Lofting and Lines-taking

(Boat lines courtesy of Tri-Coastal Marine, Inc.)

I can advise amateur boat builders on sources for plans of all types of boats. Most clients present me with a set of plans they have purchased, but I have also worked from just published boat lines (without a table of offsets), scaling the dimensions and then lofting the lines to correct any errors. I have worked from existing boats, taking the lines (measuring) and creating a lofting for clients. I can modify the lines of a design to suit a client's needs.

As a guide, basic costs for a lofting from a drawing and table of offsets would be as follows:

Simple, hard chine hull, up to 20' $250 to $400
Round-bottomed hull, up to 20' $400 to $600

Larger boats, or complicated designs (tunnel hulls, etc.), would cost extra. I am happy to discuss your project and provide you with an estimate. My loftings are on high quality paper and provide builders with all mould shapes, planking, keel rabbet and transom bevels, expanded transom and lofted stem rabbet.

Lofting is traditionally the first step in the boat building process. The name comes from the mould loft, the place where the lines of a boat were drawn on the floor full size to make patterns for the moulds used to build the hull. Lofting is an invaluable tool, since it allows the boat builder to correct any discrepancies in scaling a drawing to full size, and to derive many details of construction including bevels, rabbets and mould patterns. All that is required to loft a boat is a table of offsets, which is a set of dimensions of the boat taken from fixed baselines. I am able to scale the offsets from a simple lines drawing published in a book, and then correct any inaccuracies when I loft it full-size.

Lines-taking is a process wherein detailed measurements of an existing boat's shape are made and recorded. These measurements are compiled, creating a table of offsets for the boat. Lines-taking has long been an essential part of museum documentation.

Lofting and lines-taking have been important parts of my work both as a boat builder and researcher. I have taken the lines off (measured) historic boats and lofted them for museums and clients for replication and documentation.

I have also taught lofting workshops in the United States and Japan. I recognize both the difficulty of mastering lofting and the tremendous advantages it offers the boat builder. In the last few years there has been a proliferation of boat plans commercially available that include full size paper patterns in lieu of lofting. I feel it is unfortunate how this limits amateur boat builders to a narrow selection of published plans, especially in light of the thousands of traditional boat designs available in books and museum collections. Furthermore, a complete lofting provides far more information than a set of patterns. The most important details include planking bevels and stem and keel rabbets.

I loft boats on rolls of high quality paper and Mylar. I can provide a client a full-size lofting of boats up to 30 feet long, on high quality paper, delivered in a mailing tube. I can also consult with clients on different boat designs and sources for drawings and offsets. I have also measured existing boats (lines-taking) and produced drawings or a lofting for replication, model-making and museum documentation.

Rescue Minor

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