2014-01-10

Post III - Construction Methods

So after the design was picked out, but before I actually purchased plans,  I started thinking about ways to build it. There are a hundred different ways to put together a whitehall, but some are a lot easier to do than others. I looked around at available materials and decided to either go with a plywood lapstrake (like Fig1 in Post II) or a cedar strip monocoque hull.

For better or for worse, I decided I liked the cedar strip monocoque method. Engineering-wise it makes a lot of sense. Cedar/Fiberglass core-composite construction is strong, light and can produce virtually any boat shape. Hydrodynamically, the smooth hull wastes minimal energy generating turbulence and therefore minimizes skin friction. Lots of canoes are built this way but the method is perfectly sound for small row boats too. The popularity of core-composite construction means that information abounds on the internet and in published literature. Two references I used in my research:
are excellent. Moores' book is especially useful for understanding the overall technique and can almost be used as a step-by-step manual. The Van Leuven book repeats much of the same info, but has more specific discussion on the subject of rowing craft.

Intended use for this boat will be as a yacht tender on Grand Lake in New Brunswick, and in Passamaquoddy Bay. The shorelines in both of these areas are rocky, which brings up another advantage of cedar-strip construction. Fiberglass is abrasion resistant, and I can easily customize the amount of fiberglass on the bottom during construction, or add additional layers down the road if I find the bottom of the boat isn't tough enough.

Figure 2: Cedar strip construction - finished product on a canoe. Purdy!  



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Living in the Atlantic region, it's also relatively easy to get cedar boards locally, which considerably reduces the cost compared to shipping wood (or pre-milled strips) to my location.

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