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Thread: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

  1. #1
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    Default Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    Good morning, folks. Got kind of an odd request here. I'm in the Houston area and currently working on a 24-foot Sam Devlin design, the Pelicano 23CC. I've got all the bulkheads ready to go, and I'm starting on the longitudinals and the hull panels. Unfortunately, I am too dumb / too impatient / too unskilled to create a halfway decent scarf joint.

    Seeing as how I have about 40 plywood ends that need scarfing, I'm wondering if there's a more experienced builder in the area that would either A) like to make some extra cash by scarfing a bunch of plywood, or 2) be willing to give me a few lessons in how to do it, either for a fee or a few cold ones.

    Frankly, my preference would be option "A," since I've already blown most of my summer and my teenage helper is losing interest in the project while dad swears out in the barn. If I could find somewhere online to order pre-scarfed plywood, I would go that route, but so far I haven't been able to locate a source.

    I know I should learn to do it, and I'm sure half the responses here will include the phrase, "It's not that hard," but I know myself. I am worthless with a handplane, not much better with a power planer, and I have the patience and resolve of a two-year-old. It will be better for everybody if I can outsource this part and then go merrily on my way.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    There are about 20,983,647,182 threads on exactly this subject.

    Look top right... ^^ you will see a search bar.

    What is a 'hull panel' by the way?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    Yep. Seen them all. Tried a bunch. Still can’t do it. Would rather pay for a solution.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    If I were in your area I'd be happy to help by show&tell. It wouldn't cost you a dime. The look on your face when you saw how easy it really is (once one knows how) would be payment enough. I hope another local speaks up. If you don't find a boatbuilder, seek out a custom cabinetmaker or woodworker. Just because scarfs are more typical for boats than for most other things, doesn't mean only boatbuilders can do them.

    Jeff

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    do some tests. hollow the scarphs out a bit.trust the epoxy

  6. #6
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    Default

    Boulter Plywood (Mass.) does scarphed marine ply (up to 16 feet long).

    https://www.boulterplywood.com
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    If I were in your area I'd be happy to help by show&tell. It wouldn't cost you a dime. The look on your face when you saw how easy it really is (once one knows how) would be payment enough. I hope another local speaks up. If you don't find a boatbuilder, seek out a custom cabinetmaker or woodworker. Just because scarfs are more typical for boats than for most other things, doesn't mean only boatbuilders can do them.

    Jeff
    Google Architectural Millwork in your area and call a couple guys; but honestly being useless with a handplane is like saying youre useless with a hairbrush...anybody can cut scraphs.

  8. #8
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    Default

    If you don't trust yourself with a hand plane, build a scarphing jig for a router. Here's one design:



    Here's a WBF thread on the same:

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...fing-Jig-Ideas

    This is the jig made by by one of our company:





    Simplicity itself.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    Looking at the plans I see that the hull is going to get 2 layers of glass anyway so perhaps you can use a router to produce a 10:1 shiplap joint then glass both sides before cutting out your stitch and glue panels.

    I would give it a try on some scraps first, but I have used shiplapped joints in epoxy in areas that are only slightly stressed and ultimately well supported and they worked just fine. Your bends are not at all severe so it may work for you too, especially if you use a fairly heavy, say 8 or 10 oz., glass on the outside face, the one under tension.

    DO try it on a scrap first.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    It's not particularly cheap, but the Gougeon Brothers Scarffer attachment works quite well if attached to a Skillsaw with good power.

    https://www.boatersland.com/wsy875.h...iABEgIWZvD_BwE

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    The Gougeon Scarfer does work. Holy moley!!!! I bought mine a while ago for about $30. I'd better go use it.
    I like the one in Carey's #8 post, but if you need to scarf 4 x 8 panels it would need to be expanded, and if you can't use a plane I wonder if you can make the tool.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    AndrewT, perhaps you could also post in "Building / Repair" subforum - There were / are some Houston area boat builders who posted build threads up there.



    Rick

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    Yes, the Scarffer works. I originally bought mine to scarf two layers of Bruynzeel plywood panels to replace the bottom of an original 18' Simmons Sea Skiff and it worked fine. Glue them up with resin with a little bit of micro fibers mixed in, shoot a few temporary staples in there to keep the pieces aligned and you are good to go. Just remember that even on 1/4" plywood, you will essentially be sawing through a couple inches of wood at an 8:1 scarf ratio, so don't try to do it with a cheap saw and get the proper blade.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    For thin ply i use a belt sander to bring it down to the feathered edges.

    Stack the sheets so the front edges are 6 to 8 times the width of the board from each other - like a set of shallow stairs. 10mm up, 80mm back, 10mm up, 80mm........
    The first first sheet should be overhanging the edge of the table by a millimeter (I think that 26/93rds of a mile in Murican).
    Clamp it down and just take your time. The ply, very helpfully, lets you know if you're going wrong because the parallel lines get squiggley.

    You don't need to go right down to a nothing leading edge. I leave the slightest step, fraction of a millimeter (about 12/19" and allow the epoxy to fill the missing tiny wedge).

    There's plenty of challenges in building a boat. Scarfing sheets is one. None of them are beyond someone giving them a go.
    Before you refuse the first hurdle, maybe have a think before you commit to much money and time......
    It's all fun and games until Darth Vader comes.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    A few years ago I was advised by Chesapeake Light Craft in Annapolis, Md that they sell plywood with “puzzle joints” cut in the edges. These joints are an alternative to scarfing.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    Thanks, DaveH. I contacted them and got a quote. Too pricey for me (about 3x what I would spend locally), but a good option for some.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    Okay, so maybe some more background is in order. (Sorry for posting a question and then disappearing - for some reason I'm not being notified of new replies.) The first few scarfs required are for interior structure - nothing that will ever be seen again after assembly, and nothing that can't be reinforced with butt blocks glued & screwed over the resulting joint if necessary. That being the case, I built a jig much like the one shown above with the router on the two rods. Mine used a router sitting on two stout pieces of angle iron, but the concept was, otherwise, identical. The results were fair. The scarfs (in 3/4" material) were fair and likely usable, but it took FOREVER and a day to complete three of them. Back and forth and back and forth and on and on with a 2" spoilboard cleaning bit and about 1/8" depth of cut each time. It worked, mostly.

    I must've had some kind of layout/geometry issue, because, even though the plywood sheets were staggered by 4" each (the specified length of the scarf), the scarfs weren't the same length on ANY of the three sheets I cut. I don't even know how that's possible. The feather edges were raggedy on all three sheets, too. I don't *think* the angle iron flexed during use, and I know the supports the angle iron rode on didn't flex (3"-square aluminum extrusions), but I don't know why else things would be so funky.

    All of which led me to conclude that I didn't want to use that particular method on $100/sheet marine plywood. I've since built the jig shown here, but haven't run it through a sample piece of plywood yet. I'm hoping it works better than my router jig.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Any Houston-area WoodenBoaters? I need help!

    Update: the jig I referenced in the previous post worked like a charm. I bought a 10-1/4" circular saw to use with it and was able to cut full scarfs in thin plywood in one pass with no additional steps required. Completed 24 scarfs on 18 sheets of plywood in a few hours.

    The big saw was a little intimidating at first, but I quickly became used to it. Biggest issue was the saw doesn't have a blade brake. Worth noting that a 16" version of the saw is available if you wanted to cut thicker material. That would be *really* scary.

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