April 3, 2009

Build a Dinghy: Part 2

To get started building your small boat, select a plan and then collect materials. I chose to use Marine Plywood, made from Okuome, a tropical hardwood. I ripped the panels into planks using a piece of aluminum extrusion as a straight-edge set 3-3/4 from the cutting line (the distance between my saw's shoe and blade.
Interestingly, the "marine" designation doesnt mean rot-resistant. It means that it has more veneers for a given thickness, in this case, 5-veneer 1/4" (or 6mm). It also means there are no voids. I can attest to this, as when I cut the sheets into planks, there were no voids to be seen. Voidless means stronger--important in a lightweight structure. It also means it will bend "fairly" producing sweet curves.
You'll also need some dimensional lumber to make the frame and transom. Here's picture of the frame for the boat I am currently building. I used Douglas fir 1" x 2" and plywood gussets , cutting the angles and bevels per the plan using a handsaw. The frame is glued with epoxy and fastened with silicon bronze screws through the gusset. Note the "hole" I filled with thickened epoxy at the intersection of side, bottom and gusset pieces.

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