Malahini... Step 1.

Designs for inboard or outboard power

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Brandlin
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Malahini... Step 1.

Postby Brandlin » Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:30 am

Hi,

I'm researching a first (and probably only) boat build. Im a complete novice in boat building but a competent wood worker. My intro, with a little more about me is here...

The boat will need to be capable of carrying 4 although often 2. It will be used near shore in seawater for coastal hopping and occasional forays across a tidal estuary. I also want something that is happy chugging along British river and canal systems where the speed limits are often 6 mph. Think of it as an expensive way of gliding from one riverside pub to the next in style! I'm no speed freak, but everyone wants to put their foot down now and again ;-)

It's possible this may also get occasional use in instructing/supporting my son and his friends / cadet troop in rowing and canoeing...

My build space is limited to an absolute max of 16' X 7'. I've had my head turned by the gorgeous mahogany gentlemans runabouts. I'm a huge fan of wood (insert your own joke here) and I can't imagine wanting to build something that, however practical, doesn't show off some mahogany decking and so on. I think at the sizes I can manage an outboard rather than inboard is the way to go. (Although just having looked at outboard motor prices, I'm appalled! I could buy a car for that!)

That seems to bring my choices to the Zip or Malahini. I've never seen either but from only the pictures here I'm leaning towards the malahini. I prefer the sweep of the shape in plan and prefer the single rather than double cockpit. I'm guessing too that the larger boat is more stable, will provide a more comfortable ride and simply offers more space inside.

However knowing NOTHING about boats, I do have some questions. Is my choice suitable for the activities I've outlined? Will the boat be siutable for sea use hoping down the coast? Will it deal with sea water, waves and tides? As both of these boats are designed to plane, will they be happy "chugging" at lower speeds?

I'd love to hear from Zip or Malahini owners on their views, or if you think I'm making a stupid choice, tell me why and make a better suggestion.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Alan
Last edited by Brandlin on Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:06 am, edited 3 times in total.

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galamb
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby galamb » Sat Jul 23, 2016 10:17 am

You are looking at a couple of "small boats" and relatively "big water" in some of your circumstances - in that case "bigger is always better".

If you would only "occasionally" have four on board then either would do. If you plan on carrying four people "often", then the malihini would be the far better choice. One of my boats is a 14 footer, similar to the Zip in size, draft etc and the thought of having four people out on it for an extended day would be "somewhat" uncomfortable - it really is a "two person with the junk for the day" sized boat.

Any planing hull still works fine at or just above it's displacement speed - so while it's designed to be powered so that it climbs "up on the water" with a small (footprint) of the hull in contact with the water - skimming over it, they tend to work well in canals/other speed restricted waterways if you stick to the speed limit.

The canals that I run have 10 KMH/6'ish MPH limits in the canals themselves (between lakes) - if I don't try to exceed that speed the nose (bow) of both my 14 footer and my 26 footer will stay "down", with the hull acting pretty much like a "displacement" hull and they handle just fine at that speed.

If those two models you mention are the ones you are "flipping a coin over", given your intended use, I would go for the larger Malahini - people never regret getting an extra foot or two of boat - go smaller and you will always wish you had just gone that extra step up in size...
Graham

Yes, Plywood is "real" wood :)

A "professional" is someone who gets paid for their work - it doesn't necessarily mean they are good at it :)

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Bill Edmundson
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby Bill Edmundson » Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:01 am

Brandlin

Go with the bigger boat. There will be very little difference in cost.

Bill
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Cabron
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby Cabron » Sat Jul 23, 2016 10:06 pm

I would have built the Malahini but I chose the ZIP. I just didn`t have the extra space to build it.

The Zip suits me fine. I`m 5`10 and 190 lbs. You might find the Zip a bit of a squeeze for your size
but you can always push the seats back to accommodate your height. You can get 4 adults on without a problem. It`s
a little cramped for the people in the back but it won`t kill them for an afternoon out.
just don`t plan for too much interior cabinetry that will take up space.

Good Luck with the build

Brandlin
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby Brandlin » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:55 am

Thanks for the commentary guys. Very helpful. Sounds like my initial view of a malahini is spot on then.

Having a remeasure of my build space leads me to rethink possible sizes too. I have a triple garage under my property, arranged in an 'L' shape, with a 'normal double garage' sized space with one side of it extending further back in an additional single garage size. Technically the maximum size of the longest dimensions of the 'L' are 32' X 25'. Think of it as a 32' X 25' space with one quarter of it removed. I do have a number of "fixed" storage and work bench structures that I'd be loathe to move.

However, I only have a pair of single garage doors to the double garage space. Each has a width of 7'. So that's my absolute limiting factor.

But it occurs to me the with a building frame on lockable castors, I may be able to build 'diagonally' across the double garage area, and manoevre the boat around to get at all sides and then line it up to exit the single door. My driveway is wide enough for three vehicles so I think this might work to exit the door at an angle ans swing through, certainly if exiting bow first. Ceiling height is just 6'10”, so clearly any flip would need to be done outside, and work on the boat when upright would need to be on a low cradle rather than trailer.

Hmm. I feel the need for a little bit of cad modelling to see if this would help or not... This might get me 2-3' of extra boat length.

Have people built on moveable build frames? I'm assuming I need to be able to chock and relevel the structure each time it's moved? Shouldn't be too hard?

At 18' I seem to then be in the realms of gentlemans runabout inboard rather than outboard boats. I kind of discounted them because I disliked the double cockpit layouts with the motor taking up so much space admidships. Also, strapping an outboard in the back seemed simpler than installing a fixed engine and prop shaft.

What's your opinions?

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DrBryanJ
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby DrBryanJ » Sun Jul 24, 2016 4:59 am

Check out Mark-NJ's posts somewhere I think he has a picture of his movable frame.
Bryan

Building a malahini "Mona Lisa"

My wife said "If I build a boat, she's getting a divorce."

Brandlin
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby Brandlin » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:32 pm

Thanks, I've been reading as many blogs and posts as I can and I've Seen the "mobile frame" now.

I'm also impressed by gcarpenter's threads which answers my queries about half lap/bridle joints from here. I'm still interested in knowing if it's possible to use marine ply instead of hardwood for the frames though.

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Bill Edmundson
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby Bill Edmundson » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:53 pm

Brandlin

Plywood frames have been done. Most of us don't care for them. Do search on plywood frames.
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11689&hilit=plywood+frames+plywood+Frames

Bill
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby Moeregaard » Sun Jul 24, 2016 3:58 pm

From I can tell from your intended use, I would go with the Malahini. We've had four full-sized, carbon-based life forms in our Zip and I can tell you that there isn't much freeboard with this load. Even on our local lake I get a little concerned when things get choppy and the back seat is occupied. Neither the Zip or Malahini are large boats and I would want the extra freeboard of the larger boat when things get rough. Just my two cents.

-Mark Shipley
A boat is just a wooden box with no right angles.

Brandlin
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby Brandlin » Tue Jul 26, 2016 2:47 am

Thanks for the replies guys. I'm fairly certain that my initial view that the malihini is the better boat and I'll have to put up with space issues in building and storing it.

Thanks for the thorough info gap. I'm replying on this thread as I think it will get more traffic than my intro thread. I'm actually in Wales, just a mile or two over the border from Chester. So maybe we can start a Dragon Fleet?

I admire Gap's ambition with the flotilla of boats he is planning. I intend to only build one but make it a cracker. I enjoy building things and I'm more interested in the challenge than anything else. Like you I was a mechanical engineer back in the day but have spent a lot more time driving a desk managing people the last twenty years.

My first thoughts on seeing the Glen L site was, "I want those plans electronically". I'd immediately have CAD drawn them and used that model to visualise and understand the build better. I'm very surprised that in this day and age it's not possible to get them. A computer is just another tool you need to learn to use competently, not everyone will want to, and that's their choice. However not having that possibility seems rather antiquated. I looked at the shipping costs on the plans and even if I wait 2-3 weeks for delivery it will cost around £30 ($50) just to get the plans delivered! Electronically I could get them instantly and without shipping, import duty etc. :-( I do understand there may be potential issues with copyright and people selling them on, but that exists in the paper form too, even though it's a little harder.

Gap, you're right, I have to negotiate a standard 7' wide UK single garage door. I have a triple garage but twin single doors. No, I can't remove the central pillar between the two doors as it's structural and my garage is under my house!

Ideally I'd like to build a twenty plus foot barrel back gentlemans runabout with a deep rumbling Jaguar V8. Use the rear cockpit as storage and housing for an automated semi rigid roof. Be able to 'chug' in elegance with cold wine and cucumber sandwiches in the cooler along tranquil waterways. Then put my foot down in open sea and burn along to the next watering hole along the French Riviera. It would sleep four and have accommodation standards borrowed from the Pullman coaches on the Orient Express. Naturally all this would be free, and could be completed next week.

I also need Kate Beckinsale sunning herself on the aft deck.

Sadly reality strikes, and I think the malihini structurally "straight out of the box" is my best bet. From what I can see from sketches and photographs the shape appeals and has a very tactile flow to it and the cabin looks quite configurable with a reasonable amount of deck to show off some mahogany planking and make some storage / cubbies.

From a practicality standpoint there are a couple of potential changes. The first is seating. Given my height and state of my back, some effort will need to be spent on seating. My immediate thoughts looking at the flat bench seat arrangements of other builds is "Ouch!" I'm quite surprised that more isn't done for comfort? Ideally I'd look at some form of car seat arrangement but at the same time this changes the built-in look. The higher seat back whilst more comfortable also significantly changes the line of the boat! More to think about when the time comes.

The second practical issue is our glorious British weather. Some form of removable canopy would almost certainly be necessary. Which sounds fine until you think of the practicalities of storing it, erecting/lowering it on the water and boarding/alighting the boat with the canopy up. I see very few canopies in photographs and the ones I do see seem quite Flimsy/amateurish/out-of-context.

Anyway those things pale into insignificance when considering the enormity of actually building a boat!!!

As to the plywood frames issues. I'm a little perplexed. I happily admit I've never built a boat and I am here to learn. However I have a life time of engineering and woodwork experience. I wholly agree that using plywood as a finish material leaves a lot to be desired and the beauty of say mahogany timber is far greater.

When I asked about plywood frames and mentioned CNC laser cutting, I was NOT considering cutting whole frames from sheet material. As has been pointed out this is VERY wasteful. You would only do this for components where it's necessary to have them cut from one contiguous sheet. What I WAS suggesting is laser cutting frame members from plywood and making each frame from two layers of ply laminated together. By extending the lengths of alternate frame members these would form lap joints rather than butt joints at the corners, eliminating the need for those hideous gussets. Tesselating individual frame members on a ply sheet is a LOT more economic than the waste of cutting whole frame profiles. My "back of the envelope" calculations suggest that this may be 20-25% cheaper in material costs over hardwood mahogany here in the UK.

plywood does not have an "end grain" in the same manner as regular lumber. Due to the cross grain nature of the plys any mechanical fastening into the plywood edge is in true end grain of half the veneers and half across the grain. Also a significant portion of the fastening will actually be into the adhesive bonding the plys together. Now, I'm not suggesting that mechanical fastening into plywood edge is as strong or stronger as regular hardwood lumber, the issue is whether it's "strong enough", and whether someone wants to take that risk. There are certainly screws designed for edge plywood mechanical fastenings, but I doubt they are available in brass! For the most part as I can see, and as others have mentioned the epoxy / glue-of-choice is doing all the work, the screws are a construction fastening in most cases and can be removed. Anyway I suspect this is an interesting intellectual exercise and may offer some savings in time and cost but I doubt those savings offset the potential risk, especially for a novice builder. I shall be making my frames from timber with halflap joints (or bridle joints) and hardwood dowels and avoiding gussets and screws entirely. I do like the decorative element Gdcarpenter added to his visible frames. However for items like Carlings, deck beams and other hidden components I may investigate ply.

Sorry for the rambling long post. I'm enjoying the thought process of the decisions and planning and I really do appreciate the views and experience of all you guys.

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Bill Edmundson
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby Bill Edmundson » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:43 am

Brandlin

Just comment on CAD plans. Glen Witt and Ken Hankinson did most of these, over 300, designs in the 50's and 60's. Converting them to CAD format would be an overwhelming task. Glen is 96 or 97 now. Few builders have access to CAD at home.

I made CAD drawings of much of the Bartender that I'm building now. Now that I'm retired I no longer have access to AutoCAD. Those files are useless to me now.

BTW: We use bronze screws, no brass. Brass corrodes, bronze doesn't.

Bill
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Brandlin
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby Brandlin » Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:34 am

Hi Bill,

I understand the issues of converting designs to CAD. It's not hard. I'm not talking about fully modelling 3D designs, I'm talking about 2D profiles of the various components as per the existing plans. Yes, the volume of them to work through is large but the complexity is low.

ALL home computer owners have access to CAD. There are a number of FREE versions of CAD software that would be sufficient for most things needed to do on such plans. AutoDESK 123D is a free fully functional 3D product, so you really do still have access to AutoCAD. I accept however that printing full size plans will need a print shop in most instances, but that's still cheaper than snail mailing them around the world!

It DOES open up some different discussions and problems on things like copyright and protection of IP but those are very common in the modern world.

Look at this another way, all I have to go on to determine if a plan is suitable for my needs is a grainy scan of a profile and plan view, coupled with some information below, and pictures from other builders. I'm not expecting anything for free, but i think it can much easier to see what I'm actually buying.

Having said all that, I do recognise and respect the professionalism and quality of the Glen-L and Hankinson designs. It's one of the reasons why I am here having done some research. :-)

My apologies for the brass/bronze confusion - thats finger trouble. my old materials lecturers would be turning in their graves lol!

Alan

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Bill Edmundson
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby Bill Edmundson » Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:56 am

Alan

I hope I was not offensive. I did the brass/bronze because somebody could read it and get off on the wrong track.

I sure miss the large format scanners and plotters that I had access to at work. I reduced the plans to 11x17 and made a couple of copies. Sure was a lot easier to work with.

I wasn't aware of that freebie CAD program. I'm going to check into it. Thanks.

Bill
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rbrandenstein
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby rbrandenstein » Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:57 am

FYI,
Someone has posted a Sketch-Up model of the Ski-Tow/Malahini, which share the same frames. It is only the frames, keel, sheer, chine and transom. The frames have no thickness. However, it would be start to build on.

The file is skitow2.skp. I think you can find it within Sketchup search. If not, I would be happy to email it to you.
________________
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Brandlin
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Re: Zip or malahini, or ... ?

Postby Brandlin » Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:10 am

Hi Bill - no, not at all rude. We are having a discussion over a virtual beer! (although my beer is warm and tasty, yours most likely cold and fizzy ;-) I am just aware that things move on. I remember getting access to the university mainframe in 1987 and seeing my first 3D CAD program. I can now do more on my phone than I could on that system! I thoroughly recommend AutoDesk123, however I'm a Solid Works Chap for the complex stuff these days.

rbrandenstein - thanks for the information - Sketchup isnt my favourite tool, but if the files are good then conversion is not too hard. I cant see the file you mention in the sketchup warehouse. Is it OK to email it to brandlin@btinternet.com

As I raised the issue of copyright etc. I must ask if the information in those files contravenes the rights of use of the original Glen L plans? Its normal to allow copies for personal use (ie when you spill coffee on one set you have a back up) but its usual to preclude the copying and distribution... I don't know what the specific Glen L terms are.

I also wasn't aware that the Malihini and ski tow were the same frames!

its good to learn!


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