Page 1 of 1

Issaquah 17 -- First Article, Rick Tyler

Posted: Fri May 27, 2005 7:12 pm
by Rick Tyler
I've been corresponding with Matt about a wilderness trekker canoe a little smaller than Sasquatch. The design he came up with is an 8-panel (three chines per side), 17'6" boat with modern bows, slight rocker, and a lot of stability. It's designed for a lot of flat-water paddling, and a little river fun. It should be able to carry two or three Boy Scouts and all their camping gear for a 5-6 day trek. From the plans, I also think it would be a lot of fun as a substantial dayboat for rivers (short of Class IV) and lakes. The hull is asymmetrical, and is about 36" maximum width at the gunwales, and 33" (or so) at the DWL.

Matt gave me my choice, so I decided to build the boat out of 4mm ply with glass inside and out. Given the gravel and oyster shells around here, and the fact that teenage boys will be the primary users, I wanted the maximum protection on the outside without having the boat weigh a ton. Matt thinks it might come in at around 70 pounds if I'm careful with the epoxy. The reason I didn't build the Sasquatch is that my roof rack is only rated to 100 pounds, and that is one seriously big boat.

I went out and bought the plywood last week (the plans didn't come until yesterday). I've built several stitch-and-glue boats, either as builder, project manager, or semiskilled labor, and I have discovered that life is too short to use cheap plywood. I bought 4mm BS1088 okoume, and I am positive that this will always look like the right answer. I also picked up about 10 board feet of ash for trim bits. I should place the order for epoxy and glass on Tuesday.

I foolishly made plans to go out of town this weekend (instead of cutting out my new canoe...) so I will probably just take some scissors and poster board to build a 1"=1' model. I hope to post a picture of the model next week.

I noticed that Matt hasn't posted the Issaquah design yet. He should. It looks like it's going to be a sweet boat.

Posted: Mon May 30, 2005 11:15 pm
by Rick Tyler
My first setback. The drawings I have are the first ones for this design, and the scale on each sheet is just a little bit different from the other sheets. Not much -- not so much that you would ever notice laying out the full-size panels, but it made my paper-boat project impossible for this last Sunday.

I went to Kinko's today and used a big reducing copier to make 1"=1' plans. Now I can just cut them out and tape them onto my posterboard to make the model. It only cost $2 and it will be MUCH faster than measuring and cutting. I don't know why I didn't think of this first. I also took the opportunity to make a working copy of the plans for construction. The nice originals will stay in the house.

Making a posterboard model is a great way to try the design out before building. I use transparent tape on the outside and build "fillets" using hot melt glue on the inside. It's not museum quality, but it is fast.

Posted: Tue May 31, 2005 7:24 am
by jem
In the past I've never printed the drawings to a consistent scale. I did that in order to best maximize the 11 x 17 sheet.

But thinking about it, I think it would be beneficial to have a consistent scale. I'll start doing that.


For you model, make sized copies of the nesting drawing. That will give you a consistent and scaled panel size.

Posted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 10:16 pm
by Rick Tyler
I got the paper model taped together last night. It's not a thing of beauty (I wasn't interested in perfection) but the lines are sweet. The model ended up with a deeper-vee hull than the real canoe, but the lines of the upper hull and ends are really obvious. I think it's going to be a beauty.

Posted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 2:13 am
by Rick Tyler
Matt asked me to post pictures of my model of the Issaquah 17.5. The model was built with Scotch tape on posterboard. I'm not very neat on my models. I save that for wood and fiberglass. My models are quick and easy.




The lines look nicer in posterboard than they do in the photos.

Posted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:51 pm
by Rick Tyler
Cut out the molds today. My 13-year-old son David did much of the work. He thinks cutting molds is really boring, though, and is looking forward to cutting boat parts tomorrow. Our first boat together was a simple pirogue. I imagine that he thought this was going to be just as fast. I'll post some pics soon.

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:18 pm
by Rick Tyler
We've finished cutting out all the primary boat parts. Instead of marking and cutting each piece with a saw, we made templates out of 3/8-inch particle board. We then used those as templates to cut out the parts using a router with a flush-cutting laminate trimming bit. The advantage to this method is that we can now cut out parts for additional boats really easily -- if we ever need to make another one. The strange thing is that any imperfections in the template are faithfully reproduced in the finished parts. We now have to find a place to store the templates.

I noticed that the 4mm Okoume plywood was actually 98.5 inches long instead of 96. By careful placement and close tolerances we were able to cut all the hull parts out of three sheets of plywood instead of four. Our scrap pile is really small, and we now have a whole extra sheet of 4mm ply. Some of this will get turned into butt blocks, some into breasthooks (laminated 3 or 4 layers thick), and some into the fore and aft bulkheads I want to use to make flotation chambers.

Since the 4mm plywood is VERY flexible, I've been talking to Matt about using ash stringers running athwartship to stiffen the floor Since I have so much 4mm plywood left I might make little stiffening beams instead of using solid wood. Right now, though, this is all just brain activity. I need to get back out there and glue the panels together.

For what it's worth, the main bottom panel is supposed to be 204-1/8 inches from point to point. David and I just measured one of our (unglued) bottom panels and it measured EXACTLY 204-1/8 inches. This is both unbelievable and a good omen. I am sure there are many surprises left in those 24 panels we just cut out.

Happy building.

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 7:13 pm
by jem
Rick Tyler wrote:The advantage to this method is that we can now cut out parts for additional boats really easily -- if we ever need to make another one.
Should note that when you purchasing plans, you are purchasing the license to build one boat from the plans. This license can be modified on a case by case basis.

Rick and I have a special arrangement because this will be for Boy Scouts.

If someone builds one of JEM Watercraft plans and wants to build another from the same set of plans, they should contact me 1st. Discounts will apply.

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 2:19 pm
by Rick Tyler
Matt's right. We were planning to build three boats this summer as a Boy Scout project and he graciously arranged an agreement to let us build up to three boats for a negotiated fee -- part of which is a library of photos.

Building note:

The Issaquah has four panels per side, all of which are curved. Matt provides four measurement points for each panel to insure that the curve is correct. If you picture a banana sliced into thirds, Matt tells you how far apart the ends of the banana are in a straight line, and then the correct measurements from a string stretched between the ends of the banana to the point where it was sliced. This is much easier on a banana than on a 17-foot-long piece of 4mm plywood.

Our solution is shown on the following pictures that I hope Matt can post for me.


We stuck a piece of duct tape on the floor of our boat shop (which looks suspiciously like a 2-car garage). We drew a black dot on the tape and placed one end of the "C" panel on the dot.


We then took a tape and measured out the correct distance between the tips of the banana, or, that is, between the tip of panel "C" and the tip of panel "A". We then stretched a string between the black dots and taped it down at both ends (actually, we taped it at one end, and held it down at the far end with a water jug, but you get the idea).


We then took a high-tech 12-inch ruler and measured the distance between the string and the joint between panels "C" and "B". Once we horsed the panels into the correct position, we drew a black "T" with a magic marker on the plastic sheeting we had already taped to the shop floor.


We repeated step 3 for the joint between panels "B" and "A".

We now had four marks drawn on the shop floor that determined the correct curve for the panels. Why did we bother?

First, even a tiny mistake on cutting the ends of some of the long, skinny panels can make the arc of the panel disasterously wrong. This gave us a visual check to make sure our positioning was right.

Second, we could do all measuring with nice clean hands on clean surface before mixing any epoxy. My tools already have enough epoxy on them, thank you very much.

Third, we could lay out several panels at once. Then we could just grab the panels, slap them down on the floor, and epoxy the butt blocks in place without messing with string or tape measures. If we jostled the panels in applying the butt blocks we could easily move them back onto their black dots.

Fourth, since we didn't have to spend time measuring during the epoxying process, we could glue up three panels with one batch of epoxy without it kicking. On the first two panels we made before the "black dot method" we had two batches kick while we were messing about with tape measures and string.

It might be hard to visualize, but it sure made our lives easier. If you have any questions I would be glad to try to simplify my explanation.

Happy building.

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 8:54 pm
by Rick Tyler
Since this got wiped out by the hacker, I'll repost it. The trip was in August.

The new boat spent a good week on Murtle Lake in British Columbia. John, my 16-year-old, went with 10 Scouts and three adult leaders from his Boy Scout troop. Their fleet was eclectic: in addition to the Issaquah it included a 17-foot Grumman, an Old Town royalex canoe, two Colemans, a 16-foot fiberglass canoe of uncertain vintage, and an 18-foot We-No-Nah. There were also two Scout-built skin-on-frame kayaks, and a fiberglass touring kayak. I had to work and couldn't go.

The report on the boat was very positive.

1. Speed: It was consistently one of the two fastest boats in the fleet. Only the We-no-nah (with a pair of 18-year-old paddlers) was consistently faster.

2. The Issaquah was dry, stable, and reliable. The overall report was all positive. It turned fine and carried two people and all their gear for a week without any fuss.

3. One of the adults, who usually paddles a canoe with low freeboard, thinks the Issaquah could stand to be cut down a little in height. He says that reaching the water is more work than he likes, and that even with two people and gear it really didn't sit down on its lines far enough. The tumblehome sides help this. My son says that this adult's canoe has no freeboard when loaded and he likes the Issaquah. I guess you pays your money and takes your chances.

4. This thing can really carry a load.

5. Even going upwind on a windy day with a lot of chop, the Issaquah stayed dry inside. Between the flared lower panel and the tumblehome, it's a comfy place to paddle.

6. This is a deep hull. I talked with several people who paddled the Issaquah, and they all liked it except the one comment about the height of the gunwales. With some minor tweaking of the plans it would be a perfect tourer. The designer plans to reduce the height 1.5" to 2" before he starts selling the plans.

7. No surprises here -- the boat ran over some rocks and got dragged onto beaches by Boy Scouts with no major damage. There are some scratches in the epoxy and in one spot a scratch was deep enough to expose the fiberglass, but nothing major. Ten minutes work with some epoxy will fix everything.

8. Some advice on construction. We covered the outside of the boat in 6-ounce fiberglass and then laid a strip of 4-inch-wide 9-ounce fiberglass tape along the outside of the center seam. Having a chance to see where the wear happened on this trip, I would have run the 4-inch tape along the lowest chine, too.

9. The boat is light, and weighs about the same as our NC16 that we built out of 1/4-inch marine fir. I haven't had a chance to weigh it yet.

We are very happy with the boat. A picture on Pine Lake in Issaquah: