View Full Version : Tips for a Rook

Dry Illini
05-01-2003, 12:07 PM
Hey All, I'm a first time boat builder, but have alwasy had a great facisnation w/ wooden boatbuilding. I'm starting small, and working my way up. I just got my SD11 plans from Bateau.com, but as you could probably imagine, Central Illinois is not a hotbed for boatbuilding or boatbuilding materials. I contacted Mike Kiefer (helluva guy) of Great Lakes Boatbuilding and he mentioned MDO plywood on my first few smaller boats, and then moving on to marine ply as I "hopefully" grow in skill and experience. This is because MDO is a lot easier to get my hands on around here, and since I'm a rook, its alot cheaper, and in the rare chance(ha ha) of an error or miscalculation it won't set me back too much. Have any of you guys used it before? I was hoping to get some pro/con info. on the stuff. Any thoughts? I don't want to cut any corners but at the same time, being a young fella means that the ole' savings account at this point isn't what it hopefully will be some day. I'm pretty green but also willing, and from what I've read here in the past, you guys know your stuff. Hoping you good folks could help a first timer out. Also any random first timer does and don'ts would be much abliged.
Thanks a million!

Dave Fleming
05-01-2003, 12:19 PM

aka Painters sign board aka puke green ply.

Was good stuff all solid plys used for bulkheads and exterior cabin sides to be painted. The grain of the underlying ply usually Doug Fir was covered so it eliminated the checking and grain shadows of plain Doug Fir marine ply.
Should be fine for a first effort. Probably a bit heavier than some of the more commonly used plys ie:Okume but, for a small craft not a big worry.
I picked up a damaged* sheet of 1/2 inch with solid interior plys of some wood I have yet to determine for $20 USD yesterday down here in San Diego.

*Damaged in that the green overlay was dirty. Big deal, or so says I.

Todd Bradshaw
05-01-2003, 12:26 PM
I-L-L-I-N-I - hey, that' my alma mater! What's the scoop on the new B-Ball coach? Now I live up here and they have a goofy mascot with one of those big heads. Say what you want about Chief Illini, but at least the cheerleaders never grabbed him by the legs and dragged his nuts into the goalpost...

I've rebuilt old boats that were made with MDO panels and they seemed to hold up pretty well. The stuff also had not checked on the outside and takes a very nice painted finish compared to regular fir plywood. I'd go for it and just be careful, as with any plywood, to make sure it's well sealed, especially on the edges.

John Bell
05-01-2003, 12:49 PM
You might be surprised at the number of folks in central IL who build their own boats. Jim Michalak, one of my favorite (and one of the most approachable) designers lives in Lebanon, IL.

Jim hosts a home-built boat messabout every year on the weekend before Father's day at Rend Lake, near Mt. Vernon. Even if you don't have a boat, it would be worth attending to meet other boat builders and share in their knowledge. By my reckoning, you are only 160 odd miles away.

I copied the info for this year's event from Jim's website http://homepages.apci.net/~michalak/:

THE 14TH ANNUAL MIDWEST HOMEBUILT BOAT MESSABOUT will take place at Rend Lake in Southern Illinois on the weekend of June 7 and 8. Lots of folks come on Friday and leave early Sunday. Take I-57 to exit 77W and then follow the signs to the Gun Creek Recreation Area. Camping at this Corps of Engineers facility is $10/night and that includes the ramp fee. There is no schedule of events except a pot luck dinner in the campground on Saturday evening- we wing it. This year some of us have reserved the campsites on the water of the two middle camping loops so look for us there if we aren't at the boat ramp.

Seeing how other people have done things is quite educational and inspiring. I went to this one a couple of years ago and it was a blast. I'm not going this year, but plan to attend in the future.

edited for multiple typos

[ 05-01-2003, 01:55 PM: Message edited by: John Bell ]

Dry Illini
05-01-2003, 03:05 PM
Dave, I gotta admit, I did a double take when I saw your name come up. I used to have an old English/Composition teacher with your name. We shared a interest in boats, but thats about the only thing we ever agreed on. You'll notice, that spelling/grammar errors frequent my posts, so in hindsight, I should have paid more attention in his class.

John, Jim Michalak definantly sounds like a name to remember. I'm surprised that I have not run across it before. Shows how little I know in the world of boatbuilding. Also, I'd take up the chance to head to Rend Lake anyday, espcially to pick up some boatbuilding tips and lessons. Might have to head down a day early and leave a few divits on the golf course.

Todd, R. Guenther hired Bruce Weber. He coached at SIUC for about 4 years and turned the program around. B. Weber is a Gene Keady product. Was his Ast. Coach for about 18 years before heading to SIU. Things may turn out better than they wer before "Bail Self" left for KU. Got some awesoem recruits coming in and some great looking underclassmen. B. Weber needs to reinvent the recruiting wheel so to speak, the Bill Self and Lon Kruger started. Rember the name Shaun Livingston. Anyway, back to boats, before I get run out of here and sent to Illiniboard. Thank you guys for the useful info. All of it will be very useful.

"To put meaning in one's life may end in madness, but life without meaning is the torture. Of restless and vague desire.....it is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid
(Edgar Lee Masters)

Captain Pre-Capsize
05-01-2003, 06:38 PM
Dear Dry:

Enjoy the building process. I am in my sixth month of building an Arch Davis Sanddollar and now recognize that it's completion will be anti-climactic. You can imagine how disconcerting this is to my wife and three children! I'm taking so long because I am enjoying it - the LAST thing I would have expected!