Keel Planks

Shaping the Keel Plank


(to start of project)

Gluing up Ash strips for the keels worked really well. Left off the last two strips so the whole blank would fit through the planer, which evened everything out, then planed the remaining strips to the same thickness and glued them on.


Made a paper template directly off the boats, pressing the corners of the molds into a roll of paper and marking the contact points, then bending a batten around them and connecting the dots. This gave a very good line to follow cutting out the blanks



Once the blank is cut out, leaving it a little fat for screw ups, the  final shaping gets done with a block plane, checking and rechecking against the molds. For something you have to just eyeball, the exact shape and size is pretty critical – leave it too fat and the strips will miss the edge of the plank and extend into the interior; cut it too lean and they’ll strike it high, slipping past the bottom, leaving the keel plank protruding up from the floor. Best you can do is come close, cut a smooth line, and hope to bend the hull strips to fit.

Here’s a surprise: The keel planks are not a simple oval shape. They’re more fish shaped (appropriately enough). I assume because the aft of the keels sweeps up, rising to meet the transom, the planks take on a slight hourglass curve, with a slight waist near the stern. (Unless I’ve messed up, that is.)



Only got one keel shaped before friends called and invited us to go sailing. Played hookie and gave up a day of work to do some field research and refill on inspiration.

melonseed skiff, mellonseed skiff, melon seed, mellon seed   





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