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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Figured I'd start a build thread for my skiff.

I live in middle TN and started fly fishing our local rivers for trout a few years ago. 2 years ago I built a 1760 jet boat with UHMW to run our little rivers to get away from the wading crowds. Me and a buddy threw a poling platform on my jet last fall and bought a "cheap" superstick pole and drug the boat down to Hopedale LA last fall after the bull reds. We had a blast but after making the 20+ mile runs in my flat bottom jet with a tiller going 25mph I decided that next year i would be dragging a much more marsh friendly boat down there.
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I always wanted to build a fiberglass boat, but my skills/equipment led me to looking at how to build an aluminum skiff that I could also use up here on the lakes trolling for walleye with the son. After doing some digging i found that Sabine was about the only shop around making an aluminum poling skiff. After going through the pics on their website 100 times I decided that I would try to build something very similar to their boats, but with a slight amount of rake to hopefully make the boat ride a little more forgiving in the lakes. I knew this would affect poling depth, but since 90% of the boat's use will not require minimal drafting i figured it'd be worth it. I would also like to thank Brian for taking the time out of his day to answer a few broad questions on skiff design. Safe to say there are not many skiffs in TN for me to take a good look at.

After finally committing to a design I took the trip down to Mobile to pick up my 20' long sheets of 1/8" 5086 and my 3/16" transom. The boat will end up right under 18' with a 54" bottom and 74-76" beam, the sides are 20" tall. I've got a 2 stroke yamaha 70 to go on it as well. Hoping to get mid 30s out of it.

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Next I started cutting everything out and tacking into place. I'm sure you'll notice how drastic my rake was the first time i put it together. Safe to say the geometry on these skiffs are a lot more complicated than the big jon boats I've built in the past.

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After lots of staring at it I decided there was nothing to do other than to cut it apart and change some of the profiles to get the rake down. I was able to drastically smooth it out after a few tries. Right now the very nose is about 5" off the ground, my hope is that this won't cause any kind of hull slap because it should be at least an inch or so under water at all times. My initial plan was to have this down to around 3" but it is what it is.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After finally getting the overall shape correct i added my runners and flipped the boat over to tackle the chines. This was a little more tricky than I expected, but overall not too bad. Usually when i build a boat i have the chines pre-bent in the sheets. but almost every poling skiff seems to have a really hard chine that is pretty impossible to replicate by bending.
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Last night i finished up TIG welding all the outside seems and adding the drain plug and bow eye. No pictures of that yet though.
 

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I Love Skinny Water
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They should have a TV show for "you got talent building boats". I know a few on here that would qualify
 
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Mitzi 17’ Tournament Sea Borne 21’ Bay
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I have no experience building a conventional hull but have helped build many airboat hulls. My question is why use the square tube for your stringers vs T Bar. I’m sure the is a good reason, just seams like a lot of extra weight. Your craftsmanship looks great.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I’ve used t bar in several boats I’ve built. Went with the square tubing in this one because it’ll make attaching the floor down much easier. And normal t bar is 1/4” thick where this is just 1/8” tubing. So it is probably about the same weight.
 

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Really impressed w/ pictures and posting so far. Looks like going to be very nice! Looking forward to following & seeing end completion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you,
Unfortunately it's going to be slow going from here on out. A 2.5 yr old and a 3 month old are slowing down the progress haha.
 

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Out Back Marine 18.5 Tohatsu TLDI 115
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All I can say is Bad A$$. I love seeing projects like this being built. They are such a roller coaster with the triumphs and the failures, then the solutions along the way. Thanks for sharing !
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, not too much to share that makes for exciting pictures. But last night i finished crawling around on my hands and knees and welding up all the inside seams. I'm glad that's finally over haha, it's by far the worst part of any build. I also moved my rear deck "marker" back a few more inches. The two long braces are where my front and rear bulkheads will go. The decks will overhang these by a couple inches but it gives you an idea of where they'll be. The plan is to do a livewell and dry storage under the seat on the rear and then just a big access hatch up front for the gas tank, life jackets, etc. I will end up with right around 86" of open floor so should feel fairly roomy. Nothing is worse IMO than not being a being able to walk around in a boat.

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I also added a couple short braces up front. When i brought the nose together one side wanted to be 1/4" concave and the other convex. So i just put some tubing in there to hold them both straight and keep it symmetrical.

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Next on the list is finishing up the transom bracing. Then it'll be time to add the bulkheads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Got some time to work on the skiff this weekend. Ended up finishing out the transom bracing and started getting my decks/hatches laid out. In the rear I'm going to have one insulated livewell that can be used as a cooler, dry storage, and then the normal battery compartment. Up front I'm going to have one large hatch where my 17 gallon gas tank will sit along with life jackets and those odds and ends. Next on the list is adding the drip tray around the hatches and possibly putting the livewell and dry box in. Then it'll be time for bulk heads and false floor.
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very nice but it's still a flat bottom skiff. if your issue was getting beat up in chop I don't think it will be much different. or are you just going after more speed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
True it’s still a flat bottom skiff, but it think the sharp v at the front will cut into waves a lot better than the blunt nose on the jet so it should make for a somewhat more forgiving ride. The increased speed is also a big bonus. 20 mile trips one way going 25 vs 35 is a big difference haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here is a picture of the rake on the jet. Anytime you hit a wave it would just plow into the nose. There was no way for it to glance off at all.

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looks like an airboat hull.

the V nose on the new one will likely be up and out of the water most of the time on plane so likely won't be cutting thru much. might steer better though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yea the jet is basically just a big plastic covered aluminum sled haha. It'll run in next to nothing though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Got another evening of work done on the boat. Got my false floor cut out, just need to drill about 125 1/2" holes in it now to plug weld it down. Also went ahead and got the sheet cut out for my back deck while i could still crawl under it to trace out the cut outs. I'm going to leave my spray rails around 5" or so until i get all the decking on, then i will go through and profile them before adding the lip/rubrail to it.
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Sweet project. Jealous. That hull design is one of the most popular designs down here in louisiana swamp land. Every, and i mean every crawfisherman or Gator trapper has that hull( open floor of course). Gonna be pretty sweet to see one with a cap/deck on it. Also like how the nose of the boat does not raise up much or follow the bow bottom lines. Look up" pierre part skiff" on google to see what im talking about. Or just watch a episode of "swamp people!" haha

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Haha yea, the first time I had the hull together it had quite a large raise to the front. Safe to say it did NOT look like a poling skiff lol. Took several hours of trimming and staring to get the nose as flat as I did. If i ever build a second one it'll be a whole lot easier.
 
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