Many of you already know about EPOXY WORKS magazine, a FREE publication from Gougeon Brothers Inc, that is sent out twice a year. Issue #39 for this Fall of 2014 reviewed Russell’s EPOXY BASICS on the back cover!
This is a huge bonus for us and many of you have proven that! We had such a run on books within days of the magazine landing in mailboxes, that I have been kept busy sending them out. I want to thank those of you who had to wait with faith and patience for your back ordered copies. THANK YOU!
So why did Gougeon Brothers do such a nice thing? All I can say is that we are thrilled. Our relationship with Gougeon Brothers/WEST SYSTEM, is based on our long history and trust of their products, through which a lasting friendship has emerged. Russell’s nearly constant work with epoxies over the last 40 years has given him many opportunities to try various brands. His livelihood has depended on very refined composite workmanship and building lightweight, tightly engineered parts and craft. Many experiments, challenges, and successful projects have lead him to trust in one epoxy in particular; WEST SYSTEM.
The Gougeon brothers have an fascinating history and the company maintains an expert team unafraid to ask questions of themselves and the products they represent. In the spirit of doing what is right, ( yes, they do carefully consider environmental impact), full time scientists continually test every imaginable epoxy related scenario and tweak their products to best serve their customers of many industries. Their loyal customer base depends not only on having the best physical properties and workability in their epoxy, but also on knowledgeable customer support. The full time tech support staff at WEST SYSTEM are, in that down-to-Earth, humble, mid-western way, generous with their knowledge. If they don't have an answer for you right away, they will find out, and get back to you, even if it takes lab testing. All this greatly benefits the casual epoxy user as well.
Calling the company during business hours (phone #1-866-937-8797) will not reach an automated phone system.... Nope, a real person will answer and politely direct your call... I know... hard to imagine these days.. Can you tell we like these folks? I hope so. We have the highest respect for the people in the company and the principles on which they base the production of excellent products; integrity being far more important to them than fancy marketing. Working with the folks at Gougeon Brothers/WEST SYSTEM, is always a pleasure. Such person to person relationships, with friends, customers, and business associates, rank high on my list of things that make life meaningful. For a well written article about the Gougeon brothers, see: GOUGEON. G-O-U-G-E-O-N GOUGEON by Dan Spurr in Professional Boatbuilder Magazine Issue #125, beginning on page 36. You can buy the issue HERE: Also, coming soon in WOODEN BOAT MAGAZINE ; an article by Jim Brown called, "Catching Up With Meade Gougeon".
PTW AB 😉
Things have come a long way since we first started producing kits. We have put a lot of effort into making production more efficient and timely. The current kits contain parts that require less fitting and fiddling. We have refined the kit, and the manual.
One thing we have maintained is the stance that a really good nesting dinghy is a complex boat and the PT 11 is a really good nesting dinghy. In order to offer it as a kit that even an amateur can build, we have had to take the idea of ‘kit’ to a new level. Some have asked why our kits are more expensive than the average kit boat of comparable size. Others who have bought and built our kits have said that we do not charge nearly enough. Their praise has been high for the content, instructions, accuracy, attention to detail, and overall quality of the kit and resulting boat. While kits are not exactly flying out the door in mass quantities and we are not getting rich, we are not complaining. We stand by our custom products and personalized service, and we feel that we have a special family of PT11 and PT Skiff owners, who have expressed great pleasure in both building and using their boats.
Not all feedback is praise....
...given the fact that we have forgotten to pack a part on occasion. This featured comment, in all it’s sarcastic humor, is a prime example...
"I found a small glitch in your packing. Nothing major: the installation of the dagger board cover calls for two washers (under the dogs, I think). Without them the dogs are too low with the gasket in place.... Through an outrageous and abject failure in your quality control, none were included. 😉
I know I can source nylon washers locally, even though that will put me far over budget. I thought I'd touch base and ask about specs: is there anything special other than serving as a spacer and friction control for these washers? Are any of the dimensions particularly important? Are you going to spank Russell? " J.W. June 2014.
On the flip side, builders take heed..
“man’s best friend” has been known to find kit parts to be yummy chew toys. Keeping parts in your crate with the lid on until needed keeps out both excess dust and curious ‘Fido’. I know it is nice to have company in the shop but there are lots of bite sized bits in our kits. We use a detailed packing list when filling the crates and if we checked it off, we put it in. (granted, sleep deprivation can interfere from time to time..) In most cases, we will replace lost pieces free of charge so do let us know if it just cannot be found..(along with a photo of your orderly shop space!...just kidding... 😉 Seriously though, there are a lot of small parts in our kits that need to be kept together in a safe container and we know of at least one 5 axis shaped inner stem that was definitely lost to the shop dog.
We recently finished our sixth (yes, sixth) PT 11 prototype. This was to incorporate a few design changes and re-write much of the manual in an effort to make the boat easier to build. Building this many boats can lead to some labor saving ideas and we felt that we needed to do our best to make this, “kind-of-high-tech” boat as easy to build as possible.
In the last related blog post we detailed some of the changes we have made to the boat. Everything worked well, the new manual is done, and kit parts are stacked to the ceiling and ready to fly out the door.
Relevant details even if you already have a PT11;
We have a few new details to share. Most are in the new manual but could be useful for people that already have PT 11’s.
The back seat had two issues: One is that the seat needed a way to be held against the tank wall when nesting the boat. For some reason we never realized that if we trimmed 1/4” off of the aft edge of the seat (it’s now 7” wide), it could wedge between the cleat and the shock chord knot as shown below. It’s secure enough not to fall over when nesting the boat and that’s all it needs.
The other issue is that the back seat could slide forward, (even with the bunji cord) come off the cleats, and drop you on your butt.
The fix is pretty simple. We trimmed a bit from the outboard edges of the seat with a sanding block (to move the seat aft) and we block sanded the forward corners of the seat as shown, all so that there was enough cleat showing to drill holes in. We then drilled 1/4” holes to a depth of 3/8” for the 5/8” long hardwood dowels to glue into.
This works well, it’s an easy fix, and if you already have a boat, we can send the dowels to you along with the handy-dandy tether washer we shown below.
We have always kept our dagger-board trunk cap in the forward compartment, but it can be hard to find in there if it’s full of stuff. It’s easy to glue a tether into a hole drilled in the cap, but where to tie the tether? To the washer under the forward turn dog, that’s where.
It’s a special washer made for us by a neighbor who laser cuts other parts for us as well. This is a thin Delrin(TM) part, but we had a very hard time breaking one.
Replace the round washer with this one and rotate the washer aft for fishing the tether through the hole.
Holding the dagger-board down has always been done with a rope loop that can hook over the aft turn dog, but having the loop fairly snug (as shown below) keeps the board down all the way.
Having the board down fully will make the boat climb like a 12 meter when sailing upwind and it will also help you run aground. No, what I meant is that it will help if you run aground.
We hit a rock very hard and not only did it nearly throw us out of the boat, but the sharp trailing edge of the board hit the aft end of the trunk (because the board was up about four inches) and did a small amount of damage to the trunk. The dagger-board was fine, but we now sail with the dagger-board down all the way or we unhook it and let it float up (about a third of the way).
Work on a slightly re-designed PT 11 and a much improved building manual for the 11 is well underway.
We have long been planning to develop a smaller version of our nesting dinghy, but for several reasons, we decided to focus our efforts on making the PT 11 as good (and as easy to build) as we can make it.
One reason for this decision is that we are a small company with no employees (just ourselves) and even though the design process for the smaller boat was well underway, the thought of needing to stock all the parts necessary for a smaller boat seemed like too much.
Very few of the parts for the bigger boat would fit the smaller one. Even the rig and foils would need to be different, so the PT 9.5 has been put aside... For now.
The new changes in the boat (and the manual) are mostly aimed at making the boat easier to build.
The biggest change is to make the gussets both thicker and slightly larger so that the builder can avoid the tricky job of applying the structural fiberglass over the gussets, besides making sense structurally.
The gussets will now be pre-beveled so that the upper gussets fit the hull without the builder having to do it and the curved gusset edges will be pre-rounded so that builders without router tables can avoid the risk of rounding their finger tips.
We wanted to make the two halves of the boat key together more snugly when nested, so the transom inwale is now wider and has a reinforced notch cut into it that the stem fits into when nested.
That, along with the larger gussets will mean that the forward half will just fit into the aft half, and once it’s there it won’t be able to move.
We will have the new boat cut in half soon to check our tolerances and then machine new gussets and inwales for future kit orders.
In the manual we are changing many parts of the process, mostly just to clarify parts of the process with more photos and better text, but some parts, such as the process of fiberglass taping the chines has been changed to a much better method, one we have used on the last couple of prototypes.
We have also been working on a video of some of the more challenging parts of the process. This video will (eventually) include filleting, chine taping, glassing, gloss coating, and painting.
Having a bailer in a dinghy is a very important thing. Dinghy sailing in gusty wind can get wet, especially if the captain is not paying attention and dips the rail. Russell came up with a handy bailer idea. This oblong fabric softener bottle offers both a wide mouth scoop and a low profile that fits neatly below the seat tongue. Stashed inside for minor spray is a sponge. This green sponge was a waste of pennies. It does little more than spread spray water. A good absorbent sponge like this PVA sponge or 3M C41 7456-T is a much better choice. I personally like these pop-up sponges but they do not hold up well if left outside, which is kind of the point environmentally.. 😉 This bailer installation does not interfere with nesting. There is room to spare. We used carbon glue on eyestraps and a bungee cord to keep the bailer stored out of the way but within quick reach.
We have developed a simple and effective hatch that is water tight and flush with the deck. Russell has used similar systems for custom hatches on different kinds of boats.
The PT 11 foredeck hatch kit is offered as an option to the PT 11 nesting dinghy kit. Alternatively, one could use commercially produced deck plates or hatches. Some of these are not totally water tight, or are fairly heavy and, they are plastic.. Below, our hatch kit is shown with the foredeck, stringers, and glue cleats. The underside of the foredeck has a scribe mark for the hatch cut out. We often debate making this hatch a part of the base kit with the hatch opening machined already. But we are trying to keep builders' options open.
These hatches differ from their plastic counter parts in that they are actually water tight. This is achieved with the combination of a very rigid lid and coaming, the right gasket, and really slick machined Delrin turn-dogs. They are a bit of work to install and finish but the hatch kits come with a very complete photo manual and the result is an easy to use, flush, and good-looking hatch.
We also have 2 other sizes of Hatch kits designed with the SCAMP in mind.
The kits include machined high quality Okoume plywood parts, (coaming, stiffener and lid), gasket, turn-dogs, fasteners, kevlar tether, and manual.
The hatch kit you would receive includes the hatch lid, lid stiffener, coaming with the groove for the gasket machined out, machined Delrin turn-dogs, fasteners, and gasket. Shown below.
Visit ptwatercraft.com for all of our kit information.
One of our recent additions to the PT 11 family is in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. He and his wife have their own blog. I recommend checking it out! http://islandarborworks.blogspot.ca/
Every time Russell has a boat to build, he seeks better ways of doing things. In this case, a simplified method for gluing the puzzle joints revealed itself. The manual for the PT 11 'Spear' has this section but earlier versions of the PT 11 nesting dinghy manuals have an earlier method. I have created a pdf file of the 7 page replacement for pages 7 through 14 in "Building the PT Eleven" for those who have an older version and have not yet begun to build their boat. This may also be interesting to anyone building a stitch and glue kit with puzzle joints. Click HERE to download the .pdf file. (533kb)
A new video has been posted showing the PT Eleven nesting dinghy being towed at 9 and 15 knots. Check it out here: Towing the PT 11
Also, as a heads up, we have yet to update our PT 11 water tight hatch blog. It just got lost in the stack of "to-do's". Since our original hatch blog last year, we offer an improved hatch kit with our PT 11 kits. This has recently come to my attention because this outdated blog has been referenced on some forums and I thought, hmmm, we need to fix this... Thus, a new post will soon be up. Coming soon, we will have 2 additional sizes of water tight hatch kits designed with the SCAMP in mind. Thanks to Howard Rice and Josh Colvin of Small Craft Adviser magazine, our hatch design has gained the interest of SCAMP builder's. A detailed post about this will also follow soon. PTW