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Thread: glued lapstrake versus traditional versus carvel

  1. #1
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    Default glued lapstrake versus traditional versus carvel

    I have a question for the forum which has likely been asked in many forms before. Finished my last boat. The harbor skiff by Walter Simmons. Beautiful. before that another equally great looking glued lapstrake. So time to think of my next project. As you build these boats you look at all the books and articles about traditional building techniques with copper nails and roves, boat that leak until the wood swells, boat that are heavy because of the wood used in carvel boat building; and it's hard to not come back to the thought that these methods require many skills that look like great fun to master, but do not look like they build a better boat. It would seem to me if the boat builders of years ago had epoxy and fine marine plywood, they would have quickly abandoned their old methods and adopted the glued lapstrake approach as quick as you can say "rivet". However, I'm sure I'm not alone that many of the readers of this forum after completing a few glued lapstrakes boats want to kick the challenge of the building process up a notch. Does this make sense, or does the superiority of modern methods outweigh my desire to return to the time when boatbuilders did not smell like glue, there was no internet or social media and it was just men and their boats, and nails and rivets?

    Please respond and wax poetically, after all thats what this is all about.

    David

  2. #2
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    Default Re: glued lapstrake versus traditional versus carvel

    I think you have a point to an extent. Why does anyone build a wooden boat these days? Itís not a superior material than modern carbon fiber or fiberglass. If it were they would still be commercially produced. We build wooden boats because we value their elegance, the warmth of wood or maybe because we like the history? Itís the same as with woodworking hobbyists. Many of them use hand planes and hand saws for personal reasons. When was the last time you saw a contractor on a job site with a sharp hand plane? If the only reason we like such things are personal and not economic or practical then I think we can choose to like whichever method we want. I went through a phase with the woodworking hobby where I wanted to do everything by hand, but I soon realized I could appreciate the hand tools while still using my lunchbox planer for big jobs. I think the same can be said of boat building. There is a place for both and one is not superior to the other. Just my $0.02

  3. #3
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    Default Re: glued lapstrake versus traditional versus carvel

    What is the longest/heaviest glued lapstrake design attempted?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: glued lapstrake versus traditional versus carvel

    I've built five glued lap boats and really like the method over traditional lapstrake or carvel.
    I only use epoxy for glue, not as a covering for the boat. Plywood is covered with nothing but paint/varnish.
    I do it for practicality because my boats live in the garage, not on the water.
    Right now I'm building a strip-plank/fiberglass design and hate the gooey mess.
    Will be happy to go back to glued lap.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: glued lapstrake versus traditional versus carvel

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    What is the longest/heaviest glued lapstrake design attempted?
    Waarschip 12m something

  6. #6
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    Default Re: glued lapstrake versus traditional versus carvel

    an excellent .02cents! and very well stated. The is a youtube series called "nomad boat building" and the creator of the series built a skiff but scraped a small channel into the lap and then put a bead of a sealant between the laps, and used nails and roves, not epoxy to affix the laps. Sort of a hybrid of methods. Would not leak, but had the beauty and the enjoyment of nails and roves. I may try that method building a catspaw dinghy; frames, laps, and all. It will take forever to build which is exactly what I like about boat building; people ask me "when are you going to be done", and I answer "when I'm done". It's one of the few pure zen things left in my life. thanks for responding is such a find manner.

    David

  7. #7
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    Default Re: glued lapstrake versus traditional versus carvel

    Quote Originally Posted by FF View Post
    Waarschip 12m something
    This?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: glued lapstrake versus traditional versus carvel

    Quote Originally Posted by dposner View Post
    an excellent .02cents! and very well stated. The is a youtube series called "nomad boat building" and the creator of the series built a skiff but scraped a small channel into the lap and then put a bead of a sealant between the laps, and used nails and roves, not epoxy to affix the laps. Sort of a hybrid of methods. Would not leak, but had the beauty and the enjoyment of nails and roves. I may try that method building a catspaw dinghy; frames, laps, and all. It will take forever to build which is exactly what I like about boat building; people ask me "when are you going to be done", and I answer "when I'm done". It's one of the few pure zen things left in my life. thanks for responding is such a find manner.

    David
    Sealant? The Norwegians use a brand of wool and tar.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: glued lapstrake versus traditional versus carvel

    I am part of a group here who design, build and restore all sorts of wooden boats and they have built boats using many different methods - I get the chance to see the builds underway and have found a lot of information about the various pros & cons.
    I started in boat building (I've only built 3 so far) with a Hartley TS16 and found the chine and ply approach relatively easy to master on my own in the garage - though looking back now I made some ghastly errors. Chined plywood hulls to me are really rather nice and sail well.
    Then I moved to glued clinker and built a 17' dayboat designed by David Payne - the learning cliff was enormous, but the rewards were even more enormous.
    My 3rd (almost due for launch) is again glued clinker (Iain Oughtred Gannet) and to me the prettiest boat I have built and my technique has fortunately improved to match.
    Most of my building is done using handtools (spokeshave is my favourite, closely followed by plane) but I will use power tools when I have long saw cuts (e.g. ripping sheets of ply) but I think a lot of the enjoyments comes from turning a square lump of wood into a beautifully curved part of the boat using the hand tools. And even better you get to gaze and that lovely craftsmanship (my dog is my echo here) as you chug/sail along.....................

    It is a great hobby, it keeps me active, and yes I'm already thinking about my next one!

    Regards Neil

  10. #10
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    Default Re: glued lapstrake versus traditional versus carvel

    The internal combustion engine relegated sailing boats to being purely things of Aesthetic and enjoyment value.
    The satisfaction of heeling when you turn into the wind, and then turning off the thumper cannot be beaten.

    Fibreglass and metal hulls made using wood an expensive and quirky choice, mostly chosen by amateur builders.
    The extra (and sometimes urgent) maintenance requirements are part of the joy of ownership if you are doing it yourself, as most here are.

    So my thinking is that a plastic powerboat with a modern reliable engine and all the mod cons that you feel you need fitted is the sensible choice for simple enjoyment of being on the water. The maintenance issues with this choice being set by how complicated you get.
    How far away from that model you choose is how much more you want to get out of boating than just the simple turnkey experience.
    All the way from an engineless, victorian racing yacht with no winches, to a GOP powerboat you built yourself there is a more connected experience to be had.
    At present I have a strip built 45 foot sloop that I race (taking a break at the moment), and a 14 foot plywood racing catamaran that I'm on a steep learning curve with at the moment. Both of which I have done a lot of repairs to, and the work is ongoing.

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