Making Time

Outside looking in. Where’s Spring? 


(to start of project)

Between doing taxes, borrowing a planer (Thanks G!), snow storms, birthdays, and working late at a real job, a little still gets done on the boats: more sanding and scraping, and some work on the keels.

Most people use a high quality mahogany plywood for this part, and there’s much to recommend that. It’s pretty wood, and easy to use, though you’d still have to scarf two sheets together, and laminate two 1/4” sheets, to get the full length and thickness necessary. In my case, it’s the only place where mahogany would be used, so I think it might seem a bit out of place – if possible, I’m trying to use only woods that would have been available locally.

Instead, I decided to continue the stripping pattern from the hull onto the keels, but with half inch Ash. The bottoms will take a lot of abuse, banging off rocks, oyster banks, stumps, etc.. Ash is the wood used for baseball bats, so for it’s weight it can take a real pounding. Seems like a good candidate for keels, and the color will contrast nicely with the cedar and walnut. It’s also easy to find in long, clear lengths. I’ll probably use it for the toe rails and rub rails, too, for the same reasons.

I planed smooth several boards, then ripped them to half inch thick strips so the smooth planed surface would be the glue joints. Glued the bulk of the keel planks up all at once on saw horses, and will fill out the shape in place on the boats. Then I can plane the finished planks smooth and save some work sanding. I could have edge glued a couple of half inch planks together – the wood grain is pretty like that – but there’s little margin for error in that method. You’d need perfectly straight 12 foot planks and a good jointer to pull it off. The first rule of any project is to know your limitations.

Next I’ll have to make a pattern to use for the final shape, and decide how best to bevel the keel edges to the hull strips.



melonseed skiff, mellonseed skiff, melon seed, mellon seed   

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