Boatbuilding
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Introduction:

Welcome to the boatbuilding section of the website. The intention  here  is to build a layout boat from the "ground up". This will be unlike any other layout boat available commercially today. We have taken our field notes, pros and cons from others on various styles, and made a sort of "wish list" for features and components for a truly unique layout boat. This is going to be a one-man pumpkinseed Lake Erie style. The idea is to build from the plans we have developed with the aid of an engineer for displacement calculations. This plan has most of the original ideas still intact. The criteria as set forth were as follows (not in any order of importance):
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Extremely low profile (stealth)

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Enough room in the bulkheads to move your feet and accommodate a larger hunter.

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Safety factors for rough water.

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Lightweight

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Towable

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Larger side pockets for storage of shells in an upright position and accessible.

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Protection for the hunter from water that may come aboard

Let the construction begin!

Day 1:

We began by verifying the patterns that we plotted. This involved checking and rechecking the plans for correct dimensions, types and size of lumber, and angles of templates.  After a few clarifications which we wrote more as reminders on the plan templates (and revised for distribution), all was ready. We began cutting out the paper patterns carefully to maintain the flow lines. This process took over 90 minutes. Once the paper was cut, we transferred the patterns to masonite for making multiple boats from the templates, with a very thin line. To do this effectively, we sprayed the masonite and the paper with 3M glue from a spray can. This will eliminate any movement of the pattern and give a reference to the original lines for sanding after the cuts. We also marked all the holes where fasteners will attach and predrilled as many of these as possible.  Next, we cut the patterns. We used a Bosch variable speed jig saw and fine toothed blade for this step. We are cutting SLIGHTLY to the large side to maintain the lines. This process took about 3 hours! Total time invested is 6 hours.  The next step will be using a random orbital sander with 120 grit paper to get the patterns exact to the lines. I am going to build a temporary table to recess a stationary disc sander to be 90 degrees to the surface. The idea behind this is to be able to sand the critical pieces at an exact right angle. These masonite pieces will become permanent templates for a later date. I would like to be able to use a router to stack future pieces and use the template as a guide and produce exact replicas of many pieces simultaneously.

Day 2:

With all the templates cut and sanded, I started to cut the final pieces for the layout.  I did this by using a 3HP Bosch plunge router with a template bit.  To achieve this step I laid the pieces out on the stock and checked for grain direction.  Since I am building two at the same time, I stacked the plywood and clamped them together with the templates.  The next step involved routing the pieces from the template.  This process was better than cutting with a jigsaw for exacting cuts from the sanded pieces.  I used the router with a variable speed controller and cut real slow.  All the pieces came out beautiful.  A little final sanding on the hard corners and some file work from where the radius of the router couldn't cut square and all was done.  This whole process took about 2 hours.  Not bad for 2 layout boats.  

As a curiosity factor I used a butt load of clamps and dry fitted the pieces together to get a feel for the overall size and dimensions (and to see if it all fit together!). All looks good with a few minor fitting pieces to be completed during final assembly.

Day 3:

Everything is marked and checked so we decided since we were going to get a fresh start the next morning, we would put the 4 pieces of the apron together with the epoxy and glass tape and let it cure over night.  The bow section, stern section and the apron sides were laid flat on the floor and plastic placed underneath the 4 joints.  Mixed up some epoxy (West Systems 105 Resin and 205 Fast Cure Hardener) and coated the joints.  Applied  4" glass tape to the seams, wetted again.  Another layer of plastic over the seams and a bunch of weights to keep the ply flat.  We then got all the area ready for a good start in the morning: sawhorses built and leveled, tools spread out, fasteners categorized, and tools and more tools spread out.  I am fortunate to be able to have a lot of special tools and we spared nothing to make this easy.  Compressor with galvanized narrow crown staples, routers (off set bases, flush, etc.), cordless drills (countersink bit), screw guns (drywall depth setting type), belt sanders, palm sanders, and a bunch of hand tools.  The ground looked like spaghetti with all those power cords.  We also set up the bandsaw, tablesaw, stationary sander, and drum sander.  We are set.  

Day 4:

We got an early start (6AM) and placed the apron from the night before up on the sawhorses.  Sanded the joints smooth that we epoxied, and placed the first bulkhead into place for fit.

 

Since I had predrilled the holes into the apron previously, we set the bow and stern bulkheads into place and fastened them with countersunk screws.

 

Securing the bulkheads

The plywood doublers at the bow and stern were placed along with the centerline ribs.  Countersunk and screwed. Once the bow and stern bulkheads were fitted, we disassembled and epoxy the pieces together.  The stapler you see was for tacking things into place while one guy screwed the next guy proceeded to the next step.  Quite a time saver.

 

Here is another view. Then we placed the ribs, predrilled after fit, and countersunk-screwed from the bottom.  After fit, we disassembled, epoxy and fasten.

Fitting the ribs for placement. Quick-grip clamps worked great for this.

 

Pre-drilling from the top, countersinking from below.   Ribs in place and one top rail set for alignment. The box rails are also in place.

   

Another view from the bow. Bulkheads, ribs and rails in place.  Both rails secured.  Also notice that the drop for the box is installed.

Flipped over, box floor scribed and sanding the joints.  We used a flush router bit then a radius bit to help the glass cloth make the corners and not be such a hard angle. The plans also include how to make a deeper box configuration and a modified V planing hull.

 

Fitting the glass cloth to the inside (one piece) and started the epoxy.  West Systems 105 Resins with 206 Slow Cure Hardener.  Notice we applied the glass to within a few inches of the outside edge. After the cloth was epoxied, we applied epoxy to all the wood surfaces.  Again we routed all hard corners with a rounding over bit in the router.  In this picture the chine is also installed, sanded to the angle of the ribs, and screwed.

Another view. Wetting out the glass with epoxy.  The clamps hold the fiberglass in position.  In this picture you can see the extra foot room at the stern.

This is what it looked like when done with the epoxy.  This was the end of the first day.  A night to cure, us to relax, and then back at it tomorrow.  We ended the day at about 7PM.  Time invested 13 hours!

Day 5:

We were real pleased with the progress made the day before.  I arrived at 5:30 and started to deck the layout.  

 

The decking in progress. I used Aspen underlayment for the bow and stern pieces. All decked out. We then sanded it at the chine flush and rounded over the edge. Applied Bondo to the seams and sanded.  460 screws in the decking alone! From here you can see the ample foot room in the bulkhead area.

 

Side View and profile from the waterline

       

Ready to glass the hull.  105 and 205 West Systems    Here we go! Pot life of 9-12 minutes meant working F-A-S-T! The finished hull all glassed with epoxy resin..

Side view. Notice the taper and rounded box at the stern. This has the squared off box for using with a tender.

This one has a towing hull.  The plans also offer a modified V hull instruction.

  

Here it is after paint and before the skirting is installed.                        Another view

  

                              A different paint job and skirting for field use.

 

   

Completed and in use.

 

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