The Michalak Robote

Ultralight Rowing Boat page 1

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Robote is another simple plywood design from Jim Michalak.  I decided to put one together as yet another filler project while waiting for epoxy to cure or paint to dry on my FastBrick project.  The idea was to have a really light boat that I could throw in the back of my pickup after a day of boatbuilding, and take a spin on the lake with my dog, Truman.  This design has a true V-bottom, and I'm hoping that will help my perennially active companion stay in more or less the middle of the boat.

As usual, the panels are laid out, cut, and scarfed, along with the molds and bulkheads.  Once that's done, everything is tacked together with sheetrock screws and zip ties.  My order of work on these taped-seam boats is to get the basic assembly put together upside down where gravity helps get things in the right place, then flip the boat upright and tape the interior seams first.   Taping the outer seams first would require that the outer edges of the plywood panels be sealed, filled, and ground down first, and the temporary fastenings just don't seem up to that kind of abuse to me.


Once upright, the basic assembly is easy to get square and true, even if the floor of the shop is not level itself.  Additional centerlines penciled in on the molds and bulkheads, but invisible in this photo, help line everything up.   Since the lake where I'm planning to use the boat is very cold all year round, I'm installing permanent bulkheads fore and aft.  The aftermost bulkhead is seen in this shot, while the forward most bulkhead will be a foot ahead of, and cut down from, the forward mold shown.


This bow view shows the slab side panels of the design, and the forward bulkhead is also now in place.

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