You Editor-in-chief here at Chine bLog spent the day over at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum‘s Apprentice for a Day program again today, and, as always, I had a great time. In my haste to get to making sawdust and shavings, I didn’t catch the name of the design [Editor’s note added after publication: it is called “Merlin Yawl” and was designed by Kees Prins and Bill Bronaugh] for the boat the program is working on this year, but, unlike most of the others, this is a new design, not a traditional Chesapeake boat with traditional construction. This boat does, however, have a traditional style, but it will be done using lapstrake plywood construction. Today’s focus was the backbone.
Let’s look at the design. She is a bit whale-boatish in appearance, roughly 17′ LOA and 7′ abeam. She is called a yawl and has yawl proportions, but, as is generally the case in small, open boats, she is technically a ketch (mizzen forward of the rudderpost).
Looking at the lines, you can see she’s pretty. Even if she was drawn in 2013, she would look at home a century or more earlier. We here at Chine bLog are generally fans of her basic look: double-ender, plumb stem with a nice round in the forefoot, and somewhat raking sternpost.
When I entered the now familiar building shed, I found the strongback and molds set-up with the keelson laid down and attached to the inner sternpost. One guy was shaping the inner stem. My job was to finish shaping the keelson, then two layers of 5/8″ (I think) angelique plywood [Editor’s note: our bad – it is okume] laminated together and cut to shape in plan view. One guy had started to plane the bevels in, and I took over the task today. If you look at the lines, you can see there is a bunch of twist in the garboard at either end, and I had to get the keelson beveled to receive that twisted plank. This is to say, I had to plane in a pretty crazy rolling bevel along the length of the board. You can get some sense of the job from the results pictured here.
We also got the inner stem in (that’s program manager Jenn Kuhn checking it out) and, ultimately, glued it and bolted it to the keelson.
I did the shaping of the keelson from this fitting (at left) to the roughly finished result below. I am fairly happy with the results.
With that done for now, the last prep was cutting the slot for the centerboard. My handiwork here too.
Another guy spent much of the day doing calculations to line off the planking. They will be carrying on with that tomorrow, and I am sorry to miss the task. I got a bit of a flavor of it and picked up some tips. #1 – don’t forget to calculate in the rubrail! They’ll have to backtrack a bit on that tomorrow. I would surely have missed that and ended up with a puny sheer plank.
I tried some new things, learned some good lessons, and had a great time. I can’t wait for round two in two weeks, when planking will be the order of the day! Stay tuned for more on this lovely boat.