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Thread: Light Chebacco

  1. #1
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    Default Light Chebacco

    I want to build a boat for family adventures. Our plastic kayaks and my SOF pram have served us well while the kids were very young, I’d love expand our sailing boundaries and explore the nearby Chesapeake Bay and Albermarle Sound.
    I started building a Bolger Chebacco and hope to be finished by next Spring. I chose it for the following reasons:

    • It looks cool.
    • It’s big enough for 2 adults and 4 little kids, with a 7.5’ beam for stability.
    • The cat yawl rig should be simple to handle, heave to, and reef.
    • My garage is the right size for the build.
    • It has lots of storage and a small cuddy cabin for the littles to get out of the weather when needed.


    Jamie Orr's famous Wayward Lass:

    chebacco mountains wee lass
    Here are my questions moving forward:

    1. Do I have to sheath the whole thing in fiberglass and epoxy? It’s hard for me to tell whether or not the design requires it. I would prefer to avoid the weight and labor and expense of it, if possible. I realize the butt joints and panel seams need to be glued and fiberglass taped. I have the plans from Dynamite Payson’s Instant Boat series, and there is a lot of sheathing and layering going on there, but it seems to be a choice he made. Can I make the choice to only glass the joints and maybe the bottom/keel/stem? What would be the likely consequences?
    2. Can it be reasonably used without a motor? I would love, love, love to be able to depend on sails, with oars and maybe a sculling oar as auxiliary. If I can avoid all the extra fiberglass and epoxy, we might be able to keep it light for the given shape and size. Our biggest adventures will be taking place during the summer while the kids are out of school and we don’t have rigid schedules, hopefully giving us flexibility to wait for tides and winds.
    Chris Smead

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Here are the boom and yard, in various stages of construction. The boom is cypress, oblong in cross-section.
    http://

    Here is the mizzen mast, construction fir, four-sided at this stage. I'm trying to knock out the spars before laying out the strongback and taking up most of the garage real estate!

    http://
    Last edited by csmead; 05-14-2019 at 10:50 AM.
    Chris Smead

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by csmead View Post
    I want to build a boat for family adventures. Our plastic kayaks and my SOF pram have served us well while the kids were very young, I’d love expand our sailing boundaries and explore the nearby Chesapeake Bay and Albermarle Sound.
    I started building a Bolger Chebacco and hope to be finished by next Spring. I chose it for the following reasons:

    • It looks cool.
    • It’s big enough for 2 adults and 4 little kids, with a 7.5’ beam for stability.
    • The cat yawl rig should be simple to handle, heave to, and reef.
    • My garage is the right size for the build.
    • It has lots of storage and a small cuddy cabin for the littles to get out of the weather when needed.


    Jamie Orr's famous Wayward Lass:


    Here are my questions moving forward:

    1. Do I have to sheath the whole thing in fiberglass and epoxy? It’s hard for me to tell whether or not the design requires it. I would prefer to avoid the weight and labor and expense of it, if possible. I realize the butt joints and panel seams need to be glued and fiberglass taped. I have the plans from Dynamite Payson’s Instant Boat series, and there is a lot of sheathing and layering going on there, but it seems to be a choice he made. Can I make the choice to only glass the joints and maybe the bottom/keel/stem? What would be the likely consequences?
    2. Can it be reasonably used without a motor? I would love, love, love to be able to depend on sails, with oars and maybe a sculling oar as auxiliary. If I can avoid all the extra fiberglass and epoxy, we might be able to keep it light for the given shape and size. Our biggest adventures will be taking place during the summer while the kids are out of school and we don’t have rigid schedules, hopefully giving us flexibility to wait for tides and winds.
    Hi,

    That's not Wayward Lass, it's Yaviza, built and owned by Cal Cran. An easy mistake, I had to look twice myself. Cal sailed with me on Wayward Lass before he built Yaviza and I guess he liked the colour combo, however I don't have a bowsprit plus a couple of other small differences. I'm pretty sure that's Howe Sound he's sailing in, just north of Vancouver BC - I may even have taken that picture!

    Yaviza is for sale, that may or may not be of interest to you since you've started building already but it could get you on the water a lot sooner. If you want I can put you in touch.

    In regards to your questions:

    1. I sheathed Wayward Lass wherever sun or sea could reach her, it's worked out very well. The paint was two part epoxy, although I'd use a one part, not-so-toxic paint now. The combination has stood up for almost 20 years, the only deterioration is where I've scraped her a little too close to a barnacle covered piling. BTW, I asked Bolger the same question, he replied that sheathing was not necessary although I think he said it was a good thing. I still have that letter somewhere, I'll see if I can find it. But if I did it again I'd still sheath.

    2. No problem sailing without a motor, but she's a b*tch to row any distance. I took Wayward Lass in the first Shipyard Raid, we sailed and rowed almost 100 miles, and due to lack of wind we rowed most every day, sometimes all day. 12 foot oars mounted on the coaming, with a box seat 8 or ten inches on a floorboard mounted level with the cockpit seats made for a very ergonomic postion. Nothing to be done about the weight though. Best I could do was three knots for about ten seconds - did it both ways with GPS to be sure. Keeping up two knots is more realistic but it's still hard work - I prefer a 5 hp Honda motor, short shaft. A 3 gallon remote tank sits nicely in the motor well and it's a very neat and clean set-up. All the potential smelly stuff is out of the cockpit all the time.

    Cheers,

    Jamie

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    If your budget will run to it one of the new electrics might be helpful. One of the problems with the Chesapeake is that it can get real light for extended periods. Definitely pricier than gas. Sculling could be good with dedicated yuloh/ scullmatix type big blade oars, but even in a calm you end up with air drag which is more than you might think as well as the boat rolling in the old seas. I think you'd still be in two knots.

    In the bays I suspect that you are going to want to go ashore and ground the boat on various beaches, so I'd certainly have some glass on the beaching bits, tip of the centerboard etc.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Glass v No Glass doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition.
    You can glass parts of the boat, without glassing all of the boat.
    Structurally the boat is fine without, but glass does make the surfaces far more durable and as such limit ancillary damage.
    So where you think there is a chance of damage, it can make sense, under the water for example.
    Lets say you run over a log with all sorts of nasty metal sticking out of it.
    The glassed bottom might get scratched up, but the glass may prevent the actual plywood grain from being exposed.
    This prevents water from getting into the grain and possibly starting all the mischief that could follow.
    Second concern is which plywood you use. Fir plywood always checks. That is to say cracks develop in the surface veneer. The only cure for this is GRP.
    Okoume is light, but fairly soft and dents and dings easily, which breaks up the surface finish and waterproofing. I would glass in both cases.
    Other plywood veneers like Sapelle or other mahoganies are very durable and stable and can be used with epoxy sealer or even just paint. The price per square foot looks hideous, but if you consider the cost of glassing the less expensive material, it falls back into line.
    SHC

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    I gather you are building the sheet-ply version as opposed to the glued-lapstrake one? I started 'glassing a glued-lap hull once and quickly abandoned the project, too many corners. In the end I've settled for laying down a few good coats of neat epoxy to act as a base for the primer coat, it is easier to get a nice consistent finish to the paint and (I think) is a bit of insurance against water penetration into the endgrain all those laps potentially leave exposed, though I do put a nice thick fillet in each of them so I suppose what I really get is a nice watertight base to paint on.

    Quality marine paint is pretty tough stuff, and in general we (royally speaking)don't treat these boats like workboats and run them up hard onto the beach all the time. If that kind of treatment is in your plans something other than a layer of fiberglass will hold up better in the long run.

    On the "pro" side for some level of sheathing...I have had a few issues with the marine plywood (okume and meranti) checking over time. I've been fighting a growing number of areas that are varnished on Marianita's cabinsides. Same sheet of plywood for both sides so it might be that particular piece. But there a couple of spots along her forest green sheerstrake (on the sunny side) that have checked this year. The main part of the hull is white and just fine so far after 4 years living in the water. The cabintop and decks are painted dynel and as expected are just fine too. Fiberglass will suck up a lot of epoxy getting the weave filled and require a lot of sanding to get back down to smooth.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    My view is that it's way less work to glass it as you build it, and if you don't do it now and keep the boat for years, you'll sooner or later find yourself removing all the hardware, sanding and scraping off the paint, and glassing, all the while wondering why you didn't just do it in the first place.

    The caution about fir ply checking is to be taken seriously. I've even seen it check with enough force to tear open fiberglass sheathing. That's uncommon, but a sealer coat of epoxy and paint can't be counted on to hold it together.
    -Dave

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    I built a Glen-L Topper (11' sailing dink) of fir ply in '89. I glassed the seams and bottom, just rolled resin onto the sides. It checked inside under paint, not outside.
    My last two keelboats had no motor for several years. They were a 20' sloop and 26' yawl, about 2000 and 7500 pounds. I rowed each with a single long oar, but not very far nor very often. I found that with practice I could usually use wind or current to get where I wanted. Each boat did have a motor when I bought them, which gave me backup while I learned to sail on and off of docks and moorings.
    Good luck, keep us posted.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Orr View Post
    Hi,
    That's not Wayward Lass, it's Yaviza, built and owned by Cal Cran. An easy mistake, I had to look twice myself. Cal sailed with me on Wayward Lass before he built Yaviza and I guess he liked the colour combo, however I don't have a bowsprit plus a couple of other small differences. I'm pretty sure that's Howe Sound he's sailing in, just north of Vancouver BC - I may even have taken that picture!
    Oops! Sorry, I should've known that was Wayward Lass's twin. I spent a lovely rainy Saturday this winter reading everything at Chebacco.com and saw many reports of your adventures! You can see the progression of the internet by seeing those low-quality pictures from the '90s. It's inspiring to see how Wayward Lass has stood the test of time! I even saw your (long) oars plans - they got me thinking about the possibility of motorless cruising.
    Chris Smead

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by SHClark View Post
    Glass v No Glass doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition.
    You can glass parts of the boat, without glassing all of the boat.
    Hmmm... Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too. Thanks for the encouragement.
    Chris Smead

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    As usual we need more specific info to give specific answers. If using doug fir marine ply you'll want to glass it inside and out -- just paint won't keep it from checking as mentioned above. If Meranti or Occume you can glass the seams, the bottom and garboard strake at a minimum, and just paint the rest. If it will be stored outside uncovered, you'll want to glass the topsides, deck and cabin also.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    I gather you are building the sheet-ply version as opposed to the glued-lapstrake one?
    Yes, sheet-ply version.

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    On the "pro" side for some level of sheathing...I have had a few issues with the marine plywood (okume and meranti) checking over time. I've been fighting a growing number of areas that are varnished on Marianita's cabinsides. Same sheet of plywood for both sides so it might be that particular piece. But there a couple of spots along her forest green sheerstrake (on the sunny side) that have checked this year. .
    Oh man, you mean this beautiful creature?

    eun

    What a joy. Amazing work! Your boat might be my favorite. I remember following your build thread a few years ago when our youngest was just an infant. I had many sleepless nights and Samantha and I had many conversations about your boat while everyone else was in bed. Sorry about your bad panel. I hope that's the cause!

    In any case, my boat will live on a trailer and hopefully avoid much of the long-term exposure of her cousins who are on moorings or slips.

    Samantha is 4 now. Here's a picture of the whole crew from a few months back. You can tell they need a sailboat.




    Chris Smead

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    As usual we need more specific info to give specific answers. If using doug fir marine ply you'll want to glass it inside and out -- just paint won't keep it from checking as mentioned above. If Meranti or Occume you can glass the seams, the bottom and garboard strake at a minimum, and just paint the rest. If it will be stored outside uncovered, you'll want to glass the topsides, deck and cabin also.
    I haven't committed yet. I have 2 sheets of doug fir ply meant for a previous project.

    Boats

    A few years ago, I had a mind to build a sailing umiak as a kind of "transition boat" to see if the whole family would enjoy cruising together. I had the plans drawn (after reading Skip Snaith's wonderful book) and the material sourced. Then I thought to myself, "You know what? Once you build this umiak, it will take up the whole garage, and it will actually delay you getting the boat you really want." I made a Gentry River Pram instead (barely seen on the ceiling in the picture above) and we love using that!

    I plan to use the existing 2 sheets of doug fir ply for the flat bottom and certainly glass that inside and out. The rest I'm still mulling over. I need to protect the underwater bits as best I can, without adding too much weight and unpleasantness. We destroyed the daggerboard on the pram last summer on something unseen beneath the water's surface. Around here, most of the bottom is sandy, but you never know what you'll find!Boats
    Last edited by csmead; 05-15-2019 at 11:31 AM.
    Chris Smead

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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by csmead View Post
    Yes, sheet-ply version.



    Oh man, you mean this beautiful creature?



    What a joy. Amazing work! Your boat might be my favorite. I remember following your build thread a few years ago when our youngest was just an infant. I had many sleepless nights and Samantha and I had many conversations about your boat while everyone else was in bed. Sorry about your bad panel. I hope that's the cause!

    In any case, my boat will live on a trailer and hopefully avoid much of the long-term exposure of her cousins who are on moorings or slips.

    Samantha is 4 now. Here's a picture of the whole crew from a few months back. You can tell they need a sailboat.




    Yes, that is Marianita (she now sports a dyneema peak halyard so the sail stays set much better than in that picture) thank you for the kind words.

    Chebacco is a fine looking craft with a cockpit much better suited to holding your family than Eun Mara. I do think you will need to build a couple of small tenders for the kids though.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Most of the plywood for a Chebacco is 12mm thick, and I am sure she could be built in thinner ply. It would also save you to build the bilge panel in 2 layers of 6 mm because that panel would be less stiff. And ocoume is much lighter then the other kinds.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Well, I decided to build the hull using Okoume ply and started on the molds, stem, and centerboard trunk.
    Summer progress
    Chris Smead

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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    The trunk needed a mix of lumber and ply and has only a tiny hole in the top for the line used to raise and lower the board (the pendant?).
    Summer progress
    Chris Smead

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    I used the measurements in the plans to create a fair curve for the stem pattern. Since they were together, I made the inner and the outer.
    Summer progress
    Chris Smead

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Since the stem required 7 layers of ply to get the required thickness, there was lots of slippery pieces to hold together. I should've practiced the procedure before doing it with actual glue! I think I managed to get close enough to the shape, then shaped the blank a few days later. Maybe a few weeks, now that I think about it!
    Summer progress
    Summer progress
    Chris Smead

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    I tried to construct the hull bottom (which is flat) using Payson's method of fiberglass butt joints. Why did I make my first attempt upon the largest joint in the whole boat? Yes, good question. I messed it up. It's supposed to go: Wet out fiberglass tape and ply ends with epoxy, lay out on (plastic-protected) floor, wet out new ply ends, apply fiberglass tape on top, saturate with epoxy and squeeze out bubbles with a painter's edge.

    I'm not sure if you can see, but there are air bubbles under the fiberglass tape. I had to perform some surgery on the big joint. Then, I had to completely remake the small joint (nearest the bow). I suspected my butt joints were not completely straight and there were some voids between the sections. I was able to fill some in, but I think I will eventually have to back up this joint with a butt block once the hull is flipped, just in case. (Something tells me this one's important - the CB trunk cuts right across it...).

    Nearest the bow, I remade the joint using some thickened epoxy between the butted edges. I also needed to make a small fillet, as the forward section of the bottom is made of Okoume 12mm, whereas the rest of the bottom is made of Doug. Fir 5/8", which I had on hand. Hopefully I can make that ledge disappear when it's time to think about painting! Right now I just want to make a solid hull.
    Summer progress
    Summer progress
    Chris Smead

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    I sat in a chair for a long time thinking about what I could've done differently. Payson made it sound so simple! Anyway, I laid some blue tape and a straight line and measured offsets to join my side panels. I used more epoxy this time to really saturate the tape. I also used a bit of thickened epoxy in the actual joint. Then, after using a roller to remove air bubbles, I lay down some saran wrap and plywood and screwed it down just to hold it together. They are curing in my garage now. I'm nervous to look in the morning...
    Summer progress
    Chris Smead

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    All glass vs no glass is only going to make a weight saving of maybe 20kg, 40ish lb for the whole boat - you can save that much and more, by just not putting so much carp on/in the boat, and not "over engineering" what is a proven design.
    I glassed up to the waterline, and the entire deck/cabintop on the Pathfinder I built, so as others have said, it's not an all or nothing decision.
    With little ones on board, I'd go the gas outboard route, just because - I'm sure you know how the kids in our lives can throw some real curveballs. But that's me.

    Pete
    Don't underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers!

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Now some of the un-straightness in the joints was caused by something I haven't told you yet: I'm building the boat 5" shorter than in the plans so it will fit in my garage. "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard." Yes, I know, it's a bummer. I recently discovered my HOA will not allow permanently stored boats or boat trailers on the property. However, after fuming about it for a few days, I realized there would be a few advantages to storing the boat permanently in the garage, especially during hurricane season. Also, the finish might hold up longer, etc. I quickly investigated the practice of scaling a boat's length. Most of my information came from this forum, actually. It seems that boats often get stretched more successfully than "smooshed," but we're only talking about 2.5%, so I think it'll be fine. Here's hopin'!

    However, it meant that, while measuring things out, every 4' becomes 47". Things got more confusing than i thought. Also, I don't cut lines in plywood as straight as I thought.
    Chris Smead

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Looking forward to following your build. I've been thinking about Chebacco a bit recently after reading Mike O'Brien's review in the 2010 Small Boats.

    If it's not too late you could try your hand at scarfing your plywood joints. It's not as hard as it seems. I've never done a butt joint on my boats, but it would seem that using differing thicknesses of ply might not be so good.

    Good luck, and keep the photos coming!

    Mike

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by epoxyboy View Post
    I'd go the gas outboard route, just because - I'm sure you know how the kids in our lives can throw some real curveballs. But that's me.
    Pete
    I understand, I just wish there was another way and maybe this is an experiment. Years ago John Welsford's thread about Long Steps inspired me to the possibilities of cruising without a motor. While Long Steps seems to be more suited for solo cruising and even overnights at sea, I want to take the whole crew island-hopping over multiple days, albeit with primitive accommodations. I'm willing to take more time to account for tides, winds, etc., then plan around them. I also realize I will need to build in safety features that don't depend on an outboard. I am open to suggestions in this regard! I'll definitely be asking about them when I get closer to fitting everything out.
    Chris Smead

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon1 View Post
    Looking forward to following your build. I've been thinking about Chebacco a bit recently after reading Mike O'Brien's review in the 2010 Small Boats.

    If it's not too late you could try your hand at scarfing your plywood joints. It's not as hard as it seems. I've never done a butt joint on my boats, but it would seem that using differing thicknesses of ply might not be so good.
    Mike
    Mike, thanks, I haven't seen that article!

    I thought about scarfs and used them with the lumber on the spars made so far. i just wanted to try Payson's fiberglass method. Besides, my side panels run a whole sheet of plywood, which means I'd have to make a little pyramid-shaped bridge-scarf piece? Seemed to complicated given that the side panels are laid out in the plans for full-sheets.
    Chris Smead

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Well, turns out my fiberglass joints came out alright on the side panels:
    New light
    Chris Smead

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    I also figured I'd put some better lighting in the garage. When it was cloudy, I was having to wear my headlamp, for goodness sakes! I got an 8-pack of LEDs from Barilla or something on Amazon:
    New light
    Chris Smead

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    With my new bright lights, I tried to lay out the backbone, square and level. I put it on casters so I could move the whole thing around, which I will have to do given the constraints of my relatively small garage (19' 10"). I put some time into squaring things up - I messed that up on a SOF boat once and regretted it every time I used it!
    August 14 update
    Then I put up Bulkhead #4, the biggest one, which spans the centerboard trunk and serves as the divider between the cockpit and cuddy-cabin.
    August 14 update
    Chris Smead

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    I glued the framing to the transom. This part confused me. The plans have bevel angles for each face (seems straightforward) but also give a diagram and say, "Dimensions inside 1 1/2" transom," and "Dimensions inside 1/2" planking." Does that mean dimensions are for the plywood, or for the framing? I took it to mean the plywood, then gave my framing a little extra on each side to account for the bevel. Does that seem right?
    August 14 update
    Chris Smead

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Without looking at the plans, I can say that the dimensions decrease going aft, as the side and bottom panels curve inward and upward. So the inside/forward dimensions are largest. But leaving a bit extra won't hurt, because it's much easier to take wood off than put it on.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by FF View Post
    Most of the plywood for a Chebacco is 12mm thick, and I am sure she could be built in thinner ply. It would also save you to build the bilge panel in 2 layers of 6 mm because that panel would be less stiff. And ocoume is much lighter then the other kinds.
    It would not surprise me to find out that the numbers suggested 3/8" and since for some reason 3/8" is a pox upon the universe, nobody ever has good 3/8 ever, that it was altered to 1/2"
    2019: returning from being sidelined with medical probs, crossing fingers worst is over, still in "armchair enthusiast" mode for time being.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by Plyboy View Post
    that it was altered to 1/2"
    Well maybe. If I use less fiberglass, I better use more wood, though. I'll stick with 1/2" this time.
    Chris Smead

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    Without looking at the plans, I can say that the dimensions decrease going aft, as the side and bottom panels curve inward and upward. So the inside/forward dimensions are largest. But leaving a bit extra won't hurt, because it's much easier to take wood off than put it on.
    Now that makes sense to me! Okay, I transferred the lines to inside the 1" framing and cut. I messed it up on one edge. Can you see it in the picture?
    Transom shaping
    Chris Smead

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Here's a closer shot. It should be beveled towards the aft side, as you said. For some reason, my circular saw just got off a little bit and I just happened to have a stray line that followed that direction and.... boom, I lost some of the wood I needed. I'm going to have to lay on the plank, then see how much I can fill with epoxy. For now, I"ll leave it.
    Transom shaping
    Chris Smead

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