Boatbuilding Tips and Tricks
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2008
Boatbuilding Web Site Update and New Stock Boat Plans
I've just updated the Spira International Easy To Build Boat Plans web site and added some new stock plans. You can now buy the Sitka 27' Pacific power dory plans, the Alamitos 15' vee-bottom dory plans, and the 13' Marsh Rat Duck hunting boat plans.
I also added a page about Custom Boat and Marine Equipment Design where I discuss my capabilities to design your semi-custom boat ideas, custom work boat, pleasure boat and yacht designs, marine facilities and equipment design, heavy load lifting and moving equipment and marine hydraulics systems and equipment. Stop by and take a look: Spira International Custom Boat and Marine Equipment Design.
I also added articles in the free articles section including: "Bearings for Seawater Immersion Use," "Portable Piers - How to Unload Ships Without Port Facilities," and "How to Move Massive Structures Using Hydraulics." You can check them out at: Boatbuilding Article Directory.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2008
Ultra Light Duck Boat Plans Now Available
Announcing the Marsh Rat, an ultralight duck hunting boat that you can build at home. The Marsh Rat is easily built in the typical home workshop using materials available at any home improvement warehouse of lumber yard.
This convenient size boat can handle two hunters and a dog, and will handle the rough autumn and winter water conditions normally encountered during duck hunting season, yet is lightweight enough to be car-topped and carried by one person through the weeds to get those really good remote duck hunting spots. Ducks are smart enough to not land near boat launch ramps, so how come duck boats aren't designed to be launched in unimproved places. Well, this one is. Be sure to check out the Marsh Rat Duck Hunting boat page: Marsh Rat Ultralight Duck Hunting Boat Plans Page.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2008
Marine or Construction Plywood for Boatbuilding?
The question always arises on whether to use marine or construction plywood for building boats. Let's first discuss the different types of ply. There used to be a type of plywood called interior ply that was manufactured using natural glues that would let loose when wet. It is not made anymore. Nearly all ply made now, that I've ever come across uses synthetic, waterproof glues. Plies made of softwoods, usually fir but sometimes pine, have knotholes. If these are left open on the surface laminations, it is called "C" grade. If the knotholes are filled with football shaped plugs, it is considered "B" grade, and if it has no knotholes, it is considered "A" grade. So ABX plywood would have no knotholes on one side, filled knotholes on the other and has been laminated with waterproof glue (X = exterior.) The problem lies in the interior laminations. In most plywood the knotholes are left unfilled leaving a void on the inside. In marine plywood these interior knotholes are also filled leaving the ply void free.
For my boats, I only recommend marine plywood in the event the builder elects not to fiberglass and epoxy coat the boat on the outside. If the builder decides to glass cover the boat ABX plywood is sufficient.
As an alternate to marine plywood, hardwood plywood may be used. Mahogany and Birch are the most common. They have no knotholes, so don't have any voids. The only downside to using hardwood plys is that they don't bend easily so sometimes you need to laminate two thinner layers of plywood in an area where there is a lot of bends.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2008
New Mackinaw Drift Boat Launched
One of my customers just sent me some new pictures of a gorgeous Mackinaw McKenzie River style drift boat he built from a set of my plans. He was building it for a special fishing trip drifting a river in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Sure looks like he had a great time. It just doesn't get any better than this.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2008
New Boat Building Video on Youtube
I just posted a new video on youtube that I'm sure you'll enjoy. It goes through all of the different types of boats I design. I describe them and show some new pictures I haven't published elsewhere yet. Check it out:
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2008
Fitting Sheer Clamps and Chine Logs
Announcing a new How-To Guide on my web site. It's called Fitting the Sheer Clamp and Chine Log Guide. I get a lot of emailed questions about this so I've created an illustrated guide that should clear up any questions you may have. It may be located in my Boatbuilding Article page here: http://spirainternational.com/hp_articles.html. where of course all articles, construction photo essays and how-to guides are always FREE!
MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2008
Free Study Plans
I've been looking over other designer's websites and have found that many charge for study plans. I can understand this because they take time and money to print out and mail. On the Spira International, Easy-To-Build Boat Plans web site, study plans are always FREE. You can download them immediately and print them out on your own home computer printer. It makes things a lot easier and you get to see the study plans RIGHT NOW! Isn't that a refreshing change.
- Jeff Spira
MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2008
New Boats added to Website
I've updated the site with some new boats I've worked on for specific customers. They include a new 20' ultralight stitch and glue rowing dory called the Puget Challenge for long distance rowing, two new vee bottom Carolina dories, the 15' x 7' Alamitos, and the 5.2 M Metric Kachemak. The very popular Mission Bay is also now available in metric dimensions as well. Also the 25' Kona Hawaiian Sampan and 32' Kodiak Pacific Power dory plans are complete and you can now buy them online. Several of these hulls are under construction now and I hope to have pictures soon. I also put up a 14' Jon boat that I've had done for some time called the Crawdad. (Mmmm Cajun mud bugs - makes my mouth water just thinking about them.)
I'm working on a series of sailing sharpies as well. Study plans for the first one are up so you can look it over. It's called the Inagua, named after the island in the Bahamas. It's a 14 footer. I have future plans for a 19 footer and a 24 footer also.
Be sure to stop by and tell me what you think.
- Jeff Spira
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2008
New Boatbuilding How-To-Guides Section
When people write in and ask how a certain aspect of building a boat is done, I'm going to start putting together How-To-Guides for various things. Sometimes you get the same question a number of times so these easy-to-follow guides should be just the trick to visualize some of the trickier aspects of the craft. The first one is now up on the website and it is called: How to Layout the Ribs on a Framed Boat. These will be in Adobe pdf format, so they're easy to download and print at home as well as viewing online. They can be located on the main Spira International Boat Building site here: http://spirainternational.com/hp_articles.html.