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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Former lurker, bought some plans yesterday and signed up on the forum. For the builders and experts ( and anyone else with an opinion), two questions: 1) Wondering if MDF if plywood is better for the stations? 2) Some builders have built their strong back on wheels? Are there any disadvantages to doing this vs building/securing to the floor?

Thanks
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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Former lurker, bought some plans yesterday and signed up on the forum. For the builders and experts ( and anyone else with an opinion), two questions: 1) Wondering if MDF if plywood is better for the stations? 2) Some builders have built their strong back on wheels? Are there any disadvantages to doing this vs building/securing to the floor?

Thanks
Doesn't matter whether you use ply or MDF, but MDF is used mostly because it is perfectly flat, and a lot of the cheap ply is typically very warped, and just crappy to work with. If I were to use ply, it would be a decent grade that's nice and flat, not the cheap CDX usually used for sheeting roofs. On my builds I start with the strong back stationary in one spot, so it can be set up level, and perfectly square. After glassing the hull I put wheels on so it so the hull can be rolled outside for sanding. Mike
 

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I've built a couple of stitch and glue boats; don't have all the answers but here are a couple of good reasons. Question 1:MDF is cheaper than plywood, is stable and easy to work with, does not warp and bend like ply. Question 2: If building in a garage the rolling strong back gets me out on the driveway for lots of room to work and keeps the sanding dust out of the house, plus lets my wife get to the washer/dryer! My last boat was a 20 footer and I could easily move it in and out of the garage by myself. Use 6-8" wheels, not the little casters! Harbor Freight is your friend for wheels.
 

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MDF is the way to go, cheap ply will warp.

The thing about a rolling strongback is your floor is never level. Roll a foot in any direction and you are off level. So build it solid at first, then once the hull is glassed you can add casters and roll it outside.
 

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Brandon, FL
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Up north all of the garage floors are sloped so when the snow melts off the cars it runs into a drain in the middle, but still wanted to take the mess outside on wheels. After positioning it in the garage where I could work on it and making sure it was level I marked where the wheels had to be. Then I could wheel it out do what I had to do and put it back.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
2021 Conchfish 17.8
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Another benefit to MDF is that screws go in easily, without pre-drilling (although if you use ply to build the boat you will have to pre-drill anyway).

I also agree with those that say not to move it until glassed. You would hate to devote all this effort to the build, then end up with a warp or twist that drives you nuts every time you look at the boat.
 

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MDF is easy to cut and sand. As soon as I get glass on my build I will prolly try to slowly lift my strongback up and slide wheels underneath to get it outside for fairing and sanding. That or I will donate my stongback and build something to transfer it to. Kind of like another strongback but with only two or three stations to sit the hull back down on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the replies! Many years ago I built speaker enclosures from MDF and liked working with it for the reasons stated above. I was thinking I might weld a steel frame base with wheels and then build the strong back on that.....which is way overkill and would just take time away from actual boatbuilding not to mention expense.......I hadn't really thought about how level my shop floor is.....it's definitely not. Thanks again!
 

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Brandon, FL
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Thanks for all the replies! Many years ago I built speaker enclosures from MDF and liked working with it for the reasons stated above. I was thinking I might weld a steel frame base with wheels and then build the strong back on that.....which is way overkill and would just take time away from actual boatbuilding not to mention expense.......I hadn't really thought about how level my shop floor is.....it's definitely not. Thanks again!
When you build the platform use 2x6 and have one edge planed or cut to be perfectly straight. Then use it for the top and then build it like a deck and it wont get out of shape.
 

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I'm still trying to find the best deal I can on Divynicell including shipping. Any suggestions? I'm Northwest of San Antonio and have not found a supplier there.
It's always worth a call to Jeff and Reid at Boat Builder Central in Florida for all of your supplies. They've been competitive in the past even shipping as far as Alaska, and they'll do their best to find you the lowest shipping price possible. Mike, 772-742-8535
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
DuckNut, by platform do you mean the top that the stations rest on? Having built exactly zero strong backs, I want to make sure I understand correctly.
seapro17v, thanks, I'll give him a call.
 

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It's always worth a call to Jeff and Reid at Boat Builder Central in Florida for all of your supplies. They've been competitive in the past even shipping as far as Alaska, and they'll do their best to find you the lowest shipping price possible. Mike, 772-742-8535
So I had to visit their website, I found it amusing that they had “Not Made in China” in bold text in the Okoume section.
 

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Maybe not, but I doubt the stuff I got from them came from France. Hence the reason I'm switching to foam for the next build.
I don't know when you purchased your ply, but I know the owners personally, and all of their ply comes from France, they would never consider selling any of the garbage imitation stuff. Nothing wrong with building in foam though. I'm a wood worker, but love the whole foam building process as well, and Jacque's is working on shop manuals for foam construction, and coming out with foam plans for a lot of his designs. If I were to build my FS18 again I'd use some foam in the build just to make it even lighter and skinnier than it is. Mike
 
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