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flat_beer

Considering a BJ build.. But First!

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Long introduction post.. Sorry in advance

 

Hey Guys!

I'm new here, and I'm very interested in taking on a  BJ build. I have a few things to consider before making the move to really get started, and just wanted to reach out to the community to help guide my thoughts. 

I am 29, from Pensacola, Florida. And like most of you- I'm looking to build a trailer-able weekend trawler/Power cruiser that is stitch and glue. The BJ boats basically fulfill every requirement I have, as well as being what I consider the perfect blend of styling, usability, and economy.

I have never BUILT a boat before. But I am a hobbyist woodworker, and I have had plenty of boat projects.  I am actually in the final stages of a total restoration of a 1957 Lyman 16' Runabout:

https://imgur.com/a/KkEaCIG

And once that's finished, I won't have anything else (boat-wise) to work on..

 

I'm a robotics engineer, I have access to tons of 3d printers, CNC machines, and 3d modeling software. And I've done lots of complex carbon fiber and composite work.. I think the build process would be manageable, but definitely still a skillset that I need and want to develop. 

 

Since I've never actually built a boat- I think I'm going to take the advice of another user here (Dave maybe?) and start out small. I'm going to build a small Stitch and Glue boat first. Maybe a Mini-Tug or a Micro Power cruiser (Micro BlueJacket anyone??). This way I can see if the process is really something I enjoy, and if a large project is something I want to take on.

 

I do have some questions before I get started..

 

I'm taking the planning and budgeting of this project seriously- and I want to make sure I'm in the right place in my life to start a project like this. I'm sure the small boat build will tell me a lot about how ready I am, but I'm looking for alternative perspectives. I want to plan for a build like this to happen over ~6 years.  My wife and I just found out we are pregnant with our first child (!) and I recognize this is going to change a LOOOT about my priorities and how my time is spent going forward. 

 

For the fathers out there.. Is this possible? I am well equipt at the house to build here on site. And I'd love to have this boat ready for my family as my kids grow up (My wife is on board too).

Plus I kind of feel like I'll need something to work on to combat all the stress!

 

Any words for somebody trying to justify if they can take on the build? Are there things I'm not considering? I think I'm ready.. but the micro-tug comes first!

Then I think I need to really examine which boat is right for us.. I'm thinking the 271..

 

Anyways, I going to keep dreaming and researching for now. Gotta go finish that Lyman!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by flat_beer
fixed lyman pictures

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It sounds like you have a full plate ahead of you. Since you have time, your best investment right now is to go ahead and buy the plans. It sounds like you have  skills and tools to cut your parts out using the CNC. But your restore is completely different than the building method of the BJ. If I was in your shoes I would even start out by building a simple tape and glue pirogue and get use to mixing and spreading fillets and glass tape.  This will give you a quick project to succeed with and then move on to the micro tug.  This one will be a cool little project for your little kidlet with an electric trolling motor to play around with in their early years until around 6 while you build the bigger boat. You will have plenty of distractions and time management will be the key. Be patient, Rome was not built in a day.

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Hey Oyster, Thanks for the reply. 

I totally agree with you. I recognize that I have a lot coming my way in the next few years, which is why I really want to make sure I'm thinking correctly about the time frame for all of this. 

 

I like your suggestion to start small. Even before the micro tug, I think I will build a small canoe project just to familiarize myself with the techniques.  And then I'll move on up in size, micro tug, maybe another interim project, and then start a BlueJacket build. I definitely think the micro-tug would be a killer toy for a child growing up in a boating family. 

 

I'm going to do it! I'm finishing up the transom well on my Lyman today, and getting it ready for some of the final stages so I can move it out of the shop, then I'll have some room to work in!

 

Also- Given that I have a lot of CAD experience, has Tom or anyone got CAD drawings of the Blue Jacket boats? Just knowing the way I work, I'd build the boat on the computer first before I really started the physical stuff. I think I will go forward with plans, just so I can study the process and maybe start to model it in CAD. 

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Pretty much what Oyster said.  There are plenty of building pictures around on the Internet.  They were a great help in visualizing certain aspects.  And the comments with them helped also.

Mine are at:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/ejds33/

 

The plans came with paper drawings.  Converting them to CAD and CNC creates  an opportunity to have pre-cut kits for Bluejacket boats.  I did find that laying out and cutting the panels was pretty easy.  Handling 28 foot long sheets of plywood is a whole other thing.  

I really enjoyed the building process minus all the sanding and painting.   

Check the Georgetown SC WBS in October there might be a Bluejacket or two there.

 

Egbert

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Hey Egbert! I've actually spent a great deal of time looking over your build, I'm in love with it! 

I don't think I want to utilize the CNC for the pre-cut kits, but maybe for more customize-able details to the build. I only really mention it to highlight my mechanical experience, not necessarily in relation to the build though.

 

I would like to model the boat in CAD so I can build different interiors and layouts, and understand the build first before jumping in. 

 

Just a thought.

Thanks for chiming in!

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27 minutes ago, flat_beer said:

Hey Egbert! I've actually spent a great deal of time looking over your build, I'm in love with it! 

I don't think I want to utilize the CNC for the pre-cut kits, but maybe for more customize-able details to the build. I only really mention it to highlight my mechanical experience, not necessarily in relation to the build though.

 

I would like to model the boat in CAD so I can build different interiors and layouts, and understand the build first before jumping in. 

 

Just a thought.

Thanks for chiming in!

I am really old school and work without the benefit of fancy machines. While they are good for space planning its hard to beat full scale when you get your hull in particular built. A good practice is to mock up your interior parts in full size so that you can see if any specific details of your needs on a layout actually will work for you. I use simple and cheap 1/4" door skin or bathroom underlayment, which is cheap and sold at most big box stores by comparison to the good stuff when making cuts only to find out that things are not quite right. I  screw the stuff together with some wooden bits and sheetrock screws. The mock ups don't have to be particularly perfect. 

 

And with a small kid and wife in tow, in lieu of the rv units, which has its advantages on land there are compact raw water marine ac units out that draws little amps and will cool your boat using a simple inverter generator now. The 9,000 btu unit, which I just installed in my small houseboat draws about 7.5 amps. So your generator stores away in a small space when traveling. They will run a microwave too.

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Thanks for checking out the pictures and liking them.

I was going to build a model before starting the boat.  One of the reasons was to play with interior features.   The only thing I got done on the model was gluing both bottom panels together and stitching one side panel on.  Then the plywood for the real boat arrived and so went the incentive for the model out of the door.  

I agree with the Oyster's mocking up.  It can work out the elbow room you would need in a certain areas.

 

Egbert

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I'm happy to stand (or sit) aside and have other builders advise and work with you on planning and building a couple smaller boats before taking on the larger work of a Bluejacket 271.  I think the BJ271 is just about the top of my desirable list for a small family cruising boat.  The BJ28 has attracted more interest and builders though.  One thing that impacts this decision is that there is at least one builder who is using the thinner plywood scantlings of the of the smaller boats for the build of a BJ28.   This is perfectly acceptable as the thinner scantlings are plenty tough and strong enough as well as delivering a very little heavier boat than the BJ271. 

 

On the matter of using CAD and CNC for cutting out the hull panels is that, in my opinion, it offers little savings in time or effort.  In my experience using CNC for the full size boat parts adds both time and effort to the task for a one off build.  Building a large number of any design (or kits) utilizes advantages that CNC can have .  It's pretty simple to build in the somewhat earlier method that Oyster advocates which is how almost all BJ's get built. 

 

Much of the questions about the procedure will be resolved in building of the smaller vessels and they will be a great help in that way as well ad useful in myriad other ways.

 

Tom

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Hey Tom, 

I have to agree - the BJ271 really is at the top of my list for what a family boat should be. I'm excited to start working my way to get there. 

 

I know that I mentioned having access and experience in CNC. but I will not use a CNC to cut panels, I agree that there would be little savings in that effort. 

I only mentioned my CNC experience to highlight my mechanical experience-  not necessarily as it would relate to a boat build. In fact, all of my cnc experience is in metal working and not wood. So I will not be using a cnc

 

My CAD experience however,  has been utilized in many of my woodworking projects. I like the build things on the computer first before I lay them out in the shop. This way I can configure interiors or cabinets the way I see fit without having to prototype pieces first. I can see if I have fitment issues, or a door swing may interfere with another component. This is why I ask about it.

I will very likely be able to build the 3d model of the BJ271 just from the plans. 

I've attached an example of the style of modeling I am referring too.  

 

But first, I will start small. I do think I will likely reach out for plans after my first build so I can start to study what I'm getting my self into. 

I'll keep you guys posted!

 

Thanks so much for your effort and contributions

 

Boat frame modelling.PNG

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My attitude was not to overthink every detail before jumping in. Otherwise, I’d still be trying to figure out every diagram before making any sawdust. I built my BJ28 as my first foray into boatbuilding. I did complete the Wooden Boatbuilding  night course at Cape Fear  Community College, which provided a good basis for handling wooden boatbuilding tools. The Betsy Lee was built in the breezeway under the house until it was time to attach the cabin top, when it was moved out into the driveway. Of course I made more than my share of mistakes, with the motto “Hey, it’s wood. I can fix it.” The most valuable resources are Mr. Lathrop and the community of Bluejacket builders who will help with any issue, and let you know when you try something that’s not too smart. (Remember my bright idea of covering the hull with mahogany strips?)

I've sold the Betsy Lee because I don’t have a place to keep her, but the years spent building her were wonderful. 
Chuck Smith

www.flickr.com/photos/chas231

 

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Hey Chuck, Thanks for the advice! I love your build of betsy lee. I'm going to finish the picture thread tonight! I really admire it.

I think you're right about over thinking it. It's definitely within my nature to do that. 

 

A brief update overall: I've taken the advice from Oyster, and I'm starting a small boat build. An easy 14' Stitch and glue Skiff. 

It's a Salt Boatworks FRS-14. https://www.saltboatworks.com/product/flats-river-skiff-14/

I think this will be a good place for me to start. A small introduction to scarfing plywood and boat building. I'm excited to get started. 

 

I'll keep you guys posted!

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14 hours ago, flat_beer said:

Hey Chuck, Thanks for the advice! I love your build of betsy lee. I'm going to finish the picture thread tonight! I really admire it.

I think you're right about over thinking it. It's definitely within my nature to do that. 

 

A brief update overall: I've taken the advice from Oyster, and I'm starting a small boat build. An easy 14' Stitch and glue Skiff. 

It's a Salt Boatworks FRS-14. https://www.saltboatworks.com/product/flats-river-skiff-14/

I think this will be a good place for me to start. A small introduction to scarfing plywood and boat building. I'm excited to get started. 

 

I'll keep you guys posted!

Those small skiffs are very practical for inshore creek fishing and birding. If you are in the panhandle, then the boat would work great for redfish and trout. Adam is very responsive to your questions . If you run into a problem let me know too. I am sure that I can share an opinion or two, which may confuse you even more. :DB)

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