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Removing the Sole

Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:03 am
by Andy Garrett
I was surfing the Zip pictures here on the site, as I have a thousand time before, when I stumbled across the photos of when Mark Shipley brought his Zip down to the Glen-L office and met Glen.

As I've stated before, Mark's build choices heavily influenced and informed my own in many ways--chiefly, the 'T' stiffeners on the keel and battens.

I also noticed that Mark's boat employs no floorboards or 'sole' to use the correct term. I sifted through other Zip photos and found a few more examples of this choice.

I built my sole from 3/4" marine ply with custom blocking and set it at the same height as my frame tops (as many do). Then, I built my seat to place passengers' bodies at an appropriate height to feel like they were 'in the boat' and not 'on the boat' as is easy to do with the low freeboard.
The effect this had was to leave very little vertical distance between the floor height and the seat height (a few inches). Thus, we pretty much sit Indian style while underway. This is one of the reasons the wife has asked me to improve the seats.

New and thicker upholstery is a given, but I am giving strong thought to just removing the floor boards. My interior is painted with Benjamin Moore Polyamide paint and it's very tough. I may put some no slip adhesive sheets on the inside hull panel and just step over and around the battens and keel when boarding and such.

I remember when building the interior that I never even heard a creek when climbing around inside the hull putting in the seat frames, carlings, helm, and all that stuff. I don't feel that it would create a risk of damage to the soundness of the hull--especially when the boat is on water.

Pros? Cons?

Re: Removing the Sole

Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:53 pm
by mrintense
Just to chime in here with my thoughts. Keeping in mind that my experience with boating is minimal, I can think of two considerations if you remove the floor boards. These may not be an issue but I will mention them anyway.

First off is flotation foam. If you don't have any in the boat under the floor boards, then this is a non issue, and probably makes the second point a non issue as well.

The second issue I can see is sound insulation from water slapping on the plywood hull. Again, maybe the difference between floor boards and no floor boards is minimal if there was no foam insulation in there.

A possible alternative is to remove the floor only in the area of the seating but leave it on place elsewhere.

Re: Removing the Sole

Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:00 pm
by hoodman
I doubt there is any chance of damaging the hull. You'll thank yourself for adding the extra legroom.

Re: Removing the Sole

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:51 pm
by gdcarpenter
For what it's worth I ran my sole boards side to side, and they were thin (5/16") and light, secured to tee stiffener on top of hull batten. They were then about 3 1/2" below the floor frames in the middle of the hull.

Re: Removing the Sole

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:07 pm
by Ibrew2be
Andy, I think you'll be fine without the sole. The family runabout that we got many years of good service out of back in the day had a plywood hull with no sole.


Re: Removing the Sole

Posted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:48 am
by Andy Garrett
Carl, My floatation foam is not under the floor anywhere, so that is no concern. As for the water slapping the hull, I rather enjoy that sound as only a wood boat can produce it.

GD, I studied your floor carefully many times and admire your solution, but if I am to have a curved floor, I'd just as soon have a couple more inches of depth and an inner hull that can be inspected and maintained without obstruction.

Thanks guys! My mind is made up!