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Flipping the Tongass

Chuck,

Named after the Tongass National Forest (secret: I'll rename her the "Heidi B" after it's finished after all that my wife has done to help build the boat), my Tolman Jumbo Alaskan Skiff has now been flipped. Folks say that you are one third done at this point, but most do their fairing at the completion of the project right before painting. I, on the other hand, believe in fairing at every opportunity along the way by scraping, filling, sanding. When I get to the finish coat, there is little to do (see the bottom coat on in the picture sequence of the flipping). I suspect that I am closer to half done, although that remains to be seen. Of course, I could go with tiller drive and no decks and be done right now ... ;-)

In any case, the boat weighs somewhere between 500# and 700# when it is flipped and we did it easily with old tires, cheap blankets, and about 10 people. We rolled the boat on the building jig, which has casters on it BTW, out onto the driveway. Then we lifted the boat and rolled the jig out from under it. Next, we set one edge on some tires and turned her over. I used blanket-covered old tires as a soft landing pad, but the boat really came down softly anyway. I was a nervous wreck the night before the flipping, but in the end it was actually pretty easy to do it. Many hands make a light load.

After the flipping, we went back into the garage and fastened the pre-made carpet-covered cradles for carrying the boat upright on top of the building jig. My building space is rather limited, so I need to keep the boat on a movable platform all the time. It's easy enough to re-level for the more critical work.

After putting the carpeted cradles on the jig, we just placed a tire under the transom end and fed the jig back under the boat just like loading it onto a trailer, then back in the garage it went. Full story can be found at:

http://www.reelboats.com/tongass/step18.html .

Brian Dixon
Albany, OR

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