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What do I do now?

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Nick Santon17/10/2007 22:09:00
6 forum posts

Help please fellow boatbuilders. 

I have obtained some plans of an American WW2 minesweeper, comandeered the photocopier at work, and now have a set of plans to the scale I want all ready to go. 

My question is what next.  I would like to make a GRP hull and as I have the plans I can make a set of ribs up but cover them in what?  Will 0.75 ply stick as a butt joint to 2.0mm ply ribs?   How should I make the keel?

Preferably, is there a basic guide book anyone can recommend?

I would be very grateful for any guidance, best wishes, Nick.

Paul T19/10/2007 06:20:00
7335 forum posts
1229 photos
2 articles

Hi Nick

I have always found that books by Vic Smeed to be a great help, he might have written in the 1960s but the principals are the same and he was a great model builder/designer.

GRP is difficult and time consuming if you are not used to working with it, but again there are lots of books devoted to model building with GRP.

As to your problem with the ply ribs you could do what the real ship builders do and fit a spreader plate to the edge of the ribs to give a larger adhesion area to the 0.75 ply skin. Or you could use a two pack epoxy glue such as Aroldite to glue the ribs to the skin and when set run fillets of the glue down the rib/skin joints to increase the strength of the joint.

I hope this is of some help


John Hodkinson19/10/2007 14:01:00
34 forum posts
30 photos

Hi Nick,

I dont know what sort of scale you are building so perhaps my suggestions wont be of use, however in reply to your keel, I use 1/2" sq softwood for the main part with 6mm for the upsweep at the stern.Formers I use4mm ply. When all formers are assembled on the keel I then cover the hull with 1/16" balsa followed by fibre glass matting, car body filler and if plated I use 010" plasticard.This makes an incredibly strong hull and I have sailed them many times with success.

Hope this helps



Charles Oates21/10/2007 09:49:00
642 forum posts
52 photos

Hi John,

            when you plate with plasticard, what glue do you use to bond it to the balsa / resin? I've tried this in the past and had trouble with the card buckleing, and coming unstuck.  The compound curves were a pig too. I was useing superglue, but i'm glad no-one had a camera when I had the boat hanging from my finger!


John Hodkinson21/10/2007 10:23:00
34 forum posts
30 photos


I used ZapAgap super glue, I spread it round each plate so that it was just smeared making sure it covered all the edges, didnt have any trouble with buckling,held them in place with masking tape till fully set.Another method is to use ordinary card but I have never tried this, I find 010" plasticard ideal, dont know if thicker plasticard would follow the contours. Got some pics in the gallery of the destroyer I plated using this method.



Nick Santon04/11/2007 22:34:00
6 forum posts

Thanks for your help everybody.  The intention is to use some of these tips to make a plug for a GRP mould then make a GRP hull.

All sounds very messy with the potential to get GRP & resin everywhere but I'll give it a try.

Does anyone know of a trader (or are there any traders reading) who will be at Leamington next week where I can buy ply & GRP supplies?

Many thanks all


Len Ochiltree05/11/2007 17:22:00
525 forum posts
64 photos

GRP supplies? why not try Halfords, they sell the stuff for car repairs.

You could fix the ribs to the keel then fit blocks of polystyrene between the ribs then slice off spare using the ribs as a guide, then you will finish up with a plug.cover with cling film, then grp over it.

Nick Santon05/11/2007 20:42:00
6 forum posts

Many thanks Len

What a brilliant idea - using polystyrene as a former. 

Best regards


Kevin Bellman06/11/2007 22:07:00
68 forum posts
2 photos

Hi Nick,

If you need to use mail order for supplies you could try .

They can supply everything you need including foam. I've always found them helpful and they include on thier site a fibreglass guide, well worth a look.

Regards Kevin

David Wilson08/11/2007 15:24:00
2 forum posts
Please can anyone help I am trying to put together info to build a model of a Nauticat 331 motor sailer to a 1/10 scale .I have access to this yacht so can get as many photos ,measurements  as I want . The problem is that it is in the water and is antifould with Copper Coat and will not be out of the water for a few years .I am trying to find one that is on the hard so I can measure the hull. The questions are has any one measured a hull before ,what  books are available to show me how to do this ,or web sites

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