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Thread: Big Tortoise build

  1. #1
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    Default Big Tortoise build

    Before I started this build, I did some internet research and couldn't find much on building the "Big Tortoise." There's some information on the original tortoise, which was very helpful, but not a lot on the bigger version. I thought I would start this thread to help anyone in the future with some build suggestions and pictures. Thanks to everyone on the forum that has given advice on building an exterior frame vs. an interior frame. I opted for building the frames on the outside as is suggested by H.H. Payson. The reason being cleanout of the interior will be easier and the inside of the boat will not collect as much debris. So, here we go . . . IMG_1846.jpg IMG_1841 - Copy.jpgIMG_1842.jpg

    The pictures above are from cutting out the side panels after drawing out the pattern on plywood and using a batten to "round". The next two pictures show the exterior chine being "tacked" to one side. I felt that getting the chines "right" was a little difficult. The designs have recommendations for measuring and cutting to fit, but it was more difficult than I thought. I finally used the top of the side panel to measure down and "level" the middle chine. Then I cut the fore and aft chines after the mid ship chine was in place.

    IMG_1848.jpg

    The above picture is of the bow transom after frames are cut and beveled, but before being "tacked" to the side panels. I recommend cutting the top or bottom frame to shape per the pattern and attaching it to the transom panel, then cut the bevel in the plywood, and attach the frame to the transom plywood. After one is attached, I "temporarily fit it" to the side panels, then marked the plywood and the other frame where they needed to be cut. I then cut the next frame, beveled it, beveled the plywood, and tacked the second frame to the plywood. This was easier than cutting the frame and transom plywood and trying to fit it all together. I messed one up before I got smart and measured and marked as I went.

    IMG_1852.jpg

    The above picture is of the sides and transoms after they were "tacked" together.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    IMG_1859.jpgThis is a side view of the bottom panel after I "tacked" it to the side chines and frames. On a side note, if anyone can tell me how to rotate my photos so they are up and down on this forum, please send me a PM and let me know how. I'd like the pictures to be easier to see.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Looks great to me! A bit late now, but here is what I wrote about building my first boat, a Bolger Brick, many years ago.

    https://sites.google.com/site/molepages/brick
    *******
    Matthew Long
    Bolger fan (Brick, Yellow Leaf, June Bug, Tortoise and half a Teal)
    Dreaming of a small cruiser from Atkin, Bolger, Buehler or Parker
    www.cluttonfred.info (I also like homebuilt airplanes!)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Cluttonfred, Thanks for the post! I was just considering what to do for paint when I'm finished. I'll epoxy resin the whole thing. . . so oil - based primer and exterior latex paint will stick to the epoxy???

    Let me know what you think.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Nice boat.
    I use exterior alkyd enamel on the fiberglassed decks of my boat.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    I think epoxy and glass on the chines is enough, no need to add a lot of extra weight.
    *******
    Matthew Long
    Bolger fan (Brick, Yellow Leaf, June Bug, Tortoise and half a Teal)
    Dreaming of a small cruiser from Atkin, Bolger, Buehler or Parker
    www.cluttonfred.info (I also like homebuilt airplanes!)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Nice.

    As for the pics I can add two bits of semi-advice.

    1. Shoot the originals in landscape mode( phone held sideways) rather than portrait mode. ( vertical)

    2. There may be the ability in your phone or on your computer to convert a portrait pic to a landscape pic.


    Thanks for sharing your build.

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Pictures from work today.

    IMG_1865 - Copy.jpgIMG_1866.jpgIMG_1867.jpgIMG_1868.jpg

    These are pictures of the thwart frame and seat. Next step is stern deck.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Very nice!

    A complete step by step build for her is contained in Paysons book Instant Boatbuilding With Dynamite Payson"

    Yeah, I know I'm a little late.....


    I use ordinary semi-gloss exterior latex paint on my plywood boats. When I worked at Ace Hardware I'd occasionally recommend their Porch and Floor paint for boats. The satin is acrylic latex, and the gloss is polyurethane alkyd. I do not recommend gloss paint though! Showes up to much imperfections for me, but maybe you are a better painter than I.


    For an undercoat I've used various stuff- Zinsser 123 primer (mostly because I work in a very cold shop and this stuff can be applied down to 35 degrees) and sometimes just Bondo polyester resin thinned with acetone. Payson recommended sealing plywood boats with thinned resin, either epoxy or polyester, whichever he was using for that particular boat. Then an undercoat, and top coat. It works well enough'

    For filling nail and screw holes I'm using Bondo putty.

    sailing 052.jpg

    I know I'm probably the last person on the planet to use polyester resin instead of epoxy, but for an inexpensive boat, I don't see why not.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Etdbob,
    Yes. . . the build in H.H. Payson's book is for the smaller "Tortoise." I'm building the "Big Tortoise." The instructions are similiar although the measurements are obviously different. I was referring to the fact that there isn't much on building the "Big Tortoise," including pictures and images. I'm mainly posting this to help someone with the "Big Tortoise," by showing them how I built it.

    Here are the most current pictures of the forward deck. . . IMG_1871.jpgIMG_1872 - Copy.jpgIMG_1873 - Copy.jpg

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Ah, the old, smaller Tortoise is in Paysons earlier book "Build the New Instant Boats" and the Big Tortoise is in his later book "Instant Boatbuilding With Dynamite Payson"

    I have both books, and looked 'em up!

    In the book it says the Big Tortoise was designed for use in the Montgomery boat yard, and thus has fewer details, as the experienced folk at the boat yard were expected to finish her out as they needed. Thus, I believe no thwart arrangement was show for her, and no sail rig.

    Anyway, it isn't as popular as the little one I think, mainly because the small one is so handy to haul up on deck of a small cruiser, and thus makes a decent enough minimum tender.

    Looks like a first class job, and she is going to be a fun little boat! I am enjoying your photos, keep 'em coming!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    I didn't know the "Big Tortoise" was in his second book. Thanks for the correction. I don't have his second book, but I'll be getting it now! You're right . . . there is no design for a thwart seat. I'm also going to attach a heavier stern transom to hold a 12v trolling motor. It will basically be a duck hunting work tender for me. I appreciate the encouragement. While I'm ranting . . . Zinsser 123 primer will stick to the polyester resin? I'll do a google search on it and see if I can get it at our Home Depot or Lowe's.

    Thanks again for the advice!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    New pics of the fore and aft decks, as well as a transom motor mount.Attachment 77623Attachment 77624Attachment 77625Attachment 77626

  14. #14
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    central cal
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    I honestly wouldn’t use resin. Meh. Just paint it well, and you’ll be fine. We have had a bunch of plain old plywood boats; just glued and screwed painted.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Punching in nails and using wood filler to cover.

    IMG_1878.jpg

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    A couple more pictures. . . the first one is of me stirring the fillet and preparing to fill seams. After I filleted the seams, I allowed everything to dry over several days. Then I sanded all the rough surfaces and tried to get it as smooth as I could. This was tough. . . the fillet is, of course, hard as a rock, so I decided I would just knock down the obvious extrusions of glass fillet. The difficulty of this small boat is just what others had told me in a previous post. That is, because of the exterior framing, it is difficult to make everything flush without having imperfections in the fillet and glass applications. The second picture is after the hull was glassed and resined with one coat of polyurethane. I plan to cut the edges of the glass cloth where they over lap after everything dries good. I'll then sand again and get everything as smooth as I can. Next step is to turn it over and glass tape the inside seams and put a coat of polyurethane resin on the inside.IMG_1883.jpgIMG_1890.jpg

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    i have found a sure-form file/rasp blade held in elk skin gloves to work wonders on that FG edge you are needing to deal with

    i cut the blade in 1/2 w/ an angle grinder and spring a gentle curve in the blade as i drag it down the edges of taped seams and taped fillets

    IMG_4873.jpg

    this method makes sanding much easier and quicker
    IMG_4874.jpg

    if you do this just before full cure it is even easier
    doing this w/o wearing the heavy duty elk skin/leather work gloves(not the gardening variety) will turn your finger tips into glass fiber pin cushions(no need to ask how i know)

    BON CHANCE

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Looks like a great idea! Thanks for the tip! I'm going to try it.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    I have to correct something I've been saying in the post thread; I've been using the term "Polyurethane Resin," when in fact, I'm using "Polyester Resin." Most of you probably knew what I meant and went on to read the post anyway! Here are new pictures of the hull fully filleted and glass sheathed. I'm going to turn her over and resin the inside as well as fillet the seams.

    IMG_1892.jpgIMG_1893.jpg

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Looking good!

    excited to see the first fish come over the rail!

    -Derek

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Your big tortoise is looking good! Can I suggest Lonesome George as a name? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonesome_George
    *******
    Matthew Long
    Bolger fan (Brick, Yellow Leaf, June Bug, Tortoise and half a Teal)
    Dreaming of a small cruiser from Atkin, Bolger, Buehler or Parker
    www.cluttonfred.info (I also like homebuilt airplanes!)

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Quote Originally Posted by cluttonfred View Post
    Your big tortoise is looking good! Can I suggest Lonesome George as a name? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lonesome_George
    as in Lonesome George Gobel ? ;-)

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Or Lonesome George Thorogood...? ;-
    *******
    Matthew Long
    Bolger fan (Brick, Yellow Leaf, June Bug, Tortoise and half a Teal)
    Dreaming of a small cruiser from Atkin, Bolger, Buehler or Parker
    www.cluttonfred.info (I also like homebuilt airplanes!)

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Me too! I think it will work great for suspended crappie!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    I think "Lonesome George" is a fitting name given the back story you posted. I love it. . . I will definitely scribe that name on the side. Thanks for sharing!

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    One names, FWIW, my Tortoise never got a name, in fact, it never made it to the water. We painted it black and white with gunports and flew the Jolly Roger from a shovel handle and it lived in the back yard. My kids were on a pirate kick back then, so if it had a name it must have been Black Pearl, and we left it behind for the next family when we moved. Our Brick built in the USA was named Tetard (French for tadpole) and the June Bug built in France was named Polliwog (another word for tadpole, of course). The Yellow Leaf canoe never got a name, just the canoe. ;-)
    *******
    Matthew Long
    Bolger fan (Brick, Yellow Leaf, June Bug, Tortoise and half a Teal)
    Dreaming of a small cruiser from Atkin, Bolger, Buehler or Parker
    www.cluttonfred.info (I also like homebuilt airplanes!)

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Adding three strakes to the hull. Not for speed, but because the boat will be a duck hunting tender and will be drug through shallow water, and probably a little bit of dry land or rock. Also, I wanted something to help hold the boat "true" when underway with a trolling motor.


    IMG_1905.jpg

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    The cold weather put me behind a little. . . here are pictures of the the base coat of paint after it was applied.

    IMG_1926.jpg

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Finally finished with the "Big Tortoise." AKA . . . Lonesome George.

    Thanks to everyone for all their suggestions and input on my posts. Next is the Maiden Voyage!

    IMG_1934.jpgIMG_1933 - Copy.jpgIMG_1932.jpg

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Looks great!

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

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Looks like nice, neat work. Can you explain what the little shelves are for port and starboard? And the black trim is an interesting choice...won't the thwart get hot in the sun?
    *******
    Matthew Long
    Bolger fan (Brick, Yellow Leaf, June Bug, Tortoise and half a Teal)
    Dreaming of a small cruiser from Atkin, Bolger, Buehler or Parker
    www.cluttonfred.info (I also like homebuilt airplanes!)

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Quote Originally Posted by cluttonfred View Post
    Looks like nice, neat work. Can you explain what the little shelves are for port and starboard? And the black trim is an interesting choice...won't the thwart get hot in the sun?
    The shelves are for a gun rack, fish finder, or rod holders if I so desire. I wanted to build them in while I was building the "shell" of the boat (so to speak HA!). Yes. I'm guessing the thwart will get hot in the sun. I probably won't have to worry too much about that though because 90% of the time the boat will be used as a duck hunting tender (in the winter). The temperatures when I duck hunt rarely get above 50 degrees for the high temperature each day. When/if I do take it fishing in spring or summer, I'll put one of the square life floats on the thwart to sit on.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Hehe, that's the first time in a long time I have heard anybody talk about a gun rack on a boat. I imagine you with a big 10 gauge goose gun like in the old Field & Stream magazines. ;-)
    Last edited by cluttonfred; 03-01-2021 at 09:17 AM.
    *******
    Matthew Long
    Bolger fan (Brick, Yellow Leaf, June Bug, Tortoise and half a Teal)
    Dreaming of a small cruiser from Atkin, Bolger, Buehler or Parker
    www.cluttonfred.info (I also like homebuilt airplanes!)

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Hello CL,
    We followed your build and enjoyed the simplicity of the design and how you carefully cut and assembled her with such care.

    Congrats on a thoughtful build that also looks great!

    Stay safe, stay healthy.

    J.
    "Ships are the nearest thing to dreams that hands have ever made." Robert N. Rose

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Big Tortoise build

    Looks like a first class job!

    Actually, I expected a camo paint job. That's what most duck boats get in my neck of the woods.

    I've been thinking, I do think you should have some form of auxiliary propulsion, and I can certainly understand your reluctance to use oars. I like rowing but my wife flat hates it, and can't understand how anyone could enjoy not seeing where you're going! A canoe paddle would not be much use, but a two-piece kayak paddle would work well in that little boat, and store inside easily. At just over three feet wide and with a tall center thwart it would work well enough to get you back to the ramp when the battery goes flat.

    Don't drop your shotgun in the water!

    My neighbor dropped both his in the drink last winter. His highfalutin' under/over actually froze up ( temp was in the 20's) but his Benelli still worked, which was just the opposite of what we expected to happen. By the by, he bought a used plastic canoe to do what you'll be doing in Lonesome George. Your boat is far superior for the task, and easy to put in the back of a pickup!

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