Monday, April 11, 2011


I decided to make the gunwales a bit wider (10mm to be exact) than stock.  The stiffer gunwale faired out a couple of flat spots around bulkhead #3.  The decision was also driven by material on hand.  I had 3/4" thick doug fir and Dave gave me a few of his 1/4" thick mahogany kayak strips to cap the gunwales with.  As a side benefit, hiking should be more comfortable on the bum.  Before gluing on the gunwales I shaped the stem. 

Used a piece of Dacron line soaked in epoxy to form the stem.  Heard of this technique being used on the leading edges of dagger boards and rudders.  Worked well and is tough as nails, except it fuzzes when sanded.  Not an issue here as the whole thing gets a layer of fiberglass tape over it.  Will have to experiment with other types of line, maybe nylon will sand nicely. 

Covered the wet epoxy with clear packing tape to shape the rope as much as possible.  Very little sanding was needed to blend the stem into the hull sides.

17 ft douglas fir gunwale strips laminating.

Went to Anderson Lumber in St Pete to get the gunwales milled to size.  The guys at Anderson are super nice and real helpful.  Here the laminated gunwale strip is going through a 1930's vintage 30" monster, cast iron, thicknesser.  

That machine is amazing.  Imagine 80 years in industrial service.

Fred and assistant cutting the bevel on the underside of the gunwale.

My wood shop, well maybe not.  Anderson Lumber's main shop.

Got the gunwales home and clamped to the sides in order to shape the bow.  Used a string line to find the location and angle of the gunwale cut.  Feels good to see the string line, attached to the center of the transom, bisect the dagger board case and end up in the very middle of the stem.  Maybe the boat is turning out straight.

Marking the cut.

Clamped a block of wood to act as a fence.  I stick a bit of sandpaper to the block so that is resists moving around and does not have to be clamped tightly.

Pull saw does the trick.  I eyeballed the vertical angle.

Cut and cleaned up.  You can see the sanded rope stem here.

Since the gunwales will be capped with mahogany, I decided to run a strip of it down the middle of the breast hook. 

Fitting up the mahogany strip.

After the gunwales were cut and fitted at the bow I screwed them to the hull sides making sure that each temporary screw hole would later be hidden by the inwale spacers.  This let me eyeball everything for fairness without the clamps getting in the way.  It also decreased the alingnment drama during gluing.

Can you guess what is going on here?  Gunwales gluing, but the very last inch or so, aft of the clamps, was slightly pulling away from the hull due flex in the ply.  So this rig applies just the right amount of pull in the right direction to close the gaps.  Note the dead blow hammer used as lever arm weight adjuster.  Very proud of this rig.

Mmmm me likey!

Total time to date: 311hrs

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