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Salty 25 Build

Old 09-09-2019, 11:27 AM
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Default Salty 25 Build


As winter nears in Minnesota, we slowly start looking for a distraction to get us through. Mine always involve boating. As an avid woodie resto guy for years, and a wood butcher for many more, I built a clinker dinghy to davit hand on our Mississippi River 40' Mainship. The build was so satisfying that my itch has migrated from restoring the old, to building new. So with a fair amount of research, I have decided to build the 25' Center Console with plans and vision from Adam at Salt Boatworks. The early impression of Adam's plans is that he is a CAD Maestro! Its one thing to be able to design, its another to be able to envision the assembly without giving too much instruction, or too little. So far I think he nailed it. I was looking for something a little different that would get us up and down the river quickly on day trips to visit our favorite spots, be able to comfortably carry 6 and eventually be our Florida boat for canal and sea. The description had me at "broken sheer and tumblehome". After years of cruising floating tractors (my Chris crafts), I am really looking forward to modern engines, electronics, etc. But I already am dreaming of some old school finishings for her. I will post progress when it is significant. Right now it is a lot of cutting and assembling forms. I will work to get all the pieces cut and sub-assemblies done before mid Oct. That's when we pull boats around here and after that, I will be renting space along with another couple of Boat Nuts to wait out the cold, drink some bourbon and dream of splashing our winter projects.
Please don't hesitate to give me suggestions as I typically just assume I know what I am doing. I will add a couple of initial posts of the prep and work I have done so far..

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Old 09-09-2019, 11:57 AM
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To assist on this project, I built a cutting and assembly table to replace my old worn out one. I didn't want anything too big, but I wanted to be able to support a full sheet of ply. I think it turned out just right.
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:34 PM
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Blades above are the best I have found for the miles of plywood cutting. I grind them shorter so that I can use just 2x4's under and it greatly reduces the blade wobble under the sheet. Also a pic of a mold being assembled with high focus on centerline accuracy.
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:13 PM
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With 1/2" Meranti in short supply locally, I shifted to the stem sub-assembly. Ultimately at 5 layers of 3/4" ply, this girl is going to have strong bones!!
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:30 PM
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The plans call for the keel to be laid up with Douglas Fir. The designer and I have been trading ideas as I will probably go off-script and use white oak. I have always trusted the strength, water resistance and screw retention of white oak. I really hesitate to use soft wood for framing in any boat. The counter argument is that white oak does not absorb the epoxy well enough and could delaminate. There is some merit to this as smooth white oak has the surface strength closer to steel than wood. So I decided to do a little unscientific experiment. I epoxied up different surfaces of white oak with different methods of sealing and epoxy mixing. Variables were smooth milled surface, 40 grit sanded, and grooved surface (raking a sharp saw over the surface at 45 degrees). I typically use CPES before epoxy so that I get good penetration sealing. This takes the place of having to do a pre-coat of epoxy. Flashed off CPES (20 minutes) is about the best bonding layer for adhesives (5200) or paint finishes I have ever found. Just in case, I also tested curing the CPES for a day, sanding and then epoxying.
Here are my unscientific, but as controlled as I could, findings:
1. The more surface energy (the rougher the surface), the better the bond (dir!).
2. Thickened epoxy seemed to hold better than unthickened. But don't overdue it.
3. There was no difference in letting the CPES dry or not. Which is great news as it saves a ton of time. And also makes sense, as CPES is simply higher viscosity epoxy.
In the end, with rough surface white oak, CPES pre-coat and thickened epoxy, the wood will split away from the joint. You can see the progression of these in the pick below. If the wood splits before the joint, I think it should last for as long as the boat does. Please let me know if there are other findings that differ.
I also think that wood preferences are very often based on what was locally available 100 years ago.

Glued up samples. Smooth to rough.

As the roughness progresses, the split moves more and more away from the actual glue joint. As expected.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:22 PM
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If you are not using Douglas Fir you can use white or yellow pine for the keel and the ribbands. You can thank us later. While the white oak is hard, it is a mother-scratcher to shape. It will also not bend without steaming. You don’t want to steam any wood in this build. We pay extra for dried lumber, why make it wet? Looking forward to seeing this come together.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:57 PM
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Also looking forward to watching this. Thanks for starting the thread.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:27 AM
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Thanks TB. I have made a number of keels and chines from white oak and agree with you on all accounts - hard as nails so shaping takes longer and hard to steam bend. The keel on this build has very little bend so I plan on laying it up on the molds so any bend will be epoxied in. I think 6 layers at 1" will behave nicely. I might go to a softer wood when bends get sharp, I just hesitate to put a soft wood in the keel, not for strength reasons, but for weep reasons. Maybe I'm just being stubborn? Anyway, I need to make a decision today because it I still cannot get any 1/2" ply to cut up, I am going to move on to the keel.
Thanks for "chining" in. Kyle
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:41 PM
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Looking forward to watching the progress of your build. Tarbaby and Bills106 were my go-to people for technical advice on my build (and still are) so do yourself a favor that I didn't do for myself in the beginning...Be humble, be open, and listen to everything they tell you because they've done it, they live it day to day, and they're right. There are many ways to do some of the things that you are gonna have to do during this build but there are very few "correct" ways to do it. Listen to these guys and they'll get you through the tough parts. One bit of advice I can give you at this time is to set aside money for peel-ply, you'll thank me later. Oh and those jig-saw blades are great, they're all I buy...
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:02 PM
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Looking forward to following along. Hopefully it won't take as long as GCC's build. It must have taken me a week to read all the posts in that thread.



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Old 09-12-2019, 06:55 AM
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unless you are retired, it takes that long to build to that level of fit and finish. if you want a charter boat finish and you will be buying the console and other interior parts as compared to making them, then you can shave off some time. why do that though, you are building a custom one off boat, do it right.
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:22 AM
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Agreed. Quick to the finish line is not my goal. Getting there with something special is.
I can't get any ply this week so I am milling up the wood sections for laying up the keel. The plans suggest staggered butt joints. I am thinking I will do a stepped scarf joint instead. The keel is 3-1/2" wide and 6" deep. What the opinions - overkill?
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:11 PM
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Good luck with the build. I love watching these, and I really like the look of this boat. Would love to build one in the future.
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:47 PM
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This is not my first build on a strong back frame, and probably will not be my last. So Merle Haggard and I decided to make some station supports tonight that will be stiffer than joist hangers and reusable.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Boat Nut View Post
Agreed. Quick to the finish line is not my goal. Getting there with something special is.
I can't get any ply this week so I am milling up the wood sections for laying up the keel. The plans suggest staggered butt joints. I am thinking I will do a stepped scarf joint instead. The keel is 3-1/2" wide and 6" deep. What the opinions - overkill?
My keel in mine is 6 lamination's of 1X4 Cypress. I cut a 45 in the end of each piece and made sure the ends were offset by 16 inches or so at a minimum. I don't think the 6 inches is overkill, keep in mind you'll be planing a lot of it away...
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:12 AM
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Thanks for the input. I meant that maybe the lap scarf might be overkill. Planning on doing the same with 45’s and proper offsets.
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Old Yesterday, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Boat Nut View Post
Thanks for the input. I meant that maybe the lap scarf might be overkill. Planning on doing the same with 45’s and proper offsets.
If the designer designed it that way with the lap scarfs I'd consult him on it. Me personally I think doing it the way I did mine is sufficient.
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Old Yesterday, 02:25 PM
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The design calls for butt joints. Which is probably just fine, but why not give it a little more bite.
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Old Today, 04:09 AM
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Being 6 layers thick and having staggered butt joints will be plenty strong. No need to over complicate. Its a big stem/keel for a 25. Plenty of backbone there.
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Old Today, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Boat Nut View Post
The design calls for butt joints. Which is probably just fine, but why not give it a little more bite.
Overkill? Certainly! I'm a big fan of overkill especially when it's not adding extra weight. You're already way ahead in the strength department by laminating vertically compared to horizontally.

If you've got the time and desire to do the extra work I say have at it but it's also completely unnecessary.
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