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Thread: Cheap Lassie

  1. #1
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    Default Cheap Lassie

    I had originally planned to build a Gentry Shenandoa Whitehall, but that plan got sidetracked when I saw the price of marine plywood here in Canada. Also my wife informed me that she wasn't planning to take part in any rowing excursions with me, as she gets motion sickness at the mere mention of motion...

    So, back to the drawing board and more study along with more books. I bought Hillary Russel's book "How to build a skin on frame double paddle canoe" and watched this video a million times:

    That had me convinced that an inexpensive small boat build with easily accessible framing lumber was within my reach....and since I was going solo - why not build a small car-toppable solo canoe?

    The Wee Lassie enters via another book, Mac MacCarthy's "Featherweight boatbuilding" which has the form patterns for 2 different boats an 11'6" original and a 12+ Wee Lassie 2. So I build the W/L forms and tried to adapt the design for skin on frame. A few months and a few 2x10's later the boat is starting to take shape. It's not done, but almost ready for the saran wrap test.

    Boat frame 2.jpg

  2. #2
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    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Skin boats are great. I built one of Platt Monfort's for my son when he was 7, a 10-footer that weighed 14 lbs.

    It's fun to show up at a launching beach and throw the thing up and balance it like a garden rake.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Dave, I'm looking forward to my first launch. The neighbours were all very positive, yesterday. I've just received word that my PFD (Salus Tango) is hot off the press. So, after a long winter, things are finally trending in the right direction. I used up some quarter-sawn oak for the ribs - so this lassie may be heavier than 14 lbs.

    I just hope that it tracks straight and takes me on a few adventures. Did you have any issues with the weight of your Geodesic Airolite boat?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Charlottesville, Virginia - USA
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Nicely done
    I built my first Wee Lassie that way, and she was great fun.

    Looking forward to seeing more pics -
    Dave

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
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    Norwich, Norfolk, UK
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    549

    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Sorry but we are not cheap..
    photo-thumb-15969.jpg
    Just an amateur bodging away..

  6. #6
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    Dec 2003
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    Sound Beach, NY
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Looks great! I have an ultralight plywood double paddle canoe. I find that shifting my weight fore and aft depending on the wind helps a lot. I also use trim ballast in my lightweight dory tender. Good luck and keep us posted.

  7. #7
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    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Short boats don't normally track as well as long boats, but the above remarks sound good.

    The only problem I had with it was pinholes in the fabric. They were caused by dirt and grit getting in between the dacron fabric and the stringer. This would cause a little nubby in the fabric, sticking out -- no problem until you brush up against something, and then the nubby would abrade into a tiny pinhole.

    If I build another I'll consider a thin foam strip between the stringers and the fabric.

    Dave

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    If I build another I'll consider a thin foam strip between the stringers and the fabric.

    Dave
    I've thought about this one - I've wondered about using double-sided foam tape or maybe a strip of landscape felt on the lower stringers.

    I am planning to use some construction adhesive to strengthen the bottom fabric.
    Last edited by chucksurette; 04-07-2021 at 01:47 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    boat in plastic.jpg
    It's unseasonably warm here in Southern Ontario today. I wrapped the Lassie in plastic for it's first float.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Have fun!

  11. #11
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    Charlottesville, Virginia - USA
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Hope the test goes well!

    Shoot me an email and I will send you the latest on skinning and using the construction adhesive.

    Dave
    GentryCustomBoats@yahoo.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Maiden voyage complete & everyone made it back unscathed. The Lassie handled pretty well and didn't take on any water. It was a pretty short trip, as I did not want to have to swim back to shore. The lake was frozen over just a few weeks ago and was still pretty cold.

    It seemed to track pretty well and was reasonably stable for a complete novice like me. For the test run a yoga mat served as the only seat. I may raise it up a bit with a piece of foam, as the rail was coming into play with my paddle. I'm pumped and can't wait to get the fabric on her and get out there for real.

    I think my backrest position is ok - as the boat seemed to be level as I was paddling, but let me know what you think.
    boat maiden voyage.jpg

  13. #13
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    Woodstock, ON
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    and a front shot

    Lassie front maiden.jpg

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    It looks good to me. If it tracks well and isn't too hard to turn, you got it right.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    It looks good to me. If it tracks well and isn't too hard to turn, you got it right.
    Thanks John - It seemed to track well. I was pretty freaked out about the Tuck tape holding the skin together, so I didn't stay out too long.

    Today was another beautiful day, but I didn't take the boat out - I spent my time skinning it with polyester and applying the first few coats of Varathane. I strung up the polyester per Hillary Russel's video, above before applying the urethane. The skin stayed tight - and after giving it some time to dry, it was stapled in place.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    I'm glad it's going well, I covet those boats. If I didn't already own 7 small boats....

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    I'm glad it's going well, I covet those boats. If I didn't already own 7 small boats....
    The urethane seems to be working well - I'll post some pics of the finish. I'm using clear, but it's added a nice amber hue to the (yellow) fabric.

    Space does always seem to come at a premium...I'm right there with you. So many boat designs, so little space. Maybe, if I build another shed I can build another boat?

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Quote Originally Posted by chucksurette View Post
    The urethane seems to be working well - I'm using clear, but it's added a nice amber hue to the (yellow) fabric.
    Fabric strung up.jpg

    Here is the fabric all strung up. This method worked really well to tension the fabric. Wrinkles in the fabric were one of my biggest fears in doing a skin on frame canoe. I had read about others getting the fabric tight, only to have it wrinkle after applying finish. So, I applied urethane with the fabric under tension and stapled it in place once it had some time to dry.
    Quart and half skin.jpg

    Here's the color now with 1 1/2 quarts of Varathane spar urethane (oil based) applied.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    And finally trimmed at the stem - holy staples...you can see in this pic that there is a little hogging at the bow, but I'm leaving it for now.

    Stem trimmed.jpg

    The plan now is to scuff & keep going with a few more coats of urethane. Then on to the floorboards and getting this little thing in the water.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Well after umpteen coats of urethane - it's starting to look like a boat. The polyester seems pretty hard to fill, but it's finally starting to look glossy all over.

    It's gone from bright yellow to more of a hide look. I'm digging it.

    Lookalikeboat.jpg

    I'm hoping to take it out this weekend, for a lap around the local lake.
    https://paddling.com/paddle/locations/roth-park

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    I like that hide look.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    I like that hide look.
    Thanks! It seems to blend well with the wood now. It's nice to be able to get to some finish work. I'm not a big fan of how the urethane goes on - in big thick bunches...but it does show off the grain of the wood.

    As shown decks are Apple/Maple, bent ribs are Q/S Red Oak that was lying around, floorboards are Cedar cut from old telephone poles, backrest and footrest are best described as "futon wood" stuff left from an old futon that was in my "not quite scrap" pile...the balance is cut from 2x spruce from the borg.


    -Itisawoodenboat.jpg

  24. #24
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    Boston, MA
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Looks very nice!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Cheap Lassie

    Quote Originally Posted by dbp1 View Post
    Looks very nice!
    Thanks DP! I need to find a bathroom scale now to see how much all that urethane weighs... 2 days left of cure time - then it's going back in the water.

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