Building the Fife w/Periodic question along build

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Building the Fife w/Periodic question along build

Post by lamontjb »

Starting the Fife build and thought I would centralize my questions and document my progress in one place, here. My worry is that my individual questions might get hidden as I won't have a specific topic subjects, but we'll see how that goes.

I started this design by first identifying the size of the boat I could get in and out of my basement since I lack certain amenities that would make my build more practical (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=35703). Based on this constraint, I decided that a 11 to 12 foot boat, no wider than 4 feet which led me to the Fife.

I ordered the plans which I hope should get here soon. I also recently purchased a couple woodworking tools which I hope suits me well.

My current question is-
1) I ordered two hand planes. An adjustable mouth block plane (6.25" long with a 1 and 3/8" wide blade) and a smooth plane (9.5" with a 2" wide blade). Do I need a jointer plane? (its about 2 feet long with a blade that is 2.5" wide). I would prefer to aviod this as it appears to be expensive, but I'm not particularly familiar with planing methods so I wanted to ask.

2) Will the boat plans come with plans to elevate the boat during build? I was not sure since each boat may be unique and therefore would require a specific type of rest or does the builder just make this up? Can anyone point me in the right direction of what this may look like? I'm not even sure what this would be called, but the blocks of wood that hold the boat up during the build...

3) Boat material question ( What are the cleats and why are they 31 feet long?

4) I currently have a Dewalt Jig Saw (DW331) with 6.5 Amp motor. Will this be sufficient to get me through this project or do you think I would need a better jig saw. Bandsaw is not likely to get approved, but is not out of the question if I need it (I dont think I do). If using this jig saw, what are some recommended blades to cut lumber and plywood?

Thanks inadvance for any help. I hope that since this is a small build, my progress will be continual. I do like the idea of doing more of these boats in the future because I think this would be really fun, so buying one or two tools that will last, doesn't scare me too bad.

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Re: Building the Fife w/Periodic question along build

Post by TomB »

I would never discourage someone from buying planes or power tools :lol: :lol: but you probably have what you need...for now. (I assume you have a drill.) Since most boards have curves, the joining plane sole wouldn't gain you much. Skewing the smaller plane should work on the inside curves. A belt sander and circular saw would be handy too. For the jig saw, blades with more teeth/inch will give a cut with less tear out. If you need to spend some money, get a sanding station, ... /100061671, smooth lengths with it, shape the ends of the gunnel spacers with it, very useful.

You'll need some way to clamp boards while planing them and there is a rule someplace that says "you will never have enough clamps". Cheap F clamps ( ... g_q=clamps for example) and 2" spring clamps are a must.

Not sure about the Fife, but many of the plans show a build form. I would use a pair of saw horses with a sheet of plywood screwed to the horses to get the work belt high.

Cleats are the pieces at the edges and ends. For example, cleats will be used to join the seat boards to the hull.

In the home stretch on a Tahoe 23

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Re: Building the Fife w/Periodic question along build

Post by DrBryanJ »

I am not a fine detail woodworker, so take my advise for what it's worth:

I think the two hand planes will work fine. I have a smaller block plane that I use often, but I think 6 1/2 " should work fine. I wouldn't get a joiner plane unless you plan on doing a lot of woodworking.

Most if not all of the frame built boats have some sort of building frame specified. Since the Fife is a stitch and glue, I'm not sure. It looks like the pictures all show the boat on some temporary supports. Saw horses with plywood deck.

Don't know what the cleats are, or why an eleven foot boat would need any piece of lumber measuring 31'. I thought the cleats where metal things on the deck for tying off ropes.

I think the jigsaw will work okay. Band saw would be nice, but not a requirement. I don't have one and I'm doing fine, but I have had a few things custom milled.

You didn't mention any sort of sander. I think a belt sander and a random orbit or 1/4 sheet palm sander would be needed.

Also, a japanese pull saw is handy.

Building a malahini "Mona Lisa"

My wife said "If I build a boat, she's getting a divorce."
We're still happily married, but now she just wants "the dam boat out of the garage."

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Re: Building the Fife w/Periodic question along build

Post by lamontjb »

I have a couple sanders that i need to pull out. I was considering a random orbital but i have a meguirs orbital buffer that i want to do some more research to see if i can switch out the backing plate and make it a sander. I believe the buffer is the same as the older porta cable. If i could do this, it would save me some money.

I do have a collection of tools, including a porta bandsaw (Dewalt). I unfortunately had the get rid of my cabinet grade table saw prior to a move a few years ago (and my miter saw too now that i think of it). So im hoping a circular saw, hand drills, drill press, jig saw, pota band will get me started. I have a small collection of clamps so ill have to buy a lot more.

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Re: Building the Fife w/Periodic question along build

Post by hoodman »

Everyone's advice is spot on. I don't think you need a jointer plane. Sometimes the extra heft of a no5 jack plane is nice to have. But you can do almost anything with a no4 smooth plane. I honestly don't know what I would have done without a table saw. That being said you don't need a high end one. A cheap contractor saw will do the trick.

Building a Geronimo......!

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Re: Building the Fife w/Periodic question along build

Post by lamontjb »


I picked up about 12x 2" clamps, 6x 6", and 6x 12" clamps. That probably double my clamp stock. Also looking at the sanding station made me think about pulling out my old knife making grinder which uses 2x72" sanding belts. If it all still works (havent used it in probably 8 years), it should do just fine. Glen l said the plans havent shipped yet and that it should go out tomorrow. But the did confirm that the stands to hold the boat up will come with the plans. I forgot to ask them if the lumber list for 31' for cleats was a typo and should read 31".

I also requested the hand plane manufacture to change the smoother plane for a no5 plane instead based on some feedback that the no5 plane is used a lot more. I hope that wasnt a mistake and wish i could just get them all, but they were a bit pricey.

Still debaiting converting the da orbital buffer to a sander. Purchased the new back plate today so it may work out, but im also considering a 6" bosch. Will think on that one some more. As for the table saw, ill hold out until i think i need one.

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