TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

By Dogpaddlin
I made a quick trip into Houston this morning to pick up my wood for the Brazos Fishing Rocket. The folks at Clark's Hardwood are very accommodating. I am going to set up my workstation this evening and hope to start laying everything out later this week. I have also ordered my epoxy and it should be here next Tuesday.

Now for the questions:

1. I have some polyester resin left over from my pirogue, can I use it to join the two sheets of ply at the butt joint and then epoxy over it, or do I need to cool my jets and wait for the epoxy to arrive next week?

2. When I do my butt joint, do I need to do any fill coats?

I know I have a few other questions but they are escaping me right now, I should probably get back to work anyway... :D
Last edited by Dogpaddlin on Sat Oct 24, 2009 8:18 pm, edited 13 times in total.
These are my opinions.

1. While polyester and epoxy can be compatible in some cases under some conditions I would avoid doing what you describe for the butt joint. Laminating a 4" wide strip of cloth is what replaces the old time style of butt blocks. It is stronger, lighter, and looks better. Since epoxy can generally be said to have many times the adhesive strength of polyester it would be better to have epoxy in such a structural situation. In order to save time I've done both sides at one time using plastic sheets, weights, etc., but that has not proven to be worth the effort. I think it's best to apply the 4" (or so) wide cloth, saturate it, and wait. The next day, carefully turn it over--get help--and then apply the strip on the other side. After that it's pretty durable and you can do about what you want with it.

2. You only need the saturation coat on the butt joint strips in order to get the job done and go on to the next step. While you work around only a saturation coat there is a possibility that you can get sanding dust/powder in the grain of the weave. That would leave little white specks that are very difficult to get out. Doing a sort of fill coat on the butt joint strip would help eliminate that possibility but we're talking about a very small area of cloth on the butt joints. I don't find the benefit of a fill coat at this time worth the time and effort. Now--if you've just applied cloth over an entire hull--then yes, you would need to do a fill coat before going on to the next steps to avoid getting the sanding/working powder/dust in the grain of the weave.
What design are you building? Specs? Enquiring minds want to know....

Does a trip to Clark's mean you're using okoume? :clap: I say: time to toss the polyester, or use it for non-nautical work. :P

Scarf joints ARE doable, you know. After seeing your pirogue in person, I encourage you to raise your sights a notch or two. 8)

Just my $0.02.
I am building the 16' X 24" 5 panel Brazos River Fishing Rocket, one of Gerald's designs. I am using okoume for this one, and will for the rest I build I suspect (yes, I am already thinking about another, maybe even a canoe :wink: ). I have not been happy with the birch ply I used on the pirogue. It looks good, but the ply is already coming apart. The $80 I saved does not sound like such a good deal anymore. Oh well, the pirogue was supposed to be a learning experience, and I learned :cry: .

I have thought a lot about the scarf joint, maybe I should have bought that 3rd piece of okoume. Maybe next time. This boat is going to take every inch and then some to cut the panels out.

I hope Gerald does not mind me attaching the linesplan.
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Dogpaddlin wrote:Pogo,
I am building the 16' X 24" 5 panel Brazos River Fishing Rocket, one of Gerald's designs. I am using okoume for this one, and will for the rest I build I suspect (yes, I am already thinking about another, maybe even a canoe :wink: ). I have not been happy with the birch ply I used on the pirogue. It looks good, but the ply is already coming apart. The $80 I saved does not sound like such a good deal anymore. Oh well, the pirogue was supposed to be a learning experience, and I learned :cry: .

I have thought a lot about the scarf joint, maybe I should have bought that 3rd piece of okoume. Maybe next time. This boat is going to take every inch and then some to cut the panels out.

I hope Gerald does not mind me attaching the linesplan.

I don't mind at all. This is a preliminary design. These builds by certain people are helping me a lot with preparations of the final design, plans, and manuals. Future 16' boats will actually be closer to 15' 10" so we don't have to deal with that extra 2" or so of plywood. I also don't think a scarf joint is a step up from a butt joint. Even if I did a scarf joint (which I have) I'd add fiberglass strips to each side anyway. Good scarf joints over a 4' sheet of 4mm plywood are hard to do. A butt joint as described is far better than a poorly done scarf joint--and much easier.
...and yes--how much is the okoume you are buying?
Don't know how y'all are doing it, but I loft S&G panels onto roll paper, then plot in all individual parts with scarf allowances, etc., and make sure everything is fitting up correctly, is fair and accounted for before even looking at any wood. Then the patterns are used for laying out *individual parts* on the plywood for maximum economy and absolute minimum waste, just plain old standard operating practice for any cabinet shop that hopes to post a profit. In my own experience, I've learned that when a plan set calls for two sheets of wood I can generally get all my parts out of one.

I scarf parts together, not whole sheets of plywood, good grief! And properly done, scarf joints never need additional reinforcing -- that's the whole idea. I even glue mine with wood glue, and have never had anything approaching an issue with a single one yet -- and I don't even fiberglass the inside!
Last edited by Pogo on Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dogpaddlin wrote:I went back and looked, Gerald told me I was going to need 3 or 4 sheets for this build, I was not paying attention :oops: . Looks like I am headed back to Clark's.

The hull will take 2 sheets. You might even have enough scraps to do the deck, since you're only doing 4' on each end. On this boat the deck is a temporary treatment so you can use either the full deck with small cockpit or just the 4 or 5' on each end. 4' is the least I recommend with this type of boat. The final plan for the Brazos River Fishing Rocket will be with 4' decks--peaked as shown, or possibly with a 3 piece deck panel.

Basically what you need are sheets to do:
The hull
The deck
The bulkheads (center form can be out of any suitable plywood)

I would use the two sheets you have now, layout the hull on the joined sheets, and see if you have enough scrap area to do the rest. If not--get another sheet. I always layout directly onto the sheets of plywood but pogo's way of doing it on a roll of paper is another way that works fine. I always save scraps for other purposes. Marine plywood is good stuff.

The reason I join two full sheets and then layout the plates is that plate alignment is assured. Alignment is difficult, though certainly not impossible, when you work with shorter pieces. The issue of how much epoxy and fiberglass, and the type of cloth, to apply on any given boat is up to the builder. The STANDARD starting point is 6 oz. cloth on both sides. Any deviation from this is at the builder's discretion--hopefully with full awareness of what each decision entails and full knowledge of the tradeoffs with any change in the STANDARD. Pogo is an excellent craftsman. I eagerly read his comments and appreciate the knowledge he shares. I am gratified that pogo will post with us. I learn a lot from him--just as I do from others. However, pogo builds specific boats for specific reasons--and they are HIS reasons. He does so with knowledge of what he is doing. What I'm trying to do is temper most suggestions and building hints with a little bit more of a middle of the road approach for the less accomplished or new builder. Once a builder has a little bit of sawdust under his belt and/or after carefully considering options there's absolutely nothing wrong with a little more off the wall, or advanced, design or building method. You'd be amazed at some of the crazy stuff I've done--and will do.

Ok...enough of that. Pogo: How's your new Outer Island coming along?
If somebody looks like they got their hands full, I try to keep my trap shut. But when I see something like Dogpaddling's pirogue, in person, and can't say I've ever seen a nicer one -- which is quite literally the honest-to-goodness truth -- well, whaddya do with a guy like that? Yeah, I'll suggest an advanced tip or technique or two, you bet. Same with someone like Moder, who makes a living putting splinters in his fingers. I seriously doubt I could lead anyone down a path they don't like the looks of even if I wanted to.

OI No. 2 is on sabbatical, haven't done a thing to it since mid-July. As I wait for the weather to cool off a little, I'm rethinking what I want to do about hatches, bulkheads, and coaming. I might get slightly radical with this boat, speaking of advanced techniques. I'll keep this board posted of progress as it occurs. Thanks for asking.
Pogo was right, I spent some time today (and got caught at work) scaling it off and laying everything out on two sheets. I will have to make the bulkheads and gunwales out of something else, but it will fit. I thought about maybe going back and getting a sheet of 3mm for the gunwales and the bulkheads. Save a little weight... or just use the sheet of luan I already have.
On the bright side, once you get fired there'll be more time to work on your boats. :lol:

Bulkheads, use anything. $8/sheet luaun doorskin is perfect for this particular app. Heck, on my OI No. 2, I propose to skip wood altogether, and make bulkheads out of two layers of 6-oz cloth, period. :shock:

Gunnels, as I understand them to occur on Gerald's boats, are a perfect place to use a little hardwood if you wanna go for aesthetics without paying a heavy weight penalty. And if you make it thin enough, you'll get the stiffening you need without any noticeable gain, I'm thinking. Rip a fat 1/8", or skinny 3/16", off an ash or red oak or some such board and make it look good! Pine or cedar should do as well if you can get clear runs to use.

Whoops, I really oughta shut my big fat mouth here, since it's Gerald's design and I'm sure he'd prefer you got all building instrux from him. But I like his designs, and I like your work, just gotta say it! :D

Can't help it, gotta add one last note: aligning panel parts, or 'plates', I suppose, as Gerald calls 'em, is as easy as eyeballing them from a grazing low angle from one end or the other. You have plenty of time to adjust until you're sure the panel is fair; then clamp and leave it be 'til tomorrow. Or at least, I never had a problem. But then, I'm big on trusting my eye, could be I just have an especially talented eye for this sorta thing, don't know. Just another "occupational" tidbit to toss out there, not trying to insist on anything.
Thanks for all the kind words Pogo, I hope I can live up to your expectations, you are setting the bar pretty high :D .

Another question for the gurus, I have been thinking about going "off the reservation" on the decks and doing something like in the link below. As I understand it, he basically ripped a 2"X6"X12' down and then glued the strips into a "sheet" (I think Ron may have posed a question similar to this some time ago). What are your thoughts?

You can easily do a curved deck on this boat. Just take a look at any of the Brazos River Fishing Boats.
This design was drawn with the peaked S&G deck because you said full S&G. In order to make a curved deck just use the same pattern for the forms and bulkheads but make them taller on the top so you can draw a curve on them for the arched deck. The strips in your example appear to be 1/4" X 3/4" which is the standard that we all use. I just cut them out of 1 X * WRC. If you build a strip panel flat as the guy in your example did you'll still have the same problems that you have with plywood in that the the panel only wants to bend in plane (one way). That worked for his boat because he did a very shallow arch. If you arch it more than that you'll need to glue the strips on the boat in the curve you want--as shown in my example. There is a method, called tortured plywood, that I have used many times to use plywood on a curved deck--but that will be another thread and boat later. I generally prefer strip decks on these boats because I don't believe it is any harder to do, it gives more freedom of shape, and looks better.
POGO: Feel free to give advice and suggestions even on my boats. Several hundred years from now some advanced amateur boat builder will surf on to our comments and say, "...wow! Look at the primitive way these guys built boats. Didn't they know all you have to do is enter the parameters of the craft you want and wait 15 minutes while the matter converter spits it out?..."
Dogpaddlin wrote:http://www.unclejohns.com/boat/nord/nord%20photos.htm

The method definitely works, it's how I make things like bulkheads for my kayaks. Those in the photo below are in-progress, glassed only on one side at this point; you're seeing the glassed side of the one on the left, and just a seal coat on the other. They will be glassed on both sides eventually, and then should be about 5000 times stronger than they need to be. :lol: (In fact, they're already scrap for that very reason. I'll lay up new bulkheads out of two layers of 6 oz cloth and epoxy only, and skip the wood altogether. Then they'll only be about 200 times as strong as they need to be.)

Making a whole boat using this method would be a labor of love, and no means of economy, in my opinion. Having built both S&G and strippers, I wouldn't expect "strip sheets" to be a bargain in any way except strictly for looks, and in the meantime it would defeat one of the chief advantages of S&G building, which is its sheer simplicity as compared to strip-building.

I remember years ago asking an experienced old hand what he thought of my idea of building a kayak specially designed to take a sail rig. His reply was "If you want a sailboat, then build a sailboat." I believe it was one of the most profound things I ever heard anybody say......
Bulkheads.JPG (39.15 KiB) Viewed 4533 times
I just got through staring at those pictures on Uncle John's some more. I'd have to say that guy knew what he was doing, that what he did was almost even efficient, and that it certainly turned in a beautiful result. But the key phrase is that he knew what he was doing. Note that he used much wider strips than we normally see, which you can do on flat panels, so far fewer strips are required. That helps a bunch to keep it reasonably uncomplicated. Also note the crossways "ribs" inside the bottom -- a really good idea since the strength is only going in one direction in this particular case where the absence of any camber, or plywood's built-in unidirectional load bearing ability, could spell big trouble later.

Yes, it can be done. But better know what you're doing. If you have pretty good shade-tree engineering instincts and reasonably sharp common sense for building, that oughta suffice. It helps to be able to think independently, and you're already demonstrating quite the affinity for that. 8)
Gerald is probably cursing my name right now, he told me the decks gave him the most grief with the design program and now I am talking about changing to a hybrid. What I was considering was using wider strips than traditional, maybe 1.5" or so, gluing them together and then attaching them to the hull as a single unit, just like I would have with the plywood. I like the looks of the rounded deck and I am not sure how a stripped deck would look with the hard angles.

Just thinking out loud...
Nope...no cursing. What this exercise is all about for me is to gain experience with the new software and get designs in a form that anyone can understand. That has been accomplished. The next designs will be pretty much in final form. I very much prefer the arched decks in any case--whether it is with plywood or strips. The reason we use 3/4" X 1/4" strips is so it will conform to the shape we want. We do NOT leave the edges hard. We sand them down and round off everything. In other words--the deck is built to shape in place.

However--we are just giving advice and information. What you decide to do in the end is up to you. I'm looking forward to seeing the result. I have no doubt that it will be very nice.
I am going to strip the deck on the duck but it will be three flat panels, my reasons are a little different than just looks. I have noticed my hatches get banged up dropped and dented on the edges more that any other place on my boats ,so I want solid wood in those spots instead of ply.
My epoxy finally got here yesterday. I was able to spend a few minutes in the garage last night and mixed up a little goopie to glue all of the sections together. I can already tell you I like epoxy MUCH better than polyester. It is so much easier to mix and I did not feel rushed to get it spread. I will sand the joints smooth and then put the fiberglass on both sides of the joints today and tomorrow. You can see some of the parts laid out below, I have a feeling I am gong to kick myself for making the pencil marks so heavy. Getting everything transferred from the plans to the plywood was easy and straightforward, but very time consuming. I have a feeling that will be my least favorite part of the build. I hope to get everything cut and sanded this weekend then it can start to take the shape of a real boat!!



I am getting ready to order some more materials (so I don't have to play the waiting game again later) and have a newbie question about ordering glass. How do you calculate the amount of glass you need? I want to cover the boat in solid pieces, so I am going to order the 60" width, the boat is 16ft long and I want two layers inside and out, would this require 22yards (16/3X4=21.3 rounded up to 22)

Also, how do I determine how much graphite I am going to need?
Ha ha, that's pretty funny. Most noobs panic because they think epoxy sets too fast. You make polyester sound like a great training tool!

Here's what I posted on my OI web site about marking wood:

"Notes on marking wood: There are two common mistakes greenhorn cabinet shop apprentices make over and over: Applying too much pressure to the pencil when making measurement marks, and applying too little lead when marking out guide lines. When marking to a ruler or tape measure, begin drawing the tic mark lightly, with very little pressure with the pencil point, and gradually apply more to darken it so it's easily seen. The effect is sort of like delicately brushing the mark on. This avoids the frequent problem of having the pencil point bumped off course by grain ridges, saw marks, and things like that. When tracing around a pattern, or drawing along a straightedge, go over it several times so you leave a firm, distinct, dark line. Wimpy faint lines lead to oh-shits on a regular and consistent basis, so make 'em crisp, clear, and distinctly visible.

"In all cases, avoid using such pressure that the pencil plows furrows into the wood surface, for somebody shall have to sand them out eventually. Go over it several times instead, and "paint it on". If the lead in your pencil is too hard to make a dark line without getting all groovy about it, trash it and get a softer one.

"I prefer Pentel mechanical pencils with .7 mm size lead in HB grade lead for shop pencils. Pencils and lead come in a single package at Office Depot, et al."

Boat builders soon become accustomed to thinking ahead because most everything we use must be mail-ordered. Doesn't take too many "waiting games" to give you all the general idea, it can be a real bummer.

For figuring glass cloth, I use a seamstress' tape measure, like a tailor might use to measure a waist, to measure the width of a curvy hull or deck "in real time". That'll tell you the best roll width to look at. Figuring length is easy, just divide the length in feet by three to get yards. Round up to make sure you have enough, and the surplus will get used for all sorts of miscellaneous little stuff.

Also, you can always just ask the guy at Raka or US Composites or wherever you call, and ask him; they figure it up all the time, and they're good at it. They want you to come back, too (and know that nobody can build just one?), and won't try to over-sell you for a paltry profit.

Always get your cloth on a roll. Most dealers know to roll it, that if it's folded and boxed the wrinkles can give you problems. Those guys really don't like having p*ssed-off builders calling them and yelling in their ear ..... and they still get it often enough no matter what they do.

Have never used graphite.
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