Barrelback Modifications

A forum for contacting other builders of Ken Hankinson designs. These designs are now a part of the Glen-L family.

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Barrelback Modifications

Post by meb46 »

A couple of weeks back, I pulled the trigger on ordering a set of Barrelback plans to really aid in my research and decision into making one. Obviously the decision on progressing a build of these is not one to be taken lightly, so consider this post as yet another input to the decision making process...

For a long time I have been a true fan of the Barrelback and similar design boats, admiring them from afar and in awe over the sheer detail people put into them during builds. I really admire the detail people put into finishing the wood grain look on the Forward Deck, Hulls and Transom... something a number of equivalent boats these days just fail to do.

At the moment, the initial thoughts are to build the 20' version, to enable the use of a new Mercruiser 300HP or 350HP inboard. This would be coupled with the use of modern Mercruiser Electronics, Steering and Monitoring systems. The hull would probably use locally sourced Red Meranti or Teak (I'm based in Singapore). Yes, these do deviate from the traditional look, but start to push a theme I want to explore. Traditional look, but using modern materials and equipment... hence the following questions:

1. Aluminium Motor Stringers (and others) - I have found one boat build by James Hurley (awesome build btw), in which he uses Aluminium Motor Stringers. What are peoples thoughts on this, and how well does it blend with the balance of the boat build? Obviously there is a strength and weight benefit, but would it detract from the ultimate wooden boat expereince? How would it afferct the resale of the vessel if the entire inside of the boat is epoxy finished and you cant physically see the different materials? What other areas could I potentially use aluminium as a substitute?

2. Red Maranti, Balau or Teak - Being based in Singapore, my access to materials typically used in the US are simply not avaialble. However, common materials here that I could use are Red Meranti (Cheapest), Balau and Teak. Price aside, what do people think would be the most suitable? Also, bear in mind that I plan to build the boat in Singapore (High Humidity), and then when I relocate long term, it would probably be to a very dry climate such as Western Australia (Low Humidity).

3. Fiberglass - What are peoples thoughts on the use of fibreglass skin over the hull? I really want a natural wood gloss on the sides, and hence want to stay away from the detracting look of the fibre over this. But the bottom of the hull will be painted, and hence I can use it there. thoughts/suggestions?

4. CNC Machining and Stringer Cut outs - My plan at present, and before I decide to actually build the boat, is to build the plans into a model in Solidworks. The idea here is to enable accurate modelling of the build, but also provide CNC machining files to cut all the parts. Has anyone else been through this process? Thoughts and complexities? Lastly, is there any specific rules or guids as to where you notch the frames for the stingers? Is this just easier to do once the frames are all stood up, or can I model this and notch them as part of my CNC machining?

Any comments or assistance would be greatly appreciated... yes, a lot of differnt topics covered here, but really things I want to get my head around before committing to a build of this nature. I am involved in the Shipbuilding Industry, both Aluminium and Steel, and have access to both Naval Architecture/Design, and supply chain capabilities, however, the wooden boat building thing is new to me.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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Re: Barrelback Modifications

Post by meb46 »

One further question I forgot to raise...

Has anyone tried to modify the Barrelback transom to be sloped front to back as well as the standard curve side to side? I'm contemplating doing this by means of just extending the keel and hull bottom back by about 6" and the sloping the transom forward. Comment? Will I need to move the rudder back? And I guess for that matter the P-Bracket and Shaft Seal location etc?


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Re: Barrelback Modifications

Post by sproggy »

If you used aluminium motor stringers how would you attach the frames to them? By the time you'd figured out welded brackets and/or some sort of compatible bonding method I doubt you'd save a significant amount of weight and you would just end up making your life more difficult for little to no benefit. Resale value? Nobody builds these boats to make money!

For timber choice, I believe teak is hard to bond with epoxy because it's oily. But other than that you should use whatever is locally available and compatible with a marine environment. It doesn't have to be exactly as specified in the plans as long as it's comparable in properties.

Many people who finish the hull bright glass below the waterline but use only epoxy and varnish on the bright finished sides. You won't have any issues doing that.

You could CNC cut the frame members if it was worth setting up to do that for a single boat (I'd think not but its up to you) but don't consider CNC cutting the frame notches as they're not cut square to the frame - you have to cut them as you build so that the curved longitudinals sit snugly in them.

Sloping the transom would work if you don't mine losing the traditional Barrelback look. I wouldn't move the rudder back as you'll have limited height under a sloped transom to fit the rudder shaft. From a construction point of view it would make shaping the transom curve more complex but it's not a big challenge.

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Re: Barrelback Modifications

Post by Hercdrvr »

I guess it depends on how much more complexity you want to add to the build. I don’t know your skill level or how many boats you’ve built, the Barrelback is already one of the more complex builds in its original form. I tend to color between the lines most of the time. My brain locked up thinking about solving the puzzle of slanting the transom forward.
That said, go for it. A Barrelback with a forward raked transom sounds gorgeous! Keep us posted.
Matt B
Squirt, Malahini and 1/2 a Barrelback

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Re: Barrelback Modifications

Post by NAMEngJS »

I think the tumblehome curved transom would look cool. Definitely will add to the complexity, lots of time in the thinking chair though from the rough model i threw together below I agree with Matt, it looks gorgeous!
tumbled transom.JPG
-Juan Suarez

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the recesses of their minds, wake to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers by day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

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Re: Barrelback Modifications

Post by boisebrit »

Looks great, just another version of complex :}, building the plan version is fun enough. If laid out right don't think the underlying structure is that bad, will be the veneer that will be a little more fun. Also agree with a previous post keep the rudder in situ as you will be too narrow in the new transom area for the mechanics.

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