lapstrake building.

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by dsuursoo, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. dsuursoo
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    dsuursoo Senior Member

    one of my big dreams is to put together a replica of one of the first revenue cutters. i'd like to go with traditional building, if possible, which i think was rather heavy lapstrake, at the time. edit: carvel building. that's it.

    who knows more about the technique in general, and perhaps some good online references/howtos?
     
  2. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Should be lots of good books out there, at least for lapstrake, do a Google search. I don't recommend carvel unless you can leave it in the water.

    Lapstrake and carvel are both art forms, not easy to do if you want to use traditional methods all the way. If you just want the look of lapstrake and a traditional hull shape, you may want to consider glued lapstrake which will result in a lighter and stronger hull. Skill level is less too, but still demanding enough for satisfaction. Again, lots of books out there. Good luck!
     
  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    In the size range of a small revenue cutter, glued lap construction wouldn't be likely. In fact, I don't know of a single revenue cutter that was lapstrake. Most were carvel, though some were molded.

    Double planked or other molding method may be the best way to go, but these antique craft weren't the best of sailors, not especially safe, or particularly weatherly, nor very shoal. As a yacht they'd be wanting in many ways.

    On the other hand a yacht "In the Spirit of" a revenue cutter could be a thing to do. Standing headroom on the gun deck (which they didn't have), water tights, gen set, the works.

    A replica just isn't practical except as a school ship, which still would have to jump through many USCG hoops to get certification.

    An example would be the Pride of Baltimore II. Outwardly she appears to be a sharp ended Baltimore pilot model of the early 19 century, but it's not even close to a trained eye. She has collision bulkheads, air conditioning, diesel power, all the amenities. She follows in the foot steps of her sister, which was a replica of an actual early 1800's pocket clipper. The replica sailed just like her sister of the previous century, a wild, wet witch and she was lost in a micro burst just a few years after her launching, with the lose of a few hands.

    Take this to heart. Replicas of antique vessels are not good decisions for a yacht, but "replications" or designs "In the Spirit of" are. Lets face it, we're just not as skilled as the 50 man crew that would have sailed one of these beasts in the 1830's.
     
  4. dsuursoo
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    dsuursoo Senior Member

    one of those guys i've been hoping to hear a few words from on this.

    i've been mulling over it, the whole double planking, single planking carvel. there are some solid advantages to double planking.

    greater strength: overlapping planks add rigidity and self-reinforcement.

    easier construction: thinner planks should be easier and quickerto work. i was thinking inch and a half to two inch, but going 3/4 to an inch and double planking is the same thing, effectively. the only downside to this factor is that it'll take longer overall, because i'm doing my work twice. even if it takes me three quarters of the time it would take if i used single thick planks, having to do the work twice with half thickness increases my work time by 50%.

    what i'm mainly after is the look. 60 tons is a lot of weight. i hope they mean max displacement, because i don't think i'm going to get anywhere near that. a lot of the handling will be altered, primarily by clever engineering. i'm either going to study up on a lot of design theory, and have a pro iron out any kinks in the hull design, or work hand-in-hand with a designer to get a good design. i figure either route will cut my design costs, as far as the pro stuff goes. like i've said in another post, since i have no details on the hull other than dimensions, it'll be a proper design. likely the 's' type hull shape, as that will give me the integral keel. i've been debating about internal ballast. water would allow me to transfer it, for better sailing characteristics. watertight bulkheads would be a must. generator... well, probably as a backup. engine... well, i'm probably going to have to. i plan on adding a boom on the foresail(it's not pictured, and wasn't common in those days) for greater ease. lazy jacks, roller-reefing and furling, stuff like that will make sailhandling a little simpler.

    those revenue cutters sailed with about 15 in the crew. between clever engineering and modern methods i'm pretty sure i can get away with a crew of seven. the only busy part will be setting the sails, but i'm figuring no more than two people to any particular sail, and most could be done by one.

    but you hit the nail on the head. i never wanted an exact replica, but something that looked good enough that people would go 'wow, cool!'
     
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    60 tons sounds quite light. These were well burdened craft and their shapes and sail plans bear this out clearly.

    The Smithsonian has hundreds of plans (like what you want), very inexpensively, that might fit the bill. They could serve as a basis for a new design at least. You may want to contact them and get a plans catalog.
     
  6. Gilbert
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    Gilbert Senior Member

    Double planking takes twice as long.
     
  7. dsuursoo
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    dsuursoo Senior Member

    didn't know i could do that! i'll have to see what they have. any idea where to contact/what to ask for?
     
  8. dsuursoo
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    dsuursoo Senior Member

    but the work on each plank would take less time, being as that you're removing half as much wood. actualy time savings is more like 5-10% when doing a half-thickness plank. i checked. not significant, but easier to do the work, since you're not hogging off two inch wide material.

    with hardwoods, that's quite nice. i wasn't looking forward to having to do the work with a power planer.
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    On most double planked boats, the inner planking is thinner than the outer planking and often out of a different species too.

    Planking efforts required, would be a small (very small) percentage of the total build requirements for a yacht of this class.

    www.americanhistory.si.edu/csr/shipplan.htm
     
  10. dsuursoo
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    dsuursoo Senior Member

    nice point, hadn't thought about that. with outer planking of say, oak(white most likely), what would inner planking be? probably not pine, but fir, cedar, something like that?
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    All would depend on how the designer approached the planking. There are many factors that can affect decisions about what materials to use, for any given element, including planking.
     
  12. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    As you said in your first post it's a big dream. How serious are you? Unless you're a multi-millionaire in mufti with enough money to contract it to a yard, it's a mightly long term scheme and I'm not yet sensing the overriding obsession needed to get this done as a DIY. Even as a DIY over a decade or more annual funding is still a lot.

    You also said you were more interested in appearance than an all-out repro, so maybe you are prepared to downscope in other areas. Question is, how far are you pepared to go in the interests of making it a reality?

    If I were looking for the look rather than the substance, I would also be inclined to look again at construction, maybe consider plywood which would be lighter, easier and more durable. I also wonder if it could be scaled down. So in addition to what you want it to look like, you need to decide what you want it to do. Another idea would be to simplify the rigging to reduce crewing requirements, for example, it would still look great without the square-rigged topsail and an all fore-and-aft rig would need less crew.

    Yet another approach that would let you go for broke is to get other folk interested in participating; you're in a good area for that. There is a Collaboration Forum ...
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  13. dsuursoo
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    dsuursoo Senior Member

    actually, it turns out that the 'tree of life' is pretty close, close enough for me. saves me a LOT of sweat, really. i'm still centered on planking for ease of repair, vice any of the laminate methods, which can be a LOT harder(speaking from experience). i'd try to add a topsail if i could, just because i'm a punk. i think it could be done, really. self-furling gear on the yard would be possible to engineer, just a little tricky.

    and the overriding obsession? heh. talk to my wife. and i'm fully prepared to go so far as to dig a canal to get it to the water when it's done, if needed.

    i'm not into collaborating, unless i find subject matter experts in certain areas willing to either lend tips, a hand for a weekend, or flat out do it for a fee.

    plywood is a worthwhile material, but given the shapes i'm going to be working with, and the heavy cruising i'm doing, i'm not totally sure it'll be up to it. it's not the plywood i'm worried about, it's the joints. plus the complex hull form isn't conducive to plywood build.
     
  14. dsuursoo
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    dsuursoo Senior Member

    hm. what about substitutions?
     

  15. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Substitutions are usually as simple as finding another material or species that has similar physical properties.

    Considering the scope of a project like this, you may be better off starting with a bare hull and upgrading it to the look you desire. One of the larger Cabo's or Island Packet's might fit the bill. Maybe a salvage, where the engine is dead, the rig shot and the interior looks like the Russian Army spent their last pay day in it.

    Strip it out, have a designer work up a new rig, deck and interior and you're good to go. You'll be starting with a solid hull design, one that doesn't rot or need to be recaulked every few years and the look can be quite realistic, if the details are carried to typical 19th century arrangements. There would also be a considerable savings considering you'll be starting with the hull already built.

    I've done this on a few occasions. The last one was an open schooner on a Coronado 26 bare hull.
     
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