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Boat Building Photos- "Sea Cell"

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by LarryJacobson, May 18, 2005.

  1. As mentioned in my introduction page, I'm also building a boat. It's a 24' Selway Fisher designed launch. Similar to the boat used in African Queen. It will be powered by an electric motor and batteries, hence the name “Sea Cell”. Sometime I have to create an album on my web site but for now here is a quick overview of our boat building odyssey. Sorry that I have included 9 photos but they are fairly small.

    Here are the launch plans which were modified to fit our garage..uhh.. “workshop” which was limited to 24' 4”. Its hard to believe that the we have been building her for over four years!
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    The boat is a 24' fantail launch using what is known as a “cold molded” building approach. This means that the hull uses cedar strips, covered by another two layers of cedar, and covered both inside and out with one or more layers of fiberglass cloth. The hull is built upside down by torturing the wood to conform to a set of molds seen below:
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    Some of the larger “timbers” were laminated or layers of thinner pieces were epoxied together to form a very strong structure. The inner and outer keel, and inner and outer stem was built in this way. The stem is shown below. Never enough clamps!
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    Here's a shot of the northern white cedar strips being epoxied to the molds. Each were also screwed in and all screws were removed after the epoxy hardened.
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    Once all the cedar layers were completed and fiber glassed, the hull was “faired” to be as smooth as possible.
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    Since we needed to turn the boat over twice and there are only two of us, I built a framework with hoists to make the process as easy as possible. In the shot below you see the boat being lifted prior to the molds (strongback) being removed. “We have lift off”
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    Here it is turned upright. Having seen the boat upside down for several years it looked a little strange.
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    We cleaned up the inside of the hull, added a layer of fiberglass and began laminating 5 layers of white oak for the frames. The first of the 5 laminations are seen below.
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    The boat was again turned upside down and the keel and stem were laminated. Here's a D2x shot of the keel and some preliminary shaping.
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    I'm currently sculpting the keel and preparing for painting the hull before turning it over (hopefully for the last time).

    Thanks for viewing

    Larry in CT
  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Very cool Larry! I have some friends in Oceanside who run a outrigger factory, so I have the smell to go along with the visuals you've provided. The color and clairty of your shots is great, what lens did you use for the factory interiors?
  3. Larry;

    I'm impressed! That is an unbelievable amount of work. (Don't need to tell you that!) Looks like another expensive hobby. Thanks for posting the shots.

  4. Re: Boat Building


    Since the building has gone on for over four years, the cameras have changed. Some of the earlier photos were taken with the Nikon 990 (I still have it), a few were done with the 5700, and all but the last photo was taken with the D100, 24-120 vr. The last photo was taken with the D2x, 12-24 dx. The shot was challenging since it had three sources of light, the sun, florescent and incandescent.

    I also hate to take photos in the workshop since its pretty dusty.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Larry in CT
  5. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl

    That is just terrific. Wish I could be there for the launch.

    Good sailing Mate... err Captain
  6. Brian-
    I keep a log and we've now put in 1,977.5 hours- but who's counting? Actually, it a great change of pace when you primarily work in an office. I highly recommend it has a relaxing hobby. By the way, I'm very lucky to have a very supportive spouse who also enjoys the building process.

    Gail- I actually hope I'm still around when she's launched (lol).

    Thanks for your nice comments.

    Larry in CT
  7. sinapps


    Apr 30, 2005
    Very cool project. So... when do you think it'll be done?
  8. Rad,

    I once read that the hull was considered 25% of the building time for a boat. I shudder to think about that.

    My best guess, at this point, is another two years.


    Larry in CT
  9. Fascinating process and so well documented. I hope you will keep us in the loop as the work progresses. I can't even emagine what it will be like for your to actually launch this craft. Thanks for sharing your talent with all of us.
  10. jkamphof

    jkamphof Guest

    That looks like a lot of fun, good hobby.

    Let's see more shots as work progresses!!!

  11. Excellent Larry!! It's not everyday people get to see this process. Thanks for sharing these images!! :D  :D  :D 
  12. Thanks to everyone for their comments.

    I realized after reviewing the photos that none of them provided a sense of the scale of the boat so I've included one earlier photo below.

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    Larry in CT
  13. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Incredilbe effort, Larry

    Man, already 1900+ hrs into it, and a ways to go! :shock:
    I really have to admire you for your "sticktoitivness" ;) 
    Tell me, what type of waters is it built for, and when it's done, where do you plan to run it?
  14. Beautiful - nothing more romantic than a wooden boat. A lot of love and hard work has gone into this so far - just imagine your elation on launch day! Keep going, and keep documenting the process and progress! Very interesting lines on that hull!
  15. Steve,

    Believe it or not the time spend building her has really zipped by.

    This as well as other electric powered boats can go just about anywhere. In fact they can be used in many state and local lakes that do not permit power boats. This means they are particularly useful for photographing wildlife because they are so quiet.

    The rather narrow canoe type hull also makes it a fairly good boat for rivers depending on the tides and battery capacity. We will probably mostly explore the local lakes.

    Thanks for your comments.
  16. Sandi,

    We're very big fans of launches and other boats that have reverse or fantail sterns. Beyond their efficiency they just look great.

    In the last 10 or so years I'm pleased to say that the art of wooden boat building has really grown in the U.S.

    Thanks for your nice comments.
  17. Its been a while since I've had an opportunity to update the boat building photos. The one below represents two coats of epoxy primer and the first white gloss coat. Next we will apply two more coats of white, then finish off with a high gloss green between the keel and the waterline.

  18. fascinating series of fotos....love 'traditional' boat hulls...fantails

  19. Rodney,

    Yes, I'm a real fan of reverse sterns and torpedo sterns, found in many launches of the late 1800s.

    Thanks for your comments
  20. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Larry it is looking great.
    Wow the last post was May 05.
    What a work of art, love and hard work.
    Keep us up dated.
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