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Steps in Building a SCAMP sailboat

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Building a Scamp Sailboat, I Continue Laying Out and Cutting

All the bulkheads are checked and cut. I've relaxed a bit.

laying out the bottom

I laid out the bottom of the Scamp today. It was a quick job. I had glued up a nice pine batten but it broke, so I made another using left over 9mm plywood scarfed in the middle, as fair a curve as can be.

I did not join the extra plywood onto the front to make a long enough piece, I just clamped it very well in position and drew the curve. I will join after cutting out. I'll combine all the joining in one happy day and save a bit of time. I have quite a lot of space in the shop so that will work.

Bottom piece

Before cutting the bottom I marked the center really well and also the area that will be cut out for the centerboard. I'll wait until I've made the centerboard case before I cut.

Somehow cutting the bottom feels important.

plywood stamp

That's the plywood stamp on my 9mm. It's probably Chinese. So far it's been nice and I've not seen any difference with other Meranti I've used except that the back veneer is not necessarily as pretty. I can live with this for an almost 40% lower price. Good marine grade ply. Our exchange rate right now is quite terrible. Here is a wikipedia article on BS 1088 grade plywood

floor piece floor piece

Laying out the cockpit floor is not too complicated. It is a long piece that will be cut in 2 parts and assembled. This particular sheet is slightly damaged from the transport and I'm having to cut around bad spots. I think it won't be a problem because the layout does not use the full width.

I also cut one of the mast box pieces. I'm getting a nice pile of pieces. I might have to assemble them sometimes soon!

Bottom layer of cockpit is cut, next is the top layer to reinforce the floor. It is cut just slightly smaller to create a drainage ditch.

floor piece transom cap

I cut out the cockpit sole doubler, It is slightly smaller than the sole/top piece to make a drainage channel. I also cut the transom cap, which required a bevel.

It went quickly using the smoothing plane but I got a bit of tear-out and used the sander to smooth the edge. I don't think it's visible in the finished boat.

more scamp parts

I spent the day in the shop today cutting out more scamp parts. I got the cabin top and sides as well as the aft pieces of the garboard.

I had a stupid attack and I swear I had to draft every part twice... almost. I'm cutting in the 6mm now, most of the parts from the 9mm are done except for the rudder case and a few doublers.


There is a fabulous dragon logo on the 6mm plywood. The surface is nicer than the 9 mm. Surely that means that my boat will be faster and fiercer with such plywood.

There has been lots of arguments to and fro about Chinese marine ply but so far I have not had any reason to complain and have not found any real flaw. One sheet had ugly top veneer but it was sound. I don't really think that's a flaw though.

I will now be laying out and cutting the side planks.

plywood parts

This was the most difficult layout yet. This is where the plan builders have to figure out the best placement of lots of pieces on a sheet of plywood. It was a tricky exercise, for me at least.

One good thing that saved time, I cut 2 sheets of plywood together. Since I was cutting out pairs of side planks this worked very well.

Next is the top deck. It needs to be cut in several pieces and joined.

The funny thing about this kind of boatbuilding is that it takes forever to cut out the parts and day after day all I have to show for a lot of work is an increasing large pile of oddly shaped bits of wood. I think assembly will go quite fast and finishing will take a longer time. Time Will Tell.

all the plywood parts

This is what a SCAMP looks like. Some Assembly Required. Another benchmark has been reached. I've cut all the plywood pieces. (Except a couple of doublers and reinforcements and the rudder.)

To tell the truth I also have to cut the hole for the mast partner in the top of the cabin. As I build I will have to adjust a little bit I think. I've cut as accurately as I could though.

So far I've had to cut in my extra sheets. If I had taken the time to place the parts more accurately then I could have fit them in but the amount of extra work would be several hours. I also chose not to cut a bulkhead in 2 and re join it later. It's cheaper to have an extra sheet of ply, than to lay out very closely, even at my rate.

This means that I have slightly larger waste pieces and extra plywood to make the centerboard and the rudder blades, so I don't think there is much waste in the end. I will also have wood for access doors and portholes.

In the end I've used a combination of the little Dremel Saw to rough cut quickly and my trusty jig saw for accurate cuts. I'm just more skilled with the jig saw but I think the Dremel would work except for tight curves.

I'm using the Makita BO5041K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit with a 60 grit paper to clean up the lines.

I've cleared the shop and taken down my extra table for now and will start cutting the support straps and mast staves next.

So far I would estimate I have spent about 30 hours laying out and cutting. I had to break this time in many segments because I found the exacting laying out and cutting to be tiring and I would start making mistakes if I tried to push it. This includes laying out but also checking everything at least once and more if I found a mistake.

emails: Christine

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