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Thread: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

  1. #1
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    Default First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    Hello, thanks for stopping by Sorry for not including any pictures yet

    I'm making a heavily modified Elegant Punt, designed by Phil Bolger, from the book "Instant Boats" by Harold Payson. I'm more or less keeping the hull form, and not much else. Use case and context are really important things to keep in mind when building anything, so I should probably state that the boat will be used primarily for fishing in freshwater, although it may go to the gulf of mexico a few times. It will be stored exclusively indoors, and well taken care of. Fort Gibson lake is home for the time being, and it's quite a rocky lake, so it's likely to bang up against rocks more than once. I'm also not planning on ever using a motor, and am not rigging it for sail, oars only.

    My plans aren't really finalized, because I'm quite new to boatbuilding and my intentions are affected frequently by new information that I read.


    Materials
    The plywood is some good quality 6mm Okoume, the epoxy is MarinEpoxy (slow), and the rest is mostly up for debate.

    Current step

    The next decision I am faced with is what wood to use for scantlings. Chine logs first, as they will be the next step. Payson isn't too specific in the plans, he says to use pine or spruce or whatever you've got more or less. Originally I had planned on using Eastern white pine, since I've got a nice piece 3/4 thick by 10 feet, and plenty wide for everything in the boat, clear and mostly heartwood. However, I then changed my mind to red oak, because the white pine is so soft, and I also have red oak on hand. Then, today, I changed my mind again to douglas fir, as my worries about the decay resistance of red oak got the better of me. I'm not sure why I care, because the Okoume plywood is also quite susceptible to decay.

    I made myself a little chart of strength and stiffness to weight ratios of some of the woods I have available (Listed below), and douglas fir is a standout - it's the stiffest and strongest per weight, has some decay resistance, and I can get it from a construction lumber yard for cheap. They only have no. 2, but some of the boards are very nice. I have picked straight, clear, 15 rings/inch, all heartwood boards of yellow pine out before, and I imagine I can find similar boards of douglas fir as well. They also have western red cedar, but it's too soft for my purposes at the moment.

    Douglas fir
    Yellow pine
    White pine
    Red oak
    Western red cedar
    There are others, but they're mostly not associated with boatbuilding.

    Thoughts on using douglas fir? I know white oak is the best wood for this, but it's like $6-$9/bdf around here, and this boat was originally suppose to be an inexpensive project. I'm also interested in your thoughts on the longevity of Okoume plywood in freshwater. I'm operating on the assumption that if I take care of it, this boat should easily last 10 years, stored inside as it will be. I know that depends on the finish as well, and I'm planning to not skimp too much on that.
    Last edited by Random; 01-12-2020 at 01:31 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    Due to world trade and easy shipping, woods that normally would not be used for wooden boats is now common place among those who are just starting to explore the world of wooden boat building. The currently popular Okome plywood was first used as panelling in commercial air craft as a wood of nice grain that is very light in weight when compared other types of plywood. Most neophyte boat builders use it because of the publicity that has been attached to it by the advertising industry and not by builders who really understand the rot charistics of different kinds of marine woods. Actually, Douglas fir marine plywood has been the standard of the industry prior to the introduction of laminated woods from different families. One point in favor of plywood is that it can be, economicaly, stacked in supply racks in lumber yards that provide easy access and take up little spare in comparison with other wooden boat materials. So, if you are planning to build a wooden boat that contains or is sheathed with plywood, choose a type of laminated wood that will offer the greatest amount of rot resistance for your dollar investment as the repair of a rotten woodenboat can be very expensive or next to impossible to justify for the necessary material cost. It is also wise to remember that plywood has a tremendous amount of resitance to being bent into compound curves, which is something that is not difficult when building of boat of normal plank construction.

    So far as what woods would be suitable for making chines is concerned again, Douglas fir is a wood that can be used for such a need.
    Of course white oak is a wood that if it can be obtained in sufficient lengths and grain patten if preferable but not absolutely necessary if you are building a small and elegent punt. Douglas fir can do the job but one needs to consider both strength and rot resistance of a main structural component that can be very difficult to replace if rot or facture occurs sometime in the future.
    Remember that many fastenings are usually driven into the chines of a plywood skiff. For this reason the cost of white oak is justified both in its strength as well as rot resistance! Since you are going to use this boat primarily in fresh water, you might place a priority on using White Oak for your chines in conjunction with Douglas fir marine plywood for the sides and bottom.

    I might mention that I own a dinghy that is over seventy years old now and still as serviceable when it was built. But, it had one chine of white and the other of red oak as the guy that chose the stock wasn't paying close attention to what he was doing. The red oak rotted out at some ten years of age and necessitated a new one of white oak to be installed. Removal of the old rotten chine, setting up a steam box plus all of he work needed for the repair was probably five or six times the cost of a proper chine at the time of building the boat. So, in my own humble opinion, you should consider the best woods you can afford to use for building your fine little ship! I know because I was the guy who mistook that red oak for white way back in the dark ages!
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 01-12-2020 at 02:49 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    As far as the plywood goes, I've already started on the boat, and it's definitely going to be okoume. Another thing to consider is that I don't intend to glass all of the plywood (only up to a couple inches above the waterline), and I don't want it to check. And I'm under the impression that rotary cut fir plywood will check unless it's glassed, while okoume won't.

    I'll keep my eyes out for some white oak. I know it's a superior wood, but if I were to just pick the best under the rationalization that "It's a small portion of the total cost, and it's a better material", the entire cost of the project would balloon proportionally. For that reason my subaru doesn't have a scat crank and custom tig welded titantium exhaust. But at the same time I know that I can't build a boat with fir instead of white oak and expect it to last 80 years. Just like I can't expect the subaru to pump out 750hp with a stock bottom end.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    My first Elegant Punt was entirely marine plywood and Douglas fir. On the second I used ash for the chines and gunwales. There is considerable bending involved so I would suggest following Mr. Paysonís suggestions about reducing the chine and gunwale dimensions. If I were to use Doug fir again for the gunwales I would use at least two layers laminated in place to avoid splitting. I also added a skeg and I broke up the single seat behind the midship frame.
    Last edited by cyclone; 01-12-2020 at 04:07 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    Out of curiosity, why did you build two of them? For relatives or something? I intend to steam the chines, so that should make it fairly easy.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    I built the first punt over twenty years ago but I seldom used it so it was sold. I have to deal with an eleven foot tide and a rocky beach and it was easier to drag and slide an Old Town plastic square stern canoe to the water’s edge than carry a dinghy. The Old Town has over time become harder for me to manage alone so when I saw Harry Bryan’s Ladybug wheelbarrow boat I decided to build another Elegant Punt but this time with a wheel in the front. It won’t be launched until the spring, however so I can’t comment yet as to whether it was a good idea.

  7. #7
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    Default

    You're in Maine and you can't get white oak??? You need to find some saw mills, not lumber yards.

    How are you going to use the boat how will it be stored? Most people that build a boat nowadays do not keep it in the water 365 so it's not likely to rot very much unless you purposely leave it out in the weather and sun.
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  8. #8
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    Default Re: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    Quote Originally Posted by DeniseO30 View Post
    You're in Maine and you can't get white oak??? You need to find some saw mills, not lumber yards.

    How are you going to use the boat how will it be stored? Most people that build a boat nowadays do not keep it in the water 365 so it's not likely to rot very much unless you purposely leave it out in the weather and sun.
    I kind of wish I was in maine, but I'm in Tulsa OK. I can get white oak, it's just fairly expensive. It will be stored inside, and only ever in the water for day trips, at most a weekend.

  9. #9
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    Default

    My bad cyclone is in Maine,.

    Some people may go off on me but I'd not hesitate to use yellow pine deck boards most of the big box stores sell them knotty but they also sell premium stock clear of knots, we grabbed a couple 16' about a year ago, no knots, I'm going to make window sash frames out of them for my basement windows it's one of those things always wanted to try to do,.


    White pine just doesn't hold fasteners very well, Doug fir or yellow pine for your scantling's would probably be okay
    Last edited by DeniseO30; 01-12-2020 at 07:55 PM.
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

  10. #10
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    Default Re: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    If you're keeping it indoors then the chine logs won't rot.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    had to go back and refresh my remembery

    the Elegant Punt is so simple it should provide a great platform for a beginner

    if your 6mm Okoume is BS1088/5 ply you are off to a fine start

    Tulsa aint far from NE Arkansas and SE Oklahoma where there are several mills and IIRC white oak is common in that part of the woods

    really if you have access to douglas fir i'd go that way

    buying #2 in 2x6's would commonly provide more useable long strips since it is milled/marketed as construction lumber(roof rafters...) where knots are fewer and can be cut around

    you can easily rip a 10' 2x6 and obtain plenty wood for your project

    buying 8 footers could be too close w/ issues on the ends and the difference in co$t won't buy you lunch at the Golden Arch Club

    cutting your chines and lower transom frame pieces w/ a gentle bevel to the outside will help keep water from pooling on top of them

    if you plan to glass the bottom up a couple inches you will need to "soften"(round the edges to be wrapped for easier transition of the cloth in the process

    IMG_4182.jpg IMG_4183.jpg

    and in the same breath fillet the joint where the chine attaches to the sides

    IMG_4185.jpg IMG_4186.jpg

    i have built a couple Bolger dingies w/ the longitudinal thwarts(long fore n aft seats) and have found them to be tender when climbing in n out because your weight can't be centered until you're seated

    the longitudinal thwart really shines when you are loading more than just yourself and you can shift your centered/seated weights fore n aft as needed for proper rowing trim

    keeping on top of breaches scratches n chips in your finish with timely touch ups and keeping her dry(fresh water is a wooden boat's Achilles Heel) should provide you with a good recipe for longevity

    HAVE FUN

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  12. #12
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    Default Re: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    Quote Originally Posted by swoody126 View Post
    had to go back and refresh my remembery

    the Elegant Punt is so simple it should provide a great platform for a beginner

    if your 6mm Okoume is BS1088/5 ply you are off to a fine start

    Tulsa aint far from NE Arkansas and SE Oklahoma where there are several mills and IIRC white oak is common in that part of the woods

    really if you have access to douglas fir i'd go that way

    buying #2 in 2x6's would commonly provide more useable long strips since it is milled/marketed as construction lumber(roof rafters...) where knots are fewer and can be cut around

    you can easily rip a 10' 2x6 and obtain plenty wood for your project

    buying 8 footers could be too close w/ issues on the ends and the difference in co$t won't buy you lunch at the Golden Arch Club

    cutting your chines and lower transom frame pieces w/ a gentle bevel to the outside will help keep water from pooling on top of them

    if you plan to glass the bottom up a couple inches you will need to "soften"(round the edges to be wrapped for easier transition of the cloth in the process

    IMG_4182.jpg IMG_4183.jpg

    and in the same breath fillet the joint where the chine attaches to the sides

    IMG_4185.jpg IMG_4186.jpg

    i have built a couple Bolger dingies w/ the longitudinal thwarts(long fore n aft seats) and have found them to be tender when climbing in n out because your weight can't be centered until you're seated

    the longitudinal thwart really shines when you are loading more than just yourself and you can shift your centered/seated weights fore n aft as needed for proper rowing trim

    keeping on top of breaches scratches n chips in your finish with timely touch ups and keeping her dry(fresh water is a wooden boat's Achilles Heel) should provide you with a good recipe for longevity

    HAVE FUN

    sw
    Did you draw all that? That's quite helpful! Unfortunately I've converted it to have the chines and other framing on the inside of the boat. I'm also planning on going with traditional thwarts instead of the fore and aft seat. I'm reading Classic Small Craft by Gardner, and he explains nicely how they work in the first couple of boats in the book, which are prams/punts. And as for the fir construction lumber, yes, I normally go for the 2x10x12s, they're $8.50 a piece in yellow pine, and I imagine the fir is similar.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    Quote Originally Posted by Random View Post
    Did you draw all that? That's quite helpful! Unfortunately I've converted it to have the chines and other framing on the inside of the boat. I'm also planning on going with traditional thwarts instead of the fore and aft seat. I'm reading Classic Small Craft by Gardner, and he explains nicely how they work in the first couple of boats in the book, which are prams/punts. And as for the fir construction lumber, yes, I normally go for the 2x10x12s, they're $8.50 a piece in yellow pine, and I imagine the fir is similar.
    if you're going that far why not consider stitch n tape

    that woud eliminate the weight of and time to build the chines

    btw there are several options for stitch n tape here

    https://www.duckworks.com/rowboat-plans-s/267.htm

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  14. #14
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    Default Re: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    Mr. Greer has told you what you need to know in order to build a dinghy to last, but if you're using not-very rot resistant plywood why not use something cheaper than white oak and save that for another time? FWIW, I built my elegant punt with cheap, good 2 side fir ply and ripped the solid wood from a spruce 2x4. I didn't use any epoxy or any coating except paint. I had no checking for the first 10 years as the dinghy was stored in the shade when not being used. After that it was stored in the open and started to check, but the spruce has held up surprisingly well. After 23 years it is still in use as a tender and for rowing around the marina.

    Swoody126 commented on the longitudinal thwart. I agree with that, and found that a longitudinal thwart from the bow to a couple of inches past the bulkhead allows you to shift your weight while still leaving the centre open to step into. When the kids were small we used that plus a stern thwart, found that combination very good for differing loads.

    Good luck with your mods. I built mine to plan and found it to be an excellent little boat.

    Jamie

  15. #15
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    Default Re: First boat build, an Elegant Punt

    Quote Originally Posted by DeniseO30 View Post
    My bad cyclone is in Maine,.

    Some people may go off on me but I'd not hesitate to use yellow pine deck boards most of the big box stores sell them knotty but they also sell premium stock clear of knots, we grabbed a couple 16' about a year ago, no knots, I'm going to make window sash frames out of them for my basement windows it's one of those things always wanted to try to do,.


    White pine just doesn't hold fasteners very well, Doug fir or yellow pine for your scantling's would probably be okay
    Back in the dark ages when window sash was made by hand with wooden bodied planes and hand forged chisels, Eastern White Pine or cypress was used for window sash because of its higher resistance to rot as fresh water always gathers in the crevices of the joinery on the exterior of window sash.

    I had some sash made by a local company fifteen years ago that turned out to rot, after a few years, because it was made of Western White pine. I replaced it with cypress/Alaskan yellow cedar. So far no rot! If one looks at very old constrution plans for houses and sash, more likely than not Cypress is noted on the drawing for the sash. Some companies are now putting Western White Pine wooden putty stop in place of glazing putty which speeds up the rotting process and makes more money for them.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 01-13-2020 at 01:26 PM.

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