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Thread: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

  1. #1
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    Default Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    I just got my copy of the plans for Vivier's new "Mesker" - a 14' 4" semi-dory for sail and oar. The plans are in a special edition of a French woodworking magazine, which includes a very nice step-by-step builder's guide and a guide to various boat building techniques from the Vivier / Skol ar Mpr perspective. All for 16 Euros, a good deal if you can read French.



    I like the approach, which is something like simplified traditional. The plans were worked up in CAD software with developed frame and plank shapes that can be hand plotted directly (without lofting). The frames and stem are laminated, but most of the rest of the boat is solid wood with traditional clinker planking.

    I've been wanting to go traditional for my next boat, but have been a bit daunted by the skill and time required. This seems like it might be an easier way to start.

    Just curious if anyone has any thoughts about the design in general. Also, is anyone aware of other designers who are using this approach - a mix of traditional and modern techniques?

    Also, Vivier suggests using a polyurethane mastic like 5200 for the plank seams. Any thoughts on this? My boat will live out of the water, so I'd love if there was a solution with solid wood planking that would still let me launch and go without leaking. Is that a pipe dream? No substitute for careful fitting, of course.

    Adam

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    I think it looks properly old-school. This would be a "traditional" enough build for me. Lots of good woodworking with hand tools. At 14'4", she'll be good for taking a few people sailing or loading her up with gear and provisions for camp-cruising. Just the right number of planks for pleasing curves, but not too many to drive you crazy. Simple interior keeps the parts count down. Laminated frames will give her strength while leaving the interior volume open. I would feel very accomplished if I pulled off a piece of craftsmanship like that. I've even downloaded the plans, just in case. She definitely looks like a floating version of the KISS (Keep It Simple Sailor) philosophy.

    I can honestly attest that the 3M 5200 will probably be stronger than the wood it is bonding together. It's pretty messy stuff to work with. It's completely bullet-proof in a marine environment, I just don't know how well it can be faired or painted if you don't get it right the first time. The fast cure version sets within 24 hours, but the regular version takes a week. Fast cure only comes in white.

    I too have been wanting a more traditional build, having built two stitch & glue boats. While I'm not sure if I love this design enough to build one, I definitely think it fits the bill. I would put it right in the same crowd as a Navigator or Ilur.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    I have a drysailed traditionally built solid wood, copper and bronze fastened dory skiff.

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

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    Quote Originally Posted by adamarthurryan View Post
    Just curious if anyone has any thoughts about the design in general.
    Hull looks tubby to me. And the jib is pretty small. Looks more like an attempt at character than the real thing. Would not be at the top of my list ...

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    I like his boats in general, could be a good family day boat.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    The semi-dory construction and lack of a traditional keel certainly simplifies construction.
    Traditional clinker boats have been dry sailed for a long time. As Thorne suggests - a little bit of bailing is sometimes needed but I wouldn’t let that put you of. 5200 has its place. For me it’s not here. If you want to answer this question for yourself get four planks and join two with nails and roves and the other two with 5200. Then imagine doing it along curves.
    It’s a messy learning curve.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    Quote Originally Posted by adamarthurryan View Post

    The boat looks great, as many (most) of Vivier's boats do. But I question the other posters saying it would be a good boat to take "a few people sailing" or to be a "family day boat." Where would passengers sit?

    I think this boat would feel very crowded with more than two people. Looks best as a solo boat to me.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    Quote Originally Posted by adamarthurryan View Post
    Vivier suggests using a polyurethane mastic like 5200 for the plank seams.
    AEF5D164-8982-44FC-814F-23430295B477.jpg 5AFEE5E6-E23F-4D63-A4C0-F8094007D29C.jpg
    The garboards and skeg seem to be screwed and glued (with white 5200?) to the bottom but the rest of the planking is nails and roves.
    It’s growing on me!

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    An old Norwegian method was to place a bit of tar soaked twine in a small groove in the plank lands, this does help reduce water intake between the dry and swelled up stage. I do not think it needs the bonding strength of 5200, so maybe a permenently flexible soft compound like polysulphide would be a better bedding?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    FYI, 5200 is a permanently flexible compound. If needed, it probably can be used to form small fillets with a gloved hand and some acetone or MEK prior to fully curing.

    Upon a second look, there are some factors that would affect the number of crew you could comfortably take sailing. First, is that the tiller doesn't kick up, so you'd need to keep its sweep clear. We've all tried to tack by pulling the tiller into our gut. Sometimes it doesn't work (especially the older I get). The other thwarts are structural and would probably be problematic with "butt cleats". So more of a solo-ish daysailer/cruiser.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    It looks very like a few others from his elegant hand. Just one that, if you feel like it, is built in solid wood. Great if you can find the wood and have the dedication. But it probably leaves few that, for practicalities, would build it rather than in ply. I love close woodwork, but in my boats, have to go for epoxy lap, in ply.

    Way back, I had a fun week-end on the Norfolk Brords. I used a glued ply 12ft, the others were in classic ciinker boats. They spent a lot of time bailing.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    There is much,much more about the design here https://www.blb-bois.com/les-revues/...r-plans-videos .In fact there is almost enough to build a boat from all the illustrations.Having looked at several of them I would make a couple of changes-the cleats on the top of centreboard case wouldn't be there-I fell over backwards a few years ago and landed tail first on some similarly located cleats and it caused a huge amount of pain.I might also use a fairly ordinary rudder retaining clip instead of a piece of rope and yet another horn cleat.I am assuming the features I mention were incorporated to keep the boat and it's construction "traditional" and they would definitely do that.It looks like a simple build project ,but quite a way from the instant boat level and it should be hard wearing with a touch of care when needed.
    Last edited by John Meachen; 01-14-2019 at 02:40 PM. Reason: spelling

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    Thank you all for your thoughts. And point taken about the bailing Thorn, there's worse things I suppose.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    There is much,much more about the design here https://www.blb-bois.com/les-revues/...r-plans-videos .In fact there is almost enough to build a boat from all the illustrations.
    Yes, that's the complete plans package. It's supposed to be a supplement if you've bought the magazine, I guess, but it's available for free on the website. The magazine also has some nice pictures of the build in progress, and a bunch of 3d renderings of the whole assembly.

    Re. the mastic glue in the plank laps, Vivier says: " The planks are screwed into the transom, frames and stem, and they are riveted to the previous plank, including the sole. Put a bed of polyurethane mastic glue in the joint assembly. This is a modern solution which suppresses any tightness problem, even with imperfect fit. The rivets are theoretically spaced about 80mm apart, but you can space them a bit more with the mastic glue. You can also use Ettan, which is easier to use, but requires a good fit.

    Then he says: "Mastic glue is quite viscus and polymerises quickly. Prepare the fitting dry with all the possible drill holes made and positioning marks, including at places where you will put screws and clamps for closing the joints. Work as two for the fitting, working from one end and applying mastic as you go."

    My impression of 5200 is that it sets very slowly, so I'm a bit confused by that last bit. Does it somehow go off in a way that is not evident, even if it still remains soft? He also mentions Sikaflex, is that quite a different product? Does anyone have any experience or ideas about Ettan?

    Anyway, for a lot of the reasons mentioned above, I really like this design. It would be a challenge, definitely - I'd be pretty proud if I could make a nice job of it. I'd be either sailing alone or with my partner, so I think the size would be okay. We go out in my Shellback sometimes, and that is a tight fit for sure. I like how this is a bit smaller than usual - feels more manageable somehow.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    I am not sure if it is a translation thing, or just a new product, but i have never heard of "mastic glue". Mastic was used between two surfaces to seal out water on parts that might need to be taken apart in the future, hence the use of mastic and not glue, so i find the words "mastic glue" a contradiction.

    Ettan is something i used every year on my traditional planks boat to put between splits in the planking, it allows the plank to swell up and the ettan is squeezed out. I found it can go a bit hard over some years if left in place, especially in an enviroment that freezes. If the designer suggests using something that bonds then 5200 is probably good, otherwise a traditional mastic or polysulphide would be acceptable between the planks, if the fastening schedule is not relying on a glued joint.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    Quote Originally Posted by skaraborgcraft View Post
    I am not sure if it is a translation thing, or just a new product, but i have never heard of "mastic glue". Mastic was used between two surfaces to seal out water on parts that might need to be taken apart in the future, hence the use of mastic and not glue, so i find the words "mastic glue" a contradiction.

    Ettan is something i used every year on my traditional planks boat to put between splits in the planking, it allows the plank to swell up and the ettan is squeezed out. I found it can go a bit hard over some years if left in place, especially in an enviroment that freezes. If the designer suggests using something that bonds then 5200 is probably good, otherwise a traditional mastic or polysulphide would be acceptable between the planks, if the fastening schedule is not relying on a glued joint.
    Yeah, that's probably my bad on the translation. The phrase he uses is "mastic-colle polyuréthane" and elsewhere in the text he mentions 5200 and Sikaflex (though not specifying the exact product number) as examples.

    Ettan sounds like a nice product. How does it work with painting? I guess you can't paint over it? Does that mean the planks would need instead to be sealed with some sort of traditional oil mix?

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    Quote Originally Posted by adamarthurryan View Post

    Ettan sounds like a nice product. How does it work with painting? I guess you can't paint over it? Does that mean the planks would need instead to be sealed with some sort of traditional oil mix?
    I used it mostly on a "tar" boat, so it was not an issue. However, i did have need to use it on my folkboat which was painted. Once the boat is tight and the excess ettan has squeezed out, any surface residue (it is mighty sticky) can be easily wiped off with turpentine, without any damage to a hard paint finish.
    EDIT: Not tried painting over it, though i have seen it over painted with International primocon (iron/steel/keel primer/barrier coat). It does not set up as hard as a polysulphide, so any movement in the ettan joint will crack the paint.
    Last edited by skaraborgcraft; 01-15-2019 at 12:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    I think that is a lovely little boat. Vivier certainly has a nice feel for boats in this size/type range, this one is an interesting mix of new and old boatbuilding methods. Looking forward to seeing a thread on the build.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    Looking forward to seeing a thread on the build.
    Next year. First I need to build a new shop!

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    Quote Originally Posted by skaraborgcraft View Post
    I used it mostly on a "tar" boat, so it was not an issue. However, i did have need to use it on my folkboat which was painted. Once the boat is tight and the excess ettan has squeezed out, any surface residue (it is mighty sticky) can be easily wiped off with turpentine, without any damage to a hard paint finish.
    EDIT: Not tried painting over it, though i have seen it over painted with International primocon (iron/steel/keel primer/barrier coat). It does not set up as hard as a polysulphide, so any movement in the ettan joint will crack the paint.
    Thanks. I've always liked the idea of a tar etc. coating on a boat. I'm not really interested in the shiny perfect look, and I hate painting. Are there big downsides to that strategy? I know it's a whole kettle of fish, but I'm curious whether you'd use tar & ettan for another small lap boat.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    Quote Originally Posted by adamarthurryan View Post
    Thanks. I've always liked the idea of a tar etc. coating on a boat. I'm not really interested in the shiny perfect look, and I hate painting. Are there big downsides to that strategy? I know it's a whole kettle of fish, but I'm curious whether you'd use tar & ettan for another small lap boat.
    I can say that it was the most easily kept boat i have owned. Every other year i would wash it down with fresh water and go over it with a turpentine/linseed/tar mixture slapped on with a brush; no rubbing down, no primers, undercoats or top coats, just the same mix for its entire life.
    I did however have oiled thwarts and seats and i used tung oil for this. I also put tung oil over the rails and tarred mast thwart, as it helped to prevent tar bleed in hot weather. Not often an entire boats maintanence can be done from just 2 pots and some ettan when required.
    Some people do not like the look, and its almost impossible to paint over once there is tar in the wood due to bleed through, so it is a pretty important choice to make. Certainly for another small sail and oar boat in solid wood i would consider the same finish, it just leaves more time for using it and less time taken to look after it, i saw that as a win-win, for me and the boat.
    EDIT: I hear there is a boat on the River Thames, supposedly the oldest boat in regular use 200 years old, built from pine, and only ever treated with pine tar oil. The cabin, apparently is quite aromatic......
    Last edited by skaraborgcraft; 01-16-2019 at 05:16 AM.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    Quote Originally Posted by skaraborgcraft View Post
    Every other year i would wash it down with fresh water and go over it with a turpentine/linseed/tar mixture slapped on with a brush; no rubbing down, no primers, undercoats or top coats, just the same mix for its entire life.
    I did however have oiled thwarts and seats and i used tung oil for this. I also put tung oil over the rails and tarred mast thwart, as it helped to prevent tar bleed in hot weather...
    That's the life for me, skaraborgcraft! Thank you.

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    Default Re: Thoughts on Francois Vivier's new "Mesker"?

    About the mastic glue. Sikaflex 11FC is just that. Polyurethane and can be painted. I use it quite a lot and expect it is something like 5200. Stick to everything (including skin!) and a bit of moisture is ok. Stays flexible too. IIRR , it was developed for sticking Roman style roof tiles to stop them sliding down, but works really well on wood and metal, plastic and other materials.

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