I’ll Get Started Anyway

Posted by Zachary Wiest in Tools, Woodworking

If you read my last post, you know that I have received my kit… sort of.  I am epoxy-less but having read the manual a few times I tought I can begin building.  If working chronologically, the bottom panel and 3 pairs of side panels are glued together first.  I skipped ahead to cutting the gains on the #1 panels.  I did this for a couple reasons. First, I just couldn’t wait to get started.  I have had the kit for about an hour but had been waiting for months to purchase it. And second, it’ll be easier to work with half length panels in my one car garage.

So I started with the gains… kind of “skerry!”  This is one of the things that most intimidated me in reading the manual.  A gain is essentially a slow taper on the upper edge of the panel that blends the beautiful lapstrake hull to a smooth finish at the bow and stern.  I used my rabbet plane to make a consistant decline to a depth of 1/8″ starting 20″ back from the bow and forward of the stern.  The rabbet width of 3/8″ was easily drawn with a carpenter’s square.

I began by sharpening the rabbet plane.  I had never used it, but wanted to make sure I got clean cuts as I shaved away at the beautiful okoume plywood.  Next, I clamped the stern and starboard panels together, interior faces together.  This helps me make sure the gains are even and provides for a little less flex in the wood when working on saw horses.  After that I was ready.  Sweat was pouring off my face and I hadn’t even started!  I was nervous, it was my first cut!

As I pulled the plane down the veneer and watched the excess peel away, I was relieved.  It wasn’t as intimidating as I had thought.  I worked meticulously, alternating between the plane, sandpaper, and a straight edge to ensure the “ramp” was smooth and true.  I worked slowly, but after about an hour I had finished the bow and stern of both #1 panels.  I was very concerned with the depth of the gains as both the manual and other build blogs commented about the problems with shallow gains.  A shallow gain can result in excessive sanding on the exterior of the bow or stern, leading to an unattractive removal of the exterior veneer.  This isn’t a big deal if you paint the exterior, but I am not entirely certain if I plan to paint the boat or finish it bright.

I learned a very important lesson in creating the gains.  Use a fence!  It can be a simple as a straightedge clamped on the wood.  I cut all my gains freehand, using only my pencil drawn line as a guide.  When I finished I saw my 24″ roofing square hanging on the wall.  That would have made an excellent fence to guide the plane!  The next panels will use it…

Time Spent: 1.0 Hour

Total Time In Build: 1.5 Hours

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