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Glades Skiff Build

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
It might be a bit premature, but this is my "Glades Skiff build thread." I put that in quotes, because I've only gotten most of the materials together, no actual building yet. I only thought I knew where I was going to pick up the plywood and cypress planks and as a result, spent a couple of extra hours (and miles!) finding things. Oh well, at least I got them. . .

I intend to follow the design and instructions given by Glen Simmons in his book, Gladesmen - Gator Hunters, Moonshiners, and Skiffers, as closely as I can. When I do wander away from the original, I'll point it out and explain why I did it. The few variations I make should not alter the looks of the boat, hopefully it will be close enough to be considered at least a "visual replica." I'll also include the cost of materials so when I'm done, we'll all know just what the finished product cost to build.

I will also be cross-posting much of this to my new "other home Forum," BladesAndBushcraft dot com.

First off, I drove up to Homosassa, FL, to get 2 sheets of 1/4" fir marine plywood. The fir is more rot resistant than Okume, and much less expensive. $44 a sheet, for a total of $93.28 including taxes. Then it was a drive down (and around and around, since I forgot where it was, to Land O' Lakes, where I eventually found Crossroads Sawmill & Lumber Yard. Here, I picked up 3 1"X10"X14' cypress planks. Those were $15.75 each. Also got a 2X4 too see if I can turn out a paddle. ($5.34) This totaled out to $56.28.

Total spent on the wood was $149.56. I'll may adjust that down at some point, as the 3rd 14' plank will likely only be less than half used on this build, the rest will be used on another build later on. And the 2X4 is really for an experiment in paddle building.

"If there ain't a picture, it didn't happen!" is something I've heard before. So here you go:


By the time I got the planks home today, I was due for an on-line software coding lesson from my father, and when that was done, the rain started. So, looks like I'll have to get the actual building started in the morning. This is going to take longer than I though, as the planks are rough cut and a little "green." But sitting in my garage, they should dry out fairly quickly. And the moisture content really has to come down a bit before I can do much with them.

I'm not sure, but I think my next door neighbor has a planing machine. I hope so, and I'd like to plane the thickness of those planks down. Otherwise, I'll have to at least smooth them down, being rough cut, the hard way. We'll see.

In any event, the first step will be to cut the two plywood sheets down to size and shape. Then the sheet with the bow will go into a waterlily pond to soak so that I can start bending the bow into shape. That what I want to get started in the morning.

Well, the thread has now been started, only have to get the build started to match it! Feel free to post comments any time the mood strikes you.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,576
18
To help the "green" boards dry faster you might consider planing them to near finished size. That would make for less wood to dry(about 1 year per inch of wood). Store them in an attic(level and with stickers to allow air circulation). It will take some time. A little faster than normal air drying. I would not know the results of building with "green" wood, probablly not the best.

beekeeper
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
Wow! The attic did not occur to me. I'll have to see if I can get them up there by myself. If so, I'll do just that.

Didn't get nearly what I wanted to get done today. No point in going into the reasons, I guess I could say "Life" got in the way. What I did do was to cut up some 1"X2"s to put between the planks (stickers?) so air could circulate between them. And created space in the garage so I could put my stack inside. The lumber yard man said the lightest plank was "ready to use," the other two would require a little more drying time.

I'll check with Charlie next door and see if he has a planer, I kind of remembering him telling me he did. I was going to ask if I should plane it now, or after the drying has been completed. I figured it might cut down the drying time. Just wasn't sure if it was a good idea or not. But now I know to by the cypress for the other builds as soon as I can. The ply can wait until its needed. If I can dry the wood, I can get any length/width I need. If I buy it dried, I have to take whatever they have.

Next week, I will be able to build inside the garage, so I'll not be "delayed on account of rain!" When it stopped me today, it wasn't a total loss. I barely had time to set up my HH Expedition hammock and ride out a thunder storm. Not much wind, but fairly heavy rain. Even though I'm using the small, standard rain fly, I did stay dry. But I now know what they mean by "being trapped in your hammock." I'll be trying an 8X10 tarp, rigged as a diamond, or a 10X12 as an A frame, next. (Which ever Wally World has handy.)

The build will pick up speed next week.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, Fl
 

Wannabe

Well-Known Member
Apr 5, 2007
2,645
1
on the bank of Trinity Bay
Mike,
If they were my boards I would dry them before planning. You never know what a board will do in the process of drying. You could get a light cup or bow and hopefully plane the defect out while reaching the desired thickness. Sometimes they turn into pretzels. Those you use for firewood.
Bob
 

mike

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2009
661
5
TEXAS!
I agree with Bob, wait until they are dry before you plane them.

I also agree with beekeeper - put 'em in the attic to dry. The attic is like an energy-free kiln.

Mike
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
I've just solved my "green wood" problems. It does change the cost of this build, but will let me "get 'er done" in a reasonable amount of time.

Just order two planks from a mill a little further South, and they are already fully air dried. Thicker and wider than I need, but they will plane the thickness down to what I want. The extra width I can rip from the planks and that will be perfect for one of my future builds. The planks I already have will just sit there and dry a long as it takes, and be used on another project.

Of course, this does run up the cost! But for this build, it's worth it to me. Total cost for the two planks, including the planing and sales tax is $96.66. (Ouch!)

To bring the build time from months to weeks, Priceless!

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,576
18
Waiting for the boards to dry befor planing would be best. I should have asked for more information befor recomending they be planed to near size.


beekeeper
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
That's OK, Beekeep! My first inclination was to shorten the drying time by planing them right away. But, after the others chimed in, I decided against it.

In fact, when I found the other source for the planks, I asked about the drying and they said theirs was fully air dried and ready for planing. Then I asked, and he explained that planing before drying is something they simply would not do, themselves.

I'll still be using the one plank from my first purchase, it is sufficiently dry now, and I need the thicker wood for the transom and the one permanent seat. The rest of that will simply sit where it is and continue drying. I decided that I probably won't be able to move it into the attic, based on the location of the entrance in the garage. Not enough room to go up and turn down the length of the garage attic.

Either way, I'm covered! The stuff I bought first and the left-overs of the second buy will get used on the next boats.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
Just as I was going outside to set up the plywood to begin yesterday, I got a call from the mill saying that my air dried and planed cypress was ready for pick up! Didn't expect that for another couple of days. So, that's what I did yesterday.

But today, I got a little more done:



The two panels end-to-end look kind of odd. Guess it's the camera angle or something. The bottom panel is 22" wide at the bottom and 26" wide at the top. The pic looks like the bottom one is upside down, but it isn't. (I swear!)




Some kind of parallax issue or something. (I guess.) Anyway, hear is my camera platform/cutting & building surface:




Following the instructions, I relieved the wood a little bit where the bow parts (should) come together. But as to just how much, the description was a little vague. I think I might have overdone it just a tad on one side, so I only did a little bit on this side:




I plan on "fine-tuning" that when the bending is done. And if I did over-do part of it, it will be kind of hard to tell once I touch it up with some epoxy and wood flour.

The next step is where it gets a little weird. At least its hard on my nerves, anyway. The idea of what I've built in the past was to protect the wood from water. And here I am getting ready to soak it for a while. . . Whatever. . .

Thought this might help prevent warping during the soaking, where I'll be doing a scarf joint:




And here we go, nose down in the lily pond!




The bow end is submerged back to the 3ft mark. The clamped end has been covered with a vinyl poncho I had laying around. The panel is supported by a lawn chair and sits right outside the dining room so I can keep an eye on it. The poncho should keep the rest of wood protected from rain, no idea what's going to protect the poncho from the cats, though.

I'll check it in the morning and see if its getting "bendable." I'll spend the rest of the day seeing if I can excavate the table saw so I can start ripping the planks down to the needed 10" width.

Actually boat building again, it's about TIME! :D

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

tx river rat

Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2007
3,043
2
Waco Tx
Mike
If you have a heat gun keep it handy when you start bending the wood. It does wonders helping the wood flex I have put recurve tips on all wood bows with one.
Ron
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
Mick,

If you've any waters that are shallow and have lots of emergent vegetation, that is what this boat was designed for. And I will be posting lost of pics!

Ron,

Thanks for that tip! I do have a heat gun and never gave it a thought. I got mine for building PVC bows and straightening river cane for arrows. I'll keep it in mind.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
The bow panel stayed in the water overnight. Still not ready at 8 AM. But around noon, I decided it was time to apply a little pressure to it:



Not much happening, but it's a start! I'll be increasing the pressure throughout the day. Don't want to break it, but I do want to get it done.

I did check it about every 2 or 3 hrs, but that was probably too often. At 4 PM, I lifted it out and it seemed to be ready for a little more aggressive bending. And it was. But I noticed that one side, up towards the front, was looking sort of flat in one spot, not curved like the same place on the other side. (A flat spot.)

Seemed to call for another strap!:



I used a piece of scrap wood to make a splint, of sorts. The additional strap held it in place, between the other two straps. I did have to put some pressure on the flat spot while tightening the strap, but it pushed the flat spot out so that it looked just like the other side. View from the other end, just before it went back into the pond.



One thing to watch for when doing this kind of bending, (other than flat spots!) is to make sure the bottom of the bow, where the ply is split to form the V bottom, sometimes one side of the split will ride up onto the other side. So far when that's happened, all I had to do was to push the piece back into place. It literally "pops" back in. Easing off on the nearest strap helps, and when you tighten it, make sure there's an equal amount of tension on both of the ply sides. I think it was probably not paying attention to getting equal tension that caused one side to move up out of place onto the other side in the first place.

I'll keep checking it on into the evening. I still have to put together some sort of clamp to bring and hold the bow ends into position. If I can get that done tonight, I will be able to remove the ply from the lily pond. I don't think it really needs another overnight swim. . .

Of course, now that I've gotten to this point, I begin my "3 day work week" this Friday, 7P to 7A. When I get home on Monday about 7:30 AM, I'm off until the next Friday.

My timing on this could have been better! :D

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
I've heard it done that way too. But this is a lot of wood, with a lot of bending. Somehow, I don't think steam bending would be a good idea with marine ply, but who knows?

At 6 PM, I pulled it out and tightened it up some more. Took some pics and then tightened even more! The flat spot is GONE, don't need the splint. Here's the latest:



Getting close! Another view:




Now the needed profile has developed:




Got to check a few things in the book. Then I'll add a clamp to the bow. When the two halves meet there, it comes out of the water and into the garage! Probably move in later tonight, anyway. I think the wood is wet enough and I should still be able to work it some more in the morning with no problem. Besides, now that one end has been absolutely soaked, I'm anxious to start letting it dry.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
Glad to have you posting! When you are "up on the stage," its nice to know there's someone in the gallery. :lol:

Last report 'till Monday. (It's a weekend work thing.)

Fished the front half of the skiff bottom out of the lily pond just before dark. And I tightened all the straps a little more.
I set it up in the half-cleaned garage and put the wood & paracord clamp to work. It came together with no fuss (or cracking sounds,) at all. I did use a long nail (!) to make a Spanish Windlass to "fine tune" the closing.

Sorry for the lousy pic! The camera in the phone works very well most of the time, but indoor flash, not so much.



I'll let her sit, as is for a while. No need to rush into drilling and installing the copper wire just yet. I'd rather do that when the wood is nice and dry. Don't think wet wood and epoxy goes together all that well. Plenty of other stuff to do, a little more garage cleaning to unearth the table saw so I can rip the sides out of the way too wide cypress planks.

And, I do have a couple of other little side projects going at the same time.

See 'yall later!

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

Gamecock

Well-Known Member
Jul 17, 2012
146
2
:D Hey Mike, I'm enjoying, watching you make this build. Looks like it's really coming together. I was thinking, this is the first glades skiff that's been made in how many years? Your bringing a lost art back to life. Dave.
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
Dave,

There may well have been others, since the design came from the book, Gladesmen - Gator Hunters, Moonshiners, and Skiffers, by Glen Simmons (THE Gladesman,) and Laura Ogden (Anthropologist at FIU.) Excellent book with an addendum at the end with a drawing of the parts and a few pages of text on how Mr. Simmons built the skiffs at the time of the writing. He did a demo-build at the Florida Cultural Festival in White Springs Florida and there are pictures available on the Internet of that build. In fact, in the General section of the Forum, there's a thread "Worth a Build? Glades Skiff" that has links to the pictures and some good discussion on the subject.

I know I'm NOT the first, however. A man known as SwampHanger on the BladesandBushcraft forum beat me to it. It was seeing his build that triggered the "DO IT!" section in my brain. I think his interest was based on the history, but his intended use was more modern. He built his with plywood sides, rather than cypress and ended up painting it camouflage. Last I've seen of it, he'd not installed the forward seat, or the optional poling platform. He's seems to be using it mostly as a canoe or pirogue, kneeling to paddle, although he has posted pics with him standing up in it.

Nice job, built for his area and his own use. Mine will be different, as I'm looking to build at the very least, a "visual replica," hopefully coming as close as I can to an actual replica. I've contacted some people who want to have an old Gladesman present when I take my first overnight trip in the skiff, as he used a Glades Skiff "back in the day." That is how I hope to validate my efforts.

Since I read that post on the other forum, I had questions for the builder. So I joined the forum and found out there was a LOT of other things going on there that caught my interest. One of the better features is that there are a lot of DIY types there, and a section for local posting by state.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
The weekend at work has been a looooong one! I still can't believed I signed up to work Monday night as a "holiday," following my usual three, 12hr overnight shifts. . . Ouch! So, I'll be going in a little later this evening.

So, I won't be able to get back to the boat building until Tuesday, and won't likely get much done that day at all, as I have to re-adjust my sleep cycle to a day orientation. Which means Wednesday is looking good!

In the mean time, I was able to get a few things done, but only a little had anything to do with building the boat. I did pick up a block plane and I'll get some belts for the sander on the way home in the morning.

On the other hand, I now have everything I need to put together what looks to me like the best of the DIY wood gas stoves (in the quart can size, anyway,) and I ordered enough stuff for my wife to make a serious up-grade to the hammock rain fly, and add a nice zipper mod to the hammock itself. My hammock test in the backyard jungle convinced me this would be a good idea.

And while I'm at it, I decided the Turtle version of a portable hammock stand would be great for car camping, and since the stand parts can be bagged up in a bundle about 6ft long by maybe 6 or 8 inches in diameter, it would be practical to carry in just about any paddle-powered boat. . . :) Makes it easy to use the HH Expedition in areas where hammock camping isn't allowed, or where it isn't otherwise do-able.

Even going to build a little double bottom tray to make using an alcohol or small stick stove fairly safe in the boat. Think double bottom TV tray, but smaller, that would not only contain a fuel spill, but keep the heat away from whatever it sits on.

Working tonight, so see you later!

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
Run into a "little problem" with the bow. There should be a reverse rake to the bow, and the bow should also have lifted up, showing a couple inches of rocker. I *think* I know why, have sort of "proved" the problem and a possible fix, but I'm going to consult with a real expert before going further.

I'll let you know when I get it sorted out. I really want to get this one RIGHT.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL