Page 1 of 3

Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:32 am
by jaguarrh
Hi all, and welcome to my build thread.

I have made the plunge and am starting on construction of a 19'1" Key Largo Barrelback from the Hankinson stable. I chose this design for one main reason. This will not be a boat for going from A to B on a designated path. This will be a boat that I will put in the water for a day of leisure, yet with an element of style. I thought the Key Largo, being described as the "utility" version of the Barrelback, offered more in the way of amenity for taking some food and drink and a couple of fishing rods out on to the lake for some R&R.

I most likely expect I will be using a large recreational lake near to my home called Lake Illawarra.

A little bit about myself: I am 47 and feeling that mid life itch quite keenly. I have worked in construction for most of my life, mainly as an industrial abseiler, but am now mostly pushing pens as a project manager building schools. I am also a keen hobby woodworker who mostly works in the flat building furniture etc. and this venture into the non-orthogonal world excites me. I work full time and have a loving wife and a daughter of 11 years. This means that this build will be done in my spare time (lol, spare time? what is that :) )

The project: I have been planning this for quite some time and have had the plans and been doing research for about a year now. There are reasons for the slow start explained here: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=30544

Official start date: 31/3/2018
Anticipated duration: 3 years (1/4/2021)
Project drivers: Build to the best of my ability and don't cut corners

During my research I think I found a good source for timber. I have a few options for marine ply (still undecided which way to go). I think I am going to go with a local Australian epoxy for convenience and I think it is well regarded in the wooden boat community here and it seems I can also get silicon bronze fasteners locally too.

I am, however, very unsure about a power-plant. I know it will most likely be the single largest expense on the build and need to do a heap of research before I decide.

Anyway, enough blather from me. Expect the questions to start rolling in as I have already found some unreloved issues while building the form, and I haven't even started to make the frames yet or trace the full size patterns. :mrgreen:



Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:42 am
by sproggy
Welcome, Rob. Wife + daughter (mine is 2 years old) = very little spare time at all! I spend some evenings and a few 'stolen' weekend hours in my garage but I don't expect my Zip will be done in 3 years. Deadlines are there to be missed! But to my mind it's more important to enjoy the build than to apply time pressure. I have enough of that at work.

Don't worry too much about the motor at this point - there's plenty to do before you have to commit in that department.


Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:52 am
by jaguarrh
Ok: The first questions... :)

The building form plan clearly shows the motor stringer and the dimensions between the notches for the frames but it doesn't have a dimension for the positioning of the Leg Uprights of the building form.

Judging by the drawing I have positioned them at the Transom; a couple of inches aft of Frame 2; a few inches aft of Frame 4 and about 6 inches aft of Frame 6. I am working on the assumption that these positions are not critical as long as the Motor Stringer is level and horizontal. Is this true?

Secondly, the note about the leg uprights at the Transom says that these are to be left in the boat. Does that mean I should build them from the finish timber (say African Mahogany)?

Thirdly, I am not quite grasping the frames yet. Mainly the width of material (min 3") and how this relates to the Set-Up Level and depth of notches. Having said that, I have not bought any Mahogany as yet and think it is best to postpone this question until I have started cutting out the components for the frames and have fully thought this through.

I told you I had some questions... :mrgreen:

Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:58 am
by jaguarrh
Thanks Ian,

Totally agree about the deadlines. My three years is just an estimate and my main driver is quality. If it takes longer so be it.

Wow, 2 year old. I remember those days. I wish I had a bigger shed to retreat to when my little cherub was 2. :twisted:

Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:50 am
by mickfly

Welcome to the site. I've been building my Key Largo since August 2015. Boisebrit is also building a Key Largo and we are about a month apart on progress.
To your questions:

Legs on building frame- The position is not critical, but to set them up true to the plans, I simply measured the leg locations on the plans using a ruler...and 1" = 1' it's fairly easy to get them positioned right. Getting the motor stringers level is a quality building frame is critical.

Transom leg uprights are left in the boat, so are to be made of the same material as your frames. I was planning to use mahogany for my frames but another forum member said something akin to..." one is going to see the frames. Why not use Douglas fir? " I found a good source of quality Douglas fir and saved some $.

I assume your question about width of the forms is related to the fact that only the outside line of the frame is provided on the full-sized plans? I don't recall the exact width of my frames, but again I used a ruler on the plans to set the width as close as possible to what is pictured. It's a little harder to be precise when converting fractions of an inch to inches, but I typically rounded up.


Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:47 am
by Jimbob
HI Rob,
We have the same plans. The Keylargo and Barrelback have the same plans. (mine say keylargo 19 on them)
I followed the 3" minimum width on the frames. I made templates first from mdf setting a compass to 3" to copy the outer edge on some of the frames.
Attached are pictures of some of the completed frames placed on the plan sheet. Hopes this helps you.

Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:01 pm
by boisebrit

Thought I should join in, welcome to the club.

For my frames I used mahogany, and used baltic birch for the fillets that joined the frame, they will be sealed with epoxy anyway.

I made a jig up on some old plywood transferring the lofting plan with carbon paper to it. I also made a copy of the plans and laminated them so I could mark off with a white board marker as I made each part. And some wax paper as I glued them up so not to stick to everything.

For the engine stringers I used vertical grain (old growth fir, special order) for the engine stringers, so they stayed as straight as possible.

There is a trick I found to setting the frames on the stringers and keeping it dead on straight down the length as you set them in place, when you get there send a message, I posted a bunch of pictures on the gallery of the early stages the I hope will help. ... oise-idaho

And for Mick I am now only a couple of pieces away from being covered, I said the end of March as a target so in a 6 year project I am right on time :}. (Rob 2.5 years of the 6 years is career change I should really be nearly done by now, in case your family should read this )

Good Luck


Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:21 pm
by jaguarrh
Wow, some great replies there. Thanks Mick, Jim and Bryan.

I bought some timber yesterday so it is on for young and old now. :lol:

I compared the price between Mahogany, which incidentally is Swietenia Macrophylla plantation grown in Fiji, which surprised me, against spotted gum (a traditional Aussie boat-building timber); Douglas Fir and a laminated Mountain Ash. Surprisingly, the Mahogany came out the cheapest. :mrgreen: All I need to decide now is which way to go with the plywood and some silicon bronze screws and I should have everything I need for the frames.

Bryan, I have reviewed your photos countless times during research and will no doubt continue to do so throughout the build, as with all of the other photos on the build blog site. I notice that my gallery has now received moderators approval and I am beginning to upload some of my own pics. All I have to figure out now is how to link them with the BB tags to show on the post.


I also intend to document this process on Youtube and am currently giving myself a crash course on video editing. Hopefully I can keep that side of things together, get millions of followers and give up work forever and become a youtube star... :lol:

Jim, your photos are equally helpful. Thanks.

I will get started on truing up and cutting the motor stringers then check back in with you all if i get stuck with the frames.

Onwards and upwards. :mrgreen:

Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:35 am
by jaguarrh
Hi all,

Just finished an evening of planing and prepping stock for stringers etc. and my mind started drifting...

What are peoples thoughts on half lap joints on the frame connections as well as the ply gussetts both sides?

I noticed one of the Barrelback photo sets (Daniel Holmes in Fairport, New York) did this.


Any comments from the crowd? :mrgreen:

Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:46 am
by TomB

I used half-laps with gussets, reasoning that the joint would be stronger than a butt joint and gussets. It makes a really solid corner. On the down side, making the joints require extra steps, fairing the corner with end grain both directions, and screwing the chines to the frames while avoiding end grain. Next boat, butt joints and biscuits, (see Neel Thompsons PB posts).


Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:38 am
by boisebrit
Couple of thoughts

- Looks very elegant, but will not be seen on finished boat
- More work
- I personally prefer the slightly larger surface area of the typical joint used when you cut the rails into it.
- Also not a strength issue when everything is notched in, attached and glued up.


Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:49 am
by hoodman
At least on my build, doing half laps would have been problematic, especially on frames 4 and 5. The gussets make for an incredibly strong joint. Some have said they don't like the way they look but I do.

Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:44 pm
by Shaunh
G'day Rob

Another Aussie boat, and local too! You have John doing a Gentry at Marulan. I am slowly underway with a Squirt as a test run for the Riviera I want to build later. If you need any assistance on the timber side let me know. We can resaw and prep boards down to 3mm. Have fun with the build.



Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:26 am
by jaguarrh
Ok, that's great feedback from you all.

Some issues there that I hadn't thought about with regards to endgrain and fitting the chines. I was just looking at it as a stand alone joint. I am going to go ahead with butt joints and gussets as per plan.

And some locals too... :)

G'day Shaun and John. Good to know I'm not alone in my little part of the world.

Thanks for the offer of the help with the timber Shaun. Actually, while searching and researching, I did come across your website but at the time thought that going to Sydney for the timber would be easier. I knew I should have put a call in. Especially now that i have bought my first timber and experienced the sticker shock. :shock:

I will say though that the timber I got is of the highest quality and thay let me pick through the stock at my leisure. They also don't seem to mind cutting even short lengths too.

It would be interesting to look into the machining for the final planking. I don't think my little lunchbox thicknesser can go down to 3-4mm. I am not sure what the Sydney mob will charge me for ripping the thinner material, but they do say that their saw only has a kerf of 3mm and requires no further machining for glue up. Unlike the band saw that has 1.5-2mm kerf but then requires planing...

Anyway, one further question for the Aussies...
What is your chosen epoxy?
I can get West System; Bote Cote or Norglass. I am tempted by Bote Cote for convenience but not sure how well regarded it is?

Any thoughts? :?:

Re: Key Largo build. Tahmoor (nr. Sydney) Australia

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:24 pm
by Tony Hain
Hi Rob
I used the Boatcraft Pacific products. I initally used the boat cote for encapsulating and added their thickener for gluing up. I had no issues with the product. But for gluing up I prefer to use their "epox-e-glue" which is a 2 part gel. With the liquid epoxies I find I break into a profuse sweat yet when using the gel this does not happen. I don't believe it is my imagination but because the liquid is a more volatile substance and hence more vapours. I don't know if this happens to others or not?