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Bill H

Boat Building Techniques for the Philippines

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Bill H

The Philippines Coast Guard is out of control. Still stopping the ferry from Pilar to travel to Ormoc City, Leyte. There excuse today is that there is a Gale Warning for the area, today the sea is like glass and no wind at all. The people here are running out of gas and food. There are people stranded in Ormoc City that want to come home to Ponson Island.

 

 Like you needed this aggravation.  I agree, having your own boat would be a viable solution for you.  You could get a decent boat built for a little over 100,000 but, to be honest, finding quality plywood is all but impossible now, so you might want to consider epoxy and mat, but then the price will triple.  No rest for the weary I guess.  Ferrocement might be an option at this point though.  Finding the right wire might be a challenge but cement and HR rounds are easy to come by.  FC is very labor intensive, but labor is cheap so it might be an option.  Wouldn't work for a banca or Cat though.

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colemanlee

I believe if you check out this link you will be supprized at what is offered here...almost anything you could want in fiberglass

 

http://www.bangkapro.com/

 

 

post-16622-0-16932200-1436593673_thumb.jpg

 

post-16622-0-81727700-1436593702_thumb.jpg

 

post-16622-0-92688900-1436593731_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

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Cebuandrew

 

 

I agree, having your own boat would be a viable solution for you.  You could get a decent boat built for a little over 100,000 but, to be honest, finding quality plywood is all but impossible now

 

And that is the best thing about a pumpboat/banca, they are so cheap. Me and a friend split the cost last year on a 40-footer. It was 2 years old. You can find them on sulit/olx. 2 engines, 2 props, 1/2" new marine plywood all over the top part...cost less than p100,000 total.

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Bill H

 

 

1/2" new marine plywood all over the top part...cost less than p100,000 total.

 

I did a boil test on the local "marine" plywood.  Delaminated in less than 2 hours, and complete failure in 3.  You see this all the time in local boats, with the plywood breaking down and the layers separating.  Quality marine plywood should hold up for 72 hours or more.  They used to make this type of plywood here, but no more.  

 

Two engines on a 40 footer???  The traditional truck engines or the small lawnmower type?  

 

At the end of the day, you still have a banca as well.

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thebob
I did a boil test on the local "marine" plywood.  Delaminated in less than 2 hours, and complete failure in 3.

 

I've never understood the "boil" test. How do you know it isn't just the heat that is delaminating the plywood?

Edited by thebob
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Cebuandrew

 

 

Two engines on a 40 footer???  The traditional truck engines or the small lawnmower type?     At the end of the day, you still have a banca as well.

 

One is gas 16hp, the other is diesel 18hp. The thought was if one breaks down in open water, then have a back-up.

 

At the end of the day, I still have a banca...and as always in life "you get what you pay for." $2,100 for a 40-foot boat, with 2 engines. On one hand, it IS kind of like slapping lipstick on a pig...it still is a pig. On the other hand, all the locals know these boats. Mechanics, pilots, carpenters, etc. Dirt cheap to maintain, hire a pilot for 1-3 days, and modify it. The marine plywood we bought was around p1200 a sheet and high quality. 

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Bill H

I've never understood the "boil" test. How do you know it isn't just the heat that is delaminating the plywood?

 

It is a test to simulate accelerated aging.  Since you're using boiling water, the heat is never over 100C which is a minor factor if a factor at all.  Basically, the test involves cutting blocks of plywood and placing them in a pot of boiling water then observing them and timing the test to see how long they survive.  True quality plywood will last in excess of 72 hours (and in fact I've never seen it fail) the local variety will sometimes begin to delaminate in just a few minutes and be completely delaminated in an hour or so.  It's really quite remarkable to watch and easy to do.

 

Price is no guarantee of quality.  The best plywood made in the Philippines was TuffPly, but DNER cut off their source of supply for logs and they eventually had to shut down for want of logs.  That was a sad day for the Philippines boat building industry.  There were other companies making "marine" plywood, but none of them was nearly as good as TuffPly in my testing.

 

I have not shopped for any plywood from the Philippines in many months, but the last time I did, I could not even find 5 ply or 7 ply plywood.  The more plys (layers) of plywood in the sheet, the stronger the sheet.  Most of the plywood you find now is 3 ply which I feel is unacceptable for quality marine construction.  I've also tested some of the Chinese plywood and it is as bad or worse than the Philippines.

 

If I were going to build a boat in the Philippines today, I wouldn't even attempt to do it with plywood.  I'd use closed cell high-density foam, epoxy, and glass mat/roving over a mold.  If I was not going to build a Banca (which would certainly be the case) or a Cat and was building a monohull then I would get very serious about Ferro cement as the building media.  It is a very labor intensive process, but labor is cheap in the Philippines.  Once would have to be very careful to acquire quality washed silicon sand if they were going to go the Ferro cement route.  If I were building a commercial fishing vessel or a ferry, I'd use steel or aluminum.

 

Now back to the topic.

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Oz Jon

..................If I were going to build a boat in the Philippines today, I wouldn't even attempt to do it with plywood. I'd use closed cell high-density foam, epoxy, and glass...................

 

I agree that conventional flat-sheet ply boat construction with anything less than real marine ply is not a good idea.

Foam/epoxy is a very good choice . I used it to build  my boat.

 

However, I think that a sound boat could be made, even with (less than marine grade) local plywood if it was laid-up with multiple thin 3-ply laminating strips, well soaked in epoxy. (sometimes known as double-diagonal construction. sometimes done with just single veneers at each layer).

 

This kind of boat construction is labour intensive, but was popular before structural foam came on the boat building scene. Round bottom hull construction is viable with this construction method.

 

The multi-layering takes care of plywood strength defects and the epoxy takes care of the ply's sub-standard decay and moisture resistance.

Edited by Oz Jon

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Bill H

thebob, on 11 Jul 2015 - 07:14 AM, said:snapback.png

I've never understood the "boil" test. How do you know it isn't just the heat that is delaminating the plywood?

 
It is a test to simulate accelerated aging.  Since you're using boiling water, the heat is never over 100C which is a minor factor if a factor at all.  Basically, the test involves cutting blocks of plywood and placing them in a pot of boiling water then observing them and timing the test to see how long they survive.  True quality plywood will last in excess of 72 hours (and in fact I've never seen it fail) the local variety will sometimes begin to delaminate in just a few minutes and be completely delaminated in an hour or so.  It's really quite remarkable to watch and easy to do.
 
Price is no guarantee of quality.  The best plywood made in the Philippines was TuffPly, but DNER cut off their source of supply for logs and they eventually had to shut down for want of logs.  That was a sad day for the Philippines boat building industry.  There were other companies making "marine" plywood, but none of them was nearly as good as TuffPly in my testing.
 
I have not shopped for any plywood from the Philippines in many months, but the last time I did, I could not even find 5 ply or 7 ply plywood.  The more plys (layers) of plywood in the sheet, the stronger the sheet.  Most of the plywood you find now is 3 ply which I feel is unacceptable for quality marine construction.  I've also tested some of the Chinese plywood and it is as bad or worse than the Philippines.
 
If I were going to build a boat in the Philippines today, I wouldn't even attempt to do it with plywood.  I'd use closed cell high-density foam, epoxy, and glass mat/roving over a mold.  If I was not going to build a Banca (which would certainly be the case) or a Cat and was building a monohull then I would get very serious about Ferro cement as the building media.  It is a very labor intensive process, but labor is cheap in the Philippines.  Once would have to be very careful to acquire quality washed silicon sand if they were going to go the Ferro cement route.  If I were building a commercial fishing vessel or a ferry, I'd use steel or aluminum.
 
Now back to the topic.

 






Posted Yesterday, 7:40 PM

'Bill H', on 14 Aug 2015 - 10:44 AM, said:snapback.png

..................If I were going to build a boat in the Philippines today, I wouldn't even attempt to do it with plywood. I'd use closed cell high-density foam, epoxy, and glass...................

 
I agree that conventional flat-sheet ply boat construction with anything less than real marine ply is not a good idea.
Foam/epoxy is a very good choice . I used it to build  my boat.
 
However, I think that a sound boat could be made, even with (less than marine grade) local plywood if it was laid-up with multiple thin 3-ply laminating strips, well soaked in epoxy. (sometimes known as double-diagonal construction. sometimes done with just single veneers at each layer).
 
This kind of boat construction is labour intensive, but was popular before structural foam came on the boat building scene. Round bottom hull construction is viable with this construction method.
 
The multi-layering takes care of plywood strength defects and the epoxy takes care of the ply's sub-standard decay and moisture resistance.

Edited by Oz Jon, Yesterday, 7:47 PM.

Edited by Paul
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Bill H

 

thebob, on 11 Jul 2015 - 07:14 AM, said:snapback.png

 

It is a test to simulate accelerated aging.  Since you're using boiling water, the heat is never over 100C which is a minor factor if a factor at all.  Basically, the test involves cutting blocks of plywood and placing them in a pot of boiling water then observing them and timing the test to see how long they survive.  True quality plywood will last in excess of 72 hours (and in fact I've never seen it fail) the local variety will sometimes begin to delaminate in just a few minutes and be completely delaminated in an hour or so.  It's really quite remarkable to watch and easy to do.

 

Price is no guarantee of quality.  The best plywood made in the Philippines was TuffPly, but DNER cut off their source of supply for logs and they eventually had to shut down for want of logs.  That was a sad day for the Philippines boat building industry.  There were other companies making "marine" plywood, but none of them was nearly as good as TuffPly in my testing.

 

I have not shopped for any plywood from the Philippines in many months, but the last time I did, I could not even find 5 ply or 7 ply plywood.  The more plys (layers) of plywood in the sheet, the stronger the sheet.  Most of the plywood you find now is 3 ply which I feel is unacceptable for quality marine construction.  I've also tested some of the Chinese plywood and it is as bad or worse than the Philippines.

 

If I were going to build a boat in the Philippines today, I wouldn't even attempt to do it with plywood.  I'd use closed cell high-density foam, epoxy, and glass mat/roving over a mold.  If I was not going to build a Banca (which would certainly be the case) or a Cat and was building a monohull then I would get very serious about Ferro cement as the building media.  It is a very labor intensive process, but labor is cheap in the Philippines.  Once would have to be very careful to acquire quality washed silicon sand if they were going to go the Ferro cement route.  If I were building a commercial fishing vessel or a ferry, I'd use steel or aluminum.

 

Now back to the topic.

 

Posted Yesterday, 7:40 PM

'Bill H', on 14 Aug 2015 - 10:44 AM, said:snapback.png

 

I agree that conventional flat-sheet ply boat construction with anything less than real marine ply is not a good idea.

Foam/epoxy is a very good choice . I used it to build  my boat.

 

However, I think that a sound boat could be made, even with (less than marine grade) local plywood if it was laid-up with multiple thin 3-ply laminating strips, well soaked in epoxy. (sometimes known as double-diagonal construction. sometimes done with just single veneers at each layer).

 

This kind of boat construction is labour intensive, but was popular before structural foam came on the boat building scene. Round bottom hull construction is viable with this construction method.

 

The multi-layering takes care of plywood strength defects and the epoxy takes care of the ply's sub-standard decay and moisture resistance.

Edited by Oz Jon, Yesterday, 7:47 PM.

 

 

Well yes, that might work, but the problem with it is getting quality seasoned wood to lay the diagonals.  Quality seasoned (either air dried or kiln dried) lumber is very hard to come by here in the types and dimensions you would need to lay these strips.  Of course, if you had the ability (and time) to dry your own custom sawed wood, that would be a different story.

 

Epoxy, mat, foam, and cloth are close to twice the price here, so it would also be a very expensive project.  That said, if you were building a multihull (either banca or Cat) you really would not have much choice, unless you went the aluminum route, but that might be a difficult route to go given the availability of the correct aluminum alloys needed for the project.

 

For commercial craft, I continue to believe steel is the way to go, following that Ferro-cement which is fairly popular down in Oz I'm told.  It is an intriguing concept, and surely labor intensive, but if done right, the vessel is very durable and the materials within reason.

 

I'd like to hear other ideas, including obtaining designs locally if anyone has information on that.

Edited by Bill H

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PIM

To the best of my knowledge, I am the only person licensed (accredited) in Australia to design and survey commercial Ferro-cement vessels.

 

Ferro-cement construction is probably the most durable construction method for floating vessels. The floating pontoon wharves at Circular Quay and Manly in Sydney, Australia, where constructed in ferro-cement over 50 years ago and have been in continuous service without ever being taken out of the water.

 

Ferro-cement construction is very labour intensive in the low-skilled ferro part of the construction. The plastering (applying the cement) on the other hand is a different matter. For the plastering, you need skilled workers experienced in the process so as to effectively eliminate any air pockets in the applied cement. I have found that the better (not best) skilled workers for this plastering are cement-pool plasterers.

 

Another very important factor in ferro-cement construction is quality/strength of the cement used.

 

The main restriction now is building a vessel in ferro-cement is that it is next to impossible to insure a vessel of this type. This is a problem that has developed historically. During the last half of the 20th century, ferro-cement construction became popular for particularly recreational vessels. These vessels were built mainly by armatures (and some professionals) who did not appreciate the skill required to properly plaster. This lead to many structural failures and associated insurance claims.

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Oz Jon

Well yes, that might work, but the problem with it is getting quality seasoned wood to lay the diagonals. Quality seasoned (either air dried or kiln dried) lumber is very hard to come by here in the types and dimensions you would need to lay these strips.......................

 

You misunderstand me Bill - the diagonal lay-up is usually done with ply strips, generally not solid timber strips.

 

Sometimes with 2 layers of 1/4" ply, but alternatively with 2 or more layers of 1/8" ply or with several layers of  ply veneers.

 

Commonly vacuumed or stapled and epoxied together, then the (steel) staples removed after the epoxy cures.

Edited by Oz Jon

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woodchopper

You misunderstand me Bill - the diagonal lay-up is usually done with ply strips, generally not solid timber strips.

 

Sometimes with 2 layers of 1/4" ply, but alternatively with 2 or more layers of 1/8" ply or with several layers of  ply veneers.

 

Commonly vacuumed or stapled and epoxied together, then the (steel) staples removed after the epoxy cu

 

 

 

is that similar to "chine ply"?

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PIM

In my opinion, the best construction method to use for small craft built in the Philippines is "marine" plywood (either cold-moulded or slab type), sheathed externally in acrylic (not fibreglass) cloth with epoxy resin. The interior should be treated (painter) with a copper-naphthenate compound. This Cu-Nap treatment needs to be reapplied every 6 to 12 months.

 

The acrylic cloth/epoxy sheathing is not cheap, however it is very cost effective over the life-time of the vessel. The Cu-Nap is cheap and readily available.

 

As for the type of vessel, the standard Filipino bunka (canoe with bamboo outriggers) is inherently very dangerous, particularly for commercial passenger operations. The problem lies in the use of the outriggers to achieve stability. An outrigger is only effective while it has reserve buoyancy, i.e., it has watertight volume above the waterline. Once an outrigger becomes fully submerged, it can provide no further righting force as the vessel heals further towards that outrigger. The same theory applies to catamarans and trimarans.

 

From a stability viewpoint, the safest vessel is a mono-hull. A properly designed and loaded mono-hull can heal to 50 or 60 degrees and still be considered safe as it will still have a positive righting moment (GZ). A properly designed and loaded multi-hull looses its positive righting moment generally at less than 40 degrees.

 

Another disadvantage with multi-hulls for passenger use is that they are more suitable to inducing sea-sickness. Multi-hulls have a high metacentric height, GM >1.00m, (related to the vessel's water-plane transverse moment of inertial and vertical centre of gravity) when compared to momo-hulls. A high GM results in short sharp motions of the vessel, rather than the longer slower motions of a mono-hull.

 

Studies by the USN, RN and RAN have shown that it is short sharp motions (rather than long slow motions) that induce sea-sickness in people. That is why cruise ship adjust their loading so that they operate having close to the minimum legally required GM (0.15m).

 

The advantage of multi-hulls over mono-hulls is that they:

  • are perceived by the public as more stable; and
  • provide a large deck area for the same length - good for low-density cargoes such as passengers.

The disadvantage of multi-hulls over mono-hulls is that they:

  • loose their positive righting lever at a lower angle of heel;
  • require greater total power to propel (given same length, mass and speed);
  • are generally more costly to construct for the same length;
  • are more susceptible to inducing sea-sickness; and
  • do not handle as well in rough sea considerations for the same length.

I am not a fan-boy of either mono or multi-hulls. Each has its own place is vessel operations.

Edited by PIM
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Bill H

LOL, I don't think you guys appreciate how bad the local plywood is.  A decent marine ply 1/4" thick (6mm) should have at least 5 ply, the local has 3, huge difference between a 3 ply and 5 ply sheet.  It falls apart in the water if you get any failure in the paint.  I've had samples complete delaminate in less than an hour.

 

With all due respect, I'd stick with epoxy and glass over ply here.

 

PIM - I contacted Hartley's looking for some stock Ferro plans and could not muster a response of any kind.  Have they gone out of business?  Second question:  What about the bird mesh?  Is that available in the Phils, I've never seen it.

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Haki

LOL, I don't think you guys appreciate how bad the local plywood is.  A decent marine ply 1/4" thick (6mm) should have at least 5 ply...

 

we are selling this stuff, the best marine plywood we get is Santa Clara. The  1/4" comes with 3 plys not necessarily hardwood and only 5 mm thick.

 

Regarding china plys, one normally would see - cheap - scrap which looks like being rescued from an end as firewood

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angbumabasa

The best one can do with the present 'marine' plywood is inspect and discard any knotted patching during the manufacture. I've seen the locals doing their best on inspecting and accepting only 'clean' pieces. On 3 ply, the hidden layer can have all kind of knotted repairs. Framing here is largely performed with un-aged, un-dried hardwood. The problem there is the dimensional change taking place there, which is easily seen in our split bamboo, hard wood framed, gate. We have about twenty powered bancas dry docked here at any one time. Some new, many refurbished. Some even with softwood framing. I see the failures almost daily. Outriggers: cross arms question mark shaped, bamboo, thin enough to be resilient are preferred. Outriggers themselves larger in diameter tha a SMG bottle, strait as possible with a wood nose piece rounded or conical. Mounting in plan is closer to the bow, and in elevation bow up. In rough weather, departing or arriving, I see how well that works, making most accidents, such as being breached by waves, operator error.   

 

Oh, as an after thought, plenty of paint.

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PIM
....

 

PIM - I contacted Hartley's looking for some stock Ferro plans and could not muster a response of any kind.  Have they gone out of business?  Second question:  What about the bird mesh?  Is that available in the Phils, I've never seen it.

Hartley's are a reseller of boat designs produced by others. They can be found here. I don't know to much about the designs they sell - below my league. I only work with commercial shipping.

 

Bird mesh? The mesh that should be used in ferro-cement vessel construction is of the welded type 12.5mm x 12.5mm x 1.3mm to 25mm x 25mm x 1.6mm, not exactly what I would call "bird mesh". I believe that mesh of these sizes is available in the Philippines. Where, I know not.

 

In a commercial environment, you are looking at a minimum hull thickness of 18mm up to about 37mm for a 30m vessel. With less stiffening, the hull thickness is even greater. One design I did for a defence forces client had a hull thickness of 100mm at 60m length.

Edited by PIM

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Oz Jon

is that similar to "chine ply"?

 

 

No.

 

Chine construction uses "full thickness" flat sheets, slightly curved and a bit twisted longitudinally. It needs good quality marine ply.

Usually only 2 (maybe 3) long sheets each hull side, so just a couple of (basically flat) changes in direction transversely..

 

The construction I described (photo below) can do double curvature - longitudinally and transversely.

You effectively, make your own double-curved ply sheets, out of thin narrow ply strips, on-the-job.

It is also known as "cold- molding".

 

It takes much more labour to do it, but you can use lower grade ply, with good epoxy.

(unlike polyester resin, which is not waterproof, epoxy resin is truly waterproof)

That's why I think it could be a good boat building method for the Phils.

 

Fortunately labour is cheap in the Phils (and it gives a few families an income).

 

You can make good-looking, very efficient, low drag hulls this way

post-15613-0-88231500-1439708997_thumb.jpg

Edited by Oz Jon

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PIM

What Oz Jon is showing is termed a cold-moulded hull. He is correct in that it is a good construction medium to use, particularly when plywood is of questionable quality and/or the hull form has not been conically developed.

 

Conical hull development is an art in itself. Some computer programs have tried to do this, but none have been yet able to perfect the technique. I still do it manually, by hand. It takes a good eye and experience to do it well.

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Oz Jon

Another advantage of "cold molding" is that, unlike other ply-sheet techniques (which require shaping), there is no waste plywood.

 

You cut all the ply into narrow strips and any excess length of any strip, when layed-up, can be cut off and butted onto a later shorter strip.

 

Zero waste!

 

And working with timber (even ply) feels good!

 

Who says Engineers have no souls! - Lol!

Edited by Oz Jon

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darrener

I wonder if any of you knowledgable guys could give me your opinion on the stitch and glue method of boat building, and is it feasible in the Philippines ????

it seems to be a fairly easy construction method that appeals to me......

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Oz Jon

I wonder if any of you knowledgable guys could give me your opinion on the stitch and glue method of boat building, and is it feasible in the Philippines ????

it seems to be a fairly easy construction method that appeals to me......

It's a fine lightweight technique for small catamaran hulls (particularly racing hulls, up to about 25ft OA) but I've not heard of it being used for bigger boats (ocean going 30-60ft maybe). Some Olympic classes used it.

 

It is usually used as a compromise technique, to squeeze the maximum possible amount of "double curvature" and stiffness out of a flat ply sheet.

 

It requires first-class material, when pushed to its limits.

 

If you cannot get good reliable marine ply, then I think cold molded local ply or ferro-cement are probably the 2 best candidate techniques for economical bigger sea-going boats given the material and skills available in the Phils.

If you've got the money, then epoxy-foam sandwich is the way to go.

 

However, for any technique, a design by an established boat designer is essential.

DIY sea-going boat design is a bad idea - boat design is more complicated than it looks! - not a game for amateurs!

 

Don't be deluded and underestimate requirements for island hopping in the Phils, just because the distances are relatively short.

I've encountered 50knot wind gusts and 3 metre waves while island hopping in the Phills. Not to be taken lightly!

 

Plan for survival if your sails are torn to shreds and/or your engine fails! - It happens more often than you may think!

Edited by Oz Jon

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darrener

It's a fine lightweight technique for small catamaran hulls (particularly racing hulls, up to about 25ft OA) but I've not heard of it being used for bigger boats (ocean going 30-60ft maybe). Some Olympic classes used it.

 

It is usually used as a compromise technique, to squeeze the maximum possible amount of "double curvature" and stiffness out of a flat ply sheet.

 

It requires first-class material, when pushed to its limits.

 

If you cannot get good reliable marine ply, then I think cold molded local ply or ferro-cement are probably the 2 best candidate techniques for bigger sea-going boats given the material and skills available in the Phils.

 

However, for any technique, a design by an established boat designer is essential.

DIY sea-going boat design is a bad idea - boat design is more complicated than it looks! - not a game for amateurs!

 

Don't be deluded and underestimate requirements for island hopping in the Phils, just because the distances are relatively short.

I've encountered 50knot wind gusts and 3 metre waves while island hopping in the Phills. Not to be taken lightly!

 

I was thinking about a mono-hull sport fishing boat of around 20 ft.... there are several designers selling plans on line...... but if the plywood is no good here then maybe not such a good idea...??

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