boat build #1: getting started

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Blog entry by papaj posted 12-22-2009 09:59 AM 1019 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of boat build series Part 2: starting the build »

I will just give a quick synopsis of my build so far. It has been on hold while I have been building my new shop. It has been under a tarp in my front yard for the last year.

I got started on this project as I wanted to build a boat to take my grandson fishing and camping. I was originally going to build a 18’ Redwing. I showed my father-in-law the plans for the boat while my wife and I were visiting him. He said I think you should go bigger. My wife said I think Dad is right. Music to my ears, as I had wanted to build bigger but didn’t think my wife would buy off on it. I couldn’t have planned that! ;-)

He told me he had a friend who designed a skiff that is used as a fishing boat in Homer Alaska. It is designed and built by Renn Tolman. Ren has also written an instruction manual to build it yourself. He told me he had a copy and would send it to me when he got back home. I couldn’t wait, so I bought it myself. I then found a yahoo group for Tolman builders. That was a big help. The group has since migrated to

The skiff is a plywood/fiberglass composite boat. Basically you build it from marine plywood, and glue it together with epoxy, and encapsulate it in fiberglass. It is a lot easier to do than I thought it would be. The book is very easy to follow, and if you do get confused there are plenty of guys on fishyfish who have been there done that and are more than willing to help you out.

So I decided to to the whole hog and build a 24’ Toman “Jumbo”. It will have a cuddy and full cabin as I live in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Lots of rain during fishing season. It will have a small galley, head, and double berths. It will be great for camping out in the San Juans, and the river islands. We will also go offshore for salmon, tuna and bottom fishing.

I will start adding photos to the blog on the next posting.

thanks for reading.

-- papaj, Oregon

6 comments so far

View Chris Davis's profile

Chris Davis

1457 posts in 3401 days

#1 posted 12-22-2009 12:59 PM

That is awsome! Your braver then I am. Sounds like a lot of work, but it will be rewarding. Can’t wait to see it’s progress.

-- Watch live video from our shop.!current-projects/c3c1

View papaj's profile


25 posts in 2505 days

#2 posted 12-22-2009 02:06 PM

Dave, I know that boat. I watched it being built and have ridden in it. Do you know Paul? There are quite a few of us Tolmanites in the Portland area.

Chris I can’t wait to get back to work on the boat. My grandson keeps reminding me I am supposed to take him boat camping on Government Island in the Columbia when it is done.

-- papaj, Oregon

View papaj's profile


25 posts in 2505 days

#3 posted 12-22-2009 02:17 PM

Good Jumbo to pick. Mine will look quite similar. What is nice is they are
each unique in their own way, as each builder does something just a little different than another. In fact mine is more of a compilation of features I have seen the other builders use. A little from Ray’s boat, a litte from Pauls, etc…

-- papaj, Oregon

View papaj's profile


25 posts in 2505 days

#4 posted 12-22-2009 02:20 PM

If you want to see the whole spectrum of Tolmans visit Everyone usually puts photos of their boats on there. 18’ standards, wide bodies, and Jumbos. Some with center consols, some with short open backed cabins, some full cabins. It is amazing how adaptable this design is.

-- papaj, Oregon

View scrabby's profile


42 posts in 2606 days

#5 posted 12-22-2009 08:23 PM

Awesome, inspiring idea. I’m “on board” and, being a PNW’er (and fisher of salmon) myself, going to eagerly follow your progress!

-- Jim, North Vancouver, BC

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3092 days

#6 posted 12-23-2009 05:58 PM

Going to be a nice blog.

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