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Old 28-03-2010, 20:11   #1
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Challenge: Building a Yacht with the Detritus of Modern Civilization

I am a big walker, I usually do an hour a day around our neighborhood. While I walk I usually have boats on the brain, I am always noticing things that would look good on my boat: the solar panels that make the highways glow, a random fitting here a piece of wood there. So here is my thought experiment: with what building materials that you see and take for granted in your urban environment could you build a yacht from?

I have always thought it would be cool to build a boat from shipping pallets, I always see them in abandoned lots, there wood rotting and chipping off, I also think of the amazing spars you could make from the miles of aluminum that hold the lights on the highway.
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Old 28-03-2010, 20:28   #2
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OK, some of what your talking about can't really be called detritus. I think if you take one of their street lights it might be considered something else. Built in anchor light though. :-)
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Old 28-03-2010, 20:28   #3
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About 10 smart ass comments came to mind by the end of reading your post. The first was "I remember the last time I did drugs too". But, really, if you have these thoughts of making boats out of pallets, which I would be happy to supply in huge amounts, you probably would like to check out the guys who make boats out of plastic bottles or 55 gallon drums.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...--Recyclables/

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-...--Recyclables/

Keep on truckin.
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Old 28-03-2010, 21:23   #4
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Go for it. Start small. Try building either a strip built pram or something lapstrake. Make a jig to scarf up some really long joints. I'd use a two inch joint for a 1/4 inch thick board. Collect a hundred boards, then scarf like crazy.

David
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Old 28-03-2010, 21:26   #5
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Here ya go...the makings of a trimaran...

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Old 28-03-2010, 21:32   #6
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Sure - Epoxy and glass will bond many materials to form a hull, and in turn can be coated as appropriate.

However, I bought a 17-foot sailboat used with a trailer 15 years ago, for 2.5K with almost no overheard since. I sailed a Westerly Centaur to the Bahamas several times. I've known a few of these to sell recently for less than 3K. (not engine) Why build when you can buy used at those prices?
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Old 28-03-2010, 22:05   #7
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Originally Posted by usa-068 View Post
Go for it. Start small. Try building either a strip built pram or something lapstrake. Make a jig to scarf up some really long joints. I'd use a two inch joint for a 1/4 inch thick board. Collect a hundred boards, then scarf like crazy.

David
I may be on drugs but this guy's speaking Latin. What is scarfing? And for all those cynics, I am a dreamer Ok? So kill me. You can't tell me that you haven't seen an old pile of old plywood or 2X8s rotting in a vacant lot and thought "man what a waste". There is an old lot by my apartment with 100 ft of perfectly good 3/8s BB laying in the ground getting consumed by weeds. We live in a disposable culture and, not to spit out platitudes but, one man's waste is another's treasure.
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Old 28-03-2010, 22:17   #8
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A scarf is a joint of two boards, not a joint of weed. Eh? That's important to know. Don't light your boat and smoke it. Right? Anywho. A boat is long and a pallet is short. So that's how you get many short boards into a long one. From that one board, you make many more, all the same. Right? Then you make a boat from a peice of paper, called a design. That design shows you what your boat will look like, and how to build it.

-David
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Old 28-03-2010, 22:49   #9
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A scarf is a joint of two boards, not a joint of weed. Eh? That's important to know. Don't light your boat and smoke it. Right? Anywho. A boat is long and a pallet is short. So that's how you get many short boards into a long one. From that one board, you make many more, all the same. Right? Then you make a boat from a peice of paper, called a design. That design shows you what your boat will look like, and how to build it.

-David
....so when do we get to smoke it?

No. Kidding, I don't smoke weed, man. I actually kind of knew that about scarfing, a lot of the Bolger boats use scarfed together plywood. But what do you mean by a jig? Is that like a jig saw? What could you do about building the ribs? Could you somehow laminate all of those boards together? I believe the standard pallet plank is 1"X4"X3'? That's just an estimate and don't take my word for it because I am so baked.
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Old 28-03-2010, 23:22   #10
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Sorry about all the joking around..

A jig is a home made tool that assists you to make the same cut over and over. For scarfing, a block plane is used. So it's a piece of wood with a channel cut into it, cut at the correct angle of the scarf joint. I'd have to send you a picture, it can't really be described. You tube might have something posted.. it's easier than it looks. Use a jig because you have hundreds to cut. Cutting each one without a guide can be time consuming.

For a small boat, say an 8 or 9 footer, no ribs needed if you're using fiberglass on the outside. Traditional boats in that size would use ribs, but that's only 1/2 inch stock, steam bent and installed after the hull is planked. I'd look to stitch and glue, lapstrake designed, but with really narrow boards.

Selway Fisher Design (Paul Fisher) has a small dink that's lapstrake, but ply. It could be modified to use narrower 4inch boards. Paul would charge you an arm and a leg to alter it. Honestly, you're better off making something called a strong back, then stitching and shaping the boards yourself.

David
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Old 28-03-2010, 23:31   #11
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Seriously, wood and boats is a complicated subject. Find some 6mm marine grade ply and build a dinghy the normal way, with plans. Afterward, use recycled stuff. For plywood, most of the glues aren't permanent, as is marine grade plywood. So you're have trouble from the get go, with swelling and de-laminating. As far as pallet wood, some of it is hardwood, although from unknown parts of the world, and unknown species. I believe that pallets are built to a known specification by weight class. The heavier shipments, such as tile or stone, would have good heavy wood.

-David
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Old 28-03-2010, 23:35   #12
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I built a chookhouse recently from found materials - used a few pallets.

The timber from them is softwood and very poor quality softwood. I struggled to find many straight pieces once I disassembled them.

Far be it for me to rain on your parade but I'd suggest using timber of a higher quality than pallet stuff.

What about CGI? Corrugated Galvanised Iron? Used a lot for roofing material here in Australia. We made canoes of it as kids - fold in half length ways and fold the ends inwards a few times to make them pointy and watertight (I use that term loosely). Some timber crosspieces to keep the top open and you are off!

Good luck mate. Hope to see you on the telly arriving safe in Sydney harbour one day!
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Old 28-03-2010, 23:38   #13
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FOFLMAO All the hours I spent as a kid puttering around in some swamp on an improvised boat just came flooding back at once. Thanks Kordie!
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Old 29-03-2010, 09:08   #14
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I built a chookhouse recently from found materials - used a few pallets.
What's a Chookhouse?

Am I really crazy? Am I the only one that has seen a solar panel on the side of the road and thought, "man when the apocalypse comes that's going to look great hanging off the back of my boat". This, of course, is all in good fun. I did buy a boat, built from fiberglass, by a manufacturer, it is not one of those hulks waiting to sink in your harbor. It is actually extremely nice. Which isn't to say that I don't have a couple of pilfered railroad spikes on there that I will use as shore-anchors.
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Old 29-03-2010, 10:06   #15
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A viewing of the chugs built by cuban refugees would demonstrate some of their skills. I saw one built with drums that looked like a huge rib complete with a chevy small block with radiator, driveshaft cobbled to flywheel by welding half the u joint that changed to shaft with wood where shaft exited hull. Rudder was plumbing pipes concrete embed bolts and rough cut plate.
Another one I saw was built from copper plate I suspect was an old boiler bolted together. Guys got guts to head out into gulfstream in these.
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