Tolman Alaskan Skiffs are thoroughly modern vee bottom, stitch-and-glue plywood boats that have dories in their ancestry.
They are ocean-capable, ranging in size from 18 to 24 feet and powered by outboard engines from 40 to 150 horsepower. Here are plans and instructions for building all three of the now world famous Tolman skiffs. This book contains very detailed plans for how to build all three of my skiff hulls and the information necessary for adding many options such as decks, storage lockers, steering consoles, and a variety of cabins.
For questions about the skiffs, we highly recommend the Tolman Skiff builders discussion forum. There's an extensive body of accumulated knowledge and many current and past Tolman builders eager to answer your questions. He left Tolman Pond for prep school at Vermont Academy but flopped in his first attempt at college. He moved to Alaska in 1970, settling in Homer and finding work as a carpenter before moving into boatbuilding. As a flute and pennywhistle player in local bands and a step-dance teacher, Renn played a central role in Homer's thriving contra dance scene, providing an authentic link to the New England and Cape Breton traditions he treasured. Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008 and given a poor prognosis, Renn continued to live an active life, hunting and fishing, playing flute, traveling regularly to New Hampshire to visit his girlfriend, skiing each winter in Idaho and Wyoming, and providing vigorous step-dancing demonstrations at his New Year's dances.
Renn's cousin, Colin Tolman, now builds and repairs Tolman skiffs out of Renn's boat shop in Homer, Alaska. Most of the designs we build in our shop get a name along the way, and usually it's the name the owner gives the boat. Thread: Bolger Diablo: How would you rate this boat as an open center console sport fisher?
I am looking for a simple-to-build boat to use as a center console outboard sport fishing type craft.
Since the 9.9hp motor isn't powerful enough to get an 18' hull on a plane the clam skiff might be more stable and the flat bottom wouldn't be a negative at displacement speeds.
If you might use a bigger motor I'd definitely build something with a V in the forward bottom so it doesn't beat your teeth out powering into a chop.


Though I haven't been aboard those three, they look to be very nicely done, and have garnered very good reviews. I think the 'instablity' is not true instability, but rather a lack initial stability that common to all boats with large amounts of dead rise (as with Diablo). Neither the service provider nor the domain owner maintain any relationship with the advertisers. I have built over sixty since 1986 for sport and commercial use, and many others have been built by amateurs and professionals in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Europe, and elsewhere. The Jumbo is a larger skiff in every dimension, has a 4-inch chine flat, and has a deeper vee bottom. The Jumbo can be built with any of the above options, with the Kachemak Bay-style cabin shown above or with a full cabin such as is found on the popular fiberglass C-Dory. Building a Tolman skiff is a project suited to the abilities of the average amateur wood worker. After a three-year stint in the Army as an intelligence unit radio operator, he returned to graduate from the University of New Hampshire in 1959 with a B.A.
Renn was well-known in Alaska coastal communities for designing and building the Tolman Skiff. Every New Year's Eve, his boat shop was thronged for a community dance, sometimes featuring ringer musicians flown in by Renn. Renn passed away peacefully in his tiny beachfront cabin on the afternoon of Saturday, July 5, 2014. 11-5 and 11-6: The rows of figures labeled "CHINE" should be labeled "FAIRBODY," and the reverse. To get WoodenBoat delivered to your door or computer, mobile device of choice, etc, click WB Subscriptions.
In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois). I retired from building skiffs commercially in 2000, and I now spend much of my summers using mine here in Alaska.
The Jumbo is designed specifically to use the new four-stroke 115 to 150 horsepower engines.


Growing up there, Renn developed a lifelong love of hunting, fishing and music; and a great curiosity and interest in the world. His two do-it-yourself books sold thousands of copies and today, Tolman skiffs can be found across the world.
He published The Nelson Music Collection, an historic New England contra dance tunebook accompanied by a CD and musical biography of his father, Newt, a noted flute player. The 18ft Diablo Grande looks like a fair craft for this use, with the nice sharp bow and narrow foot, but is she too tender to fish all the way around her in the open configuration? I like the diablo design, and I'm sure she's great underway, but my concern is two 225lb arthritic dudes fishing over the sides, tipping out into the harbor. Then in 1980 Renn substituted quick-to-build bulkhead-and-stringer construction for traditional ribbed framing, which eliminated the need for expensive 'clear' lumber and simplified the building process.
He taught in a private school, did graduate work briefly at Harvard, and then moved to the West in 1963. An old-school outdoorsman, Renn traveled far across open water on hunting and fishing trips. I'm kind of wavering back and forth between this design and the Clam Skiff, as I already own the book with plans and build keys for both. In 1986 he replaced the flat bottom common to most skiffs with an easy riding modified vee. He was a tutor at a dude ranch, a hard rock miner, a carpenter, and became a pioneer ski patrolman at Aspen, CO and Jackson Hole, WY. Power, at the moment will be supplied by my trusty merc 9.9, but may be upgraded after some performance testing. Once the construction process was perfected, Renn brought out two larger models, reflecting the need for skiffs large enough to have cabins and to handle the new, heavier four-stroke engines.
I like the versatility and stability of the clamskiff design, and the blank canvas a big open boat offers for interior layout.



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