel and the spontaneous rendering of it's composition.

    One is the work of an engineer with acute skills & memory, the other is the work of an artist who creates from an inspired vision.

    Both are valuable and not to be compared to someone who builds without plans because of ignorance or lack of resources.
     
  8. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    No there were never any plans. The memory is from the boats themselves. There is a project headed by Guillermo Gefael that is preserving all those designs types. It is similar to what Chapelle did in the US.
     
  9. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    In a broad sense of the word plan, when one draws a line on a board, to cut a frame, that line is plan, that is something that describes the shape of the frame.
    Broadly, a plane is a description of what we build and that description may consist of a few lines, dimensions, texts or even a few pictures. From this point of view, nothing is built without a plane.
    If you cut a panel from the bottom of your boat and then you use it to cut the symmetric panel, the first panel, which serves as template for the second, is a plan of the bottom.
    One can have a boat in his head (I doubt it) but when it comes to instruct your assistant, I'm sure you will draw a plan for the avoid your assistant´s mistakes.
    As I said earlier, it depends what you mean by plan and type of boat you want to build. But my question is why do bad things if you can do the right ?.
    I never let it be known that I work without plans, I think my reputation would collapse. If I have no choice, perhaps, would be foolish (work without planes), but if I can avoid it, why do it?
     
  10. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    I worked in a boat shop with 3 generations there, father, son, grandson and myself. The father, 80 some years old, had been building 'Willy Harris' skiffs forever and there were hundreds in the area.

    No plans were used, but there were general dimensions such as length and width and various heights. There might have been plans in the beginning, but I doubt it, the design just evolved and developed over the years and they were built somewhat according to how the wood bended.

    The shop was a 1 car garage opening onto a dirt alley, the work bench was a 1 or 2 foot thick pile of tools, it looked like they were randomly dumped there, but if you used one, it had better be returned to the same place or Willy was not happy. Willy mostly just tolerated people, he didn't actually need you around. It wasn't a good idea to change the radio station either.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  11. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Yes, that is the kind of boat I was talking about. Sometimes a buyer comes by and asks: can you make a tad wider? That ends up in a slight modification. When it improves the boat, they stay. Otherwise, they are not repeated. No computer simulation can compare to actually launching the boat and using it.
    I always liked the flat bow on the Willy boats.
     
  12. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    You should have titled your thread as "Building this type of boats, XXXX, without drawings". Here I give you the reason.
    Anyway, following my previous reasoning, I do not think any customer likes to know that you do not use planes for his boat. Another thing is that a father, a son and grandson build whatever they want. I´ll , for one thing that I pay, require a little more seriousness and professionalism. Nor would ask you to be using the computer. To me, as a customer, what do I care ?. But that's just my opinion.
     
  13. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    There are costumers that want boats that are built without plans. They could buy plans that are a copy of an existing boat. However, if they go to a shipwright, they will get something unique. Also, the shipwrights have experience using their boats, so can attest to first hand experience; something that has more weight than a computer simulation.
     
  14. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Some of the bows were wider, up to 2 foot or so.

    http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=303566 <--- more pics

    [​IMG]

    http://www.rotdoctor.com/L/BoatL/bQA091.html <--- more pics

    [​IMG]

    It was all word of mouth, no advertising, no paperwork or anything. People would drive up and talk about **** for awhile, sometimes get on the list for a boat, or not.

    Most had the built in 'trim tabs' with a little bit of hook to them and most were just painted, I don't remember any glass applied to them. One guy did bring one in for repairs once, that had been glassed at sometime. It was a bare boat, maybe 10 or 12' long, but 4 of us couldn't get it off the trailer it was so waterlogged.

    I'm surprised you've ever heard of them, but they are in all the neighboring states and were a great boat for protected waters. It used to be at the local yearly area festivals, Blessing Of The Fleets, Crawdad Days etc there would be flotillas of 50 or more of them like a herd of waterbugs, but that was back when boating was fun, before the cops, DNR and all those dinks were around.
     

  15. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Colson shrimp boats and others built around here, I don't think anybody had plans. If so, I don't think they were very involved plans.

    In the 70s I watched some builders in the Dominican Republic build a Caribbean Sloop using tools like this and a bunch of tree branches that were piled up. The work bench under a small shade tree was just a small table.

    It was the same situation as in this earlier thread...(where the tool picture came from)

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/sailboats/beach-built-boat-haiti-37319.html

    [​IMG]
     
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