Dumas Tuna Clipper - RC Groups
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Sep 29, 2005, 11:39 AM
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Dumas Tuna Clipper

Greetings, all:

My boat building has ground to a halt due to a move into a three-bedroom money pit, but I will try to develop this thread to the point in construction that I am now, and pick it up later when work resumes.

I decided to build the Tuna Clipper by Dumas as a learning project for plank-on-bulkhead construction. The kit was inexpensive, and has broad, flat sides and bottom, so the only tricky part (I thought) was the turn of the bilge. It turned out that gluing down the broad, flat "planks" had some degree of difficulty, too, especially on the concave surface near the bow, which proved nearly impossible to clamp. I ended up having to remove one chunk of bow planking where it didn't set against the bulkheads, and piece in scrap to replace it.

Also, one of the side planks was missing quite a large portion along the top edge, which I had to replace with scrap. I used epoxy mixed with microballoons to attach the planking, and also to fill in where my poor planking job was evident.
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Sep 29, 2005, 11:46 AM
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I neglected to mention that I wasn't satisfied with the way the planking came together at the bow, so I laminated a stem post from scrap mahogany, glued it the the bow, and shaped it to the contour of the hull. I wasn't all that concerned about the change, because plans I received from the successor of Campbell Shipbuilding indicate the model is, at best, stand-off scale. I haven't taken calipers and a calculator to the model, but it appears significantly shortened compared to the original.

- Jim
Sep 29, 2005, 12:42 PM
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This brings back fond memories, The Dumas tuna clipper was my first boat back in 1980. I was new to the whole plank on frame, still have the boat and plan to refinish it some day. Hang in there and keep posting pictures.
Nov 19, 2005, 11:01 AM
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More Tuna Clipper

The toughest part of planking, other than the concave bow (how do you clamp that other than by the 10-digit method?) was the turn of the bilge at the stern. What made it really difficult was my reading the directions without reading the directions ... it clearly states that the planks have to go along the bottom of the side plank and then at the stern cross the bilge diagonally to the bottom plank. I tried every which way to get the plank to stay along the bottom of the side plank. Twisted the crap out of that poor piece of mahogany, before I figured out I was doing it wrong.

Once I got over that "D'oh!" moment, it worked much better. Although I didn't shape the back of the planks concave before attaching, and the joints were not that great.

But, that's what epoxy and microballoons are for, eh?
Nov 19, 2005, 05:02 PM
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Hi jehitch, I think we've all experienced the frustrating times that you write about when trying to build up a hull that contains compound curves and/or concavities. You seem to have handled your problems very well, and when she's all finished and your problem areas are concealed by paint, well, who's to know?
You're right, long live microballoons!
It looks as if you have a nice, roomy hull to work with there; lots of space for electrical goodies. Enjoying your pictures of your build -
Nov 20, 2005, 09:05 PM
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Thanks, Bill.

I'll try and get the next set of pictures up with less time lag that that between the first and second set!

Feb 12, 2006, 11:49 PM
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Once the hull was in fairly good shape, I glued in the foredeck and pulpit, and then fashioned the removeable rear deck. There must be a better way to get the curve to the deck, but I followed Dumas' instructions: mark where the formers meet on the deck; cut the formers off at the sheer, and glue them to the deck, forcing the curvature into it. I used a couple blind nuts and screws from my ice hockey helmet spare parts box to affix the forward edge of the deck to the foremost former on which it lies. I doubled that former, and added a couple plywood gussets to strengthen it, as I figured it would bear a lot of stress.

The tiller arm is covered by the stern ramp, which is supposed to be glued down, but I have held off, while considering how to make the ramp removeable, as Murphy's law tells me if I glue it in place, the tiller arm will come loose, and I won't be able to fix it.

I also had to add scrap mahoghany along the top edge of the starboard side plank, and along both sides along the stern ramp (not yet done in the photo).
Feb 13, 2006, 12:17 AM
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More on the stern, these pics show the stern block rough shaped and attached to the last former, as well as the scrap mahoghany plank added to the top edges of either side along the stern block.
Feb 13, 2006, 05:03 PM
Cheif Bottlewasher
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looks good,gettin there my first project didnt make it,was a greek tragedy.

any how if the R/C gear isnt to close you could most liklely use 4 magnets to hold that rear hatch cover in place and make it easy to remove. of course you may have to switch the rudder shaft,tiller arm and cntrol shaft to brass,maybe see how it goes

Feb 13, 2006, 09:36 PM
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The magnets are a good idea, and sound like much less work than any ideas I had thought up, most of which included blind nuts. That solution kept stalling on the issue of hiding the bolt heads.


Feb 17, 2006, 10:26 PM
Cheif Bottlewasher
more coffee's Avatar

was wondering if you had time to give the magnet thing a go.or if you had any problems afterward.

Feb 20, 2006, 10:07 AM
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I'm actually stuck without a workshop right now until I finish a big home-improvement project, so my modeling efforts are limited to the internet :^( Once I replace the trampoline that passes for my living room floor, I hope to get back at it.

Apr 14, 2008, 11:12 AM
Registered User
Hi Jehitch,

any update on the Tuna Clipper? I'm thinking of building it to. Not my first boat, but the first boat I'll actually plank.

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