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Thread: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

  1. #1
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    Default ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Howdy Woodenboat freaks.....

    I am in the early stages of contemplating building Oughtred's lovely Elf - as I am in love with Norwegian style faerings and I doubt a trip to Norway to spend years learning to build in the traditional way, is NOT going to happen anytime soon. Really like the looks of the Elf and have read great things about the boat

    Have a few questions - got his Clinker Boatbuilding book from library and have been pouring over it....

    1) Is building Elf too ambitious for a first time boat builder? I have limited wood working experience. but have tools and am not a total novice - I have repaired and "fixed up" wood boats for many years, but have not built one from scratch
    2) Am thinking of the Hewes & Co (Maine) kit for the Elf, and am trying to understand costs - I figure the kit is around $1500 for the 6mm planks, freight likely around $300 to Ohio where I am, plans are $200 or so, etc
    How much would you estimate I would need for epoxy, other wood needed, hardware, spars, sail, etc?? Another $1000 or so? So around $3000 for materials if I went that route? Fair estimate? I know there are many variables here - just trying to get a ballpark idea of $$ involved

    Any thoughts / ideas / opinions on any of the above would be welcome to a "newb" like me....

    Thanks in advance!
    Viking Jerry

  2. #2
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    I’d say go for it, Elf’s a lovely design. Triple those costs for everything other than the kit, and you might only have to go over budget a bit more. On some boats the sailing rig alone doubles the materials costs.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Defo build it. Great boat. Elf is very frugal with materials. I'd say you ballpark numbers would be correct. If you order plans for Elf direct from Iain Oughtred, he'll include a photocopy of the build sequence that was in Classic boat (I think) write up. Worth having. The relatively small simple sprit sail and rig won't be expensive. Just epoxy your laps, paint the boat, build a light trolley or car top it. The trickiest bit is probably bevelling the 'rangs' is it?, those bits fore an aft that stiffen the bow and stern. It's angled and bevelled and crosses the laps, but the plans show it lofted full size, along with everything else. The fittings shown on plans are all wood cleats with cost nothing. Sprit rig will cost little to rig. Only 3 planks a side, so you'll be planked up before you know it. It's 4 sheets of 6-9mm Occume for planking, so see what's available locally: it will be cheaper to just buy plywood but it will take a bit longer to get the planks out than the kit, but it's a skill worth developing. It's quicker and easier to use a built up stem than laminate like alot of people do. Less epoxy, less time makinging sawdust. Its just a stringer to hold the planks together. Cheaper light softwoods will make a light boat which is not a bad idea with an elf anyway. It'll be fun to row, even if the sail rig has to wait. If your also new to sailing, don't sit far aft and squat the stern otherwise it will be slow to turn, keep forward in the middle. You might have luck repurposing the aft of midship mold offcut piece for the boat support for a cheap light wood trolley when your finished (carpeted obvs)...Follow Iain's plans exactly, don't deviate a mm, and you'll have a masterpiece. You could probably build one on a nice aluminium ladder if you've got one down the side of the house rather than the trouble of building a wood set up. A cheap block plane is all you really need. Ideally with an adjustable mouth. The benefit of the cheap steel blades are that although they don't hold an edge as long, they resharpen quicker and go very sharp, so having a honing guide like a Veritas one, will see you right. That and a jigsaw. A pack of metal cutting blades, seem to work well on ply. Unless you make it yourself the bent bronze rudder pintle assembly from Classic Marine is very expensive, relative to the everything else, so either make that yourself of just build a 'standard' lifting rudder and dinghy rudder pintles/ gudgeons will be a fraction of the cost, and get the hardware lined up, so it pivots properly.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 10-10-2019 at 04:51 AM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Welcome!

    Definitely do-able for a first timer. I built one of Iain's double-enders from scratch for around $3000 total, including a sail from Douglas Fowler. Of course you could spend more, but the money thing is kind of self-regulating. Most weeks, I even get rent and food taken care of before the boat supplies!

    A safer estimate might be $2,000 including sail. I know that my current build just seems to eat money. I'm probably approaching the $10,000 mark, which if I had been told at the beginning (4 years ago) I might never have begun.

    Keep us updated.

    Mike

  5. #5
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Thanks for the input, really appreciate it......I have a good DeWalt jigsaw and block plane in the toolbox already......I need to investigate how much the 6 mm marine ply would cost, versus getting the panels pre-cut from Hewes in Maine. Not afraid of the cutting aspect, but am unsure how much I would save if I do the cutting myself....could be substantial, when the freight for the "kit" is factored in.

    I have been sailing for decades, so not new to that obviously, and I have several rowing boats already as well. I know the sail can be expensive, but a smallish lug rig cannot be more that $500-600, or I may get a Sailrite kit and sew it myself.

    Just hard for me to imagine a fairly simple 15 ft ply faering like this would cost more than $3000, with sail and spars, etc - I know typically things cost more than most people think, especially in regards to boats.....but I am frugal and not afraid to learn new skills to make this happen.

    Thanks again for the insights!
    Cheers.....

  6. #6
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    4 sheets of 6mm Ocume would be 180/ $200 in the UK. 9mm about 220. You might need an extra sheet for the small (optional) end tanks and daggerboard case. 9mm is stiffer for a sailing boat (but heavier) or use 6mm mahogany plywood which is more durable, the same weight and stiffness as 9mm Occume, but more expensive. Joubert seems to available in the USA and has a good reputation.

    You want to be asking for 5 (6mm) or 7 (9mm) ply (veneer) plywood. Ideally thick outer veneers, but often these have been sanded thinner so it looks nice! The rest of the boat can be douglas fir, but anything really. For an elf, I'd have 'lightness' up near top of the list. Use any left over epoxy to coat the inside of the bilges. The kit will also include the molds. You can just cut these out of some cheap plywood etc or use some softwood made into a 'triangle and cut the form out of that. Then chuck it on the fire next winter. Jordan boats in the UK (whi generate the files I think charge about 500 over the materials cost, but it does save some time...probably more relevant if your time limited or have 8-10 strakes to cut. If you can spare the cash, there is plenty of fun and work building from a kit, and getting your garage back quickly is worth something too.

    You'll save the most money making a sail, breathable cover and building a trolley/ trailer for it at the end. If anything is a bit deficient you will be winning in knowledge and experience. Spending less can also mean your less precious with it, which can be a good thing too. Simple things can be found to work suprisingly well too.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Plywood, http://www.homesteadhardwoods.com/ Vickery, Ohio. Near Toledo

  8. #8
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by openboater View Post
    Plywood, http://www.homesteadhardwoods.com/ Vickery, Ohio. Near Toledo
    Thanks - yep, just found them online as well before I saw your post - about 2 hr drive from me, so do-able for a pickup with my roof racks and secure packaging for the trip home.....looks to be around $80 sheet for 6mm stuff x 4 = $320 - not bad!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael_Owen View Post
    Welcome!

    Definitely do-able for a first timer. I built one of Iain's double-enders from scratch for around $3000 total, including a sail from Douglas Fowler. Of course you could spend more, but the money thing is kind of self-regulating. Most weeks, I even get rent and food taken care of before the boat supplies!

    A safer estimate might be $2,000 including sail. I know that my current build just seems to eat money. I'm probably approaching the $10,000 mark, which if I had been told at the beginning (4 years ago) I might never have begun.

    Keep us updated.

    Mike
    This is a link to Mike's Whilly Tern build. I think it might be a helpful reference.
    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-RI&highlight=

    There are a number of threads in this forum you should look at as potential references. You'll need to dig through on your own.

    You also might be interested in how-to building videos from Off Center Harbor. There is one on glued lapstrake building of a Caledonia Yawl. It is a bigger more complicated build in some ways but the basic processes will be the same or similar. https://www.offcenterharbor.com/cate...uilding/?ref=1
    Steamboat

    I get by with the judicious use of serendipity.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Thanks - yep, just found them online as well before I saw your post - about 2 hr drive from me, so do-able for a pickup with my roof racks and secure packaging for the trip home.....looks to be around $80 sheet for 6mm stuff x 4 = $320 - not bad!
    If you are careful with your pattern layout on your plywood you can get by with only 3 sheets for the Elf. Then again it might be wise to have an extra sheet if you live some distance from the lumber store.
    "I see!" said the blind man who picked up his hammer and saw.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steamboat View Post
    This is a link to Mike's Whilly Tern build. I think it might be a helpful reference.
    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-RI&highlight=

    There are a number of threads in this forum you should look at as potential references. You'll need to dig through on your own.

    You also might be interested in how-to building videos from Off Center Harbor. There is one on glued lapstrake building of a Caledonia Yawl. It is a bigger more complicated build in some ways but the basic processes will be the same or similar. https://www.offcenterharbor.com/cate...uilding/?ref=1
    many thanks, Steamboat! Good stuff there in those threads - and I know there are some Elf build threads here from years ago too most likely I can look into as well

    about to leave Friday for a driving trip with my daughter down to Asheville NC, so will have time to mull some things over about this!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by emf View Post
    If you are careful with your pattern layout on your plywood you can get by with only 3 sheets for the Elf. Then again it might be wise to have an extra sheet if you live some distance from the lumber store.
    Hmmm, well, Toledo area is not that far - thought 4 sheets were required, so that is good to know!

    Many thanks!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    It was 30 years ago, but my first build was from plans, a mutichine plywood sailing dinghy using very few tools and with very little experience. I'm sure you can too.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?


  15. #15
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Lovely.

    What size sail area is that balanced lug on your Elf? He shows a sprit on my plans and a balanced lug on Elfyn.

    Do you reckon your rig is 'about right' for your Elf? Does she feel easily overpowered?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    Lovely.

    What size sail area is that balanced lug on your Elf? He shows a sprit on my plans and a balanced lug on Elfyn.

    Do you reckon your rig is 'about right' for your Elf? Does she feel easily overpowered?
    Sorry for the confusion - these pics I "borrowed" from the current issue of Small Boats Monthly, which features this Elf - I am still in the early stages on contemplating my Elf build, and associated logistics for a first time builder.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: ELF for a first time build.....opinions?

    Jerry,

    Iain's page write up of his Elf Mairead, is in Watercraft magazine 27: May/ June 2001...and she's front cover.

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