Slot Pram

by Paul Austin - Dallas, Texas - USA

The Hot Yacht model cutter sails better than I thought a vertical sided flat-bottomed boat would.  This may have something to do with the bow being in the water, thus preventing an ‘underneath’ the boat pounding.  Having a nice curve to the sides helps, too, I’m sure.  And a relatively straight run aft of the mid-point probably has the same effect as lifting the stern out of the water.  It seems that holding a straight course speeds the boat up to a small degree.

Now all of these things are guesses on my part.  But I became so enamored of the slot process of putting sides to a bottom that I wanted to do it again.  I had already built a stand for the lug schooner of 1/4″ plywood with two slots for every joint in a rectangle, with no glue or nails or screws.  Gravity holds the stand together, plus the weight of the model, itself.

That got me to thinking about a slot pram.

One day I was staring at the stand, thinking, what about a square pram using slots and glue only, no screws, no nails, no stitching or even tape to hold the sides to the bow and stern while the glue dries?

I thought about it for two days, going over in my mind how I would do this, the sequence of cuts I would use, and the proportions of the pram.  I hadn’t done a ketch rig, so I thought I’d make the pram about 20″ long and 8″ wide.


It went together in two hours.  The one thing I didn’t anticipate was the bottom bevel of the bow and stern, so that they lie flush with the flat bottom piece.  Beveling took another hour.

I laid the four sides upon the bottom, moistened the joint for the Gorilla glue, and glued it just sitting there on top of the bottom piece.

Then it was moisture seal, two coats of acrylic paint and a spray can of spar polyurethane.


1 Comment

  1. Take a look at Bolger’s Brick Schooner. Almost as flat as your cutter. I do not know how well it sails, but the single brick is a marvel. I know most folks in the punt world want a puddle duck, not having sailed one, I still believe the Brick with a Michalalk Leg o Mutton sail with the mast has be shaped for deflection is the best.

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