Starting my first boat build, trying to soak up info

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Stickbowcrafter, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Stickbowcrafter
    Joined: Jan 2012
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    Location: SW Pennsylvania

    Stickbowcrafter New Member

    I've been hanging around here as a guest for a few weeks but now I have my boat plans and I'm getting the garage prepped for a boat build so it was time to join. I've owned and operated several small crafts but never had any experience building a boat. I'm fortunate to have a decent hobby wood shop set up at home and enough wood working experience to be dangerous.

    With our waterfowl seasons wrapping up and the water freezing, I thought a small marsh boat build would be a great winter project. I like the look of the Gator boat plans, the Croc model looks like it will suit my needs. It's also a relatively simple, plywood design that seems to lend itself well to beginners. I'm looking for something that one or two people can load on a vehicle but be strong enough to hold up to the demands of waterfowl hunting.

    I have a lot of experience with two part epoxy and numerous finishes but not much with fiberglass cloth. I was thinking a layer of fiberglass on the bottom might give the boat a little extra durability to help it hold up. I've been reading up on as much info as I can get my hands on and I'm trying to familiarize myself with the different boat building methods and techniques. Any and all suggestions and criticisms are welcomed and appreciated. Thank you.

    -Brian
     
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  2. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Before you cut your first piece of wood build a workbench. A good one, very long....the full length of your shop, with a bright fluorescent light on top.

    If you are scarfing plywood ,build an additional portable bench for cutting and gluing full length plywood scarfs

    If you will use epoxy, build a vacume cleaning system into your shop with PVC tubes overhead the boat building berth that you can plumb into and power it with a good quality vac.
     
  3. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Damned if that advice about a good work bench isn't the best advice ever.

    Troy from this forum gave me that advice when he saw me struggling on the floor and asking some question about doing a scarf joint.

    Probably some of the best advice there is.
     
  4. Dirteater
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: Canada

    Dirteater Senior Member

    Hi Stickbow,

    not sure what size you are building, but I think you will find
    the fibre application fairly simple . There are different methods depending
    on the size of the fibre you are applying, ie: rolls or blankets. My hull is 3/8 marine plywood and I chose to fibre it for strength and protection. Fibre does add some wieght as well so you may want to pick and choose how much and where to keep the wieight down. There are a few good links on the net as well as books in regards to fibre application. again the size of your boat may vary the application processes. Also with your experience I believe you are already aware of temperature and drying times.

    hope to see your progress. :D
     
  5. Stickbowcrafter
    Joined: Jan 2012
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    Location: SW Pennsylvania

    Stickbowcrafter New Member

    Thanks for the input. Here's the specs of the boat I plan to build:

    Length: 11 feet 9 inches on deck (3.35 meters)
    Width: 38 inches floor (96.52 centimeters), 44 inches rails (1.11 meters)
    Height: 15 inches (38.1 centimeters)
    Approximate weight 70-80 pounds (31.75-36.28 kilograms)

    Here's a few variations of the design from the Gator web site:

    [​IMG]

    I really like this camo finish for waterfowl hunting:

    [​IMG]

    -Brian
     
  6. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

  7. Stickbowcrafter
    Joined: Jan 2012
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    Location: SW Pennsylvania

    Stickbowcrafter New Member

    Forgot to mention most of my power will come from paddle/oar, pole and possibly a small trolling motor. I need something that will row easily.

    -Brian
     
  8. Dirteater
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: Canada

    Dirteater Senior Member

    well that clears things up quite a bit :)
    nice boat, I can see how that will fit your bill nicely.
    you'll have no problem glassing that at all.
    If you can, I would go with marine grade ply.
    Due to the size of the boat I would say the extra expense is not
    that much more, and would be better in the long run.

    If your looking for more info on building and glassing
    I found this book worked very well for me.
    http://www.boatplans.dk/content.asp?DType=book

    and of course, our fellow members here are
    very knowledgeable and helpful. :)
     
  9. sean-nós
    Joined: May 2010
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    Location: Dublin,Ireland

    sean-nós Senior Member

    I put 6oz fiberglass cloth on the bottom of my boats but you could go a bit heaver. I also coat "encapsulate" the inside of the boat with epoxy resin and make sure all cut edges are sealed.Have a look at some of these and you find something like yours go to customer photos to see the builds. They also sell a good book called "boatbuilding with plywood"
    https://www.boatdesigns.com/Human-Power/departments/8/
    Best of luck :)
     
  10. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    One thing that always slows down a boat project is material acquisition. Unless you have a supplier next door Now is a good time to purchase good plywood, good timber stock, a few gallons of resin, fabric and all the assorted bits that you will need./

    Look at the material list for boats that interest you . It doesn't matter what boat...every boat in your size range will use the same stock.
     
  11. spiritgide
    Joined: Oct 2011
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    Location: Kanasa

    spiritgide Junior Member

    I see a lot of sound advice, but I'll throw in a bit more.

    Be sure as you set up your work or lofting table that it's flat. I mean dead flat, so that you can use it as a consistent measuring surface to keep your boat properly trued up as you build. You can draw the outlines of the gunnel or any parts on it to help. Failing to have a flat reference plane often ends up with a twisted hull.

    Working with resins is not fun under any circumstances, but much easier if you know what you are doing. I suggest reading up before you choose a type, and then doing a couple test parts with scrap before actually using it on the boat. What kind of resin?

    Polyester resin- cheapest, most common. Vinylester resin- cost more, works the same, but is stronger and less water absorbent. Both cure quickly and the set time is adjustable to some extent by varying the catalyst. Set time is also highly affected by temperature and the quantity of resin mixed at one time. Both resins will cure hard but sticky, unless wax is added to it. Reason- you can lay additional layers immediately over the sticky surface, no prep needed- but you can't sand it. With the wax added (used on final coats) it will cure hard, and then you can sand and prep for paint. However you have to remove the wax before you can add more resin or glass if needed.

    Epoxy- most expensive, strongest, most water resistance. Best part is that it does not have the potent vapors that the esters do. In a closed area, those are nasty. The set time is not adjustable by catalyst, although you can buy faster and slower versions. In any event, setup takes longer than ester resins. Epoxy also has the potential to create an allergic reaction in your skin. Always work with gloves on.

    Note on resins. You can put epoxy over the other resins, as in a doing a repair; in fact it's the strongest way. However, you cannot put the ester resins over an epoxy. If you build a hull with epoxy, any modifications or repairs must also be done with epoxy.

    One other quirk with epoxy: Polyester and vinylester resins when used on standard glass mat material will dissolve the mat's sizing coat, which allows the fibers to move independently and conform to any contours, which is very handy. Epoxy can be used with mat too, but it won't dissolve the sizing and the material won't lose it's dimensional stability, thus it won't self-adjust or conform to odd contours.

    There's a lot of satisfaction in doing it from scratch, but it takes patience!
     

  12. Stickbowcrafter
    Joined: Jan 2012
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    Location: SW Pennsylvania

    Stickbowcrafter New Member

    Thanks a lot everyone, I appreciate the input. I'm hoping to get all the materials and get started in the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted with pictures and descriptions for critique.

    -Brian
     
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