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Thread: Choosing my boat plans

  1. #1
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    Question Choosing my boat plans

    I have looked at boat plans for years, and have narrowed down the choices to just a few. I have always loved the Catspaw Dinghy, and more recently the Tammie Norrie. I have decided, however, that a kit might be more of a reality, mostly because I would like to finish it before I turn 103! I have considerable woodworking experience and tools, but somewhat limited space. (12 x 17) I like the idea of lapstrake plywood kits because there's enough woodworking involved to feel like I have "made" the boat, but without the aforesaid eternal build. So here's my questions.
    Since I have not found a kit for the Catspaw, I am leaning more towards the Tammie Norrie, which I love as well. At 13' 6", is it a push to build in that 17' length of "garage". (circa 1908!) Not sure how much room is needed to comfortably work around the boat. If that's a little tight, how is the Guillemot in comparison? (One or two adults and a couple of grand kids.)

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Length is less of an issue than width, as you will need a full length (if narrow) workbench along one wall. If you put the build jig on industrial casters you could shove it sideways or move one end out of the garage doors on a good day (or even build a portable extension onto the doors end of the garage).
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Welcome to the Forum! I've built a few boats in my 11'x 35' shop. As Nick says, put the jig on casters so you can roll it around. I've always done this and it works great since I can shove the boat over to one wall to get it out of the way. The latest boat is 4'6" beam by 18' length. No problems. The Tammie Norrie would be a great choice. It's got extremely detailed plans and is a fine sea boat.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Here's a similar sized boat in my shop to give you a sense of the scale. It's my Hvalsoe 13, which has a beam of 4'6".



    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    I had wondered about castors, afraid the jig might flex on uneven floor. That would help a lot. Also thinking ahead to an eventual trailer, as this will be it's future home. 13.5' of boat only leaves 3.5' for the trailer, maybe a little more if it parks at a slight angle. Trying to avoid the old "finished the boat, can't get it out without tearing out a wall" routine, in reverse! So I'm not trying to talk myself out of the TF, but still wondering about the Guillemot. Any thoughts on her?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Nice Hvalsoe 13, by the way!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    This is off topic, but there happens to be a Catspaw Dinghy for sale on Astoria's craigslist. Cedar on white oak, and listed as having been built by the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in 2015 - listed price 9k.

    I have no affiliation and no financial interest in the listing; I bring it up only because it's one of the designs you mention and is roughly in your neck of the woods.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Quote Originally Posted by KenStocker View Post
    I had wondered about castors, afraid the jig might flex on uneven floor. That would help a lot. Also thinking ahead to an eventual trailer, as this will be it's future home. 13.5' of boat only leaves 3.5' for the trailer, maybe a little more if it parks at a slight angle. Trying to avoid the old "finished the boat, can't get it out without tearing out a wall" routine, in reverse! So I'm not trying to talk myself out of the TF, but still wondering about the Guillemot. Any thoughts on her?
    With one or two adults and a couple of grandkids, you'll want at least the 13' 6" Tammie Norrie. If just rowing, I suppose the smaller boat will do, but when sailing, you need a little room for people to shift around.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Thanks for the thought, we do have 2 (Sorry!!) fiberglass kayaks, as far as getting on the water goes. It has been my dream to build a wooden boat, especially as much as I love woodworking. As I told someone today, if you build a gun cabinet, and it leaks, no big deal!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    O.K., thanks. I suspected as much. I guess if the trailer is too long, I could just cut a hole in the wooden carriage doors I made. No big deal. (I'm sure she who must be pleased...wouldn't be!) So the Tammie Norrie it is! Tough to be talked into the boat you really loved in the first place! The plan is to do as much preparation as possible this summer, and start the actual build in Jan. Can't wait to be able to post some pictures!

    Thanks for all of your thoughts!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Quote Originally Posted by KenStocker View Post
    I guess if the trailer is too long, I could just cut a hole in the wooden carriage doors I made. No big deal.
    There is an alternative.You could add a fold-away hinge to your trailer tongue.

    One of these was reviewed in Small Boat Monthly's April edition. Seems to work.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Quote Originally Posted by KenStocker View Post
    I had wondered about castors, afraid the jig might flex on uneven floor. That would help a lot. Also thinking ahead to an eventual trailer, as this will be it's future home. 13.5' of boat only leaves 3.5' for the trailer, maybe a little more if it parks at a slight angle. Trying to avoid the old "finished the boat, can't get it out without tearing out a wall" routine, in reverse! So I'm not trying to talk myself out of the TF, but still wondering about the Guillemot. Any thoughts on her?
    The trick with putting your building jig on casters is to mark and secure the whole thing where you want it. Level and align it there. When you move it around... it very likely WILL flex, unless your shop floor is very flat. But when you wheel the contraption back into place on its marks... it will flex BACK where you want it.
    Last edited by David G; 05-03-2017 at 02:57 PM.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    There is an alternative.You could add a fold-away hinge to your trailer tongue.

    One of these was reviewed in Small Boat Monthly's April edition. Seems to work.
    That fold-away is something I'll be looking into! The new boat and trailer just barely fit in the garage.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Casters are the way to go. Build the strongback nice and extra stout. Roll it around. Have a great time. It's just a little boat.

    Also, what's the distance corner to corner in your shop? That's a more accurate approximation of the length of a boat that you can build. The true workspace in a garage is actually carved out in triangles.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Great idea, thanks!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Marking the spot on the floor for the casters is a great idea. My floor is absolutely anything but level! And the problem with gaining the extra space by going corner to corner is that this "garage" is also a walk-way into the basement. Can't block it completely to maintain access. Definitely consider the folding trailer. I suspect that it might not even be an issue, just want to consider options ahead of time in case it's close.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Quote Originally Posted by KenStocker View Post
    Marking the spot on the floor for the casters is a great idea. My floor is absolutely anything but level! And the problem with gaining the extra space by going corner to corner is that this "garage" is also a walk-way into the basement. Can't block it completely to maintain access. Definitely consider the folding trailer. I suspect that it might not even be an issue, just want to consider options ahead of time in case it's close.
    You might pick your spot for the jig and then "bring Mohammed to the mountain" rather than the other way around by placing wooden pads the tops of which are exactly level where you want your casters to set when building. The wooden pads can be fixed to the floor with construction adhesive. Bevel the edges all around so it will be easy to roll the casters up and onto the pads. Depressions can even be chiseled in the top of the pads to set the casters in so that the casters are fixed well when on the pads. Additionally, pads can be placed beside or at either end of the first four pads to provide the option of moving the boat a few feet to either end or side if more room is needed when working on one side or the other. The pads can be easily chiseled off a cement floor or pulled up from a wooden floor when the boat is build.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    go bigger, and do the 15 foot Tammie

    http://nisboats.com/oughtred/mainpages/dinghies.html

    They have kits for it also, I think you can't go wrong
    post the thread & pics of course

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    I will have to consider the 15' vs. the 13.5', still have some time to decide. Whichever one I build, the kit comes with the transom included. What type of wood should I use for the stems, gunnels, knees, etc. Oak? I live on the Oregon coast, as far as availability of species goes, there's quite a bit to choose from. Does weight make a difference? I have some beautiful curly maple, if it doesn't get used up on other projects! Might at least be enough left to do some accent pieces.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Quote Originally Posted by KenStocker View Post
    I will have to consider the 15' vs. the 13.5', still have some time to decide. Whichever one I build, the kit comes with the transom included. What type of wood should I use for the stems, gunnels, knees, etc. Oak? I live on the Oregon coast, as far as availability of species goes, there's quite a bit to choose from. Does weight make a difference? I have some beautiful curly maple, if it doesn't get used up on other projects! Might at least be enough left to do some accent pieces.
    I used American black cherry for all those things on my Hvalsoe 13. Stems and keel can be, doug fir, spruce or any number of woods.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    I must confess that for all of the woodworking I have done, I have done virtually none with hand tools. So you will have to forgive my lack of knowledge in which woods are best in this boat-building thing. I have had some absolutely gorgeous curly maple for probably 15 years or more, waiting for that perfect project to show it off. I think I may have talked my wife out of making a quilting table, in order to save it for a boat. I have three 8' ish pieces, 2" thick. If I use it for the transom, will that irregular grain make it hard to work with hand tools? The grain on these pieces would look absolutely spectacular, but in my mind it's not worth it for a first time builder if it adds a degree of difficulty to the project. Thoughts?

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Build the wife a beautiful maple quilting table and then start your boat build. Someday you will thank me for this advice. Mahogany is a better boat wood than maple anyways. Happy wife, happy life.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Choosing my boat plans

    Quote Originally Posted by kenjamin View Post
    Build the wife a beautiful maple quilting table and then start your boat build. Someday you will thank me for this advice. Mahogany is a better boat wood than maple anyways. Happy wife, happy life.
    What about seats, gunnels, trim, etc. Things that would be more machined than chiselled and planed? (Can you tell how beautiful this wood is, and how much I want to use it in a boat?)

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