New guy here, lot of easy questions for you


I'm planning on getting a Passagemaker Dinghy around Christmas. and had a few questions before I make the final decision.

Question 1: 

Being an electrician, I'm quite handy with tools, and have a good many... but most are for electrical work, and not woodworking. Would anyone care to give me a rough idea of some of the tools that would be required to build this? I know I will need to purchace a few saws and clamps. I have a random orbital sander already. Any advice here would be great. expecially with the bigger power tools that would be handy.

 Question 2:

  In the description of what all comes with the kits, it lists all the fiberglass and resins etc.. From a builders point of view, do the amounts they send do the job well? (allowing for some begginers mistakes) or should I plan on getting more to complete the job?

Are there any additional materials (hardware, fasteners, etc.) that I need to buy?

Question 3:

this may be a matter of opinion here, but I have never sailed a boat before. I have rowed and motored one, but never sailed. Would this make a good beginners boat to sail?

this leads to question 3.1:

Sloop vs Lug rig. 

According to the site, the sloop rig delivers a bit more speed than the lug rig. I am not after speed here at all, but I am after a learning curve that my family and I can conquer easily =)  


Thats all I have for now, but I'm sure I will have many more questions between now and December.




15 replies:

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RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

 Hey CoffeeCow - come join the fun in the Passagemaker forum at:   It's all about PMDs...tons of great info.


To answer your specific questions:

1) A random orbit sander with a large pile of sanding discs is the #1 tool you'll need.  A drill comes in handy, as well as a router for rounding over edges and cutting the daggerboard slot.  And clamps...  You can get a bunch of the $1 spring clamps at Home Depot.  They were great for putting on the rub rails.


2) The kit contains enough 'stuff' to get through the build, even if you mess up a few times (mixing up too large a batch of epoxy for what's needed, or having it set up before your done spreading it).  And if you need extra, CLC sells everything seperately too.


3) My PMD is extremely stable. However - a good gust of wind with a novice at the helm and/or main sheet could put capsize her.  But that's true of just about any sailboat..unless it's carrying a teeny tiny sail.

  My PMD has the gunter sloop rig and I love it!  There are a couple of people building lug rigs in the PMD forum who could speak to that rig better than I.


So as I said...come join the forum.



RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

Thanks for the info Jim, I have most all of that but the router, I have a dremel tool, that may come in handy for cutting the daggerboard slot. and I will pick up the clamps as needed =) glad the $1 ones come highly reccomneded  lol.


As for the passagemaker forum,I have been browsing it for a while, lot of good information there. I am awaiting account activation, maybe you can speed that up? =) 



RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

 RE: Question #2

I built a Shearwater 17 kayak, your kit will have different quantities.

I did run out of exoxy, because I had to do an area over (my bad). I also probably used more than necessary. I read that beginners usually do. Its much better to run out & need more, than to have half a cup left over.

Wood Flour: Plenty. I used little more than half.

Silica powder; Plenty

Copper wire: Just enough, if you don't have to do anything twice. I ran out, but obtained more at the hardware store.

Fiberglass Tape: Enough, considering that I had to do one section twice.

Fiberglass cloth: Enough. Had yards to spare. Plan ahead to use scraps.

I also frequented Ocean State Job Lot (discount store) for chip and foam brushes. Find a similar store & buy what seems like an absurd quantity of these- you will use them.

RE: Question #1:

I have an assortment of woodworking power tools, but I actually  used them very little for my build. I used a router to round off the cockpit coaming.Believe it or not, I actually found HAND sanding to be more efficient than my ROS or Detail sanders. I still recommend a router- you'll find 101 uses for it in the future! CAN'T have too many clamps! Get that $6.99 Bag Of Spring  Clamps at Home Depot-you'll use them.

RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

Thanks for the info. I don't think the copper wire will be a problem if i run out, I'm an electrician after all, got piles of it laying around =)

 Looks like the only (somewhat) big purchase I need to do is a good router, any reccomendations?


RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

I never used a router on my boat and probably never will.  If you're looking for an excuse to buy tools, boat building is a good one.  If, however, you're trying to minimize your costs, you'll be better off buying sand paper, a cabinet scraper and maybe a hand plane (not sure if planing rails is need on the PMD.)

As the other folks have mentioned, there's more than enough materials in a kit to complete your boat, even with some mistakes.  I had about a half gallon of epoxy left at the end of my build, as an example.  I had about 2 or 3 yards worth of fiberglass clothe and probably the same in fiberglass tape.  I didn't use any screws or hardware in my boat, or any of the webbing that comes with the kit so I had a ridiculous amount of that stuff left... still do, actually.

Basically, there's enough there to build it exactly as designed, but if you make any mods you may need more or less of just about any of the materials.  I made a lot of mods and ended up with a lot of left-overs.  Other people have used up everything.


RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

I'm a bit nervous about diving into this with such an investment. the PMD will wind up in the $2,500 to $3,000 range. and looking through the site here, looks like the cheapest I can get a full kit for is still in the 900 to 1,000 range.

Did any of you start with an elcheep-o boat to start with? or did you just dive right in?  

I have been looking around the net, and found some plans for a "cheap canoe". It uses 2 sheets of plywood, and a rubrail. looks easy enough to get my feet wet. with glass and all, it should cost somewhere around $300

what you guys think?

RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

The biggest investment is your time. It's more than worthwhile using good materials. I built a 10 foot skiff last year (not a CLC design) using 3/8" good one side fir that I had kickiing around instead of Okoume. It was not as easy to work with and of course is heaver than the 6 mm Okoume would have been. In a way, I'm glad that I gave it a try with the 3/8" fir, but I'll never do it again. It was more difficult to bend and I had to deal with a few snags, but it was a learning process.

I have plans for a WD10, Eastport Pram and a PocketShip. I don't have a PM, but it looks like a nice boat. You could always start with the lug rig and "upgrade" later. Easy to do if you are making your own sails with something like tyvek... not so inexpensive if you are buying the sails.

Getting a kit will make it easy to get started. Building from plans is a lot more work, but something to consider later if you decide you want to keep buildiing other projects.

As others have mentioned, sandpaper and a good sharp plane will be really valuable. If you can start now instead of the end of the year, you will be 8 months further ahead. I wish I had started building years ago. Go for it!

RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

Starting with an el-cheapo to develop skills with the materials is a valid way to go, and there is no doubt that the experience will make your Passagemaker better.

If it's an intelligent design and fits well with your boating requirements, the effort will not be wasted. Is this the sort of thing that you are considering?


RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

The plans I am thinking of are way cheap, Free as a matter of fact.

I would make a few adjustments to it, but I think I could get it done pretty quickly. I think I would get my resin from here (the #1 kit) that way I would have some extra for my Passagemaker.

I really like the Passagemaker, it would be just about perfect for my family (wife and 2 kids) and I think my son would like helping me.

We live on the Inner Banks of NC, on the sound, so the water is brackish. would this have a very bad impact on the varnish/epoxy? I sorta figure that I would have to put a new coat of varnish on every season or two. 

I have a nice planer that was my grandfathers. he kept it razor sharp. I just hope I can keep it as sharp as he did. 


(hope its okay to link to other sites here.. if its not, let me know and i'll delete that) 


RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

I have built a total of 5 boats and ready to start my 6th.

I have built a cedar strip canoe which is a complicated strongback build which I really enjoyed but I had built other boats first.

Building from plans is fun but you must be aware of a few things.

1. Some are plans only and you must do the lofting. (a complicated chore)

2. You need to have acess to high quality materials.

I built a boat many years ago and saved money on local materials. The result was VERY FRUSTRATING and the result was a DISAPOINTMENT!

3. CLC plans are great and the lofting is done. By materials from them and your build will work out.  You will spend at least 75 percent more time cutting you pieces and making scarf joints rabbets etc.

In my opinion CLC kits are the very best available. Their CNC pieces are near perfection. The combination of accurate panels, hardware etc. allows the builder to concentrate a quality build that you will be proud of.

Good luck with your build.



RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

I agree with dave about the CLC materials. The okuome and sapele plywood I bought from them was far superior to the plywood I bought from a well-known Boston area dealer for the same price. -Wes

RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

Have you considered a class? CLC offers a week long class it might be up your alley? costwise, building a high quality boat doesn't come cheap. If you want it to last, start wih top quality material, plan for overage, if you don't need it thanyou'll have it for yournext build or repairs or whatnot. I am just getting ready to finish the Northeastern Dory this weekend infact. I did end up needing extra epoxy and since I finishd the inside bright quite a bit more varnish than originally anticipated. I might suggest the Northeastern as it's slightly bigger and can take head waves due to the bow better than the paasagemaker. Either way the build process is full of surprises - I am turning it into a full time hobby. Good luck, oh ps CLC has good support too so when you have questions someone is there to help.

RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

Electrician? You have a couple handy tools in your tool kit. One pair of small electricians pliers - I use mine to twist copper wire stitches. I also have small sidecutters that I ground the face off to make them "flush" cutters - very handy.

Get a pile of plastic squeegees to clean up epoxy drips and drools. And aquire a carbide scraper - availble at any big box lumber store. They're about $15 and worth every penny. Scraping is faster, quieter, and less messy thqn sanding.

Another must have - Japanese pull saw.  For a dingy you can cut all the panels out with it. Faster than you think a hand saw would be.

Hand planes: A block plane and a low angle plane for starters. Google plane set up and/or "tuning" to get instructions on how to make the off-the-shelf plane actually work. I have never found one with a true flat sole so filing & grinding is required. Tuning will turn a fussy palne into a sweet piece.


RE: New guy here, lot of easy questions for you

When i was young, in my hometowm have a river. boat was a good paly..thanks for the info. I don't think the copper wire will be a problem if i run out,

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