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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Home East Lancashire boat Spain
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    4,636

    Default Sourcing ply for DIY dinghy build

    I have gone mad and been talked into helping build a sailing/rowing/paddling wooden canoe/dinghy !!

    The requirement is for 1x 6mm sheet and 3x4mm sheets of ply. I have used exterior ply from our builders yard for the 'sub deck' on my Colvic Atlanta and this seemed to work fine but should I be looking for something 'better' for this new venture?

    I will appreciate your advice on the sheets to look for and possible sources.

    many thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Home: Saffron Walden... boatless
    Posts
    2,412

    Default Re: Sourcing ply for DIY dinghy build

    Try Robbins - definitely worth a call.
    http://www.robbins.co.uk/marine/sheet_materials.asp
    Graham. Bavaria 42 Vision, "Scala" now sold. Boatless.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Belfast
    Posts
    1,471

    Default Re: Sourcing ply for DIY dinghy build

    Most Mirror dinghies that I know of were made from exterior ply then epoxied. Seemed to work well with no problems.

    Marine ply is quite expensive and not really much better.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Isle of Eigg
    Posts
    7,297

    Default Re: Sourcing ply for DIY dinghy build

    It depends on how you want to feel about it, how long you want it to last with ultimate confidence, how long before you replace it with something more intricate and just how tight the pattern is.
    So, a lot of depends there, last one first:
    If there are tight, as in you almost have to steam bend it tight twists then you will need expensive marine ply (or steam bend it)
    3 skinny sheets and one quite thin implies a small, fun, move onto something bigger boat. So think carefully about howmuch time you want to invest in a first bash. You will be learning techniques on this one and it probably will have room for improvement. Do you want to get it in the water soon a possible or will it be a never ready exquisite project?

    SAMYL, you sure Mirrors were epoxied? polyester would do just fine on them.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Boat Orwell - Me Norwich
    Posts
    8,087

    Default Re: Sourcing ply for DIY dinghy build

    I'm no expert in these matters, but pass on the following thoughts -

    I seem to recall a conversation with someone had built their own dinghy (or was it a canoe?) from non-marine ply, who came to regret having ended up with something with a short life for what in retrospect, after having put in all that time and effort, didn't seem to be such a significant cost saving after all.

    It seems to be the general opinion on here that the quality of generally available ply has deteriorated over the years. (This perhaps goes some way to explain the sharp difference in price between DIY store exterior ply and pukka marine ply.)

    I've had good service, including helpful advice, from Robbins Timber. (No connection other than satisfied occasional customer.)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Sourcing ply for DIY dinghy build

    Years ago exterior ply was a great deal better than you can get now. Unless you want the dinghy to be a very short term job I'd use marine ply from Robbins. Their delivery charges are reasonable if you cannot get to them. Also, if you're going to use epoxy at all this is a considerable expense, it would be a shame to have really sound expensive seams if the plywood falls apart!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Belfast
    Posts
    1,471

    Default Re: Sourcing ply for DIY dinghy build

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon nan Gruagach View Post

    SAMYL, you sure Mirrors were epoxied? polyester would do just fine on them.
    Any of the ones I was involved with building or measuring were epoxy glued, coated and then varnished with yacht varnish to protect against UV.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    S.W. France
    Posts
    7,624

    Default Re: Sourcing ply for DIY dinghy build

    Polyester resin in not a good glue, but that didn't stop the early Mirrors taped seams lasting for years.
    I found good marin occume ply around here and then bought in some from UK at a far lower price. Used marineplyonline near Bristol. But I can't find their website now. 10mm ar something like £40/sheet.
    Where ever I buy it, I put a bit in the dishwasher for a few cycles.

    If in doubt, use Robbins, but pricey.

    Have you chosen the design yet?

    Here is what I built: https://shop.classicmarine.co.uk/lit...ing-plans.html
    About six months of spare time inc sails, fittings and trailer.
    If you want to DIY the sails, The Sailmakers Apprentice is excellent and cheap off Amazon .
    Last edited by DownWest; 29-04-19 at 05:26.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Home East Lancashire boat Spain
    Posts
    4,636

    Default Re: Sourcing ply for DIY dinghy build

    Thanks all for the good advice. Interesting to hear that exterior ply is not as good as it used to be, thinking back there was a time when the 'new glues' used in exterior plys made them almost as good as marine ply ( 1970s?) have they cheapened the product since then?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Sourcing ply for DIY dinghy build

    Some of the Robbins ply is very expensive as is delivery. Talk to them and ask about ply that has a less high quality surface, ie OK for painting rather than varnishing

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