View Full Version : Building Mr. Gentry's SOF Ruth Wherry

09-10-2010, 12:41 AM
Hi everyone, Dave was kind enough to send me his building guide for his skin-on-frame wherry, Ruth. I think it's a beautiful boat and just had to have one, so I thought I would start a thread to post progress of the build. I was poking around on some different SOF sites and it seems that a week or two build time is what one should expect from a project like this. I already know I'm going to blow that. In fact, I'm about a week and half into the project already and I'm not quite done with the frames yet. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
This is a really cool website I stumbled across http://www.capefalconkayak.com/ if you're interested in SOF.

Once I decided to actually build Ruth the first thing I did was find a suitable piece of plywood to draw up the frames and stem on.



That done, I then resolved to see how badly I could mess up the rest of the project. There are six frames and I decided to glue them up out of 1 3/8" by 3/16" red cedar that I milled from a nice driftwood log that we salvaged.


Dave's guide calls for using 1/2" marine ply for the frames, the ones I'm putting together will end up being closer to 5/8" thick. So, why not just buy some marine ply for the frames and be done with it? That's a darn fine question. The answer is I have wood and epoxy on hand and thought it would be fun to try it this way. Hopefully it will work out alright.


There are 18 pieces in each frame, dry fit on the lofting board before glue up.

09-10-2010, 01:02 AM
Glue up is pretty strait forward. Put some tape down on the board nail to the frame line lay down the first layer of the frame and start spreading out the epoxy.



Once all the layers have been glued up I sucked everything up to the frame line with nails on the inside of the frame.


Then screwed it all down to the board.


Resulting in some nice squeeze out to clean up.


I'm using saw dust from the band saw for epoxy filler. I like to mix it so that it is thick enough stay put but is still fairly runny. It seems to work well enough.

Now it is just a matter of waiting for the epoxy to kick.


Fifth frame down, one to go.


09-10-2010, 09:24 AM
Great blog - be sure to keep us current on the build!

09-10-2010, 10:11 AM
You've got my attention, as well!
This should be interesting. Good luck!

09-10-2010, 10:17 AM
I have used saw dust before and found that the dust from the bag behind my belt sander is much finer and easier to clean up later as it can be spread smoother. Obviously that only works if you have the option of having a dust collector on the sander.

I've seen Daves rowing wherry in action, and regret not taking it out despite the amount of swell that day (dang jet skiis). I think you will be very happy when you get done. Thanks for posting the pics.

09-10-2010, 01:27 PM
Dust from the sander!(head smack) Now why didn't I think of that? The dust from the band saw actually seems to work pretty well if you leave it just a little on the runny side. I borrowed a sifter from the kitchen and sifted all the dust so that it would be a uniform size and get rid of anything unwanted that got swept up in the collection.

09-10-2010, 01:31 PM
What a great thread. What a great boat

09-11-2010, 04:59 PM
I'm also building Ruth!! :)
I have cut out all the frames from 12mm ply, but am stuck on supplies right now. Your cedar frame method looks very cool, though I can't help but wonder, have you accounted for the indents between chines?
Otherwise the skin will touch the frames instead of only the stringers and generate lots of resistance at every station...

I wish you all best luck!

09-11-2010, 05:15 PM
Hi TW,
That was something I thought about when putting the frames together I should be able to go up to a 1/4" concave on each chine surface and still maintain the 1" minimum specified by Dave. The other thought that crossed my mind was that I could leave each stinger a little proud where they are notched into the frames. Since I've never built SOF before it's all a bit of an experiment.

09-11-2010, 06:05 PM
Since I'm pretty close to having all the frames done I figured that I should put some thought into the stringers so that they would be ready at about the same time. So, it was out to the yard to see what was available. Here I have a confession to make, I'm not allowed to go to the lumber yard, all the wood, fasteners, and glue for this project either need to already be on hand or found along the way somewhere. This is one on the reasons for the built up frames.

Anyway, the options I found for stringers were a bit limited. I don't have any 18 foot long stock on hand so I will be scarfing shorter stuff together to get the length I need.

I have 4 eleven foot long 1x2s in cvg red cedar. Nice stuff but only enough for two stringers. For this project I need a total of 9 sticks, 8 at 18 feet and one at 16 feet.

The next likely board I came across was this rough cut spruce 2x6.


It's 12 feet long with nice tight grain, pretty much what I was looking for. Unfortunately it has some issues which made it unsuitable.

On one side there is a knot right in the center of the board.



And on the other side there is a bit of a dry rot issue. Darn.


So what's a fella to do? Well, I have this yellow cedar log that I salvaged off the beach that might work. It's a little short at 7'6" which means two scarfs per stick. I'm going to try it anyway and see how it goes, worst case scenario I'm out a bit of time and I'll need to think of something else.

Here it is.


Before I can run it through the band saw and mill it up I need to true up a couple of sides. The adz and slick I made are just the tools needed to make this happen.

09-11-2010, 06:25 PM
So, it's chop, chop, chop with the adz.


and clean it up with the slick.


Fortunately, the log is long enough to sight down, making it pretty easy to get it straight and flat. Once I got it pretty close, I got out one my favorite planes, an old Bailey No 6, to finish it up.



Here it is ready for the saw, it sure is fun to let the chips fly.


The sawing might have to wait until tomorrow though, it's a pretty nice day out and the sunshine is calling.


09-12-2010, 05:38 AM
Being a big fan of Mr. Gentry's work, I look forward to following this with great interest. Looks like a great start to a fine build.

James McMullen
09-12-2010, 09:47 PM
Good for you guys! I too am very interested in building a SOF wherry like this. . . though I might end up building her with steam-bent ribs instead of the plywood just because I think that'd be fun. I gots too many big boat projects in the way first though, darn it!

09-14-2010, 01:43 AM
Aw, come on James! You can bang one these out. Steam bent frames would be totally awesome! It was something that I was thinking about, but couldn't quite wrap my head around how it would maintain its shape, and I've never done that before so I stuck with epoxy.

09-14-2010, 02:07 AM
Well, sawing up the log didn't go quite as well as planned. The first pass through the band saw went okay.


And the next pass was a real dogs breakfast. The blade was just to thin and wanted to wander. There was just no way it was going to work. So it was back to hand tools to get the job done. In this case my old no 7 rip saw.

It took all weekend, but I manage to rip my 10 board feet.




Here we have the staves for the four chine logs.


I would have had enough for the keelson too if I had had the right blade for the band saw, but that's the way it goes. Back to the scrounging.


James McMullen
09-14-2010, 08:42 AM
Try really big, coarse teeth for ripping green logs on the bandsaw maybe. I've had the best luck with that, as it seems you really want a nice deep gullet to clear the stringy chips you get from sawing logs. When the teeth are clogged, it'll wander for sure.

09-14-2010, 11:31 PM
Try really big, coarse teeth for ripping green logs on the bandsaw maybe. I've had the best luck with that, as it seems you really want a nice deep gullet to clear the stringy chips you get from sawing logs. When the teeth are clogged, it'll wander for sure.

Yes, I'm sure you're right and I'll try that next time. Oh well, you live, you learn.

09-14-2010, 11:39 PM
I dug out a nice piece of 1x14 clear red cedar that I've been saving. I think it will make a dandy transom. I picked up the shape of the transom from my lofting board using the time honored nail head on the line trick. It worked pretty good.



Here is the transom roughed out, I'll save cutting the top until I'm sure where the shear is going to land.


Boy I wish I had a few more board feet of this stuff!



09-18-2010, 01:08 AM
I finished up the frames and ripped all the stringers. Then an unfortunate, fortunate thing happened. I was testing the frames to see how strong they are by pulling them together at the shear. Frames 2 through 6 were quite strong, frame 1 unfortunately doesn't have enough overlap of the pieces at the keel.

Can you say snap!?


It might not have been the best idea to build frames instead of just cutting them out of ply. But I'm committed now and there's only one thing to do. I salvaged the plank I screwed up, when I cut up the yellow cedar log, by re-sawing down to 7/16ths and I've used it to make floors.



It's going to be just about the heaviest Ruth on the planet. But that's all right, I'm still having fun.

I've also started scarphing my stringers and joining they with rivets.




I'm hoping to have everything set up on the strong back this weekend, we'll see how it goes. I still need to get the stem out too.


09-19-2010, 12:08 AM
I spent most of the day today hard at on the building project. It doesn't seem like I got much done though. I guess it is just the nature of building, I feel like I'm so close to being able to start actually putting parts together, and yet there are still quite a few things to do.

Today I sanded all the frames and riveted the floors to them. I'm pretty happy with the way they came out actually.

Here is frame 1, the one I broke, with its floor in place.



I also finished scarfing the chine stringers, I still need to do the inwhale, gunwhale, and keel.

Then I roughed out the stem.

Here is the stem pattern.


I have another piece of yellow cedar I salvaged off the beach that is almost perfect.


This time I decided the chainsaw was my friend, and just the tool to do the rough work.



I hope I'm not boring you guys to death with my ramblings.
More ramblings to follow later.


09-19-2010, 05:27 AM
I, for one, am not bored . . . keep it up!

James McMullen
09-19-2010, 09:54 AM
I'm sure not bored either! Your pics are giving me hope while I spent all last week doing horrible things like sheetrocking and nailing down underlayment. Oh once I finally get a little discretionary free time of my own. . . . .!

09-19-2010, 10:11 AM
Enjoying your build! Keep posting!

May I ask how you secured/clamped that AYC driftwood to get out your stem with the chainsaw?


09-19-2010, 02:22 PM
I'm glad you guys aren't bored, I was worried that my progress has been a bit plodding.

In the picture of the stem on the chopping block you're actually looking at the bottom of the cut. When I cut it out, the butt sat squarely on the ground, in a bit of a depression, and the top arced up and sat in a notch on top of the round and snug against the angle iron. It rested so steadily in place that it never even crossed my mind try and clamp it until you asked the question. The one thing I was concerned about was the piece twisting as it was cut, but as it turned out, it wasn't an issue.

Thank you for asking the question. I've actually spend quite a bit of time thinking about if or how I would do it differently, had I to do it over, because of it.


Philip Maynard
09-19-2010, 07:11 PM
I find this all very strange, Gentry's boat is really easy and simple and your making it as hard and difficult as I could imagine.

James McMullen
09-19-2010, 08:07 PM
That's part of the fun, Philip! Cmon, when's the last time you had an even remotely plausible excuse to get out an adze? Plus,if you finish it too quickly, then what are you going to do with that urge to build something, huh? When you've already got more boats than you can actually justify owning? I look for the most complicated and difficult possible way to make something for myself these days, just for that reason. That's one of Ruth's biggest failings. :D

Tom M.
09-19-2010, 08:16 PM
Its easy when you have a 3HP bandsaw, perfect wood at the lumberyard and plenty of money.

Lacking that, you make do, which can be a real education.

09-19-2010, 10:40 PM
I find this all very strange, Gentry's boat is really easy and simple and your making it as hard and difficult as I could imagine.

Yes, this is true, I'm making it much harder than Dave intended when he designed the boat. There are a couple of reasons why my build has taken this route. The first, and perhaps most important, is that even the modest amount of money that it would cost me to buy the materials to build this boat to spec is more than I can afford right now and if I waited until I had the extra funds the boat would more than likely just not get built. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do when it comes time to skin it, I do have some ripstop coated nylon left over from last winter's boat tent project that might work, but it's a little light at 4 oz. Another reason that I have gone this way is that I really enjoy the challenge that this alternate style of building presents. There is something very satisfying about scrounging up and shaping the various pieces. What drew me to Ruth was her beautiful lines, her ease of construction was a secondary consideration for me. Anyway building a skin boat out of drift wood and scrounged material has quite a long tradition, and it has been fun and educational so far. As always YMMV.


09-23-2010, 01:15 PM
I finished shaping the stem and fitted it to the keel yesterday.



I sure do like riveting.


Things went well, so I decide to keep at it after dinner, and the funiest thing happened.....

09-23-2010, 01:22 PM
It started to look like a boat.




It's just temporary of course, I wanted to make sure I have the locations of the notches correct and to pick up the angles at each frame so all the stringers will sit flush to the frames. And it needs a bit of straightening and adjustment. But still, it looks like a boat! Neat!


09-23-2010, 03:06 PM
It should all go a lot quicker now - good job!

Kyle H.
09-24-2010, 10:37 PM
I'm finding this fascinating! This takes putzing about in the garage to a whole new level. I envy your free time and your ingenuity on this build. Thanks for posting it with all the fun pictures.

BTW Dave was an enormous help to me in my first SOF build, a Yostwerks kayak. I had no idea how to take a graph of numbers and turn them into a three dimensional picture, and Dave helped me most every step of the way. The kayak turned out lovely, thanks to his email tutelage.

09-26-2010, 11:32 PM
Hi Kyle,

I'm glad you're enjoying the build, I know I'm having fun. Dave's building guide for Ruth is great and has been pretty easy to follow. I think it is incredibly generous of him to share his time, ideas, and expertise with folks like us, who are new to SOF.


BTW, I really don't feel like I'm spending a lot of free time on this project. Mostly just a few hours a day after work and if I'm lucky a long Saturday or Sunday. When I built my Caledonia Yawl that took up gobbs and gobbs of free time, this boat is taking hardly any time at all in comparison.

09-27-2010, 12:05 AM
It's been a busy few days here. This one just turned six,


and the attendant festivities required kept us all hopping.

Between hopping though I also managed to make a little progress on the boat too. All the frames have been notched at the keel, chines, and gunwhale, and they've been gooped and nailed to the keel, using bronze ring nails I had stashed away. The gunwhale and upper chine have been attached in a similar fashion, then they were trimmed and attached to the stem. The breasthook has also been fashioned out of some scrap left over from the transom, and it has been attached.

Shaping and fitting the breasthook.



It's starting to shape up really nicely now. The breasthook was left a little proud and will be faired in, in the next day or two. The next order of business is get the last chine in, then the transom can be mounted.




Don't you just love that sheer? I know I do.


10-03-2010, 02:24 PM
The last chine stringer is in place and the transom is hung.

I started by putting a bevel on the transom.


Then the transom got notched, starting with the keel.


Here's the port gunwhale being fitted.


Things were going smashingly well right up until I got to the last set of chine stringers. I decided that they were too long and needed a trim, so I trimmed them.


At this point some cursing may have been heard.

10-03-2010, 02:50 PM
Since I have yet to find a board stretcher that works and I was afraid that shortening the other stringers to match would end up in a downward spiral, resulting in a much shorter boat, I decided to bring the too short stringers over to the keel.



I think that will work.

Here is the transom all finished off.


Next up- knees.


10-03-2010, 05:01 PM
Great thread. And you must be thinking hard about what you'll do to skin it, since you're getting mighty close to that step. I used to have a fold-up kayak that was nothing more than old-fashioned canvas, which worked fine but did not age well. Have a plan yet?

10-03-2010, 05:51 PM
I've been debating with myself over what to do about skinning. I checked at the local fabric store and they have 10 oz cotton duck for 8 bucks a yard, so I would be into it for just over $50. I like that option because it's a local one, at the same time I'm kind of temped to order some poly from Dyson just because he seems to be the guy everybody recommends. I have no idea what his prices are like but shipping is going to run about $30 guaranteed, so it's certainly not going to be the most inexpensive option.

10-03-2010, 06:30 PM
Keep posting! This is awesome. And happy belated birthday to the new six year old - great picture.

10-03-2010, 07:28 PM
8oz polyester, from Dyson, which is what I used, is $6 a yard. Shipping is $10.20 in one of those USPS flat rate boxes. Maybe more to AK (?), but it doesn't cost any more to mail a letter there, so maybe not . . . .
Email George, here GDyson@Gmail.com and he'll send you a pdf with all his fabric options, prices and whatnot. Tell him I sent ya!

The standard for skinning with canvas is #10 duck, which, I believe, is different than 10oz duck. I've skinned kayaks with canvas. Hard to sew, but that's not really an issue with Ruth.

I've cut stringers short plenty of times, too, complete with cursing.

Looking good, btw - you're almost there!

10-03-2010, 08:01 PM
Thanks for the info Dave. I just send off an email to Dyson.

10-03-2010, 08:08 PM
I live in Pennsylvania, and the total bill for 8 oz. polyester to cover my 17' kayak was $50, including shipping. That was from Dyson. You probably want heavier material, but I'm realizing that the skin was one of the least expensive parts of my boat.

10-03-2010, 11:55 PM
I'm coming to that same realization as well, and it's great! I'm surprised that more people don't build skin on frame considering how cheaply and easily one can put a boat together.

10-04-2010, 12:00 AM
I'm starting to run low on yellow cedar stock, but I still have enough to get out the knees for the transom.


Here we have them roughed out.


They'll get finished up and installed in the next day or two.

10-04-2010, 12:32 AM
This is a great thread, thanks- always inspiring to see what can be built in what appears to be limited space.

10-06-2010, 11:54 PM
A few pictures of the knees installed.



They're a little rustic on bottom, but that's alright.


I also started on the blocking between the gunwhale and inwhale.


My fabric should be here in the next day or two, I'm hoping to get the boat finished before it gets too cold out but it will be close.

Kyle H.
10-07-2010, 02:07 PM
Smart move on the Dyson fabric. Dave turned me on to Mr. Dyson for my first SOF, and the fabric is wonderful to sew and to paint for the finish.
Hope you finish before winter sets in!

10-16-2010, 10:04 PM
Back at it again, I went up to the Yukon with the wife and kids to play in the snow and look at old boats so I missed out on a weekends worth of work.

I finished up the inwhales this week after work.



Then it was back to the wood pile to get out some planks for thwarts.


Take the end off to make splitting it easier.


This chunk had a bit of an irregular shape which allowed a nice 4"X5" quarter sawn balk to get planks out of.


10-16-2010, 10:14 PM
After the end was off, it was just a matter of split it.


True up a side with the adz and slick.


Run it through the table saw.


and Bob's yer uncle.

Then planks became thwarts and we're ready to skin.



I should get on the scale with it and see how much it weighs, my guess is it weighs about 30 pounds as it sits right now.


10-16-2010, 10:30 PM
That's awesome. You should be proud. I cant wait to see the skinning.

10-17-2010, 05:34 PM
Great! It's almost soup!
Best to dry fit the skeg, now, while you can easily trace the shape of the keel onto your blank.

10-17-2010, 06:17 PM
Dang! Dry fitting the skeg briefly flitted through my mind and then was gone. I've already got the skin stretched and stapled, and the bow partly stitched.

10-17-2010, 06:25 PM
Dry fitting the skeg briefly flitted through my mind and then was gone.
That is exactly what has happened with me . . . every time!

Looking forward to seeing her finished!

10-17-2010, 06:29 PM
That's awesome. You should be proud. I cant wait to see the skinning.

Thanks Kevin. It felt good to pull it off the strong back and see that it wasn't going to just crumble, I'm looking forward to seeing it in the water. It can certainly be a challenge to look past the little details that you're not quite happy with and see the bigger picture.

10-18-2010, 05:38 PM
Here are a few pics of the skinning.


Got the first few staples in.


After it was all stapled I put a running stitch down the bow.



Then I trimmed off the excess material, singed it with the torch, and stitched it again.



I have no idea if that is how it's supposed to be done, but it made sense to me and I think it will work.

10-18-2010, 05:58 PM
Here is the bow all stitched up.


The stern tacked in place.


Then the iron came out to get rid of a couple wrinkles.


Ready for varnish.

Here are a couple of shots from underneath, just because I like them.



I'm not quite sure what to do about the varnish, the work space I'm using is an unheated, three-sided carport. The varnish I have says use between 55 and 90 degrees F. It's currently 42 degrees outside there's termination dust on the mountains and we won't see 55 again until late April. Any ideas?



10-18-2010, 06:55 PM
Visqueen, duct tape/staples and scrap wood will get you a tent over the boat. Space heaters will warm it up. Nothing you can do will make it fun to work in. Wear a respirator!

10-18-2010, 07:58 PM
I was afraid that was the answer. I was kinda of hoping for, "Aw, they don't really mean it when they say 55, it's more of just a guide line."

I better get to work.

10-18-2010, 11:29 PM
Incandescent lightbulbs inside the inverted hull, while you varnish the outside, might work too. Heat rises, the skin is thin . . . .
A real fire hazard, of course, so try hard not to burn the house down.

Paul Montgomery
10-19-2010, 12:00 AM
A real fire hazard, of course, so try hard not to burn the house down.

But if you do, make sure you post the pics!

10-19-2010, 10:53 PM
Just for giggles, last night I dipped a scrap of cloth in varnish and left it outside to see what would happen.


...24 hours later it is dry to the touch.

I have also had a change of venue.


I cleaned this shed out at lunch time, my wife was happy to get the carport back. The shed is 7'X18.5' on the inside, which makes it down right claustrophobic, I can get around the sides though. It's also unheated and uninsulated but it's much smaller so it should be easier to heat. I've got a couple heat lamps in it to see if it makes a difference. Based on how the experiment with the scrap went I'm tempted to just go for it. I've got a couple propane space heaters that will definitely heat the space, but if you think light bulbs are a fire hazard open flame is probably not a good idea.:)

10-20-2010, 02:28 PM
I love this thread! I just lofted the frames and if the family will let me I might actually get to put the saw to the wood this weekend! Since I don't have a collection of driftwood and other random wood branches and crooks lying around I am going to go the store bought route and use ply frames. I do have some clear straight cedar that'll get milled up for the chines and gunnels.

10-20-2010, 06:09 PM
Thanks DirtSailor, I'm glad your enjoying my project. Collecting a pile of driftwood does take along time, so I don't blame you a bit for going to the lumber yard instead. Some of that yellow cedar has been sitting of the porch for a couple of years now waiting for a project (my wife was relieved that a project has finally come around). Be sure and share your build with us, it's interesting to see how differnt people solve the same problems in different ways.


10-20-2010, 08:50 PM
It was pointed out to me by a friend that I had left sap wood on the transom knees and that this is something that should be avoided as sap wood is more prone to rot, potentially causing problems later. He also pointed out that since this boat was likely to lead a sheltered life it probably wasn't the end of the world, just something to keep in mind for the future. Because part of the motivation in this project is to build my skills so that more challenging future projects can be considered, I have decided to rip out the offending parts and try again.

Here they are, god rot them.:)


This brings to mind one of my Dad's favorite sayings.

"There's never time to do it right, there's always time to do it over."

I heard this one a lot growing up.

Jim, making time to do it over.

10-20-2010, 10:38 PM
wow, your skills are exponentially above mine, the boat looks excellent !!!

10-21-2010, 01:18 AM
Thanks for saying so Phil, I feel the same way about lots of stuff I see on the forum. As far as my build goes, it's pretty strait forward stuff. If I can do it, you can do it too.

10-21-2010, 05:19 AM
I can't wait to see her launched and in use! What a crafty way to build a fine boat. Just no end to the ideas and options for future projects on this forum!! It'll be interesting to see which gets used more, your lovely SPARROW or the SOF!



10-21-2010, 08:32 PM
It'll be interesting to see which gets used more, your lovely SPARROW or the SOF!

Greetings Mr. Lenihan, it will be interesting indeed! Both this new boat and the Caledonia Yawl were love at first sight for me and just had to be built. Sparrow has the advantage of being able to take the whole family out, and since we pretty much are all joined at the hip when it comes to recreational activities she has the edge. But I have a plan that will even the odds a bit, and that is to build another two seat row boat after this one is done, maybe even another Ruth if it's alright with Dave. Then on the frequently windless evenings we could have races! How cool would that be!

Already dreaming of the next boat and racing!


10-21-2010, 08:41 PM
Fine thread and photos- thanks.

I rowed the original Ruth at a WB messabout in Colorado, and was very impressed with the near-frictionless movement of the hull. Very cool.

Since I'm very long-limbed and large, the set-up that fits Dave did not fit me.

So think of the boat as clothing that floats, and carefully fit the seating and oar mounts to your own frame. Which you might have done already.

good going and good fortune-


donald branscom
10-21-2010, 08:47 PM
Thanks for the photos!!
Great work.
That 6 year old must be getting excited.

10-21-2010, 08:51 PM
That's a good point Chip, thanks. I did measure the distance from the seat to the stretcher so that it would fit me, but I had better set it up to be adjustable so that it will be comfortable for my wife, who's about seven inches shorter than I am.

10-21-2010, 08:58 PM
That 6 year old must be getting excited.

She thinks it's neat, but she really really wants her own kayak. Go figure.

10-21-2010, 11:01 PM
She thinks it's neat, but she really really wants her own kayak. Go figure.

6, eh? Just about right for my Kidyak . . . .

or a Tom Yost Sea Flea or Kidarka. www.yostwerks.com (http://www.yostwerks.com)
Here's the Kidarka I built - Albert is 6, or was . . . .

10-22-2010, 11:28 AM
Thanks Dave, I sent you an email.

10-22-2010, 10:20 PM
I've got three coat of varnish on now.


I think I have just enough varnish for one more coat. I would like the weave to be filled in just a little bit more. I looked at it from underneath and there do not appear to be any pin holes left.

I've also been working on getting out a couple of new knees. I took about two hours to go from this.


To this.


To this.


It took longer that I would have liked, but I was trying to maintain the shape of the stick so that I could get the most out of the planks I cut. That and the fact that is really tight grained and hard to cut/split made it pretty fiddly work.

Then it was time to try and layout the knees. I did my best to avoid the little knots and sap wood.


I think that will work. What says the panel?

James McMullen
10-23-2010, 08:38 AM
Small, tight knots like that might actually even make the wood a little tougher against splitting so I don't think I'd worry about them too much if they are sound.

10-23-2010, 06:59 PM
The knots are very tight, basically just dark swirly grain. I cut out and shaped the knees, nothing like doing something twice the get a much better result.

Old and new together.



I was a little bit bummed about going back a step and starting over, but now I'm glad I did. The new knees are much better.

Initial dry fit.



I realized as I was fitting them that I didn't compensate for the bevel on the inwhale to create a nice visual transition. There was enough meat on the inwhale to fair it in though.

Here the starboard side is faired in and the port is about to be.


It's getting close now. Still left on the to do list are;
fit the skeg,
attach the gunwale trim,
make floor boards,
make stretchers,
have a party.

Not too long a list.

Here's one last big picture shot to go out on.



11-01-2010, 01:21 AM
I got the skeg and gunwale rub strip on, cut the floor boards (but haven't decided how to attach them), and made oar lock stretchers.

Here are a few shots of the stretchers going together.

Blanks split out roughly to shape.


Getting the actual angle off the boat.


Final shape of the pads.


Fitting the pads.


And the finished product.


I'm so close to being done, but the last few things seem to be taking a lot of effort to finish up.

We're shooting for getting wet the weekend after next. That should be doable.


11-05-2010, 10:32 AM
The floor boards are finished and the foot rest went in last night.



The first pencil line went down on September 1st, the last piece was installed 65 days later and this boat is done.


Launch photos to follow, when then the weather decides to cooperate.


11-05-2010, 11:01 AM

11-05-2010, 01:37 PM
Waiting for that weather can be a tad irkesome eh?

11-05-2010, 08:31 PM

Thanks, It's been fun. But, like most projects, it took longer than I expected.

11-05-2010, 08:34 PM
Waiting for that weather can be a tad irkesome eh?

Isn't that the truth! It's been windy and rain heavy at times for the last two weeks!

But I'm ready!



11-07-2010, 07:08 PM
Congratulations! Looks great! Nice job on the floorboards and oarlocks, too. Everything, really . . . .

Took longer than you expected? Yes, but a couple of months is far faster than most people take to build a boat - and you certainly did it in your own style, too - hand sawing all those stringers, from a log you hacked into compliance with an adze, is kind of mind boggling to me!

Now I only hope that you enjoy rowing her!

Congrats again - Dave

11-07-2010, 08:15 PM
Thanks Dave!

We went out for a shake down this afternoon in preparation for the coming out party we're having on Thursday, and we all had fun. I'll be putting up some pictures shortly.


11-07-2010, 10:04 PM
Ready to go.

Do you think it will really float?

Hey look it does.

And rows too.

11-07-2010, 10:06 PM

11-07-2010, 10:09 PM

11-07-2010, 10:10 PM
So, there you have it.




11-07-2010, 10:28 PM
Absolutely superb. Congrats.

Kyle H.
11-07-2010, 11:08 PM
Yahoo!!! I'm so glad that you got to launch this year. That picture of the boat on the beach with the mountains in the background is a cover shot on WoodenBoat mag for sure! Awesome job and looks like she rows beautifully.

Thanks for allowing us into your boatbuilding life these past weeks....and what is the next boat? ;-)


11-08-2010, 11:36 AM

11-08-2010, 12:39 PM
Very cool!!!!!!!!!!!Do you Know how much you have into the boat for materials and what does she weigh?

11-08-2010, 04:54 PM
You rule!
Wonderful boat and you put alot of charm into your build.

I'm building a Ruth myself. Been stuck for a while with "priorities" but bought some wood for the stringers last weekend and did the first 3 scarf joints. One blatantly failed, one needs some fixing up and one is good. :o
I intend to make some more progress now and reading through your build log was very inspirational!

Good job.

11-08-2010, 05:08 PM
Excellent! Great thread :)

Paul T

11-08-2010, 11:01 PM
Very cool!!!!!!!!!!!Do you Know how much you have into the boat for materials and what does she weigh?

I have been meaning to step on the scale with the boat but I haven't gotten around to it yet. If I had to guess, I would say it is pretty close to 50 pounds. It is pretty easy to throw it up on my shoulder to pack it to the car or from the car to the lake.

As far as materials go...
Polyester for skinning was $48.00
Varnish was $30.00
Monel Staples for skinning $23.00
Epoxy left over from another project about $15
Bronze ring nails and copper rivets about about $30.00 (also left over from a prior project)
Yellow cedar salvaged off the beach $0.00
Red cedar salvaged off the beach $0.00
Spruce cut from the family wood lot $0.00
Which works out $146.00, more or less.

Shopping at the beach is great, but sometimes the selection is not so good.

11-08-2010, 11:09 PM
Took longer than you expected? Yes, but a couple of months is far faster than most people take to build a boat

You know, I was thinking about this on my walk home from work. Every project takes longer than expected because I'm impatient to see it done. I also started adding up the hours I actually worked on this project. I came up with a total of about 150 hours or three weeks if I had worked on it full time, I just spread it out over nine weeks is all.

11-08-2010, 11:20 PM
You rule!
Wonderful boat and you put alot of charm into your build.

I'm building a Ruth myself. Been stuck for a while with "priorities" but bought some wood for the stringers last weekend and did the first 3 scarf joints. One blatantly failed, one needs some fixing up and one is good. :o
I intend to make some more progress now and reading through your build log was very inspirational!

Good job.

Thank you TW. I understand how other priorities get if the way of our fun stuff, and I've definitely been there with mine own share of, "well, that didn't work." Good luck on your build and I hope you share pictures with us at some point.

11-08-2010, 11:29 PM
Yahoo!!! I'm so glad that you got to launch this year. That picture of the boat on the beach with the mountains in the background is a cover shot on WoodenBoat mag for sure! Awesome job and looks like she rows beautifully.

Thanks for allowing us into your boatbuilding life these past weeks....and what is the next boat? ;-)


Thanks Kyle. There is always a next boat, isn't there? I was thinking about a whitehall in the fourteen foot range with steam bent ribs in skin on frame, I also have an out board skiff to build in strip, and then there's always the really big cutter or catamaran floating around in the back of my daydreams. So many choices! and one or two of them might actually get built.

11-08-2010, 11:33 PM
Absolutely superb. Congrats.

Thank you, I really thought your kayak was superb as well, it made me want to try steam bending for the next project.

11-08-2010, 11:34 PM
Excellent! Great thread :)

Paul T

Thanks :)

11-09-2010, 03:26 PM
Jim, beautiful job on the boat, and beautiful setting in which to launch the boat. I guess I'm jealous, but then I watched the video again and saw the iceberg and snow, and decided that I'm not that jealous.

I also have the plans from Dave, and started some 1/2 scale lofting on some graph paper last night. I'm waiting to see if I can find some WRC here in southern NJ, but if not, I know where I can get some Atlantic White Cedar to use instead.

Now, I am curious about the tenon that you used for the oarlock outrigger. I'm talking about the piece that is fitted to go in between the gunwale and the outwale. How is this connected to the pad (for lack of a better word) that sits on top of the gunwale? I'm thinking that you screwed it together, and then covered it with the plywood outrigger, but I can't tell from the picture. Is this tenon somehow through-bolted to the pad at the top and below the gunwale? I plan on building my own outriggers and sliding seat, and just wanted to see how you accomplished it.


11-09-2010, 09:36 PM
Jim, congratulations on the launch and posting your building log w/ pics. I'll be referring back to this thread when I start on another of Dave's designs soon. And you've answered all of questions I could have wanted to ask, including the oar socket puzzle above. Thanks again for building Ruth.

Steve C.

11-09-2010, 10:44 PM
Jim, beautiful job on the boat, and beautiful setting in which to launch the boat. I guess I'm jealous, but then I watched the video again and saw the iceberg and snow, and decided that I'm not that jealous.

Now, I am curious about the tenon that you used for the oarlock outrigger.

Why wouldn't you be jealous of icebergs and snow? Secretly, everyone is.

The tenons on the bottom of the pads are made from the same material as the spacer blocks in the rails and fit snugly into the rail. They are pinned to the pad with the pegs and glued. The pegs also register the bottom plate and turn the whole thing into a clamp which attaches to the rail.






Right now I'm just using a couple wood screws on the bottom plate to keep it together. I could see upgrading to a through bolt and a wing nut at some point though, I just didn't have any on hand.


11-09-2010, 10:47 PM
Jim, congratulations on the launch and posting your building log w/ pics. I'll be referring back to this thread when I start on another of Dave's designs soon. And you've answered all of questions I could have wanted to ask, including the oar socket puzzle above. Thanks again for building Ruth.

Steve C.

Thanks, I kind of went off the beaten path with this build. I'm glad you found it useful and interesting.

11-10-2010, 06:11 AM
Ready to go and row!

FANTASTIC!!!Congrats on a great thread and build! She looks a very fine and slippery hull. Ought to move like stink once you get up the strokes that stoke!!

Bravo! and Cheers!


11-10-2010, 08:14 AM

I really appreciate the information on the outriggers. Again, fantastic job on the boat. Dave Gentry is also to be thanked for providing us with this great design to be built in SOF.


11-10-2010, 10:42 AM
Jim, your outrigger pics answer the questions. They are in line w/ keeping it simple but functional. Looks like many appreciate your "off the beaten path" approach to Dave's Ruth design. I for one sure do. Now to begin my SOF by Dave soon.

Steve C.

11-10-2010, 09:38 PM
FANTASTIC!!!Congrats on a great thread and build! She looks a very fine and slippery hull. Ought to move like stink once you get up the strokes that stoke!!

Bravo! and Cheers!


Thank you Peter.

She is in fact very slippery! She is absolutely effortless to row, it's really quite amazing. I suppose we should through in a grain of salt here, since the only other boat I've rowed recently is Sparrow, at 400 lbs dry weight and around 1200 lbs full of camping gear and crew. But still, quite an eye opener. The new boat is also a bit tender, so it takes a few minutes to figure out the balance of it all. Getting in for the first time was, umm... interesting.:d You're not going to step on the gunwale to get into this boat. That said, all four us did manage to get in and out of the boat with getting wet. The kids thought it was great fun and wanted just one more turn before going home. My lovely bride also enjoyed the ride, but she's not quite sure she wants to take a spin on her own. All in all, it was a very successful shake down, nobody got wet, nothing got broke, and there were grins all around.