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Fishing Rhino

Building jon boat.  Input wanted.

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I mentioned some time ago that I was considering building a jon boat out of fiberglass during the offseason.

I know the hull will be heavier, and it will cost more than buying an aluminum version. But the finished product may not be much heavier than if I started with an aluminum, new or used. And, I can build it to my precise specs.

Starting with a blank sheet will make many things possible.

Anyway, here's my thoughts to date.

I want a full platform rail to rail, bow to stern, with no obstructions save for motor power outboard and/or trolling motor.

A "foot well" with a hinged lid would allow the operator to sit on the deck while controlling a small outboard at the stern. While fishing, the hatch would be closed and flush with the rest of the deck.

One or two rod compartments to accomodate rods of 8(?) feet. A live well/bait well somewhere amidships. Compartments for tackle, foul weather gear, cooler, battery(ies), fuel tank, electronics, etc., must be taken into account.

I want to build it with the maximum beam that will fit between the wheel wells of a standard pickup truck. Length of twelve feet. Can be slightly longer, if necessary.

The hull will be compartmented by stringers and bulkheads with no need for framing. The current plan is to laminate fiberglass mat to both sides of 1/4" foam in 4 by 8 foot sheets. These can be cut to fit the hull and the top edges will support the deck.

This, along with the foam core should make for a reasonably light, yet stiff hull. The plan is to use the minimum amount of fiberglass for the hull with extra layers at the chimes, corners, runners on the bottom, and anywhere else that is subject to abuse.

Since I work with fiberglass, repairs will be a simple matter.

I have a roll of kevlar left over from the race car body business, and I can incorporate that into the hull for extra strength.

Two pedestal seats, and flush mount pole holders with covers need to be placed in the platform.

Basically, I want it to be a floating raft for fishing, with everything stowed below the deck, but remaining easily accessible.

I know several members have modified jon boats into bass boats, and would appreciate input as to sizes for compartments, things to avoid, and ways to streamline and simplify plumbing and wiring.

My canoe is great for fishing alone, and in it's place cannot be beat. But I want something that allows me to bring a guest with room for all the gear and equipment, and that can be used on larger water and windier conditions. The canoe is moved around by the wind like a hot air balloon.

Regards, Tom

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Hum....   Never gave any thinking to build one out of fiberglass my self.  I did make one out of some very thin sheet metal that was ok to fish from but it took a lot of outboard to push

post-9448-130162913113_thumb.jpg

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Hum.... Never gave any thinking to build one out of fiberglass my self. I did make one out of some very thin sheet metal that was ok to fish from but it took a lot of outboard to push

Looks like you did a fine job.  And that's along the idea of what I want for a deck, except for the open area.  I plan to make a hatch that will provide the leg access you have, but will cover it when fishing.

I'm likely to stumble into any open compartment.  Falling over the side, except in cold weather, doesn't concern me, but taking a header into a recess does.  

One question.  How much of a gap is required to accomodate rolling the carpet over the edges of deck components?

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I'm afraid you're talking about a very heavy finished product, even at 12 feet.  Not exactly something that's going to be toteable from the back of a pickup very easily.  I'd be thinking putting this project on a trailer for starters.  

One question.  How much of a gap is required to accomodate rolling the carpet over the edges of deck components?

Depends on the weight of the carpet. 16,20 or 24oz carpet has varying thicknesses depending on the manufacturer.  You can always use a razor or a set of electric hair trimmers to trim the fabric down to a stub.  I've alotted 1/4" on my deck insert carpet redo project.  

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I'm afraid you're talking about a very heavy finished product, even at 12 feet. Not exactly something that's going to be toteable from the back of a pickup very easily. I'd be thinking putting this project on a trailer for starters.
One question. How much of a gap is required to accomodate rolling the carpet over the edges of deck components?

Depends on the weight of the carpet. 16,20 or 24oz carpet has varying thicknesses depending on the manufacturer. You can always use a razor or a set of electric hair trimmers to trim the fabric down to a stub. I've alotted 1/4" on my deck insert carpet redo project.

You are quite likely correct about the weight.  But, I am going to use a foam core construction with minimum material except in the high wear areas, and where extra strength is needed.  

Batteries, and other "permanent" equipment such as pumps would mean more weight.  

The stock car bodies I make weigh in at around 60 pounds, bumper to bumper.  If it requires a trailer, that's fine.  

I suspect the decking would be the bugaboo regarding weight.

However, my fiberglass vendor has honeycomb resin panels up to an inch thick that are very light, and as stiff as plywood.  They have the added benefit of not absorbing water.  I have not used them in my work, and it is possible the cost would be prohibitive.

As much as I like the idea of a platform boat, I may be better with a standard configuration with pedestal seats and a carpeted bottom.

A question on the carpet to make sure I'm understanding correctly.  

When the carpet is installed on a panel, the nap on the edges is shaved or trimmed close to the backing.  Is that right?

I appreciate your input, it has given me much food for thought.

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In order to properly build foam core panels, you will have to vacuum bag the panel after applying the resin or you will have too much separation between the foam & fiberglass. I had some experience doing it a long time ago and it is not an easy process.

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Fishing rhino,, I just wrapped my friends carpet to the underside of the lid then hot glued it, and shot carpet staples in to it so there secure. Aleast there wrapped nicely around all of the edges and don't gotta worry about the edges frayying

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In order to properly build foam core panels, you will have to vacuum bag the panel after applying the resin or you will have too much separation between the foam & fiberglass. I had some experience doing it a long time ago and it is not an easy process.

I am able to vacuum bag.  Have done it on some small parts.  Have also done some laminating to foam w/o bagging and haven't had a problem.  But, I'm glad you brought it up.  Could also use balsa core.  The main problem with either is their tendency to wick away the resin, leaving gaps.  

I've found that rolling on a generous coat of resin prior to applying the mat  eliminates that problem.  If you lay out the material and wet it thoroughly without regard to the wicking, it will present the problem you mentioned.  

It will be wet with no visible voids, but those voids will appear during the cure because some of the resin is absorbed into the foam leaving the laminate resin starved.

When I first worked with foam, I thought that would not be a problem because it is a closed cell foam.  Wrong.

I certainly don't want to go through the bagging process.  I've got the nylon separation cloth and the material to absorb the excess, but it can be a pain.

Thanks for the heads up.

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Fishing rhino,, I just wrapped my friends carpet to the underside of the lid then hot glued it, and shot carpet staples in to it so there secure. Aleast there wrapped nicely around all of the edges and don't gotta worry about the edges frayying

Did you leave the nap on the edges.  If so, what gap did you have between panels?

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I tried a ply wood deck on top of a 12x36 aluminum john.  Very tippy and I have above average balance.  Maiden voyage was all I ever did with it and then stripped it back down and did a traditional crappie boat set up of a ply wood floor and pedestal seats much more comfortable, but you loose some of the vision advantage that the higher stance gives you.  

A heavier, wider, longer, or better ballasted boat could behave better.  At one point I considered an old airboat hull for the full deck idea.  They are extra wide.  It would require a trailer though and would not fit in the back of a truck.  

CGH,

What is the length x width of your boat and how is the stability?

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Fishing rhino,, I just wrapped my friends carpet to the underside of the lid then hot glued it, and shot carpet staples in to it so there secure. Aleast there wrapped nicely around all of the edges and don't gotta worry about the edges frayying

Did you leave the nap on the edges. If so, what gap did you have between panels?

My compartment lids are measured out to be approx. 1/8-1/4 inch below the carpeted deck.  After I wrap the comp. lids I'll shave the underside right down to a nub.  If I leave the pile as it is,  the compartment won't close down all the way and it will also be uneven with the deck surface.  In any boat recarpet job, if you use 20oz and especially 24 oz, you may find it difficult to open compartment lids due to the pile thickness.  This can also be aleviated by shaving the sides of the compartments carpet.  

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I tried a ply wood deck on top of a 12x36 aluminum john. Very tippy and I have above average balance. Maiden voyage was all I ever did with it and then stripped it back down and did a traditional crappie boat set up of a ply wood floor and pedestal seats much more comfortable, but you loose some of the vision advantage that the higher stance gives you.

A heavier, wider, longer, or better ballasted boat could behave better. At one point I considered an old airboat hull for the full deck idea. They are extra wide. It would require a trailer though and would not fit in the back of a truck.]

That's why I want to make it the maximum width that will fit in the back of a truck.  Over four feet wide at the gunnels and less than four where it has to fit between the wheel wells.

Even if I end up needing to use a trailer, I still want to be able to carry it in the back of a truck.

I'm getting a lot of great input, and it's helping me to sort things out.

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Fishing rhino,, I just wrapped my friends carpet to the underside of the lid then hot glued it, and shot carpet staples in to it so there secure. Aleast there wrapped nicely around all of the edges and don't gotta worry about the edges frayying

Did you leave the nap on the edges. If so, what gap did you have between panels?

My compartment lids are measured out to be approx. 1/8-1/4 inch below the carpeted deck. After I wrap the comp. lids I'll shave the underside right down to a nub. If I leave the pile as it is, the compartment won't close down all the way and it will also be uneven with the deck surface. In any boat recarpet job, if you use 20oz and especially 24 oz, you may find it difficult to open compartment lids due to the pile thickness. This can also be aleviated by shaving the sides of the compartments carpet.

Great, that answers my questions.  Thanks

But it brings up another regarding the carpet.  Is heavier always better?  Is the carpet on the rolls at Home Depot or Lowes satisfactory, or is there something better?  I don't mind paying more as long as the value in durability and quality is worth the extra.

What about color?  Most of the boats I have seen use gray.  I know lighter colors will reflect more glare, and show dirt quickly, but will absorb less radiant heat.  Vice versa for dark colors.

I'm guessing that medium colors such as gray strike a happy compromise.

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I've used that outdoor carpet from both Lowes and HD. While it looks the same, the Lowes carpet is better. The backing on the HD stuff is thin and inconsistant. I've had glue actually bleed through the backing when laying the stuff. No problems with the Lowes when I installed it on my 12 foot semi V this year.

Honestly though, if you really want a nice looking job that lasts longer I'd go with the carpet sold by BPS, Cabela's or some of the other bass boat carpet sellers.

You get a choice of colors, the pile is thicker and more plush. It's actually designed for fishing with no loops in the fabric which can catch fish hooks (one of the downfalls for the Lowes/HD stuff). For the size boat you're looking at, you'll be looking at < $100 for carpet plus utility knife, blades, glue, etc. Well worth the money IMO.

Carpet color is a personal choice.  I'm going from a very dark gunmetal to a light grey.  Yep, dark colors get pretty hot when summer time fishing.  Yep, light colors tend to hold stains easier.  It's a trade off really.  

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I've used that outdoor carpet from both Lowes and HD. While it looks the same, the Lowes carpet is better. The backing on the HD stuff is thin and inconsistant. I've had glue actually bleed through the backing when laying the stuff. No problems with the Lowes when I installed it on my 12 foot semi V this year.

Honestly though, if you really want a nice looking job that lasts longer I'd go with the carpet sold by BPS, Cabela's or some of the other bass boat carpet sellers.

You get a choice of colors, the pile is thicker and more plush. It's actually designed for fishing with no loops in the fabric which can catch fish hooks (one of the downfalls for the Lowes/HD stuff). For the size boat you're looking at, you'll be looking at < $100 for carpet plus utility knife, blades, glue, etc. Well worth the money IMO.

Carpet color is a personal choice. I'm going from a very dark gunmetal to a light grey. Yep, dark colors get pretty hot when summer time fishing. Yep, light colors tend to hold stains easier. It's a trade off really.

Great info.  Just what I was looking for.  Thanks.

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Surfer!! Not my Boat. I got rid of that HOME BUILT TANK a long time ago the first time some one made an offer on it. The boat in this picture was done by a guy name Corey Grimstead's. I think it's a 1432 by the way (Sized by other objects in the pictures)

I don't know how stable his build was on the water, but the first 1432 that I had did, was very stable just didn't have much on the Free Board side

(http://www.bassjons.com/mycustompage0025.htm)

I have since finding his few posted pictured, alone with others, done mods on 4 boats so far. I have a 1436 Durcraft that I hope I'll be able to do a mod on this winter if I Can find a place to work from. Apartment complex living is the worst. Boats are stored 42 miles away at a storage unit.

post-9448-130162913115_thumb.jpg

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