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Thread: Anybody built a small boat?

  1. #1

    Default Anybody built a small boat?

    Well, I'm back to contemplating building a small skiff-type boat for goofing around in. Anyone have experience building any Glen-L (thinking Console skiff) or flat bottom dories? I found a couple on line: Pilgrim's Pride 16 and the Lumberyard Skiff (16' or 20'). Just want/need a hobby, plus I'll have the (dry) room to do the project. This is for cruising on the flats (Anini Beach, Kauai), free diving, and offshore fishing on nice days. Also seriously considering one of Renn Tolman's designs as they offer somewhat of a "v" bottom, but would take away cruising in 12" or so of water skimming over the reefs? I can buy marine grade ply for about 80 bucks a sheet locally, so that was my biggest concern. I've got a 6 hp for a kicker and don't want to go to a big main outboard (25-40 would be fine). Want to have center console or remote steering for trolling.
    Any tips, advice, recommendations, etc. appreciated,
    Jim

  2. #2
    Member bhollis's Avatar
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    Default

    Have a friend who built a Glen-L console skiff at least a dozen years ago. He's used it extensively for day fishing, first around Kodiak, and then around Juneau for the last several years.

    He really enjoyed building the boat, and it's still going strong.

  3. #3
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    In the larger small skiff category is the tolman skiff, in either 18 or 20 feet. It's a great design and easy to build, plus a huge support group of fellow builders. Even though the skiff is a semi V, it can handle very shallow water. I believe there is at least one tolman skiff builder in the Hawaiin Islands.

    In the smaller range is the Dynamite Payson designed Diablo, which you'll find in the book instant boats. A co-worker built one years ago and he said it's a great skiff, and moves right out with a 20 horse. A bit too small for a center console this is a tiller steer skiff.

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    Default Nexus marine Dory

    My best friend is working on a 21' Nexus dory right now. Nice hull built for all around use. Good high sides and a strong hull design. Their plans are fairly simple and even include a parts shopping list. Might be something to look into. Check the Nexus Marine site.

  5. #5

    Default Glen L and Bartender

    I've got a Glen L 23' Hunky Dory with a center console that I bought from someone else. Great boat, 65 hp Merc pushes it top speed (empty) at 30 mph, cruise well at 20-22 mph. Great fishing platform. The flat bottom makes for a rough ride in chop--just have to slow down.

    Also have a 19' Bartender (also bought from someone else). I'm particularly partial to this boat. Her double ends, interior motor well and great flare make her especially seaworthy, and a 40 hp is the ideal motor for her. She can cruise all day at 20 mph on a few of gallons of gas. This boat is just plain fun to motor about in, especially in rough water. I just put her back in my garage/shop to build a cuddy for the boat. Bill Childs, owner of Bartender Boats, came up with a great plan for a cuddy in the 19', similar to the 22' Bartender. He has a great web site, and strong and loyal following free with all types of helpful advice.

    The Tolman, as mentioned in a prior post, is another great boat to check out. And, lastly, Ladybug boats puts out plans for a simple, functional flat bottom 18' skiff similar to the Glen L design. Looks like one of the easiest to build--surprisingly nice lines for such a simple boat. You can check them out at their website.

    I use my fiberglass Trophy for fishing far from port, but I'm particularly fond of the wooden boats (and, in my case, the Bartender most of all). During our long cold winters, I love to tinker with the wooden boats--seems to make the winter go by faster. Let us know what you decide on and how your build goes. Adding a couple of pics of my Glen L and Bartender.
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  6. #6

    Default

    I've built 3 wooden boats and started a 20' aluminum boat. Epoxy and plywood "stitch & glue" is the way to go. Epoxy resin has practically no smell while it is being worked and the woven fiberglass fabrics designed for use with epoxy resin are incredibly easy to work with (as opposed to the reeking, unhealthy fumes of polyester resin and the itchy, bad for your lungs, fiberglass matting most folks are familiar with). The stitch & glue buildng process with an epoxy fiberglass interior and exterior yields great strength to thin plywoods of 3/8" and 1/2" thickness, a tough sandwich type effect. The plans are easy to follow and the materials are available online from bateau or in Anchorage and the Valley (Plaschem, Anchoraqe -or- CAC Plastics in the Wasilla).
    I searched the world over when considering plans when I built my first boat about 7 years ago:
    Ken Hankinson had the aluminum plans for jet riverboats, he's gone now - I bought the last set of plans.
    Bateau.com is without a doubt the best wooden boat plans website and supplyhouse on the planet. Bateau's plans are numerous, are new designs, have more modern lines and appeal, and have an active builder forum that a person can go to for answers. They have CNC pre-cut plywood kits for most of their designs if you want to quick build a boat.
    I did it the inexpensive way and just followed the plans ordered online from bateau.com and built 3 very nice, light skiffs (14', 11', and a drift boat). There is no practical need to use "marine" plywood these days. All good grade exterior plywood has glues that are waterproof and todays manufacturing processes yield few voids in the plys.
    Building a beautiful, functional skiff is easy. Most of bateau's skiffs and offshore boats are ideal for Alaska rivers and coastline. I'm tempted to start another, bigger boat wooden boat in the 17' -to- 19' range. You can build a complete hull that size minus the outboard and rigging i.e. hull, deck, seats, and storage compartments for about $1000.00 - and make it as light or as beefy as you want. Here's the site http://www.bateau.com/
    Tommy

  7. #7
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I came across these comments from Renn Tolman over on fishyfish. I thought you might enjoy them, as they are insight from someone who has spent alot of time in skiffs and has found out what works, and what has come up lacking:

    You came to the right man to talk about 18-foot Tolman skiffs. We
    never owned a T/S for the first six "flat-bottom" years but ran a Cook
    Inlet dory designed by Mary. Then we built an 18-ft vee, the prototype,
    and ran it for many years to places including Bristol Bay (no one told
    us we couldn't), so needless to say it was thoroughly tested, which is
    a euphemistic way of saying we got thoroughly thrashed on several
    occasions. This was an un-decked version with a manual bilge pump handy
    to the helm, which kept us afloat on several occasions. . . Always
    tiller-steered, with the best power option being, we thought, two 30s
    with one locked down straight. Probably 40+ knots if you wanted it,
    unlimited power when we packed all that gas and camping gear, dog,
    raft, etc. As you can imagine the skipper was quite busy when we ran
    aground at full speed. . . We later built a 20-foot "semi widebody"
    (2-inch chine flat, but still a 7-foot beam) also tiller steered, so I
    have more than theoretical backing for my opinions below. . .

    . . . That a 20-foot is significantly better than an 18 because it has
    better directional stability, packs better (meaning it probably gets on
    step easier with heavy loads), bridges the waves (here meaning a chop)
    better due to its length (thus there is less hobby-horsing, or
    pitching). On the other hand, somewhat more power is required,
    obviously. Either will run fine as a day boat with 50 hp (Honda being
    the engine of choice), but it is not enough for "expedition" use (we
    ran a 55 commercial on our 20-footer, a different animal). . . But an
    18-footer is an entirely adequate skiff and may be better for
    psychological reasons, max economy, for example. I'm thinking it might
    be a boat of the future.

    Tiller steering: After I fell on my face and ripped the twist grip off
    the tiller (ever fix one of these in four-foot seas? Seasick city.)
    when the skiff decelerated abruptly upon plowing into the back of a
    wave, I thought there had to be a better way. I was following Mary, who
    was running a skiff back across Cook Inlet for a friend. This skiff had
    a console, and Mary was having a fine time threading her way through
    the waves on a bright sunny day. Anyway, I built a "console," really
    just a screen plus windshield astride the right-hand stringer and
    braced off to he shelf, which was demountable for winter storage.
    Motorcycle battery to run the depthsounder (something new), fixed
    compass, maybe even A GPS. Worked great, but then we had that
    difference of opinion with the bear, and that's when I thought sleeping
    in a cabin skiff might be a better choice.

    Forward vision: I don't think length makes a difference if each skiff
    is trimmed properly. I know you can't steer sitting down and see—I have
    two great Tolman skiff collision stories about this situation. . . A
    tiller extension helps (PVC pipe cum hose clamp). How about a small
    platform to stand on? Dave had a stanchion to grab, part of a removable
    rag top, by the way.

  8. #8

    Default Now I'm just a little...

    bit more enthused. I'll check out all the beforementioned boats/sites. Tommy, I have to question the call on exterior ply being on par with the marine ply, although I've never used marine ply before. Seems the general opinion is the superior glues (you did mention ext. ply having decent glue) and lack of voids (you addressed that too) is way better for a product that will be IN the water, not being splashed by rain occasionally. I can get 3/4" marine grade ply (4 x 8 sheets) locally for about 80 bucks, doesn't seem too outrageous. Any other opinions on the plywood issue? There's the Lumber Yard Skiff which is another flat bottom, easy to build rig based on, you guessed it, lumberyard available materials, using ext. grade ply. I'm sure it'd work and if glassed w/epoxy, may last a long time, but the 30 or so bucks per sheet savings just doesn't seem worth the risk, but I'm open to experienced opinions.
    Thanks!
    Jim

  9. #9
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    Default i built one once

    I made my first boat out of 1/8 inch 5053 aluminum its 10 years old now I will post some pictures soon it has twin 15 horse game fisher tiller motors. its 17ft 8 inches long and 6ft wide.... I want to build a new boat now to bring to alaska I would like it to be 28ft long 1/4 inch bottom thickness .190sides and have triple 115 horse hondas on the back . if i get this project started i will start my own thread for it . I mig welded my first boat but when i build my new boat i will tig weld the entire boat the welds are way cleaner ....what would you guy put on a boat if you built a boat for halibut fishing?

  10. #10

    Default

    Well, checked out Nexus, sheesh; NICE boats. I'm thinking those are a little out of my league, but very sweet looking! Could always "downscale" the materials to be a little more utilitarian. Rip, why triple outboards??? Seems like too much weight. I'm thinking of getting a welder and a tig sounds about right (the welder we used to weld up a bunch of stainless steel glass railing systems says the tig can do everything, even arc weld) The welds he did on that stainless were exposed and very easy to clean up; no splatter or excessive burning.
    Mugs, I like the dory!
    Paul, thanks for the link. I'm thinking the Tolman is the best compromise all things considered. Kinda got me thinking about building one for Alaska too; maybe a 18-20 with a canvas Bimini top and a 50 hp Etec; could be used on the Kenai and also in the nearshore salt???

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    Default trip out boards

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Jim View Post
    Well, checked out Nexus, sheesh; NICE boats. I'm thinking those are a little out of my league, but very sweet looking! Could always "downscale" the materials to be a little more utilitarian. Rip, why triple outboards??? Seems like too much weight. I'm thinking of getting a welder and a tig sounds about right (the welder we used to weld up a bunch of stainless steel glass railing systems says the tig can do everything, even arc weld) The welds he did on that stainless were exposed and very easy to clean up; no splatter or excessive burning.
    Mugs, I like the dory!
    Paul, thanks for the link. I'm thinking the Tolman is the best compromise all things considered. Kinda got me thinking about building one for Alaska too; maybe a 18-20 with a canvas Bimini top and a 50 hp Etec; could be used on the Kenai and also in the nearshore salt???
    youre rite it would weigh more mabey i will get twin 200hp etecks would that be a good setup for a 28 ft work boat? tig welding is alot slower but i like it better and because im not building the boat to sell i dont care if it takes more time to make it it will be my winter project next winter.

  12. #12
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Jim,

    Saw these plans advertised on C.L.: http://www.ladybugboats.com/

    They would fit the bill on the shallow draft and lower horse power requirement, but would probably beat you up pretty good in the chop.

    Pete
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  13. #13

    Default Pete,

    pretty similar design to the Lumber Yard Skiffs but dang, Hawaii is like Alaska in that one boat is not going to do everything you want! Thanks for the link. Not sure what I'm going to do. Mike questions my enthusiasm about building a boat for a hobby. He says I should be out fishing with him for a hobby! He's right, but what do you do when it's been blowing hard for 2 months? Just don't know.
    Maybe I'll start small (16' flat bottom with a pointed bow and 25 hp motor); could always sell it easy enough and build something bigger, more "V".
    Jim

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    Default San Juan Dory

    Your reference to a 16 foot flat bottom boat with a pointed bow and a 25 horse motor calls to mind the boat I launched this summer and have used throughout Southcentral Alaska. In my case, I put on a 20 horse Honda that I found on craigslist. The design is a San Juan Dory from Nexus Marine in Everett, Washington. I considered all the other designs mentioned in this thread, and more, before settling on this particular design to build. I have no regrets about the design. I enjoyed the extra woodworking of the plank on frame design, and less epoxy work, and I think I have a stronger boat that way, too. I've been real happy with the result, which is versatile, solid, efficient and, at least in my mind's eye, attractive. It wasn't fast and easy for me, but I don't attribute that to the design or anything other than my own inexperience and deliberate pace. It's a very satisfying project to have done. Good luck with it.
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  15. #15

    Default Nice!

    HTD, what kind of performance are you getting out of that rig? Very nice job, probably too nice for marine use here (woodwork/finishing upkeep). I did look at their designs on the web, pretty interested although I think at this point, I'm leaning towards the more utilitarian Glen-L console skiff, especially consdidering a "v" hull and going for the raised bulwark patterns.
    Tommy, what kind/hp of motors are you running on your skiffs?

    Thanks,
    Jim

  16. #16
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    I haven't used a GPS to get numbers for speed, fuel consumption, or other objection performance figures. But it looks like I could probably run it all day on the three-gallon tank. I'm still experimenting with trim, but it appears to be most comfortable riding just barely up on step, or any speed slower than that. I like the fact that there's no "hole" to get stuck in while transitioning to planing. For faster running, though, a semi-V would be the way to go, and I definitely see the attraction of a center console, especially if the boat would usually have just one or two persons on board.

    I'm hoping that the brightwork won't be difficult to keep up. I used cetol rather than varnish, and it sounds like a new coat each season, without any sanding, will keep it looking good. Time will tell.

    For a warm-weather ocean boat, I always liked the Seachaser design by Sam Devlin (link posted below), but it's an inboard.

    http://www.devlinboat.com/seachaser.htm

  17. #17
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    Default just build one of these

    Jim,
    build this type of skiff and be done with it. AC plywood & fiberglass. Down & dirty boatbuilding at its best.
    http://www.stripersonline.com/surfta...d.php?t=690194

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    907 775 1692

  18. #18

    Default

    The Seachaser is a little big for my needs and requires more investment in power. I do like his (Sam's) designs and he has an interesting small boat with a hardtop (forget which model).
    Steve, I did look at the Ladybug boats; very similar to the Pilgrim's Pride 16 and Lumberyard Skiff (the LBY can be built in 16' & 20' I think). I really like these flat bottom, high bow designs but wondering if I'm gonna be rattled by 7 knot trolling speed into some chop? (typical Kauai conditions). That guy dropped the price to 4300. Pretty dang good deal considering the 50 hp 4 stroke.
    I thought that one of these flat bottom skiffs would be good on the Kenai, the major drawback for me being that we do a lot of red fishing from some steep cut banks and the boat would take a beating from passing wakes (our current boat there is a 16' flat bottom Jon w/25 4stroke Yamah; unbeatable for what we do although I'd like a little more hp).
    Jim

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    Nice dory HTD

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