How to set up a high school plywood boat project

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Miamiproas, Oct 25, 2014.


Would you let a high school group build your boat?

  1. Yes - with some of my direction

  2. Yes - with direction of the schoolmteacher/conselor

  3. No - too much liability

    0 vote(s)
  4. No - afraid of finished product

  1. Miamiproas
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Miamiproas Junior Member

    I wanted to ask the members of this forum if you can give me advice on how to go about to set up a High School project to build a small demountable catamaran.

    I live in Miami, FL and I have search for any "wood shop" type of curriculum in any the web for the Miami public high schools. So far I have found none.

    Many years ago I remember reading a fellow in germany or Netherlands? That build a 32ft catamaran bead and cove striper by working with a local high school. He provided the plans, material, and once in a while the directions on how to build it. The wood shop teacher did the rest. If I remember correctly, there were 2 sets of 4 students dedicated to the project, and in return they would get the use of the sailboat in the maiden voyage for a week, and two one week use a year wih the owner.

    I have a set of plans for a bernd Kohler DUO 800S, which is a demountable 27ft catamaran with a basic nacelle. It is trailerable and is straigh forward plywood construction. I (may) even have the availability to translate the drawings into CNC language. I just do not have the time right now to build another boat other than my weekends, so this idea was apealing to me as it could be a win-win deal.

    Has anybody in this forum has done something similar and want to share details? Or anybody here has ideas on the best way to approach this?

    Here is the link for the duckworks design page

  2. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    waikikin Senior Member

    I think your boat is really too big for an at school project. Something in the range of dingy, canoe maybe small to about a max of 15 feet or so. Students only get a maximum of maybe 2 class periods of 40-60 minutes together- really hard to build momentum on larger things. Schools these days can be very careful about dusts & chemicals. They will also need to "vet" your motives carefully.
    So, it's a great idea but.... too big/long/cumbersome, boats need to be achievable in shorter time - students need a learning outcome- some corperate/supplier/parent sponsorship-maybe canoes as schools have canoeing as sport.
    The school I went to had a kayak mold & canoeing as a sport, especially at last 2 weeks wind down "activities" before Christmas the smell of styrene hung in the air, surfoplanes, skateboard decks & a few canoes got made- maybe too many safety issues for that now unless infusion employed....... maybe they have an "app" for virtual boat construction... ...?

    All the best from Jeff
  3. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Mr W has hit the nail on the head. You are talking inexperienced students in basic workshop conditions for a few hours a week. That multihull is a year partime projects.

    Even 'Simple' stitch and glue kayaks are much more labour intensive than a lot of people realize, and to get one built in the allocated time is a major challenge.

    On the health and safety, Epoxy is a serious consideration.
    In the US , for public courses, you may be interested in this sort of epoxy
  4. Miamiproas
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    Miamiproas Junior Member

    Internet Age ADHD built in

    Thanks for the replies. I guess I can see it in my 3 kids on this internet age, instant gratification, no patience society. Is funny but the project on the german cat was a stripper. I built a stripper proa and just to rip of the wood, bead and cove router, and scarfing to size takes a long time. I think the german school took two years to do this.

    On the OSHA side of things, I guess expoxy could open liabilities if handled incorrectly. By the way, thanks for the link on the green epoxy - I take is as good to MAS or West systems?

    So back to the drawing board. Maybe CNCing the drawings could save me some time, just got to calculate the trade of with wasted plywood and CNC charges.
  5. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member


    who can say - they are pretty new. You would have to do some research.

    Pre cut, perfectly dimensioned panels versus getting the kids to loft and jigsaw them ??? You really dont have a choice.

    CNC panels always use less plywood, because you can nest them efficiently.
  6. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    7th and 8th grade students from the South Bristol school spend one day a week building a boat at the Maine Maritime Museum.

    Students from Searsport District High School build Shellback dinghies at Penobscot Marine Museum each year.
  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The basic problem with a project like this is the skill sets of the instructor. It only works if you have someone that is a boat builder with consider experience, with this particular method (the one being employed), plus a marketable model, which isn't anything over 20', preferably 18' and also preferably with a paying client, to mitigate and justify the costs/program.

    These types of programs exist with automotive body work and painting as well as the occasion custom or hot rod build. Again the only thing that makes these viable, is a reasonable and marketable end result. So design selection has to be carefully chosen, the instructor needs to be a known quantity, in terms of build ability and lastly, it takes a special person to teach kids how to do it right, insure it gets done right, be the sales pitch person, that's also viable on the school board and public market too. This is a tough bill to fill.

    Lastly, the wooden boat market is a very small segment of the pleasure boat industry. To compete with the other choices in the same size range, it'll have to be a pretty polished end result. This is common with the automotive shops, often at a very competitive price too, but this would mean no wooden boats, but in fact a 'glass one, likely an outboard powered 18' center console of impeccable pedigree, built to a fairly high standard.
  8. keysdisease
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    keysdisease Senior Member

    In Miami-Dade I would think if the MAST Academy isn't interested then go to plan B

    I mean, its on Rickenbacker Causeway a mile from Hobie beach


  9. Miamiproas
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    Miamiproas Junior Member

    Of course! I never considered them since they are an AP engineering institution. I had my pacific proa for years very close to them at the outriggers club at the stadium, and my old CAL39 is moored in Crandom Park marina - so the potential solution was staring at me all the time.
    I understand after reading all the posts that a commercial venue is the best way to go with a good instructor. My plan was really personal since I wanted to downsize from the CAL39 to something smaller but not too small, something faster, simpler, and beacheable. The trailerable part is a nice plus to be able to move the hull around the keys or west coast; but not necessary. The idea was also to loan the boat to the school on a preset schedule several times a year so we could expose kids into sailing as an alternative to what we see here in Miami - jet skis and power boats. In South Florida there is an abundant market on used sailboats and beach cats.
    Anyways, thanks for pointing the obvious (now it is) to me. :)
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