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Glades Skiff Build

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,554
97
82
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Mike, am I misunderstanding here? Do you plan to let wires remain in the boat permenantly? If so, that would be a departure from standard S&G procedure. Biting wires into the wood is something a ham foisted clod like me does. Real craftsmen don't make such a mistake.
 

FlaMike

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

No, I don't think this is the "standard stitch & glue" method. In fact, I *think* he used to close the bow with the copper wire and maybe used varnish, paint, or pine tar to get a seal. When he started using epoxy, I think he just added it to the building process, in addition to the permanent copper stitching. Yep, I'm leaving it in. :D

Wannabe,

It is 1/4" fir marine plywood. I'll be using 3/8" for the bottom of the marsh pirogue, as it has no frames. 1/4" (or less) seems to be the norm for kayaks, particularly when they will be skinned with fg cloth and epoxy on both sides. This design calls for 1/4", so that's what I'm using.

As for the stitching, Simmons' never mentions twisting the wire. Just threading the wire thru the hole and pulling it tight. That part makes no sense to me. The only way "pulling it tight" would mean anything would be if the wire was going around something. Maybe he's putting the wire thru the hole, the pulling both ends forward and crossing the stem. Instead of twisting the wire at that point, like "standard stitch & glue," this is where he says to "Cut the wire so about 1/4 inch hangs over each side after threading threw the holes." Then he's pulls the wire tight and buries the point in the wood.

I dunno!

Maybe when Matt reads it again he can 'splain it to me. I'm feeling kind of thick-headed here. And I get what you're saying about the beam spread at that 30" point, where the plank sides begin. I'll be winging that part, for sure. As I've said before, he never mentions any side flare. None of the pictures shows any if there is some, but the top of the transom is one inch wider than the bottom edge of the transom. So there is at least some flare at that point.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

Gamecock

Well-Known Member
Jul 17, 2012
146
2
:?: I'm wondering if the way he tightens this wire, isn't similar to using hog rings and tightening them all the way up like I do when joining cattle panels together? Dave.
 

FlaMike

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

If I understand what you are saying, I think you are probably right. I'm using my imagination here, and it does tend to run off into the deep weeds at times. :D

Could you describe how you do that? Or maybe a pic of the results?

EDIT: Second thought, I am sure I know what you are talking about. And in a way, it is similar. In fact, I have decided how I'm going to do the stitching. What is different from the standard technique is that the wire isn't used to draw the pieces together. The clamp on the bow does that for you. The stitching only holds it together once the clamp has done it's job. And in this case, it will be the stitching and the epoxy. (Mostly, the epoxy.) This could easily be done without the wire, but I'm leaving it in simply because that's the way the designer did it.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,554
97
82
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Mike, are you going to be using epoxy and fiberglass cloth? If so, then the only reason for wires should be to temporarily hold the plywood together until epoxy sets and does the job.
May I ask, why you plan to use some advances to achieve the hull form. and not others? Which is more critical for your use - hull form or fasteners?
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
Ahhhhhhhhh. . . What we have here is a failure to communicate. (Always wanted to say that!)

And the failure is mine.

The reason for this particular build is that I want to look at the last example that I can find of this historical Florida craft and see how closely I can reproduce it. I already know that I do not have enough information to make a real replica, so I'm willing (for now,) to settle for what I'm calling a "visual replica."

The only reason epoxy figures into this build at all, is because that is how Mr. Simmons demonstrated the last few boats that he built. At this point, I think I probably won't fg cloth & epoxy the bottom as I'd said earlier, as that would take it too far from that replica status I'm working towards.

Besides, the boat is so specialized to the Everglades, it will not be my primary boat. That will be a pirogue (or two!) and eventually, I'll build the South Wind 15-30 from the kit I got from Matt. (And that will be built his way.)

This isn't about building a type of boat using the best of today's methods and materials, it's about using what I have, I know, and can learn, to build a particular boat that would be easily mistaken for an example from the past.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
The first casualty of war is the plan of battle. It is usually felled by the first shot.

Didn't get done near what I'd planed on doing. (See opening line.) But, I did get stuff done, so here it is, a long with what I learned doing it.

Lesson Learned, IF you decide to make a correction, make it. Once done, move on! Keep messing with it, you'll eventually screw it up.

Had the bow closed up, held in place with a wooden clamp. I decided to increase the radius of the turn between the stem and the boat's bottom. Not a bad idea, seemed to work. But, I also decided to adjust the rake by cutting it back. Well, that worked too, but I lost a little of that radius in the process. Then came the "back and forth" adjustments. In themselves, they weren't bad, but every time I "adjusted" something, I had to loosen the bolt on the wood clamp, then re-tighten it. Eventually, that bolt broke.

Off to the store, burning daylight and time, I got another one. Other lesson learned, If you only need ONE, get TWO. You'll either break one, or loose it. Also, the instructions called for a clamp made out of angle iron. Should have payed attention to that one. The wood clamp worked well enough, but it was a little too wide and it didn't leave much room to work with the wire stitching. Also, the angle iron would have been easier to work with, now that I fully understand the job it was to do.

What I *think* is different about the way the stitching was done by the original builder did it, was that the stitches didn't close the bow up, that was done by the clamp. The stitches tied the bow together and held it that way, as they were not removed after the glue has cured, as it is done with modern stitch & glue construction.

Since I never quite figured out exactly how the original builder used the copper wire for stitching, based on his description of the process, I decided to add some elements of the modern technique to make certain the joint would be secure, but use the heavy wire and leave it in place, to at least look like the original method. (Or close to it, anyway.)

Here is what I did: First, I removed the clamp (again!) and let the wood spring apart. Epoxy was then spread on the contacting surfaces. After it kicked-off, I applied a second coat and put the clamp back on and tightened it up.

NOTE, when doing this, make certain that the bottom edges are perfectly even when you start closing the bow. One side will always try to ride up over the other one. Tighten and check, adjust if needed, then tighten some more. When it is completely closed, the two top edges of the sides should be even. If not, loosen it back up, and pay more attention to the bottom edges as you tighten it up again. Failure to do so will result in a bow that is asymmetrical. (A bad thing.)



The hole was drilled side-to-side and the copper wire pushed through it. The wire was then pulled forward and the two ends crossed across the stem, pulled tight, then bent back towards the hole.



The ends of the wire are then bent down toward the hull, so the ends can be driven into the ply. Basically, you are making a large, copper staple. Then do just that, drive it in.



I'll see about tightening this up, as I put in the rest of them.

Is that how it was done? I have NO idea. But when it's done, I think it will look right. And I hope to get the definitive word on the actual method in the near future. Too late for this build, but I could easily decide to build another if I gain enough information to make it worthwhile.

So, now for the more conventional approach, which does kind of turn the copper wire more-or-less into "decoration."

Here, epoxy has been mixed with wood flour and poured into the the seam at the bow, after standing the section up.



Some tape and a shop rag made a dam to keep the mix from running out over the end. Once that had kicked, The boat half was turned back right side up and put back on the saw horses. Time to address the split down the middle from the bow:



Same process, epoxy & wood flour mixed to where it's still just a little runny, to be self-leveling, and tape on the other side of the seam to keep it IN the hull.

I'll shoot for getting a more substantial amount done tomorrow, it is a little more straight forward, scarfing the two hull bottoms together. And then I should be able to start fitting the cypress plank sides to the bottom.

Should make for an interesting day. . .

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,554
97
82
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Mike, I'm going to make a rough guess here. If you had tossed that clamp idea over your back fence, and fastened the bow with wire - say, stove pipe wire that is strong enough to do the job - it would have saved you about $15 and many hours. $15 would have bought a couple of 6 packs of sudsy stuff, and the hours saved could have been spent drinking them.
Just a guess.
 

FlaMike

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

You are quite right. It certainly would have been easier and the end result would have been much cleaner looking. No doubt about it!

But I wanted to better understand how "they" did it, back "when." And to a degree, I can now say that I do have a better understanding of how it used to be built. From that experience, I have a better understanding of why things are done differently now. I truly appreciate the differences! :D

Mr. Simmons built his skiffs, his way. But "his way" was changing over the years. When he first started building skiffs, there was no such thing as epoxy and I doubt he had access to any of the other, earlier glues either. But as they became available, he used them. It doesn't look to me like he ever caught up with the latest building methods, but I suspect he would have embraced them fully, once he'd see the results of a boat built with them.

I figured I check in and see if I had to answer any comments about the last set of pics, before I posted the current ones. I just finished the scarfing the bottom halves together and waiting for the epoxy to set. While that's happening, I'll be extricating the table saw from the garage and that will be the start of creating space to move the boat inside this evening. We've had afternoon rain almost daily lately, and night time showers quite often.

As the build goes on, all of the little "rough spots" that turn up from time to time will all get smoothed out before it's over. I'm pretty confident that this build will turn out just fine.

EDIT: I almost forgot! I have removed the bow clamp and the nylon strap and the bow stayed together just fine! It didn't pop open, or this would have been a very different post!

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
Got the bottom panels scarfed today. Here are the usual pics, but I do have some questions that would help me do a better job, next build.



First question: Is that the right tool for the job? Or do you prefer a power plane, or a regular plane? Please don't tell me a sanding block is the way to go, I don't want to go there! :roll:



I found myself mostly sanding across the sheets, not in the direction that first pic suggest. And I learned to keep the darn thing moving, too! Any time the sander is sitting in one spot, trouble follows immediately. :shock:
Watching the different layers show up as nice, even bands of different shade of color is supposed to be a good thing.



OK, so when you see the different bands of color take on different widths (and shapes,) it's NOT so good! Apparently, this is a job that should be done IN the shade, NOT at high noon, and maybe a FAN would help. This was not a very good job. Next time, I'll spend some time with some scrap and practice first. Never did this before. And I'll time it so I'll be doing this part in the early AM or the late afternoon. With some practice first, I won't be depending so much on the gap-filling ability of thickened epoxy. Wonder if anyone would notice a glass & epoxy butt spice on top of this "scarf joint?" Just might do that. Call it a "belt & suspenders" safety item.



Large sheet of scrap ply underneath, sheet of plastic on top of that, the two halves being joined next, another sheet of plastic, wide flat board next, and three jugs of water for weight. Your basic boat sandwich! :D

When I decided to call it quits for the day, I was able to move the whole thing into the garage, followed by the table saw I drug out earlier while the epoxy was setting up, and all the other tools, as well. I won't describe how the move was done, but I will tell you it was pretty scary! I didn't like the idea of moving it before the epoxy was completely cured, but I didn't want to leave it outside, either.

That's it for me, I've got some serious re-hydrating to do!

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

mike

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2009
661
5
TEXAS!
All good info, Mike. Keep it coming.

Oh! I probably would have made that scarf joint a good bit longer just to have more gluing surface. I don't know if that's right, or wrong, it just looks that way to me.

Mike
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
Yes, it is a "short scarf." Again, only because that is what was specified in the book.

1/4" ply, only 1" on each piece, I guess that makes it a 4:1 joint. Last I heard, 8:1 is more common, some go for 12:1. That said, I do recall reading, maybe Payson or Bolger, where they thought the current standard was a hold-over from using earlier glues, (prior to epoxy.) And whoever it was said that with the more "modern" glue, that was probably overkill. However, he didn't advise using a lesser ration as it hadn't been tested yet.

Personally, I think it would work just fine. Well, on a well-made scarf, that is. Mine was kind of sloppy, due to inexperience. To make up for it, I am thinking about adding a six inch wide piece of fg cloth to both sides, as if I had made an epoxy/fg butt joint. Those I have used before and they worked well.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,554
97
82
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Mike, your scarf joints are way ahead of mine. I decided to do a simple butt joint with a scab patch on the inside if the boat. Beefy,not elegant. But they withstand the misuse I typically put upon my boats.

I understand you wanting the historical perspective; I often do that too.
 

FlaMike

Well-Known Member
Jun 20, 2007
624
2
Spring Hill, FL
www.ptponds.com
Been thinking how I'm not too pleased with that first attempt at a plywood scarf joint. Failing to get some practice on some scrap material, I realize I could have built a simple scarfing jig and done with with a circular saw, much better than I did. So, I decided to add a an epoxy & fg strip, 6" wide, over both sides of the joint. Just as if I'd made a epoxy/glass butt joint in the first place. Got the top part of that done, today.

Just done today, as the game was called on account of rain, about 3PM! The rain started coming down within 5 minutes after I moved it all in and closed the garage door.

But, I did get some stuff done. First, I needed to rip the side planks down to 10" wide. Wife had to go somewhere, but I figured out how to do it, myself. What made it work was the two, old chairs I'd already loaded into the truck to get rid of.



Didn't want the table saw to tilt over, so I put the three cypress planks that are being dried out across the bottom of the table saw stand. That anchored it to the ground, nicely. No extra hands available to steady the ends of the plank being ripped, that's where those two chairs came in handy. The pic above shows a plank ready to be ripped.



Above is shown a plank just finished it's trip across the table saw. About 3/4 the way thru the cut, I steadied the plank, turned the saw off, and when the blade stopped, I move the two chairs to the other end of the plank. Now the plank has been ripped, leaving me with one 10" wide piece for the skiff sides and a 3 1/2" wide piece for the next build.

Here, I've started shaping the side plank to fit the hull. Now I'll get some use out of the little hand plane I picked up the other day. I'm not ready to trust a power tool for this job!



Same from the other side:



I'd just moved this plank to the ground and set it up for planing when I thought I'd start on that "belt & suspenders" addition to the bottom panel scarf. I could be planing away while the epoxy cured, stop and apply the next coat of epoxy, then plane some more. (Once the first plank is fitted, it will used as a pattern for the other side.) Got the cloth cut and wetted out, then the thunder started. Glad I used the fast hardener for once! Had to move the boat off the sawhorses and onto the concrete pad so I could move the sawhorses and all the planks into the garage, the the wife was available to help move the boat. By now, the epoxy had kicked off enough that we were able to move it inside with no damage. Got it all in and the rains came and came hard.

I'd hoped to have both planks done and ready to be glued and nailed to the bottom today, so next week I could fit the transom and then start varnishing. So, I'm still one step behind where I should have been, but still going steady at it.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

mike

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2009
661
5
TEXAS!
I'm liking the look of this boat more all the time.

How does the plywood attach to the planks at the front, curved, section? Inside the ply, outside, rip a groove in the plank and insert the ply, rabbit on the plank, something else?

Mike
 

FlaMike

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

Good question! :D Here is a verbatim, directly from the book:

"Attaching the sides of the boat and bottom is the most difficult part of building the skiff. You will find that when you try to attach the sideboards to the bow that it will take a lot of planing to get them to fit. Because each boat is different, Glen's only advice is to keep working at it until one side is right. Then use that board as a pattern for the other."

Some might wonder why my on-line handle used to be "Mad Mike." I wonder why it isn't still. :roll:

Once the bottom of the plank has be cut to the curve and planed to the angle of the bottom where they meet, you spread on the epoxy (or whatever glue/sealant,) and nail thru the ply (from the outside) into the plank. Got lots of ring nails.

Nothing to it! (cough, choke, wheeze!) 8)

(EDITED to correct the spelling of "planing" and "planed."

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

FlaMike

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

Two planks, 5/8" x 10" X 14', just one per side. The planks sit on top of the plywood bottom. Where the bottom plywood curves up to form the bow, the bottom edge of the plans also curve up, with the top edge remaining straight and flat. As the bottom ply does curve up, the plank's bottom edge will have a constantly changing bevel.

That's the "fun part." :shock:

Then there is the added complication of all the pics showing pretty much NO flare to the sides, but knowing the transom is an inch wider at the top than it is at the bottom. So at least where the sides meet the transom, their must be some flare. I can hardly wait. . . :D

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,554
97
82
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Mike, I understand the changing radius curves, etc. I was thinking tat, if the upper plank overlapped the bottom by, say, 1/8", like klinker style, sealing would be easier than if they butted. But, I'm guessing that wasn't original style of construction.