Boat Building and Design

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Boatbuilding pros know how to keep gremlins at a safe distance and here are some of the ways they do it.
£2.72
A useful reference for building in plywood.
£2.72
A useful v-bottom plywood boat.
£2.72
If you want your boat to be a success, take just as much care in the setting up of roms as you do with the hull.
£2.72
by Weston Farmer
Anything that you understand thoroughly is always fairly simple. This is true of boatbuilding.
£6.19
by Weston Farmer
A man builds his own boat for two reasons; to save money and have fun dong it. Here's some help!
£6.19
by Charles G. MacGregor
Only resin-bonded plywood should be used for boat building.
£2.72
by Clarence E. Werback
Understanding stresses and curvatures of plywood in boat building.
£2.72
by Clarence E. Werback
Understanding stresses and curvatures of plywood in boat building.
£2.72
by Robert M. Steward
The hollow fin keel construction described here was designed for ease of building, lightness and strength.
£2.72
by Edson I. Schock
Durability, seaworthiness, and appearance depend more than you may realize on this vital step in boatbuilding.
£6.97
by Robert M. Steward
How to size pipe to build davits.
£2.72
Detailed design information for designing and building centerboards and rudders
£2.72
How much ballast to use and where.
£6.97
by John L. Benjamin
What kinds of power boats to use in what kinds of waters.
£6.97
by George L. Cary
Plotted curves for weights of average boats without engines or equipment.
£2.72
The results of a year's research ib plywood development for boats.
£2.72
Moulded plywood has greatly affected the production-boat field.
£2.72
Planking with plywood has opened a new field of marine design.
£2.72
by Edson I. Schock
When using sheet plywood for planking, you'll save labor if you plan on this type of hull.
£2.72
Tricks of the Trade for Home Boatbuilders (Pub. No. 7025)
/ Boatbuilding pros know how to keep gremlins at a safe distance and here are some of the ways they do it.

To build a boat at home is a fascinating and rewarding experience, but all too often gremlins creep into the process to threaten both the progress and the fun of building. Boathuilding pros know how to keep these gremlins at a safe distance and here are some of the ways they do it.

First and foremost, construction jig stringers must be level—really level—both fore and aft and athwartship, if the boatbuilding operation is to begin properly. Backyard boatbuilders are likely to skimp on this important part of the operation, either through carelessness or the use of inaccurate levels. Most V-bottom boats are set up on a construction jig which is little more than a pair of joist stringers rigged parallel to each other, level in both directions and marked off with station lines for cross frames and transom. But these stringers must be level, and they must be kept level throughout the operation.

2 page(s)

£2.72
Tips on Using Plywood (Pub. No. 7026)
/ A useful reference for building in plywood.

Professional boat builders have been looking for a material with all the outstanding advantages of waterproof resinbonded plywood for many years. However, with the successful development of this material, the one who has reaped the greatest benefit has been the amateur builder. Armed with knowledge of this material’s peculiar characteristics and with certain information regarding its application, the amateur builder can turn out small boats in one half the time, with greater strength and permanency, less likelihood of leaks, and better appearance throughout. It should be understood from the outset that not all boats designed for conventional planking can be adapted to plywood without change. Frequently hull lines do conform to the natural curves taken by plywood. This happened to be true of the Rebel Class racing sailboat. (Available as Booklet #5374) If you have selected a conventional design and would avoid trouble, it is recommended that a small model incorporating the frames, keel, chine and sheer line be built and thin wood sheets representing the plywood be bent in place to test the natural curves which will result in the finished hull.

3 page(s)

£2.72
Planking a Plywood Hull (Pub. No. 7027)
/ A useful v-bottom plywood boat.

Some good tips on the proper procedures for planking the plywood hulls of small boats.

Most plywood boats are not a true V-bottom, especially near the bow, where the sections are given a curved or rounded form, with the chine line running up very high. This is necessary because a flat piece of plywood cannot be bent two ways without cracking. The boathouse people did not want this type of bottom as all their planked boats were V-bottom boats with flat sections, and with the chine kept reasonably low. It was their opinion that anything but a bottom with flat sections and a lot of deadrise forward would slap and pound. Another point they raised was the fact that most plywood boats do not have any frames and, due to the rough handling their boats get, they would have to be as strong as possible. To accomplish this I built the boat with conventional frames, using oak stem, keel, chines and battens. Port Orford cedar frames were used, joined at chine and keel with 1/4-inch waterproof plywood gussets on each side of frames. These gussets are glued with Wieldwood glue and screwed to frames.

2 page(s)

£2.72
Build Her on a Sound Foundation (Pub. No. 7030)
/ If you want your boat to be a success, take just as much care in the setting up of roms as you do with the hull.

If you want your boat to be a success, take just as much care in the setting up of forms as you do with the hull construction itself.

Have you ever been a sidewalk superintendent? I mean, have you ever had enough leisure time so that you could stand around and watch the construction of a large building. It’s fun and educational, too. If you have ever witnessed the whole procedure from start to finish, you were probably greatly surprised at the amount of work that went into the project before any of the steel was erected and any building done above the ground level. In fact, before any of the excavation was even started, sample drillings were taken to find out what lay under the surface of the ground to support the building and a lot of calculations were made to determine the size and shape of the footings on which the proposed building would rest. Large buildings must rest on secure foundations or they will go out of shape and, in extreme cases, collapse altogether. Now, although your boat will ultimately have water for a foundation, supporting it uniformly under every square inch of the bottom, it is essential during its construction that the hull be erected on some sort of construction frame which will properly support it and maintain all the component parts in perfect alignment until the hull is completely planked. It is then fairly rigid and self-supporting and if it is then turned over and set in a cradle it will stand by itself without going out of shape. Such a construetion frame must not only be strong enough to support the entire weight of the boat, but must also be rigid enough to withstand the strains set up as the various structural members are forced into position.

4 page(s)

£2.72
Boatbuilding Principles (Pub. No. 5834)
Weston Farmer/ Anything that you understand thoroughly is always fairly simple. This is true of boatbuilding.

by Weston Farmer

Anything that you understand thoroughly is always fairly simple. This is true of boatbuilding.

Understand the basic principles of getting out a hull, and you’ll be pretty sure of coming up with reasonably good methods of getting the job done. And once you’ve built one boat, the principles will dawn on you. Then you can tackle almost any boat. But it does take work, and it does take mechanical horse sense. Mechanical horse sense is something no written word can supply. You’re either born a mechanic or you’re not. If you are mechanically gifted, you can do well building a boat. But if you have no gift for working with your hands, you shouldn’t try boatbuilding. If you can get good cuts with plane, saw, and chisel, you can attempt to make a boat with reasonable assurance of success. Thousands do it every year. Once your first boat is built, you’ll have the principles of boatbuilding. And after the first one, nothing seems to be too big or too tough for the skilled amateur to tackle. The fun of building a boat satisfies something primitive in man. And after launching his first boat, the backyard boatbuilder can go about dreaming up the next one, for he will have assimilated boatbuilding principles. These principles are few in number and can be easily illustrated and made clear. That is the purpose of this article.

13 pages, 2 plate(s)

£6.19
How to Understand a Boat Plan (Pub. No. 5842)
Weston Farmer/A man builds his own boat for two reasons; to save money and have fun dong it. Here's some help!

by Weston Farmer

A man builds his own boat for two reasons: to save money and to bave fun doing it.

With such inducements, it is little wonder that boating each season sees new recruits. These newcomers to the sport usually smoke along under a full head of steam until they actually decide to build. Then they need a few words of advice on where to start. When you show them the rudiinents on how to interpret a boat plan, a great light seems to dawn, and they make out very well. The first question they usually ask is, “How do you read boat plans?” The next question is, “Why are they drawn that way?” Here are the highlights: A boat obviously is a three-dimensional structure. But the paper on which it is drawn is two-dimensional. The boat has form—length, breadth, depth. Paper is flat. It is the naval architect’s job to depict on two-dimensional paper the shape which his boat must have to become, at the hands of the builder, the formed thing the architect designs.

9 pages, 5 plate(s)

£6.19
How To Use Waterproof Plywood in Boat Construction (Pub. No. 7048)
Charles G. MacGregor/Only resin-bonded plywood should be used for boat building.

by Charles G. MacGregor

Only resin bonded plywood should be used for boat building.

There are many other kinds on the market, including the so-called waterproof variety. Insist, however, on resin bonded plywood for marine work, manufactured by the hot press process. If in doubt about the material you are planning to, use, boil a small sample in water for about an hour. The plies or laminations of the resin bonded plywood will not separate. This product is sold under various trade names adopted by the` manufacturers. When possible order plywood in stock panels. They can generally be obtained from your lumber dealer or direct from the manufacturer's distributors or agents. Resin bonded plywood of fir is the least expensive material suitable for boats. It is manufactured on the West Coast of the United States in the region where the giant trees grow, and is shipped to the distributors in all parts of the United States and Canada. Examine each panel very carefully before accepting it. Inspect the outer laminations on each side of the panel, for blemishes, such as transverse joints and graving pieces. Examine the long edges for voids or gaps between joints of the inner lamination. Do not accept any joint showing more than 1/32" in 3-ply.    They seldom exceed this in 5- or 9-ply material. Stand the panels on edge in a dry room, in a rack or against the wall, with short cleats laid on the floor and a few narrow spacers between each two panels so that each will be separated from the other to allow circulation of air. Choose a shop with good light to build your boat, ample circulation of air and a solid, level, dry wood floor. Keep a clear space of at least 2 to 3 feet all around the building form. Be sure the boat can be moved out when completed without tearing the building down. Many amateur builders have overlooked this simple precaution to their sorrow.

4 page(s)

£2.72
More About "Developable" Surfaces (Pub. No. 7047)
Clarence E. Werback/Understanding stresses and curvatures of plywood in boat building.

by Clarence E. Werback

During the past two or three years various articles have appeared discussing the methc of designing "developable" surfaces as applied to hull form.
The intent of this discussion is to acquaint those interested in this design principle with further possibilities of its application and procedure. At the outset we should like to say that so far as we know, C. P. Burgess presented the first paper explaining the principle and method of geometrical projection involved in the development of this type of hull lines. We wish also to acknowledge the great amount of research done by Bruce N. Crandall*, who has possibly expanded the possibilities of this design principle more than any other designer and at the moment is giving the Navy Department the benefit his skill. To those not familiar with the principle let it be said in simple terms that the surfaces of the sides and bottom forms of boats designed on the principle, are segments of either cones or cylinders or combinations of both. Surfaces so developed will be free of compound curvature and hull forms will be such as to permit the application of plywood in full lengths without buckling or the necessity of steaming. In the case of steel hulls the plating can be applied cold without furnacing or working. It can seen at once that a tremendous amount of labor is saved on hulls designed around this principle. In the use of plywood there is no dress down, no seams to caulk and no sanding. Priming, and even finish coats of paint, may be applied on both inner and outer surfaces before the plywood is fastened on. Also, since there are certain stresses built up in the plywood skin because of the curvature induced as it is warped around (which should be kept within minimum bending radius set up the plywood manufacturers), frames can be more widely spaced without affecting the overall strength, of the hull structure.

2 page(s)

£2.72
Developable Surfaces for Plywood Boats (Pub. No. 7051)
Clarence E. Werback/Understanding stresses and curvatures of plywood in boat building.

by Chas. P. Burgess

Laying out a hull so that the true surface of it can be readily determined.

The rapidly growing popularity of plywood and sheet metal for the construction of small boats and yachts makes the problem of designing developable bottom and sides one of timely interest to both professional and amateur yacht designers.    Strangely enough, it appears that very few designers, even among the professionals, know the solution to the problem, and yet it is quite simple, and can provide the amateur with a lot of fun when he knows how the trick is turned. All curved surfaces may be classified as "developable" or "undevelopable." The side of a cylinder is a familiar example of a developable surface, and a sphere an undevelopable one. A sheet of paper may be rolled into any form of developable surface, but it cannot be formed into a sphere or any other undevelopable surface without crinkling or stretching. It is generally supposed that a V-bottom boat with straight lines in all cross-sections is developable; but, a matter of fact, it is not strictly developable unless th angle of deadrise is constant throughout the length, though it may be near enough to true developability to permit forcing plywood into it. A better shape of bottom, and one which is strictly developable, can be designed with slightly convex sections forward, and with the angle of deadrise increasing towards the bow. A widespread and quite erroneous belief is that a developable surface cannot be curved in two direction at right angles to each other, e.g., longitudinally and transversely in a boat.    The fallacy of this belief may be seen at once by imagining two diagonal sections through a cylinder, intersecting one another at right angles. Both of these sections have curved intercepts with the surface of the cylinder. In fact, with the exception of lines parallel to the axis, all lines on the surface of a cylinder are curved; and yet a cylindrical surfae is indubitably developable.

2 page(s)

£2.72
Plywood Instead of Deadwood for Keels (Pub. No. 7063)
Robert M. Steward/The hollow fin keel construction described here was designed for ease of building, lightness and strength.

by Robert M. Steward

The hollow fin keel construction illustrated in the accompanying drawing was designed for the prevention of aching backs and blistered hands usually accumulated by amateur boat builders when working solid deadwood into shape. There is another, easier way out, and that is to make the deadwood slab-sided, but why muss up the water with such disregard of naval architects' experience and tank testing? The essentials of the hollow fin keel, which is especially adapted to hull construction of the bent keel type, can be explained briefly. It is made possible by the manufacture of the waterproof plywood. These sheets are made of Douglas fir, or Oregon pine, call it what you will. The outline of the fin is laid down on the mold loft, or living room floor, together with the waterlines through the fin and the outline of the ballast keel. After the ballast keel bolts and other deadwood bolts are drawn in the locations of the webs can be decided upon, the number of webs being more or less guessed at. After going through the operation of laying down the hull lines and sections it can be readily seen that a section through the boat can be drawn any place by simply drawing in a station line, picking up the half breadths, transferring them to the body plan, and drawing in the section. So don't skimp on the number of webs, because all one has to do to get one out is to draw a section where a web comes, deduct the thickness of the plywood planking, move the net shape onto a 3/4 or 7/8 inch board and slide it through a band saw. The plywood skin should be screwed to the webs and to pieces of oak forming the leading edge, the bottom of the fin abaft the keel, and the stern post, also to plain fillers on top of the keel and one bolted to the under side of the bent keel. The stern post will have the same cross-section from top to bottom and therefore can be gotten out on a circular saw. The other rabbeted pieces can probably be roughed out pretty well on a saw, too. It goes without saying that all joints and interior surfaces should be painted during assembly. Anyone with enough ingenuity to try this construction can very well work out the missing details himself. And how about filling up the spaces with cement? I am not advocating that all fin keels be built this way from now on, but do think that it might be tried on a small boat.

1 page(s)

£2.72
Small Boat Planking (Pub. No. 5873)
Edson I. Schock/Durability, seaworthiness, and appearance depend more than you may realize on this vital step in boatbuilding.

by Edson I. Schock

Durability, seaworthiness, and appearance depend more than you may realize on this vital step in boatbuilding.

15 pages, 5 plate(s)

£6.97
Chart for Selecting Size of Pipe Davits (Pub. No. 7704)
Robert M. Steward/ How to size pipe to build davits.

by Robert M. Steward

The number of davits required on the various types of small naval vessels is indeed remarkable. We were accustomed to davits on yachts for handling the dinghy and anchors, but a patrol boat or minesweeper has many times the need for them. Formerly forged from solid stock, we now find them predominantly made of steel pipe, generally galvanized, in order to save weight and for ease of manufacture, and we believe they will be used more extensively on yachts when the building of such craft is resumed. The accompanying chart has been utilized countless times for davits on vessels assigned to arduous duty at sea and no trouble from their use has been reported. However, it should be borne in mind that, although the chart includes up to eight inch, caution should be used when the larger sizes are indicated, due to the fact that stresses other than the direct load, such as that developed when a fair lead sheave is attached to the davit, or the eccentric pull on the hauling part of the tackle, complicate the stress analysis and must be taken into account. Therefore it is considered that very important davits, such as those for lifeboats, that are to be kept to the minimum of weight consistent with strength, are beyond the scope of this chart and must be carefully engineered separately. Besides, pipe does not always provide the most advantageous section.

2 page(s)

£2.72
Notes on Building Center-Boards & Rudders (Pub. No. 7711)
/ Detailed design information for designing and building centerboards and rudders

There are many ways to construct center-boards, trunks and rudders for sailing boats, and the details for any one particular boat are usually to be found on the plans which one is following. However, the principles are much the same in building all these more or less troublesome parts, so a few general comments should be of interest to the amateur boat builder.

3 page(s)

£2.72
General Concepts of Ballasting (Pub. No. 5638)
/ How much ballast to use and where.

(Includes using concrete as ballast)

The principal function of ballast in a boat is to increase its stability by means of the increased weight. For the underlying principles and theory of stability a standard text on design should be referred to. The three greatest factors influencing the stability of a boat are: (refer to figure 1).
1.    The vertical position of the center of buoyancy (B).
2.    The vertical position of the center of gravity. (G).
3.    A point called the meta center (M).
    These various points are determined by design calculations and are too lengthy to explain here. The point G will always fall above the center of buoyancy in a motor boat and it is only the resistance of the waterline plane to capsizing that keeps the boat in an upright position. Ballasting a boat or keeping the weights low will lower the point G and increase the distance between the points GM; and increase in the bdam of the boat raises the point M and increase the distance GM, thus improving the stability. In this case the ratio of the distance between BM and GM approaches unity. The stability increases or decreases as the cube of the beam dimension. So it is readily apparent that an increase in the beam or an increase in the waterline plane has a beneficial influence on stability.

16 pages, 2 plate(s)

£6.97
Small Boats for Big Water (Pub. No. 5680)
John L. Benjamin/ What kinds of power boats to use in what kinds of waters.

Design Characteristics of Seaworthy Power Boats

by John J. Benjamin

20 pages

£6.97
How Much Does She Weigh (Pub. No. 7857)
George L. Cary/Plotted curves for weights of average boats without engines or equipment.

by George L. Carey

This question is often asked. Only a naval architect can give the proper answer in most cases. In this curve sheet Mr. George L. Cary has plotted curves for weights of average boats without engines or equipment.

1 page(s)

£2.72
Designing for Construction in Plywood (Pub. No. 7021)
/ The results of a year's research ib plywood development for boats.

There came recently to our attention an unusual comment on a build-it-yourself boat design which has prompted the writer to give here the results of a year’s sporadic research in plywood development for boats.

The statement in question was to the effect that the bottom lines of a certain boat had not been altered except to adapt it to plywood construction; that is, apparently concave lines of cross section were straightened out from keel to chine and from chine to sheer. We have examined dozens of V-bottom designs for plywood adaptation and have seen but one in which the designer did not labor under the delusion that straight sections would accommodate a plywood bottom without strain. As a matter of fact, there is only one time when such a condition can exist and that is when section lines are parallel, or generating lines of a cylindric surface at right angles to the center plane of the boat. In such a case a deep-bottomed sail boat with easy lines may be developed which will be more or less orthodox, but this is an exception. Although we labored under the straight line section delusion for awhile, we soon disproved it, as you may do, by carving a half model of a stock V-bottomed runabout with the sections straightened out and then attempting to cover it with a plane surface (cardboard). When the carboard was forced to meet all points on chine and keel, it buckled badly; and even on the sides there was sufficient distortion to demonstrate that only a convex section of some nature would meet the conditions necessary for plywood covering. To determine the proper form for the accommodation of plywood covering we turned to the drawing board, and thus was evolved the design for Conendric.

4 page(s)

£2.72
Developing a Plywood Design (Pub. No. 7022)
/ Moulded plywood has greatly affected the production-boat field.

Moulded plywood has greatly affected the production-boat field, it is true. But there has been some over-optimism as to the application of the process to all types of boat construction.

The plywood mould is an expensive item, too costly for the small shops which can pattern and produce a bent plywood boat to compete with the production plants even though their sales are counted in the dozens instead of hundreds. Often the bent plywood boat answers the need of the buyer who wants something a little different from those available in stock boats. It is almost always ideal for the amateur who can turn out an acceptable piece of boatbuilding even when the conventionally planked boat baffles him completely. There is little question but that the field of the bent plywood boat has barely been tapped. Newer and better glues and methods of glueing are being used, both in the manufacture of the plywood itself and by builders in the construction assembly. By cutting darts into boat sides hollows can be worked into them which cannot be pulled into the bent sheet. Where bends are too great for the thickness of plywood desired it can be applied in double or even triple layers, glued together to form a structurally stronger member than the single sheet would have been. And designs are being adapted to the characteristics of bent plywood to produce boats which have their own unique advantages.

4 page(s)

£2.72
Designing a Sailboat to Use Plywood (Pub. No. 7023)
/ Planking with plywood has opened a new field of marine design.

Planking with plywood has opened a new field of marine design. It was soon found that adaptation of hulls to the bent plywood sheet evolved new designing methods.

Bent plywood design depends on judgement of the character of curved planes rather than on the conventional buttocks-waterlines-sections cross fairing method of arriving at the finished set of hull lines. Design and lofting of plywood, therefore, entails development methods not commonly used in conventional hull drawings. But when the characteristics of bent plywood are comprehended, the design of plywood hulls is found to be a simple procedure, and requires less drawing and lofting time than the conventional hull lines.

4 page(s)

£2.72
Developable-Surface Boats (Pub. No. 7035)
Edson I. Schock/When using sheet plywood for planking, you'll save labor if you plan on this type of hull.

by Edson I. Schock

When using sheet plywood for planking, you’ll save labor if you plan on this type of hull.

If you are planning to build a boat using sheet plywood for planking, your work will be made easier if you select a design having a developable-surface hull. This means a flat or V-bottom hull, with conical or cylindrical bottom and topsides. Either a cone or a cylinder may be developed, or laid out flat, on plywood or sheet metal, and the plank cut from this development put on the boat without twist. Plywood bends fairly easily in one direction only. If you try to bend it in two directions at the same time, it will resent this and resist your efforts. It may even crack. Let us consider what developable-surface boats look like. The simplest form is one having cylindrical surfaces for both sides and bottom, with the elements of the cylinder showing true length in the body plan or sections. Such a boat is shown in Fig. 1.

4 page(s)

£2.72
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