Steve's Tolman Project

Step 1
Read and re-read Renn Tolman's Book, Wide Body Addendum and Jumbo addendum over and over again until I've just about got everything memorized.

Step 2-- Draw pictures of the Tolman to be...

Step 3

Okay, I've gone back and forth on which Tolman I'm going to build and have finally just decided to go for the Jumbo. It's going to be very tight building the Jumbo in my space, but I think I can make it work.

6/23/01- I've built 2 1/2 pairs of sawhorses to Renn Tolman's specs and started purchasing all the hardware, wood and tools I'll need to build my Tolman.

Have started laying out the transom on a 1/2" sheet of Meranti Marine grade plywood. Nice wood, cheaper than fir marine grade plywood and it appears to be higher quality. There are zero footballs on either face and it looks like it has 9 plys.

I thought that an 8' transom didn't look very big while laying it out on the plywood, but looking at it leaning up against the garage I've suddenly realized how big the Jumbo is really going to be. Wow! I've calculated that the sides will be approximately 30" which should make for a very comfortable fishing vessel. Indeed!

(stolen image from Renn, monkeyed with in Photoshop to add cabin)

Saturday, February 9, 2002
Subject:  Tolman building is thirsty work.

Today was my first real epoxy day. Up til now I've entertained myself by practicing scarfing, filleting and gluing scrap plywood. I've diddled around and thought about this to the point that I knew I'd better start making sawdust and epoxy drips and drool or folks would just give up on me ever building a beautiful Tolman.

Today, the transom got my full attention. It was already cut out but I'd yet to glue up the 2x8. Well, it's done but it was a fire drill halfway into the epoxying. Here are a few things that I thought I knew, but had to learn the hard way.

Rule #1: Even though you've read Renn's book several times, it doesn't hurt to review things right before you commit to making a mess.

Rule #2: Just like Renn says, you've got to keep your epoxy warm or it will crystallize. Hmmmm. Can you say "hot water bath"? I have to finish off my epoxy bench by closing in the sides and installing insulation and a light bulb to keep it warm on those 30 degree nights. No more hot water baths for my epoxy.

Rule #3: Have everything, and I mean everything ready before you mix up the first batch of epoxy.(Where the heck did I put those plywood buttons?, he says as the epoxy is hardening.) Jigsaw to the rescue with a valiant whack out some buttons in about two minutes.

Rule #4: Warm epoxy cures wayyyyyyyy faster than cool epoxy.

Rule #5: Don't forget to turn off the stove for your second batch of hot water to de-crystallize the epoxy. Ignore the fire alarm until after you've finished screwing the transom and 2x8 together. It's no more noisier than the neighbor's car alarm or yappy dog.

Rule #6: Relax. Epoxy conquers all. Yeah right. Say that to my tools, driveway, sawhorses and garage floor all suffering from my epoxy drool.

Rule #7: Tolman building is thirsty work. When you've conquered epoxy and reached a milestone, you must reward yourself with your favorite dark ale.

Tomorrow: Scarfing ain't fer wimbly wambly girly boys.

February 18,2002

Well, I finally got the transom completely glued up. Horn doublers and bottom doubler are drooling as I write. Also cut out the corner braces, but see that I'll have to fine tune them when I start putting everything together.

Have decided I need another twenty clamps of some sort. Even after using a bazillion plywood buttons fastened with sheetrock screws and washers I still ended up using some 30 odd bar, C and spring clamps to line the perimeter of the transom. Yes, it looked like the proverbial porcupine that Renn described in his book.

Adding a washer to the sheetrock screws for the buttons kept the screws from going too deep and exiting out the other side. When you folks who haven't, but intend on building, get around to it, be sure to make a lot of plywood buttons and have them set up prior to mixing your epoxy. It'll save you from the fire drill routine.

My second gluing session was way more relaxed than the first and I swear I feel like I've been doing it forever. Hmmmm. Hopefully the fiberglassing part will feel the same.

I'm going through an awful lot of gloves and I seem to struggle with keeping my chip brushes in useable condition. I will go through a lot of those too.

I found a mustard pump at home depot for $3.50 that is making the dispensing of acetone a lot less messy. Problem is the thing doesn't fit all that well so I have to take it off at the end of the day. Someone somewhere has to have some sort of a valve or pump that screws into the opening of a one gallon acetone can.

Back to work...

on to the next installment...