Want to Build a 10ft Pram

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by pfournier, May 31, 2012.

  1. pfournier Do it outside!

    Posts: 154
    tacoma, wa
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I am planning to build a 10ft pram and would like suggestions on plans, idea of the cost involved, advice on tools/supplies and some advice like "If had known what I know now...." feel free to chime in. I'm all eyes.

    I have never done this before, so would be satisfied with stitch n glue.
  2. candr Daryl

    Posts: 97
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    Ratings: +26 / 0
    I'm just finishing up a pram build. It's taken a lot longer than I expected it would and it's cost a lot more money than I thought it would but it's been a very satisfying project. I wanted a boat that I could fish stillwater with as well as float up to class iii rivers with so I went with these plans : http://thtchronicles.blogspot.com/p/zs-drifter-pram.html . I modified them a bit to suit my taste and built the boat out of a material called plascore with a mahogany veneer on the inside and carbon/kevlar on the outside. I wanted the wood look without the weight. The boat is almost done and its come in at under 100lbs however the cost of materials for building in plascore/carbon/kevlar is very high. Dave (designer) of the boat is very helpful with questions if you go with his plans.

    Good luck and post pics if you get into a build (I will post some of my boat when I finish it up).
    Daryl
  3. Frank R Member

    Posts: 110
    Dearborn, Michigan
    Ratings: +1 / 0

    I am surprised you have not had more replies.

    I absolutely love the pram that is shown in the link above. I missed seeing it in person too; he was on the Pere Marquette in Michigan the day before I was there. It is really a midwestern style river pram with shallow rocker.

    If you want more of a rowing pram, you want a Smith Brothers pram. I have been told "Smith Brothers prams are the gold standard for prams on the stillwater fishing scene in Eastern WA and the interior of BC. The rocker (curve) in both the bottom and the gunnels is what makes this pram different. Bar none, they are the best rowing pram out there. They skip across the water as opposed to a lot of other prams which plow in the water."

    I am still looking for plans for a Smith Brothers pram. If you can find a used pram you would be better off.
  4. pfournier Do it outside!

    Posts: 154
    tacoma, wa
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I've been looking at the Glen L <http://glen-l.com/designs/hankinson/driftpram.html> design in prams. Very simple. I really want to build a pram so I can say I built a boat and also there is a certain amount of pride from putting sweat and care into your watercraft. Call me old fashion.
  5. Mike Monsos AKA flyman219

    Posts: 463
    Redmond, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +75 / 0
    I built a 7' pram that I designed very similar to the driftpram a number of years ago. The stitch and glue method worked well and was simple to do. It was a lot of fun, I wish I wouldn't have sold it now. I've been playing with the idea of making another one someday myself. This isn't much of a quality picture but it's all I have of the pram. Pre-:confused: digital days

    Calligan Lake 6-1-12 003.JPG
  6. pfournier Do it outside!

    Posts: 154
    tacoma, wa
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Nice! I think that I would stick with an 8ft pram if I could make it more of a hopper style (taller sides and wider floor) for added stability when standing/casting. I may still do a 10ft pram, just more of a pain to store in my truck.
  7. Mike Monsos AKA flyman219

    Posts: 463
    Redmond, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +75 / 0
    I had a small Mitsubishi truck back then so the 7'er was handy for my needs at the time. 8' would have been a bit more stable I'm sure but surprisingly enought this pram wasn't too bad to stand in with the wide bottom design.

    Mike
  8. IveofIone Active Member

    Posts: 3,057
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    Ratings: +1,069 / 0
    Those wooden prams are just absolutely drop dead gorgeous! But bear in mind that they are maintenance subscriptions. Also the prams shown in the pictures were built by skilled craftsmen who have lots of experience. You can do nearly equal work on your first boat but it will be a long process with a steep learning curve unless you have some prior building experience.

    For a first boat stitch and glue might not be a bad idea in order to get familar with fiberglass and epoxy construction. It makes a pretty stout boat and you can paint it rather than display the natural wood. My first two boats were varnished wood and although they were really pretty it was hard to keep them that way. It is just a shame to nick a furniture quality finish or hit a rock or bang it in a pickup bed.

    As with every other type of construction cost go up relative to the quality of the materials used. I have enclosed a picture of an 8' pram I recently built using inexpensive A-C 1/4'' plywood and mostly scrap wood found around the barn. Total cost was somewhere between $400/$500 for the project with the biggest expense being the fiberglass and epoxy. If I was building a boat to use in running water I would use much better stuff.

    Paint is easy to apply and doesn't require the frequent refinishing that varnish does. Nicks can be readily patched. For the bottom I used epoxy with graphite powder mixed in-two coats with no other finish on top of it. I put skids on the bottom and plan to slide it around with no guilt.

    As for tools, boats have been built for thousands of years with rudimentary hand tools but you will probably want something better. I like my band saw for cutting compound angles where necessary, a really good sabre saw like a Bosch will help if you don't have a bandsaw. A table saw is a huge time saver and a bench sander of some type is really handy as well. A good cordless drill is a given. Chisels, a combination square and perhaps a pneumatic brad gun can all make life easier as well as a multitude of other hand tools which always seem to come in handy at one point or another.

    Building a boat is just plain fun as long as you don't get too anal about the end results. Expect some blunders on your first attempt and live with them-you won't repeat them on the next boat. Somewhere between the uptight perfectionist at one end of the scale and the hacks that build with a skil saw and 2x4's on the other end you will find a comfort zone and be happy with it. Just have fun and good luck. Share your results when finished.

    Ive IMG_0295.JPG
  9. Frank R Member

    Posts: 110
    Dearborn, Michigan
    Ratings: +1 / 0

    I would say go for it. It is far better to work from plans.

    My other advice is to build a small box from the plywood and practice your epoxy and fiberglass technicques. For example, build a box that is 1 foot long x 8 inches tall x 8 inches wide, with an open top, like a planter box. You can practice coating the surfaces with epoxy, stitching, making your fillets, wetting out the fiberglass, filling the weave, sanding, and painting. You will get a feel for how the materials react, set up times, and the like. These things you can't read about, you have to experience them.

    I have lots of advice, feel free to contact me if you wish. You probably already know there are a lot of free articles out there on stitch and glue construction.
  10. Jim Byler Pram Guy

    Posts: 19
    Dalton Gardens, ID
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I haven't visited this site for awhile, and just saw your message. Looks like you've gotten some good advice. I've built several prams and it has been an enjoyable hobby that fits well with fishing. Not sure whether you want a stillwater or a drift pram, but there are lots of plans out there for both. Butlerprojects has some interesting light weight boats and prams. Duckworks lists boats from quite a few designers, including some good prams. The last two prams that I built has shallow V's rather than flat bottoms, and they row especially well, but the building was more complicated.