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Building a 25' Ply on Frame Cabin Cruiser

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Blog series by AlTriolo updated 08-06-2017 10:52 PM 18 parts 21390 reads 40 comments total

Part 1: Introduction - 161105

11-06-2016 10:42 PM by AlTriolo | 6 comments »

Welcome to my boat building journey. Two years ago, I started this 14’ ply on frame flat bottom boat. It’s a Spira International boat. It was a great project for the family. My wife, three sons, and especially our dog love joining me out on the river. We’ve been on the Potomac in VA and MD, a lake in PA, the Long Island Sound, the Intracoastal in NC, and even briefly out into the ocean—on a calm day. :-) We love our boat so much we decided to build another! This ti...

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Part 2: Building frames - 161127

11-28-2016 02:46 AM by AlTriolo | 3 comments »

I have a lot of catching up to do with this blog. I started by building the 13 frames according to the plans. Well, almost. The boat will be modeled after a SeaRay Sundancer 240, which has a mid-state room that can sleep a couple children, (or adults who don’t mind a low ceiling). The deck boards for those frames are 30” from the floor of the hull. After building the frames, I cut out the notches for the keelson using a drill press, (I asked for this for last Christma...

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Part 3: Prepping frames

04-24-2017 01:17 AM by AlTriolo | 2 comments »

I learned the hard way not to add lumber to your order when you’ve hand selected boards for delievery. I added one sheet of ply for a work table and they took all different wood for the entire delivery! Rather, than return it (should have), I worked with it, (well, most of it; I didn’t use the worst of it). I filled knots and any visible minor splits with thickened epoxy resin and used 6 oz glass cloth in a few places. Every frame was fully resined front, back, and insides. I ...

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Part 5: Scarfing

04-30-2017 04:31 AM by AlTriolo | 1 comment »

The last time I scarfed joints (for my 14’er), I used spacers on my combo miter saw to cut into 1×3s at the correct angle. It worked okay, but not great. This time I would have nine scarf joints (or 18 scarfs to cut!) and one of them for my 24’ keelson, so I figured I’d make something better. I found some examples of scarfing rigs online and made one for my job. I used a spare piece of mdf because it was nice and flat. I cut an angle that would give me slightly more ...

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Part 6: Scarfing Continued

05-01-2017 12:30 PM by AlTriolo | 1 comment »

Slow but steady wins the race. A little each day and the boat will eventually get done. Today was to join the keelson boards. I used thickened resin to glue together a scarfed 16’ 2×8 and a scarfed 10’ 2×8 (previous entry). I wiped off any excess sawdust. Covered both sides with thickened resin (about a toothpaste consistency). I eyeballed for straight and clamped (not too tight as the resin is the strength). Doubled checked for straight. It should come out n...

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Part 7: Scarfing Chine Logs & Sheer Clamps

05-10-2017 02:50 AM by AlTriolo | 1 comment »

I should have realized that 30’ boards would be a challenge. Like most steps of this project, there’s so much trial and error. I figured I’d use my driveway to glue the joints. Of course, the seams in the concrete were separated and at different heights every 10’—that is, right at the joints! So, I needed to abort on the spot and do what I could. That turned out to be gluing 3 of the 5 remaining joints. The other two I did today with a much better rig. My ...

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Part 8: Finished scarf joints and work with the keelson

05-10-2017 10:34 PM by AlTriolo | 2 comments »

I finished all my scarf joints. They say this thickened epoxy is supposed to be hard to sand. Tell that to the belt sander with an 80 grit belt! It was no match. Here’s an example…they weren’t all this bad. :-) After: And just as everyplace in the house is a boat staging area, everything around gets to be a tool. And here are the four 30’ boards side by side. I installed tracks at my 20” marks to help get the frames square with the keelson. The...

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Part 9: Progress! Keelson, Stem, and Transom

05-13-2017 02:41 AM by AlTriolo | 4 comments »

I got to work for six hours today and accomplished a lot! Here’s where I left off. Getting there took some hard work. I started by shaving frames 8-13 to receive the curve of the keelson as the bow rises. In addition to these random photos, I also used a pull saw and random orbital sander. Each frame got the treatment at least twice. One frame got five passes. Next was to get set up for the transom. I cut the keelson to the correct angle and cut a guild to be placed...

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Part 10: "Slow but steady"

05-22-2017 03:37 AM by AlTriolo | 1 comment »

Spent half the week sick and couldn’t do anything on the build. When the weekend came, I was able to get back to work. “Slow but steady” has become my mantra and it’s working out well. I had to cut notches for the chine log (c/l) and sheer clamp (s/c) in the transom. As I’ve said, everything is a tool, even the house itself! Then I had a great moment: placing the c/l into the grooves! I am very pleased with my pre-cut frames. It’s going to be easy to ...

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Part 11: Leveling frames

05-23-2017 09:16 PM by AlTriolo | 2 comments »

Still not feeling well but a little each day and we’ll get there. I am using tie-downs to accomplish three goals: secure the boat to the jig, reinforce four wheels (the wheels are strong enough but my screws aren’t!), and level the frames. I secured a tie down to eyes screwed into two wheels. Because this is done on both sides, I can level the frames not only front-to-back but side-to-side. Everything will be as square as I want it to be.

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Part 12: Beginning the c/l installation

05-28-2017 02:57 AM by AlTriolo | 1 comment »

I’m not sure why I only took one photo. There are 13 frames plus the transom and stem. I trimmed about 11 of those. Pre-cutting the groves really helped! The spacers did too. I will not complete port side before beginning starboard. To help keep everything in line, I will work side to side as I move forward. I’ve also learned that it’s A LOT easier to bend the wood for a 25.5’ boat than for a 14’er. The curves are not as pronounced. I still need the clamps though...

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Part 13: Update ... snail speed!

06-11-2017 08:28 PM by AlTriolo | 5 comments »

A busy schedule has made progress very slow these past two weeks. I used the one nice day that coincided with a free day for this: Since my last post, the work I have done is tedious and doesn’t show much progress. For one thing, I realized that my stem and three forward frames were not lining up properly because of the twist in the keelson. I had added 1×2 strips to keep everything together. Those needed to come out. I then used a series of tie downs and used tension to pull th...

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Part 14: Back to work!

07-16-2017 01:30 AM by AlTriolo | 1 comment »

Hey lumber jocks, I think it’s been about 5 or 6 weeks since I’ve done any work on this build. Well, the drought ended today! While I feel like I accomplished much, there really aren’t many pix to show. Today I: 1) trimmed the back end of the keelson because the transom was not sitting squarely. 2) worked on leveling the frames (AGAIN). They went off with all the pulling for the sheer clamp work I did last month. 3) shaved the preliminary work done on the bottom of the...

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Part 15: Slow but steady resumes! -- resin and final chine log fitting

07-27-2017 12:52 AM by AlTriolo | 2 comments »

We glued the keelson in place 2 and 3 days ago. (No pic.) Now, some of the most difficult work for the hull is now behind us! We finished cutting and shaving the frames to receive the keelson, and this includes the stem. We are quite pleased with how it came out. Along the way we found that I mismeasured a frame! I was using a 48” ruler and the measurement should have been either 23.5” or 24.5”. Well, because the ruler is marked 1-48” in both directions, ...

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Part 16: "Peg system" at work

07-27-2017 11:08 PM by AlTriolo | 1 comment »

Resined one side back in. The pegs worked really well. I was able to find the screw holes fairly easily, at least in enough time before the resin began to cure. :-) If a board wasn’t lined up perfectly, the screw going in brought it back into place. 13 frames, the transom, and the stem were done on 4.5 squirts of West System epoxy with about 11 scoops of thickener. I did this over three batches in three different containers with three different filleting applicators. T...

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Part 17: Progress. Halfway through resining the S/C

08-06-2017 10:37 PM by AlTriolo | 6 comments »

My “tools of the trade” for final prepping include belt sander, dremel max, and block sander. (Beats the last build when I was using a steak knife!) Rather than measure the S/C on the starboard side to the frame, I compared the heights (C/L to S/C) with the port side. If they were within an 1/8” of each other, I called it satisfactory and screwed the S/C in. When I got to the stem, I realized I’d cut my rail a tad short. No problem. Instead of cutting a notc...

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Part 18: In the Meanwhile... (Don't miss today's earlier entry. This is extra.)

08-06-2017 10:52 PM by AlTriolo | 0 comments »

(OPEN for images.) I know my wife is at least equally into the project when this is her “nightmare.” She wasn’t being sarcastic. It was to her a nightmare. In her dream, someone with a horse drawn carriage stole Staycation! She was chasing them in the CRV and had me on the phone. They got as far as three blocks away when the carriage came to a stop and Staycation fell apart! The police came and asked how much money we had into it. The thieves wrote a c...

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