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  1. #1
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Default Building a Pontoon.

    Hey guys,
    Well, I have been thinking for a while now to build my own pontoon but thought I should get some advice first since I couldn't find any similar projects online. Or at least not in details.
    What I am thinking is that I wanna build the 3 logs out of wood and fiberglass, I'm not bad when it comes to wood so I think I can do well there. And as far as I can find online, once the logs are built, everything is easy from there on.
    Now the question is, will it float as well as if it was made out of aluminum?
    I know I can buy the logs or have them done but I really wanna enjoy the project.
    I was also thinking to basically fill the logs with foam which makes me believe that it should float just as high.
    I have a 21' wellcraft bowrider but I just love the space on the Pontoon.

    Anyway, let me know what you think and we'll go from there.

    Thanks in advance,

    Waldo

  2. #2
    Petty Officer 1st Class Water logged's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a Pontoon.

    Adding foam to the toons would reduce floatation equovalent to the weight of the foam. The wood and fibreglass may also weigh more than an equal size aluminum toon, so that would also reduce floatation. The toons as you described them would work, just be sure to calculate your weight to floatation ratio.

    Glenn


    08 Sun Tracker Regency, Party Barge 22
    08 Mercury 115 hp 4 stroke

  3. #3
    Seaman Apprentice WoodenPontoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a Pontoon.

    Waldo,

    I have built a wood & fiberglass hulled pontoon as you describe. It took a very long time, but was very worth the effort.

    The foam-filled pontoons will only provide floation if they are underwater. It certainly is a good idea to fill them. If they fill with water you will surely sink the boat. I filled my tubes with plastic bags filled with styrofoam packing peanuts. I can easily removed these if necessary and the were cheap to obtain. Pour-in-place foam is very expensive.

    I love to help you put your dreams together.

    Good luck!
    Dan Williams
    Connecticut

    22 1/2' Tri-Hulled Wooden Pontoon

  4. #4
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Building a Pontoon.

    Don't know if this link will be allowed but here is gentleman whose pontoon is all wood and he did the work himself

    http://www.pontoonforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=978

  5. #5
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Building a Pontoon.

    Quote Originally Posted by WoodenPontoon View Post
    Waldo,

    I have built a wood & fiberglass hulled pontoon as you describe. It took a very long time, but was very worth the effort.

    The foam-filled pontoons will only provide floation if they are underwater. It certainly is a good idea to fill them. If they fill with water you will surely sink the boat. I filled my tubes with plastic bags filled with styrofoam packing peanuts. I can easily removed these if necessary and the were cheap to obtain. Pour-in-place foam is very expensive.

    I love to help you put your dreams together.

    Good luck!
    You beat me too it I was unsure if I had seen your toon here but knew I had seen it at the other site, waldo this the man to talk to his build process is a work of art. My dad built a 27 foot sailboat back in the 50's and if he was still alive he'd love to talk to Wooden Pontoon

  6. #6
    Seaman Apprentice
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Building a Pontoon.

    Treker57 and Water logged, thanks you very much for your help.
    WoodenPontoon, I found your project a while back and it is a beautiful work. Very well done.
    Regarding what you mentioned about how the foam would sink the boat if it filled with water, I was thinking I can divide the toons into multiple compartments so if I get a leak, it would only damage one of the compartments. The inside of the toon will have at least one coat of resin on it and maybe a coat of gelcoat, If I can afford it :P.
    Now let's say I don't add foam but still divide it into compartments, what If I just do the wood and fiberglass and try to keep the thickness of the walls to almost how thick the aluminum is? I don't know... When I think of it, it just makes me feel that it would be lighter than the aluminum toon.

    Let me what you think guys.

    thank you again,

    waldo

  7. #7
    Seaman Apprentice WoodenPontoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a Pontoon.

    Waldo,

    You have mis-read my poorly written comments. The floation will not sink your boat. It will float the vessel, but only when submerged. It will not help to keep it higher in the water while using the boat.

    I have divided my hulls into 2' compartments. I have floatation bags in most of the compartments. Some are used for stowage. I also have 7 bilge pumps spread across the 3 hulls (3 stbd, 2 center, 2 port). Each bilge pump is on a "private" float switch.

    Hope this helps,
    Dan
    Dan Williams
    Connecticut

    22 1/2' Tri-Hulled Wooden Pontoon

  8. #8

    Cool Re: Building a Pontoon.

    I am seriously considering purchasing a 32' suntracker partyhut pontoon boat.
    My question is, Is it possible to install a second outboard motor for back-up in case the primary conks out?

    I plan extended river trips on the Brazos and Colorado rivers, and can envision just floating at the mercy of the current.

    Thank You in advance for any advice.

  9. #9
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus Don S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a Pontoon.

    Welcome to iboats Diogenesusa, you should start a new thread of your own and not hijack someone elses thread with your questions.
    Don S.


    Please, no PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems.
    That is what the forums are for.
    Only forum/moderator issues will be answered in PM's.

  10. #10
    Vice Admiral 5150abf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a Pontoon.

    If memory serves a 25' pontoon wieghts in at around 220lbs so I don't think you are going to beat that on weight so you would have to go with a larger diameter which would give you the same flotation, the only way to improve flotation is to reduce the weight of the craft or make the hull bigger, nothing you put in or on the tubes will make them float better.

    I have seen WP boat in Pontoon and Deck Boat magazine and it is gourgeous but as he said it was very time consuming.

    If I were you I would cost this project as far as you can, furniture, fixtures, resin ect so you ahve a good idea what the final cost will be.
    GO IRISH!!!!

  11. #11
    Seaman
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    Iowa
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    Default Re: Building a Pontoon.

    On the subject of foam in "logs'' Never ever do that ! We had a 14ft pontoon that we had foam filled, the shop said it would raise us a couple of inches in the water . Sounded good so we went for it . Huge mistake, instead it droped us a couple and added so much weight that the motor wouldnt push it anymore and could only hold 3 guys, before the thing srarted to submarine. We wre trying to use it as a duck blind after that. But when we got the blind on it, a lightweight design, we could only hunt 2 guys and they always had wet feet. The boat now lives in a scrap pile .

  12. #12
    Supreme Mariner Silvertip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a Pontoon.

    You also mentioned that you would coat the inside of the tubes with resin and gel coat "if you could afford it". 1) Fiberglass and resin are good sealers obviously since there are lots of plastic boats out there. However, done incorrectly it is very porous and that traps moisture leading to rapid rot of whatever wood you use. 2) If you have to skimp financially on the tubes perhaps the overall cost of this project is something that needs to be thought about more thoroughly.

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