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2nd or 3rd Beavertail

Posted by Sandy 
2nd or 3rd Beavertail
November 24, 2019 09:58PM
This image is a scan from an old 35mm slide too. I made this scan about 15 years ago when good color flatbed scanners first became available. At the Conrad Burns Technology center (which is no longer) on the Montana State University campus.

Not a bad scan for ancient technology. The file name is "first-beavertail.jpg" but it's not the first one. I built about 30 of these boats before I packed it in. And this was number two or number three.

You can see two things. One thing good and one thing bad. This is a good example of what I called the "solid gunwale." Just looking at it is largely self-explanatory. The spacer in the middle tapers to a point at both ends and it was kerfed on the table saw on one inch centers, about 3/4 of the way through, so it would bend. I slobbered epoxy putty into those saw kerfs and then glued the whole thing together, with lots of Visqueen taped to the boat and several buckets full of C-clamps. That way I was able to glass over the top of the whole thing in a later step, which made the gunwale a lot stiffer and more long-term durable too. Now I do something similar but I do it by laminating lots of thin strips, glued together with Tightbond III, which is easier to work with than epoxy. In fact I glue everything with Tightbond III now. I only use epoxy for laminating fiberglass fabric.

The gunwale was the good feature. The high tech feature on this boat turned out to be a no-no I learned the hard way. You can see the front standing/casting platform is glassed permanently into the boat. Now I make them force-fit jobs that can be popped out for hull maintenance.

Epoxy fiberglass over plywood is water proof but it isn't gas proof. Moisture-laden air gradually makes its way through the glass skin over the plywood, and then condenses inside the hollow chamber under the platform. A year after building this boat (this one had too many flaws to sell so I kept it as mine) I could hear liquid water sloshing around under the platform. I cut a bunch of drain holes and dried it out with a heat gun left on all day, for a day or two. I never built a permanently enclosed anything ever again.

There is one other thing worth noticing. I put long tapered plywood triangles under the front knee braces, to keep loose fly line from catching on the knobs. It wasn't perfect but it was a lot better than nothing. I also made the front deck deep down, about 18" inches down from the gunwale, so the front end of the boat became a stripping basket for loose fly line.



Re: 2nd or 3rd Beavertail
November 24, 2019 10:31PM
This is getting pretty close to the end of (the interesting) old 35mm boat slides. Actually I've got a zillion more but I'm not sure what the point is.

This was my best sale. One guy (who owned a fly shop in Hamilton Montana) bought five boats from me. Two Buffalo Boats and three Beavertails. This was that order. Or was it three Buffalo Boats and two Beavertails? Ah yes. Actually I think that fly shop guy only bought two for himself. He found the other buyers and used the five boat order as price leverage.

I was about 35 then and I had a 20 year old named Bill Long working for me. We built these five boats start to finish in 30 days flat. Bill took the weekends off but I worked all 30 days. That's pretty good time for 5 stitch and glue boats. Framed boats are a lot cheaper and easier to build. Bill Long is a civil engineer now in Helena. Which is a cool thing. I had one other young guy work for me and he's a math teacher now.

I have an unfinished boat out in my shop now I started three years ago. I'm retired now?

Back in those days the only buyers were fishing guides and fly shop owners. They all said they loved my boats but wouldn't pay more than a Lavro would cost. Nowadays you can sell hand made drift boats to dot com billionairies for 20 grand each. So maybe I was both ahead of my time and born too soon. Or something like that.

This was the front of my boat shop in Gallatin Gateway back in the early 1980s. I never did make any money building boats but I did buy this property, and pretty close to doubled my money five years later when I sold the real estate.

The shop was a house somebody started and never finished. Out on the highway going up to Big Sky.



Now that I think about it there is one more interesting twist. Two of these boats (one Beavertail and one Buffalo Boat) from this sale went to a Missoula Montana orthodontist named Jess Frisbee. Jess died in a car wreck about fifteen years later. I'm not sure what happened to the Beavertail but the Buffalo Boat went through three of four other hands after Jess died. The last guy to buy it left it upside down in his back yard for five or six years and the gunwales rotted off. It was pretty close to 35 years old at that point. That guy called me up and said I could have it if I wanted.

So now it's upside down on the deck in front of my shop. If I ever get the Grand Canyon dory finished I'll cut the sides down on that old Buffalo Boat and turn it into a decked white water boat. It is one of the three Buffalo Boats in this photo. I don't know which one.
Re: 2nd or 3rd Beavertail
November 25, 2019 01:17AM
Nice collection of boats but whom is the little shaver in the Hat?
Re: 2nd or 3rd Beavertail
November 25, 2019 04:35AM
That me now almost 50 year old daughter Nadya. Teaches and runs the writing center at the Univ of Houston, at Victoria. Texas.

Dr Pittendrigh I presume
Re: 2nd or 3rd Beavertail
November 25, 2019 09:52PM
Awesome foe a little Gal to grow up just like that.Gongrats to you.
Re: 2nd or 3rd Beavertail
November 26, 2019 07:55PM
When you radius your epoxy joints do you tape on either side to lessen the amount of sanding you need to do later?

So many times in the past I've had wavering tape seams that look kind of poor. Do you have any suggestions to make them look more carefully laid and payed out?
Re: 2nd or 3rd Beavertail
November 26, 2019 09:02PM
Do you mean "filleted" joints like the inside chine?

I don't (usually) tape those. The West System manual says to use a "physician's tongue depressor" which is like a fat popsicle stick.

I bought a cheapo cheapo thin metal imitation of an expensive Japanese vegetable chopping cleaver. Like knife with 4" inch tall blade.

I ground the outside corner to round and sharpened it a bit, so it was like a butter knife maybe.

I use that. When not in use I keep it in a 5 gallon bucket of denatured alcohol, lacquer thinner or acetone.

The squeeze out from that is usually 1/4" inch or so from the smooth fillet I just made. So I push a drywall knife forward, on a steep slant, to clean up any squeeze outs. I often do that without tape. Bit sometimes I do use tape. It all depends on how calm and deliberate I am or how ornery and impatient I am that day.

I started out making those epoxy putty fillets wide, as per the old boat photo at the top of this thread. Now I make them small--just big enough to keep a bubble from forming underneath the glass, where it bends from bottom panel onto the side panel..........or what ever it is I'm filetting.
Re: 2nd or 3rd Beavertail
November 27, 2019 01:26AM
......you're cheating Mr. Sandy! its supposed to be a sloppy miserable job with hardened goo everywhere. Its supposed to take days to sand as rolls and rolls of tape are slobbed on.

I thought we were supposed to tape the inside like some of the other style boats I made years ago.

My favorite tool is not a cleaver. I'd not keep one around the place when the Mrs is around as she might hoist it when I'm not lookin. My preference is a tongue depressor for applying and an empty standard sized tube of caulk for filleting interior joints. It can be made to flatten or diminish as you go and when you run into difficult areas. When you aren't squeezing or flattening it it naturally makes a easy and even radius. Of course it really eats up the materials and obscures allot more varnish.

Thanks, I'll cut down on the slattering and make my job easier.

Don
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