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Thread: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

  1. #1
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    Default Simmons Sea Skiff 18': new build questions

    Ok, this will (hopefully) be my official SSS18 build thread, as I have finally decided to go ahead with this boat. My first step was to clean up the garage/shop and tune up the bandsaw. I set up the mold for a laminated stem. I've resupplied with epoxy and just picked up several pieces of 1" x 8" clear high ring count doug fir for the floors. I'm planning to build glued lap and frameless as others have.

    My first questions for those who have built this boat:

    1) I plan to laminate the stem out of solid wood. Plans call for mahog, but I'm wondering if good quality DF would work as well? My other skiff uses DF for the stem and stem knee. It would be esker to source nearby then the mahog.

    2) Is 1" (3/4" finished) DF really ok for the floor timbers? Now that I have it, it looks thin. I know the original thickness for 1" would have been 7/8" should I get these out of thicker lumber?

    3) I'm using the Cape Fear plans with Dave Carnell's notes as well as the Ellis Rowe articles. Is there anything about the two sets of plans I need to know about up front? Where to follow one over the other if there are major differences?

    Thanks,
    Will have tons more questions I'm sure.
    Last edited by dmede; 04-04-2015 at 06:23 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Reading back over other build threads it looks like I may have already made my first blunder. Seems others have indeed got out their own 7/8" floors from thicker stock instead of using 3/4". It seems like a small difference but I don't want risk weakening suck a critical part of the boat.

    Edit to add: found this as well, I guess that answers my question...
    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...rames-question
    Last edited by dmede; 06-22-2014 at 11:50 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Yes, you can use DF.

    Typical 1x stock will be fine.

    IMO, a laminated bentwood stem for the Simmons is a lot to go thru for what it actually does in this boat. Mine has never been wet. It's almost a deadwood nailer in this application. If it was holding inch thick planking ends together, I could see where the lam might be necessary, but in the screw/glue versions we see now, it's overkill. I used an alternate (3 layers of 1x SYP) face lam just to get the thickness, which worked out just a bit thicker than what is called for, but that just meant the bevel that the plank ends nest on was wider. A lot of screws end up going thru the layers anyway.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    In looking over the Ellis Rowe plans (which I'm more or less following for this build), I noticed that although he is gluing his planks with epoxy he also uses rivets in the laps. Is this really necessary? Seems like the epoxy would do and you only need to hold the planks together until dry.

    I'm also wondering about the need for frames? I know several builds here (Pipefitter and I think MaM) did without the frames. I like the idea of the clean interior, but what are the considerations? Can you only remove frames if you build a deeper gunwale? Ellis has no thwart in the rear half of the boat so perhaps frames are required there.
    Last edited by dmede; 07-07-2014 at 12:52 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    I left the fasteners in the bottom "planks" but removed all fasteners from the lapped topside planks. My reason for this choice was appearance--I didn't want any dimples or bumps in the topsides should the shallow filler material ever go bad or should a fastener start to work out.

    I used no frames but have substantial side decks to stiffen the gunwales. The side decks are wide enough to walk on but in practice they just serve as steps when entering and leaving from a dock.

    My stem was cut to shape after gluing up 3 layers (IIRC) of 18mm meranti plywood.
    Goat Island Skiff and Simmons Sea Skiff construction photos here:

    http://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w...esMan/?start=0

    and here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37973275@N03/

    "All kings are not the same."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Thanks MaM. I'm still getting out my floor frames so I'm a ways off from needing to decide about this. If the extra wide sheer deck is required to keep the hull stiff without frames I may opt for frames after all. I prefer a mid depth gunwale simialr to the one Ellis builds (maybe a bit wider). Plus I'd imagine that with frames in place and the planks fastened to them, there would be absolutely no need for the rest of the plank fastenings at the laps.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Feels like I've been doing a lot but this is about all I have to show for it so far:



    The frames are sitting on a MDF sled I made for running them over my buddies table saw & dado blade. The strong back (no pic) is marked and will also go on the sled for frame notches. Frame notches are being cut 1 inch shallower than called for due to limit on dado. This will set up the alignment and I'll add tabs for each frame to lock it all together.
    Last edited by dmede; 08-26-2014 at 08:41 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    So, I am in the midst of building a Simmons 20'. This is my first foray into building a boat, and I'm loving it so far. Based on advice from this and other forums, I went with sapele for my floors. And out of curiosity, I built the stem from 2 laminated pieces of 7/8 Red Grandice cut to pattern. I actually just finished test fitting and bending the front end of the keel (a scarfed piece of grandice as well) tonight. Good luck! My thread is here if you're interested, and I'll definitely be watching this one.
    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...s-Sea-Skiff-20

    Ryan

  9. #9
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Slight progress. The floor notches and strong back notches were cut this weekend. Dado blade made quick work of it. I'll need to deepen the front three slots on the strong back then angle the top back a bit.

    incidentally the strong back is a 1 3/4 x 7 1/4 micro lam beam. Very stable and very straight. Well worth the minor extra cost over lumber for this. The saw horses in the pics are just for test setup, I'll get out a solid structure next. Then on to the transom and motor well assembly.



    Last edited by dmede; 09-02-2014 at 09:28 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Looking good!
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Time to get back to this now that santa has left me some boat building money. ; )

    I'm picking up the 3/4" meranti ply for the transom and motor well tomorrow. I need to hash out the exact dimensions and building style and have a few questions for other sea skiff builders.

    I've decided on the long shaft 20hp Tohatsu as the motor to build around. The motor mount height on this outboard is 22.1". Rather then widen the motor well, or angle the tops of the well sides I'm opting to simply let the sides of the well stop a few inches shorter then the motor mount itself. The motor mount height in my boat will be 21" (22" - 3/8" plank thickness - 5/8" wiggle room between cab plate and bottom of boat).

    So my motor well will look something like this but taller:



    I may build my sides straight into the transom and add a swoop up to the the full height of the motor mount on the motor mouth end instead.

    The question is how much shorter is enough to allow for full swing? My diagrams suggest 3" - 4" shorter would be enough, but having the motor itself I can't verify this.

    Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 3.39.27 PM.jpg

    I'm looking for thoughts on this build style and if anyone has a 20 - 30 hp tohatsu I'd love some swing dimensions around the bottom of the cowling.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    You could custom cut the top edges of the motorwell after you hang the motor. How will you determine the exact width required for the motorwell without a mockup? Just curious. Also, I wouldn't leave the top of the inner transom unsupported as seen in that photo.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Quote Originally Posted by Skiff Man View Post
    You could custom cut the top edges of the motorwell after you hang the motor. How will you determine the exact width required for the motorwell without a mockup? Just curious. Also, I wouldn't leave the top of the inner transom unsupported as seen in that photo.
    Unfortunately I can't afford the motor now so I have to build without a model in place, I do have a good dimensioned drawings from Tohatsu. With the sides cut down a few inches I won't need to adjust the motor width beyond what's called for in the plans, but I do need to determine what that side height needs to be. From the drawings it looks like 3 - 4 inches would be enough. I'm looking for practical advice on this though, it may be less and I'd like to keep as much side hight as I can.

    The top of the motor mount won't be unsupported. I'll be curving the well sides up to meet the full face of the motor mount, basically the reverse of what's seen in the sides pictured above.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    You will be fine with your plan even with the raised motor well transom with a reduced side height if need be. If you still have my email, send me one and I will reply to it. Its just too hard here. I will describe a way that after the fact you can refine your sides to work according to your engine. The raised motor well transom is there to deal with the original well measurements and most of the four strokes that have a larger base width.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    While I wait to buy a new jigsaw to finish getting out the transom, I've been contemplating my layout for this boat.

    I have several years of use in my smaller Atkin skiff Olallie and have a good idea of how I want this boat to work. I want built in seating for at least my family of four (two adults and two young boys) for general cruising and light fishing. I want enough open deck to store bulky gear for beach camping (bins, packs, stove, cooler...) and to land and empty small crab pots. I want built in storage space for permanent gear and to hide other loose trip gear. I want built in fuel storage. I want a small side console. I want a clean clear interior.

    In almost all regards the Ellis Rowe layout from the WB Simmons articles fits the bill for me and I'm basing my initial layout on his design. But I'm wary of the fully sealed bottom. I prefer to have some access to the bilge to keep an eye on the boats interior. I also think there is some benefit to having a bilge in a boat that I'm likely to drag a bit of water into while camping or pulling crab pots. The water falls below foot and can be quickly pumped over board rather then slosh around and get everything inside wet (as it does in Olallie now).

    Becasue I want seat compartments as in the Rowe build I can't have a full run of center pull up panels so I'm looking at how to stagger deck panels to get decent access to almost the entire bilge. I'll add round deck hatches inside the seating where I can't run the panels. And offset the mid ship panel where the console comes out to the center of the boat.

    Have a look and give me your feedback or questions. All replies are welcome, even the snarky ones!


  16. #16
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    I should add, that I plan to build this boat with the side decks and no frames. I'm going to try and determine the narrowest side deck that will still give me the support I need to do without frames. I'll also be sealing off the back corners near the motor well for flotation but ill have forward facing water tight hatches for access.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    I built mine with a small offset steering console just as you show in your drawing. It works just fine as long as you have at least one other adult aboard for balance. After maybe six months of use I decided to relocate the console to the centerline. My son and I were weary of having to operate the boat singlehanded while standing on center and steering with one hand. The SSS18 is too light and too narrow to work with an offset console, IMHO.
    Goat Island Skiff and Simmons Sea Skiff construction photos here:

    http://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w...esMan/?start=0

    and here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37973275@N03/

    "All kings are not the same."

  18. #18
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Hi MaM,

    Thanks. I have your old threads book marked and I remember the post where you switched the console around. It's a concern I have, but knowing the dimensions of the boat I've never assumed it would run level with one aboard. In that regard it should be about the same as my small tiller steered skiff, its just part of how a boat like that runs, a little on its side. The original SSS 18s were in fact side console boats and well regarded so it must not have been a major issue. But perhaps the weight of a modern console (compared to the much smaller original consoles) is too much?

    Where was the fuel in your boat? With the layout from the WB articles, the fuel tank is up front and slightly to port. I wonder if that helps counter the tendency to ride offset with only one aboard? I'd be curious to hear more about how far over she trimmed and handeled with the side console on your boat.

    In the end though I think the exact same characteristics that make her tender make a center console a poor choice for me, it takes away too much deck space and seating in most of the versions I've seen and looks difficult to get around when moving forward of the console.

    I've only ever seen one center console that I really liked on these boats (linked below), but it would't meet my seating requirement.

    http://www.simmonsseaskiff.com/18%20...chneider01.jpg

  19. #19
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Why cant you use the layout in the photo? Seems you just run the bench seat in front of the console all the way across; as with any thwart style seat you have to climb over it wether its a boxed in section seat or just a sprung plank. I think the simplicity of a push-pull vertical tiller staff would be the way i would go .

  20. #20
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Nope, done with tillers, one of the key characteristics of this design for me was the remote helm.

    I've thought about exactly what describe with the extended forward thwart on that center console. I may mock it up once I get the hull done. Another idea was center console and move the front thwart to a U shaped bench against the front deck. But ultimately I don't think I'll like a center console as much as the side console for managing to get around it and aesthetics.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    You could construct a box section side deck. Plywood, sheet foam core, plywood. Eglass. Should be plenty rigid. Cockpit sole to hull sides might need an extra lamination or foam fillet profile .

    the foam would satisfy flotation.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Here's a quick drawing of an alternate center console layout with full width forward thwart. The center seat would float above the deck so the hatches could run under the seat, but the seat box could still have a flip top and some storage inside. The console and the front seat would be built down to the deck and enclosed. Front seat box to hold fuel and batt.

    I've removed the rear compartments here to reduce weight aft but kept the tail ends of the deck sealed for some floatation.

    I like the idea of all that open deck but worry about the looks of a center console. They tend to be too high for this boat but I imagine that's needed for visibility over the bow when seated on the center line of the boat.

    Also wondering how hard it is to route your steering if the console is full floating and not connected to the side deck at all.

    Also, would this work with the deeper side deck needed for a frame less build?


  23. #23
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    MaM,

    I managed to stumble into a few other pics of your boat underway that I hadn't seen before (won't repost without permission), I see what you mean about the awkward positioning. Looks like in every shot you or your son where standing on the CL and hunched over towards the console. Didn't look comfortable.

    Had you always intended to having a standing helm or did you find the visibility when sitting too poor?

  24. #24
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Got out the transom last week, and the motor well today. Will fair up the curves and epoxy next week. Slow progress, but progress.


    Last edited by dmede; 01-19-2015 at 08:42 PM.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Minor progress. The frames have been attached to the strong back and leveled with side rails and short braces.





    I have a question for the other Simmons builders on the keel notch depths. Frame #3 seems to have a very shallow keel notch compared to all of the others. I checked the dimensions and according to the offsets this is correct, but I don't quite see why the depth would differ so much from #2 and #4?






  26. #26
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    The forward area has a greater deadrise. So when you shape the angle on the keel across to the chines, you will take away more wood on the side of the keel or generate more angle on the forward portion of the keel from the aft section that's up higher in the smaller notch.
    Happy trails to you.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Quote Originally Posted by erster View Post
    The forward area has a greater deadrise. So when you shape the angle on the keel across to the chines, you will take away more wood on the side of the keel or generate more angle on the forward portion of the keel from the aft section that's up higher in the smaller notch.
    That was my assumption, but I would have expected to see a more uniform change in keel notch depth on either side of station 3. I guess what's happening at #2 is although the dead rise is continuing to increase the keel is also rising more through the frame. I'll verify everything with a batten over the weekend but this stuck out right away.

    Thanks.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Glued up 2nd keel plank today. Took more epoxy than I would have thought.




    I'm building more or less to the WB article plans by Rowe (although I won't be fully sealing my deck). I will be sealing up the rear floor spaces either side of the motor well which means I need to fill the limber holes at station 13, and I guess the empty slot along the top of the wedge piece as well. The question is to fill with with some extra wood, or all epoxy and filler?




    While I was at it, I set up the motor well section, which is pre drilled for the transom but still separate. This made getting the motor well in place for fitting support legs much easier by myself. It looks dead on to me and I'm tempted to pre drill it now before I glue up to the transom. What do you guys think? Is that risking finding out later that my transom needed to be set up or down more to develop the proper amount of hook? My understanding is the hook is developed by the offset between sat 13 and the bottom of the transom. Shifting the transom bottom up or down fairs the hook. Is that right?

  29. #29
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Slapped the transom on the motor well. I think I'll be ok to pre drill the motor well before full assembly once I fair out all the frames. My big issue first though will be figuring out how to re square the motor well sides. Somehow got them out of square by about 1/8 during glue up. It's such a small amount, but seems to be throwing the transom off to one side by about 1/4". I forgot how gd frustrating building boats can be.

    Edited to add: took the motor well off the strong back, checked the sides. One is square the other moved during clamp up about 1/4" off at the top end. It was all square during the dry fit. I made a relief cut with a multimaster into the back of the joint about 1/3 of the way in and ground off the small fillet I formed on the inside. It moves easily enough now that I can re square it, fill the joint, and re apply the fillet. Should be ok. Between this boat and my smaller skiff I'm getting pretty good at these weird little fixes!
    Last edited by dmede; 03-27-2015 at 10:58 AM.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    I'm faring out the frames and finding a slight hump at frame #12. Wondering if this is the beginning to the hook or just something that needs to be evened out? I've checked my frames, they are all the right hight and are all set level and to the correct depth in the strong back, so this is either correct per the plans or something I need to "sweeten" as Dave Carnell talks about. Everything else seems to be fair along the tops. I seem to recall reading another builder (MaM or Pipefitter?) talking about finding some unevenness at the last frames and resisting the urge to fair it out. Need to see if I can find that post now.






  31. #31
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    At least one of the frames is off at the chine. The way it stands in the photos the boat would probably not lock-in and would porpoise. At worst make the chine profiles and keel profile dead straight for the aft 30% of the hull underbody.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Spent today ripping the chine strips, will have to get back to the frames next week.

    I suspect you are correct. What's odd about the fame setup on the Simmons (per the plans anyway) is almost all frames past #3 finish as 2 3/4" tall at the ends, except for frame 12 which is 2 13/16". Add that to their depths on the strong back, all the aft frames are set 2" deep except for frame 13 which is 2 3/16" I think. When you put that all together you get frame 12 slightly high and frame 13 slightly low relative the rest of the run aft, which creates a hump at #12 and a dip at #13. I suspect the hump is wrong, but the dip may be correct as it leads into the hook. Hoping to hear back from some of the other Simmons builders though.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Wondering now if the dimensions for frame 12 and 13 are transposed in the plans? It would make more sense for frame 12 to be 2 3/4" tall like the rest of the frames from #3 aft. And for frame #13 to be the taller 2 13/16". With #13 sitting slightly lower in the strong back to lift the floor towards the end of the boat, it would need to be taller overall to eliminate the dip there. That would give a straight run aft I think.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Trying to set the correct height for the transom so the hook is properly established.

    I thought the garboard dimensions form the plan would help but when I lofted them to an 8' section 1/4" luan and hung it on the frames the section running aft from frame 12 to the transom was much too high, more then the hook would be. For the other Simmons builders here, did you loft the garboard plank from the plans or mark if off off the run of the chine like Ellis does in the WB articles? Seems like the plans shape is way off.

    I've set the transom & motor well a bit proud of the plans marks so it sits a tiny bit high (or lower with boat right side up). I'm hoping that gives me an extra 1/8" wiggle room in cutting the transom bottom to create the hook. My problem is in figuring out how much hook is right?

    Plank run straight off the last frames:



    Plank end set to the hight of the bottom of the transom after cutting. Shows some hook, but how much is right?



    Same but with a batten, the hook looks more pronounced:



    Last edited by dmede; 04-04-2015 at 06:28 PM.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: New build: Simmons Sea Skiff 18'

    Making some slow progress. Chines almost fully laid up. One more strip each side then on to scarfing and attaching the first planks.

    Note the thin board glued up to the top of the keel just behind the stem, this fills the gap created by following the Rowe version of the keel and stem setup.




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