Update as in, "I think I posted something about this a year or so ago."
I dipped the new boat in the river yesterday, and it was good. Still not
finished, but close enough to drive on the Yukon, so I'm gonna say that
It's a Tolman Alaskan Skiff
built under Renn Tolman's literary oversight and mentorship. Dimensions
are 20' 7" overall length, 60" across the bottom, 74" across the top,
semi-v, 50 hp outboard. It's made of marine plywood and clear, vertical
grain Douglas fir, mostly. Construction style is stitch and glue, plywood
coated with fiberglass and epoxy. Pics at
My thoughts and findings to pass along to the group:
1. Holy Cow. Feels good. This was a bucket list item.
2. Marine plywood is nice stuff to work with. So is CVG Doug fir. They
are both over the top expensive here, but the satisfaction is worth a lot.
3. Epoxy is odd stuff to work with every day. It has a mind of its own.
4. Logistics for this kind of project here (Galena, Alaska) are a PITA.
To elaborate, I will just mention the words "air freight" and "HAZMAT
fees." Once again, worth it.
5. Renn Tollman is a demanding but very good teacher. I've never met
him, and he died years ago, but he helped me through everything.
6. However, the cost estimates in the book aren't even close.
7. Boat builders are an interesting online community. I see the
attraction, although I doubt if I will do it again. Tolman has a slightly
bigger design that I would be very tempted to try. Just to see. It might
be easier the second time after all. Hmm. But I digress.
8. A few handtools and even oldtools involved. I got to use my circular
plane, and the nice Starrett protractor, but mostly, it was yellow battery
tools. A table saw would be nice, but I don't have access to one, so
apparently it isn't necessary.
9. Finishing has always been my worst skill. I can apparently screw it
up in any medium. Don't look too closely at the paint job in the
pics--it's just temporary. Really.
We SWMBO (Debbie) and I took the boat out for a shakedown cruise a couple
of days ago. By an odd coincidence, we did a fair amount of boating
earlier in the summer, when we took a narrowboat holiday in central
England. The boats could hardly be more different--from bashing around in
a 15 ton steel canal boat to a planing skiff on the Yukon during moose
Narrowboats are really fun, BTW. Slow, but fun. Very slow.