Here it is, my El Toro project. This presentation is pretty self explanitory. As folks write me and ask questions I'll add more information about materials and suppliers to this page.
Initially I had many problems finding lumber for this project. I bought some wood from a local boat builder which was supposed to be Honduras Mahogany. What a deal, only $2.00 per board foot. Now I must insert here that I'm no wood expert. After many broken drill bits and screws, and hours of hard hand planing and attempts to bend chines,I discovered the wood was actally padouk. I now use my local Lumberman's as my supplier. I'm paying about $6.00 for Philipene mahogany. I've seen it anywhere from $5.00 to $12.00 per board foot. Shop around.
I planked the boat with 1/4 inch marine mahogany plywood. I've built many boats using many materials including ACX, Luan door skins, and marine fir. Even coated with fiberglass, the best I could do was get five years out of a luan boat. Fir, whether or not fiberglassed tends to check. It takes the same amount of work to build a boat with cheap materials or good quality materials, so you may as well use the good stuff and build a boat that will last many, many years.
I've seen some boats constructed with 4mm marine plywood. I chose not to use it. 4mm is strong and will work, but I've sat in boats side-by-side and felt the difference between 1/4 inch and 4mm. I'm not fiberglassing the hull so 1/4" is the way I'm going on this boat.
I'm not having any luck finding reasonably priced spruce for the spars. One supplier said to thank the companies that make pianos. They buy up much of the spruce from mills as it comes out, using it for piano soundboards.
I thought about having someone else make the spars, but the quotes were anywhere from $350 to over $1000. I can do better than that. I think I'll settle for CVG fir which is plentiful in this neck of the woods.
Fasteners and epoxy adhesive:
I use West System Epoxy thickened with 403 microfibers for the adhesive on all boats I build. I use silicon bronze screws throughout as specified by the plans. Bronze boat nails work too, but they tend to pucker the plywood when you set them. I went for strength. If you are looking for the best place to get your adhesive and fasteners, I highly recommend Jamestown Distributors. I've been doing business with them for years and thier new online store is very convenient. Their catalogue makes good winter by the fire reading too!
Finding hardware was both fun and frustrating. Initially, I ordered most of the parts listed on the plansheet from West Marine. They did not have a gooseneck and their the search began. Some nice folks on the El Toro home page (thanks Sandy Lowry) gave me the name of Racelite South Coast Inc. 16514-16 Broadway Ave, Cleveland OH 44137, (216)581-4600, FAX 216 663 7095. These people are awesome! They took my order and sent the part in just a couple days. Unfortunately they do not make the tracks for the gooseneck, but did give me the name of the company they say buys most of thier products - Glen-L. Glen-L was equally wonderful and they sent parts out the day I oredered. I highly recommend all these businesses.
More information will follow as I get more questions.
Click on the "next" button to watch my project unfold.
(This was updated January 2009. Those questions are keeping me busy, but keep them coming!)