July / August 2021

Building a Tolman Wide-Body Skiff: Part 2

A rugged, handsome, and easy-to-build boat
Tolman Skiff

The boat, launched in 2020, was built for use on lakes in Vermont.

In the first part of this series (in WB No. 280), we dealt with how to cut out and prepare the Tolman Wide-Body Skiff’s hull bottom panels and pieces, as well as the transom, in preparation for the first phase of hull construction. With those components ready and set aside, I next prepared the construction jig on which those pieces would be joined together. (The following photos are numbered to pick up where Part 1 left off.)

Photo 20. I used 2×6s to make the mold frame shown on page 93 of Tolman’s book, Tolman Alaskan Skiffs. The frame’s outside width is 48", and because the end rails overlap the side rails, its outside length is 16' 3". I built it upside down, which made the construction much easier. First, I laid out the 2×6 sides and ends on the floor, checking to make sure they were square by taking diagonal measurements corner to corner. I installed 2×4 legs, each about 16" long, at the corners and in the middle of each of the side rails. After confirming that the corners were square, I screwed plywood gussets, which are visible in the photo, at each corner of what would be the bottom edges of the jig sides and ends. When turned right-side up, the frame stood at a convenient working height. Next, I fabricated the two bottom molds to shapes specified on page 94 of Tolman’s book. Each was centered along the edge of a 4'-long 2×4 and well fastened. Then, I positioned the molds as specified on the frame, making sure they were square to the jig and that their marked centerlines lined up with a sprung centerline cord, as shown.

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