View Full Version : Small Boat Construction Question

Dave R
02-26-2004, 01:11 PM
Sometimes I think too much. This was a recent wondering and I thought I'd ask the experts for their thoughts.

Suppose you are building a small boat inverted on a strongback. You set up frames from which the boat will be removed when the hull has been planked. After righting the boat, one of the tasks is to put in floors. The floors are scribed and fitted to the shape of the inner keel and the planks. Then they are installed, glued, screwed, nailed or whatever.

Now, it seems to me that getting the floors in such that they are vertical and square to the centerline is a bit of a challenge. Well, square might not be such a big deal but...

Now suppose that at least some of the floors fall where the temporary frames were. Why not trim the frames so the floors could be fitted to the top (or is it bottom)of them? The floors would be faired along with the frames before the planks were installed. Final fitting would be done as the planks are installed. The planks would be fastened to the floors as you go.

At the very least you would be able to create a reference surface (the tops of the floors) for the installation of the rest of the floors if there are more.

What do you think?

[ 02-26-2004, 01:12 PM: Message edited by: Dave R ]

Art Read
02-26-2004, 02:30 PM
Fairly common practice with round bottomed, upside, down built construction such as was done at Herreshoff. Here's a picture of a current build in Maine where they're doing it just about the way you describe. (Just note that the molds are left intact, and the floors are fitted alongside, either fore or aft, and snug up against 'em. Easy enough to just transfer the bevels that way, no? Also note he fitted all the intermediate floors at each frame between the molds as well. Wish I'd considered it more seriously when I built MY boat! It was NOT fun fitting 'em in, after the fact, once she was all planked up and rolled over.)



[ 02-26-2004, 02:35 PM: Message edited by: Art Read ]

Dave R
02-26-2004, 02:36 PM
Cool, Art, thanks. I was just thinking I should have done the same with the baby cradle I'm working on. Too late now though. The sheer planks are next to go on.

Don Maurer
02-26-2004, 02:55 PM
I thought about that after the fact too. Live and learn. With all the time savings tips I've picked up after I built my boat, I should get done with the next one before I start :D

Art Read
02-26-2004, 03:40 PM
Before I started my boat, (the same as the one pictured, btw) I had read WoodenBoat's "How to Build the Haven 12 1/2" book. They show doing the floors just like it was done above. So that's how I planed to do it. But when I looked at the plans for the Dark Harbor, they clearly show the floors in between every other frame bay. Not attached to the frames at all. It seemed odd to me, but pictures of existing boats I'd seen showed 'em done that way too. No way I could see to do 'em 'till the planking was in place. (And I was too chicken to deviate at ALL from the designer's plan's at that point...)

Now seeing how Mr. Flanagan didn't scruple to switch Crowninshields methods for Herreshoff's, I wish I hadn't been so timid. Surely makes for a more "rugged" backbone. It DOES reqire a lot more material though, and probably a good bit of extra weight too. What with MELINDA's little "weight issue" now, perhaps it's just as well? She certainly doesn't seem "flimsy" anyway. And fitting those floor timbers later was good "joinery" practice and probably good for my "character" as well... ;)


02-26-2004, 03:53 PM
I will now have to go home and look at plans for my friendship. I was thinking that the floors on it were at every frame. I had in mind of laminating the frames on a table and attaching the floors at this point. I would also attach some temporary braces to hold the shape of the frames. I would than attach this to the keel and start my planking. Course this is all in my head and I need to verify all that before I start.


John Bell
02-26-2004, 03:59 PM
My goodness, Chad! That sounds like a terribly messy process. If it were me, I'd be looking at steam bending instead of laminating.

02-26-2004, 04:25 PM
John that was the other option I was considering. I haven't made up my mind yet, it just seemed simple enough to laminate the frames without steaming.