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Jan 06, 2020, 10:49 PM
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Riva Aquarma first build

Winter project

I started out looking for a woodwork project and found some plans without any information on how to build a pretty nice boat, so I got them printed at OfficeWorks and hung em up in the shed.

Made a jig to hold the skeleton in place and started on in. So much to learn, I always wanted to build a boat and thought I would start small 1:10 scale and see how I go. I know nothing about making a boat so I got some good books and found out lots of tips for the beginner.

Waterproof 4mm ply was used for the stations and the keel is 10mm ply. A second printing of the stations and keel was done and used as templates for cutting out.

All of the stations and keel were cut out on the band saw. All internal cut outs are done on the scroll saw.

The first frame I made was scrapped as I did not align the bulkheads to the keel well. This left the gunnel stringers very badly misaligned. The plans have cutouts drawn for the joints and they don't line up. Second go, I manually jointed and aligned each bulkhead to the keel.

The stations were positioned correctly and strakes for chines and gunnels added. I had to steam bend them to follow the cutouts in the bulkheads. I lost about 50% of the strakes while bending. A new skill for me, trial and error stuff. All gluing was done thus far with Gorilla Grip high strength PVA and CA glue.
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Jan 07, 2020, 08:47 PM
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Bill Zebb's Avatar
Looks like your off to a great start ! Nice work.
Jan 07, 2020, 11:26 PM
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Beginning to plank below the chines.

For strength I used 2mm x 20mm Australia Tasmanian Oak for the first Layer. Soaked them in boiling water then bent to shape over bulkheads. Had to come up with all matter of ways to hold the planks down.

I will use pine for the second layer on the bottom as it it more easily sanded fair. It does not matter what it looks like grain wise as it will be painted with White the Clear Expoxy 2pack.
Jan 09, 2020, 01:24 PM
RELAX. You'll live longer
785boats's Avatar
Aaah! I can smell that timber from here. Tassie oak is one of my favorite woods. I grew up in Tassie.
Beautiful work . I love watching timber hulls come alive.
Jan 10, 2020, 12:18 AM
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Tassy 2.4mm for strength, I had to use boiling water to soak the planks in before forming around the bulkheads. I tried dry bending but snapped a few, I see why it was always done thus - traditional bending. It seems best to get the planks in place before they cool as they tend to stay when cooled.

The sticker at B4 C is the dead pivot of the keel.

I trimmed the Tassy planks roughly with a saw blade on the Dremel to the chine.

The information on the spray rails was pretty scarce, I gleaned most of it from the net. The plans were incorrect on placement so I made a cardboard one and trimmed it until I was happy with it. I used the cardboard then for a template.

Very difficult to hold the frame with so many compound curves, was easier when it was top down. If I had the hull on it's side it was easier to fair the gunnels and chines.

I have two A0 plans on the office wall and one stuck onto the roller blind in front of the boat - handy!

Second spray rail fitted and both glued up. I am using Gorilla Grip PVA now for all gluing instead of CA as the longer pieces are too hard to position with CA.

I had to look at a lot of photos to get the rails to look right. There are a few versions of the Aquarama about from the 60s including specials, deep Vee hulls and no swimmer entry at rear. This is a shallow Vee - probably best I don't take it to sea.

Cad work on the bulkheads. Having trouble getting a gunnel rail piece to follow a curve through the apexes.
Was driving me crazy on how to do it.
Ended up getting the solution from a tutorial on line. What did we ever do before the internet, books I suppose but it was much slower. I think I was born 30 years too early )

Next is milling up some red cedar for the side planks.
Hope someone is finding this interesting, I am enjoying finding out about boat building. It has been the hardest wood project I have tried.
Jan 10, 2020, 02:55 PM
Boats on the brain!!
green-boat's Avatar
Originally Posted by Kramsdad
It has been the hardest wood project I have tried.
But it will be the most rewarding.
Jan 10, 2020, 05:45 PM
boat butcher
the goon's Avatar
Lookin' good. Welcome to the forum.

Jan 12, 2020, 12:54 AM
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Using Australian Red Cedar stock I cut 900mm lengths and brought them down to 20mm by 2.5mm planks on the band saw. Sounds easy but in fact it was very difficult to maintain that 2.5mm thickness for the entire length of the planks. It would have been easier to use shorter planks but I do not want end grain joining on the hull. I averaged about 50% success with the rest going into the trailer as scrap. I suppose a factory would do better.

The transition of the finished floor Tassy Oak to side was faired with the dremel and saw blade attachment and then a long sanding block.

Started planking from the chine where the floor leaves off. The planks were heated by binding them in rags and pouring boiling water on them. They were then glued with gorilla and clamped at each station. I am experimenting with different ways to hold the planks down. By the time I am finished I hope to have a good method. I do not want to drill, nail or screw them as I would like the Cedar to remain clean. On a real boat I would use screws and plugs.

The cedar was rough faired using the spoke shave. It is a pleasure to work with trimming very nicely. I will add a second layer of Cedar planking offset by half a plank on top of this layer.
Jan 18, 2020, 08:05 PM
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More planking

Sanded down first layer with long sander, still rough as another layer will cover this. 2 layers of red cedar.

I am still finding interesting ways to hold the drying planks down.
I finally settled on various wedges of soft wood held in with strips of scrap cotton material. This was clamped off onto the hull frame with strong pegs. This was quick and easier to do and resulted in no damage to existing structure.

The second layer was installed with a half a plank offset to stop longitudinal joins from aligning.

Sanding now to a fine finish with 180 and 220 grit dry rubbing paper.
I used blocks of foam shaped variously to sand the sides as I could shape one for each of the changing contours.

Blocking in the transom next.
Jan 25, 2020, 10:24 PM
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Making exhaust holes in the lower transom. As the pilot holes I had before planking were out of line I had to bore from the inside out to the back.
This was difficult as I had to put a drill bit through the existing holes in the rear bulkheads and turn it from above using pliers on the side of the drill, about a quarter turn at a time - tedious. When I broke out through the transom it was easier then to use a larger drill and round file to clean out the holes. I really could not think of another way to do it but it worked I guess.

I used some block balsa to form the rough size of the curved upper transom, shaped it with a spoke shave and sanded smooth.

Planking on the transom was the hardest yet, very small pieces and no where to hold them. I steamed and bent them over size and fitted them cold with the new shape. They came out all right and I move onto the rear gangway and hatch.

I also added some new half bulkheads at station 8 to support the center top planking later. That stick poking up there is to maintain vertical on the new bulkheads while the glue dries. String on the bow is to check everything is in line to the center of the transom. Bit of bad luck if it wasn't, I should have done that when framing.

This is fun.
Feb 03, 2020, 12:43 AM
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I put some ex-panda foam in the front 2 bulkhead for buoyancy. This was trimmed later prior to planking. There were no ill effects from expanding foam. The stuff sands easily to shape and I can tunnel through it later if I want to install bow lights.

The planking on the bow has commenced as well as the planking for the rear swim entry - hatch cover for steering. Center planking finished. Planks are 5mm X 2mm Aus Red Cedar with styrene strips between.

The woodwork is great fun so far.
Mar 04, 2020, 12:57 AM
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Prop tubes

Making holes for prop tubes cleaning out setting the angle.

Sanded epoxy and finish coat of polyester resin and smoothed ready to paint around.
Mar 04, 2020, 06:27 AM
Boaters are nice people.
Hi Kramsdad,

Impressive build, congrats!

Your propshaft angles are much too steep, if the boat has to run decently.
This looks more like you mounted surface to air gunbarrels on a wooden structure...

Rule of thumb is to stay below 5-7.
This requires (much)longer propshafts, with the motors under the fore deck, or mounted 'Huckepack' over/next to the propshafts.

Regards, Jan.
Mar 04, 2020, 02:40 PM
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Thanks for your input Jan

I used the angle of the prop tubes given to me from the old plans I have. I since have temp fitted the shafts and put on the recommended 40mm props.
If I went any shallower I just cant get the props on as they will be rubbing on the bottom of the boat. So the angle looks correct for this build..

Might be because this is a very shallow draft at the stern unlike the Ariston models I have seen. Some of the other Aquaramas seem to be deep Vees for more offshore work.

Too late now anyway as they are resined in place, so I will have to see how it goes.

Thanks anyway :-)
Mar 22, 2020, 06:31 PM
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Onto doing the upper forward fender rails.
Huon pine again, I love that stuff.

I had to make a few templates in cardboard and then ply before I took to the pine.

I even save all of the scraps of Huon. One side loose fitted.

All glued on ready for fine sanding. Very tricky to clamp these boards down.. Compound curve, tapered Th and Wdth with a twist. Sounds like a high dive!

I used spots of CA and PVA beside each other for quick assembly and strength.

Cutting in the bow fair-lead block and vent next.

The fair-lead is cast and chromed in three separate pieces so I will have to find a way to assemble them and keep them together while I am making a mortise into the bow to fit it. I think maybe CA with some glass spheres to thicken it.


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