Stitch and glue primer
- Category: Assembly and boatbuilding
- Created on Monday, 28 June 2010 05:22
Stitch and glue boat construction has been around since the 70's. It was brought into popular use by a boatbuilder named Sam Devlin in Olympia, Wa. His book, "Stitch and Glue Boatbuilding the Sam Devlin Way" is the definitive resource on the topic, and is available in our bookstore.
Our kits use stitch and glue techniques extensively. The basic process is to temporarily fasten (stitch) panels together at the edges (chines) and place epoxy saturated fiber tapes over the chines to create a structural bond.
A West Satsop Boatbuilding kit is constructed over a computer-cut jig which is assembled egg-crate style. This jig positions the bulkheads laterally (athwarthships), longitudinally (lengthwise) and vertically. Once the bulkheads are in accurate position, the hull panels (each tagged with a unique identifier) are joined end-for-end, puzzle-piece style. The two long assembled bottom lhull panels are then draped over the bulkheads and temporarily fastened together with wire or heavy gauge pneumatic staples. We've found that inexpensive heavy gauge electric fence wire works well.
Once the lowest hull panel is stable and located in the proper position, the second panel is attached in the same way. It's been described as "reassembling a bananna from the peels" for good reason. It's a little magical to see a boat appear from the seemingly random shapes of the hull panels.
Once all the panels are attached together, and secured in the proper location relative to the bulkheads, the hull is "tabbed" to the bulkheads - bonded with short lengths of epoxy saturated fiberglass tape.
As construction progresses, the joints are "filleted" (the joints are covered with a thickened epoxy mixture) and then taped with continuous lengths of fiberglass tapes as indicated on the plans.
From the perspective of strength and speed, stitch and glue is a superior method of construction, and our kits really give the boatbuilder a great headstart on what can be a very rewarding project.