AF4 click here to read or make an observation about this  article
By Mike Russon - Salt Lake City, Utah - USA

Ahoy Fellow Swabbies,

I wanted to send a few words to Duckworks in hopes of inspiring a few wannabes, and get them into this GREAT game we call boatbuilding. I also wish to nudge a few out there who may have the ole project in dry dock.

Several months ago when this whole crazy idea popped into my head, I was sitting out here in dusty ole Utah wondering what a great project would be. After having repaired and sold several boats over the past few years, I thought to myself “should I build one?” I must have been crazy and my better half probably thinks the same by now. The saw dust flying until 11:00 PM doesn’t excite the neighbors much, and it sure causes tension at the home front but it’s been wonderful so far.

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I began by looking around my favorite website (Duckworks) and noticed some fine designs by a guy named Michalak. I had never even heard of Jim or anything he had designed. Being new to the whole boatbuilding world, and feeling a bit insecure about stuff called epoxy, I jumped in head first and spent days looking over designs, epoxy brands, S glass, E glass and some glass I have never even heard of. I even tipped a glass or two just to make myself sleep (wink). Days passed and I finally took the plunge and sent Duckworks some cash for a set of Jim’s AF4 plans. The plans arrived several days later and I ran to the mailbox like a kid at Christmas. I looked those plans over until my head hurt. I could envision the boat sitting in the garage, painted and ready for the old 1947 Champion 1J outboard.

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Well, things have moved along and a plywood purchase was made. I began by laying out the plans on a few large sheets of cardboard so they are kept straight and neat. I like them right on the jobsite to keep me focused. I also pulled out my large drywall square I bought on the last basement project I finished. I figured a drywall square would be a lifesaver to keep 4x8 sheets of AC plywood square. It has been a lifesaver.

After laying out the cut lines on the ply, and butting the sheets together, I glued the butt blocks to each joint as Jim suggests. After a day of drying, I went ahead and cut the sides out. The layout took about an hour or so and the cutting was about the same. It was MUCH easier to cut the sides with the butt blocks in place. I had room to walk all the way around the sides and I set them up on several saw horses to make the cuts.

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After the sides were completed, I set them aside and began to make the temporary forms and the main center bulkhead. These were assembled as per plan and set in place. I have fastened the sides to the main bulkhead and the temporary forms using temporary fasteners until I get the remaining bulkheads and transom framed up. The images should show pretty clearly the progress I have made so far. This weekend should give me time to finish the front bulkhead which is just sitting in the bow waiting for attention. The rear bulkhead and transom shouldn’t take long. I used a simple 1x2 and a few hand clamps to keep the stern from flopping around. I ended up using thickened epoxy to glue the butt joints onto the sides, and I used PL premium to glue the framing onto the center bulkhead. I will of course remove the temporary fasteners and replace with bronze before finishing. Well swabbies, that’s about it for now. I will pass along updates over the next few weeks. I hope someone out there gets as excited as I am about a new project. Cheers for now………

Mike Russon

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