Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Stitch and Glue Guideboat Project

This is my latest boatbuilding project. It is a stitch and glue Adirondack Guideboat and the plan was from John Gardiner. Stitch means the panels are held together with wires that are spaced every 12" or so. Then thickened epoxy is put in between the stitches to tack the boat seams together. The wires are then cut and pulled out. Then a thickened epoxy fillet is put down along the entire joint. 6 ounce fiberglass tape is put down over the epoxy and then the glass tape is epoxied. This is what is meant by "Stitch and Glue". It is messy but a fairly quick way to get a hull built. I really liked the design that John came up with based on Dwight Grant's "Ghost". I will be posting more on the progress of this boat in the next few months. I have always loved the guideboat design but hesistated to build one because of the time commitment (300+ hours) and >$1000 in material for a cedar strip version over laminated frames. One day I may do that but I can't now. This boat should take about 100 hours to build. I plan to launch it in April 2010.

This is a picture of my friend Steve, who has a kevlar Adirondack Guideboat made by Steve Kaulback. Steve is a fantastic rower with incredible strength and endurance. He leaves me in the dust in his boat while I tag along behind in my Natoma Skiff. He has let me try his boat a few times and I can really tell the difference in speed, tracking and glide compared to my homebuilt Natoma Skiff. It is by far the best boat I have ever rowed by far. It looks great too. Steve's kevlar boat is what gave me the idea to build John Gardiner's guideboat. Hopefully in 2010 I will be able to keep up with Steve a little better. Guideboat against guideboat, I will have no more excuses.

1 comment:

Mark Ludlow said...


I've reviewed your Gardiner guideboat project photos on Flicker, and you've done a very impressive job. I built two 13' Blanchard model foam cored glass guideboats in the early 80's and they were very elegant boats, really good for solo wilderness tripping in Northern Minnesota and Southern Ontario. My friend has one, and I built an even lighter one for myself, but too lightly, as the glass started cracking on the outside amidships from resting on its side before flipping it up on my shoulders. The four added ribs on your boat were a good idea, and not overdoing things at all.

I'm now in my early 60's and interested in building another guideboat, and I'm considering Gardiner's guideboat plan as an easily cartopped boat that I could use to get some upper body exercise. I bicycle a lot, which is good for the legs and wind, but not so much for the arms, back, and stomach.

A few questions if I may:

1. What does your guideboat weigh?
2. It appears you didn't sheath the outside or inside of the hull, only taped the seams, inside and outside. Is that correct? That's a big weight and cost savings!
3.Based on your experience with the 6 mm okoume plywood, do you think a 5 mm or even 4 mm okoume plywood guideboat would be adequately rigid? I'm not worried about ruggedness, these are wet feet or rubber boots boats...

One further comment: It doesn't appear as though either your boat, or your friend Steve's boat were set up for a carrying yoke. You really should look into adding one, as you're missing out on about 40% of the capability of a guideboat. Its MUCH easier to carry a guideboat on your shoulders alone, than with two people, one on each end, or with a two wheeled cart. Its also much easier to get on and off a car with a yoke.

And finally, I think John Gardiner would do well to update his website, and show some pictures of your guideboat. His photos aren't very enticing, and his website is not very informative or confidence inspiring.