Novice Needs Advice

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by superfellow, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. superfellow
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    superfellow Junior Member

    Hello guys!
    I'm new to the world of boatbuilding, and I am looking to set up shop. As a first project, I am wanting to make a small (~8ft) strip-planked rowboat.

    Although I am eager to hear any advice any of you guys might have, I am also new to woodworking and was curious as to what size table saw I will really need for this (and future) boatbuilding endeavors.

  2. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    I wouldn't go crazy about a saw at this point. I've restored my 27 footer with a 10" saw and found it adequate. Look for a saw with a decent rip fence and as large a table as you can find. As you actually work with wood you will encounter situations where you'll say "I wish this saw had this or that feature" and if you really like boatbuilding you might buy a more expensive saw in the future. Depending on where you'll be working portability might also be an issue so consider how much it weighs. I'm sure others will weigh in but $200 - $250 should get you a decent saw and there are plenty of sites where you'll find reviews. You might also consider buying a roller outfeed support so you won't have to call your wife to hold long pieces of wood that you feed through the saw. Wives generally hate this! At least mine does.

    A couple of other things to remember. Get a good blade, which usually means expensive. You'll thank yourself. And lastly be sure that you can install a dado blade into whatever saw you buy. Dado blades are very handy and you'll probably learn more about dados as you go along.

  3. superfellow
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    superfellow Junior Member

    Thanks for the advice MIA!
  4. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    I've always seen the table saw as the foundation of the workshop. Therefore, my recommendation is a bit more pricey than MIA's. $500.00 would be bare minimum. Ideally, you'd have a saw with wheels (Rigid (Home Depot) makes one--- 10" cast iron in the price range mentioned).
    Cast iron has heft and usually cast iron saws have trunnions and a seperate motor/belt drive. They are also usually convertable to 240 volt, and are very quiet (those little aluminum saws scream).
    However, I'll admit that you can make strips on any table saw with the right jig.
  5. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    SamSam Senior Member

    You don't even need a tablesaw. A saw like this is easy to make....
    Drill a small hole in each corner of the saw base. Do a plunge cut on a piece of plywood, then unplug the saw. Use sheetrock screws to secure the saw, and then wire the trigger "on". Turn the plywood over, screw or nail to sawhorses, break off the sheetrock screws, grind flush if needed. Put a straight stick or level up against the sawblade and mark both ends on plywood. That is zero, measure from those marks for width of cut, clamp strait stick or level at marks, plug in the saw and cut.
  6. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Fly on the Wall - Miss ddt yet?

    All good advice. Follow safety precautions. Think ahead. If you cut off anything you are not supposed to, make sure your driver knows the quickest route to the emergency room.:D
  7. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Landlubber Senior Member


    Your choice of boat design is a good one, it will teach you many processes and conventions.

    Take your time, learn that quality does take time and you will be better off in the long run (it takes time you see).

    Do not take short cuts in known methods, they have already evolved to be pretty good. If you do see some way to improve on something, maybe ask here again to see if others agree, who knows you may change the world, and even f you do not, you will end up with a boat that you can be proud of, and that is all that matters.

    I see many people try stitch and glue for their fiirst boats, waste of time. Do it right and do it once, you will learn REAL boatbuilding that way.
  8. Scott Carter
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Scott Carter Senior Member

    Please don't make your own table saw. The reasons are mostly obvious safety concerns, but from a practical standpoint even a $100 second hand saw of ANY make is going to be better than something you cobble together. Plus, you still have to put a saw into a home made saw, right?
    A 10" shop-grade table saw is certainly everything you need. 99% of even the commercial cabinet and boat shops out there have them. They're ubiquitous. A larger industrial grade 12" saw is for a shop that does lots and lots and lots (and lots) of cutting all day every day, or handles large timbers that require the depth of cut.
    A cast iron (or granite - Ridgid's new saw) table will go a long way in keeping your work and the saw itself steady. But also a large table extension (shop made is fine) is a luxury you'll be thankful for time and again. There are lots of plans on the inter-webs for making your own table extensions out of melamine faced MDF (smooth surface), or even just plain old plywood. At a minimum, a pair of very steady (read broad base) roller out-feed supports. You'll want two if you don't have a large out-feed table because a sheet good could be in two large pieces once it comes through.
    As mentioned, invest in a high quality (usually = expensive, $80-$100 minimum) carbide blade. It will pay for itself. A rip blade isn't absolutely necessary, a combination blade handles most jobs adequately. But a rip blade will definitely be appreciated if you're doing a lot of ripping (like making your own strips).
    Brand-wise, you'll do very well with a Delta saw, and Ridgid has come on very strong in the larger tool market. They put a lot of thought and quality into their tools. Fine homebuilding does tool reviews often, and recently they did one on portable table saws.
    I would encourage you to find a second-hand saw. They just don't wear out. They get scratched and maybe the cabinet gets dented. But old saws are old for a reason, because they were built well. A good, new Uni-fence (Google it) and a high quality blade will give any saw a new lease on life.
    Good luck, and happy building.
  9. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    ....once upon a time, in another life....I sold machinery.....a question often asked is why buy second hand, new is almost as cheap if you buy Chinese (etc) must be better than old....well, my response to the question, buy new lathe or old was, what made the new lathe?....

    ...don't be afraid to purchase old machinery, it is often of a better quality than the new stuff.
    1 person likes this.
  10. Itchy&Scratchy
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    Itchy&Scratchy Senior Member

    Excellent Landlubber, thank you - a man after my own heart.

    Im forty - thats somewhere between young -ish and old!!(duck for cover...)

    Ive finally learned to look for old tools, a lot of mine are antique tools which I bought on Fleabay. Buy a new set of chisels and use them and then go looking for an old set of marples chisels and once sharpened the difference is significant.
    Old planes, chisels etc go for nothing. I am currently looking for a scroll say, not the elcheapo rubbish you can buy in stores but the old foot powered jobbie,I mean they are still available and work beautifully, whers as fifty years down the line, the cheapo will have been in the bin for forty five years alreadyat least.
    Have fun
  11. pistnbroke
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    pistnbroke I try

    if you want to see tools in action and I see you are in the US look for New Yankee Workshop on your tv channels ...Norm will teach you more in one programme about wood working tools than all the verbal advice in the world .

    Note ..I just googled it and you can watch on line you the programme scedules etc
  12. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Landlubber Senior Member


    that is an excellent site mate, thanks.
  13. superfellow
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    superfellow Junior Member

    Thank you for the great advice everyone! I think I'll go for a lower end table saw (~$200 as suggested) and save the rest for a good carbide blade, and I will definitely see what I can find used, as I am in agreement with most of y'all about age=quality in regards to machinery. And thanks for the lead pistnbroke, I will check out that program! I'm anxious, but I'm in no hurry. Extra time spent on preparation seems to be time well spent, in my opinion.

    One final question: Although my plans have recommendations for types of wood, I would just like to hear y'all's opinion as to what the best type of wood is for small strip-planking jobs like mine.
  14. liki
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    liki Senior Member

    I have also been pondering over what tools are worth acquiring for building a small wooden boat.

    The books I have read give the opinion, or feeling, that a band saw and a thickness planer would in fact be a better choice over a table saw. What are your opinions?

  15. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    Table saw is the first new toy, followed by 40, 000 other things.
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