What is in our Kits

Our kits consist solely of marine plywood parts and where applicable, moulds and building frame items cut in the cheaper WBP plywood or MDF for the boat you’ve ordered. Our marine plywood suppliers are Robbins Timber of Bristol; their marine plywood is bonded to Lloyds Type Approved specification, considerably exceeding the BS1088 standard.

Along with the plywood we provide a parts finder diagram, construction notes of things we think you should know about the build, and usually necessary, the scarph line-up diagram.  Sample documentation can be downloaded below.

We do our best to make the most efficient use possible of the material we supply.  Most designers will estimate in their plans the quantity of plywood required for the design.  While we cannot guarantee to save plywood, we have saved as much as 30% on the designer’s estimated plywood costs for one kit.  Usually it is around the 5-10% mark.

The parts are supplied in the plywood sheets.

These sheets were very temporarily stored vertically while we were getting ready to cut them out – if not using ply for a while, it must be stored flat or warping will occur!

Example Sheet Ply

Cut out the components.

You MUST label these first using the parts finder diagram before cutting the parts out.

You are supplied with a Parts Finder Diagram.

This includes the scarph joint Line-up diagram.

Click For Example plans Click for example cutting notes Click for example scarph line-up instructions

Scarph Joints

In the amateur boat-building world, there is an apparent aversion to using scarph joints as there is an attitude that they are a black art that can only be mastered after years of apprenticeship*.  To this, we say “b*** s***”. Over 200 St Ayles Skiffs have been built with scarph joints, almost all by amateur and unskilled builders.  They look better, and they really are not that hard to cut, especially if you use a router jig.

By default, we set up the planks in the kit to use plain scarph joints.  The planks are aligned using a very simple method which is highly effective.  When we are designing the kit, we draw a line through three points, the middle one being in the centre of the scarph joint.  The end points are at the edge of the planks.  When the kits are cut, the points are drilled with 2mm holes, and these are used with pins and a piece of fine string to line the planks up.  This is highly effective, and has been used successfully on a very large proportion of our kits. We have shipped nearly 700 of them in the UK and another 100 or so in Australia and the USA.  There has been the occasional error made with them, but these are always down to not reading the instructions.

Finger or Jigsaw Joints

In recent years however there has been a move toward using finger or jig-saw joints. We’re not so keen on these, as you need to cover the joint with glass in epoxy which then requires more filling and fairing and sanding to get a good result. The customer is king, so we can also make most of the kits up with finger joints for a small additional charge. We won’t do finger joints on any Oughtred designs, or on any clinker ply kits that we have designed, e.g. from Selway Fisher or Andrew Wolstenholme.

*To be fair, there are some specialised scarph joints that do take a high level of skill for joining pieces of timber when not using epoxy.  You do not need these joints when using epoxy!

Types of Ply

As we are within the Robbins Timber delivery area, we receive weekly deliveries of marine plywood and the MDF and WBP plywood used for moulds.

Robbins also offer Sapele plywood which is stronger and very beautiful when varnished to a good standard.

Building Marks.

Various marks are desirable for the planks, moulds, and frames used in our kits.  For lining up the scarph joints, we drill 2mm holes in the planks, usually at frame or mould locations.

On Moulds and frames, centrelines and datum lines are marked by small protrusions that are planed off once the lines are marked.  These are fully discussed in the sample documentation.

What’s Not in our Kits

We do not supply glues, paint, timber or fittings.  We normally do not supply plans, but can do for some of the designers.  There are a couple of reasons for this…

Firstly, we are a small business, and carrying stocks of these items would cost us money.  With the plans, more than half of our customers have already bought the planset, and some of the designers we work with prefer to deal directly with customers purchasing their plans.

Secondly, and more importantly to us, most of the point of building a boat is to make something for yourself which is very individual to you.

You may want to get a boat together very quickly and at low cost, so you would use low cost timber, plain stainless steel screws and fittings, and ordinary outdoor paint (yes, many people do for boats to be dry sailed).

On the other hand, you may want to make your boat a work of art, with carefully chosen hardwoods, gunmetal fittings, and two pack paint for a long lasting finish.

Also, you may already be familiar with a particular epoxy, or have some left over from a previous project.

There are so many different variables in building a boat that we believe that we should leave those choices to you.