Converting "framed boat" blueprints to stitch and glue

There are lots of dory plans out there. Roger Fletcher's book (poke around at [riverstouch.com]) has numerous hull-dimension sets, but they are all plans for boats meant to be built as a framed boat, with bare plywood and wooden ribs.

But you can build any of those boats as stitch and glue instead. To do that, for every permanent, trapezoid-shaped rib defined in the framed boat plans, make that shape with throw-away scraps instead. You can use anything: 1x6 pine, chipboard, 1/2" or thicker plywood, what ever you have. Also, if the plan set also wants you to "knotch" the chine corner of each rib-shaped trepezoid, in order to make room for a long angled "chine strip" forget that step. Do not cut knotches into the chine corners of your temporary ribs and do not bother to make a chine strip of any kind.

Now proceed as per your framed boat plans, at least during the beginning stages. Cut and layout the side panels. Make the stem and transom. Temporarily attach the side panels to your temporary ribs at the proper layout locations on the side panels. One way to do this is to use two drywall screws on each side, for each rib, where one drywall screw goes through the side panel (from the outside) and into the rib, down near the chine. Do the same thing again, at each rib, on each side, but this time higher up, driving a screw through the side panel and into the rib a the top edge, at a location that will later on get covered over by the gunwale.

Now attach the stem and transom. You might want to do this temporarily at least once, with screws but not with glue. At this point you should have what looks a lot like a boat hull, but it has no bottom. And remember too this hull is now upside down. Now make a bottom panel (with plywood or honeycomb core) that is as wide and long as it needs to be, perhaps this will be a 4' x 16' panel.

Now straighten the hull. This is a critical step. If you are experienced and clever enough to figure out how to do this, fine. Else you might have to buy a Montana Riverboats Login for 25 bucks, or perhaps the equivalent instructions from Jason Cajune, etc.

Lay the bottom panel on top of the "upside down hull" and weight it down at the ends. Trace out the edges--where the bottom panel meets the chine. Now cut the bottom panel to that line. Now proceed to use nylon strap ties or wire and epoxy resin to glue everything together. This post is not meant to detail every step. It is meant to be a high-level summary of the process that gives you a mental picture about how it all works.

For many experienced boat builders, the above (and a framed boat plan set from Roger Fletcher or some other such source) is all you need. Some of you will get the idea, but will still need more details. If so you can get "stitch and glue" details from a variety of sources. My 25 buck logins are one such source. But they are aren't the only source. Any framed boat can be built as stitch and glue.

The stitch and glue process is more time consuming and more expensive. But you will end up with a far stronger boat, that is also a bit lighter. The weight difference is relatively small. But the strength difference is huge. For instance, if you ever swamp and sink a framed boat and get it pinned on a submerged boulder, that framed boat will almost certainly come apart. Stitch and glue boats are far more likely to survive.

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