Methods of Construction (page 2)

 The Hartley Truss-frame Method

The first stage is to construct a set of frames from m/s rod. These frames have integral floors and sometimes gussets to spread loading for chainplates or other fittings. Stage 2 is to hang the frames and transom at pre-determined centres and at the levels corresponding to the building/height line. Stage 3 is to set up the sheer bar. Stage 4 is to add any truss/pipe keel, stem, rim and stern (if a double-ender). Stage 5 is to add the stringers. Stage 6 add diagonals if called for (verticals are of little use, they add weight and thickness with virtually no addition to strength). Stage 6 is to add the netting/mesh. And Stage 7 is to plaster the finished armature.

I have of course over-simplified the process by only giving an outline of the basic stages, without elaborating on how they are actually achieved. An in-depth description of the method can be found in the book 'Ferro-cement Boats' by Colin Brookes available from

The following group of pictures show the stages of a

'Fijian 37', under construction.

  Above...the frames have been made and hung at their pre-determined positions. Below...the sheer-bar, stem and keel pipes have been fitted in place on the hanging frames.

  In these two pictures the stringers have now been attatched, as well as sterntube, strengthening gussets and ancilliary items. On this design there are no diagonals called for, so the armature is now ready for the application of the netting/mesh (netting in this instance).

 Above...the netting has been applied to the outside of the armature only. The strengthening gussets for rigging fittings can be clearly seen on the upper right of the picture. At the top left are the spreaders which also act as the guide to the building-line. this picture, the inside of the hull as well as the frames and gussets are now covered with netting. The frame-spreader can be clearly seen also.

 Internal views of the hull now ready for plastering. Above...clearly shows the floors as an integral part of the frames. The box is the mast support box. Below...the blank for the rudder-tube assembly is shown running through the rudder-gland mount.



 External views of the hull fitted with blanks and now ready for plastering.