Glen-L Riviera Build By Donald Collier - Cookeville TN - Build Summary 10-1-15 Thru 5-7-16
Posted by Donald Collier on Apr 16th 2019
This blog documents progress from 10-1-15 Thru 5-7-16. See the second blog that documents progress from 5-7-16 to date. The following Link will take you to the Riviera build part two.
Progress 10-1-15 Thru 5-7-16
The featured image is not the Riviera, but is close. I will be increasing the Riviera length by 10% to be able to make it a triple cockpit boat. It is my inspiration picture. Since my early twenties (much older now 50+), I had a desire to build a boat. Raising a family always put it on the back burner. I enjoy woodworking and have built some furniture over the past 30 years, but not a boat. 9 years ago, the time seemed right to give boat building a try. I was not sure what to build, but always liked the old Chris Craft style of runabout. I had never tried boat building, but knew it would take a long term commitment to build one. For my first boat, I decided to build the Glen-L Zip even though I really liked the inboard driven Riviera style much better. I finished the Zip in about a year and enjoyed it tremendously. There is something about boat building that is exciting! See Pictures below. Click on any picture for a larger view.
Glen-L Zip at the lake
Glen-L Zip Ready for the Water
After finishing it, I felt confident I would be able to build the boat I really wanted to build, the Riviera. In September of 2015 decided to go ahead and purchase the plans. While I was waiting for the plans to be delivered, I needed to get the basement ready for the build. Cleaning and organizing was the order to get ready for the build.
Work space to build the boat. Will need to add another fluorescent light.
Other end of the work area with a garage door to get it out when finished. The Zip moved to the door.
- October 1, 2015 - I am going to increase the length of the Riviera by 10% per the plans. Based on the plan material list, I ordered the wood from LL Johnson Lumber in Charlotte MI. The plan amounts were increased by 10% for the extra length plus another 20% to compensate for any mistakes down the road. I have ordered wood from them before for furniture. They sell high quality lumber at very good pricing. When I called Johnson's Lumber, I asked for (2) pieces of a minimum 2" x 6" x 18.5 FT African Mahogany lumber for the motor stringers. They were not sure they would have it, but when I received the shipment, they have in fact been able to ship (2) 2" x 10" x 19 FT pieces. They are knot free and straight. Based on the Riviera material list, I ordered the following;
- 400BF 1" Ribbon Cut African Mahogany
- 50BF 2" x 6" min width Ribbon Cut African Mahogany
- 100BF 1" Philipine Mahogany (Merante) Ribbon Cut
- 150BF 2" Philipine Mahogany (Merante) Ribbon Cut
- 16BF heavy Curly Maple
- (7) 4mm 4'x8' Hydrotek Merante Marine Plywood
- (9) 6mm 4'x8' Hydroteck Merante Marine Plywood
- (2) 3/8 4'x8' Hydrotek Merante Marine Plywood
- (1) 3/4 4'x8' Hydrotek Merante Marine Plywood
- Total cost including shipping approximately $4,600.00
- October 8, 2015 - I had the wood delivered at my work place since it was coming by truck and they have a shipping dock.
- October 10, 2015 - Rented a U-Haul and brought the wood home. The wood weighed 5500 LBS. I had to move it twice, once to the load the truck and once to move it to the basement.
- October 11 -14 - Organized the wood storage shelving to make a place for the boat wood. The plywood was loaded on my mobile work bench to make a large platform for laying out the frame components. Ordered wood workers carbon paper from Amazon. They sell a 22" x 44" package X 5 sheets for less than $10.00. (note: Glen-L has transfer paper in 1' x 16' rolls here)
Mahogany loaded to the rack. Oak and Walnut on the bottom two shelves
Mobile work bench with plywood as a working platform. The bench also makes it easier to get the plywood to the table saw.
- October 15, 2015 - Studied the plans and patterns. Decided to start on the Transom by planing wood. - 1-1/2 Hours
Plans & patterns ready to go.
- October 16, 2015 - Using the carbon paper and the pattern, Cut and sanded the transom Floor Timber - 1/2 Hour
- October 17 - 18, 2015 - To cut each piece, the pattern was traced onto the wood using the carbon paper. If there were 2 of the same wood piece, only one was traced. The piece was cut on the band saw just outside the traced line and then sanded to the final shape on a 12" disc sander. The complete sanded piece was used to mark and cut the second piece. This process would be followed for all the frames. Cut the Transom sides, the Bottom Frames, Notched Bottom Frames, Cut Horizontal Beam, notched Top and Bottom Beams for Upright Timbers. 3-1/2 Hours Remade Bottom Beams to get notches at the right angles. 1 Hour
- October 19, 2015 - Fit Transom Center Support that is notched into the Top Beam and the Floor Timber. Final Fit all Pieces. 1 Hour
- October 20, 2015 - Sanded Transom sides to a 20 degree angle and rough sand ends. Checked the fit against the pattern and set aside. 1/2 Hour
Transom pieces all cut. Have been clamped together and dry fit.
Transom piece detail
Transom piece detail
Transom piece detail
Transom piece detail
- October 21,2015 - Planed wood for frame #1 and cut floor beam and gusset material from plywood for Frame #1. 1 Hour
- October 22, 2015 - Cut Frame 1 & Frame 4 plywood Gussets. Used the pattern to precisely cut the first gusset and then used the gusset as a pattern for the remaining 3 gussets. Cut Frame 1 floor beam and sanded all. Remade floor beam #1 due to error. It was a little short on height (1/32 short) and since motor stringers need to sit on these beams, I decided to remake the floor beam. 1 Hour
- October 23, 2015 - Cut Frame 1 deck beam and sides. Sanded all pieces and half lapped sides and deck per the plans. Used tenon fixture on the table saw to make the half lapped joints. 1 -1/2 Hours
- October 24, 2015 - Planed wood for Frame #2, cut all pieces, sanded all pieces, and half lapped side and deck per the plans. The half lapped joints had to be cut by hand due to being too long to use the tenon fixture on the table saw. I used a Japanese pull saw to cut the half lap on the deck, tenon fixture to do the sides. Excellent fit. Planed and rough cut for Frame #3 - 5 Hours
- October 25, 2015 - Laid out all of the Frame 3 pieces. Cut Frame 3 pieces to size and cut half lap joints for final fit. Planed wood for Frame #4. 3 Hours
- October 26, 2015 - Cut Frame #4 pieces. 1 hour
- October 27, 2017 - Half lapped Frame #4 and final fit. Planed and rough cut pieces for Frame #5. The plan instructions note that sides and deck are lapped. From woodworking, I assumed they were half lapped. After closer examination of the plans, the sides and deck members just overlap. It didn't hurt anything that Frames 1 thru 4 were half lapped, but I didn't do it on the remaining frames. 1 hour
- October 28, 2015 - Cut Pieces for Frame #5 and final fit. I didn't like the fit of some of the pieces and decided to remake some of Frame #5. It is important to have the frames as close to the pattern as possible (within 1/32 or less). 1 hour
- October 31, 2015 - Remade most of Frame #5. Planed, rough cut, final cut and final fit Frame #6. 6 hours
- November 1, 2015 - Cut, planed, rough cut, final cut, and final fit for Frame #7. 5 hours
- November 2, 2015 - Final fit Frame #7 and bolted/screwed together in preparation for gluing later. Used #8 x 1-1/4 screws for gussets, and floor timber. 1/4 x 1-1/2 long carriage bolts with the heads countersunk 1/4. Frame #7 looks good. Will glue all the frames at the same time. 1 hour.
- November 3, 2015 - Cut, planed wood to make Frame #8. I am ready to be finished with frame making. :-) 1/2 hour
- November 4, 2015 - Marked & final cut and fit Frame #8 and screwed it together. Will glue with all the frames at the same time. 1 hour
- November 5, 2015 - Rough cut the Stem and Breasthook. Laid out and final cut (1) Stem piece . 1 hour
- November 6, 2015 - Final cut second stem using the first as a pattern and Breasthook pieces (2). Fastened and epoxied with #8-1-1/4 st. stl. screws for the Stem and Breasthook. Used #10 x 2" to fasten the Breasthook to the Stem. Finally starting to look like something. 1-1/2 hours NOTE: 35.5 HOURS TO DATE TO BUILD THE FRAMES AND STEM.
- November 7, 2015 - Spent 3 -4 hours getting my notes to this point into this blog. I hope this helps the next person building a boat. The information on the Glen-L site and from these blogs is great help in building. Purchased the wood (Lowes @ $80.00) to build a heavy duty dolly to build the hull on. Started on the dolly to build the hull on. I had some large industrial casters that could be used to support the dolly and allow the boat to be moved. I thought this would be good when it comes time to do alot of sanding. The boat could be moved outside. 3 hours to get the notes posted and 3-1/2 hours spent on the dolly.
- November 8, 2015 - Continued work on the dolly. Extra was taken to make sure the supports for the motor stringers were absolutely in line with each other and level as well as level athwartship. I used 2 x 6 lumber to make the dolly with a 2 x 6 back bone. It is extremely rigid.
End view of dolly
Side view of dolly
Stem end of the dolly
- November 8, 2015 Continued - The material for the motor stringers I ordered was over sized. It was a full 2" thick x 10" wide x 19 feet long. I needed to plane it down to approximately 1-1/2" and cut the width to 5-5/8" wide. The first task was to plane it down to the correct thickness. It is no small task due to the weight of each stringer at approximately 70 pounds and the length at 19 feet long. I used a couple of roller stands and set my planer at an angle to gain enough room in front and back to get the stringers through the planer. 7 passes through the planer to get each stringer to the correct thickness. Lots and lots of wood shavings. The next task was to cut the stringers to width. I used a string precisely fastened at each end of the stringer and pulled very tight to carefully check the straightness of both stringers. One was straight over the 19 feet within 1/16 of an inch. I used a hand plane to straighten one side in preparation for cutting. I had to use the 2 roller stands and angle my table saw to have enough room in front and back to saw the 19 foot long stringer. Once the stringer was straight, I set the table saw cut width at 6-1/4 width and made the first cut. It went smoothly considering the size length and weight of the stringer. I then set the table saw cut width to 5-5/8 and made the second cut. The second stringer was bowed length wise by more than 1/2 inch over the 19 foot length. I repeated the same process with a hand plane and cuts on the table saw. When finished, both stringers were straight within 1/32 over the length. When the stringers are sitting on the dolly frame on the 3 support points, I cannot slide a piece of paper under any of the support points. I am happy with the straightness of the stringers. They are the backbone of the boat and must be as straight as possible. 4 hours to complete the dolly, 2 hours to plane and cut both stringers - 6 hours total.
Stringer ready to cut
Stringer ready to cut - A long piece of Mahogany!
- November 9, 2015 - Cleaned up the shop to get ready for gluing and assembling the frames. 1 hour.
- November 10,2015 - Added support to the motor stringer supports on the dolly to ensure they are rigid. Also noticed that when I move the dolly to a different location in the basement, the dolly flexes a little due to the floor not being absolutely flat. When I moved the dolly to a different area in the basement, there were small gaps under the motor stringers at the middle supports. I moved the dolly back to the build location and everything was back to flat and straight. I marked the floor to ensure I build it in the same spot each time I move it. I cut the taper into the ends of both motor stringers. I am ready to start adding the frames. 1-1/2 hours
Motor stringer ends cut with Frame 7, Stem & Frame 8 sitting loosely.
- November 11,2015 - Up to this point, I had cut all the frame pieces and dry fit them together, but had not screwed the floor beam or gussets to the frame members. It is now time to start assembling the frames. The plan is to place the frame pieces on the pattern for the one half of the frame. Locate the remaining pieces. To verify the pieces are located correctly, I will measure from the chine point on one side of the frame to the sheer point on the other side and then repeat the process for the other chine point to sheer point. I will adjust the positions of the non pattern side so that both chine to sheer point dimensions are the same. This process will ensure the frame is symmetrical about the centerline of the boat. Once the frame members were located and symmetrical, I located the floor timber and gussets on the top side and put the screws in per the instructions. Flipped the frame over and located the gusset on the other side and put the screws in. Located the deck beam, clamped in place, and then drilled and bolted the deck beam to the frame. Checked the chine to sheer dimensions from side to side. They measured the same (as close as you can measure with a tape measure). 6 more to go! Once all the frames are screwed together, I will set up to epoxy each frame joint. I felt it would be easier to locate all the frame pieces, screw them together, and then take them apart one piece at a time to epoxy the joint rather than trying to locate, epoxy, and screw together all at one time. 1 hour.
Frame #5 measure Sheer to Chine
Frame #5 actual measurement
Frame #5 measured opposite Sheer to Chine
Opposite side actual measurement
- November 12, 2015 - Final fitted Frame #5 and screwed it together. 1 Hour
- November 13, 2015 - Final fitted Frame #6 and screwed it together. Will epoxy later. 1 Hour
- November 14,2015 - Final fitted Frames, 1, 2, 3, 4 against the pattern, and screwed together. Will epoxy later. Assembled the transom. For the transom, I decided to epoxy it together when assembling it. I aligned the bottom frames with the floor timber, epoxied the mating surfaces, and screwed them together. Set to top frame on the bench with the flat surface down. Flipped the bottom frames and floor timber so that the curve was facing up to match the top frame. When making the top and bottom frames, I cut notches 1/8" deep to locate the vertical frames. This helped in positioning the vertical frame members. The vertical frame members were positioned in the top and bottom frames, epoxied, and screwed in place. The side frames were positioned, epoxied, and screwed in place. The second layer of the bottom frame was glued and screwed in place. 5 Hours.
- November 15, 2015 - Remade the floor timber for Frame #8. The floor timber fits over the Stem. The 3/4 Hydrotek plywood is not actually a full 3/4 thick. It is approximately 23/32 thick. The Stem thickness with the (2) laminations is only 1 - 7/16 thick. When I cut the floor timber, I cut the opening to fit the Stem at 1-1/2 per the pattern. It was too loose for my liking. Precut the deck and side notches for the Sheer, Chine, Deck Battens, and the Side Battens in Frames 7 and 8. Epoxied and screwed Frames 7 & 8 together. I am not sure if it is best to precut the notches or try to do it once the frames are mounted on the stringers. It is certainly easier to cut them when the frame is laying flat on the workbench. I remember when I built the Zip, it was hard to cut the notches once mounted in position. After much looking on the forum, it can be done both ways. The final fitting will need to be done once mounted to the motor stringers. My concern in precutting them is that if there is an error in measuring for the Chine, Side Batten, Bottom Batten, Sheer, or Deck Battens, you may not see it until the frame is mounted and you are trying to install one of the above frame members. To mitigate this risk, I will cut a thin piece of wood (1/8 thick) at the correct width for the Battens, Chine, and Sheer. I have already cut all the notches in Frame 7 & 8. I will permanently mount them to the build dolly. Once I have marked the notches in Frame 6, I will set it in position on the motor stringer and use my 1/8 thick pieces positioned in Frames 7 & 8 to check the positions of the marked notches in Frame 6. I can use the notches cut in Frames 7 & 8 as the locator for the strip and project the position down to Frame 6. Once Frame 6 is verified and the notches cut, it will be fastened to the build dolly. The same process will be repeated for the rest of the frames. 4 Hours.
- November 16, 2015 - To mount the Stem and Frames 7 & 8, the Stem height on the dolly needs to be set. When I set the Stem, Frames 6, 7 & 8 roughly positioned and projected the chine log to Frame 6, it didn't line up with the chine marking on Frame 6. After taking a few measurements of the stem location on the dolly, the temporary shims between the dolly and the breast hook were too high. Will need to remove all the frames and stem and set the shim height. 1 Hour
- November 17, 2015 - Using a straight piece of wood on top of the motor stringer that was long enough to extend over the Stem breast hook location, I set the breast hook shim height at 27-7/8 per the plans. Set the Stem and frames back in place and checked the chine log again up to Frame 6. The temporary chine log was in line with the markings on Frame 6 within 1/8 of an inch. The precut notch will need to be adjusted at final fitting. Will proceed with precutting the notches on Frame 6. 1 Hour.
- November 18, 2015 - Cut the notches on Frame 6 and epoxied the frame together. Marked the notches on Frame 5 and checked the alignment of the marked notches with Frame 6. Good to go. Will cut and glue Frame 5 tomorrow night. 1 Hour.
- November 18, 2015 - Cut the notches in Frame 5. Marked the notches in Frame 4. 1 Hour.
- November 21, 2015 - Marked and cut notches in Frames 4, 3, 2, & 1. It is very tedious as there are 28 notches per frame and it takes 2 - 3 minutes to cut and fit each notch. 5 Hours
- November 22, 2015 - Epoxied all the remaining frames. Finally ready to start putting them on the motor stringers. I am looking forward to this so it will start to look like a boat. There are approximately 270 notches in all the frames that took 2 - 3 minutes each (approximately 9+ hours). Although it was tedious and long, it should have been easier and faster than cutting on the boat. Time will tell. 3 hours.
Total Time Spent to Date 75 Hours to build all the frames, pre-cut all the notches in the frames, epoxy all the frames, build the boat dolly, and cut both motor stringers.
November 23, 2015 - Positioned the frames on the dolly motor stringers. They are not fastened yet. Need to check positions and then double check :-). It's finally starting to look like a boat. 1 Hour.
All the Frames roughly located
November 24, 2015 - Cut and drilled (14) frame to motor stringer mounting clips. 1 Hour.
November 25, 2015 - Carefully positioned each of the frames, epoxied, and fastened the frame to stringer clips with 3-1/2 long carriage bolts. Cut the motor stringers to length, epoxied, and bolted the transom frame in place. Epoxied and fastened the Stem and Frame 8 in place. 6 Hours
November 27, 2015 - Cut wood for the first lamination of the keel. Cut the tapered splice on the table saw. Epoxied and screwed the first lamination in place. Located the first lamination splice towards the aft end of the boat. Cut wood for the second lamination of the keel. Epoxied and clamped the bow end of the second keel lamination. No screws in this lamination - Lots of clamps. 4 Hours
Open picture for detail on the splice joint
November 28, 2015 - Epoxied and clamped the aft section of the second keel lamination. Started cutting the first Chine lumber. NOTE: SAFETY FIRST - I was cutting the Chine lumber when the wood bound up on the saw blade causing the wood and my hand to jump. When the wood jumped, it caused my right hand middle finger to hit the top of the rotating blade. In a split second, my finger was cut on the front side and nearly severed on the back side at the joint closed to the end of the finger. A trip to the emergency room. 5 hours later, a shattered bone at the finger tip, cut tendon on the back side of the finger, the nail removed, and the finger joint severely damaged. The doctor was able to sew it all back together (only 8 stitches because the tissue was so damaged), but I would have limited movement if any of the end of my finger.
I consider myself a safety conscious woodworker. I always wear safety glasses and try to work as safely as possible. Due to the restriction of the table saw guard over the blade ripping narrow strips of wood less than 1 inch, I had taken it off years ago. All the woodworking shows on TV show the craftsman using the table saw with the guard removed so I thought it was OK if you are careful. For ripping wood less than 2" wide, I used a pusher stick. I have used the saw this way for at least 10 years without incident. The Chine lumber stock was 2" wide so I wasn't using a pusher stick. Prior to the accident, I had cut 4 of the Chine pieces without incident. It took the 5th piece within a couple of inches of the end for the accident to happen. I will be putting the guard on and will figure out how to cut narrow lumber with the guard attached.
November 29 - December 13, 2015 - No work on the boat due to finger injury.
December 14, 2015 - Installed the guard on the table saw and finished cutting the Chine piece that injured my finger. Set the Chine in the port side frames and started modifying the frame notches so that the Chine makes full contact on the frame, not just on a corner. 1 Hour
December 15, 2015 - Completed the port side frame notch modifications. I found it easiest to use a sharp chisel to cut the notch tapers. Cut the taper on the Chine so that 2 pieces can be joined to make a long piece. The lumber I had was 14 feet long. I needed pieces almost 23 feet long. Used the table saw taper jig shown above to cut the tapers and epoxied the 2 pieces together. 1 Hour
December 16, 2015 - Installed the first port side Chine lamination. It takes some care in clamping to pull the Chine into the frame notches. As the Chine is installed in Frames 6, 7, and 8, it has to twist as well as move up to lay in Frame 7 & 8 notches. I used #10 x 2" screws to install the first lamination on all frames except Frame 7. On Frame 7, I used #14 x 3" screws to firmly seat Chine in the Frame notch. The frame notches have epoxy applied before installing the Chine. 1 Hour
Note Frame notches and fit of Chine lamination to Stem
December 17, 2015 - Started modifying the Frame notches on the starboard side. Joined 2 pieces of mahogany to make the Chine lamination long enough. 1 Hour
December 18, 2015 - Completed modifying the Frames on the starboard side and installed chine lamination. Used the same screw pattern as used on the port side. Cut the mahogany and joined it for the second lamination. 1 Hour
December 19, 2015 - Installed the second chine lamination on the port side. Need lots of clamps. I used 33 clamps to make sure the second lamination is clamped to the first and the epoxy was squeezing out between the lamination. No screws used for the second lamination. 2 Hours
Port side second Chine lamination epoxied and clamped in place.
Port side second Chine lamination attached and clamped. Used 33 clamps. May need to buy more :-)
Port side second Chine lamination at the Stem
December 20, 2015 - Cut the second Chine lamination on the starboard side. Carefully mitered where the Chine meets the stem and tapered the other end to join a second piece to make the 23 foot length. Installed the second Chine lamination on the starboard side. Again lots of clamps. I wanted to see how the Chine would look when faired to the frame on the aft end of the boat. Hand planed the Chine on the port side from the Transom to Frame 3. Looks good. See Below. 3 Hours Today - 97 Hours to Date
Chine Splice - I located all splice towards the aft end so there would be minimal bending at the splice.
Starboard Side second Chine lamination
Starboard Side - Lots of clamps
Port side Chine roughly faired up to Frame 4 - It looks good
Another view of port side faired from the Transom end
December 21, 2015 - Worked on the table saw guard alignment to better guide long pieces when ripping. Removed Starboard side clamps. 1 Hour.
December 22, 2015 - Started cutting the 1-1/4 wide bottom battens to width. Takes time and extra care - no more finger accidents :-). Cut 15 battens x 16 feet long plus 8 shorter 1-1/4 wide shorter battens at 8 feet long. The 8 foot long battens will be used to splice with the 16 foot long battens to make the long runs on the bottom and the sides. 1 Hour.
December 23, 2015 - Started installing the port side bottom battens. I started with the 2 closest to the chine. When cutting the frame notches for the battens, I only cut them in the frames up to Frame 5. In Frames 6 - 8, the notches will need to be cut based on the trajectory of the batten. To determine where the notch should be, the batten is located in Frames 0 - 5 and extended over the next frames. Mark the location of the notch on the frame from the position of the batten when pulled straight down onto the frame to be notched. This worked well for the second batten that went through Frame 6. The battens extend to the chine and are mitered to match the chine as shown below. 1 Hour.
Port side first 2 bottom battens - Note the batten transition to the chine. Where the batten contacts the chine, epoxy and screws were used to fasten. One #8 x 1-1/2LG screw was used to fasten the batten to the frame at each location.
Another view of the batten transition to the chine.
(2) Battens installed - 8 more to go. Batten material ready on the starboard side.
December 24, 2015 - Installed the next 3 port side bottom batten. I did not pre-notch the frames for the bottom battens on frames 5, 6, 7, or 8. Since the battens had to follow a natural curve, I notched these frames when installing the battens. To locate the notch in frames 5 through 8, I would clamp a batten in frames 1 - 4 with it positioned long enough to be over frames 5 - 8 as needed. I would push the batten down to the frame being careful not to pull it to either side. Once pushed down to the frame to be notched, I would mark the frame and notch it using a pull saw and a chisel. This process was repeated for each frame and all the battens. 4 Hours.
Port side battens installed. It is time consuming to lay out the notches and cut them by hand.
Another view. Note the gradual transition of the battens closest to the keel as they are positioned in frames 6, 7, and 8.
A closer view of the joinery on the port side battens as they are fastened to the chine and frame #8.
December 26, 2015 - Started on the starboard side bottom battens. Installed 3 of the battens. It is time consuming because the battens need to be spliced to make them long enough. The wood I have is 16 feet long. The battens closest to the keel are almost 23 feet long. 5 Hours.
December 27, 2015 - Completed the remaining battens on the starboard side. 3 Hours.
Starboard side battens installed. Again, note the gradual transition through frames 6 - 8.
Another view. Clamped one of the side battens in place for a look see.
A closer view of the joinery on the starboard side.
Aft view with all the bottom battens installed. Need to cut the limbers in the frames for water drainage. Will most likely use a router and a bull nose bit with a jig to cut them.
December 29, 2015 - Started on the port side Sheer pieces. The plans call for (3) 5/8 thick x 1-1/2 wide pieces laminated together. To make it a little easier to install, I will make the first lamination 9/16 think. The second and third laminations will be 21/31 thick to make up the difference of the first lamination being thinner. Again, a lot of hand work to modify the frame notches to allow the Sheer lumber to make good contact with the frames as it is bent around frames 5, 6, 7, and 8 to the stem. I found the easiest way to modify the frames was to use a good pullsaw. By pulling on the saw to cut, the blade stays on the cut line. The saws are extremely sharp and cut the wood easily. Cut the Sheer lumber for (3) laminations on port and starboard sides. Installed the port side first lamination up to frame 2. I have found it easier to make the lumber splices when the first piece is already installed. I cut the splice tapers ahead of time before installing. 3 Hours.
December 30, 2015 - Installed the first Sheer lamination on the starboard side. Followed the same process as described above for the port side. Installed the remaining sheer pieces (splice at frame 2 to the transom. As I will be ready for Fairing soon, I decided to draw a line from the center of the transom to the center of the stem on the keel. The line would help with fairing the keel to maintain a straight center line. I used a chalk line stretched tight to snap a line on the keel. To my surprise, the keel was not straight. It was bowed 1/8 of an inch about midway between the transom and the stem. After measuring and checking all the frame widths to the marked center line, I determined the whole boat is bowed approximately 1/8 of an inch. Since it is only an 1/8 of an inch in 23 feet, I will be able to straighten it through fairing. I am not sure how it ended up bowed since the dolly and the motor stringers were straight when installed. I think the Keel lumber itself must have been bowed and pulled the frames when the keel was installed. IMPORTANT - Snap a center line on the keel to work from before fairing. 6 Hours.
Port and Starboard sheer first lamination installed.
Port side joinery and notch modifications.
Aft end sheer lamination splice. Leave the sheer long (past the transom) to allow clamping the second and third laminations.
December 30, 2015 - Installed the second sheer lamination on the starboard side. Again, lots of clamps needed. It is much easier to install the second lamination because the first lamination is in place and can be used to clamp subsequent laminations in place. Installed the first (2) side battens on the port side. It takes time to fit the battens in place and modify the frame notches so that the batten makes complete contact over the width of the frame. The side batten closest to the sheer also has to be bent upwards as it meets the stem. It takes a bit of force to make the bend, but the bend gives the batten the right shape for the hull. 6 Hours.
Starboard side second lamination epoxied and clamped in place.
First and second side battens installed.
Another view of the side battens installed.
A view from the aft end. I found it easier to make the batten splices when installing on the frame. Note the clamps at frame #3.
December 31, 2015 - Planed and cut wood to make the remaining side battens and the sheer second and third laminations on both sides. Installed the third side batten on the port side. 3 Hours.
January 2, 2016 - Installed the port side sheer second lamination and the starboard side first side battens. 1 more lamination for each side on the sheer and (2) more side battens to install. I am ready to move onto fairing. 3 Hours.
Total Time Spent to Date - 133 Hours.
Second Port side sheer lamination. Third port side batten and first starboard side battens installed.
January 4, 2016 - Fit and notched frame to install second side batten. 1-1/2 Hours
January 6, 2016 - Fit and notched frame to install the last starboard side - side batten. All the battens are installed. 1-1/2 Hours.
January 8, 2016 - Planed and cut wood for the final sheer lamination. 1 Hour.
January 10, 2016 - Installed the last sheer laminations. Ready to cut the limbers and to start fairing. 2 Hours.
January 11, 2016 - Removed all the clamps and cleaned up the shop. Set a 5 foot straight edge in various places at the aft end to check for flatness between frame 0 and 4. It is flat within 1/8 from just aft of frame 4 to the transom. Fairing should straighten it out. 1 Hour.
5 Foot straight edge used for fairing.
Tools Used for Fairing - 3" x 21" Belt Sander - 120 Grit Belt, Long Hand Plane, #4 Hand Plane, Electric Plane, Straight Edge, Gage for Minimum Gaps
January 12, 2016 - Started fairing at the transom end of the boat. The first step is plane the keel at the angle needed to match the frames. Started from the transom and worked my way up to frame #1. I used a Bosch electric hand to remove the bulk of the material. I then used a belt sander with 120 grit belt to smooth the keel. I decided the best way to fair the back end of the boat was to shape the keel first up to frame 4. According to the plans and instructions, the keel should be straight up to approximately frame 4. I would then fair the chine up to frame 4. The chine should be straight up to approximately frame 4. I would use a 5 foot straight edge as my guide for fairing both the keel and chines. A quick check before fairing looked like most of the keel and chine logs were straight within 1/8". My goal is to have the keel and chines straight within .016" over the 5 foot length of the straight edge. I am using a .016 steel gage to check for flatness with the straight edge. If the gage won't go under straight edge, it is good. Once the keel and chines logs were faired, the battens and frames would be faired in between the keel and the chine. That's the plan. We will see how well it works. 2 Hours.
Keel faired up to frame 4
January 13, 2016 - Faired the port side of the keel up to frame 3. It is too far to reach from the transom end of the boat. Fairing is an iterative process. You start planing wood off and then check the straightness. Wood must be removed gradually as not to take to much off (hard to put it back on). I would place the straight edge on the keel and check for gaps between the straight edge and the keel with my gage. If the gage would go between the straight edge and keel anywhere within the 5 foot straight edge, I would make the high spots and then use the belt sander to remove wood from the high spots. Then repeat the process again and again until the gage will not go between the straight edge and the keel. I would then move the straight down 2 feet towards the bow and repeat the process in the next area of the keel. Used a sheet of plywood to get on top of the frame to work. 1 Hour.
January 14, 2016 - Faired the starboard side of the keel up to frame 4 as described above. 1 Hour.
January 18, 2016 - Started fairing the port side chine log from the transom to Frame 4. Followed the same process as described on January 13th. 1 Hour.
Port side chine faired up to frame #4.
January 19, 2016 - Although I am not finished with fairing the port side chine, I wanted to fair the bow chine and stem on the port side (needed a break from the back fairing). Looking at it, there is a lot of material to remove to get the shape correct. Using the electric planer, I shaped the angle on the stem. Worked on shaping the chine at frame 7. Worked on it for an hour, a lot more to do. 1 Hour
Although not complete, the port (left side in the picture) is looking much better compared to the right side.
January 20, 2016 - Continued to work on the port side bow, chine, and sheer areas. Using a hand plane, I would remove as much material as possible while checking frequently with a flexible (1/4 thick) piece of 3" wide plywood. I would push the plywood into the curve and check the gap. At this point, I am not close to using my gage as described above. For the finer removal, I would use the belt sander. With 120 grit belt it would remove wood quickly, but not so fast to remove too much. Mahogany is not very hard, so it sands easily. It is more difficult and definitely an iterative process to fair the bow area. With the compound curves, a little is taken off and then checked. I am up to Frame 7 and it is looking good. 1-1.2 Hours.
Looking better, but still a ways to go on the port side.
January 21, 2016 - Did a little sanding and updated the blog. 1 Hour
January 22, 2016 - Continued fairing the port side aft end up to frame 4. Looks good and flat. The keel is flat up to frame 4, however the chine starts to bend towards the sheer about half way between frames 3 and 4. I will continue fairing towards the bow, but will come back and check everything again for flatness and the proper shape. 1 Hour.
January 24, 2016 - Continued fairing the port side from frame 4 to the stem. A slow process using the electric planer, hand plane, and belt sander. Each time material is removed in an area, you have go over and adjust the areas around it. It is looking better and better. 2 Hours
January 25, 2016 - Finished the first pass at fairing the port side bottom from stem to stern. Will check it again once all fairing is complete. 1 Hour.
January 26, 2016 - Started fairing the starboard side stem area. A lot of material to remove and a long way to go. 1 Hour.
January 27, 2016 - Continued fairing the starboard side bottom up to frame 6. Started using a 50 grit belt in the sander to help remove material along with planing. Definitely helps, but you have to be careful. You can quickly remove too much. Have been fortunate so far, no mistakes with the sander. 1 Hour
January 28, 2016 - Finished rough fairing the starboard side bottom and started on the sides. A lot of material needs to be removed at the sheer line to get the proper shape. Lots of work yet to do. 1 Hour.
January 31,2016 - Continued working on the starboard side 2 Hours.
February 1 - February 12 - Fairing, fairing, and then more fairing. It is tedious in that I can only work on it for an hour or two at a time. It seems as though you end up working in the same area for a long time before it is fair. As noted above, I used a 5 foot straight edge to make sure the boat bottom was flat from midway between frames 3 & 4 to the transom. Both side of the keel are flat within 1/32 worst case. I used a .020 thick gage to check for any gaps. There are a couple of places where my gage will go under, but rubs on the straight edge. At some point, it is close enough.
I planed a 3" wide piece of mahogany down to 3/16 thick. I used this piece of wood to check the curved surfaces. I would gently force the wood into a radius or over a curved surface and check to make sure the wood made good contact on all the battens, keel, chine, and sheer. This takes a while, when you lay the piece of wood into the curve, it may hit on one of the battens and not on others. You remove material on the batten it hits first, and then it hits on one of the other battens, but not on all of them. You slowly keep removing material and checking frequently until your guide woods rests easily on all parts of the frame.
There were times where I thought that if I sanded any more, there would be nothing left but the screws :-). Finished on February 8. Swept up a large garbage bag of chips and sawdust. A few hundred dollars of mahogany in dust form :-). I will check fairness one more time, but I am ready to put the limbers in and start the planking. I am ready! 14 Hours.
Total time for Fairing 32 hours.
Total Time Spent to Date - 172 Hours.
Front view with fairing complete
View from the starboard side
Port Side View
Port Side Bow View
February 13 - 15 - Started cutting limbers. The limbers allow water to pass from frame to frame to get to the lowest part of the boat at the keel. The bilge pump can them pump all the water out. I used a router with a bushing and a straight piece of wood clamped at every location to cut a limber. I used a 1/2 diameter router bit with a radius end. I set the depth to 3/8 deep. Cut approximately 80 limbers. 6 Hours
Router with bushing and a straight piece of wood.
Limbers Cut - The radius bit makes a nice rounded path for water to pass from frame to frame.
Limbers at the transom to allow water to drain to the keel.
February 16 - 17 - Started planking. The transom is first. Measured the 1/4 transom and cut the plywood approximately 1" bigger all around. Test clamped in place. The plywood made even contact on all transom surfaces. All the time fairing has paid off. I used epoxy and a thickener applied to the transom frame before attaching the plywood. I used 80 #8 x 3/4 long stainless steel wood screws. After fastening the transom, I realized I don't have anywhere near enough screws to fasten the planking. Will order 2000 #8 x 3/4 for the first planking layer and 2000 #8 x 1" for the second planking layer. I used a router with a trim bit to trim the excess plywood to the shape of the transom. 3 Hours
Transom Covered - Finally starting to look like something.
February 18 - Started laying out the bottom planking. I used 6mm thick Hydrotek Merante marine plywood. You can use a full sheet for each side at the stern cut at 37" wide. I was able to cut another sheet to the correct width (37" wide) and cut it length wise at a 45 degree angle to get plywood for both the port and starboard sides. This method gives me 13 feet covered at the keel. This was the longest length before the compound curves of the hull would not allow the plywood to lay easily against the frame. Measured and marked the batten locations and the screw locations. Per the directions, I fastened the plywood every 4" along the keel, chine, and battens. Approximately 180 screws per plywood sheet. Will start fastening once the screws arrive. 2 Hours
First layer of planking marked and ready for fastening
February 19, 2016 - Started putting screws in the plywood sheet. Each screw had to be drilled and then screwed in. I used #8 x 3/4 long for screws that went into the battens and #8 x 1" for screws that went into the keel and the chine. One piece of plywood glued and screwed in place in an hour and a half. This going to take a while. 1-1/2 Hours.
February 20, 2016 - Installed screws in the remaining bottom plywood sheets. 540 screws . 5 Hours.
February 21, 2016 - Started cutting plywood strips to plank the bottom. I settled on 5-1/2 inches wide because I had 11" wide pieces left from from the full sheet planking I had started with. I ended up with (8) 8 foot long pieces. Cut one at 45 degrees to go toward the keel, laid the plank in place on the frame, marked the chine end, and cut it approximately 1/2 longer. I would fit 2 planks at a time before gluing and fastening in place. 6 pieces down in 3 hours. 3 Hours.
February 22 - 26, 2016 - Continued planking the bottom. Although the 5-1/2 wide planks worked well for most of the bottom, I will use a narrower plank for the bow area on the second layer. On the first layer, the edges of some of the planks would stick up a little (maybe 1/32") due to the compound curves. A narrower plank should help. Completed planking the bottom. 7-1/2 Hours.
Bottom Planking Complete
Another View - Bottom Planking Complete
Transom End - Another View
February 27, 2016 - Started on the planking for the sides. I used a scrap piece of 3/16 thin plywood to test the width and fit of the side planking. The planking for the sides is 4mm Hydrotek Merante marine plywood. If the planks were cut 11" wide and laid at a 30 degree angle, I could get (3) 31" long pieces out of an 8 foot long strip (almost no waste). I cut them on the miter saw at the 30 degree angle to minimize the waste. Started fastening at the transom and worked forward. The sides are easier than the bottom. Fastened 7 feet of the side in approximately 4 hours including cutting the planks from the plywood sheet. Again, I used #8 x 3/4 screws every 4" and one on each end for fastening the plank to the battens and 1" long screws for the chine and sheer fastening. Approximately 22 screws per plank. On the second layer, I will use 5" wide plank at the transom end to minimize the edge lifting. 4 Hours.
February 28, 2016 - Continued planking the side. Getting faster. Planked another 7 feet in 3 hours. 3 Hours.
Port Side First Layer Side Planking
Another View - 14 Feet of Planks, 8 feet to go.
Another View at 7 Feet Complete
February 29 - March 6 - Continued planking. I found that cutting the planks to 9-1/2 inches wide worked well. Laying them at a 30 degree angles worked well. They would lay against the frame easily with minimal edge lift. I used a total of approximately 850 screws for both sides. I mistakenly purchased the West epoxy with the fast hardener. I could only mix a couple of squirts of the pump at a time or it would start to harden before I could use it. Finally finished it and bought 2 gallons of the West 105 with slow hardener. Hopefully going forward, I will be able to mix more at a time. Finished both sides on March 6th. 12 Hours.
39 Hours to apply the first layer of Plywood.
Total Time Spent to Date - 217 Hours.
Port Side Finished. I used a router with a bearing trim bit to trim the side planks at the bottom. I used an electric planer and belt sander to trim the sides at the top. I used the electric planer and belt sander to trim the bottom planking where it meets the side. After the planking was applied, I noticed a low spot. Added epoxy with filler to correct the error.
Another view of the port side.
Port side looking forward. I really like the lines and curves of the boat.
Starboard side looking aft. Still need to trim at the chine and sheer.
Starboard side looking forward.
Transition from side planking over the bottom planking to butt joint of bottom planking meeting side planking. The change is approximately mid way between frames 7 and 8.
March 7 - March 13 - Was not able to work on it very much due to travel for work. Sanded the first layer with belt sander using 80 grit. Towards the bow, I had some of the plank edges not sit even with the next plank due to edge lifting. The edge lifting is caused by the compound curves causing the plank to not sit against the frame. I used 5-1/2" wide planks. For the second layer, I will use 3-3/4 wide planks. Started planking the second layer on the bottom. Measured and laid out the screw positions for the 37" wide x 8FT pieces for the aft section. Even on the second layer, I marked the batten location and laid out the screw positions. Since the second layer will be completely epoxied to the first, I decided to fasten it with screws every 8" instead of every 4" as noted in the plans. The starting location for each second layer row of screws was offset by 2" from the first layer. Applied 37" wide x 8FT long pieces in the aft section. Cut a second 8 FT long x 37" wide at a 45 degree angle in the opposite direction of the first layer. I was able to fasten the pieces shown without hitting a screw in the first layer. 4 Hours.
Second layer of plywood attached at the aft end. Note: The second piece is cut at a 45 degree angle in the opposite direction of the first layer.
March 14 - March 20 - Completed the second layer on the port side bottom. As noted above, I used 3-3/4 wide planks for the second layer. It is hard to tell from the picture, but the planks lay down much better. Almost no edge lifting. Very little sanding will be required before applying the final layer of Mahogany veneer. Even though I am putting screws every 8" on the plywood sheet, I used 2 screws at each batted location on each the planks. Still lots of screws. 6 Hours.
Port side bottom planking complete. Starboard side to go and then the sides.
Transition area from overlapped construction to butt construction where the side planking meets the bottom planking.
March 21 - April 2 - Completed planking the bottom on the starboard side and then started planking the second layer on the sides. I cut the planks 9-1/2 inches wide. I laid them at a 30 degree angle opposite of the first layer. Note: In the material list, there is a note that 66 square feet is needed to cover the sides with planking. I used that as a guide to determine how much 4mm plywood to buy. I have increased the length by 10% so for the plywood material calculation, I used 66 x 120% (extra length) x 120% (scrap and waste. If you use that calculation, you will need 6 sheets of plywood. I bought 7 sheets and have used most of it. I had very little scrap and no mistakes or wasted plywood. I am glad I bought the extra sheet. I bought 9 sheets of 6mm for the bottom and have 1-1/2 sheets left over. Reading other builder blogs and pictures, many have used staples for the second layer. I decided to screw the second layer on also with #8 x 3/4 ST STL screws. After reading the blog from Mark Bronkalla on the Glen-L website about stainless steel screws, I wish I had used silicon bronze. I hope that since all these screws are drilled and countersunk with epoxy, I won't have much erosion. I plan on encapsulating all of the wood with epoxy to minimize the exposure to water. All fasteners from here on will be silicon bronze.
Completed the second layer on the port side except for the bow. I will final fit the last piece.
Starboard side second layer of planking complete. Needs to be trimmed top and bottom and then sanded.
Second layer complete. Ready to start sanding and trimming ends.
Using the narrower planks for the sides and bottom have really helped with having a smooth second layer. I think using screws has also helped. I set my drill clutch to not allow me to over or under tighten the screws. Each screw was tightened until the drill clutch ratcheted. There will be some sanding, but not nearly as much as the first layer. It is time to figure out the veneer layer. I bought Philippine ribbon cut mahogany for the veneer. 24 Hours to apply the second layer on the sides.
251 Total Hours Spent To Date
April 3 - April 18 - Started sanding. I used a belt sander and an 80 grit belt. There was more sanding than I expected. Weekends have been devoted to outside work, so I haven't done much on the weekend. I have been able to work on it during the week for about an hour on Monday through Friday. Each night I would sand for about an hour and then start work on cutting the veneer. The Philippine mahogany looks best if the planks are cut from the face of the board. I ordered 2" thick x random width boards expecting to plane them down to 1-3/4 thick and then cut veneer the planks from the width to have 1-3/4 wide planks. The grain of the wood was consistent and plain in color and high lights. The ribbon features showed much better if the veneer planks were cut from the face side of the board. See the picture below.
Ribbon cut Philippine mahogany
The above wood is more figured than some of it. I planed the wood down to 1-3/4 thick and cut it in 3" widths. The 3" widths would maximize the features in the grain. I used my table saw to cut the 3" pieces of wood into 3/16 thick planks. I used a thin curf blade and was able to get 6 planks out of the 1-3/4 thick wood. The saw was set with the blade all the way up at 3-1/2 inches and a stiff finger board was used to keep the wood against the fence. I was able to keep the saw guard on as it would sit just on top of the fence for the narrow width planks. To date, I have cut 120 square feet of planking. Will cut 225 square feet so I can select wood by grain features for the boat sides and transom. 12 Hours
April 19 - May 7 - Lots of weekend work and other projects outside that have slowed progress on the boat. Have only been able to work during the week after work averaging 4 - 5 hours per week. Finished cutting the planks. Each plank was cut on the table saw and then run through a drum sander to have a finished thickness of .170. I ended up with 160 planks that average 8 feet long. Each vertical stack of planks has approximately 8 – 9 planks in each. Ready to start applying the planking.
Planks cut and sorted by grain and wood high lights. Figured ribbon cut will be used for the sides. Less figured wood will be used for the bottom since it will be painted.
Decided to start with planking the transom. Had some very figured mahogany with very pronounced light stripes. Laid these planks out for color and grain. This mahogany is extremely hard (like hard maple). Only the figured mahogany was this hard. The rest is soft like regular mahogany. I had a hard time cutting the figured mahogany on the table saw also. I tested applying it with staples. I purchased the Raptor staples and stapler sold at Glen-L. The staples worked great for the regular Philippine mahogany, but would not reliably go through this wood enough to hold. I am doing a separate blog comparing metal staples to the Raptor plastic staples. I recommend the Raptor staples (see the side by side comparison in the blog). Even my mechanical stapler using T50 staples would not go through this wood. I purchased a pneumatic stapler and T50 x 9/16 staples. AT 90 PSI, I could get the staples through the wood. To help with removal, I cut some scrap 1/8 plywood I had into 1” squares. I would staple through the plywood into the planking. This worked very well and the staples were easy to remove.
Transom Mahogany ready to apply. I hope it looks good when applied and finished. It is extremely hard and heavy and was very difficult to cut.
Started applying the planking. I used 1" square x 1/8 thick plywood to staple through and hold the planks to the transom. Using the plywood makes the staples easy to remove.
NOTE: I had planned to use the Raptor plastic staples, but experienced an issue when applying the veneer to the transom of my Riviera. For the transom, I had some highly figured Philippine mahogany. I think is comes from the center of the tree. It is almost like a burl. It is an extremely heavy and dense wood that is very hard. I found that the plastic Raptor staples would not go through it reliably. I thought there was something wrong with the staple gun because even at 80 PSI, the staples would not go through the veneer in some cases. I could do 5 to 8 staples and then 1 would not go through. When the staple doesn't go through, the legs of the staple break leaving an incomplete staple. I tried my mechanical hand stapler using the same T50 staples as tested above and they would not go through the veneer either. I then purchased a pneumatic stapler and 9/16 long T50 staples and used the 1" square plywood pieces as noted above to apply the veneer.