Newbie needs advice......

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by barthautala, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. barthautala
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Location: Traverse City, MI

    barthautala Junior Member

    Ive got a short story to tell before I ask my questions.

    Im 27 and about 12 years ago my dad purchased a boat from a man who hand built it in 1947. The boat is entirely constructed out of oak Im sure. Last week I decided I wanted to restore this boat. So i picked it up from my dads house and brought it to my house. I began stripping and after reading many articles began the staining/varnishing process. Currently the boat is starting to look absolutely wonderful. But the thing about this boat is it isnt exactly what I want. Its an outboard and I want an inboard. It only about 12' long and I want a double cockpit/sunning platform (think Riva Aquarama) 26' boat. Its got hard wood bench seats and want some nice capitains chairs. Anywho.......Ive all of the sudden got huge motivation to begin my first handbuilt boat. I particularly enjoy working with wood because my day job consist of working with steel so I know when I work with that if I mess it up it isnt as big a deal as working with metals. Im not like most 27yr olds in that I want a classic style runabout. I am like most 27yr olds in that I want nice stuff. And I want a fast boat but I want it to look like something out of the 50's.

    Like I said im a newbie. I have an engineering background so I understand statics/strengths and proper manufacturing processes. Im confident with the right design plan I can build a strong skeleton. But once I have that done I pretty much have no idea on how move on or what to do? How do I finish the outside of the boat? Do I strip it and then veneer over it? OR plywood? What the heck is lofting anyways? What the crap is cold forming? (In the metal business this hammering steel until its shaped like you like).

    Im not asking for step by steps from anyone here but I am asking for your opionions on the best resources for learning tricks and tip and techniques on boat building. Where the most complete plans can be purchased. Anything I should know before undertaking venture. Think back to the first time you built a boat, what would you do over? I know how big of an endeavour this is and thats mostly what excites me about it. Another cool thing is I have a I test my beast before I take it to the big water!

    Thank you all for your help in advance. I look forward to joining the classic boat world.
  2. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    O.K. Barthautala, you have an ambitious project before you. It will cost a plenty too. In addition it will occupy a huge amount of time, maybe years.

    Get a book like Buehlers Back Yard Boat Building. There are many others that are equally instructive.

    Lofting is the process of laying down the full sized lines of the hull on paper or some other flat surface. You can sort of compare it to the process the layout man does in your steel shop. Lofting is a layout in three dimensions. A boat builders isometric projections. Cold forming is usually a metalworking term. For boats it is "cold molding". The term is usually but not always, applied to a method of laminating successive layers of veneer or plywood around a curved section formwork. Probably not what you would do with the Riva clone although you might well laminate plank over plank wherupon you have a double planked hull.

    FIRST get books. Read, study, read some more, hang around a boat yard, ask questions, beware the magnitude of the job you may undertake.
  3. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: maine

    alan white Senior Member

    The size and type of boat you want to build would cost at least 100k to buy. You might get away with building it for 35k. As you're not a builder who has the setup to build such a boat quickly (say, 65k in labor @ $30 per hour = 2160 hours, or 54 man-weeks), you will likely take twice as long (108 man weeks). You may work for a living, however, and so maybe you can (if highly motivated) afford to spend 20 hours a week average, in which case we're now up to four years part-time (and an investment of 9k for each of those years.
    You cannot change these figures and somehow arrive at what you're describing.
    Just putting it all in perspective, and I'm being generous!
    Incidentally, you say the 12 ft boat is entirely oak? That would be very unusual in a small boat. Are you sure?

  4. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    I have fitted out 2 boats, one 44 foot power and one 63 foot sloop. Not to mention many ski boats as a kid.
    Engines,Wiring plumbing the lot.

    I learnt a lot ,but the one thing I did learn is that it is a massive job. I dont think it is possible if you work as well.

    The best lesson I leaned was that Ille not do it again. Ever!
  5. timgoz
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: SW PA USA

    timgoz Senior Member

    Come on Frosty, anything is possible, though maybe not practical.

    Never say never.

    I do agree that very few understand the enormity of such an undertaking. Few that start such an endeavor with limited experience ever finish. Very few.

    Don't like to see a fellow get into a massive time & $$$ wasting project. At the same time we do not want to discourage someone who may be able to complete his boat. Just giving fair warning.

  6. Gilbert
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: Cathlamet, WA

    Gilbert Senior Member

    Let me jump in and say that if you want to really duplicate a Riva the figures above might be correct.
    However if you just want a nice mid twenty's length over all runabout without the 'goldplating' or mirror finish etc. you could cut the time and expense dramatically. Also, some amatuer or hobbyist boatbuilders work nearly as fast as the pros. Most don't.
    The bottom line is that no one can tell you how many hours or dollars any specific project will take and the reason is ...'it all depends.....'! And even the highest figures could be low if you really get carried away. And as Tim is suggesting..... if it is what you want to do go ahead and do it.
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  7. barthautala
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Location: Traverse City, MI

    barthautala Junior Member


    So maybe I wont do something so big. Yeah I do have to "work" so I dont have countless hours to do nothing but work on my boat. I also dont have 100k to spend on a boat and even if i did i wouldnt anyways. I do still want to refinish the current boat. So if you guys have any more answers to my original question - what are some of the best resources for finishing techinques, tip, tricks, whatnots i would greatly appriciate it.

    Theres nothing like getting the wrong advice and messing up something and then doing it all over again the right way.

    For instance........I want to install a nice frame like feature (forgive me i dont know the proper term) around the outside of the boat on the top side (like the feature on the front 1/3rd of the aquarama). What material? How do you fasten it to the hull without seeing the fasteners or how can I hide the fasteners or can I glue it or epoxy it or whatever......

    These are just some of the things I want to learn and become good at doing but even after searching the web I dont know what sources are reliable. Im just asking for a little guidance.

  8. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: maine

    alan white Senior Member

    You either mean a toe rail or a margin plank. i think you mean a toe rail.
    This is not a problem. You will need to steam the wood, but with such a small piece, a hot (from a boiling pot of water) towel wrapped around the stick (using tongs, or similar) will make the wood elastic enough to wrap it around the rub rail about where it's going, using sticks against a car or building, etc., until dry.
    Then it can be routed, counter-bored and drilled for screws. Sand, varnish some, bed, screw, bung, varnish more until like glass, done.

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