Building a skin on frame Joel White
18' long 54" beam 21" depth to sheer
was looking for a double ended rowing /
sailing beach cruiser
that two people could use for extended camping in semi protected
waters. Ben Fuller brought this design to my attention.
The boat is similar to a Swampscott dory but carries a bit more
waterline, a rockered keel, a fuller hull section, and an external
skeg. The boat
a kickup rudder,
daggerboard, and an 86sq ft lug sail. I can't
wait to get this beauty on the water.
from plans I drew up this broad strake plywood design and then
rounded the hard chines with a batten, adding a touch more
fullness in the bilge.
I reduced the freeboard by an inch to compensate. I'll update
this page frequently as I build over the next 2 weeks.
simple form is built; winding sticks are laid across and sighted to
check for twist.
up the gunwales, keel, and laminated stems. The
shape is not forced, this is important.
Stringers are layed on,
secured with sheetrock screws and faired into
the stems. I use a small bronze ringnail and a lashing to fasten
ends. Stringer edges are broken but the overall section is left
boat ready for ribs at the end of day 3. The yard for the
sail rig is being
laminated in the background.
in the ribs, white oak 3/8 x 1 1/8 on 6" centers. I
block back the ribs in the midsection to help keep the boat from
wanting to spring open when the form is removed.
5, Rebecca Reynolds and myself bending in the last of the
ribs. They are fastened to the stringers with a piloted bronze
the outer stems from 1/8" mahogany strips. I used 1/4"
fir on the inner stems, tough to bend. I do all my
laminating with urethane glue (gorrila glue); it has proven
itself to be strong and waterproof. I avoid epoxy whenever I
can. You can see in this picture that the inwale has been added
7, Finishing the shaping on the outer stems and shaping the
spars out of laminated Sitka Spruce, this is local wood I milled
with a friend, it is neither entirely clear nor entirely dry, but
should work just fine. I did make one painful mistake,
after routing channel up the center of the mast for a running
light, I glued the wire inside and then accidentally pulled it
too far and lost the other end.
All the stress from the thwarts and
especially the mast partners is transmitted to the hull via the seat
riser. Fastening it to the frame is a serious job. I
screwed each rib to the riser from behind, and lashed each intersection
tightly, sandwiching the riser, rib, and stringer behind
it. The procedure took more than five minutes per rib.
Day 9, I built and
fastened the riser doublers with glue and screws. Also
constructed the rear seat and thwarts, stiffening the 3/4 x 7 1/2"
spruce with a smaller piece glued and nailed to the undersides.
Everything is fitting very nicely.
Aligning the mast step and
partners. Accuracy is critical.
After the sockets are cut out I
decide to reinforce the mast socket with a piece of marine ply,
one less thing to hold my breath on during that first accidental jibe.
Everything is glued and screwed
together. The mast fit we are looking for here is absolutely
snug. I accomplished this by cutting a hole 3/16" larger than the
mast and then lining the hole with 3/16 leather, leaving the socket
3/16" too tight (because the leather opposite itself is
added). Working the mast with a sander the desired fit is
Day 11, Christmas day.
Making the daggerboard and trunk (trunk plug in the background).
The set up
is the same as for any small boat.
Looking up at the slot for the daggerboard and the tips of the end
logs. Like the mast set up, precision is important. My
background in finish carpentry is helpful here.
The daggerboard trunk is bedded in thickened epoxy (couldn't find my
5200) and screwed down from beneath. This is a great way to get
an eyeful of epoxy so I wear a face shield.
Making the kick-up rudder. The recessed slots accept the rudder
Day 13, me and the freshly oiled frame. I used Penofin
marine finish, and fresh organic vapor cartriges on my
Ginny tying important
diagonal lashings to stiffen the framework near the thwarts, which are
also screwed down.
Day 15, the 12 oz nylon fabric is draped over and pulled tight,
the ends are cut, seared, and stitched. The sides are stapled and
the excess is cut off. A rub rail hides the staples later.
Spreading on the goop, this is a 2 part polyurethane available
from Corey Freedman (360 299 0804). I used about a gallon,
or $200 worth. This stuff is bulletproof but can be
tricky to work with. The application is wet on wet, 3 successive
Attaching the rub rail while the coating is still wet.
NEED PHOTO HERE
Attaching the laminated mahogany outer stems and the oak
Day 17, The boat is done with lots of little jobs remaining. Varnishing, adding the brass
half oval to the stems, making the oarpads, making the push pull
Glueing up the oar blanks, I'm using the best Sitka spruce in my shop
Varnishing all the little parts. The oarpads in the foreground
key into the gunwales and are set with screws and glue.
Day 18, DISASTER! Due to an unforseen chemistry
problem with my epoxy and varnish I am now left with a horrible uncured
sticky mess on every epoxied part. Today was spent scrubbing the
pieces clean with paint thinner. What a mess, and a 2 day setback.
The next step was to scrub the parts not attached to the boat down with
hot soapy water to eliminate the amine culprits. Where was I
going to drench the large parts in the middle of winter? There
seemed only one answer...
Day 20, varnishing the oars and everything else. I ordered
the plan for these highly efficient spoon oars from Walt Simmons of
Duck Trap woodworking, good site, with lots of info and hard to
find products. I'll be finishing the epoxy tips later as it
cures. After installing the oarpads today the boat is mostly
Day 23, after completeing the dozens of little jobs we finally
get to the water, The maiden sail / row was a lonely affair under
dark skies, with just two friends and the gulls. Kathleen went
out with me on the first sail, and then I headed out alone.
With no weight in the boat she easily ghosts along at hull speed.
Even when hiked out in the gusts I noticed no twisting in the hull
which was my greatest fear in adapting the boat to Skin on
Frame. The spruce spars do a magical job of absorbing the
shock to the frame. It doesn't track well under oars which
according to the prototype owner is the case in his also. I'll
have plenty of time to learn to row straight in the Sea of Cortez.
See you in March!
A very sincere thanks to Ben Fuller, John Silverio, Steve White, Walt
Simmons, and Grant Gambell for helping me to make this idea a
reality. LOVE the sail Grant.
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