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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long time lurker few time poster. Wanted to introduce myself and start this long journey of trying to build something that will float and look pretty. My names Tim, im a 26 year old engineer working in chemical manufacturing in houston TX, transplanted from New Orleans. I’m finally marching towards closing on a house that has the 20x20 garage which I have desperately NEEDED. Houston apartment life is about to kill me. What that means is I can finally live out my dream of building boats, albeit small ones for now. I am an absolute noob in all things fiberglass although I am reading books by Chris’ suggestion on fiberglassing which have been more than helpful picking up terminology and getting the general idea of how things are done. I do consider myself very capable with woodworking and think I am patient enough to do pretty sound work.

Truthfully I am an offshore fisherman at heart way before I am an inshore fisherman but my love lies with the beauty of all boats. I am particularly attracted to Chris’s skiffs as I think they make beautiful boats and I believe it to be a great foray into the world of boat building.

I’ve settled on and purchased the beryllium plans as I know the end use of this boat might see some more open water and heavier loads than appropriate for the conchfish. 60-70 horsepower class motor if new. I have an old 1995 50hp mercury that we took off our flatboat when we bought a surface drive back in 2006. I think with a little TLC she would run just fine if I didn’t scrounge together the money for a new motor. I also am certain that I want to build in Chris’s vented tunnel because this boat will be run across the Texas flats of Port O’Connor, Corpus, and here around Galveston.

This is where my certainties end unfortunately... I don’t close on my house until 4/28 and I start a 25 day outage on nights tomorrow night :( so I certainly have gobs of time to nail down more things. Like 17.5 vs 18.5; rounded vs flat transom on the 18.5 (17.5 plans don’t have rounded transom included so probably wouldn’t want to fool with trying to make on my own). Poly everything or epoxy outer hull; basalt vs Eglass. The list goes on!

Some of you may wonder why I want to build this boat if I don’t really have the inshore bug and really have no clue what I’m getting into. I can simply answer it by saying I want to build one beautiful azz boat and this is a great way to start.

I am excited as well because a very good friend has a son who lives and breathes sports and fishing. He rides his bike miles after school to different ponds around town multiple times a week inbetween baseball and football practices. This kid is as good as can be and the most respectful person I’ve ever met regardless of age. Unfortunately his hearing is getting worse and worse and his hearing aids aren’t cutting it anymore and it’s looking like he’s going to get cochlear implants. We aren’t sure yet what this means but if he has to stop playing football for fear of brain injury or implant damage I’m afraid it’s going to be a big adjustment for him. My buddy really wants to get his son a boat that he can call his and tool around when he gets his drivers license (he’s 14 now). I told him if he drops him off a few times during the summer to help sand I would give his son the boat for whatever it cost me to build (his dad and gpaw might help him out a little)

With all that said I understand updates will be few and far between for the next few months but I will be frequenting this page to bounce ideas and help me make some more of those decisions.

thanks for any help y’all can give, this place seems like a great atmosphere.
 

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welcome dude, best of luck on your build I also want to one day just don’t have the garage space to do it yet. Sad story about your friends son, I’ll pray for him. Best of luck
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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Very cool stuff man. It sounds like you will really enjoy the process. It's gonna be tough letting that skiff go once she's done, even if it's for a charitable cause!
There are a couple guys who have built 17.5 Berylliums with rounded transoms who could definitely help you along the way. I would start with @VANMflyfishing and bug him
 

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BBA Counselor
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Like many who have a new standard sized garage of 20x20 you will learn just because it says 20 doesn't mean it's all usable. They don't account for things like drywall thickness or garage doors and supports, so you end up with maybe 19.5 at the end. That said I just finished building a FS17, which came out to 17'2" and it was pretty tight, so I think the 17.5ft version might be as big as you can build since you will need room on all 4 sides to walk around and you can't move the jig until the glass is cured.
I'm waiting on my motor, but with a removable tongue I will be able to park it nearly straight in and have a few inches to spare. If I add a jackplate later it will need to be parked diagonally a bit. If you build the larger version and have a jackplate, and you will, you will need to park it diagonally and take up most of your garage. Just something to consider since you might want to do other projects in there later on.
 

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Welcome, Following
 

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Panhandler
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Welcome aboard, Tim. Will be interested to read your progress. Congrats on the new home and tip of the hat on its final intended purpose!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the replies and support, I think y’all are going to be a huge reason as to why this build will be a success.

jglidden - thanks for that! I’ve dug around most of these builds but I haven’t seen his name come up I’ll dig further. Hmmm do I maybe sense the possibility of buying the jig and adding a tunnel!?

Firecat - 20x20 defintiely makes the 18.5 a tight squeeze, I would say it’s maybe still doable since this garage has no other intended purpose than to be my workshop so I could build it diagonal from the start. But that would take away some ability to have large layup tables next to etc.the garage also has 2 single doors for now which complicates the diagonal plan but I do eventually plan on putting in a single door. That said that is my main reason for wanting to do the 17.5 version as well as maybe being powered a little better by the lower horsepower.
 

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A friend of mine is almost finished with his drop-dead-gorgeous Beryllium build and he is south of Houston. He specifically built his to fit in his garage. He is @C Brueckner here and coreybrueckner on Instagram.
 

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Happy to help. I'm no expert as I've made a lot of mistakes, but haven't we all. The 17.5' uses the same rounded transom forms at the 18.5', but you have to cut them slightly when the meet up with the transom form. My two cents...I'd have @jglidden cut the CNC for you once you find a length you want to go with. That way you can build the strongback, strip 3" pieces of foam, and get materials while he is shipping it to you. Happy to jump on a call anytime to talk shop.

That's awesome with the kid you're helping out. If he's a fly fisherman, I'm happy to donate something. Getting kids into fishing is what it's all about.
 

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Beryllium 17'
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Following along, I’ll should have my F70 mounted on a 17’ beryllium at the end of the month. I’ll let you know how much clearance I have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Are you totally against going sideways in the garage or is that not an option for you.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
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My suggestion on the build method is to keep it simple. E-glass and epoxy can be very effective and light. Epoxy is more expensive, but simpler and I feel more forgiving (better secondary/mechanical bonding, good for repairs and additions). I also feel like it's cleaner and easier to work with cloth than with mat (you will want to use some mat if you go with poly). There is a lot of good info out there to help make that decision, but I generally think epoxy is good for a home build where you will be bonding/laminating to a fully-cured previous layer, and poly is great when laying up in a mold where everything is a primary/chemical bond.

As for the size, I don't know what to tell you. Looks like you're getting some good info looking at existing skiffs. If you know what power you're using, you can see how much clearance you will need to add for the motor (since it's not boat-specific, unless you have sponsons). I think some of the swing trailers can be set up to where the trailer doesn't stick out more than the bow of the boat. I'd just draw a rough top-down view of the garage to scale, and draw in the deck and motor of your proposed design. Use graph paper and cut the boat out of a separate sheet so you can tinker with the angles and dimensions some.
 

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what part of houston you moving to? if your close by me (conroe/woodlands) i may be down to help once you get started.
 

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Another vote for epoxy. I have been using the US Composites 635 Thin Epoxy with the 2:1 slow hardener. It is very easy to work with, just make sure you mix it at the correct ratios and you will not have any problems. There is an acquired skill of using VE or PE and catalyzing it with MEKP. Yes, if you are good, you can adjust the MEKP to your current situation ie size of piece , temperature etc. But with the epoxy, I don't have to think about any of that, just mix it and go. Yes, the slow hardener is slow, but it really hasn't been a disadvantage. If anything it has been a good thing. For example, the other day I was glassing my floor piece. I ran out of gas around 10:30, cleaned up and went to bed. The next day the surface was still a little tacky which is perfect for picking back up where you left off. This was with daytime temps in the 70s and overnight lows in the low 60s. I have had zero issues with the slow hardener and blushing. Yes, epoxy is more expensive, but it is only going to be around 8% of the total cost of the build. Also, as mentioned, with PE you will end up using CSM which will use more resin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@bryson and @Sublime - this is the type of information that I was looking for and huge help with the decision making process. I am definitely intimidated by the fiberglass layup portion of the build and want to use the materials that will make me most successful. Hence I was already leaning eglass over basalt but I wasn’t sure the right route for epoxy. I am conscious of costs but not necessarily worried. I will use the materials that will give me the best skiff for my skills.

@Dobre I am setup to buy a house in meyerland/bellaire area so kinda far but I will always have plenty beer and I think if anyone has any glassing experience that could help me atleast in the initial layup until I get the hang that would be hugely helpful. Buttt that’s very far away I imagine.

Really thanks all, I appreciate the replies and support. It goes a long way in confidence building.
 

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For me, the 300 gram basalt I used was as easy to work with as the 10oz eglass.

The main thing when working with glass is you can avoid blisters , bubbles etc by sanding as big as a radius as possible in any sharp edge. For the chines you will come back anyway and sharpen them with thickened epoxy. So round them suckers, Also on inside corners make big fillets.

Oh and wet your foam out before ever laying the first piece of glass on it. Preferably let it start getting tacky if time allows.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
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@Timmayy I'd definitely take the time to read any build thread you can find, on this forum and on others. Even the build threads of wooden boats like the Bateau builders forum are very helpful. We've got a decent crew of people here that are more than happy to share our experiences.
 

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I am using poly resin and would suggest epoxy for a few different reason. I went the poly route because I am working in a tent garage in north carolina. Temps have been in the 30's and 80's when glassing and I can manipulate the temp with a heat gun or something to get the poly to kick. Epoxy wouldn't kick as well or not at all with change in temp and humidity. For shorter glassing timeframes, poly is easier to work with...with that said, you have to move faster. One time that mat cured before I was able to glass it all the way which cause a headache. Poly is cheaper, but in TX you would have to worry about weather changes like I have, plus you have a garage. I think basalt is way way easier to work with that glass. It lays down to whatever you stick it to and you can add silica bubble for a tight radius and it stays put. Like @Sublime said, wet the foam before you do anything. I did an entire sheet recently and the foam wasn't wet enough which causes bubble and delamination areas. Not to hard to fix and would change the look, but it's more time sanding and filling.
 
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