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Grand Banks dory by Cap'n'Bob - small - 1:32 - Finished

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As part of my last build, Joshua Slocum’s Spray, I built a dory and then cut it in half because he used half a dory as his “ship’s boat”.   I thought at the time a complete dory would be fun to build.


So, now, how were the old Grand Banks dories built? 


My research showed that during the 1880’s-1890’s the dory was built by the thousands, and was probably the first boat to be mass produced.  Each fishing schooner that went out carried as many dories and fishermen on board as it could.  This got me thinking.  The ship owners would be looking for the lowest price and the dory builders would be building as simply as possible to lower their cost.


The modern dory is a different boat.  The modern dory is long pieces of plywood and a few frames.  They have little rocker to almost flat on the bottom, and the chine strake is large at the ends and narrow in the middle.  This wastes wood and is something the dory builders of old would not have wanted to do. 


The written descriptions and pictures of the old dories show a boat with a deep rocker to the bottom and the chine plank is straight from bow to stern.  The old dory should be a simple boat to build. 


Now to this build.  Let’s have fun.  I will make the planks equal in width and straight from end to end and we will see what happens. 



The half frame is a great advantage to mass production.  Several half frames can be made in advance and adjusted to fit at time of assembly. 

I made the half frames at 120 degrees. 





Dories are made with lap strake construction.  The brass mounted on the angle prevents the angle from changing during sanding.  The brass is also mounted slightly above the angle to leave about .010” on the edge of the plank.




I did not know how much rocker there would be in the bottom so I could not mount the frames on a building board before mounting the chine strake.

Edited by Cap'n'Bob
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The Grand Banks Dory was my first scratch build. In fact it is my first completed boat. I just completed it last week.

I used the plans from the Shearwater site but built it half size at 1:24 scale.


I am going to try to attach a photo taken with my iPad - not the best quality but I'm pretty proud of this little guy.



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]It’s amazing what you learn when you build a boat the way they were actually built.  I had always wondered why lap strake.  It seems like a difficult way to build a boat.  But then I decided to build a dory and guess what, they were lap strake built.  The building taught me why. 


The planks of a dory were only 5/8” thick, and the only way to get enough surface area between planks and provide a good seal is to put matching angles on planks so that instead of 5/8” surface you end up with about 1½”. 


 Here is the dory hull, still a long way to go. 







Edited by Cap'n'Bob
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Yep, my coworker asked me why I wasn't overlapping my planks, and I asked why I would - he, having been a sailor most of his life until he moved to aerospace in his early 50's explained that it is authentic to the real ship's boats (in many cases) to have the planks overlap to create a seal. 


That looks pretty good there....nice and even.

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Thanks Michael,


Lapstrake is a lot easier then I thought it would be. 



Bob, lapstrake is not only easier but much more authentic. I love what you are doing.


It reminds me of the little sailboat I had in the SF Bay. It was a 'junior folkboat' (built in Denmark) and had mahogany lapstake planking on the hull. The 'problem' was that the outside was varnished and we had to haul her out twice a year to redo the hull and topsides. Lot's of sanding, but boy did it get some attention!!!


Are you familiar with the dories used by Powell when he went down the Colorado River? They look about the same????? 

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Finally I was able to do a little more on the dory. 

I started to paint the inside the same blue as the outside, but everything I saw showed the inside tan, yellow or yellow-orange.  So I painter it a warm yellow.  




I also added the lifting ropes in the bow and stern.






Now I need to put the boat aside and make all the things that the fisherman needed I n the boat.


Later, Bob


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Today I made a couple of buckets for the dory.  There are many methods, but this is the way I did it.



First I cut 12 staves the same size and mount them on a piece of masking tape.  These are .03” X .50” X .16”.  


I sand a slight taper from end to end so one end is narrower than the other.


Then one by one I sand the edges so the cross section is a trapezoid.


Place them side by side on clear tape with the smaller face pointing up and the narrow ends all at the same edge.  You can see how the taper causes a curve.


Cut off one end of the tape flush with the edge of the last stave.


Now roll the tape with the wood inside until the first and last pieces of wood meet and the tape on the end goes around the outside to hold it all together.


Make a disc of wood to fit inside the smaller end and glue it into place.


The bands are made from narrow strips of card stock.  After cutting I stained them.


Cut the tape off the lower part of the bucket and glue the card stock to look like a band.


Remove the rest of the tape and glue the other band around the top.


I didn't measure the taped staves for the diameter of the bottom but you could measure everything carefully and use geometry.




Edited by Cap'n'Bob
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