View Full Version : Heidi skiff

Stephen Hunter
10-18-2000, 12:00 PM
Hello all. Well after 3 years of looking, dreaming and "research" I may have finally settled on a plan to build. What I need is something to row and sail in fairly protected waters with a venture out into the big bay when the weather is right. Also can be lugged up and down the beach by two people to serve as shuttle to my 19' daysailer that stays moored out beyond low water. Traditional construction would probably be best, as marine ply is not available without a 4hr drive to Halifax
And then at $80 a sheet of B/BB Gaboon. So to make a short story long has anybody out there built "Heidi" 12' , cross planked bottom, lap sides, skiff from the book Traditional Boatbuilding Made Easy. I think she's the one. I would appreciate comments on wood types. Locally available is Cedar, White pine, tamarack, Black and red spruce, red oak. I'm thinking cedar on tamarack with an oak transom and trim. Thanks for any input.

landlocked sailor
10-18-2000, 12:50 PM
You have a winning combination there Stephen. I built a Heidi and launched her in June of '99. I've sailed her a lot this past summer. Cedar on oak or larch would be fine. I used red cedar and white oak. Since I drysail her I double cross-planked the bottom with 2 layers of 3/8" stock with epoxy between the layers. I put the first layer on the chines, planked the sides and then put layer #2 on, overlapping the sides. She barely leaks a drop. I also modified the sternsheets so I have side benches; I hate sitting on the sole while sailing. Rick

10-18-2000, 06:20 PM
I built one about a year and a half back with a group of kids. I used Western Red Cedar for the strakes (god-awful spendy), red meranti for all the other lumber, and used meranti ply for the bottom, sheathed with graphite/epoxy because of cartopping and beaching. For my purposes I omitted all the sailing bits, limiting its uses to rowing only.

If you are avoiding ply for whatever reasons, the double layer crossplanking works well, as Landlocked said. It's a lot more futzing around, and I wanted to keep the kids' interest flowing. She sure would have looked better with that traditional bottom though.

One thing you can do when spiling the planks is to lay out the landing for planks on the transom and stem, and forget fiddling with the intermediate points. When you spile the garboard, you use that as Kolin says to lay out the chine. Getting the chine right is probably the hardest part of building her. Then, having got the chine edge of the garboard marked out, cut the top (toward the gunwale) edge in an absolutely straight line. It really simplifies things, and you will never notice any difference in the finished boat. Then the center strake has two straight (though not parallel) edges, and the sheerstrake is straight on one edge. Viola! Eight of twelve plank edges are snapped with a chalkline. Clamp your planks in pairs when you cut and plane those edges--can't remember if Kolin has it that way in the book, but that shortens things up too. Watch the gains on those plank ends. They get feathered pretty thin, and it gets a little splitty out there. Since you are not ten, you may have less trouble than we did.

As for clench nailing the laps, I'd look hard for long copper tacks rather than copper nails. Kolin recommends the tacks, and they are sure easier to clench--I just couldn't find any quickly enough. Maybe someone can give us both a source.

Give some consideration to stretching her to 14 feet--just add an extra 6 inches between stations. I visited Rich and he had a 14 in his shop. She sure looked pretty, and gives an extra bit of room between thwarts when rowing, and a good bit less awkwardness when sailing. I think he told me he had or was going to stretch her to 16. At that point she would look quite like Steve Redmond's WHISP albeit heavier and traditionally built.

One of the kids involved in that project is now setting up to build one of his own, and is doing it entirely in meranti and meranti plywood, he tells me. He's got it figured that he'll fit the planks and drill for the nails and then epoxy the laps and clench nail rather than clamping the laps. A pretty inventive 12-year-old.

I think HEIDI's a wonderful little skiff, and one more folks should take a look at. Just because she is in a book for virtual beginners doesn't mean there is any compromise in the final product. Go for it!

Syd MacDonald
10-18-2000, 09:40 PM
Hi Steve-glad to see you jumping in with both feet. I just ordered Kolin's newest book- Building Catherine- I need a tender also but I don't know if a 14 foot pulling boat would make sense-for a twelve and a half foot sailboat.
I was wondering why my book hasn't come yet. I just noticed in the ad that it would only be available in November.

Pete Dorr
10-19-2000, 07:08 AM
I have the building Heidi book and will probably build it as a first project. Before I begin though I'll probably try out some of the techniques used in lapstrake construction like clench nailing and riveting. Some questions that I have are:

What size hammer should I use for peening rivets ?

Where to get the cutter to clip off the rivet shaft ?

Could you use the coper tacks at Jamestown Distributors for the clench nailing (see link below)?

Can I use a sledge hammer head as a backing iron for the clench nailing operation ?

If I stretch the boat to 14 feet does the center thwart move accordingly or should I fit it after the boat is in the water with a moveable temporary thwart in place ?

http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/store/product_list_pages/pr-Cut_Tacks_Copper.html?L+scstore+mtvb9631ffa773a7+9 74969537

10-19-2000, 07:10 PM
I'll give your questions a shot. First off, HEIDI isn't riveted anywhere, as shown in the book. If you didn't want to clench nail and had some spare change lying around, go ahead and substitute rivets and roves. The copper tacks shown at the Jamestown site are one inch max. With half-inch planks, the laps are an inch thick, and you'd want inch-and-a-half tacks or clench nails to do the job. So you need to look further for copper clench nails or longer copper tacks. The old Wooden Boat Shop in Seattle carried them, but they are gone now, and I haven't found another source for long tacks.

If you decide to rivet, you nip the nail off with end-cutters. They're like side dykes. Crescent makes decent ones that can be found in most good hardlyware stores. For riveting I like the smallest ball-peen hammer I can find. I helped out with riveting a Hereshoff pram once, and he had a couple of 3 oz. ball-peen hammers which worked great. I've never run across one that small. I think mine's a 6 oz. For backing those clench nails, if you find them, The WoodenBoat Store (this site's/magazine's catalog retail outlet) sells a nifty looking tool for doing the job. I've always used an old 2 lb. hammer head sans handle. Price was riight.

For lengthening to 14', you would be adding an additional thwart for the forward rowing station. I've got no magic formula for that situation. I'd locate those thwarts by good shot based on how much room I had for feet and legs. Your idea for fitting them after a test launch and trial would work. I'd want at least a temporary thwart clamped in there to stiffen things up when my 220 lbs drop in. One could keep to the original plan's single center thwart, and I think I'd keep the bow/stern relative location to the same proportion as in the design. If you anticipate sailing her a bunch, stick with the single center thwart. I think you'll appreciate the extra room.

landlocked sailor
10-20-2000, 06:31 PM
Why is this thread off-sized? There aren't even any pictures for godsakes. You can get the right size nails from the Strawberry Banke Museum, POB 300MB, Portsmouth, NH 03802. I don't know if they have a web site but snail mail works; it's where I got 'em. Very nice folks. Actually, I got the source from Rich Kolin. Rick

10-20-2000, 08:21 PM
I think Pete's website post did it. It's a long single unspaced line.

07-18-2008, 12:22 AM