Thursday, 20 March 2014

Decks & Coamings

Now with the hull right side up, I needed to attach the decks permanently.  But first I needed to sort out inspection hatch for the front bulkhead and install the eye bolt in the stem.  I'd read somewhere that the eye bold should ideally be placed closed to the water line if used for towing,
whereas for pulling onto trailer, I guess a higher position would be more desirable.....compromise ensued and I positioned it just below the bronze plate for the forestay and above where the bronze keel band will end.

I had cut out the hole for the bulkhead inspection hatch, in a oval shape centered on the bulkhead.  Subsequently I had seen other builder use two hatches, either side of the mast.  However, since I don't intend using the flotation chamber for storage, I'm satisfied that the centered position behind the mast will work fine.  I'm working on the assumption that is is only needed for occasional airing of the chamber during off season.

Next was to epoxy and screw on the decks.  I also painted on a second coat of clear epoxy on the undersides of the decks before final assembly.  The camber on the fore deck was too severe for the 1" screws on their own, so some clamps were needed to pull the deck down tight and then the screws were able to keep it there.

Next step was to make up blocks to clamp on the coaming.  There is to my mind a peculiarity in the plans which state to bevel the side deck filler to 15deg and also make the clamping blocks to 15deg, but these block are sited on the foredeck which already has some camber on it, so this results in the coaming flaring out where it sits on top of the foredeck.  I'm not sure if this is by design, but I will wait until I trial fit the finished coamings to decide which has the fairest lines.

I made templates from 1/4" ply.  The plans call for 11 1/2" wide template, but it turrns out you need wider if you want the coaming to cover the side deck filler.  This necessitates a 14" wide board, which would leave quite an amount of waste cutoff.  So I decided to glue up a 10" board like so:

Using John Brooks excellent technique which he describes in his Glued Lapstrake Wooden Boats book of running a router bit between the joint off the one guide, I got a very tight joint, so I am hopeful the glueline will be invisible as I used the cutoff from the same end of the board.

Next job is to resaw this board into 4 1/4" boards.  The coaming can be either steam bent or made from a laminate of two 1/4" boards, so given that I will have a glue joint in the board, that rules out the steam option.



  1. First, Paul, I want to say thank you so very much for doing this blog. I have been looking at your photos and reading your experiences with great interest. You are one of my guides as I pursue my own Somes Sound. I'm just about to do the final attachment of the garboard planks and your comments about dory gains will help me as I attempt them for the first time.

    The manner in which you have expanded the width of the coaming board is spot on correct. This is a technique I've used many times in the building of furniture. As long as one picks boards with appropriate grain patterns (figure) the match is usually very natural in appearance and it is unnoticed that the builder "cheated."

    An option for the laminated coaming would be to interject a thin veneer of a contrasting wood color between the coaming halves. The contrasting wood hides the glue joint and adds a bit of visual interest. I wouldn't try to cut a 1/16" veneer on your bandsaw. Veneer of this thickness can be had from commercial suppliers.

    Very nice work.


  2. Hi Jeff
    I appreciate your feedback and as a complete newbie, your encouragement us most welcome.

    I re sawed the coamings today which was tricky.  First I split the 2" board and ran the resulting boards through the thicknesser down to about 17mm thick.  Then I resawed them again but my blade wavered somewhat so I'm debating whether to run the cut sides through my thicknesser to get down to 1/4" as specified.  I'm concerned that I might end up with some dips and leave resulting gaps but your suggestion to use a third laminate if a different colour might be my get out of jail card!  

    Good luck with the dory gains...I think if I was doing it again I might relieve the notches from the transom instead of the dory gains.

    All the best


  3. Great job!! I'm really impressed so much from yours work.
    Posted by: Caitlyn | Boat Decking

  4. Great job on the woodworks! The coaming's looking very sleek. With all the hype about the Noah movie, I remembered that I also used to have dream of building my own boat when I was younger. Though until now I still don't have the skills to do so. But I do wish to learn more and these blogs are just the perfect reading materials for the job! Thank you for making this blog and I wish you all the best!

    Thelma @ Quality Strapping Systems