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Thread: Ply and timber dinghy?

  1. #1
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    Default Ply and timber dinghy?

    Hello there,
    I am a carpenter/forester/timber framer/furniture maker. I have always had a fascination with wooden boats, but living quite far from the sea, it has always been a fairly abstract fascination. (Although living quite far from the sea in the UK would probably be classed as living by the sea is the US).

    My fascination has slowly built into a mania and I fear that I am close to taking the unprofitable and time consuming leap into building one!
    Much of my carpentry work revolves around using naturally curved timber and I have access to a range of species of standing timber as well as a sawmill, plenty of good hand tools and woodworking machines. So in this respect I am well set up for building a traditional wooden boat.
    However, after doing lots of reading, I have finally accepted that the kind of boat that would suit my situation is not clinker built using real wood.... It would need to be a vessel that could be taken in and out of the water and dry stored. It will likely be used mostly on rivers, and sometimes launched where there is no proper slipway. So for weight and resilience it seems like ply and epoxy is the way I must go.
    The boat would mostly be used for rowing on the river (quite shallow in places), but I would also like to learn to sail on her (so needs to hold 2 people in this configuration) and it would be nice to have the possibility of attaching an electric outboard.

    I am leaning towards a clinker ply pram dinghy around 10-12ft, something like the Francois Vivier Laita or CLC passagemaker, although I am not set on the pram style. BUT, as I am approaching this from the angle of firstly wanting to build a wooden boat, and being that I have always tried to avoid sheet materials and glues in my work, I do not feel that enthusiastic about building a 100% plywood boat. It is not simplicity and speed of build that I am after. I want something that has beauty and curves and uses some of the fantastic properties of wood!

    I notice that some of the Vivier Ilurs combine plywood with actual wood, and am interested in whether I could do something like this with a smaller dinghy, perhaps buying the fullsize Laita plans and the study plans for the classic Ilurs, to see how the timber elements are included.
    A there any many other small boats out there with ply hulls and timber frames, knees etc. And is it actually a practical design or is it just aesthetic window dressing on something that would function better without?

    Any tips, pointers or pictures of pretty boats would be greatly appreciated!
    Cheers

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Hi, and welcome to the forum
    Even clinker ply, or multi chine ply will need knees, and grown knees are always the best if like you, you can access them.

    Look here https://www.woodenboatstore.com/coll...nd-prams-plans
    or
    http://www.oughtredboats.com/
    Personally I like Norwegian praams
    https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=...w=1280&bih=882
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Ply and timber dinghy?

    Prams are a nice shape; lots of space for the length.

    Designer Phil Bolger described a 12 foot pram as a 14 foot boat with its nose cut off.

    Kevin


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    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Depending on the lapstrake/clinker ply design you select, there can be a LOT of work with solid wood -- trust me! The interior of my Caledonia Yawl is mostly solid wood, as are the spars, sticks, oars, foils, etc.

    Vivier's Seil might meet your needs for a proper Sail & Oar™ boat -- lovely lines, does well in various European RAIDs, and has a sexy little pram bow too. http://www.vivierboats.com/en/product/seil-18/

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Furthest you can get from the sea in the UK is "Cotton in Elms" in Derbyshire at 70 miles...But there are plenty of rivers lakes and reservoirs within that..

    I was wanting to sailing from the age of around 10.. living then 45 miles from the sea.. careful, it becomes an obsession. I eventually moved to the broads so I can sail all year round..

    As for boat designs of any type, I've always liked Selway- Fisher, he has a great range of plans for all types.. https://www.selway-fisher.com/GPDinghyup13.htm
    Just an amateur bodging away..

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Strip and glass boats can be lightweight, pretty, and need not contain plywood.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Thanks folks.

    I'm a fan of the clinker look so think I'd probably go for clinker ply rather than strip build or cold molded.

    I've found a few photos now of dinghies that combine clinker ply and solid wood. I was very suprised when I learnt that Roger Barnes' Ilur had a ply hull. It looks very traditional.

    Are there any issues with differencial rates of expansion on parts like the keel and the gunwhales if you are mixing ply and solid wood?

    I am intending to build something that can be loaded onto my pickup so I would need to be wary of adding unnecessary weight.

    Cheers!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peat View Post
    Are there any issues with differencial rates of expansion on parts like the keel and the gunwhales if you are mixing ply and solid wood?

    Cheers!
    They have been building ply boats on real wood backbone and stringers for decades without any problems.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Here's two rather nice prams you may wish to look at. Both can be either trad timber or ply:-
    http://www.jordanwoodboats.com/wood-...p?s=dulcibella
    http://simonwattsfurniture.com/norwe...ling-pram.html

    Nick

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Quote Originally Posted by NickW View Post
    Here's two rather nice prams you may wish to look at. Both can be either trad timber or ply:-
    http://www.jordanwoodboats.com/wood-...p?s=dulcibella
    http://simonwattsfurniture.com/norwe...ling-pram.html

    Nick
    Lovely stuff!

    I've just discovered the Boat Launching section on woodenboats.com. Some great inspiration there!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    https://www.woodenboat.com/register-...ts/lyova-marie

    Here is an article about my friend Chris Ring's sharpie. Chris is a very detailed builder and good guy. This boat is a great example of a blend plywood and solid wood structure. And lots of really nice wood details after that. He has minimized weight by not having much framing, Instead he has 3/4" pine one lap sides and 1/2" ply bottom, the 3/4" pine lap is very strong The result has been a simple, strong, and pretty sailboat, one that he can run right up onto the ramp. It is the prefect weight for him. His first model was all plywood, and felt it was too light. I sail in company with him from time to time, and can attest to its performance. This boat was built in 1987 and shows no signs of issues handling the constant drying out cycles of him sailing it regularly or the fairly big humidity and temperature swings here in Central Texas. This is an impressive testament that this hybrid method can work.

    Ring.LBL.jpg
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Nice sharpie, but not best suited to British waters. The wide boards for the sides might be a problem to source.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Nice sharpie, but not best suited to British waters. The wide boards for the sides might be a problem to source.
    Right, I was describing more the building system in general, the hybrid solid wood and ply method. Not a design recommendation. I am not sure what is the best model for British river rowing/sailing. One could go with more laps and narrower boards.
    "Yeah, well, that's just, like your opinion man"
    -The Dude-

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Thanks.

    The duck punts aren't pretty enought for my tastes.

    At this stage i'm thinking I will opt for one of the Nowegian style prams, a Vivier Laita or morbic, or an Oughtred Acorn skiff. I am also drawn towards Peapods like the Beach Pea.

    I'm not sure any of these boats would be all that suitable for my local river which has some rapids and shallow rocks, the most appropriate would probably be a canoe or kayak (thats what everyone else on the river uses), but I don't want to build a canoe or kayak, and as 'The Q' said, you are never far in the UK from some more open water.

    Cheers

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    pls find below a list of more than 500 choices

    http://www.tackingoutrigger.com/rowboat3.html

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    If all the components of the boat are soaked in epoxy, that is; fixed, then mixing and matching is absolutely no issue.
    It's all fun and games until Darth Vader comes.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt young View Post
    Right, I was describing more the building system in general, the hybrid solid wood and ply method. Not a design recommendation. I am not sure what is the best model for British river rowing/sailing. One could go with more laps and narrower boards.
    A look at designs used on the Norfolk Broads would be advantageous, all the boats there are designed for navigating some quite narrow rivers..

    A Norfolk Broads dinghy is probably the right style.. of boat to go for.. tacking one up a 20 to 30ft wide river is fun!!
    http://www.norfolkdinghy.com/

    There are plenty of plans for that style of dinghy available for ply and wood construction..
    Just an amateur bodging away..

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Q View Post
    A look at designs used on the Norfolk Broads would be advantageous, all the boats there are designed for navigating some quite narrow rivers..

    A Norfolk Broads dinghy is probably the right style.. of boat to go for.. tacking one up a 20 to 30ft wide river is fun!!
    http://www.norfolkdinghy.com/

    There are plenty of plans for that style of dinghy available for ply and wood construction..
    Thanks. They are nice looking dinghies. I'm struggling to find any plans though.

    Are there any decent dinghy plans with leeboards? It seems like a legitimate design and appeals simply for the extra internal space it gives. I feel like I saw a dinghy with leeboards designed by someone with a good pedigree, but can't think where...

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    If you want to build an attractive clinker ply boat I strongly recommend you have a look at the boats designed by Iain Oughtred - he is an Australian living on Skye whereas I am originally a Scot now living in Australia. Iam about 90% of the way through building the Gannet designed by Iain. This photo was taken in May.
    IMG_1658.jpg
    Recommend you look at lots of designs before you pick one, and if you can try to find boat builders in your area - they will want to help you.

    Regards Neil

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Ply and timber dinghy?

    Second Iain Outghtred. While his boats are usually ply on 'real' wood. Some are from solid wood. You get to choose.
    I am not a fan of epoxy goo, as in in stitch and tape. But happy with it as a glue for lap strake/clinker.

    Actually, your original post puts you more with some of our US friends, who have woodlands to harvest, rather than most that need to hit the local woodyard and see what they have, often dissapointing.
    We luckily have a nearby one that has Origan pine, Douglas fir, Iroko and half decent ply at good prices.
    Last edited by Andrew2; 09-15-2020 at 01:44 PM.

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