Ed Jones builder in
During my last physical exam, my doctor told me that I had to start
getting an upper cardiovascular work out and after looking at all the
options he gave me, which sounded boring. I decided to look for a rowboat
that I could build and handle by my self. The next step was to search the
Inter-net and post questions on several web sites with good results. An
Inter-net friend of mine Mike Saunders from Dinghy Cruising suggested that
I take a look at the plans for the BLACKBERRY on the DUCKWORKS MAGAZINE
web site. Mike was correct, the BLACKBERRY would be light, easy to build
and easy for me to handle by myself.
After down loading the plans I contacted John Bell and told him of my
special needs to get his input before work was started. He was very
friendly and made several good suggestions for me to do, he also informed
me that I was the first to build his BLACKBERRY.
Construction started the next day after buying 3 sheets of Lauan
plywood, 6 wire ties, 1-½ gallons of epoxy and a role of 4- 6 oz.
fiberglass tape. The first step was to lay out the cut lines for all the
panels and rough cut them out. The butt joints on the sides and bottom
panels were joined with a single layer of fiberglass tape and epoxy on
both sides, being held in place with concrete blocks until cured. After
curing the bottom and side panels were trimmed to size. If you follow the
plans at this point, loosely fasten the bow with the ties, I made a solid
stem instead. Next fasten the temporary frames with screws and small
blocks of wood, the transom is held in place with ties, loosely secure the
bottom with ties. After checking for alignment and after making necessary
adjustments, tighten all ties.
Now the real fun begins, epoxy putty and fiberglass tape all insides
seams (instructions can be found on the internet), some realignment of the
temporary frames will be necessary at this point. After removing the ties
with a sharp knife a small radius is sanded on all exterior seams before
fiberglass tape is applied.
These two photos show the hull is ready to have the
ties cut and the out side seams glassed. The bottom
one also shows the fiberglass butt joint.
After the interior joints cured, I took out the temporary frames and
replaced them with 1 X 4s 6 down from the top edge, this gave me room to
install the inwales and gunwales, I chose a split inwale for looks. The
tomb stone doubler was cut from a 1 X 8. I also installed a 36 skeg that
tapered from 1 to 3. The oar lock sockets were then installed in solid
wood 57 from the transom.
This photo shows the
side and bottom butt joints.
The hull was then painted and a temporary seat was used, a box 6 X
12 X 16. John is going to add a fixed seat to add a little more
stiffness to the hull. He also recommends a 7 oar with sleeves be used.
We took the boat out to the local lake one frosty morn (30 deg.) and to
our surprise the boat was 50 lbs. of pure delight, it met all of our
expectations and more. Even with my limited abilities I was able to handle
it with out difficulties. For my first time in a boat with oars, the
little BLACKBERRY skimmed across the water with no effort at all. John
Bell being an experienced oarsman was able to make it turn within its own
length, he was even able to put most of his weight on one gunwale with out
it tipping over. It will be the perfect boat for one person to go fishing,
and you will be able to slip into the small quite spots with out even a
Designer John Bell
testing the BLACKBERRYS abilities