Crazy construction idea?

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by oldsalt1942, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. oldsalt1942
    Joined: May 2009
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    oldsalt1942 Junior Member

    There is a long discussion elsewhere about modular ship construction and the old Liberty Ships. Even such massive projects as aircraft carriers are built piece by piece and then they're welded together to make a single unit. Why can't this be done with a smaller project like most of us here would build?

    I've just about decided to build a house boat/shanty boat using plywood pontoons. I have an old set of plans for the Glen L Huck Finn boat. Why wouldn't it be possible to make the pontoons for the 24' model using the given dimensions of the pontoons but in three separate 8 foot sections in one location, truck them to a launching spot and then join the sections together using thickened epoxy and through bolting them?

    It would seem to me that it would be easier to move and handle three (okay, six since there are TWO pontoons) small eight foot pieces than a 24 foot structure.

    Am I nuts?
     
  2. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    It depends. You would use more material and it would take more work. It's hardly ever easier building something at a 'launch site' as compared to somewhere close, like in your yard. Close proximity to electricity and to your tool stash is very helpful, otherwise you pretty much have to haul a lot of tools around in your vehicle. You probably need a trailer for it which could also be your building platform. Rolling and moving a 24' pontoon could be done by one resourceful person, two easily. Four could easily lift it onto a trailer, and if a lift device is available, like a place and room to hook a comealong or two or an engine hoist, there wouldn't be any problem.
     
  3. lewisboats
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

  4. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    Both those are kind of different, as the OP is making permanent structures that aren't very big to begin with. It's not that the idea is not feasible, it's more like whether it's reasonable or serves much purpose.
     
  5. kroberts
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    kroberts Senior Member

    Why would you go with 8 foot sections? That sounds extremely inconvenient. 24 feet is easily manageable by one guy with a typical truck and trailer, at least if you put some thought into it. The boat you're looking at looks to be designed to travel as a single piece, why add work?

    Where I'm from, people store their boats at home on the trailer, hook up and drag it to the ramp. There are lots of pontoons significantly longer than 20 feet that trailer as a single piece. I'm having a hard time imagining how breaking it up into something you have to assemble at the ramp every time is better than just dragging the trailer to the ramp and putting it in the water.
     
  6. oldsalt1942
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    oldsalt1942 Junior Member

    Lewis Boats...that's one of the things that got me started thinking of building modular. Personally I think it's a pretty neat idea.

    kroberts: the thing would only be assembled ONCE, since thickened epoxy between the sections and then through-bolting them together means they AREN'T coming apart any time soon.

    The reason I started thinking about this as a possible solution concerns logistics. I retired to Panama four years ago. I live in a little town of Boqueron not far from the Pacific Ocean. Where I want the boat to be is in the Bocas del Toro archipelago over on the Caribbean north coast (Panama runs east and west, not north and south). The problem is there's a HUGE mountain range between where I live and where I want to be.

    Also, I'm an old phart with emphysema, and arthritis and moving around eight foot segments seem to be more do-able than 20 foot long pieces. The larger segments also would require a building jig, etc.
     
  7. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    With the time and money you can save by building the boat in one piece, you can hire a crew of panamenians to launch the boat for you. It will be a lighter structure too.
     
  8. oldsalt1942
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    oldsalt1942 Junior Member

    Panamanians, Central Americans in general, do well with concrete. Wood, not so much, Gonzo.
     

  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I suggested you get local help to move the boat. There are a lot of great wooden boats built in Central America. I have seen work boats of sophisticated lines built on the beach.
     
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