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Thread: Lightest possible Hull ... Wood or Aluminum?

  1. #1

    Lightest possible Hull ... Wood or Aluminum?

    I am thinking about an 11' x 60in deck over hull to be powered by a Briggs or Kohler 35hp VTwin with reduction
    and it will likely be flown solo always. I believe I could use thin plywood on the top and sides and fairly thin on the
    bottom of a wood hull. As an enclosed structural box it would be very strong especially if I filled strategic areas
    with foam. I would plan to cover the bottom with at least one layer of fiberglass. This is for open lake
    cruising and never on land so this is really to be an air powered boat instead of any kind of AMPHIB ATV.

    With a reduction drive I would be placing the motor on the deck and my seat as well to create
    the lowest possible C.G. So the big question.... would I be paying a weight penalty by building in wood
    as opposed to Aluminum ? The benefit of the Deck over wood would be unsinkable. I dont think I could do
    a light weight version of deckover aluminum hull. Meaning it could swamp and maybe sink in open water.

    In truth I am expecting a lake runabout useage as opposed to swampy area operations. One of the weird ideas
    I had was taking two 10 ft Jon Boats that were each 36 in wide and putting them side by side. (Tot 6 ft)
    They weigh only 86 pounds each and together with whatever is holding them together would likely be less
    than 200 pounds. GOTTA STAY LIGHT !

  2. #2
    Administrator Papee's Avatar
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    Re: Lightest possible Hull ... Wood or Aluminum?

    Weight really makes a difference on these boats. Aluminum would be the lighter or the two. I built a deck for my boat, took it out once and tore it off. It added a lot of weight for these little boats.
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    Re: Lightest possible Hull ... Wood or Aluminum?

    How about 2 sit-on Kayaks as toons?

  4. #4

    Re: Lightest possible Hull ... Wood or Aluminum?

    I read somewhere that a company with the word (PRO) in their name ... AIRBOAT PROS maybe ? had
    a smallish airboat hull made out of fiberglass that was said to weigh only 157 pounds. does anyone know any
    more details about this ?

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    Re: Lightest possible Hull ... Wood or Aluminum?

    Once built a 5x10 flat bottom boat from 1/4" luan and 1x2 cedar strips..lots of glue and screws. covered the the bottom with cheap glued vinyl kitchen flooring from Menards. ran it as an airboat off/on for 2 seasons, then gave the boat away..it never leaked. It wasn't very heavy until drive stuff was added. Bare hull was maybe 120-150lb, awkward to move around. Wasn't as pretty as it sounds

    All-in weight with complete drive unit, skipper and fuel was +-600lb..static thrust was in the 160lb range..still wouldn't plane. Probably had the geometry goofed up.
    Last edited by TLL; 08-20-2016 at 08:48 AM.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Corky's Avatar
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    Re: Lightest possible Hull ... Wood or Aluminum?

    I've sadly had the same results with some homemade wooden hulls when I was a kid..Alot of work and dreaming the whole time of just how fast it will go...And in the end a bathtub with a prop would have probably beat me...

    Aluminum .120 14' X 76" hull
    Teledyne 4a084-4 engine
    Circle S 1.69:1 reduction
    67" Whirlwind "Razor X" prop



  7. #7
    Administrator Papee's Avatar
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    Re: Lightest possible Hull ... Wood or Aluminum?

    Quote Originally Posted by TLL View Post
    How about 2 sit-on Kayaks as toons?
    The pontoon style will be heavier than a designated airboat hull.
    You will need the same surface area as a single hull. This adds two sides that you wouldn't normally have as well as extra bracing needed for each pontoon. Along with that you will need bracing to hold the halves together. Will it work, probably, will it perform as good as an airboat hull no, not with the added weight.
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    Administrator Papee's Avatar
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    Re: Lightest possible Hull ... Wood or Aluminum?

    Quote Originally Posted by preventec47 View Post
    I read somewhere that a company with the word (PRO) in their name ... AIRBOAT PROS maybe ? had
    a smallish airboat hull made out of fiberglass that was said to weigh only 157 pounds. does anyone know any
    more details about this ?
    Marty Bray makes those hulls and Chuck at Airboat Pros was a dealer for them. He is retired and I'm not sure who is a dealer for them now.
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    Member yamahaulerG1's Avatar
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    Re: Lightest possible Hull ... Wood or Aluminum?

    I run an aluminum hull 10.5'x5' 3/4 deck over sides and bottom is .090, decking is .060 total weight before paint was 175lbs with 5lbs of powder coat paint. don't know how much a wood hull weighs but I would think more then that. it runs great with the 084 and generac 990 both were direct drive avg speed 25-30mph with 2ppl

  10. #10

    Re: Lightest possible Hull ... Wood or Aluminum?

    Show us some pics please !

  11. #11
    Member yamahaulerG1's Avatar
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    Re: Lightest possible Hull ... Wood or Aluminum?

    I don't have any pics of my mini out of the water but here's my other boat the hull is the same except 12ft long it weighed 195lbs before paint. It has a cont 0-200
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