Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Laredo, TX, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    Hello this is my first post. I went to the Woodenboat School 2017, took the intro to boatbuilding and a few other boatbuilding courses and figure it's time to jump in and just start. I've done a few wood projects but I still consider myself a novice. I'm the type that learns by doing. I'm thinking of doing a Swampscott Dory 17 foot for sailing. I'm using the John Gardner Dory Book. The only room I have for lofting at this time is on the balcony which has a roof over it. It's a big balcony with plenty of space. It's not ideal but it's all I got for the time being. The garage is packed with stuff right now. I just wanted to do the lofting then later I can move this over into the garage which is more sheltered.

    Anyhow I have questions on lofting.

    1. Do I get normal sanded plywood and then paint it white? Maybe 3 4x8 feet by 1 inch sheets because the boat is 17 feet. It'd be a waste of a 3rd sheet since I only need another foot but it wouldn't hurt either. What do you guys normally use to attach the sheets together? Will the plywood bend too much since it'll technically be outside on a balcony but under the shade of a roof? It doesn't rain often where I live.

    2. I live in Texas so most of the stores around me don't have battens for sale. Is there an online store you guys recommend?

    3. I haven't checked the lumberyards in San Antonio, TX yet but if they don't have Northern white pine where would you guys recommend in terms of an online store?

    4. I don't want to work on the floor with knee pads so maybe put sawhorses every few feet to lay the lofting sheets on. What do you guys normally do?

    Thank you.

    -Tristan
    Last edited by trist007; 10-23-2020 at 05:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Salt Spring Island, BC
    Posts
    7,489

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    Welcome Tristan.

    Build an 18' by 4' frame on 24" centers from 2x4 up on 3 sawhorses. Screw down 8 + 8 + 2 feet of 1/4 inch ply. Paint it with flat white latex. Now you're ready.

    Loft your 3 views with 3 different colors. Get a couple of good erasers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Laredo, TX, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    Awesome thank you!!

    -Tristan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Walney, near Cumbria UK
    Posts
    51,326

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    It is possible to save ply by overlapping the lofting. Draw each end separately, using say three stations in the middle for lofting both ends.
    Scan_20201023.jpg
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
    The weakness of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    PNW, an island west of Seattle
    Posts
    2,557

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    I used mdo plywood for my lofting. That product has a very smooth, paper, face. It's exterior grade, commonly used by sign painters. It's costly stuff though. I would not do a split lofting as Nick suggests. It's possible to do, of course, but for the first time do yourself a favor and don't add this level of confusion to the mix. You'll be confused enough.

    Jeff

  6. #6

    Default

    No reason to paint it. Doesn’t matter the thickness. Just get one 1:4 sanded sheet and scale the lofting down. Do it and get a feel for it. Then u will understand things firm there.

    Spray paint the other side of that plywood and rip some strips or a straight edge what ever ur needing it for.

    One sheet, straight edge, pencil... get going

    Also get a Japanese pull saw for 35$ on amazon u will need it. Good luck


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Salt Spring Island, BC
    Posts
    7,489

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    I disagree re; painting. It's so much easier to see the lines on flat white. But then my eyes with 146 years of combined experience are something less than they used to be.

    Also, I forgot to answer your question about fairing battens. Look through the framing lumber for a 20 footer of something that you can rip one or 2 nice straight grained clear battens off of the edge of. 5/8 by 5/8 square or there abouts should do it. If you get them out of 2x6 the remainder can go towards your 2x4 lofting table frame.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Laredo, TX, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    good stuff

    What about a good online store to purchase northern white pine? Or do you think a professional lumberyard would carry or be able to order it? I'm near San Antonio, TX.

    -Tristan

  9. #9

    Default

    I m building a skiff out of clear white pine that calls for western red cedar. No doubt cedar is better but way to expensive for me. U r in Texas. Wooden boats were built there at some time. They didn’t import it. U just don’t want knots (over simplified I know)

    The most important thing is u build a boat. If u want u can get wrapped around the axle on every single detail

    My advice is find a place. Look up custom lumber San Antonio. Give them a call explain ur Budget and what ur looking for and see what u can get locally


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Salt Spring Island, BC
    Posts
    7,489

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    You're in Texas where it's so hot and dry some of the time that planking gotten from lumber will be a real problem. You would be much better off using Hydro-Tek, that's BS1088, or Aqua-Tek, which is BS6566 and slightly less expensive. It's been my experience that there's not enough difference to matter. It has also been my experience that besides being far too unstable for your environment white pine rots too damned quickly. Not everyone will have had that experience. Good for them, but I will never use it again.

    https://www.westwindhardwood.com/pro...anti-mahogany/
    Last edited by Gib Etheridge; 10-23-2020 at 08:46 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    landlocked in Mt. Solon, VA
    Posts
    785

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    You can also make battens by scarfing shorter pieces. Here are 10 foot pieces scarfed together to make 19' 6" battens. Blocks of scrap wood aligned with a string and screwed to the floor make a simple jig. battens glued 05.jpgSorry about the photo rotation.

    Redneck drafting ducks made from bricks and scrap lumber:

    black batten 09.jpg
    "George Washington as a boy
    was ignorant of the commonest
    accomplishments of youth.
    He could not even lie."

    -- Mark Twain

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Charleston, SC USA
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    Avoid the big box stores because the quality of the products sold there really suck.
    Avoid most lumber yards. Their market is dimensional lumber for building construction.
    Try to find a sawmill locally. They will likely be agreeable to milling rough lumber for you. There must be several within a 100 miles.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Riverside, RI, USA
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    1. I just dropped 5mm doorskin ply on my garage floor, butted the edges together and dropped some weights on them to make sure they didn't slide around. If you don't want to crawl on the floor, follow Gib's advice.

    Overlapping the lofting to save one sheet of ply isn't worth the extra effort or confusion (or risk of doing it wrong with the added confusion). You'll find another use for the offcut.

    Paint it white. It will help you see better, and you need to see easily to determine if your lines are fair.

    2. You can scarf battens out of cheap pine from a big box store if you search through it long enough and resaw it to get the clear stuff. That'll let you get started lofting while you search for a yard that can provide boat building quality lumber, which can be a real chore.

    Also, consider something other than NWP. My understanding is that the stuff Gardner talks about is good old growth material and doesn't exist anymore. Today's Northern/Eastern white pine will rot fairly quickly.

    4. Follow Gib's advice.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Charleston, SC USA
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    Consider finding a mill in Louisiana that can supply Cypress lumber for your build.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Providence,RI USA
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    Yes. Cypress seems like a cool solution if you go traditional.

    Also take lots of photos!

    Mike

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Padanaram, MA USA
    Posts
    9,901

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    As a recidivist septuagenarian, I don’t bend over as well as I did, so lofting on the floor is out of the question.

    I have a box beam built from a couple of I-beam joists that serves as strongback for the build and spine for the lofting table. It’s about the length of the current boat project. My first one of these was still dead-nuts straight after twenty years, much of it outdoors. In use, it’s raised to whatever height makes things easy. For lofting, a couple of milk cases under each end brings the top to about 34”.

    As lofting table top, I use cheap underlay plywood, painted white and screwed to the box beam. Joints between sheets of ply at overhangs are supported with glued-on plywood scabs at the corners.

    For building, forms, stems and other props are screwed to the strongback.

    Having the setup on the moveable strongback makes it possible to move the setup around the shop if I need extra space, like milling long stock. I’ve used moving dollies to make this easier.
    Last edited by JimConlin; 10-25-2020 at 07:59 PM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    749

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    My boat is 26'7" between perpendiculars, and my garage floor isn't flat, because of course, it was poured with a drain at the 1/3 point. I got a bunch of sawhorses, shimmed them with a vinyl hose level, then some 2x4, then cheap chip-board, then 1/4" luan. final size 28' x 8'. But then I made a separate board for the fore and aft view body plan, 5' x 9' from two layers of 1/4" glued together. Check your paint before you do the whole thing because the primer I used at first didn't take pencil lines for some bizarre reason. I wasn't able to keep the lofting together while I built due to lack of space, but it was very very useful to have the stem section, the sternpost section, and the body plan accessible leaning against the wall while I built. It's cruel, but the lofting is the first thing you do as a new boatbuilder and I was hyper-aware of my ignorance, and how I could be making irreparable mistakes. Mostly it worked out, but the side wash-decks were of a varying width and slope to drain water. I lofted those before build and years later when I actually started to build them, I became painfully aware that the line of combing when viewed from the opposite side (as when the boat is heeled toward you,) had to be virtuous and I fought with battens and temporary supports for days trying to make it both look good and shed water. Then I built deck beams to go from the sheer to meet the batten, every one had compound bevels on both ends, let into the sheer log. :-(

    Have fun and keep as much of the lofting as you possibly can.


    Ken

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Laredo, TX, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    Thank you all for the fantastic responses.

    -Tristan

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    749

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    oh, one other thing about battens, the building supply places are now carrying long trim patterns in some kind of plastic. Sacrilege I know, but thinner stuff for the body plan, and rectangular sections that you can use on edge or on the flat for different stiffness for your long lines, cheap and useful.

    Ken

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Mukilteo, WA
    Posts
    3,152

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    Just don't use mdf trim for battens. It is very flexible but does not bend in a fair curve. The plastic stuff might be better.

    One doesn't just order lofting battens online....

    A good lumber supplier will have clear lumber you can scarf to length. Use very long scarfs to assure a fair curve. 14:1 or so.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Desert Hot Springs, Calif
    Posts
    1,213

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    a few years ago I suggested using azek plastic trim lumber for battens. this stuff is widely available thru lumber yards. come in pretty long planks- but in most cases one will need to order. in advance of need. one plank should be enough for a lifetime supply for any hobbist. bends nicely and uniform.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    749

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    Another thing mentioned by Harry Bryan in some WB issue is that battens that are slightly funky can be really useful. If you rip a bunch of battens out of various stock and taper some of them you can keep a quiver and scrabble thru the pile as you work. Many boat curves run flat for some time then the curvature accelerates, especially buttocks. My best battens came out of some 100 year old clear fir bead-board I removed from my attic, 7/16 on one axis and 1" on the other, these got all the long-lines on a very curvy 27' Mackinaw boat, then the body plan lines came out of plastic trim and some tapered wooden battens. You can also take a plastic or wooden batten and split the last couple of feet of it so that part bends easier but still fair. Whatever you do, strike a lot of diagonals, maybe more than the drawings show and make sure those are fair. IMHO, those are the lines that water runs along when the boat moves.

    Ken

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Now, there's a long story...
    Posts
    1,663

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    Once upon a time, when I worked in a sail loft and so we had reasonable access to what seemed like an unlimited supply, we simply used uncut fiberglass battens that were destined to find their way into sails.
    Heute ist so ein schöne Tag...

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Norwich,United Kingdom
    Posts
    7,565

    Default Re: Questions about setting up the lofting table...

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    Just don't use mdf trim for battens. It is very flexible but does not bend in a fair curve. The plastic stuff might be better.

    One doesn't just order lofting battens online....

    A good lumber supplier will have clear lumber you can scarf to length. Use very long scarfs to assure a fair curve. 14:1 or so.
    It used to be possible to buy acrylic splines for old fashioned drawing board use.There may still be a set or two out there.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •