Subscribe to our newsletter

Form & Function Page 2

Form & Function — Mast and Mallot Boatworks
Form & Function
Part 2: Mast & Mallot Boatworks continued

By Capt. Ken Kreisler — May 2001
 More of this Feature

• Part 1: Form & Function
• Part 2: Form & Function, continued

 Related Resources
• Feature Index
 

“I sold the first one and then four others. By that time I was looking into a design for a bigger cold-molded boat,” Reed said. “I chose cold-molding because it combines the best of both building techniques and results in strength, durability, and lighter weight compared to other materials.” For the blueprints for the first 30-footer, he contracted Annapolis marine architect Mike Kaufman.

Reed asked Kaufman to take the best elements of the New England design and blend them with the easy-to-plane, no pounding hull familiar on the often-choppy conditions of the Chesapeake Bay. “He’s done every hull since.”

Reed and his crew of seven have two sites for building the boats. The Edgewater facility is where they are finished off but it is in nearby Galesville where all these hand-built, cold-molded boats begin. And they all begin the same way.

“I know how much material I’m going to need so I pick each lot of wood for each boat myself,” Reed said as we drove to a pair of old waterside corrugated tin Quonset sheds once used as oyster shucking storehouses. The interiors are now lined with layers of teak, mahogany, and red and white cedar sawdust, instead of decades of oyster dust from pulverized shells.

The vessel frames and keels are fabricated in one shed and assembled and planked in the other. The cedar for the hulls is ordered as six by sixes in 12-, 14-, and 16-foot lengths. The lumber is then cut into 5/8"-thick x 5 1/2'-long plank stock and then “slickered” (air-dried) for at least a month before being planed to a 1/2"-thickness.

Full-size Mylar sheets of each station, indicating the sides and bottom frames as well as the bevels and stem, are generated next. Reed then traces the boat’s lines onto the wooden stock. The frames are cut out on a band saw and trued with a block plane. Offsets, used for locating where the frames will be glued to form the sides and bottom, are placed on a grid layout on the floor of the shed.

The waterline is then marked on the frames and a temporary brace is placed on the mark. Next the stem is traced from the Mylar sheet and cut and assembled as laminations. The strong back is set up and leveled, the frame stations put into place and plumbed, and the stem is installed. This is all done upside down, as that is how the boats are assembled.

Fitting and placing the keelson and chines, and clamping the sheer completes the basic backbone of the boat. Battens are laid on all the stations and are checked for being true. Now the planks can be fitted fore and aft in two layers, seams overlapped, and glued with WEST System™ epoxy—used throughout the building process—between the layers, and secured to the frames with stainless steel staples and silicon bronze fasteners. The hull is sanded and faired—some 700 hours of sanding is required to get it right—and a saturation coat of epoxy is applied. Another sanding is done before two layers of 10-ounce fiberglass cloth are laid on the hull and keel. The hull is now sanded, faired, and sanded again.

The boat is flipped over with a TraveLift and the temporary frame brace removed. Epoxy fillets are applied to the frames and the hull’s interior is coated with epoxy. Engine and bilge stringers are installed and the interior of the hull is painted with epoxy barrier paint. The deck beams make way for the deck after which the interior is built in place. With the installation of the cabin, plumbing, wiring, engine, and hardware, the boat is prepped for its Awlgrip topcoating.

“I shoot the hulls at night because I have more control over the ambient temperature and humidity. That’s critical, especially with Awlgrip,” said Reed as our conversation drifted to delivery schedules. Depending upon the size and individual owner requests, Reed can have one of his fine craft ready in about six to eight months.

The wait will be well worth it. Reed’s boats are finished off in yacht fashion as evidenced by fine joinerwork and matching grains in carefully stained and varnished trim. They’ve got a deep forefoot and proven running bottom and the deadrise going aft runs from 30 degrees in the high slamming area down to eight degrees at the transom. The bigger boats offer twin diesel power.

The bottom line is Reed will build you a one-of-a-kind quality boat with all the care, craftsmanship, and pride he and his crew can deliver. But seeing is believing, and if you are considering having a custom boat built you may want to pay him a visit. And just to entice you, I’ll leave you with this: During my visit Reed’s father-in-law, the senior man on the team, was fashioning a door for the 38’s cabin. He had just milled one side and was flipping it over to do the other. “How much did you have to take off?” I asked. He ran a seasoned, well-worn hand down the side of the door. “’Bout that much,” he said.

Mast & Mallet Boatworks (410) 798-9510. Fax: (410) 798-9511.

Next page
> Form & Function, continued > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

Related Features