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Thread: Rowboat confused newby

  1. #1
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    Question Rowboat confused newby

    I only just registered, but I have been reading the forums a long time. The question I have has probably been answered many times but I cant find the answers . I am 72 with Parkinson's , wife of 50 years , 4 granddaughters , I am two blocks from two lakes and I want to build a rowboat that my son or daughter could take their two daughters and spouse out on the water. Done a lot of wood working and carpentry but have not built a boat .Probably only have time to build one but It will be therapeutic as well as fun working on it with friends.
    Requirements are :
    Room and free board to suit 4 adults safely
    used as rowboat or electric motor and prop on rudder , minimum 2 sets of oarlocks (no sailing)
    will be stored on trailer made to maximize support for this boat with tarp
    I am more that a little afraid of using cedar with bad experiences with gassing off bubbling all varnishes.
    I have worked with two part epoxy and glass and I would like to keep that work at a minimum.
    I also have experience with boats that dry out and have to be filed with water and allowed to swell and that is not much fun either.
    I do not want to change the design of the boat as it left a navel architects hands.
    I like the look of lap-strake, but would like to avoid marine plywood
    every requirement listed above does not have to be met and probably can not be in one boat
    I have two questions please.
    Question 1:
    I have looked at Atkins: Bruce Conklin, George, and Little Scout ( my biggest concern is lack of full size patterns)
    Ian Oughtreds Acorn 15 and Acorn 17 (plywood )
    and Yankee Tender (12 ft too small really like it otherwise)
    any suggestions?

    Question 2: Is it wrong to build a lap-strake boat with wood boards, and knees, batons etc by using stainless or bronze screws or ring nails (where suited ) dry fit and use two part epoxy to glue the joints in the floor boards and laps in conjunction with the fasteners.
    Seems to me best o both worlds .

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    I have had 60 views but no one said anything, so maybe I came off like I wanted someone to pick between designers and thats not what I intended. There are advantageous and disadvantages to every boat design, construction method, and material, nothing is perfect but I am not looking for perfect just doable will be fine as long as 4 people can go safe on the water in it and it is maintainable. I will do my best to make it pretty but function comes first. I have to find material and I am looking in local saw mills . The growing season here is short resulting in small growth rings and dense strong wood . The same pine tree grown here or in Alabama and planted at the same time would be 3 to 4 times as tall and same difference of girth, in the south.
    I will probably use W.Pine for the strakes, hard maple for the floor, and the bright shier, paint the outside and inside . I know oak that is local , it will not bend easily and is untrustworthy forced and difficult to make a secure joint . We shall see what is available at reasonable price.
    "reasonable price "to an old man can be a limiting factor that I need to just get around and forget what the price used to be but the big box store wood is much more money than from a small saw mill.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    The problem that I think keep people from replying is that some of your thoughts appear a bit contradictory.

    The first question is whether your Perkinson this far has affected your ability to work with your hands. To my limited knowledge Parkinson is about the connections within the brain dying off so learning a new skill shaping new connections would likely slow down the degradation. Saving yourself by building a boat. That sounds great doesn't it. However if you are too far gone anything but the simplest plywood skiff would be only frustrating.

    The second question is everything you say sounds like a traditional clinker build except that you want a boat that is not damaged by drying out. That is also a bit contradictory.
    Amateur living on the western coast of Finland

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    I have built a few boats using plywood as lapstrake planking with mostly traditional methods, ie sawn frames as molds, w/laminated stem, keel, chine, etc. Using Epoxy resin for scarf joints you can have one piece planks. With glued laps and rebates, no hateful glass, only oil based paint and finishes. One of those boats is now 40 years old and still about as good as the day it was finished, except patina. No leaks ever...
    A flat-bottom skiff is no real chore to loft out full size, and the lofting experience is a good introduction to working with compound curves, which is very different to most woodworking.
    I think Atkin has some of the better looking rowboats.
    A boat for 4 people is going to want about to be about 18 ft as a minimum (my opinion)

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Cedar on oak lapstrake that is clinch nailed can be trailered and dry sailed. So itís possible. The only real red flag in OPís post was the idea of epoxying solid wood planking together. You can epoxy marine plywood planking because itís stable, but solid lumber planking needs to be fastened (and bedded, if thatís your thing). If you epoxy solid lumber planking itíll move and split on you.

    Scarf joints can be epoxied though. Good point there.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Thank you
    I recognize that I was asking for the moon but I thought I would give it a moon shot. I suspect that thermal expansion alone will probably crack the epoxy glue sealing the laps and floor joints. Here the temperature ranges from minus -40 deg F to +98deg F and I cant keep it inside.
    I will avoid glass, use epoxy as glue on the scarfs and use wood planking lapstrake fastened with stainless or bronze screws or ring nails where suited. (no epoxy)
    I can use battens on the floor board gaps. The only thing that I am still at odds with is using cedar because I have not been able to keep any kind of varnish on out door cedar furniture and will probably use white pine.
    I have seen old boats that had treated cotton hammered into the floor board gaps and then covered with batons. Can / should I do something like that?
    With that all settled I will look one more time at Atkin's Little Scout, I can loft it and make my own molds in cheap plywood. That part I have done before. (long story) EDIT: Then I looked again at Ian Oughtred's Acorn 17 . I have to make up my mind.
    thanks for the help
    When I get the mold built and I am satisfied that completion is possible ,I will post the build pictures

    Oh one more question please . On many flat bottom skiffs (none of which are flat) designers show the bottom made from cross boards and also longitudinal
    boards. Does it matter? I think that you have about the same amount of gap surface either way.
    Last edited by Soggy Bottoms; 01-05-2022 at 04:40 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Acorn 17 16'-7' O.A. beam 5'-10" crew 6
    Last edited by Soggy Bottoms; 01-05-2022 at 04:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Atkin Little Scout

    15'-7 WL length
    bredth 3'-10
    draft 6"
    crew 4 adults

    Last edited by Soggy Bottoms; 01-05-2022 at 04:45 AM.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    GDf.jpg

    Apart from the lapstrake look Dave Gentry's Gunning Dory looks to fit your requirements.

    http://gentrycustomboats.com/GunningDory.html


    Edited to add: it is 8 1/2 hours since you started this thread, it is a bit early to be taking a decision.
    Last edited by oldcodger; 01-05-2022 at 04:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    I have pondered it before, Dave Gentry designs beautiful boats, each a piece of art.
    But too much frame and too little skin for me. It is far above my ability I think. It would be like painting a copy of the Mona Lisa
    thanks for your post

    Yes you are right, but I have waited so long to start and can not and the people that replied know what they are doing and kind of all said the same thing.
    I will hold off ordering plans. I have looked at so many designs with really no two the same. Problem is I fell in love with so many. I am afraid to go back and look at Bruce Conklin again, it will get back on my list.

    Ten years ago, with a set of plans for Atkin's George I lofted and built a mold . I was ready to build the boat but my wife was going to have a party so she told me to get the mold out of our garage so I put it around at the side of the house where no one ever goes except to cut the grass. I secured a big tarp and then forgot about it. I guess the tarp blew off , it rained for a week and then turned very hot. Twisted, bent, crooked. ply dished and destroyed , my fault.
    Now with Covid there will be no partys except maybe two or three old men building a boat.
    Last edited by Soggy Bottoms; 01-05-2022 at 06:06 AM.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    In 'Building Small Classic Craft' , John Gardner, you will find plans of several dories and I think the 'Modified Swampscott Dory might suit you. Built with a narrow flat bottom and rounded sides the boat looks very good and she is traditionally built with solid wood. Gardner discusses several options for the wood and plans are detailed enough to build the boat out of the book. This is primarily a rowing boat but a centreboard could easily be fitted afterwards and a modest spritsail.
    This type of boat, a semidory, was also an inspiration for my own Lugger that you will find on my website. In the blogpost you will find articles on building, rowing and sailing the boat and under the button 'Media' a film with me and my wife rowing and sailing the boat. But the boat can only be built in plywood. Frank
    www.oarandsail.nl

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Frank thanks for posting . your Lugger is a beautiful boat. I think I read that book .
    I will look at the pile of boat books and see if that was one of them.
    I will look again at John Gardeners Swampscott , I forget why dorys did not excite me .
    I have been to Newfoundland many times and enjoyed fishing in dorys and it seems to me that they had difficuty rowing a straight line but would turn around on a dime.
    Crawfords Gunning Dory is too small and is epoxy and glass
    I have looked for plans for dorys like they use off Newfoundland , big wide , you can lay on the inside of the boat and pull in a net or a giant cod with out fear of capsizing. I guess if I tried more but it does not really fill my requirements. I think the big Newfy dorys were designed to carry a heavy load of fish and if not then require a lot of rocks in the bottom or all seats full to row straight and could not take a motor or travel at much speed by tow.
    Last edited by Soggy Bottoms; 01-05-2022 at 06:57 AM.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    are you sure you don't have dementia not parkinsons?
    one cannot have all the things in that you seek in one boat

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    With the power and weight of two adults rowing and two children seated fore and aft, you really want to be trying to build towards 20ft LOA/ LWL. It'll go better and cruise easier. You want 5'3" interoarlock beam for fixed seat rowing for a typical male, an inch or two less at the wife's row station. You also want to pay close attention to weight spacing: you want thwarts symmetrical about the mid waterline position so it sits right. The aft person steers and the one one in the bow can take pictures, the interoarlock beam forward is so close and the freeboard high that rowing is difficult and results in eficient windmilling in any case.

    Traditional designs for cedar on oak...nothing will look better, though epoxy clinker ply will hold tight better over a spread of weather and might be better to own years down the line. You'll probably need to use a modern Sika sealant in the laps with trailered clinker build, but that's what keeps the water out fo most carvel boats to be frank.

    There are a few designs with four rowing and one in the stern...the small West Country flash boat gigs for example. In the USA, this beauty is about the right length, beam, is for traditional construction, has 4 thwarts properly spaced, comes with a build CD and the plans are frankly 'cheap'! The Newfoundland Trap Skiff....the plans are for traditional construction but this one is glued...molds can be spaced accordingly upto 24ft. His 3 books on traditional construction are also sell worth a read. There are maybe half a dozen books on traditional construction that you will have to devour. A transom gives space aft for someone to sit and steer. The 'high' transom avoid transom drag with variable loading, a throwback to it's working roots (seen also on Whitehalls).



    http://www.duck-trap.com/2002nts.html

    Off the top of my head, Hylan can do traditional construction plans for the Herreshoff Coquina. That is a bit shorter LOA but has good LWL and will row well as a row boat. It'll have a suitable (fairly high) design displacement as Herreshoff designed it for shifting gear and people in and out for dinner, so should float a family of 4 just perfect. It'll be worth the most on the market if you sold it if others could stick a rig in it later.

    My brain is also telling me that Bolger drew a traditional conventional round bilge row boat, the one on the cover of his Small Boats book and it's plans are inside. It wasn't short, quite a good size. That was nice. I'll dig my books out later...'Spur' here at the bottom.



    An 18-20ft traditional Whitehall would be just the ticket also.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 01-05-2022 at 08:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Just had a look and 'Spur' shown on the cover is the 'Victoria' design of his. She's 15'6", maybe a bit short for what you want. It's plywood but instructions for traditional build are given and looks how he built his.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    are you sure you don't have dementia not parkinsons?
    one cannot have all the things in that you seek in one boat
    Possible ,nothing says one cant have both . It was a wish list

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Quote Originally Posted by Soggy Bottoms View Post
    I will avoid glass, use epoxy as glue on the scarfs and use wood planking lapstrake fastened with stainless or bronze screws or ring nails where suited. (no epoxy)
    If you build with solid wood, lap fasteners are probably going to need to be fastened with rivets or clench nails. I suppose you could screw into sawn frames, but I wouldn't run screws into steamed frames. To me, frames that size would be too small to really give you the purchase you'd need for long term fastening.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    To Edward Pearson senior member

    Well Edward you did it . You broke this string. How anyone in my situation and with my requirements could look at that boat and not build it is beyond me. That is the most beautiful and suitable rowboat I have ever seen. I dont know if I can finish it but I will try . I am ordering the construction Cd and a couple of the books and the plans for a 19 ft Wherrie , a Newfoundland Trap Skiff . built in full traditional construction with minimal epoxy no glass. Too often I have seen the lack of a decision result in nothing being done ,all research no boat . The forces guiding me have spoken, decision made.
    God help me , this should be a barrel of fun.
    Thank you sir I can not believe my luck that you posted

    http://www.duck-trap.com/2002nts.html

    unbelievable but not unexpected
    Thank you, a reason to continue
    Jim (Soggy Bottoms )

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    Just had a look and 'Spur' shown on the cover is the 'Victoria' design of his. She's 15'6", maybe a bit short for what you want. It's plywood but instructions for traditional build are given and looks how he built his.
    I think Bolger's final iteration of that design is Spur II, plans available from WoodenBoat store.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    The NTS, with that dramatic sheer and wineglass transom make it a stunning looker. In truth, maybe not the best general purpose rower but that's probably not the biggest concern for you. Sometimes just loving the way your boat looks is most important. And it won't be the worst rowboat by any means. I certainly wouldn't turn one down if it were offered me. I hope you start a build thread with lots of pics.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    It will be at least 3 weeks. Once I have the form finished I will start the build post with pictures. I have to get the plans in my hands and study the construction Cd before I can start the forms. I cant remember the last time I was this excited about something. Free will is the ability to make a desison and benifet from or suffer the consequences . Without freewill nothing would be accomplished, we learn from our mistakes.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    off topic soggy
    Last edited by Soggy Bottoms; 01-05-2022 at 07:58 PM.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Yahoo! I'm excited to see it come together Soggy Bottoms. Your kids and grandkids are lucky!

    Should be a fun build and EPIC boat!


    -Derek

    Scamp #169



    Whizbang 13- always hilarious...and correct

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    There is a pretty cool youtube series on building this boat (I think it's the same one) here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bydY7t1AQs

    The guys are young and go over every detail even explaining some bits with nifty animations.

    I agree with you about that photo that Edward posted. It is a stunner! And I agree with you that you sometimes have to just pull the trigger. Having a boat that you fell for hard right away may just get you through the tough times during the build.

    Keep us posted!

    Mike

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    http://www.duck-trap.com/2002nts.html

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bydY7t1AQs

    They call themselves "Neo Phyte Boat Wrights" and there are many episodes. I will watch them until my plans and CD come
    because it is exactly the same boat
    Thank you very much Mike, you guys have been very thoughtful and helpful .amazingly so.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    If that last boat is still for sale, you could not buy the materials (without the sails and spars) at that price...
    edit to add: I am a big fan of glued lapstrake boats

    Last edited by Canoeyawl; 01-05-2022 at 10:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    There is nothing wrong with a finished boat made with glued plywood lapstrake , using glass and epoxy. I am not avoiding it because of any fear that it results in an inferior boat. It may well outlast the board and rivet boat.
    I just do not like working with it mostly because I dont think I would do a good job, Epoxy would be every where.
    A screw, nail or rivet is just one little thing followed by another similar simple task and that is how I have to work
    Build string to follow in 3 or 4 weeks I hope, but I have to get plan and loft and a bunch of things to be done.
    Soggy

    MMMMMM every where I look , Glued plywood lapstrake
    Less weight , I will discuss further with my son , maybe he will do the epoxy , busy
    Last edited by Soggy Bottoms; 01-06-2022 at 12:16 AM.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    I think you should build traditional lapstrake.
    At the moment plywood lapstrake is aggressively marketed and many people assume that is the way to go only because... well.... everybody markets it so it must be the way to go.
    Put in a greater perspective glued lapstrake certainly has advantages for very small and light boats where traditional lapstrake always was a bit on the heavy side. Such small lightweight boats also tend to be stored bottom up in which case traditional lapstrake tends to crack in the sun.

    For a larger boat built to carry 4 adults the weight of a traditional lapstrake hull will only be advantageous making the boat more stable in the water. In my uneducated oppininon the comparative ease of shifting a plank or two or half a dozen frames or a stem in a traditional build is a greater advantage in a larger boat where building a new replacement boat is a greater undertaking.

    There is any number of traditional lapstrake designs to be found. They are only a lot less agressively marketed. Very often they are found in the form of lines taken off a traditional boat built by eye.

    Just my oppinion. I am not a boatbuilder nor a boat designer but I have always been interrested in what makes a good boat for a given set of cirkumstances.
    Amateur living on the western coast of Finland

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    If you have access to the wood and the tools needed to work your wood to the sizes needed, traditional build is great. You will need to translate the builders plans into board feet of what ever species recommended. This is something rarely considered in traditional plans and boatbuilding books. I can't tell from your post whether you have access to the tools you will need to work your wood to appropriate sizes.

    An advantage and probably the reason that glued plywood is popular is that the material is readily available, designers have worked out the amounts needed and the tools needed are relatively few.

    In terms of design, a long lean flat bottom boat with lapstrake sides may serve your needs best. There are some that are listed above. Peter Culler has some skiffs. But your choice of a trap skiff by Walt Simmons is excellent. He lives up the bay about 40 miles. His Lapstrake Boatbuilding book is pioneering and he works with his clients to get a finished product. If his plans don't indicate the raw wood needed he can tell you.
    Ben Fuller
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Thank you Heimlaga and Ben
    I have picked the design it will a Nfld Trap Skiff . I have fished out of one in Newfoundland out on the ocean in rollers and I felt very safe and admired the boat then. It was an old boat, weathered , and well used and needed scraping and paint and it was beautiful. I have the tools necessary to do the job, a left hand gear drive skill saw etc. , no stand up machines but I will obtain a track for the skill saw and a stand up band saw and a bench drill press. Any thickness plane or jointing will have to be done at a friends shop and of course I have hand saws and planes , sanders etc. I need some wood chisels especially one or two with long handles and all my drill bits are dull . I need to check with my son ,a lot of my stuff seems missing but his house is only two doors up the street .
    I have thought for along time that traditional plans for rowboats were heavy and over designed but also that removing all support, cross braces and knees and relying on the coated skin alone was too light especially if it was going to be used under a sail, but I am not a boat designer.
    I admit that if I chose glassed marine ply construction I would retain some of the braces and stiffeners.
    I can not do the epoxy work but i will discuss with my son. He is an electrician but before that he graduated a 3year college course in marine design and business.
    I strongly suspect that traditional will prevail because I think epoxy is why he did not continue in marine construction.
    Thanks Soggy

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    In clinker ply, the NFT requires a fair bit of ballast to get her down to her waterlines. I think the consensus seems that traditional construction (as it was designed for) works out better.

    I'm pleased you've found your new lover Soggy, and that you've felt the ways of the boat out in the rollers before means you'll know not wonder how she'll be.


    Walter's books on Lapstrake Boatbuilding Volume 1 (about 130p) spiral bound and Volume 2 (250p) are excellent and essentially an instruction and build manual for the NTS, and that reverse tuck in the transom. He uses polysulphide in the laps. With those two and the CD of pictures you might not need any more info to be honest. As you seem to already know, at some point you just have to do.


    If you're a reader, for further cogitation and rumination to avail yourself to clinker/ lapstrake boatbuilding if you wanted other sources (there's nuggets in most books), for traditional clinker/ lapstrake boatbuilding my library extends to...


    1. Clinker boatbuilding by John Leather.

    2. Clenched Lap or Clinker by Eric McKee (not a big book but very concise). Hard to find. National Maritime Museum.

    3. Planking and fastening by The Woodenboat Series.

    4. Clinker boatbuilding Martin Seymour

    5.
    Boat carpentry by Hervey Garret Smith (old but good - especially for screw sizes and such)

    6. Building Small boats by Greg Rossel (excellent)

    7. Paul Gartside's design volumes 1 & 2. In each design he might focus on one thing it its construction, be it traditional stem fabrication etc and is nice to read and learn from.

    8. Lofting by Alan Vaites (excellent book regarding drawing out the boat to take dimensions from) though might not be necessary, depending on what's included in the plans.

    9. Building the Herreshoff dinghy. Goes through building one of these small tenders traditionally.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 01-06-2022 at 11:26 AM.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Thanks Edward
    Its almost like you know my thoughts
    I was just on the Duck Trap website and wondering which of his books to order and I was looking at the photograph of the NTS stern ( I do that a lot) when It hit me, "If there is no sail am I going to have to put lead in that keel ? Then I thought probably not as long as it is wood plank and you dont call it a keel, a skeg?.

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Build the boat in the manner that most makes you feel good about the process.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    How big are the "lakes" that you will be using the boat on? Some lovely boats have certainly been recommended. If the water you will be using the boat on is not 'big' (more like ponds) I might consider something flat bottomed as it will be a much more stable and not as tender as a round bottom boat.
    Something along these lines would still give you the pleasure of a bit of lapstrake work, be simpler and faster to build and provide a more stable boat.






    http://www.atkinboatplans.com/Oar/Sprite.html

    Something like this won't row as nicely as the pretty wineglass transom with slack bilges, but if you are not going far maybe a more stable platform will be more enjoyable. Something like this is even stable enough for the grandchildren to jump off and climb back in on a warm summer afternoon (not something you really want to do with a nice pulling boat design).


    Just a thought.

  35. #35
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Rowboat confused newby

    Quote Originally Posted by Soggy Bottoms View Post
    Thanks Edward
    Its almost like you know my thoughts
    I was just on the Duck Trap website and wondering which of his books to order and I was looking at the photograph of the NTS stern ( I do that a lot) when It hit me, "If there is no sail am I going to have to put lead in that keel ? Then I thought probably not as long as it is wood plank and you dont call it a keel, a skeg?.
    I think the latest book they sell, must be his old Volume 1 and Volume 2 combined/ integrated re type set etc with some additions.

    My 'spiral bound' is 1993 - third edition Volume 1 which deals mostly with the NTS. My Volume 2 is 1980 vintage book has sections on model making and taking lines off and rigging. At $65 it's worth the money combined. It'll be all you need. It's a while since I read them, but I remember thinking they were good books 'from the horses mouth'.

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