EeZeBILT 50+ RAF Fire Tender
Steve Heward made quite a name for himself in EeZeBilt circles as the man who produced a 34” Triton. He is in the process of capping that achievement by making a double-size twin-engined Crash Tender – a 40” EeZeBilt! He needed to modify the boat a bit – but let's hear him describe the build in his own words...
Having built the Triton, reviving the EezeBilt method, the Fire boat looked like a build you can get into. The drawings went together very well and after a time I found out they took me about 75% of the way and then I made up parts and put it all together. It was quite exciting cutting out the first pieces and seeing the layout of the boat, I thought ''This one is going to be a big one'' and I wasn't far wrong!
The boat is built using the downloaded .DXF plans, which were scaled up in my CAD package to twice scale. 3/16" balsa is used as the framework, and most of the skinning is done in 1/8" balsa.
It soon became clear that a lot of reinforcing and extra frame work would be needed, so I fitted two extra formers in between the original ones. The idea of the two main boxes on the cabin floor makes the structure very solid to start with and it is a good idea to plank the bottom first. Here I thought it would be better if the deck could be fitted before any super structure as this would make it easier to plank the hull all together. The boat could be laid flat on the bench and would be more rigid to work on.
To do this I suggest that with the box sections fastened on the cabin floor, two half formers can be fitted in between the main formers on the out side of each box. Also the transom needs to be fitted as well. A stringer say 1/2'' wide can be notched on the flat next to the notch for the cabin sides, this would hold the transom in place, then at the right moment the cabin sides can be fitted as per drawing. The fore deck can go on as well in frame work fashion then when the hull is covered the build is back to normal. Having access to the inside of the hull both from the sides bottom and inside the deck allows for sealing the wood before it is all covered over.
Because the hull panels are so big I did the bottom in four easy to manage panels. The forward part, where there is a lot of bending and twisting, I laminated from two pieces of 1/16th. By doing this you can stagger the joints of the panels or join on the same frame. The sides went on easy up to the famous notch then there was a bit of fitting to do but not too difficult, here again laminating.
Fitting the steering gear was a bit hit and miss, all in all it worked out quite well. I have become quite proficient at soldering so I was very pleased with the rudders and I managed to solder the propellers on the shafts keeping them central.
As an after thought I made two A frames for the prop tubes to stop vibration, again soldering without setting the boat on fire. I have used two 40mm two blade propellers with plenty of pitch, also I have two 50mm props which will fit OK so as an experiment I'm going to make up a spare pair of props and see which ones to finally use.
Steve Heward's 40" build