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She-Kon 06-17-2014 03:47 PM

New construction: She:Kon
She:Kon is the traditional Iroquois greeting (pronounced 'Say Go') that roughly translates into: Do You Still Have The Great Peace? We chose this name to honor the pleasant little village we live in, Iroquois, Ontario.

The seed

The whole idea began about 1969 when the Hudson Bay replica trading ship, 'Nonsuch' toured the St. Lawrence River and Great lakes. I think it was the 400th. anniversary of the HBC or something. She docked in Prescott Ontario where I grew up and toured the ship a few times. I was awed by the fine craftsmanship and vowed one day to build my own boat.

The proposal

Skip ahead 35 yrs or so and the wife and I are out on our 25' express cruiser on the Rideal Canal. I had been trying to figure out the best time to spring my idea on her to build a boat. After getting 5 or 6 good stiff Rum & Cokes into her I told her: "Honey, the next time we cruise the Rideau it'll be on a boat we built." "Ok." she said just moments before she went below and passed out.

Which boat to build?

I switched into research mode looking at designs & plans for home built boats. We looked at Devlin's, Glen-L's, Bolger's, Diesel Duck's, John Simpson's, Bruce Robert's etc. Originally I wanted to build in steel in the 40' range. We bought a set of study plans from John Simpson for a 45' Offshore trawler and the number crunching began. A conservative guestimate based on the BOM was somewhere in the $340K range, well outside of our means. Reassessing our needs vs wants we eventually stumbled upon the TW28 from Bateau (dot) com.

Designed specifically for amateur builders the Bateau designs are almost all stitch & glue marine ply & fiberglass. CnC Cut kits are available for most designs as well. I followed along on a few fella's who were building the TW28 and eventually thought 'I could do that too!' The only hook being, I'm gonna stretch it out to 31-1/2'!

What are we going to need?

So with a newly purchases set of plans it was off to eBay I went! Over the course of 4 or 5 years we bought bits & bobs of hardware etc. that we'd eventually need for the boat. The big recession a few years back put a lot of small builders out of business and many were liquidating their inventory on eBay for deeply discounted prices. We bought lots! Portlights, inverters, hot water heaters, solar panels, windlass, propeller, bow thruster, engine, stove, sinks, yadda yadda yadda. The list is fairly long. I do have a spreadsheet of what we've spent to date if you're interested.

Inventory Photos by KnottyBuoyz | Photobucket

Where to build it?

There's a local DIY boat yard but Unfortunately they're booked solid and couldn't offer me a spot at a price I could afford. The only other option I had was to build it in my back yard. From my property line to the house is about 36' and from the side to the neighbor is 30', 8' of which is taken up by a garden shed. Having to make allowances for neighbor to get to their back yard this left me with roughly 20' x 32' for a boat shed. We looked at RV shelters, green houses etc and eventually found the 'Stimson Bow Shed'. Best $20 I ever spent getting those plans.

The Shed Goes Up!

The Stimson bow shed is a fairly simple structure but don't let that fool you. If built properly it's incredibly rugged with a proven track record around the world. In order to form the bows I needed 1x3" strapping in 20' lengths. The local lumber yards could only supply 20'ers. So I had to splice 4' extensions on each piece.

I needed a large flat surface to assemble the bows. The only space I had was my newly paved driveway. Out comes the hammer drill and masonry bit to screw down the blocks used to form the bows. My neighbor thought I was nuts drilling holes in my new perfectly fine driveway! 20 bows in all were made this way with the center bow being doubled up. I bought a roll of heat shrink boat covering which turned out not to be such a good idea. More on that later.

With the help of a few friends the shed went up in a week or so.

Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.

healhustler 06-17-2014 05:00 PM

Awesome project. Gorgeous design! Thanks for bringing it here to TF. Can't wait to see it cruising!

Moonstruck 06-17-2014 05:08 PM


Originally Posted by healhustler (Post 242679)
Awesome project. Gorgeous design! Thanks for bringing it here to TF. Can't wait to see it cruising!

That boat just has the right look. No question about what you are looking at. It is a BOAT. Love it.

Alaskan Sea-Duction 06-17-2014 05:52 PM

Rick that is a beautiful piece of work! Welcome and thanks for sharing...

She-Kon 06-17-2014 05:59 PM

Part 2 Some major ingredients

We got really lucky. A few times. Bateau (dot) com has web forums very similar to these that they use for customer support for guys (and girls) building their boats. I happened to become acquainted with one such builder while discussing his TW28 project. Long story short, he changed his mind and decided to build another boat. I got a phone call from him on a Wednesday night. He asked how much I'd offer for his plywood kit. I knew that the CnC cut kits now sell for almost $10K and had pretty much resigned myself to having to buy and cut my own ply for the boat. Told him I'd have to get back to him so I could discuss it with the boss. Our conversation went something like this.

'Yes dear.'
'Remember our discussing a winter vacation to Jamaica.'
'Yeah.' in a one of those annoying tones of voice only a woman can do.
'Well, I got this phone call. A guy near Boston wants to sell his plywood kit for the boat and wants me to make him an offer.'
'So how much do the kits cost?'
'Ten thousand dollars.'

Dead silence for about a minute.

'And how much are you going to offer him?'
'Well, we've almost got the house paid off and I think I could probably get it for $5K.'
'Soooooooo that means no winter vacation huh?'
'Hmmmm, yeah, sorry.'

Another dead silence.

'Ok, but........'

I think to myself, here it comes!

'But we make a mini vacation of it.'

I made the call later that night and offered him $5K. He accepted, so it was off to Boston on Saturday morning to pick up a u-Haul and the kit. I was up half the night with some sort of stomach distress after eating some clam chowder at an Applebee's. It was food poisoning or a panic attack, I don't know which. Lori was out driving around outer Boston in the middle of the night to find me some Pepto bless her heart.

Anyhow, I survived, probably never eat at an Applebee's again but we picked up the U-Haul and headed to see the guy. When we got there he tossed in not only the kit contents but a set of plans (extra, I already have a set) 18 extra sheets of BS1088 Meranti, the assembled rudder, fiberglass exhaust and shaft tubes plusa big chunk of sapele (5 x 5) he had laminated up for a king post. All in all I figure about $12K at todays prices. We loaded it up and got outta town!

My first WTF have I gotten myself into moments:

eBay was the avenue to finding a prime mover for our project. I had researched new engines, Nanni, Yanmar, VW, Beta etc. and all were similarly prices in about the $12K range for a 40 Hp with transmission. Being a tight sod (the wife always tells me I can squeeze a nickle and make the beaver sh*t!) I scanned some diesel engine sites and eBay trying to keep my eye out for a suitable used or rebuilt engine/trans. I had seen a few Yanmar 50/55 hp engines come and go on eBay in the $4K-$6K range with 1000+ hours. One particular day I was scanning eBay for stuff. I usually pull up the 'boat parts' listings filtered by 'newest listings' and there it was! Yanmar 4JH-TE, 55 HP, 300 hrs. Bingo!

Buy it now price was $3K. Hit the 'Buy It Now' button and emailed Lori at work.

Honey, we got a motor!

Yahoo! was her reply.

Remember that winter trip to Mexico we were talking about?

Yeah! was her reply.

Well, hmmmmm? I don't think we can afford to go now, I just spent the money on a motor for the boat.

*Sigh* was her reply.

But when I explained to her that night that we'd save about $4K or $5K she was

all for it. I had to promise her a small mini vaccation when we went to get it.

So off it was to Rhode Island to pick up the engine.

On the way home we stopped at Battleship Cove, Mystic Seaport (truly a
National Treasure) and later on skipped over to Orange County Choppers before heading home.

The engine has been sitting in our garden shed for 4 years now. I turn it over by hand every few months during the spring, summer and fall. I'll hook it up to a battery this year and run it up to get some oil up top. It'll be fully serviced before it goes in the boat.

Part 3 coming soon. Standby..

THD 06-17-2014 07:11 PM

Rick-a helluva project! Bet your neighbors will be glad when the big blue shed comes down! I have to say, although the 28 footer is a very good looking boat, the 31.5 footer is downright beautiful! The added meter really makes for a beautiful sheerline. Please keep us posted as the project progresses.

She-Kon 06-17-2014 07:14 PM


Originally Posted by THD (Post 242715)
Rick-a helluva project! Bet your neighbors will be glad when the big blue shed comes down! I have to say, although the 28 footer is a very good looking boat, the 31.5 footer is downright beautiful! The added meter really makes for a beautiful sheerline. Please keep us posted as the project progresses.

Oh you don't know how happy I'll be the day that shed comes down! I hate the thing with a passion. I have nightmares every time we get winds over 50 kts of it taking off like Dorothy's house in Wizard of Oz! I've even got RV anchors set deep into the ground with 27,000lb straps holding it down! :lol:

It's sooooo big you can easily see it in Google Earth!

Thanks for looking in. I'll get this thread caught up to today as quickly as I can.

She-Kon 06-17-2014 07:22 PM

Part 3 Baking a cake

Building a boat is a lot like baking a cake. You gather the ingredients. Mix them all together. Stick the whole lot in a big hot thing (boat shed) and let it bake!

The first 'Act of Woodbutchery' happened on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at about 12:00 hrs. My friend Andrew cut out the first pieces of the puzzle. From there things snowballed into a frenzy of jig saws, saw dust and piles of unlabelled parts! *sigh*

One of the first tasks was to set up a 24' long table to assemble the long
panels. It took awhile to get it level from end to end and side to side with those stupid saw horse's but I got close. I covered the table in black plastic to keep from gluing parts to it! I do have one or two brain cells that function from time to time.

Parts and pieces that I knew I could get glassed with gravity on my side were done first then stacked away. These included the main cabin top, trunk cabin top, foredeck etc. Here's a bottom panel being glued & taped together.

Just as the designer said the butt joints are pretty strong! I was skeptical but after having flipped a few of these long panels I was a believer. I used a 1500 lb electric winch rigged to the center beam of the shed to lift the long panels. I made a spreader bar out of a piece of electrical conduit and clamped 1x3" strapping to the lifting edge. This allowed me to epoxy & tape one side then flip it over to do the other without breaking the joins.

The hull sides were the hardest to do. If I remember correctly they were just over 33' long and stuck out the front door of the shed!!!

I was doing this all along I might add and couldn't have done it without the winch & spreader bar. Knowing I would need some room to move around the boat I had to improvise a small extension.

Once all the panels were assembled and the bulkheads etc. fibarglassed it was time to tear the table down and assemble the strongback. These are the forms that will define the shape of the hull while it's being assembled.

It was another test of patience to get it all plumb & level but I got there with the help of my trusty self levelling laser & 6' masons spirit level.

The first long panels to be laid on the forms were the bottoms. Immediately it became clear that something was wrong. They were nowhere near meeting at the bow like they should. I had to go back to the plans and figure out what I did wrong. Well remember I mentioned that we stretched the hull? Well that was the cause. I didn't cut the splice square and a 1/8" error in the cut midships lead to a 4" error at the bow so I had to cut the panel apart again and splice it back together ont he forms. Had to do this for both sides.

The long panels were hung and ready to be stitched.

Part 4 coming soon. Hang in there almost caught up!

Sailor of Fortune 06-17-2014 08:58 PM

Very cool project!! Good luck. She is nicely proportioned .

Conall63 06-17-2014 09:04 PM

Howdy Rick...fancy meeting you here. Carry on.

Conall's Boat Build

eyschulman 06-17-2014 10:09 PM

Rick we may be the only two posters on the forum with stich and glue boats. Really nice job.

Tidahapah 06-17-2014 11:23 PM

Very nice looking project.
Do you really only get 6 months of the year when you can work on it?
keep it coming.
Love the photo of the completed boat.

She-Kon 06-18-2014 06:06 AM


Originally Posted by Conall63 (Post 242748)
Howdy Rick...fancy meeting you here. Carry on.


Hi Conall

Yeah, small world eh? I was looking at the blog stats and saw some referrals from here so I followed them back to the source and here I am! ;)

Now quit looking at boats on the Interwebs and get back to work on that beautiful boat! :D

She-Kon 06-18-2014 06:08 AM


Originally Posted by eyschulman (Post 242763)
Rick we may be the only two posters on the forum with stich and glue boats. Really nice job.

Thanks Eyschulman. Appreciate the kind comments.

Oh I love those Devlin's! Ever since I saw the Sockeye on the cover of Passagemaker magazine. Very very nice.

She-Kon 06-18-2014 06:10 AM


Originally Posted by Tidahapah (Post 242782)
Very nice looking project.
Do you really only get 6 months of the year when you can work on it?
keep it coming.
Love the photo of the completed boat.

Hi Benn

Thanks for looking in. The positive feedback really helps keep the interest in the project alive.

It's true, we usually get 6 months of decent weather to work on the boat. It'll be better once it's flipped over and the thing is enclosed then I only have to heat the boat itself.

I have that picture of the boat everywhere, cell phone, Jeep nav system, computer screen etc. it helps keep the dream alive!

Thanks for looking in. Standby.

Moonstruck 06-18-2014 08:53 AM

Benn, a little story if I may.

St. Peter was at the Golden Gate sorting out who went in and who took the down elevator. A group was over to the side. When asked about that group, St. Peter said, "oh, they're from Ontario, and still too cold and wet to burn".

She-Kon 06-19-2014 12:28 PM

Part 4: Hibernating in the land of ice and snow

I often get asked: "What does a frozen Cannuck boat builder do during the long cold winters when you can't work on the boat?" Well, that's a good question. Hibernate is one option, Jamaica or Mexico is another but when I was still working I tinkered with a few minor more cerebral projects.

One particular winter I was reading one of the web forums and the topic of 'Is it cheaper to build your own electrical distribution panel than buy one?" came up. Ah! A challenge! It was off to eBay to price out some parts and more research on the problem. I stumbled across frontpanelexpress (dot) com. Looked pretty cool, they give you the software to design your panel and price out their service to cut it for you. I tinkered with that for a couple of months, researching what I'd need to put on the panel etc. Here's the one of the draft drawings from the software.

I probably went through 6 or 7 different configs but knew I wanted the panel to fit within a certain standard footprint. I learned very quickly that you have to pay as much and often more attention to what's going on behind the panel as the pretty side. The switches I chose had a large backside and took up a lot of room necessitating moving breakers & switches & labels around quite a lot. This is what the finished product looks like.

And the back side.

You can see things get pretty tight in there in a hurry. All the tiny wires for the LED's make it look messier than it is. The battery switch will not actually switch batteries but just select which battery source feeds the panel. I didn't leave near enough separation between the AC & the DC side and it'll be tight fitting a clear plastic insulating cover but I think I can make it work. I should have also put the labels for the voltage & amperage engraved on the front of the panel. All of the DC circuits will be fused, not breakers, in a separate Bussman ATO/ATC style fuse box.

If you look close you can see some pretty cool options that'll be switched from the panel! :-)

The second project I did was a 'Mimic Panel' for the boat's electrics. You see these kinda things on larger boats & ships. Again it was just another 'tinkering' experiment. First the dwg from the software.

And the finished product.

As you can see in the next pic all the little wires from the LED's make a pretty nasty birds nest. :-( I think I've found a solution to wrangling them, something called 'Poke Home through connector'. The on/off switch turns off almost all the LED's (except crash pump) for night running if they're too bright. I do have an LED dimmer and that might work too. There is also an audible alarm for bilge & crash pump should they operate.

There, so now you know what we boat builders do in the winter when everyone else is enjoyin' the sunshine & warmth down south!

Another chapter coming soon. Standby...

PS. In answer to your question, can you make one cheaper than buying one? The answer is "NO" and I won't tell you how much it cost me to make these either! :rofl:

jwnall 06-19-2014 04:25 PM

Whoa! Way cool!

She-Kon 06-20-2014 04:21 PM

Today's update is brief. Yesterday Quikfair'd the stbd bottom panel from about the bow thruster to the back of the keel. A pretty big area to cover. I had intended to go all the way to the transom but by the time I got to the end of the keel it was 95 degs in the shed and the Quikfair was kicking off on the mixing board. Today was spent sanding tape seams and then that entire area I Quikfair'd yesterday.

I made a lot of dust. :dance:

Nomad Willy 06-20-2014 07:36 PM

Have you been to ? A very big site w tons of designing and building info and building blogs. There are several threads about stretching hulls I thought you may find interesting. For awhile I thought you ditched the stretch idea after buying the kit but it appears you haven't. I'll just follow along.

I'm still thinking about building a 24' skiff in plywood. Plank on frame on a strongback. Doubt if I'll ever have the time though.

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