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Dmcgee

First time builder needs help

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I have never attempted any type of boat building. I want to build a pirogue and bought the plans from thecajunsecret.com. I plan on starting in about a month. Right now I am researching and gathering tools and ideas.

Two problems:

1. Marine grade plywood is not sold anywhere near where I live.

2. Since I will have to use 4x8 plywood. Can anyone offer advice for scarfing the sheets together? Stuff i have found online is limited in instruction and requires special tools.

Any other advice would be great

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1. Exterior fir plywood from your local lumber yard, Lowe's, etc. will be ok for a first time project like this. If you really want marine ply for the looks if you varnish it, you can order it. Here are some sources:                                                                                                                                                           Suppliers of Marine Grade plywood listed in WoodenBoat Magazine:

Boulter Plywood (Somerville, MA)
Edensaw (Port Townsend & Seattle, WA)
Flounderbay (Anacortes, WA)
Goosebay Lumber (Chichester, NH) 
Homestead Hardwoods (Vickery, OH )
Noah’s Marine (Niagra Falls, NY &Ontario, Canada )
Yukon Lumber (Norfolk, VA)

 

Go on line for others. Most of us use a wood called "okoume". Read about it here: http://www.clcboats.com/shop/products/boat-building-supplies-epoxy-fiberglass-plywood/marine-plywood-cedar-strips/okoume-marine-plywood.html

 

You don't really need it, though. Fir is plenty strong enough for a small boat, and MUCH cheaper. It won't finish with a smooth, level surface because of the combination of hard and soft wood grain. Okoume finishes smoother. Why not keep your cost down on a first project. If you find that you really like building boats, especially for a more refined design, then invest in a better quality, and mor expensive plywood.

 

2. I'd avoid the whole scarfing problem by just using "butt blocks". Here is some more information: https://www.glen-l.com/wood-plywood/scarf-butt.html

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   I'd like to second pretty much everything Chick said.  My first boat was a six-hour canoe modified for a flat bottom (a pirogue).  I built it from a couple of sheets of luan ply from a big box hardware store.  I think I used butt blocks but I can't remember for sure.  It's not around anymore but I had good fun with it and learned a bit about building from it.

   If you decide to use marine ply you might as well use top quality materials all around and try for a lovely long-lasting boat but there's nothing wrong with just building a 5-year boat like I did.  You'll probably end up building another boat before the end of its life anyway ;)

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Central Texas no one around here has it.

What about epoxy to hold it all together? The plans I have call for weldwood marine epoxy, which from what I can find is no more. Is there something at the big box stores I can use instead?

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Epoxy is the usual choice for the home builder and you can get discounted epoxy online, shipped right to your door. Checkout "DuckWorks" and the goo they offer (a few different brands). You're only going to need a few sheets of plywood for your boat, so consider luan underlayment from Lowe's/Depot. It's not very good, but it does have a WBP glue and is commonly available. If you can't get this, then the "exterior" grade of construction plywood is the bottom of the acceptable heep. Make sure it only says "Exterior" on the label, not "Exposure 1 Exterior". There's a big difference between the two. None of the big box stores will sell epoxy, except the 5 minute cure stuff, which is worthless for your needs.

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I've used the underlayment on a couple of small boats too. It has a thick inner core with thin skins of luan. It worked fine for my needs, but is not at all strong. I'd not use it on a bigger boat, or one with tight bends, It should be fine for yours. PAR has tons of experience and is a great source of knowlege for "all things boatbuilding".

 

All the best to you on your build. We'll be anticipating your pictures, questions,  and comments as you proceed.

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Underscoring PAR's suggestion to check out Duckworks  www.duckworksmagazine.com.      The owner runs a mail order boat-building supply shop out of Harper  TX, which might not be too far from you, (at least by Texas standards.)   Duckworks is kind of a hub for get-on-the-water boats, (as opposed to artwork-that-floats boats).  They sell expoxy, paint etc. I don't think they sell plywood, but I'll bet they've got a favorite solution to the plywood problem.

Bob

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Duckworks is a great source mentioned. In Central Tx you'll get the stuff almost the next day. 

 

I would also suggest to you a trip down to Port Aransas and Farley Boat Works.  They have quite a few pirogues they have built and restored over the years and you can see some first hand.  Its a shop for owner/builders, mostly 1st timers so they would have a lot of suggestions for you, sources etc.  Frank and Rick will be happy to help you out I am sure.  You can find  em on Facebook too if you want to check them out.

 

Alamo Hardwoods in San Antonio is a good source for marine grade lumber but I second or third the opinion you really don't need it.  

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