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Thread: about to take the plunge

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    10

    Default about to take the plunge

    into the cold harsh waters of boat building! LOL
    I've bought the plans direct from Ian Oughtred, the 7 strake Caledonia Yawl. My 17 year old son who is starting is carpentry apprenticeship is itching to begin. I've recently recovered from health issues brought on by the Big C and want to build something that will last well into my son's life.
    I've never done anything like this before. I'm easily distracted, rushing to the finish, A type personality kind of guy. But I think I need to be in the act of building a boat. I don't so much want to build a boat as to be building a boat, if you know what I mean.

    I'm nervous. I don't have all the equipment yet. I may have to get rid of some motorbikes to make room, but I'm a teacher and get good holidays, so I have time. And I have a son who wants this as much as me.

    So: given I live in Canada and winter is coming can I start by building anything but the hull in my basement this winter, and then work in the hull in my garage when it's warmer?

    Maybe a better question is - where would you begin? (And can I keep this thread going as I start to build?)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    10

    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    BTW I just noticed when I joined the forum. 2011 I am ashamed to say. It's taken me this long to get started. To be fair C took five years out of my life, but I'm in a better place now and have more energy. Whey am I telling you all this? I'm telling myself really.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Central New Jersey
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    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    Best place to start is reading and watching how to videos.

    A free pdf and good resource on working with epoxy: https://www.westsystem.com/wp-conten...k-061205-1.pdf

    Ian Oughtred's book is a great resource: Clinker Plywood Boatbuilding Manual.

    Videos on building a Caledonia Yawl (extremely valuable worth every penny): https://www.offcenterharbor.com/cate...uilding/?ref=1

    Now some questions:

    Did the plans you purchased come with station mold patterns? If not you will be lofting which can be done in a cold garage. You need a lot of space: https://www.offcenterharbor.com/category/lofting/?ref=1

    You can build the building frame in the garage in the winter if it isn't too cold.

    The inner and out stems, rudder, centerboard and centerboard case can be built in the basement during the winter. If your basement is big enough and have an outside exit from the basement you can build all the spars during the winter.

    You will be able to continue this thread as you go and ask question at each step, people will offer their advice. You will have to determine what the advice is worth.

    Good luck,
    Tom
    Last edited by Steamboat; 09-07-2022 at 03:54 PM.
    Steamboat

    I get by with the judicious use of serendipity.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Walney, near Cumbria UK
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    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    First off, build a long bench, longer than the boat, against a wall.
    Then build the form that the boat will be built on, I have not seen the plans, but I am guessing it will start with a ladder jig to which you attach the molds and stems.
    You can prepare the components, like the timber for the keel, hog and mast & spars, so that they are ready for glue up.
    If your tool kit is going to include spoke shaves or a draw knife, build a shave horse. It will come in useful for shaping spars and so on.
    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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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    You should build the rudder and centerboard. Make up your stems. Then assemble a kit of parts like getting the thwarts at least down to thickness etc, maybe gunwales and inwales cut out and if you’ve got time taper them a bit for looks and easier bending. I made the spars too before the boat, but they were knocking around for a bit and picked up a few knocks. You can cut your molds out, build a building box or jig. Improve your workshop with electric outlets and lighting etc.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    10

    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    Great advice everyone.
    I'm also going to make a bunch of clamps. https://www.duckworksmagazine.com/07...amps/index.htm
    the 20' bench seems like golden advice.
    thanks for being so thoughtful and helpful. I'll be saying that a lot.

  7. #7
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    Walney, near Cumbria UK
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    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    Quote Originally Posted by haggis95 View Post
    Great advice everyone.
    I'm also going to make a bunch of clamps. https://www.duckworksmagazine.com/07...amps/index.htm
    the 20' bench seems like golden advice.
    thanks for being so thoughtful and helpful. I'll be saying that a lot.
    Good plan, you can never have enough gripes. Some with wider jaws for clamping gunwales will also be good.
    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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Seattle, WA
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    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    You are going to want to read this if you haven't already...

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...o-Build-A-Boat

    both because it's about building a CY, but also because it's about life, family, boats, and a whole bunch of other stuff that are worth remembering when you have a bad day on the build. (But if you have been here since 2011 maybe you have seen it already).
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    St. Helens, Oregon
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    4,994

    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    Where in Canada do you live? The west coast is pretty benign weather-wise and you'll find you can work longer than you think. East...not so much There are many CY threads on the forum and each has some good nuggets of information. Those may keep you busy on cold nights Thanks in advance for sharing your adventure with us! A CY was one I'd thought about, but have too many other projects (just ask my wife) so it'll remain an unrealized dream.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    I found that I could build in my Pennsylvania garage right through the winter with the help of a kerosene heater. The heater would surprisingly quickly bring the garage up to 60F even on the coldest days, and after a couple of hours get it up to 65. This was plenty warm enough for the epoxy to set. I did not leave the heat on when I wasn't in the garage, and this didn't prevent me from moving along at a regular pace. The garage is not insulated at all, although as a new build it is draft-free. In Canada, some insulation overhead might be called for to keep the heat in.

    On the other hand, if you take care of all the odds and ends suggested above, you'll probably be busy in the basement through the cold months.
    -Dave

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    NW Georgia
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    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    Lots of good advice not that I'm one to add much - just a novice. Building with your son sounds like so much fun and what a way to strengthen that relationship! I'm near the end of a 18-20 month build. I did a lot of what has been suggested. I built a work bench and strong back which I used as a work table until I was ready to set up my molds. I made a pair of oars and did my spars (5 pieces for a lug yawl), rudder, stem and daggerboard. I also scarfed my planks while the strongback was still a table. Then I was ready to set up my molds (I did not have to loft).

    I would say that you should plan to enjoy the process. Be patient. It all will eventually get done. Keep us posted. Now go build a boat and have fun!


    Edit: Something else I did that proved very helpful: I took the pallet that my plywood was shipped on and made a 16' foot table out on my lawn. I ripped the pallet down the middle and spliced the two pieces end-to-end. I've used it continuously throughout the build.
    Last edited by dalekidd; 09-12-2022 at 12:25 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Guerilla Bay, NSW, Australia
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    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    Lots of very good advice above. I'll add a few things I have picked up over the years:-
    a) The OCH website & Geoff Kerr's videos are gold - I learnt a lot from watching & listening to Geoff.
    b) If you can get I-frame floor joists to make your strongback - they are surprisingly cheap and they don't bend as long as you add diagonals running across the top.
    c) make the moulds so that you can climb longitudinally along the inside of the hull - very handy when you are cleaning out the excess epoxy
    d) practice making the scarphs for your planks - my early scarphs were decidedly lumpy - smooth ones look just so much bettebr /> e) have a pondering seat near the build - sit & think before gluing or cutting - talk to the dog if need be.
    f) ask for help - most builders like helping
    g) enjoy the build
    h) 30% hull, 30% fitout, 30% spars & rigging
    i) Buy a good plane (I use a Stanley No 4) - and learn how to sharpen it well - you should be ably to plane your fingerprints off !!

    My CY - almost at 30%
    IMG_2730.jpg

    My other IO design - a Gannet
    IMG_0228.JPG

    Good Luck Regards Neil
    Last edited by neil.henderson; 09-08-2022 at 12:07 AM.

  13. #13
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    Jan 2022
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    Travelers Rest SC USA
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    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    Any boat has a surprising number of smaller bits and pieces that you can work on ahead of building the hull. I'm currently building a Peregrine 18 rowboat, and once I built the strongback, I had to keep moving to free up the space again. Before that point, I made a number of parts, such as the molds, framing parts, laminated pieces, etc. Even on a simple rowboat, there is a lot of stuff. Building a boat requires patience. Sometimes it's more like whittling than wood working. I tend to paint in broad strokes, so I have to remind myself to SLOW DOWN, and do it right. My boat was designed by John Brooks, and I've read his book over and over. Things go much more smoothly when you're prepared and truly understand the process, as opposed to 'jump in, and figure out how to swim later'. My hull went together quickly with no fatal errors, but now the finishing and prep is taking forever. Patience.

  14. #14
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    Apr 2018
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    Bay Area, CA
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    340

    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    I am very glad I opted to build my hull last. Spars, foils (centerboard and rudder), oars, and sail assembly are all terrific projects that reward full thoughtful attention. A useless mostly-finished hull taking up bench and/or driveway space would have tempted me to rush through all these fine bits.

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...in-California/

    Nothing resembling a boat until the bottom of page four.

    - James

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Mountains of Ocooch
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    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    I decided I wuz gonna build Oughtred’s MacGregor (the long version) back around 1990. Got a start but working full-time (and a 5 hour ‘round-trip’ commute TO work) saw me abandon that project. A heart attack, then losing my last full-time job about 2010 then moving home & shop 200 miles north & west saw me keeping the spark alive.

    Decided a MacGregor wasn’t right for me some 25 years later so I bought a CLC Waterlust kit the day they made it clear their private commission endeavor would be available as a kit. That was late ‘16, took another three years before I put epoxy to okoume ply. Launched a year ago:

    Floats!.jpg

    Don’t lose motivation, you can do it!

    While there will be days when you don’t make any progress, those aren’t to be dwelt on. Just keep making progress as you can. You’ll be glad you did!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Dog Ranch, USA
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    9,545

    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    My advice? Review everyone’s advice and then do what you think is right. There are a lot of strong opinions on this forum but it’s your boat. Enjoy the process. It’s a long one.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, Ca
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    35,417

    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    Loft it, full size, on lumberyard plywood
    save the section view on one sheet, use the rest for gussets, molds, etc

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Wrocław, Poland
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    13,510

    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    Quote Originally Posted by sp_clark View Post
    I decided I wuz gonna build Oughtred’s MacGregor (the long version) back around 1990. Got a start but working full-time (and a 5 hour ‘round-trip’ commute TO work) saw me abandon that project. A heart attack, then losing my last full-time job about 2010 then moving home & shop 200 miles north & west saw me keeping the spark alive.

    Decided a MacGregor wasn’t right for me some 25 years later so I bought a CLC Waterlust kit the day they made it clear their private commission endeavor would be available as a kit. That was late ‘16, took another three years before I put epoxy to okoume ply. Launched a year ago:

    Floats!.jpg
    Good old Devils Lake! My (former) backyard. Beautiful backdrop to sail with--beauty of a boat too. (Sorry for the thread drift!)

    Tom
    Ponoszenie konsekwencji!

    www.tompamperin.com

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Providence,RI USA
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    364

    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    Building in the basement over the winter. Could definitely do the molds, I make them from pine rather than plywood. If it's your first boat, I would surely get the full-sized patterns. I think all Oughtred plans come with them. So that's molds, stems (4 each) maybe centerboard and trunk, rudder, tiller, maybe even floors.

    That should keep you busy for the next six months or so. Then when it's warmer. set up your strongback, get it good and level and brace it well. set up inner stems and keelson, and begin planking.

    The Geoff Kerr series on Off Center Harbor is invaluable. I learned a bunch by watching.

    The only stationary power tools I have are a band saw and a small thickness planer. Of course a table saw would be very useful, (even necessary for ripping staves for birdsmouth spars, which makes a strong light spar and is fun to do!)

    Good luck and have fun!

    Mike

  20. #20
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    Mar 2012
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    Adirondack Mts, New York State
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    1,608

    Default Re: about to take the plunge

    Listen to your son and let him make his own mistakes. Don't always be telling him what to do.

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