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Thread: 1/4" Plywood Freighter?

  1. #1

    Default 1/4" Plywood Freighter?

    Has anyone here ever attempted to build a plywood freighter or 20+ foot regular type canoe? Seems like it should work out good, and fairly cheap!
    Just curious, thanks

  2. #2
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    Default I was wondering

    How a 4 foot by sixteen foot plywood boat with cataraft tubes on the sides and a 20 hp jet would perform. It would be a blast to play with boat building.

  3. #3

    Default Boat

    The raft place on Lk Otis when it was there had a Aluminum Landing craft built. With inflatable replacable sponsons. Neat idea unloaded the sponsons were at or above water line. When heavy loaded they helped carry the weight.

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    Default

    Canoes have been made of plywood and they are quite strong but here in Alaska we tend to hit rocks frequently and the scratched finish allows water to get into the plywood and problems follow.

    East of Haines Junction at Otter Falls Junction, there is a fellow that made very nice freight canoes of molded Baltic Birch plywood.....some were as large as 26' and had cabins.....powered by twin 50s.....heck of a canoe.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by VernAK View Post
    East of Haines Junction at Otter Falls Junction, there is a fellow that made very nice freight canoes of molded Baltic Birch plywood.....some were as large as 26' and had cabins.....powered by twin 50s.....heck of a canoe.
    WOW! 26' with a cabin and twin 50's!!! thats quite a craft! would love to see a pic of such a canoe if anyone has one.
    Thanks for the info.

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    If people seem to think that plastic or fiberglass canoes are fine up here, then plywood is just as good or better ...if the canoe-ish boat is built with modern methods, i.e. composite construction. This means that the seams along panels of plywood are built-up from epoxy and fiberglass and the whole boat is sheathed in fiberglass, extra on the bottom, bow, and stern for abrasion resistance. I'm building a 17' pirogue as we speak, and I've built several others using these methods. For example, a 16' driftboat that took some real abuse hitting baaaad rocks, heavy loads dragged across rocky bars, etcetera and the fiberglass was never violated, just gouged ...and that's very easy to fix. I certainly wouldn't turn my nose up at building a freighter from plywood and fiberglass (and epoxy) here in Alaska.

    Brian

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by tananaBrian View Post
    If people seem to think that plastic or fiberglass canoes are fine up here, then plywood is just as good or better ...if the canoe-ish boat is built with modern methods, i.e. composite construction. This means that the seams along panels of plywood are built-up from epoxy and fiberglass and the whole boat is sheathed in fiberglass, extra on the bottom, bow, and stern for abrasion resistance. I'm building a 17' pirogue as we speak, and I've built several others using these methods. For example, a 16' driftboat that took some real abuse hitting baaaad rocks, heavy loads dragged across rocky bars, etcetera and the fiberglass was never violated, just gouged ...and that's very easy to fix. I certainly wouldn't turn my nose up at building a freighter from plywood and fiberglass (and epoxy) here in Alaska.

    Brian
    I was thinking the same thing, if aluminum can take it glassed wood certainly can, and as you say, easy to repair the dings.
    Just seems like a win/win to me.

  8. #8
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    Hi Mag-lover! I assume that's what your handle stands for. But let me be honest. Aluminum is king over all other materials when it comes to resisting abuse. That said, it's also noisy and cold. The trade-off is whether a noisy and cold canoe is worth it for the advantages of abuse resistance. That said, if you build a plywood boat, then there are things that you can do to mitigate the differences. Consider for example, that if you punch a hole in an aluminum canoe (a very rare occurrence, but more common for larger boats operating in shoal/shallow waters), that aluminum just tears and stays where the rock/log left it, water rushing in. Plywood on the other hand, tends to close the hole since the wood tends to keep it's original shape rather than bending. Plywood is a good option. For boats that take hard-hitting abuse like hitting rocks and obstacles as they drift down rivers or get beached along the banks of a lake, it's nice to have some 'protection' that keeps the boat sound in spite of the abuse. I know from experience, that plywood boats can be made to resist this type of abuse 99% as well as aluminum boats do, and they can be made to resist the elements year 'round as well, i.e. you can store them outside year 'round with no special protection. I've got a 10 year old skiff that's always been abused and stored outside, no protection whatsoever that is still as good today as it was when it was first built. The keys towards making a plywood boat abuse resistant is to a) build the plywood boat with epoxy and fiberglass, b) use appropriate glass/epoxy in known areas of abuse (bottom, bow/stern for beaching, etc), and c) paint it ...rather than varnish. As mentioned previously, this is something that I have nearly a couple of decades of experience with and know that it works. I far prefer a quiet, warm, ply/epoxy/fiberglass boat to an aluminum boat ...any time. I use a couple of layers of 10-oz glass on the areas of abuse (boat bottom, bow, stern), and finish with graphite impregnated epoxy as a final couple of coats, then fill/fix minor gouges at the end of each season. No problem. Easy to maintain, and because I like to fish, the quiet nature of the boat is a big benefit compared to aluminum ...which although tough, constantly makes slapping/pounding noises as you progress. And aluminum is cold. If the water is 33 F, then so is your boat! Ply/epoxy/glass is an insulator, quiet, and pleasant. Just my 2-bits... BTW, I design boats, so if someone's interested, then contact me. I'll be offering more designs as time permits. I've got a 25-1/2 to 28-1/2 foot offshore design available now (halibut, shrimp, rock fish, salmon, offshore safe, trailerable without wide-load permit) and am working on some smaller designs as well... for Interior lakes/rivers. PM if interested.

    Brian

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    Don't forget strip built boats! Again incased in fiberglass, basically the wood serves as your "baton layer" really, just allot stronger, lighter and more attractive. Everything from canoes/kayaks to skiffs can be made this way. You could biuld even bigger if you added ribs and a strong back.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick P View Post
    Don't forget strip built boats! Again incased in fiberglass, basically the wood serves as your "baton layer" really, just allot stronger, lighter and more attractive. Everything from canoes/kayaks to skiffs can be made this way. You could biuld even bigger if you added ribs and a strong back.
    Yes and no? I know that I can buy Okoume, Sapele, or Meranti (etc) plywood for the bottom panels of a canoe-ish boat that has far higher compressive strength than plain fir plywood. Most strippers are built from cedar which is fairly soft and might dent through the fiberglass (but easy to fix). Can you build a strip canoe from harder woods than that? Say, use ash or birch for bottom strips?

    Brian

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