Tolman Alaska Skiff

First Update

My friend Jim Ward is building a Tolman Alaska Skiff in the back of my shop. Since he had not built a complete boat before, he thought I could offer good advice now and then. Ha! Well, just as I suspected, he is off and running. Since he is retired, he can work fairly steadily, and that is just what he is doing. Here is the first set of pictures.

(click images to enlarge)
click to enlarge Here is the strongback that the boat is built on. Later Jim put casters on the bottom and lowered it to the floor. Those curved things are the 'shelves' which will later attach to, and define the shape of, the sides of the boat.
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While the strongback was still on the sawhorses, Jim used it for a workbench and built a number of components including the transom.
click to enlarge The boat will be some 25 feet long so the bottom and side pieces were scarphed together at this time. Jim used a Bosch electric hand planer to taper the edges of the ply.
click to enlarge Both sides of the joint are epoxied until they will not take any more (to avoid a glue-starved joint) then joined.
click to enlarge Jim used screws and fender washers, per the book, to hold the joint together until the epoxy set.
click to enlarge After the side pieces were scarphed together, one surface was glassed.
click to enlarge Jim used a squeegee to spread the resin - the cloth was rolled out onto dry plywood. This method did not follow the book, but it worked well.
click to enlarge In this picture you can see that Jim has built two V-shaped supports and clamped them to the strongback. Then he placed the precut panels on to begin the bottom assembly.
click to enlarge Both panels are now in place and Jim is testing the flexibility of the forward sections. The rear sections of the bottom are 1/2" thick, but the bow panels are 1/4". Later, another 1/4" will be laminated to the bow.
click to enlarge I helped hold the bow sections in place while Jim wired them together. It was easy to do.
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Jim epoxies the forward section of the taped fillet. We painted resin on first, then applied a wood flour and epoxy fillet, and while that was still soft, laid two strips of 12 oz. biaxial tape.
click to enlarge The last part of the bottom sub-assembly is the chine flats. Here they are held in alignment before being epoxied in place and taped.
click to enlarge We also glassed the entire inside of the bottom at this time. The next day, Jim tried out the longitudinal stringers for fit.
click to enlarge Then he removed the stringers and we flipped the bottom sub-assembly so he could tape the bottom of the keel joint.