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Thread: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

  1. #1
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    Default Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    When I registered my boat at the County Recorder (so easy, just check the “homemade” box on the form!) they assigned me an HIN and said that I would need to carve it into the boat somewhere.

    That isn’t something that I know how to do. Nor where to do it. Has anyone done this and liked the way they did it and want to share some wisdom with a beginner?

    I’ve got three solid wood frames that have surfaces that could work, then there is underneath the mast partner and the framing inside the transom. Is there a traditional location where someone would expect to find it?

    An example picture, just to give you an idea of what the boat looks like inside:

    75C52E08-DD5A-4865-BE2C-CAD5C3DEBB2D.jpeg

    Then there is how to carve it. I think the last carving I did of letters was with a penknife on someone else’s fence and it didn’t look very good. Is there a way to do it with a knife that looks okay? Or a bench chisel? I don’t mind the opportunity to buy more tools, so if there’s a correct hand tool for the job, I’d go looking for one on eBay.

    I have a Dremel that used to have a ball nose bit, maybe I could get another one of those?

    Thanks for any suggestions on how and where to put this new magic number.

    -Neil
    Dreaming of sailing in Iowa, building a Carnell Nutmeg.

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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    I'd suggest getting an engraver to engrave it on a metal plate which you can then screw to a floor or beam. In Australia the authorities provide you with 2 HIN plates - one for the transom, the other 'somewhere' inside the boat.

    Regards Neil

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    Default

    I engrave stuff with a Dremel and a conical bit.
    Comes out reasonable, not perfect.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    -My big factory-made boat has a plain aluminum metal strip screwed on the outer transom starboard side. Looks sort-of like the VIN number stamped on a car.
    -My homemade boat has a HIN 'sticker' under the foredeck to keep it out of the weather. That was done with an inkjet laser print on rice paper and fiber-glassed over to make it see-through and permanent.
    -The kid's boat has a regular, black and silver stamped aluminum plate, inside the transom center. That plate looks more like a plate off an old electric motor or machine with the company brand logo, model number, city and state, etc...

    If I were to make another boat I'd probably figure out some way to CNC mill the plate or 3D print it as a mold and cast it in aluminum. I am not good at hand tools and lettering.
    Last edited by Spot; 09-16-2022 at 07:46 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    I used letter punch stamps I borrowed from my FIL, who
    was in metalwork trades.

    I recall figuring out that I needed to put the HIN in two places, one on the transom and one hidden from view. IIRC this is a federal requirement, and is not based on the state where the boat is registered.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Thanks for mentioning the federal requirement. USCG has this nicely detailed document https://uscgboating.org/library/boat...lars/BSC70.pdf on the subject. I’ll think about metal plates vs carving into the wood directly.
    Dreaming of sailing in Iowa, building a Carnell Nutmeg.

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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?


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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Be aware that using screws to mount something like an engraved metal plate to the hull is very likely not going to pass muster. To be acceptable, the attachment method is supposed to be something more difficult to alter or which would be more obvious if somebody tried to mess with it. It's pretty nuts, but I have seen engraved metal plates actually pop-riveted to thin cedar planking because screw attachment was not acceptable, and the rivets were. Crazy!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Fine tip magic marker and a clear coat of epoxy over the letters. Or don’t bother because the state collected your money and what do they really care after that.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    Fine tip magic marker and a clear coat of epoxy over the letters. Or don’t bother because the state collected your money and what do they really care after that.
    This has been my approach so far.

    A permanent number might help if your boat gets stolen. I figure:

    1. Not likely.
    2. If it happens, chances that the police will find it again are slim to none anyway.
    3. If they do find it, I have enough photos and knowledge of the boat to make a good case that it's mine.
    4. But I'd probably just reclaim it myself if I found it again anyway.

    Tom
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Location, location, location; the principal location (if doing it twice) is at the upper right (starboard) on the transom, just under the rail, or hull/deck joint.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Now I’m wondering, with what I have, if I can print a plate with numbers on a 3D printer, fill in the letters with white paint, and epoxy the whole thing in place. That’s a little more permanent than pop rivets or screws.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by MattMKE;[URL="tel:6727094"
    6727094[/URL]]Now I’m wondering, with what I have, if I can print a plate with numbers on a 3D printer, fill in the letters with white paint, and epoxy the whole thing in place. That’s a little more permanent than pop rivets or screws.
    This is my plan right now. I am visiting my 3D printer friend in a couple of weeks and I figured I could easily design a flat plate with raised numbers that could be glued and screwed down. I wouldn’t even bother to paint the letters, these numbers are likely write-once-read-never in normal usage (see Tim and Tom’s point above). Raised letters are probably just as legible long-term as stamped aluminum which is what the commercial makers seem to use.

    I am considering painting over them with hull paint even just to make them less obtrusive and more weather resistant.
    Dreaming of sailing in Iowa, building a Carnell Nutmeg.

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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    Be aware that using screws to mount something like an engraved metal plate to the hull is very likely not going to pass muster. To be acceptable, the attachment method is supposed to be something more difficult to alter or which would be more obvious if somebody tried to mess with it. It's pretty nuts, but I have seen engraved metal plates actually pop-riveted to thin cedar planking because screw attachment was not acceptable, and the rivets were. Crazy!
    I was surprised to see screws on the big boat, but it sort of goes with some of the letters being crooked on the plate...boat was a previous owner finished kit so the factory may have left that step to the owner too.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    I'm not looking forward to having to carve a HIN into the transom of the boat I'm building. Kind of kills the traditional look.

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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    I had the same hurdle to surmount on a CLC Waterlust canoe I built. So I had a rubberstamp made of the HIN, from which I made a 'casting' in epoxy, that then got backed up with a bit of 'glass cloth, trimmed square once cured, then inset into a routed channel on the starboard stern sheerstrake. Once painted it looks as though it was moulded in.


    If your build is more traditional you may have reason to augment casting epoxy with sanding dust so it takes on the coloration of your transom. Once varnished it ought to look like it was carved into the wood rather than cast in epoxy.

    Inside the hull it was simple enough to print the HIN on paper using pigmented ink with my printer, then 'decoupage' them onto accessible but inconspicuous places on the internal frames.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    Be aware that using screws to mount something like an engraved metal plate to the hull is very likely not going to pass muster. To be acceptable, the attachment method is supposed to be something more difficult to alter or which would be more obvious if somebody tried to mess with it. It's pretty nuts, but I have seen engraved metal plates actually pop-riveted to thin cedar planking because screw attachment was not acceptable, and the rivets were. Crazy!
    Yes, I agree - in my case the metal plate was attached to the boat using screws by the state registration staff!! They wanted to use rivets to attach it to my Australian cedar transom, when I rejected this idea they changed to use screws.
    The logic of this approach is spellbinding and still puzzles me - but if it passes their muster who am I to question, a mere taxpayer?

    Spellbound Neil

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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by sp_clark View Post
    I had the same hurdle to surmount on a CLC Waterlust canoe I built. So I had a rubberstamp made of the HIN, from which I made a 'casting' in epoxy, that then got backed up with a bit of 'glass cloth, trimmed square once cured, then inset into a routed channel on the starboard stern sheerstrake. Once painted it looks as though it was moulded in.


    If your build is more traditional you may have reason to augment casting epoxy with sanding dust so it takes on the coloration of your transom. Once varnished it ought to look like it was carved into the wood rather than cast in epoxy.

    Inside the hull it was simple enough to print the HIN on paper using pigmented ink with my printer, then 'decoupage' them onto accessible but inconspicuous places on the internal frames.
    That looks great!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by MushCreek View Post
    That looks great!
    Thanks MC.

    I had one false start after I received a rubber stamp I'd ordered first. Company's instructions were a little ambiguous so no surprise what I received wasn't quite what I'd expected.

    Second company proved the proof it was possible to get what I needed. https://www.rubberstamps.net/ proved less costly, better quality and faster to ship!

    Anyone who's using epoxy in any capacity to build or modify a boat can do what I did. May take a try or two to get it looking spiffy but the mechanics are simple enough. And that rubber mould is durable enough to withstand many a casting if cared for. I used a solution of paste wax in mineral spirits as a release agent, painted on then left to dry before casting my impressions. Worked to eliminate bubbles but as you can see there were a couple that stayed put so I left 'em alone.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    My boat has a varnished transom that I was loathe to embellish with an engraved HIN. My solution was to almost comply with the regulations that call for the number to be placed in the upper starboard corner of the transom. I stamped the number into the starboard shear strake that has been painted. I then painted the numbers so that they are not noticeable unless one looks for them. I used the machinist type letter stamps. These are easy to use and give a clear impression. I don't have a photo of the lettering but here's a photo of where they went:

    HIN location on transom.jpg

    I also used the stamps to impress the number in a few places on the interior hull. Again, painting over the impressed letters to fully seal the wood.

    Jeff

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    One class of dinghy I used to race permitted and encouraged the registered number to be applied to the hull by lightly dimpling the surface with a drill bit that remained just within the outline of the numbers.It was permanent,quick and cheap.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by sp_clark View Post
    I had the same hurdle to surmount on a CLC Waterlust canoe I built. So I had a rubberstamp made of the HIN, from which I made a 'casting' in epoxy, that then got backed up with a bit of 'glass cloth, trimmed square once cured, then inset into a routed channel on the starboard stern sheerstrake. Once painted it looks as though it was moulded in.
    That is super slick!

    Being into metal working I've considered making a stamped metal plate with some rivet heads soldered onto the corners. Then epoxy some neodymium magnets in the transom and stick the plate on. It would look official to all but the most eagle eyed and be easily removable for painting.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    I would use your dremel with the conical bit. I've used that and it works fine. I put mine inside the transom, and would put it further "inside" next time. i'd rather be able to say "the number is here" than "i didn't think i needed a number at all." Plus it would help if you ever had it stolen and the thieves claimed it belonged to them. Don't screw something on, because it will be unscrewed. the number is supposed to be a permanent part of the boat. I did try once using a tiny drill and drilling in the outlines of the numbers. it did not work very well and did not look very good.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Where I am, state regulations have a minimum size for the HIN characters for a watercraft, along with a requirement that it be permanent, non-removable.

    I looked at machinists' stamps before deciding the custom rubber stamp was a more practical approach in that Wisconsin wants the characters to be 3/8" or larger. A set of alphabet stamps of that size, to be used pretty much just once at over US $400 vastly more than the rubber stamp cost me, seemed absurd. And I'd have needed the companion >$100 number set too.

    So checking in with your local authority's requirements is my friendly suggestion, maybe save you some anguish... besides the money.

    I suppose with care the characters could be outlined with a center punch if one's handy and patient, as with a drill bit. No idea if that'd pass muster upon inspection.
    Last edited by sp_clark; 09-18-2022 at 06:49 PM.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Holy molly... my lettering sets are worth more than I thought! Of course one has to remember that MSC isn't a bargain basement supplier. Still.....

    But for a job like this, Horror Freight has a set of letters and numbers, both included, for about 25 dollars.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    ...Horror Freight has a set of letters and numbers, both included, for about 25 dollars.
    Yep, they do! And 3/8" too!

    I've generally found their offerings lacking in more than one respect (besides price) but for limited use like this that set seems a worthwhile choice.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/38-in-...ece-63675.html

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    I have had 3 different HIN numbers for my boat, and two documentation numbers. A result of 60 years bouncing between the US and Canada. I really question the need for carving a hin into a small homebuilt boat.

    Before entering Mexico I had a trophy engraver make a small aluminum plate with the hin, it was screwed onto the outside of the planking. Nobody has or will ever ask to see it, but cost was 20 bucks and I wanted to be very official for the Mexican navy. The CG documentation or registration number is a much bigger deal and needs to be correctly done, if that applies.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    I stamped the number into a scrap of bronze, bedded it in 5200 and thru bolted with 3/16 bolts peened over on the inside. All fine, but the crazy thing is that my HIN has mixed zeros and letter O, and I had to call the state back to find out which is which. I think it's a sure bet that in any theft / recovery scenario someone will mix these up, and the HIN will have been useless.

    Ken

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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by kbowen View Post
    I stamped the number into a scrap of bronze, bedded it in 5200 and thru bolted with 3/16 bolts peened over on the inside. All fine, but the crazy thing is that my HIN has mixed zeros and letter O, and I had to call the state back to find out which is which. I think it's a sure bet that in any theft / recovery scenario someone will mix these up, and the HIN will have been useless.

    Ken
    Ok, first time I have replied to my own post, but BEWARE!! I did the original HIN and registration in Illinois, two days ago I went to change the registration to Washington State, and was told that Illinois did the HIN wrong, and that they were giving me a new one AND I HAVE TO REMOVE THE OLD ONE!!! It was something about what letters were allowed, and the problem WASNT THE ZERO VS LETTER O!!! Now I have to remove the peened thru bolt and 5200. gawd..

    Ken

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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by kbowen View Post
    Ok, first time I have replied to my own post, but BEWARE!! I did the original HIN and registration in Illinois, two days ago I went to change the registration to Washington State, and was told that Illinois did the HIN wrong, and that they were giving me a new one AND I HAVE TO REMOVE THE OLD ONE!!! It was something about what letters were allowed, and the problem WASNT THE ZERO VS LETTER O!!! Now I have to remove the peened thru bolt and 5200. gawd..

    Ken
    Just curious--has anyone ever looked at your HIN? Do you think it's likely they ever will?

    Tom
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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by kbowen View Post
    Ok, first time I have replied to my own post, but BEWARE!! I did the original HIN and registration in Illinois, two days ago I went to change the registration to Washington State, and was told that Illinois did the HIN wrong, and that they were giving me a new one AND I HAVE TO REMOVE THE OLD ONE!!! It was something about what letters were allowed, and the problem WASNT THE ZERO VS LETTER O!!! Now I have to remove the peened thru bolt and 5200. gawd..

    Ken

    Take a cold chisel and strike through the old HIN. Then install the new one next to it.

    Jeff

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Certain letters that came from IL aren't included in WA state's alphabet?

    I'd send Gov. Pritzker a bill for your time & trouble.

    He shoulda known better than to let you leave with an HIN that wouldn't pass WA standards.
    Last edited by sp_clark; 10-01-2022 at 09:30 AM.
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  33. #33
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Just curious--has anyone ever looked at your HIN? Do you think it's likely they ever will?

    Tom
    I'm thinking of dropping trou' to show them hin... :-) My understanding of the logic is in possible recovery of a stolen boat. Likely most people on this forum face the double-whammy that 1) their boat is totally unique and couldn't be confused with a photo of any other, but 2) 97.5% of law enforcement officers wouldn't know a ketch from a conch and maybe the HIN number is your only chance??

    Ken

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    Quote Originally Posted by kbowen View Post
    I'm thinking of dropping trou' to show them hin... :-) My understanding of the logic is in possible recovery of a stolen boat. Likely most people on this forum face the double-whammy that 1) their boat is totally unique and couldn't be confused with a photo of any other, but 2) 97.5% of law enforcement officers wouldn't know a ketch from a conch and maybe the HIN number is your only chance??

    Ken
    Fair enough, but I'd say there's not much chance anyway, even with a HIN. I'd also say there's little chance of a boat like mine being stolen. I think the trailer would be of more interest to thieves, and it would be easy to steal. But I've left it parked in remote lots for weeks at a time and never had it stolen.

    I did, however, have a home-built iceboat stolen off the ice one year (the sail was not with it). The police were no help in finding it. Just, gone. Never got it back. I drove all around Wisconsin to likely lakes looking for it but never found it.

    Tom
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  35. #35
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    Default Re: Inscribing an HIN on a little plywood skiff?

    I keep my sailboat on a mooring. It could easily be taken in the middle of the night without the theft being seen by anyone. But of more concern to me is that it may break free from the mooring, or the mooring may simply break. Then my boat goes adrift and likely will land on a beach somewhere. The authorities are called.... without an identifying number, who's gonna know who owns the Somes Sound sailboat? Matter of fact, who's gonna know it's a Somes Sound anyway? The number is the only thing that has a chance of reuniting my boat with me. That's why it's on my boat.

    Jeff

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