When I was building my first boat, my dad used to drive me nuts as he sat in his rocking chair considering “how to proceed.” I wanted to see the chips fly. Now, after many of my own projects, I realize the wisdom of studying the sequence of events from the beginning of a building project to the end. Building projects are a lot like a child’s dot-to-dot puzzle. Continue reading →
Some people just have a knack for things. We commonly say that someone may have an “eye” for beauty, an “ear” for music, or a “taste” for art, and now you can have a…“nose” for speed. Nose cones on outboard and sterndrive lower units are common in the world of boat racing. Whether it be outboard hydroplane racing, outboard performance craft (tunnel hulls), offshore powerboats, or customized recreational boats, all have factory built “speedo” lower units, which are very fast, but expensive. However, adding a nose cone to your existing lower unit is affordable, quick, and fun to do. Continue reading →
We’ve followed the progress of the Jubilee Sailing Trust ship since construction began in the summer of 1998 in Southampton, England. The ship was launched in February and given the name Tenacious.Continue reading →
Waters Dancing started selling boat kits in the late 1950’s. The company is putting finishing touches on a new line of competitively priced kit kayaks from 14′ to 21′. Their Lightning 17′ has proven itself in the field, with many already built and paddled throughout North America. Don Moore has developed a unique method to join plywood and assemble boats. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: ALPHA Z is like no other boat. It’s a stepped V-bottom planing runabout designed by Michael Peters Yacht Design.
If boat building was ever in a period of renaissance, it is now. One center for the revival in exquisitely constructed yachts is Van Dam Custom Boats near Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City, Michigan. Business partners Steve and Jean Van Dam have a 23 year history of building interesting wooden craft. Although Steve is a sailor, most of their work involves powerboats, custom one-offs and restorations. They are particularly noted for the fine detail of their wood/epoxy composite boats and their willingness to experiment with materials and structures. Continue reading →
My oldest brother, Jeff, was searching for a small boat to take his kids out fishing and just messing about. Since he had more money than time, and I had more time than money, we pooled our resources. I would build two boats and he would buy the materials. We looked at numerous plans and finally found one of Harold “Dynamite” Payson’s (Phil Bolger’s design #516) Instant Boats that appealed to us. The Rubens Nymph is a beamy (4′ 6″ wide), 7′ 9″ long, double chined, rowboat. The Nymph looked easy and quick to build due to a modified stitch-n-glue technique. Continue reading →
PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is a water-based liquid plastic that can be applied to waxed molds to prevent molded parts from sticking. PVA is not always required. Often laminators rely solely on mold release wax to create a surface contaminant on the mold that allows parts to be removed. However, on complicated molds and on new molds, when the risk of sticking a part in a mold is greatest, PVA can be applied over a waxed mold to minimize the chance of sticking a part.
PVA can be applied by brush, paint roller or with spray equipment. PVA often leaves a texture on the surface of the mold after it dries. This texture is duplicated or molded into the Continue reading →
To prep our 30-year-old Allied Seabreeze 35 for a paint job, we had to remove the window frames. These frames were cast aluminum and original equipment. The outer frames were thicker and had not been broken. However, once we began to remove the inner frames, it was obvious that they had been removed for previous paint jobs. The aluminum castings had been broken and repaired by simply gluing them back together with an unidentifiable filled adhesive. Continue reading →
Hopefully, you can stand one last story about El Niño. I work for Bay Metro Transit in Bay City, Michigan, and the long hot summer of 1998 was especially hard on some of our transit buses. Our 27′ buses are a front wheel drive unit, powered by a Cummins Diesel engine mounted below the driver’s seat. We were experiencing dozens of air conditioning compressor failures, along with various other problems due to the overheating. While this was happening, the manufacturer also realized it had a problem, and equipped all subsequent buses with a fan on the side engine cover of the bus that sucked the hot air out of the engine compartment, curing the problem. Continue reading →