Ways to Give

Inside IYRS Blog

Learn what it’s like to spend a day in the life of a student.

Apr 18

Written by: Tom
4/18/2012 9:03 PM 

Once the deck beams have been installed, the next task is to fine tune their curve to follow the camber of the deck.

Here, the Watch Hill 15 team has marked the outline of the deck camber on each beam, and are planing down to it. You can see the lines more clearly in this photo.

It's standard procedure to leave the deck beams a little thick for exactly this purpose. It's much easier to remove extra wood than to add shims to make up for thin beams.

Not that adding shims to thin parts is completely unacceptable. Sometimes it makes more sense to add a little wood to a part that you've spent a lot of time to rather than starting from scratch. Take this shutter plank, for example.

Thin strips of cedar glued to both sides of a thin section of planking will make it possible to save an otherwise lost plank.

But, back to deck framing...

Here's a little guide to the deck parts up at the front of the Beetle cat.

There's a lot of structure here for the sole purpose of providing a rock solid support for the mast.

The half beams that tie into the mast partner do so with a ramped joint.

Installing these half beams involve the trickiest joinery in the boat. First, you have to get the ramp and slot just right for a snug fit to your half beam.

The outboard end of the half beam meets the sheer clamp and hull sides in a second complex joint that both flares outward and curves forward. The thing that makes this extra tricky is that as the half beam is fit, it slides down the ramp outboard.

Once everything fits properly, the beams are drilled and screwed down.

And of course, once the boat the decked, no one will ever see these nifty joints again until the next big repair comes along. Leaving a good joint in such a hidden area is like a secret communication to the next builder, saying, "we did good work on this boat."

Where any of these parts contact the deck, they must be shaped to match the deck camber. This is pretty straightforward with the yoke and half beams that support the mast partner, but the partner is made of white oak. This is tough wood, and it takes a sharp plane to work it.

You can see the long plywood camber mold that he's using to guide and check his progress.

You can tell when the students are fairing their deck beams; the top surfaces are bare while the rest of the beam is painted.

Once you know what the assembled parts look like in the boat, it's easy to pick them out in various stages of pre-assembly on work benches.

The grey mast partner and yoke here (with a red floor timber in the foreground).

And final painted floor timber and mast steps.

In case you forgot, these two parts fit down at the base of the boat beneath the mast partner.

Some students have been working on spars when they have time. Here, a student is fitting a round collar to the forward end of his boom.

And some have been putting in their sole bearers.

Upstairs, students have been rounding their masts.

After the stock has been planed down from square to almost round, the final step is to sand down the small corners to bring the whole thing to a nice smooth shape. There are a couple of ways of doing the final sanding. Some folks like to use a length of cloth-backed sandpaper attached to handles.

This method requires that you be extra careful to not stay in any one place for more than a moment, otherwise you risk sanding little valleys into your part.

Another method is to use a 3-sided sanding box. It could be a simple box with sandpaper and canvas (for support) tacked into the open side,

or a fancier one with rounded edges and a grip on top.

The sanding box is run up and down the length of the spar with a twisting motion to even out any lumps or valleys.

The result, a nice round spar that seems to invite everyone that walks by to run their hands along it.

The Watch Hill crew is doing a bit more than just deck beams. They've sanded and painted the ballast keel.

The bulkhead parts have been varnished are being fit with splines joining them.

Those are splines sticking up between the boards.

Blocking is screwed in between deck beams where deck hardware (winches, cleats, etc) will eventually go. This gives the hardware extra fastening support

The lobster yacht crew is working hard to finish up the hull. Here's they're puttying over the tops of all of the inset screws.

The deck opening has now been cut, and will soon be ready for the coaming.

The sailing dinghy is getting sanded and tacked in preparation for many varnish coats.

The seats will be varnished separately, but the supports will stay on the boat.

It's been a while since we've checked in on some side projects. Here's a handy one: a small tote to hold and organize little tools while working on the boat.

It has cleats on the bottom to keep it from sliding off of the deck beams.

A carving mallet, turned on the lathe.

And lastly, remember the carved eagle's head? It's been painted now.

Pretty slick. Not sure they'll be able to attach it to the finished boat though...


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