Summer Breeze building
Day Seven (Oct 16, 2000)
Made the keel or "shoe"
as some call it, and the skeg and glued them in place today. I used cypress.
They are both made from 1x4 which
is 3/4" stock. The keel is 2 1/2" wide. (This is pretty arbitrary, but
it makes for 3/4" strips on either side of the 3/4" skeg.) The
finished skeg is 36" long but the blank is 38". (It runs long
and gets trimmed.) It tapers from 3.5" to 1". My approach is the same
as used on the Bevin's Skiff. Here are their instructions.
(off my site) Their instructions might be a little clearer. (Remember their
bottom is 3/8" so don't use their nail sizes)
Here I'm dry fitting the blanks. Mark a center line on the transom. Then marks
on either side of that half the width of the keel. The edges of the keel should
hit those marks. Make a center line mark on the bow end that will line up with a
center line mark on the stem. Once positioned trace the edges of the keel with a
pencil. I drilled 2 pilot holes for #12 1 1/2" ring nails in the stern end
of the keel and one hole at the bow end where I use a temporary dry wall screw
with a small square pad of 1/4" ply, so it clamps instead of pulling
down into the keel wood. Now I unclamp the keel and round it's edges.
I like rounded edges, but they aren't really necessary. Here I'm rounding the
edges of the skeg with a 3/8" round over bit in my router. A clamp on the
router and a clamp fixing that clamp to the workbench makes a mini shaper.
I begin the skeg slot by drilling a 3/4" hole in the keel with a spade bit.
The 2 1/4" wide keel is then run against the table saw fence set to
3/4". (Do short sample cuts in the end and measure the slot before cutting
the whole thing, to be sure you have the fence right.) Saw until the blade just
cuts into the hole. Flip the board and do it again. Finish the cuts with a hand
Rounding the tip of the skeg with the 3/8" radius round over bit makes it a
perfect 3/4" round which will fit the hole at the end of the
I don't have pictures for a good
bit of this. When gluing I forget to snap any.
I'm still trying to keep this as
simple as possible, so I use #14 x 7/8" bronze ring nails to attach the
keel. You could use screws if you like. I pre drill for the nails with a
bit slightly smaller than they are. I use a pattern of 2 at the edged, then 1 in
the center every 4 inches. In the skeg area, I only nail the edges. At the bow,
where the butt blocks make the bottom 1/2" thick, I used 1" nails.
I clamped a spacer in the skeg
slot to be sure it stayed the right size. I spread PL on the bottom of the keel,
screwed it to the stem, and nailed it to the transom. The rocker in the bottom
seems to hold it in alignment pretty well. I could have attached some temporary
alignment blocks to make sure it went in right, but it turned out I didn't need
to. After the ends were attached I turned the boat right side up on the shop
floor. I put some scrap 3/4" stock to either side of the keel to keep the
boat from rocking. I then stood in the boat using my weight to press the keel to
the floor while I nailed from bow to stern. I needed to prop the stern up with a
boat cushion while I did the bow at my weight wouldn't pull the keel all the way
to the floor otherwise. Also propped the bow while nailing the aft end.
Much of this will be unnecessary
if you have a helper. They can hold a "bucking iron" - any heavy
weight, usually a sledge hammer - against the keel behind where you're
hammering. Then you can keep the boat on your saw horses. (Your helper may want
to wear hearing protectors.)
I then flipped the boat back over
and glued in the skeg. My original idea was that the slot would keep me from
having to fit the skeg to the bottom, however I didn't like the way it wanted to
rock in the slot against the bottom. So I marked the curve of the keel on it and
used the band saw to cut the curve in it's bottom edge. The accuracy isn't that
critical as PL glue will fill gaps well. (Up to 3/8" I'm told) I'm sure it
would be fine to leave it straight too.
I butter up the skeg and put glue
in the slot to get good squeeze out. You don't want air pockets in there. I
didn't put any nails or screws into the skeg from the inside, since it seemed
strong enough without them. You might want to though. Be sure its at a right
angle to the boat bottom.
After the glue has set I cut the skeg and keel off flush with the pull
Here it is glued.
As with epoxy it's very good to
work as clean as you can when gluing. It's much easier to clean up glue while
soft then to struggle to get it off later. I keep a bunch of tongue depressors
around (sort of large Popsicle sticks.) and use them as disposable scrapers. You
can cut the end at the desired angle and scrape squeeze out as you go. That
said, there will be dried glue to clean off. How hard you work at it depends on
the level of finish you are going for.
Here I've used my
belt sander to clean up the top of the gunwales, and then the 3/8" round
over router bit to soften the edges of the gunwales and transom.
Wont be long now! Next the mast
step and the sailing bits.