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jhidalgo
09-25-2013, 10:50 AM
How much shop space do I need to build a boat. Obviously I need more than the dimensions of the boat, but how much more?

I am asking this before I start building a glued lap boat. If my shop isn't big enough for the boat I want to build, then my first project will be to make/get a bigger shop. Many of you have built one or more boats, and I want to learn from your experiences.

Tom Wilkinson
09-25-2013, 12:24 PM
Plenty ofeople have built a boat under a tarp type portable enclosure, or just outside and covered when not working. I wouldn't let the space determine the boat. Not totally. A small boat the strong back can be wheeled in and out of a garage or carport as necessary.

daveboling
09-25-2013, 12:41 PM
You'll need, at a minimum, two feet of clearance all of the way around the boat. I use this number as the boat I am currently finishing only leaves me only ~18", and that' not enough for maneuvering with long planks, sighting for fair curves, or painting. It would also help tremendously if you have a workbench longer than the longest plank/strip/veneer used on the boat.

SMARTINSEN
09-25-2013, 12:42 PM
Tom's advice is good, but in the event that you are constrained by walls, three feet clearance all the way around would be good. So add 6' to the maximum beam and 6' to the length overall. Now this is just for working on the boat with hand tools, &tc. You will need to add on to this any space for a work bench, band saw, planer, or any other stationary power tools.

wizbang 13
09-25-2013, 01:02 PM
I have built my last several small boats right on the trailer. It is strong and stable for holding a frame, can be easily leveled, and pulled by hand outside if the weather is nice for sanding , painting , or just plain looking at . If the garage is tiny , maybe you can build it all outside and just roll her in at night and when it is raining or what not . I wish I had thought of it 30 years sooner .
bruce

Bob Cleek
09-25-2013, 01:38 PM
After you've figured out how much space you need for the boat, workspace and stationary tools, multiply by three to allow for what all your wife and kids will dump in the shop because they are through with it in the house. To most wives, a workbench is simply a platform upon which to dump junk she doesn't want to throw away.

Canoeyawl
09-25-2013, 02:58 PM
I have always needed room to stand back and see what I'm doing. It will be very difficult to line off a lapstrake boat from only a few feet away. I built a 30 foot lapstrake boat in a 24x60 foot building and when we finally moved it outside it looked a bit different.
The best shop I had was huge, maybe 90x60 the next best had roll up canvas walls on all four sides...

James McMullen
09-25-2013, 03:17 PM
This question is just as easy as figuring out how many clamps you need.

If the number of clamps you have is n, then the minimum number of clamps you'll need will be n+1, regardless of your starting parameters. This is a fundamental equation based on the nature of the universe just like πrē. Graph it, and you'll find the curve goes asymptotic almost immediately.

To a rough approximation though, what you'll likely need is a double-car garage, or at least a carport. Open up the garage door and stand way back across the street so's you can see it from a distance. Make sure you don't waste any of your valuable shop space by storing vehicles inside it.

Tom Robb
09-25-2013, 03:24 PM
More. The most you can afford. What Cleek said. Whatever you build, one day it won't be enough.

phiil
09-25-2013, 06:37 PM
You are asking an unanswerable question. There simply is no such thing as "enough shop space."

John Perry
09-25-2013, 07:54 PM
I built my boat in a single car garage only a couple of feet greater width and length than the finished boat. That boat being the one pictured in this thread:

I would add that I had the use of a small attic space in addition to the single car garage. The only access to the attic was through a fairly small trapdoor, but even so I was able to set up a workbench there to make many of the small parts, including metal fittings and to store these until they needed to be fitted to the boat. Not ideal, of course it would be wonderful to have a really spacious workshop, but if that's not an option for you and you really want to make a boat you have to make do with what you have, unless you are rich enough to just rent something like a factory unit.

One thing that helped me make the best use of the limited space was not starting by assembling the hull. Instead I began with small parts and subassemblies. I recall that the very first part of the boat to be made was actually the rudder, the second was the metal stemhead fitting and so on. By leaving the hull assembly to as late in the process as possible I was able to keep my workspace uncluttered for longer. I would definitely recommend this approach to anyone building in a limited space.

Another thing that helped was that I used a computer program, home made like the boat, to work out the shape of the curved plywood panels, hence I was able to cut out all the panels and have them stacked flat against one wall of the garage before starting on the hull assembly. Once the hull was started it would have been very difficult to find space to mark out and cut an 8 x 4 sheet of ply. A computer program of that kind was rather unusual back in the mid '70s, mine might actually have been about the first one ever. Today, if a boat is to be made from sheet material it should be straightforward to generate files for marking out the material, or indeed for having it automatically cut out on CNC equipment.

It seems from the above messages that I am not alone in having built a boat in a rather restricted space, it can be done. A friend of mine building a 14 foot Eric Coleman designed Roamer dinghy at the same time as I built my boat was working in a slightly smaller single garage than I was. The Roamer is a bit shorter than my boat but also a bit wider which meant that he had to move the whole structure sideways to get a normal length screwdriver between the side of the boat and the brick wall of the garage.

jimkeen
09-25-2013, 08:06 PM
Never enough space, that said, something like the n+1 statement. But if you really want to build the boat it will be built.

StevenBauer
09-25-2013, 08:36 PM
Just how big is your shop?

Steven

Bruce Hooke
09-25-2013, 10:10 PM
Lots of good information already. One point I would disagree on is the need for 3 feet of space in front of and behind the boat. Yes, that is ideal but I've worked with less, especially on a double-ender where there is no transom you need to be directly behind.

Here are a few factors to consider:

1. If your shop has a garage door then you can (at least on good weather days) open this door to gain a bit of extra space, say to get that long look CanoeYawl referred to. This can help a LOT.

2. If you have the option of doing occasional work outdoors this can make a big difference. The ability to move outdoors to do certain things that need lots of space can allow you to get away with a lot less space indoors. I've gone as far as moving a boat outdoors to line off the sheer when I couldn't get far enough back from the boat in the shop to judge the curve of the sheer.

3. When considering how much shop space you need, this partly depends on how many stationary power tools you have and how much space those tools need, both for storage and use.

4. With a glued-lap boat you will be using a lot of plywood (obviously!). You'll really want space to lay out full sheets of plywood, and if you plan to scarf sheets together then you need clear space to lay out the scarfed sheets. Of course if necessary the top of a tablesaw can be part of the space you use to lay out plywood. This is the kind of situation where in the ideal world you have a 6 foot by 18 foot area clear of any tools, benches or boat where you can lay out the plywood, but where most of us manage by moving outdoors or using the top of the tablesaw, workbench, etc. to lay out the big sheets of scarfed plywood.

Ultimately the best thing to do is to lay out a plan of your shop, to scale, with space allocated for the boat. If you are good on the computer you can do this digitally. If you prefer pencil and paper then do it that way on graph paper. For power tools you can cut out shapes (using light cardboard so they don't blow around when you move your hand too fast) to represent power tools and other major elements (like your workbench) so you can slide the tools around to try different arrangements. Keep in mind that to, say, run a 12 foot board through a tablesaw you need at least 12 feet in front of and behind the saw. This is where an garage door or even a well-placed window can really help!

cracked lid
09-25-2013, 10:12 PM
I am currently building a 16' boat in one side of a 2 car garage. There is typically a car parked in the other side, although I move it out on occasion when I need a bit more space. I also do some non-mess producing work just inside in the basement rec room. I am managing fine, but I wouldn't mind having more space. I'm not sure what I'm going to do once I have a completed boat taking up the garage when I start another woodworking project. Probably just give up on parking the car inside.

James McMullen
09-25-2013, 10:26 PM
By all means, give up on parking a car inside of your boatshop.

The point is, you want your car to understand who is master. You start coddling it by giving it a cozy interior place to rest in, and it's going to go soft, start demanding high-maintenance treatment. And who's got time to waste for stuff like that on a freakin' car?!? No, you put your car out in the street, where it belongs. It needs to know its place. And that place is not cluttering up your shop space!

Shop space is sacrosanct. You leave your skis or your tennis racquet or your lawn chairs or your freakin' automobile in my shop, and by god, you're gonna get all the sawdust, epoxy and varnish drips you deserve!

eflanders
09-26-2013, 10:05 AM
You know it's kind of funny. I and others have asked this sort of question on this forum and you always get the same response, "bigger than you expect" or the bigger is better mentality. Some folks must have unlimited budgets and unlimited amounts of space to accomplish this, but I have come to better understand why they answer the way they do now...

What I have learned so far in building my current boat is that I like my general assembly & tool bench to be at one end of the boat. My bench happens to be 6' x 6' (but I really wish it were 8' x 6'). The bench is about 2' from the bow which is the minimum working distance that I like, with 3' being about ideal. At the stern, I like to have about 8' of additional length, plus the exit door. This gives me enough "sight" room for fairing and to move working materials comfortably about. I like to have about 3'- 4' of working room on either side of the boat. This gives you the elbow room needed for all sorts of things. On one side of the boat is where I currently have all of my current stationary tools aligned with one another. They are setup to be the same working height. This way, one tool works as an extension table for the others when needed. Several of them are on casters though to move as needed. One thing I did was to build a semi-portable, 8' long bench in this tool grouping. In the middle of the bench, I have removable stations, one for my planer and one for my dual router jig. This arrangement makes the most of the space that I currently have. Soon I hope to be building a new shop. I don't think I will be changing my current layout a lot except that I am going to build a spar bench / planer /dual router station along the length of one entire wall. I will also be putting in a wood floor vs. concrete! I really hate concrete floors for woodworking. They are a "bugger" on your knees and back and on a dropped tool! Given this, the calculations I am going to use for building my new workshop are: Plus 14' to the width of the biggest anticipated boat build and Plus 16' to the length of the biggest anticipated boat build. My realistic anticipated largest boat build is a 30' long sloop. So my boat shop will be built to 48' x 24' with a 16' tall rolling door for boat entry, but I also want to add some additional storage space for lumber and other things, so the actual shed will be built to 48' x 36'. This also happens to be the maximum I can fit in the vacant lot of land I have designated for it. I hope this information helps you to better understand why, "bigger is better".

jhidalgo
09-26-2013, 10:20 AM
By all means, give up on parking a car inside of your boatshop.

The point is, you want your car to understand who is master. You start coddling it by giving it a cozy interior place to rest in, and it's going to go soft, start demanding high-maintenance treatment. And who's got time to waste for stuff like that on a freakin' car?!? No, you put your car out in the street, where it belongs. It needs to know its place. And that place is not cluttering up your shop space!

Shop space is sacrosanct. You leave your skis or your tennis racquet or your lawn chairs or your freakin' automobile in my shop, and by god, you're gonna get all the sawdust, epoxy and varnish drips you deserve!

What a fool I've been, thinking it was a garage, when, in fact, it is another shop! Now, If only I could get the wife to have the same epiphany.:D

jhidalgo
09-26-2013, 10:27 AM
Just how big is your shop?

Steven

The space I intend to use is half of a double car garage--22'6"x10'6". I can add 2' to the length by opening the garage door (measured out to the drip line below the eaves). And I can stand another ~20' back from that to check fairing. I have my shop tools and worktable in an adjacent RV garage with about 15'x7' of free-able space (move out the lawnmower, etc.).

paulf
09-26-2013, 10:28 AM
I built a 21 x 40 bow shed. The boat is 27'long and the Beam is 9'. I already wish it was bigger, it will work, but the shed also has a table saw, band saw, drill press and a beach 28' long and 2'wide along the side. I'll also be installing a wood stove this winter.

Because the material is poly with UV inhibitors the lighting is great. It took me 2 months to build it and it required no building permit from county (temporary structure). Light is a very important concideration!

I live on 10 acres and there are very large trees all around, if one comes down the whole thing is history! I might have to attach cables to the biggest ones to divert their fall path. The bottom line is, as big as you can.

Good Luck!

Gib Etheridge
09-26-2013, 10:35 AM
You're in Oregon and winter is closing in so it will either be too cold or too wet for building outdoors. Perhaps, if you can afford it, you will do well to build a nice big shop before you start the boat. You'll never regret having it. If you can dig it into a hillside you can have walk in storage in a basement. In no time at all it will be full of stuff, hopefully some primo lumber and a boat or 2 or 3. My shop is 32 x 44 with a 13 foot ceiling and a storage loft at one end and the walk in basement. I'm collecting lumber to build a 34 foot boat (after I finish the log cabin so we can have some rental/boatbuilding income) and I wish it was 20 feet bigger in each direction. I also wish I had laminated up some big beams from 2 x 6 so I could have left out a couple of posts.http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4028/4480253536_9449ce3883_z.jpg

StevenBauer
09-26-2013, 10:44 AM
The space I intend to use is half of a double car garage--22'6"x10'6". I can add 2' to the length by opening the garage door (measured out to the drip line below the eaves). And I can stand another ~20' back from that to check fairing. I have my shop tools and worktable in an adjacent RV garage with about 15'x7' of free-able space (move out the lawnmower, etc.).

I'd say you have room to build a 16' boat in that space. Maybe a bit bigger but you'd be struggling.

Steven

MDScot
09-26-2013, 11:06 AM
I am also looking at a smaller than ideal shop ( or a larger than manageable boat depending on your point of view). My planned solution is to have the strongback/frame on robust locking castors and move it around within the garage space, and even outside on occasion. Now the garage floor is sloping slightly, from the back to the door, the outside driveway is level(ish). What problems, if any will I have working with a frame that is not going to be horizontal/vertical at all times ( not by much, but a few degrees) ? Do I need to shim/level each time? I don't think so, except maybe for a few critical marking operations - but would like some reassurance .

Falcon1
09-26-2013, 11:52 AM
I am currently building a 14' 6" boat in half to two-thirds of a 17' by 17' garage. It's tight, but it works just fine. I just have to move deliberately and clean up often. I work with the door open when I can, especially for getting back to take a look. I wish I had more room at the aft end (back of garage) for sighting from the stern. I do have a basement room that I can work in also. That's where I laminated the stems, and where I plan to make rudder, daggerboard, etc. this winter. This is my first build, so just plunging in and working with what I had was important to get the ball rolling. MD, though I am new at all this, I think you'd want a building frame that's always level. Don't want to build in any twist! Good luck to you both and have fun!

Michael D. Storey
09-26-2013, 03:10 PM
Well it depends on a lotta stuff, like, how much do you like hanging out in the environment. Are you a step back and look at it kind of guy? Do you have separate space for materials, all tools, including ones that do not work but were too good a deal to pass up? Will it have to hold other people? Small kids who want to help but need to be far enough away from some equipment for their safety? What is the ratio of time spent behind the mower vs behind the table saw? You can improve that ratio with an expanded floor plan. Will it need upholstered furniture and beverage chilling equipment?
Hey, we need details here, man.

jhidalgo
09-26-2013, 04:11 PM
Well it depends on a lotta stuff, like, how much do you like hanging out in the environment. Are you a step back and look at it kind of guy? Do you have separate space for materials, all tools, including ones that do not work but were too good a deal to pass up? Will it have to hold other people? Small kids who want to help but need to be far enough away from some equipment for their safety? What is the ratio of time spent behind the mower vs behind the table saw? You can improve that ratio with an expanded floor plan. Will it need upholstered furniture and beverage chilling equipment?
Hey, we need details here, man.

Well...

I do have separate space for tools and materials, including a large worktable and table saw. No kids. I live in Oregon, and it has already started raining, so I will stop mowing in the next 3-5 weeks. Then raking leaves for a month or so. But, after that, clear sailing until March.

The boat will start out as a bare bones sail & oar boat. Open plan. Room for four adults and the odd grandkid (not that my grandkids are that odd). No upholstery except for throwing cushions. Coolers will be brought on and off by hand. But in the future, who knows?

Canoeyawl
09-26-2013, 06:21 PM
Room for four adults and the odd grandkid

Sounds like a thirty footer to me...

jhidalgo
09-27-2013, 09:30 AM
You're in Oregon and winter is closing in so it will either be too cold or too wet for building outdoors. Perhaps, if you can afford it, you will do well to build a nice big shop before you start the boat. You'll never regret having it. If you can dig it into a hillside you can have walk in storage in a basement. In no time at all it will be full of stuff, hopefully some primo lumber and a boat or 2 or 3. My shop is 32 x 44 with a 13 foot ceiling and a storage loft at one end and the walk in basement. I'm collecting lumber to build a 34 foot boat (after I finish the log cabin so we can have some rental/boatbuilding income) and I wish it was 20 feet bigger in each direction. I also wish I had laminated up some big beams from 2 x 6 so I could have left out a couple of posts.http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4028/4480253536_9449ce3883_z.jpg

What a beautiful shop! I think I am going to build my boat first, then build a garage/shed to house both my boats (the new one and the fishing/crabbing boat) and my mower/tractor and other garden stuff. But, as you said, I have to build the boat during the winter and the garage in the summer.

jhidalgo
09-27-2013, 09:35 AM
By all means, give up on parking a car inside of your boatshop.

The point is, you want your car to understand who is master. You start coddling it by giving it a cozy interior place to rest in, and it's going to go soft, start demanding high-maintenance treatment. And who's got time to waste for stuff like that on a freakin' car?!? No, you put your car out in the street, where it belongs. It needs to know its place. And that place is not cluttering up your shop space!

Shop space is sacrosanct. You leave your skis or your tennis racquet or your lawn chairs or your freakin' automobile in my shop, and by god, you're gonna get all the sawdust, epoxy and varnish drips you deserve!

I took your advice. The car will spend the winter outside, or, actually, under a temporary carport, and I am going to convert my double garage into my boat shop, leaving my current inadequate wood shop intact. Then, when the weather is better I will build a house/shop for my boats.

Phil Y
09-27-2013, 05:34 PM
Really really big. Huge. And even that will be too small.

beef
09-27-2013, 05:46 PM
It's a shame everyone here is so geographically separated. It'd be really interesting to pool together and rent/buy an old warehouse and share the space for projects - I wonder how expensive that'd be.

Breakaway
09-27-2013, 06:45 PM
I'm not sure what I'm going to do once I have a completed boat taking up the garage when I start another woodworking project. Probably just give up on parking the car inside.

There is a CAR in your garage!?? What madness has beset you, man!

Kevin

cracked lid
09-27-2013, 08:00 PM
There is a CAR in your garage!?? What madness has beset you, man!

Kevin

I hate getting into a hot car in summer, and I hate scraping ice of the windshield in the winter. My wife dislikes it even more.

RevWhop
09-27-2013, 10:18 PM
I thought my shop 25x25 was to small as soon as we started standing the walls. So I decide that will just be mechanics/machine shop and then im gonna build 30x60 boat shed behind it. probably big metal arch airplane hanger type

ulav8r
09-27-2013, 10:26 PM