The Bolger Diablo

Outboard Utility

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Diablo is design #432 from Phil Bolger and Friends, a handy 15' outboard utility.  Judging from the results of web searches, quite a few of these boats have been built.  I decided to put one together as another filler project while waiting for epoxy to cure or paint to dry on my FastBrick project.  My hope is to do more fishing and somewhat less boat building next season, and to get my shop assistant, Truman, accustomed to being on the water in boats.  The plans are available from Dynamite Payson, but I'm just using the reduced sized plans right out of his book, Build the New Instant Boats.

This first shot shows the sides and bilge panels after they've been the cut out.  The bilge panels are clamped together and trimmed to final shape with a sharp block plane.  This is the easiest way I've found to get two matching panels, and it's also a good time to mark the frame locations on the mirror image panel.  Note that the side panels were not scarfed with butt blocks, but with fiberglass tape instead.  I decided to try that technique on the relatively small sides and it worked so well that I'm going to start using it from now on.  Butt blocks work just fine, but a smoother interior can be had using the tape method.


After all the panels are matched and trimmed to their final shape, assembly of the hull can begin.  The plywood used in the bottom panel had some curvature in it, so I temporarily screwed a 2x4 to it from the inside to flatten it out.  Note the scupper cutouts in the frame molds that also allow the interior glass tape to run uninterrupted past each frame.  I've found that these are difficult spots to get the tape smooth, so I didn't put cutouts at the upper chine position.  I'll just run the glass tape up the frame and start again on the other side.   The shapely and just completed Bolger Long Dory Venusian can be seen on her launching dolly to the left.


Fitting the bilge panels comes next, and is the trickiest part of the hull assembly, partly because there's some twist to the panels up forward, but also because it's important to get a good clean fit of the panel against the sides and bottom.  This view shows that a couple more short 2x4s have been added to the bottom to help flatten it out where the bottom meets the bilge panel.  This simple temporary fix should really help the boat have clean lines once the seams are taped and the hull is glassed.   A few zip ties in between frame molds really helps get a good fit of the panels, and honestly I can't see how it could be done otherwise.  Note the small bulge in the bilge/side seam just aft of the first frame mold.  Since the frame molds and temporary fastening lumber are cut square-edged, the sheetrock screws holding the side panel at that location probably need to be loosened slightly to allow the side panel to take the correct shape.

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