Summer Project? Hours to launch.


Still having a lot of trouble deciding - I liked the sail craft (Skerry & PM), but the Shearwaters are starting to grab my eye, and you can not beat the prtability of the Wood Duck.

Influencing the decision is build time. I think if I started a Skerry now launch would coincide with Christmas. Can someone give me an idea of the build times for the Shearwater or Wood Duck?


PS I saw that the Peace Canoe can be completed in a weekend but am eager to try the stich & glue.  

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RE: Summer Project? Hours to launch.



I haven't built a shearwater, or a wood duck.  Either build time will depend, however, whether you have strictly stitch and glue or if you do a hybrid.  As for the quoted build times in the plans and information, they are generally very optimistic for most builders, especially first time builders.  As example my NorthBay has a build time quoted somewher around 80 hours.  I probably spent closer to 120 hours, though I made some modifications and changes to the build process that added probably 20 of those hours.  The boats can most definitely be built in the time indicated, it just usually takes normal humans more time than that unless they can commit a full couple weeks to nothing but building their boat.

Lazslo just finished a wood duck though, so maybe he'll chime in and give you some indication how long he took.  (He's built several boats, I believe,  so take that into consideration...)


RE: Summer Project? Hours to launch.

John, I recently built a Shearwater.

I recieved the kit in February, my first launch in April.

Time is tough to calculate in advance. There are many factors that make time hard to figure. There is your available time of course, what you can put into it. But there are times when you can only do an hour or so worth of work and wait for another day to proceed further after epoxy dries and your next day off, etc. The 'book' is just general guidelines, estimates. Some time frames you will match the book and other times you will be blown away by how long a step took for you to be happy with it. The weather will also effect drying times and how much you can work on the boat, depending on where you are doing the building. For me, building in the winter, if it was too cold, it took too long to heat the garage to make it worth working on the boat on some days, some days and some tasks requiring ventilation also. If it is too wet, rainy or humid, you may have to postpone doing varnish work, etc.

Also, first launch for me was 3 coats of varnish. I went back and did another 3 coats and finished just 2 days ago, second week of May. How you finish the boat will greatly effect what you refer to as a 'finished boat'. Painting will of course be faster than varnishing. Most people want to at least varnish the deck, it looks so great finished bright, even your first build will turn out great if you do your homework and take care.

My advice is to build the boat you really want to build, enjoy doing it and do not spoil it by imposing a time schedule on yourself that may or may not be realistic. Working full time and having all the other things in life going on, I would guess a range of 2 to 4 months being a practical build time frame for most people. It is difficult for me to account for my work in 'hours'. I built in 2 months, working on the boat regularly.

Here is the link to the blog of my Shearwater build if you care to take a look. The blogs are posted in reverse chronological order.....

One other thing to mention you may not be aware of, you may have to wait a month (or longer?) to get your kit (I did). You can use that time you are waiting after placing your order to gather all the other things you need and prepare your shop for the build. A well lit, well ventilated and clean, organized shop will make your build so much more enjoyable.

I hope there is something of value for you here.

- Joe.

RE: Summer Project? Hours to launch.

I've stopped tracking my build hours. It's not worth it unless I'm charging someone for my time and usually I do not have enough control over the factors that Joe mentions above to make it worth worrying about. For that matter, the slower I build a boat, the better it turns out. Uses less epoxy, there's less sanding, etc.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the published build times are for plain boats. Artistic touches usually add significant time. For example, on the Wood Ducks, the standard flush hatch uses wooden hold-down tabs with metal hardware, all of which are included in the kit. I opted for an invisible hatch with an internal hold-down system which resulted in me not using any of the supplied, pre-cut parts. Instead, I had to fabricate 8 pieces of wood and wait for the glue and saturation epoxy coats to dry on all of them. I also had to modify the stock hatch and the deck, as well the hatch sill, purchase extra bungee cord and install that. Although I was able to overlap a lot of this time with other steps, it was still extra work.

As far as Duck build times, I bought the kit last September and launched last weekend. During those 8 months there was a lot more going on in my life than just boatbuilding. My feeling is that an experienced boatbuilding monomaniac using the new version of the manual, building in a climate-controlled shop (or naturally good weather) could easily get the Duck done to a reasonably good state of finish in several weeks.

For anyone really interested in a fast build, consider one of the CLC boatbuilding classes. All the materials are included, some get-ahead work is done for you and there's experienced help in a professional shop. Typically you have a complete, unsanded hull in a week.



Thank you

Thank you for the valuable wisdom. From these nuggets and a comment in the bazaar from a gentleman selling a finished boat, 'cause he had more fun building than paddling, I am adopting a "enjoy the journey" perspective. Focus on the (1st?) boat I want (Skerry) and proceed from there.

With that said, public television had a great program on the Adirondack Park in NY (a few hours away) and a 3 day "ninety miler" paddle craft race. I did have visions of me in a shearwater gracefully crossing the finish line somewhere mid gaggle (why rush when you are paddling through such scenery). 



PS Thanks for the build blog link. I have found a number of these and find them ALL invaluable.  

RE: Summer Project? Hours to launch.


If I remember correctly, you also mentioned that this will be a project to do with your kids.  I built my Skerry with my kids, and we had a lot of fun building it.  But to keep it fun I would strongly suggest taking your time and not having a rigid schedule.   My kids were generally pretty excited, but I found there were times when they were tugging on my sleeve to get out and do something else too.  I would agree "enjoy the journey", have fun with it, and build the boat you want.  If it takes you a little longer, it's not going to even be something you remember once you're out on the water.  



How old were your kids at the time. I hear about bugs being entombed for posterity in the epoxy/varnish. Can easily view my kids becoming one with the boat. Still - there is probably enough sanding for everyone!


RE: Summer Project? Hours to launch.

They were 4-5, and 6-7 at the time.  I did not let them do anything with epoxy, but did let them sand (bare wood only), plane (especially gains / rabbets, rails, and spars), help with wires, etc.  Basically they could help as long as it didn't involve epoxy or power tools, and that includes an occassional turn with a hand saw.

At other times I let them "photodocument" with a cheap digital camera while I did the epoxy work, etc.

The only times I didn't even let them in the garage with me was when I was sanding epoxy (even with a vacuum on a ROS I think there will still be a lot of epoxy dust in the air). 

I also let them paint and varnish and I think they enjoyed that more than anything else they helped with (although I did the final coats). 

Yes, the bugs show up everytime I put a new coat of varnish on to freshen it up (and will probably do so again on  Memorial Day weekend).  To be honest, the only time I notice them is when they are still sticking to the hull amidst a fresh and gleaming coat of new finish.  Just knock em off.  I'm not sure what all the angst is about, you won't ever see those imperfections again because as soon as you take the boat out there will be sand and smudge and scratches to make those bug prints become invisible.



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