In the late ‘50’s or early 60’s, I helped my father build a 22’ inboard semi-cabin cruiser. For $100, he bought a boat (it had sunk) of similar size for the equipment. He refurbished the engine, gear, shaft and strut, and the prop. It had a 1937 Ford flat head V8 engine converted for marine use, water-cooled exhaust, dual brass water pumps, and etc.
Sometime in the mid-80’s I happened by a library and saw an article in a current Small BoatJournal on the 18’ Simmons Sea Skiff. I Xeroxed the article. The description was just the type boat that I wanted for use in and around Mobile Bay. I told my wife that for $10,000.00 I could buy a Bass Boat rig, but it just wasn’t the boat I desired. I bought $4,500.00 worth of wood working equipment; paid $750.00 for a used 25hp outboard: bought a new trailer for $700.00; and ordered a set of plans from Dave Carnell at The Cape Fear Maritime Museum in Wilmington, NC. The $4,000.00 left was spent on material and as it ended up, I had enough for my boat and almost two more complete boats. Having never built a lapstrake boat it took a year, off and on, to figure it out and build. Boats two and three took almost four months of spare time each to build while working my regular job. My father’s boat had frames and a plywood skin. The sea skiff frames was installed after the strakes.
After my first boat, I had a request to build another. The second boat was taken to Simmons’ Day in Wilmington where I got an order for boat number three. This boat was to be all mahogany. When I priced 4'x18’x9mm Okoume Plywood it was $330.00 per sheet plus shipping. The 4’x8’x9mm thick Okoume was $59.00 plus $7.00 shipping which came to $66.00 a sheet. I didn’t find out what the cost would have been for shipping 4’x18’ sheets. By scarffing 4’x8’ sheets, I could save almost $100.00 per sheet ($50.00 per joint). I ordered 20 sheets of 9mm Okoume and had it delivered. I knew what a scarf joint was but the big question was how to make them. The stack just sat there as I tried to figure out the best way to make acceptable scarf cuts.
I tried the Gougeon Brothers Scarffing jig but just couldn’t quite get it to make a complete scarf joint on 9mm thick sheets. It was obvious and simple enough to figure that a small hand power planer would do the job. The $1,300.00 stack of plywood in my basement was the incentive I needed to come up with a way to make scarf cuts that didn’t mess up the expensive plywood. This is when the idea for the John Henry Planer-Scarffer Attachment was worked out. John Henry is my first and middle name. Seeing how easy and quick it was to make scarf joints and how consistent the cuts were, I applied for and received a Patent.
At present, we have sales in 45 states and 19 countries along with two U. S. Territories.