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Thread: Anyone built or building a Joel White Marsh Cat?

  1. #1
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    Default Anyone built or building a Joel White Marsh Cat?

    Getting ready to buy a set of plans and would be interested in chatting with anyone that's built it cold-molded.

    Jim

  2. #2
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    I have one. Shoot! Buddy
    Buddy

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    Buddy,

    Is your Marsh Cat finished? Sailing? Photos?

    Is there anything you had particluar problems with? How about anything you would have done differently?

    Rgds,

    Jim

  4. #4
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    Finished and sailing. Photos here, use the search feature.
    Boat was bulit in 1989: I bought it from the second owner in 1999.
    It was left somewhat "incomplete" in regards to interior cleanup, sanding and paint. The hull itself was considerably unfair, scallops or flats between the mold stations down around the tight turns of the hull. numerous voids there as well detected by sounding, some patch work inside the bilge below the floorboards ( under bottom paint put there to cover them) where water had stood and caused problems. Wavy and delaminating coaming. Very nice spars, sail, good mahogany plywood deck ( but a proud centerseam on the foredeck) and centerboard trunk, extraordinary bronze fittings in excess of the plans including a bronze traveler in lieu or the rope traveler in the plans. Good materials everywhere. All on a two year old galvanized trailer, with a trolling motor and battery thrown in to boot.
    This I discovered on inspection, considered the price of $7000 fair, and I trailed her from New Hampshire home to Atlanta.

    I used her a few months, she was wonderful to enjoy, and I knew I had a keeper. But the "roughness" began to bug me , I could envision a proper Edwarian period yacht interior, I hated the wavy bottom paint break ( in and out, not up and down) and the real killer, why did it drip water from the centerboard case for days back home on the pavement after using it, the bilge was dry.

    I helped build a much bigger cold molded racing sloop in the late seventies so I was pretty well able to figure it out. I believe this was the professional small boat builder's first cold molded boat, discovered the second one he built had the same problem around the centerboard trunk where it was reported repaired by routing away wood inside and overlapping fiberglass from three inches inside over three inches of the bottom. I think that was successful at holding water inside the hull, but I suspect there's water and rot going on in there. After I fixed mine similarly, I could still see dampness darkening the bottom paint for days, weeks. I drilled several 1/8" holes and water peed. 4 or 5 hundred holes along the keel strip revealed more . You could feel the drill bit go through the first 1/8" layer of veneer, then advance easily a 1/16" inch or so, and then drill through the next. Thankfully, all of the drill shavings were bright, not discolored or rotten.

    Cutting to the chase, there was a complete gallery of voids where the pairs of veneers met at the centerline. Not enough filler, thicked epoxy had been used- slathered on generously and then enough pressure from enough staples ( or vaccum bag)to squeeze out to eliminate the possibility of voids. Given the hollow spots I found on the inside of the hull (no glass inside, and the veneer would bulge a bit) this seems accurate.

    Careful examination revealed a series of 2-3" cracks in the fiberglass exterior skin , usually along the radius edge of the keel shoe strip .

    Here's what was up. The boat was built with the four veneer layers. Then the white oak keel shoe strip was put on , the centerboard case installed with white oak ledgers, all per plans. Then the layer of 6oz glass and epoxy covering the bottom.

    Some sanding had removed enough glass on the tops of those rounded edges that when the dimensional lumber of the white wood got damp( I suspect from rain water standing in the bilge) and expanded, the swelling zipped open the glass and of course more water got in.

    Thankfully, all the exposed surfaces of the wood was coated with epoxy so what was filling was the cavities and voids. My fix was to inject thickened epoxy into each hole and watch it come out the neighboring ones. I filleted and routed the keel shoe to a larger radius and coverd the shoe with three courses of 12 oz biaxial tape hat so far hasn't opened up anywhere these last 3 1/2 years.

    My advice to you, build your own. I didn't pay more for the boat than the materials would cost, and certainly my repair time is less than the construction time would have been- no regrets.

    First, you can avoid those flats in the tight bilge turns by using lots and lots and lots of ribbands on your mold. The 1/8" veneer is too limber to bridge much distance in a fair curve. Paul Gartside makes a case for using strip planking first, then covering with two layers of diagonal veneers, then finishing off with a fore and aft layer of veneer. I've tried twice now, but no mount of filling and fairling will prevent some shrinking and swelling from telegraphing the butting of the veneers in the final finish- next year. He feels they look better if the look like planking.

    I can't see them from inside the boat, nobody else ever has, but what bugs me is I get compliments that "there's no way anybody would guess it wasn't a fiberglass boat"!

    Maybe brushed on Kirby paint over bare wood WOULD be better than all that epoxy fairing compound,two 6 oz glass cloth, epoxy sanding primer, and three coats of linear polyurethane I used to get the hull fair and extremely glossy. AT least I can enjoy the nice unwandering waterline.

    In your construction use plenty of thickened epoxy between those veneers. I think a real case can be made that no reasonable amount of fiberglass can contain the swelling of that keel and skeg dimensional lumber. I think I would glass the hull BEFORE I bedded and fastened those parts. Then I would glass them much more heavily with biaxilal tape realising no watertight integrity was needed, but to provide worm and abrasion protection. With 10" draft, this boat likes to beach and explore.

    Several people have upped the sial area to 180 to 190 square feet. Since I already had the 152 sq ft main and standard mast, I lengthened the bowsprit to 36" and added a roller furling 46 sq ft jib. Does help keep down weather helm on a reach, but I'd prefer just a bigger main one day I think. Fewer strings.

    Sitting on the floor gets old for grownups. But if you add seats, that boom is might low. Might slant up the boom more or better yet don't use a gooseneck as drawn but a pair of jaws on the boom like on the gaff so you can raise the whole sheebang as feels comfortable.

    I made a swiveling boom crutch so I can also put the boom on centerline for a ridge pole for a boom tent to overnight under. To the side is better for getting in and out of the boat and motoring home - you can stand up and see better docking. Just took a set of dinghy rudder hardware.

    A couple of us made traditional barndoor rudders drawing only 10", but with a Bolger endplate. It does help make the rudder more effective with less tiller angle, and the endplate is a wonderful footstep to get aboard after swimming. Don't need a ladder anymore.

    My thoughts- feel free to call me, 770 265 1653.
    Give me an email for pictures.
    Buddy
    Buddy
    Buddy

  5. #5
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    Buddy,

    Thanks for that detailed response. Exactly the kind of info I needed. I like the idea of the barn door rudder - the rudder shown on the plans would be nice for its kick-up feature, but real cats have barn doors in my opinion. I also considered the Bobcat and know the endplate you speak of, good idea.

    I'll be asking more as I get set up.

    Rgds,

    Jim

  6. #6
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    This is a lot more boat, and a lot more project than a Bobcat. I'd figure 500 hours easy. My hours anyway. I think these are being built commercially more or less to the plans for about $15000. Estimating $5000 for materials , I don't see how they can do the labor for $10000 .Don't know if that includes a sail, real sure it doesn't include a trailer.
    Buddy

  7. #7
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    Right, much more boat than a Bobcat, I wanted something a bit larger, but also cold-molded, I didn't see any plywood single chine designs I liked. I used to have a Wayfarer and much prefer the double chine, but did not see any double chine catboat designs readily available.

    I like your idea of the jib, but will mprobably not go that way at first, simplicity in the rig being my primary goal with this boat.

    I also have plans for a Biscayne Bay 14 that I plan to build after the Marsh Cat. I sail a Biscayne at WoodenBoat about 15 years ago and really enjoyed it. I miss our Wayfarer, but no luck finding one on the west coast.

    Jim

  8. #8
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    The Wayfarers are truly amazing when you consider how much you WOULDN'T change on a plywood boat designed more than 40 years ago. Daysail, race, camp cruise. They sure got it right.

    Phil Bolger Chewbacca seeries come close for the double chine and he has a
    Buddy

  9. #9
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    I am building a Joel White MarshCat. I started in November 2006. Finished strip planking in Jan. Am in the process of fairing it now. Also centerboard, trunk, rudder, tiller, boom crutch and bracket, and bow sprit are done. (Not Painted) I used 11/16 western red cedar strips and will cover with 10 oz. glass inside and out. (per MacNaughton scantling rules for the glass) Fairing will reduce thickness of strips to about 9/16. (Need to be at least 7/16 per MacNaughton scantling rules) Stem laminated with honduras mahogany. Transom is 1 1/4 honduras mahogany.

    Hope to have boat finshed in time to use by this fall or sooner.

  10. #10
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    built a marsh cat from 11/25/05 to 8/25/06. Strip built, dont know if this will help but I have all the pictures of the steps in building it. Stip building was fast and easy , looks good too. epoxy and glass inside and out.

  11. #11
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    John, can you give us a link to the pictures?
    Thanks

  12. #12
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    Yes, I'd like to see photos as well. Thanks, Jim

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    This is the link to the pics, http://www.flickr.com/photos/one4him/page7/
    please excuse the lack of order as I setting that up now. I am also filling in the description for the sequence , hope to finish soon but my boat takes most of my spare time. Right now I am hinging the mast and making a barndoor rudder :thanks to Buddy. If I get the time I will also put on the jib sail , again thanks to Buddy. I hope you can get some help from these pics.

  14. #14
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    I have a Marsh Cat built in 1995 by Daniel Fry in PA. I added seats, tabernacle, lazarette and boom gallows. You can see it posted on 'my woodenboat'. search on her name which is "jasmine". Good to see all these Marsh Cats around!

  15. #15
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    John; I am impressed your Marsh Cat looks great! I am just getting started on one myself and have a few questions if you can help I would greatly appreciate it.
    -I

  16. #16
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    Default Marsh Cat

    John; I am impressed your Marsh Cat looks great! I am just getting started on one myself and have a few questions if you can help I would greatly appreciate it.
    -I am looking to either strip build as you did with 1/2 strips or go half and half with 1/4" and the another 1/4" of cold molding. I hesitate ith the 1/2" because I cannot find a bead and cove set for 1/2"? Any ideas?
    -Any reason you chose the long leaf pine for stripping? My preference would be white pine due to availability in the Northeast or even WRC?
    -It seems that juite a few people have changed the design for the rudder to a much larger size than that called for on the plans. Having had some experience with catboats I am playing with that idea any suggestions there?
    Thanks!!

  17. #17
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    Rich,

    I would recomend that you do not bead and cove the strips. This wastes a lot of material, is time consuming and totally unnecessary. I started out with bead and cove strips but changed to rectangle strips about half way through. It was actually easier to allign the strips without the bead and cove. I used 1.5 in 316 SS 16GA nails to attach the strips to each other and allign the strips until the thickened epoxy cured. The nails were left in of course and add some strength. (could not find bronze colated nails to use) It took about 105 hours to strip the hull.
    Dont know about the rudder as my boat is not yet finished but I will build as to plans and modify if necessary later.

  18. #18
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    my experience is just the opposite,....we had cut the bead and cove strips before starting the planking,,,,all frames were in place, transom and stem. E starteded at about 4 a.m. on a saturday, planked and strapped to a little past 10.......stopped until4 p.m. and restarted,,,,,same sunday...all planking was in place by 11 a.m. sunday awaiting wiping down, resin setting, and longboarding....for a 44 foot boat......no metal fasteners in the hull.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  19. #19
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    You can see the bead and cove strips and the rectangle strips. Click photo to view more photos.
    Last edited by KMacDonald; 04-08-2007 at 12:02 PM.

  20. #20
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    Lovely Photos. Well done boat.
    I like the kick up rudder design.
    Jimmy
    __________
    Loving Living on Lake Bacalar.

  21. #21
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    to Rich Sch vbmenu_register("postmenu_1544421", true);


    I bought the cove and bead set for a shaper from bosch. I found the cove and bead to help in gluing the peices and in keeping the peices fair. As far why I used SYP is that is stronger than most pines and its resistance to rot is very good and will accept the bending needed to make the hull. I bought clear stair tread at 2.00 a bd/ft and ripped them down for the strips. WRC would work great if your budget allows it, that and redwood would make a very pretty boat.

    The rudder that is in the plans works but is just too ugly to keep, I am making a new one once I finish making the hinge for the mast. I will post pics when I finish it. Thanks for the compliments on the boat.

  22. #22
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    John: What size strips did you use? Also, did you use epoxy to glue the strips together? If so why epoxy if you are fiberglassing inside and out, would not a good yellow glue do the same considering the glass encloses the hull?

  23. #23
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    A very nice looking boat indeed!

    I strip planked a comparable sized boat (the 20' Elver) over a 6 month period. Each strip took about 1 hour to add. I worked by myself. I had to plane the place where it landed, mix and apply epoxy, position the strip (usually 2 or 3 pieces), then clamp it in place while edge nailing every 6 inches. There were 75 strips per side. They were 3/4" square western red cedar.

    Chuck, I'd hazard a guess that you had a production going involving several people to strip plank your boat in one weekend? How did you get the strips to stay in place while the glue dried?
    Will

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    Phoenix: see PM.

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    All the strips plus about 10% were precut, we used a 1 to 1 mix epoxy (T-88), plastic staples in the staple gun, and special clamps that I purchased from the back of woodenboat. One helper most of the time, a couple of girls that came along and wiped epoxy drips. Mix enough epoxy for 3-4 strips, paint the strip, slide it into place, 3-4 staples plus clamps, took about 30 minutes to lay in 4 full length strips, working furiously...10 minutes for sucking iced tea or a limeade and repeat...then after 4 strips were done on one side, switched sides, and then reversed again. On the tight curves the strips were 1 1/2 inches wide, and on the flatter curved areas we used up to 3 inch wide pieces..the special clamps make a world of difference. The clamp to the vertical frame and then push down on the strip...to add a strip just loosen the clamp, insert another strip, reset clamp. I did have a dozen or so girls longboarding the hull and 4 guys laying on the double diagonal veneers and 3 layers of Xynole fabric. The crew had never strip planked a boat before so we laid everything out including filling the ice house with ice and two gals to make lunch and keep cold drinks coming as we worked...and surprise, surprise, the bulkheads and prefabbed parts dropped right in......and only one keelboat hole was slightly off.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Anyone built or building a Joel White Marsh Cat?

    Quote Originally Posted by JPhoenix View Post
    Getting ready to buy a set of plans and would be interested in chatting with anyone that's built it cold-molded.

    Jim
    Hi Jim....12 years hence did you build the Marsh Cat? I am just gearing up to get started this winter. Strip Planking in western red cedar.
    If you are still in the PacNW perhaps l could pop down and see the boat? I am on Vancouver Island.
    Cheers,
    Robert

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