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My Skipjack Build
Hello everyone.  New member here.  Just posted a rather long-winded introduction on the new members page.

Anyway, welcome to my Skipjack build thread.  I plan to post fairly detailed progress reports with photos.  Also, as a service to prospective builders who might be worried about materials costs, I'll be keeping an expense log and posting the numbers here as well.  However, I plan to use top notch materials that are suitable for marine use, not construction grade materials designed for home building.  With all the work I'll be putting into this project, I want it to last.  You can probably build a Skipjack for less than half of what I'll end up spending.  (But mine will probably outlive me.  Will yours?  ;D )

I'll also note the modifications I make as I go along, and the hours spent on each stage.

So, without further ado, let's go.

Here you are looking at $1,267.24 in lumber from Midway Plywood in Mukilteo, WA.
I also spent $140.69 on small tools, screws and non-materials supplies at Home Depot.
The Batten is an 11-ft oak door stop moulding, 3/4 x 1/4 at $.42

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The large 5x10 plywood is Okoume AA marine plywood, BS1088 standard, Lloyds certified.
The standard 4x8 plywood is Merante AA marine Hydratech plywood, also BS1088.
All the board stock is African mahogany, clear vertical grain.  I'll be using this for the Keel, stringers, gussets, and panel joiners.
This isn't everything I'll need, but it will get the hull, deck and benches built.

The boards for the keel are 13/16 thickness, so the finished keel will be 1 3/4 thick.  The boards for the stringers are 15/16 thick, so I should be able to use 1 1/4" coated deck screws instead of drywall screws.  Deck screws are much more rust resistant but the shortest they make are 1 1/4".

You may be wondering why I bought oversized 5x10 plywood.  The answer is that I don't like the placement of the joints in the plans.  So much so that I was going to special order 4 x 16 plywood from Boston but then found out that it's made by scarfing two 4x8 sheets end to end.  So I decided against that.  With 5x10s though, I can move the floor joint forward of the front bulkhead. and I can eliminate visible seams altogether on the top deck, cutting the whole cockpit deck out of one piece.  The foredeck will be cut from the leftover middle cutout.  My idea here is that if I make a v-shaped coaming up front, I can hide the seam, making the whole deck look like one piece, with a glossy woodgrain varnished finish.  That's the plan anyway.  We'll see how that goes.

Here's my first bit of rough cutting.  I present to you the first half of the keel, in beautiful clear grain mahogany.  It'll be a shame to glass and paint it.

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Time spent so far:
Watch DVDs twice--7 hours
Shopping and purchasing lumber--3 hours
Researching and shopping for Glue (didn't buy yet)--4 hours
Rough cut first layer of keel--4 hours

Until next time,
Rock and roll man. West system makes some stuff called g flex.blows my mind.if to build a little lapstrake day sailor once I'm done fiddling with my weekender.I'll probably use either that or maybe just there resin with some filleting compound(just to thicken it up so it doesn't wash out on you) it might be cheaper  and would still be oober scoocum.
Thanks Lyle.  I've decided to use System Three products instead of West System.  System Three is a local manufacturer (Auburn, WA) and they have a large range of products including an epoxy gel adhesive which will be good for the keel and hull assembly, and a product called Mirror Coat which I might use for the deck.  I'd rather use a single manufacturer's products for all the epoxy and adhesives to eliminate the possibility of incompatibility.  Fisheries Supply in Seattle has a good selection of System Three products, as well as marine paints and rigging supplies.
Sounds great man I maybe should of expired some alternatives as are limited up here for me. I've gotta order almost everything I need.the exception is sandpaper haha. West system is expensive and you end up going through allot of it.
mark, good luck with the build. i built a skipjack a few years ago, and you are right to move that joint out of the cockpit.
a couple of othe rmods to consider:
- if you dont plan on needing alot of space for stuff in the cubbies along the seat backs, i closed that area in allowing a long space for solid foam floatation along both sides of the cockpit
- i also placed my tiller over the transon instead of through it, battery for the electric trolling motor in the rear lazarette

looking forward to the pictures, keep em coming! 
where are you building?

bob lee
calgary, canada
Bob, good idea on the flotation.  I'll look into that.  May consider the tiller over the lazarette too.  We'll have to see how ergonomic that would be.  I'm building at my house in Kirkland, WA.

Okay, here's this week's update.

Only had time to work on the boat on the weekend, but on Friday I was able to stop by Fisheries Supply in Seattle and picked up some System Three Gel Magic, a two-part adhesive.  Really thick stuff.  Used it on the keel, and will use it for the stringers.  It was only about 50*F so today I brought the keel inside and used a space heater to warm up the room to help the adhesive cure.

Also bought some tools this week:  A belt sander, router and a handheld power planer.  Will probably get to use all three next weekend.

Finished the Keel except for the Deadwood and the bit in the back that will hold the rudder.  Still needs some touch up trimming and fairing.

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Used one of the 5x10 Okoume sheets for the deck.  Was large enough to cut the cockpit section in one piece, and the cutout was enough to make the foredeck, transom and front bulkhead.  All from one piece of plywood.  I should mention that spec deck width is 60 1/2 inches.  Even though the sheet gave a little extra width it was still 3/16" shy.  So the middle has flat spots on each side.  No matter.  It will be covered in trim so I can fill in the 3/32" gaps with some epoxy putty or something.  I'll be following the fair of the stringers.

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The floor was also cut from a 5x10 Okoume sheet.  More waste here but it moves the joint forward of the mast.

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Summary for the week:

Shopping time:  A hair under 5 hours
Building time:  13 hours

Money spent this week, includes tools and supplies:  $381.05

ill try and post some pics showing the seat backs and tiller setup so you can see how it works, i've liked it so far.
your idea of the larger sheets of ply is great, those deck joints were all a pain. cutting it out in one piece would be huge !

    Fantastic progress so far!  I am not to far from you if your around Mukilteo, I live in north Everett.  I have the weekender plans, but we have decided to go with Vacationer plans in about a week with my tax return, and hopefully start building soon after.  Plenty of fantastic waters here for sailing Smile , looking forward to seeing your progress.  Also if you get to a point you need a second set of hands, let me know.


  Will R.
Thanks Will.  I'm about 25 miles from Everett.  I might just take you up on your offer at some point.  Do you think you'll get enough done on your Vacationer to launch her this Summer?  Maybe we should have a little Stevenson Yacht rally.  There's a another Weekender or Vacationer owner in Mukilteo I think...

Thursday mid-week update.  Worked on Skipjack for two hours after coming home from my job.

Built this simple jig out of two 2x12x8ft and two 2x8x8ft lumber.  Note the different depths of the notches.  This was done so that the top of the keel will be almost even with the cross braces.  This should provide stability for the plywood when I install the floor onto the keel.

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Here it is with the keel set into it.

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Deadwood test fit.  instead of using one piece of thicker stock, which I don't have anyway, I took some scrap from the keel build and doubled up two pieces.  Since this is the same wood as the keel was made from, the dimensional stability should be the same as well.  I'll be fairing the top with a power hand planer and maybe a belt sander.

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i found a couple of pics, first one shows the solid seatbacks, with about 6 full length pool noodles packed in behind each seatback, along with my wife liz and dog grits Smile

2nd shot shows the tiller over the transom, i also expanded the opening in the lazarette to allow easy removal of the battery for recharging. i have a 30 lb thrust trolling motor and it pushes the boats more then fast enough

keep your pics coming, i think you're going to have an amazing boat!


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