Oxford shell, kit or scratch?

As a former rower for Norther Michigan University, it's killing my to not have a singe sliding seat scull to bomb around the Grand River of Michigan on.  I've ordered the plans and manual to build the Oxford shell and still waiting for it in the mail.  Does anyone have first hand experience building this hull without the kit materials?  I'm willing to put the extra time into doing it from scratch if it saves a decent cost. 

 Thank you in advance!


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RE: Oxford shell, kit or scratch?

If you have easy access to BS1088 ply and epoxy and the prices from your area are competitive with CLC's, building from scratch could save you 10 to 20 percent of the kit price.  If you will have to spend 25 bucks on gas, have to pay jacked-up prices for ply and epoxy, have to rent a truck to haul the several flimsy sheets of ply and have to wrap them in plastic so the ply doesn't get damaged from rain, snow or road-salt spray, a kit is probably a better way to go.  Look at the supplies needed and stock up during local sales (e.g., local craft stores frequently have sales on foam brushes).  Get a low-angle block plane and learn how to sharpen it (especially if building from scratch).  Get clamps:  split PVC pipe pieces, spring, C-clamp, whatever.  Search this site for stand plans and make two to a height that will be comfortable for you while working (No single height will always be perfect.  Less back bending = better attitude.).  Most important -> take your time building.  Clean up epoxy before it gets hard to sand/scrape.

 Good luck!

RE: Oxford shell, kit or scratch?


Check out the prices. As stated above, wood is the big savings.   450 for the wood parts vs 150 if it can be gotten locally.  There is a place with okoume in northern Ohio that I believe is within driving distance for  you.  Epoxy sold around me is West System.  The stuff CLC has is as good  at a cheaper price.  I would get the cloth from CLC also unless you have a local supply. 




RE: Oxford shell, kit or scratch?


Just noticed a side note.... 

3mm (1/8")
BS 6566
3mm not available in
BS 1088
only BS 6566

I don't know the difference between the standards. 

RE: Oxford shell, kit or scratch?


Have you started your boat?  I am interested in your project.  I have just ordered the plans and am anxious to get started.  I too live on the Grand in Michigan and this will be my first rowing boat.  If you can write me back off line I would appreciate it. AllenDem@aol.com. Perhaps we can compare notes.


RE: Oxford shell, kit or scratch?

Andy (and Allen),

I live on the Grand at Dimondale, built the Annapolis Wherry from a kit, and put a sliding seat in it.  My experience building from the kit was excellent.  Everything was there when I needed it, no chasing after materials, and the parts fit very well.  If you build from plans, Johnson's in Charlotte stocks okoume.  If you'd like to compare notes you can reach me at jack.duffy@us.army.mil .  Either way you go, enjoy the experience, and the boat.


RE: Oxford shell, kit or scratch?

ootdb writes: "Get a low-angle block plane and learn how to sharpen it (especially if building from scratch").

The Stanley block plane that CLC sells is perfect.  As pleasant a tool to use as the Stanley bench plane is wretched.

You can learn how to sharpen the iron either on the web or here--it isn't really at all hard, and some people discover it to be a fun and relaxing break from thinking about work, or one's own sub-prime mortgage, or the prospect of smoking end-fills, wobbly sheer clamps, and leaky hatches.

We all can probably accelerate your learning process with iron-sharpening, since both okoume with its high silica content, and thickened epoxy with ITS high silica content, do a nice job of keeping us in practice.

For sharpening, I recommend you get the following late Christmas/early Father's Day presents:

(a) for rough sharpening, either a coarse and a fine metal file, or a stash of 50/60 grit, 120/180 grit, and 240 grit paper;

(b) for intermediate sharpening, a coarse waterstone (there is only one on the market I think, something like 400/1000 grit, don't remember exactly) or a stack of 320 to 600 grit paper;

(c) for final sharpening, a waterstone like CLC's, which I think is something like 1000/6000 grit.;

(d) either an inexpensive (ten or $15.00) sharpening jig from your local woodworking shop (requires a ruler), or a more expensive Veritas jig (no ruler required).  Both work very well.

(e) a flat surface to lay the sandpaper on.  A piece of heavy glass or an old-fashioned table saw bed works beautifully, or just your workbench is probably good.  (NB: The antique walnut kitchen table your wife got from her grandmother may look like the perfect surface, but you should avoid it because there can be undetectable subtleties in such pieces which will inflict damage--damage which can take decades to heal.)


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