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My question is: I was thinking of building the frames mostly of plywood, and combining the guessets. If you use CNC router, with good nesting, you can save a fair bit of ply instead of cutting whole frames. Plywood doesn't have the longitudinal strength of solid stock frame futtocks, married with gussets. This doesn't mean you can't do it, but that the scantlings will need to be tweaked a tad to accommodate the inherit differences in framing materials. Location: La Florida I built boats with the solid wood long members in the frames with plywood corner braces.
For me, it was a side step from building a laminated ring to building a frame out of one or two pieces of sheet plywood and was not able to google anything that said don't and why.
To Mr Watson, hello to from Canada, my wife and I spent two wonderfull weeks on Taz in 2009 for the Hobart Woodenboat Festival and toured the Franklin River Boatbuilding School. Ian Glad you had a good time Ian, its Wooden Boat Show again in Jan 2013 ( bi-annual), so preparations are well underway. The comment "Some of the plans do incorporate plywood into the frames, but (usually) not as the sole frame element. My real interest in the subject is a result of a current project that plans to use plywood frames. Pars comments (always worth considering) indicate that 'real timber' might be worth incorporating into the plans. Location: Eustis, FL Edge fastening is an issue, but tabbing and epoxy can solve this on some build types. This is precisely why you see dainty little hardwood frames on relatively close centers in some traditional build types.
Again you can move the numbers around to help a bit, such as leaving the spacing the same, accepting a weight penalty and reducing the molded dimension a bit to gain reasonable interior volume. Plywood works well for gussets however---- much better than solid wood where splitting is a problem with short pieces of solid wood.
Plywood frames eat up plywood quickly as well because of the vast amount of waste while solid wood wastes very little.
I think a case can be made for plywood frames when building a round-chined design such as would be built stripper style. Location: Eustis, FL My recollection of the boat he's building is the 15' design by Bruce Crandall.

Compared to modern designs they pound, are heavy and have high speed handling issues, if over powered.
Plywood sheeting as a diaphram bulkhead is out, but still might think of a laminated ring with filler blocks at the corners. When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals.
In brief, there are 16 frames including the transom, full length stringers, dual stepped keel set up, engine hatch assay and seat assay. This iconic racing boat was originally designed by George Crouch in 1924 and went on to win the 1924 and 1925 APBA Gold Cup.
It has been said that the 16 foot Gar Wood speedster is, pound for pound, the most valuable classic production speed boat in the world.
There are some 15 frames, 2 keels, twin hatch assembly, vertical cleats, gas tank fixing, drivers bench seat, breast hook, front and rear stems with knees etc.
Torpedo feature two rear sponsons mounted off the tramsom providing added stability and positive flotation along with a great look. This is the simplified way of building Torpedo, there is a very simple set-up jig that locates the frames and transom, the chine, sheer and battens are all pre-cut on the frames and deck frames.
Alll the full size plans are ready to be cut and laid onto timber and are pre labelled for ease of assembly. Torpedo includes the origial mid deck frames to be used or left out to provide a larger open deck.
Suzette stands out as pure Hacker design with its bold lines and graceful curves, an inspired design. To the untrained eye, they might appear to be similar to a 'ring' frame but actually two or three components.
Making up a 'ring frame' from multiple overlapping ply sections is a pretty common practice.
It's also heavier for the same thickness, so you'll end up with heavier and weaker frames as a result, if using the same dimensions.
This could be as simple as different frame spacing or different dimensions of the frames themselves or a combination of both. I have no qualms about no answers as long as there are qualifying persuasive statements to clarify.
It's not that plywood frames can't be used, but that their good and bad points need to be considered in the scantlings.
A hard chine build with relatively straight sided frames, will be lighter and stronger using solid wood futtocks with plywood gussets or lapped and pinned joints.
It's actually lighter and stronger this way, than tripling the spacing, doubling the frame thickness and quadrupling (or considerably more) the molded dimension on a plywood frame.
Or reducing frame spacing and using similar molded and sided dimensions with an extra stringer or two tossed in, to compensate for stiffness loses.

Is an old design, one of the C class racers, a warped bottom with an odd step, though typical of it's era. They're often wet rides, but this isn't much of a consideration for a racer and they look good with nicely tumblehome sterns. The first frame, which started my mind to ponder, would be cut completely as one unit with a hole to access the stem. This is because for the same frame spacing, you can use smaller, both molded and sided dimensions, then the same strength and stiffness physical qualities, if built entirely from plywood, plus the edge fastening advantages of solid lumber. There's several approaches you can take, to incorporate all plywood framing, but you should adjust the scantlings to accommodate the physical properties of the new material choices, if you expect similar strength and stiffness figures for a given weight.
I found this to be a very advanced design in that the stringers start at the transom and end at Frame 2.
The Cobra has all frames and deck beams defined, floor timbers, dash, transom, seating, original stringers, stem, hatch assembly and the dreaded fin! Last time I built a wooden boat was a GlenL Squirt some 50 years ago and frames were fitted up from boards cut to shape.
So the rest would follow making the most economical use of a sheet of marine grade fir plywood.
The only time this get rivaled is with particularly dense hardwoods, though with these you can use even thinner molded and sided dimensions, because of the great torsional stiffness of solid hardwood stock. The original versions of this particular boat liked to trip over it's chine and this boat was an improvement with beveled chines. Bruce Crandall revised it yet again with the hull planked in plywood, and the bottom was laid with stepped layers of plywood to provide longitudinal strakes.
Other than its impressive deck lines, Zephyr lends itself to a variety of engine sizes through its generous beam. The earlier version had a little deadrise all the way to the transom and the newer one was flat. This tested plan has the corrected offsets incorporated into the lines so is suitable for full size construction without the need for correcting the lines and attempting to fair frames.
The entire assembly can then be mated to the vessel using added checking blocks included with the plans. Original offsets are notorious for errors as they were often measured up as a matter of record rather than used to build.

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