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Thread: Can you talk me out of building a Robb White sport boat?

  1. #1
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    Default Can you talk me out of building a Robb White sport boat?

    Hey gents, been lurking a little bit, time to speak up.

    My wife is OK with us having a small boat next summer, something we can camp from. And after a little thinking she is OK with a square stern so we can put a small motor on it.

    I have looked at a lot of boats and a lot of drawings. Read a bunch of books. I feel like I have enough wood working background to pull off a strip built boat. Never fooled with fiberglass and epoxy, but it can't be that much worse than drywall mud.

    I looked at 18 and 20 foot freighter canoes at the Boat Shop in Fairbanks today. Wasn't looking at strip built to save money anyway.

    The main thing is I am looking for things the wife and I can do together now that most of the kids have moved out. If we can travel light for a night or two and bring out a spike/fork also, that would be awesome.

    I am thinking Western Red Cedar for all the strips, Superior Hardwood in Fbx will make that for me at 47 cents per foot. Ash for the stem since it is supposed to steam bend easy, hickory for the outwales for crush resistance and quartersawn white oak for the inwales so I can hang some kind of motor lift off the inwales rather than cantilevering the motor another foot behind the transom. I am thinking a small foredeck so we can put our camping gear under cover up front, 5-8ish hp outboard we should be good to go.

    Maybe some of that black graphite/epoxy stuff on the bottom four inches of the hull.

    I can afford it and I have all winter to get it done. Convince me this is a bad idea.

    http://robbwhite.com/sportboat.html

    Thanks,
    Scott

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    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Wouldnt dream of talking you out of it Scott! Have fun with it, strip biult boats are not hard just stunningly time consuming, seems to me ya got that covered. One caution glass work is NOT drywalling, you'll need to be much more careful.......I've done both as a living.
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    Schweet! I ordered the plans on 10-10-11, my check cleared the bank on 10-18-11 and the plans showed up in my mailbox on 10-24-11. $75.00.

    I had asked if the plans were going to be available for a while, no response on that one, but I did get a set. I did read the assembly instructions through once, and read looked at all the pictures and read the captions. This is doable, but I am glad I have all winter.

    My favorite quote from the first read, about making fillets in epoxy, "It is helpful to move your mouth around different ways as if feeding a baby."

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    I look at it like landing crosswind in a Beaver....gotta hold you mouth just right or you will ground loop!!

    I started a cedar kayak 3 years ago and am half done but don't let that scare you....I have many excuses. I bought clear red cedar and cut my own strips and the tongue and groove on about 220 12' pieces with the help of #3 son and a new blade on my table saw.

    You will have a very nice boat when you are done and one you will be proud of forever more. Good luck and keep us posted with your progress....that means pictures!!

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    I wouldn't try to talk anybody out of building a neat boat like that, BUT, talk to someone that has worked with resins before you start. There are some things you are going to want to know before you start.

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    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Will you please.. keep a photo gallery going for us thru the project?
    and insights you have along the way...
    from start to finish ..
    I am excited for you and I know you will do well..
    there are lots of experts to help along the way as we arm chair quarterback your every move..
    keep is in the loop
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskacanoe View Post
    Will you please.. keep a photo gallery going for us thru the project?

    there are lots of experts to help along the way as we arm chair quarterback your every move..
    keep us in the loop
    Max
    Yup, planning to do take lots of pictures and planning to post it here. I read all three of the major strip built canoe books in the Fairbanks library cover to cover and feel like I have a decent grasp of the technique.

    I like the stem design/method on Ted Moore's "CanoeCraft" best, but I can't see how to make it work with Robb White's gluing strategy yet.

    I looked long and hard at the Grand Laker canoe design in the book (sorry) by the west coast guy. The full size plans are missing from the copy in the Fairbanks library, but looking at the 1/3 scale line plan that is in the book I felt it wasn't going to have enough bouancy at the stern to support an outboard. I mean it could carry one, but trim is probably a challenge.

    The book by the Mainer, John Gardner I think, was the first place I saw a sawtooth pattern for where the strips meet along the keel line. Cutting a perfectly straight line stem to stern so there is a perfectly straight epoxy seam along the keel line of the hull (Ted Moore/ Canoecraft) is probably not something I can pull off neatly.

    I am not going to fool with making my own strips. Superior Hardwood in Fairbanks will make them for me at 47 cents per foot for western red cedar, or the same in Sitka spruce for I think 57 or 65 cents a foot. Considering it is five machine steps for each piece and they need to be as perfect as possible and western red cedar (dust) causes severe lung damage; screw it, I am buying the strips ready made by a pro millwork shop rather than fight a respirator for suboptimal components. They had several feet of canoe strip left over from the last order, what they had in stock was not enough for a boat but way more dimensionally uniform than I could expect to make at home.

    The directions for the sport boat say to start it keel down on the strongback and then flip it over to plank the bottom. The most recent build I found on the internet the guy started it keel up, and then took all the planks off and started over keel down and then flipped it again to finish planking. Without knowing for sure why I am planning to follow the instructions on that one, and just start keel down. No need to learn the hard way.

    I am toying with the idea of making the forms in plywood so I can mount the forms on one strongback and then build another strongback on top of the faired forms so I can just flip the fool thing when the time comes.

    My biggest concern at this point is finding a dry enough warm enough shop for the epoxy. I think my garage is dry enough, but I am not sure how warm I can get it. Ditto my wall tent. If I had flue cutouts for maybe three woodstoves the wall tent might be a contender... Pretty sure I don't want to be doing a bunch of epoxy work inside the house.

    Goal is to launch on or before my wedding aniversary, May 21. I am not planning to post any pictures until I have the forms all cut and faired on the strongback with the sheer strakes mounted asking for opinions on the sheerline. That should be about one third of the way to a finished boat.

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    pedro, your PM box is full:

    Yes I did. I included a note asking if the plans would continue to be availabel for a while but all I got back was the standard form letter. My guess is as long as $75 is rolling in often enough someone in the family will keep them in stock. Took about three weeks IIRC.

    Quote Originally Posted by pedro
    Hi,

    I'm also very interested in this boat. Did you mail check to:
    Robb White and Sons, Box 561, Thomasville, GA 31799

    Thanks

    Pedro

  9. #9

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    I had a Grumman Sport boat for a lot of years 20 plus. Used it more than any boat I have ever owned great all around boat.
    Had a lift on it ran it with a lot of different motors but ended up with a 8 HP 2 stroke. Just don't make yours to pretty so you
    will be afraid to use it!

  10. #10
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    My youngest uncle has a grumman sport boat. A great little boat. I keep persuading him to re-tool with a copperhead 6.5 horse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    I wouldn't try to talk anybody out of building a neat boat like that, BUT, talk to someone that has worked with resins before you start. There are some things you are going to want to know before you start.
    OK. What do I need to know about resins? I was at the store today looking at woods for transom, and I have no firm idea of which woods would be more suitable than others. Robb White says in his directions not to epoxy oak because it adheres, I think he said inconsistently.

    So I was thinking either poplar or hickory or ash, but I need schooled on resins. No joy at Barnes and Noble, I am all ears if anyone knows of a good primer.

  12. #12

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    Personally I'd epoxy all the wood no matter the species or whether it is finished bright or painted. The epoxy adds an additional layer of protection and make refinishing easier too.

    I'd suggest a laminated transom with a marine ply core and your favorite wood on the outsides. Poplar, hickory, and ash aren't particularly durable woods but glassed and epoxied all would be fine on a transom.

    I usually buy resins that I can purchase locally simply because I always seem to run out at a critical moment. For me that usually means either West System or System 3. There are some performance differences between manufacturers but most all of them are suitable for boat construction. A multi-layered graphite epoxied bottom might be valuable if you are going on rivers with a number of rocks or rocky coast lines.

    BTW poplar takes water based or alcohol based wood dyes real well which can be epoxied over. It is possible to make poplar look like any number of different species.

  13. #13
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Tongue and groove is not the best option for this type of boat. If the strips are 3/8" thk. for instance, you would route or shape a 3/8 radius on the boards. One side with an outside radius, the adjoining board an inside radius. That way no matter what angel the boards are joined together at get almost a 100% contact for the joint with your glue.

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