Tolman Skiff 22' pilothouse build in Maine

shoes

Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Posts
43
Likes
35
Location
So Maine
Boat Make
Tolman Skiff
Not really a downeast hull, but David599 had some interest in his 27' Tolma build. I can put up pictures and details if anyone wants to see them.
 

Spence

Commander
Joined
Feb 11, 2012
Posts
256
Likes
75
X2 They're great boats. As much as I like my Seaway, if I had Mr. Nolan's skill and dedication I might be driving a Tolman. The hulls may not be downeast but the philosophy sure is.
 

shoes

Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Posts
43
Likes
35
Location
So Maine
Boat Make
Tolman Skiff
Tolman 22' Widebody build thread

The Tolman widebody is a stitch and glue plywood hull designed by Renn Tolman of Homer, Alaska, but originally from Nelson, NH.

Tolman Skiff Adventures

Renn moved to Alaska back in the '70's and eventually began designing and building skiffs f his own design for the local fishermen. He put his plans into book form after having built hundreds of the skiffs, and I bought his book in 2000. In 2003 I built my first Tolman skiff, a 20 center console Standard model, which I used for 9 seasons before selling in 2012. This is a picture of my first TS wich I used for striper fishing and cruising to our camp in Canada which is water access only.

jimshula_lowangleonwater.jpg


The widebody I'm building now started out as a pile of marine plywood and 9"LVL stock (for the stringers). I have a CNC machine I use in my carved sign and machining business, so it was nothing to create files to cut all the parts with. The cnc'd parts are the bottom panels, side panels, shelves (gunnels), chine flats, bowstem and transom.
004.JPG


002.JPG


Once all the parts are cut out, the first step is to scarph the bottom panels together to create two 30" wide by 20' long panels. I cut the scarph joints on the cnc too, so they are stepped joints.
005.JPG
stitch
 

shoes

Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Posts
43
Likes
35
Location
So Maine
Boat Make
Tolman Skiff
This is the scarph joint dry-fit.
006.JPG


After the panels are scarphed, then the keel line is stitched with plastic wire ties, glued with thickened epoxy, and taped together with 4" and 6" fiberglass tape.
011.JPG


The 3" chine flats are also glued and taped on now, and then the bottom assembly is glassed with 10 oz glass.

012.JPG


017.JPG
 

shoes

Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Posts
43
Likes
35
Location
So Maine
Boat Make
Tolman Skiff
Yes it is a pilothouse but I can only post four pictures at a time and wanted to keep the sequence in order.
 

shoes

Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Posts
43
Likes
35
Location
So Maine
Boat Make
Tolman Skiff
After the bottom panels are glued together and glassed, they are set aside so the building jig can be set up. The shelves (gunnels) are set up using molds to determine the widths at different points, the transom is set on the shelves and the angle is locked in, and the bowstem and stringers are set on temp supports. Now the bottom can be glued onto the stringers.
005+%25282%2529.JPG


008+%25282%2529.JPG


Since the bending in the forward 8' of plywood is too severe for one piece of half inch plywood, the forward 8' is made up of two layers of 1/4" plywood. After the bottom is glued to the stringers, a second layer of 1/4" plywood already cut to shape is laminated to the first layer. A good layer of thickened epoxy is spread out on the first layer, then the second layer is held to it with several temp screws to assure complete contact. The little plywood squares are washers to keep the heads of the screws from digging into the plywood and causing more work to fill the cavities.
009+%25282%2529.JPG


The side panels can now be hung temporarily, scribed to the chines, trimmed to the scribed lines, and glued permanently in place. I left them proud of the shelves so I could wait until after the boat is flipped to trim them flush.

002+%25283%2529.JPG
 

shoes

Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Posts
43
Likes
35
Location
So Maine
Boat Make
Tolman Skiff
After the side panels are hung, there is a lot of filleting and glassing to do. This is where progress slows right down due to having to wait for the epoxy to cure before it can be sanded. In the picture the spray rails are glued on the side panels. They not only knock down spray, but also serve to stiffen the 3/8 plywood sides. I also used some Ipe I had left over from a previous job for the keel strake and side strakes.
003.JPG


I used three coats of a graphite/epoxy mixture for the bottom coating. The graphite makes the bottom slide on and off the trailer easier and is easy to repair scrapes and gouges with.
IMG_0189.JPG


At this point I was ready to flip the hull and put it on the trailer to finish off the upper exterior and inside of the hull. Per the specs the hull weighs about 900 lbs at this point. I lagged a couple 2x6's across the gunnels, pulled the jig out the garage door, and tied ropes to my son's 4runner to pull the boat over and other ropes to the Kubota tractor to hold the hull back from falling over too quickly.
there+she+goes.JPG


My error in rigging the ropes back to the tractor is evident here. I should have tied the ropes to the 2x6 outside of the gunnels instead of inside them. Luckily the knots held without sliding back on the 2x6 so I could let the hull down easily.

IMG_0192.JPG
 

shoes

Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Posts
43
Likes
35
Location
So Maine
Boat Make
Tolman Skiff
After flipping the boat and putting it on the trailer, I finished painting the outside before moving on to work on the inside.

IMG_0196.JPG


I used Petit Easypoxy off-white on the outside. I wish they sold it in a semi-gloss or a satin finish as I think wooden work boats and glossy finishes don't fit together.

IMG_0224%255B1%255D.JPG


The inside once the boat is flipped. At this point I had about 200 hours in the build.

IMG_0198.JPG
 

shoes

Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Posts
43
Likes
35
Location
So Maine
Boat Make
Tolman Skiff
At this point I became sort of negligent about taking pictures along the way. I started finishing off the insides at the bow and worked my way rearward. First I had to decide where my rear cabin bulkhead would be (I moved it 6" forward from where the plans called for-we still have about 7' of flat bunk surface. I also had to figure out the height of the bunks in relation to the height of the cabin roof. I wanted sitting headroom in the cabin, and we plan to get high quality bunk cushions, so I had to make a few mockups to get everything nailed down. The vertical bunk walls are extended upward from the stringers. These and the bunk tops are scribed and glassed to the hull.

The forward cabin bulkhead is dropped down from the gunnels and is about 2' from the bow creating an anchor well. There is a drain hole at the rear of the anchor well drilled thru the side of the hull. Whenever I drill thru the hull for a drain hole such as this and the scuppers and splashwell drains thru the transom, i drill an oversized hole, fill it in with thickened epoxy, then re-drill the coreect size hole slightly smaller than the first hole.

The cabin sides and roof are 1/4" meranti aquatek marine plywood. There is a roof beam (2x2 piece if LVL) running fore and aft at the centerline. With 6 oz of glass on both sides, the roof is plenty strong to support a couple people, but I'm going to put a "NO DANCING" sign up there.

IMG_0679%255B1%255D.JPG


Here I am trying to settle on the angle of the windshield and height of the pilothouse roof. I did several mockups along the way, trying to get the proportions right, but eventually concluded that a cabin with sitting headroom on a low-sided 22' boat will look overpowering. A lot of Tolman Skiff builders (most are on the West Coast) use a forward leaning windshield to cut glare and give more space overhead for electronics. I favored the rear-leaning windshield, but the 17 degrees called for in the plans was too rakish for me. I like the more vertical windshields on the Sam Devlin boats, so i compromised and went with 12 degrees. Decisions, decisions. This where progress really slows down.
IMG_0672%255B1%255D.JPG


This is another attempt at figuring out pilothouse roof height using the mold I'll eventually make the curved roof structure on.

IMG_0662%255B1%255D.JPG


To form the pilothouse roof out of three easily bent layers of 1/8" marine plywood, I cut molds of the arc I wanted on the CNC machine and let 2x2's into it to attach the plywood to. Three layers of plywood went on with thickened epoxy between each, then I took the roof off the molds and glassed and faired both sides. I used marine cherry that a boatbuilder rejected because of a few cosmetic defects, so I think I'll finish the interior ceiling with varnish instead of paint.

IMG_0682%255B1%255D.JPG
 

Albert Jr.

Lieutenant
Joined
May 25, 2013
Posts
71
Likes
4
Location
Curacao
Boat Make
Boston Whaler, Alliance and other random brands
Interesting build.
I wanted to do something similar but didn't really know how to start.

Thanks for sharing.
I'll be watching this thread carefully.
 

shoes

Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Posts
43
Likes
35
Location
So Maine
Boat Make
Tolman Skiff
Here's a better shot of the anchor well. I'm going to build an anchor roller per the plans in the book but I want to have my actual anchor in hand before making the roller, which means I have to decide which style anchor I'll use.

IMG_0838.JPG


I also added a pair of hawse pipes to run dock lines through from the cleat to the dock. The cleat will be screwed to the 3" thick bowstem under the top of the shelf. The eyebrow over the hawse pipe is optional right now. The boat is being named the "Ellie Marie" after my wife and daughter, so I'll have to get a ruling from Ellie and Marie before I paint it on.

IMG_0676%255B1%255D.JPG


Once I decided on the height, angle and layout of the windshield frame and glued that in place, I had to layout, cut and install the rear pilothouse bulkhead. I really wanted a sliding door in this bulkhead, but after doing the math, I realized that unless I made the opening asymmetrical, the door opening could only be about 17" wide unless it stuck out beyond the side of the PH when open. I only have about 54" of width up at the top of the bulkhead. My plan now is use a hinged door, and I'm still mulling over whether to make it a bi-fold door, a dutch door, or put an opening window in it to get flow thru ventilation. The only other opening wndows are the sliders on the sides of the house.

To save on time spent finishing the surfaces, many Tolman skiff builders are using two-step mdo for bulkheads, cabin and house interiors. Although I taped and glassed the whole exterior surface of this bulkhead, the inside is only filleted in the corners where it attaches to the frames and PH sides.

IMG_0677%255B1%255D.JPG


Here's a better look at the PH with the roof sitting on the top. At this point the roof section is untrimmed but it shows the layout of the side PH windows. The larger front opening is for a sliding bypass window, and the opening behind that will be a fixed window. I ordered a sheet of 1/4" scratch resistant lexan to cut all the windows from, but the windows are one of the last things I'll do since I have to paint the cabin, house and cockpit areas first.

IMG_0703.JPG
 

shoes

Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Posts
43
Likes
35
Location
So Maine
Boat Make
Tolman Skiff
With the pilothouse structure complete, the next move was to have a fuel tank made and get it installed. I had a local fabricator make an aluminum tank so it would fit between the stringers and sit flush with the tops. I coated the tank with two coats of Ameron Bar Rust 235, glued 4 longitudinal 1/4" strips of plastic to the bottom, and set the strips in a bed of PL adhesive on the bottom of the boat before attaching thru the tabs on the top of the tank.

In the picture I am also glueing ledger strips to the outside of the hull to hold the deck in place. I beveled 1x1 strips of azek to the 22 degree angle of the hull sides, put a bead of PL adhesive on them, and held them in place with small stickers until the glue set up.
IMG_0785.JPG


Whether or not to use flotation under the decks has always been a question for me. Some home builders use empty plastic soda bottles with the caps on, some use ping pong balls, and some use pool noodles. On my last two self-bailing center consoles I left the bilges open. On this boat I got a good deal on last season's pool noodles at the local hardware store so I put them in, god forbid they ever need to displace water under there.
IMG_0792.JPG


With the pool noodles in and tank in place I was ready to cut and fit the deck. Since the span between the stringers is 28" and I didn't have room for a center stiffener I used 3/4" plywood cut to shape with the underside sealed with three coats of epoxy. After I glued and screwed it to the stringers and ledgers I ran large fillets around the perimeter, taped it to the hull, and glassed the whole top surface with 6 oz glass followed by a couple fairing coats.
IMG_0799.JPG


My next step was to build a small storage locker on each side of the PH bulkhead for storage, auxiliary seating for passengers, and as an intermediate step to get up on the rail to go forward.
IMG_0843.JPG

To make this storage watertight, I made gutters to fit under the joint between the fixed top and the opening hatch. I'll show more closeups of that later, but for now the forum only lets me post four pix in each post.
 

Eastporter

Admiral
Joined
Sep 1, 2011
Posts
4,049
Likes
1,456
Location
MA
Boat Make
Sold- 20' Eastporter (Rebuilt 2011) 22' Pearson Ensign
Nice work- I just bought the double seat online (from the 23' Crowley Beal boat) that I will need to build a base for. What thickness of plywood did you use for your seat bases? Glassed on all sides? Thanks.
 

Bill

Founder
Joined
Aug 30, 2011
Posts
5,620
Likes
5,811
Location
Hull, Ma
Boat Make
27 Terry Jason
Nice lookin work buddy.. next one put a dog house on it
 

shoes

Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Posts
43
Likes
35
Location
So Maine
Boat Make
Tolman Skiff
My seats are mounted to a swivel fitting that's about 8"x8" (Hamilton Marine). The other side of the fitting is bolted to a piece of 3/4" plywood that's 9"x9". The plywood fits and slides inside the brackets mounted to the top of the countertop. The countertop surface is formica that's glued to .5" marine plywood sealed on both sides with three coats of epoxy, but no fiberglass. The countertop area where the seat base rests spans about 22" front to back and 18" left to right.
 

Eastporter

Admiral
Joined
Sep 1, 2011
Posts
4,049
Likes
1,456
Location
MA
Boat Make
Sold- 20' Eastporter (Rebuilt 2011) 22' Pearson Ensign
My seats are mounted to a swivel fitting that's about 8"x8" (Hamilton Marine). The other side of the fitting is bolted to a piece of 3/4" plywood that's 9"x9". The plywood fits and slides inside the brackets mounted to the top of the countertop. The countertop surface is formica that's glued to .5" marine plywood sealed on both sides with three coats of epoxy, but no fiberglass. The countertop area where the seat base rests spans about 22" front to back and 18" left to right.


Thank you Shoes. I'm really wondering about the two storage lockers that you made that will serve as auxiliary seating. Did you use 3/4" ply with glass tape or glass the entire box inside and out? Sorry if this is confusing. Here is the seat I bought that will need a base. http://www.cascadedepot.com/servlet/the-293/Boat/Detail
 
Last edited:

F/V First Team

Admiral
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
Posts
6,146
Likes
2,481
Location
Narnia
Website
www.otisenterprisesmarine.com
Boat Make
Northern Bay 36 - Modified
I have a CNC machine I use in my carved sign and machining business, so it was nothing to create files to cut all the parts with. The cnc'd parts are the bottom panels, side panels, shelves (gunnels), chine flats, bowstem and transom.

So how much are you going to charge me to cut some sheets of plywood?
 
Top Bottom