Pram Plans? Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by ceviche, May 26, 2008.

  1. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    Can anyone recommend a good source for a set of plans for an easy to build pram? I've been pondering such a project but haven't been able to settle on a set of plans. There are quite a number out there, and I'm having trouble sorting out the field.

    If you have a suggestion, could you also add your reasons why you think a given set of plans stands out from the rest?

    Thanks!
    --Dave E.
  2. Bruce TenHoeve Member

    Posts: 30
    allmostsumas,wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    have a look at "Bateau dot com"...thats where i purchased the plan for my pram,stitch and glue method,quite easy,the plans are already lofted for you so you can just do the layout on your material...I built the FB-11 a two-piece pram
  3. Jim Wheeler Full time single dad and pram builder

    Posts: 111
    Tonasket, WA
    Ratings: +25 / 0
    Lots of options, none of which are worth a darn for stability. There is a Bateau design that many seem to like....the D4....until they build it and try to stand in it. pretty little boat, no stability. There was a plan out there by Ken Hankensen called a Sabotina. I have tried many times to either get a set or contact Ken (who I talked with many years ago) and have been unsuccessful. That is the only plan that makes sense. There was also a pram built and plans were available from Seattle Wooden Boat Shop (closed now for many, many years) called the Pass Lake Pram. Many neat features but again, no plans anywhere that I can find. The best thing is to find design you like in the world (wood, fiberglass, aluminum) and build one, to scale, out of paper (just the hull. Worry about the insides as you move along) and tweak it as you like. It really does work. Let me know if you have any questions. Wood prams are fun and rewarding to build and, despite what anyone says.....ALOT of work long term. Thats why we build 100 glass prams and about 3 wood prams every year.

    Jim Wheeler
    Spring Creek Prams
  4. nomlasder Active Member

    Posts: 1,322
    Burien.
    Ratings: +113 / 0
    I would agree with Mr. Wheeler, get some graph paper with 1/4 inch lines and play with some sissors and tape. There are some basic parameters. The bottom needs to be about 3 to 4 feet wide and the length between 6 and 10 feet long. The amount of rocker is determined by the splay of the sides and how hard you you apply force to the top edge of the sides.

    Other questions to ask! How big are you? How do you want to transport the boat? If you want to put it in the back of a Pick-up, measure the distance between the wheel wells (keeping in mind the splay of the sides)

    This is part of the fun in building a boat, the design.

    Here are some options after a quick google search. Sprink Creek also has some wood ones, maybe they would sell a pre-cut kit. Worth a phone call.

    http://www.butlerprojects.com/boats/montanapram/index.htm
    http://gregboats.com/pages/prams.html
    http://www.smallboats.com/kits.htm

    Good luch and have fun
  5. BFK Member

    Posts: 332
    North Sound, Wash.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    FYI-- Hankinson plans are available now through Glen-L (glen-l.com) ...besides the Sabotina, he drew plans for both 8 and 10' "drift" prams. I have a set of the 10' plans but don't like the idea of patterns only for drawing the sides; I'd much prefer offsets as they're more accurate. The drift pram plans are stitch and glue, which makes construction relatively easy.

    On the bateau site, look at both the SD-11 and D12 plans. I'm just about finished with the D12, and it looks to be cartoppable...will have to see when it's finished. It's basically a double-ender, and its length should make it easier to row.

    Another site that has some interesting plans is Paul Butler's site (butlerprojects.com I think).
  6. Dick Warnke was Pram-Man

    Posts: 761
    Federal Way Wa
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    I have a wooden pram and as Jim Wheeler pointed out it is a lot of upkeep. If I had it to do all over again I would really consider one of his FG Spring Creek Prams. Just my .02.
  7. Bruce TenHoeve Member

    Posts: 30
    allmostsumas,wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    As Mr. Wheeler(pram expert extraordinaire) has said, go ahead build it ,then try and stand in it!
    My two piece Fb-11 has a ton of rocker/camber and let's just say it is more than interesting standing and sight fishing from,especially when you are focusing on the big slurp 60 ft off the port bow and you lurch a little too much releasing a double haul to reach the rise.And yes they do require up keep,I have left a couple coats of paint around the lakes shores up here.
    [IMG]
  8. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    Some very enlightening points made here. Nomlasder made a lot of sense when he indicated that my size and how I plan on transporting the boat should be starting out points. I have a lumber rack on my light pickup that is about 12 ft long and 4 ft wide. That alone is very important. I do see that boat having no more than a 48 inch max beam. As far as length, I wonder if there is an optimal length that will produce excellent stability (standing up and casting). Will such a boat will allow two people to stand and do the same?

    I recently saw a gentleman at Martha Lake who had a grey pram. It kind of resembled a tiny drift boat (dory). It was clearly a stable design. However, it didn't look like it was really designed for two, though it could have been. I did like the amount of freeboard that design had. The bow was 45 degrees from plumb. The transom was about 30 degrees from plumb. Unfortunately, I'm unsure about estimating the beam. I'm also equally unsure about that design translating into anything of length and keeping within 4 ft of beam--especially given the rocker(?) of the sides. And that becomes another dilemma when the flair of the sides is a component of the boats overall tipping/rolling stability. I'd hate to sacrifice that kind of "anti-clumsiness" stability. By myself, I trust my sea legs even when standing and casting from a canoe--which I have done on a few occasions. When it comes to having a passenger with me, then that's another story. There are then two people to be concerned with.

    Thanks a lot for all the excellent pointers. I welcome more thoughts and observations.

    BTW, nice boat, Bruce! I like the shape, but I can see your concern about initial stability when casting. Funny thing: I found that my casting improved when forced to maintain my center of gravity in a canoe, while double hauling.

    --Dave E.
  9. nomlasder Active Member

    Posts: 1,322
    Burien.
    Ratings: +113 / 0
    Displacement is the amount of water moved out of the way when immersing something.

    100 pounds of boat and passenger displaces 100 pounds of water.

    Thank the Greeks

    1 gallon of water = 0.13368 cubic feet
    1 gallon of water = 8.337134 pounds

    1 pound will displace .0160342 cubic feet of water

    All of this assumes sea level pressure and 60 deg F. for those that want to be precise.

    Presume the boat bottom is square as in a pram, or close to square and you can figure the area of the bottom and how far down into the water your weight will push the boat. I use 500 lbs per person for some built in safety.

    Have fun, be safe
  10. Warren Messer Member

    Posts: 63
    Maple Valley, Wash
    Ratings: +0 / 0
  11. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
  12. Warren Messer Member

    Posts: 63
    Maple Valley, Wash
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    The prototype hull came in at 56" on the beam. It can be less, and the only change to the hull is the rocker on the bottom is reduced a little. So it can be between 54" to 56" and you won't notice any difference unless you set two boats with different beams together.
  13. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    Now I'm going to be an @ss. I should have first mentioned that I was hoping to find a boat design that had a 48" max beam. That's the width of my truck's lumber rack. Sure, I could strap or bolt on some lumber to accommodate the extra 8 inches, but I'd rather not be forced into that.

    Trimming 8 inches off the beam can really affect the tipping stability of a boat. I mean, I was really impressed by how Randy could stand on the edge of his pram, without it tipping. Now, that's stability! Changing the rocker surely would ill-affect that ability.
  14. Greg Armstrong Active Member

    Posts: 1,054
    Pugetropolis
    Ratings: +358 / 0
    Ceviche,

    I have a 10'-48" beam older design (Pete Culler - maybe?) flat bottom wood skiff that I really like because it's so stable and easy to stand and cast from. It's traditional copper rivited construction is now a weight issue though (bad back) and it weighs around a hundred lbs. or so. I've been researching "stitch and glue" designs in a quest to keep the weight issue on my new boat to a minimum. Here's another link (in addition to the Bateau website already mentioned) for a 10'-42" beam, as well as a 12'-48" beam lightweight boat. The flat bottom, with the addition of a skeg type keel for tracking and increased stability may be an option for you. Be sure to use good quality marine grade plywood if you build one.
    http://www.common-sense-boats.com/fs10_skiff.htm

    I like the tradition of wood, and don't let the occasional maintenance issue of a coat of new paint once every few years throw you off track. I've had my wooden skiff for over 25 years, and although I don't keep it in yacht like condition, it still looks great and is a boat I'm proud of. Small wooden boats have "soul"! Greg
  15. Greg Armstrong Active Member

    Posts: 1,054
    Pugetropolis
    Ratings: +358 / 0
  16. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
  17. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,312
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    I have some reservations about a boat with a pointed bow. I'd rather save on overall length and weight and go with a blunt nose. The Peanut Pram looked promising. Also, I'm with you about wooden boats. Wood maintenance issues aside, I was thinking that the Stitch and Glue method provides the opportunity to glass the hull. Right? So, why can't someone glass the outside of the hull with kevlar? Wouldn't that resolve any fear of banging up the wood?

    --Dave E.
  18. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,502
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,473 / 9
    I'll offer a potentially useless bit of input...
    History-I want to get my young daughters out on some lakes with me, but have no floating device adequate...so I'm looking for a canoe. I want to be able to fish from it and keep them safe (and my wife is a nervous wreck always hovering over them). To appease her I'm going to get a set of inflatable pontoons that I can attache to the sides. They are light weight, easily attached (D rings and cam straps can be quick assembly) and then the thing is about unsinkable. I would imagine that you could do the same for any small fishing boat you have. You could go narrow beam, put that atop your lumber rack and then strap on the toons or inflate them upon arrival (or put them in the bed of the truck if possible). You can get a set from AIRE (Outcast) for about $200 through your local sporting goods store that carries outcast stuff. Sportsman's Warehouse for exammple. I don't have the canoe yet, but I do have the Sportsman's Staff staning by to order some replacement 10' pontoons for me as soon as I decide on a canoe. Sorry so long, but if this works for anyone it was worth the typing.