Stripping the hull

Adjustments and final touches... (page 1 of 3 pages)

Try for a visually straight line along the hull. One wants the shear strips and the first full-length hull strips to follow the line of the shear, this helps to establish the visual line of the boat. However, after that, it is time to start alternating cheater-strips with full-length strips to keep the overall visual look of the planking more or less level from bow to stern. All of these strips should be set cove up. There is a reason for this that we will cover later... I have found that I like to cut my cheater strips (rip the long taper in the strip) by hauling my little Delta band saw out into the garage, the new bead I then whittle with a shop knife (after you have done about three of them it is amazing how fast and accurate you become, then clean the "whittle-bumps" out of the taper with a little 4- or 5-inch Sure-Form tool. The Sure-Form seems to cut a heck of a lot faster than a block plane, and just as straight.

Stripping takes a little getting used to! (Pun intended.) After setting the first few runs of full-length strips from the shear strips up and onto the over-turned hull, you will probably have gained a wealth of knowledge about what a strip will (and will not) do with respect to fitting complex curves. Probably through some mental gymnastics, cheater strips and a lot of creative clamping (a 1/2-inch carpet staple through the strip into the form can save you in the worst situations, you may even have to resort to a house-wiring staple --see photo below---). We have now about made it to the first chine (bend in the side of the boat). At this point you will notice that you have stripped about half way up the bow and stern

Setting the keel line. After you have established full-length and cheater-strips (cove up) to the first chine, sharp corner or bend in the station molds, it is time to stop and take a breather. Remove the temporary keel strip from the top of the bow and stern froms. The next step is a tad tricky. Have your staple gun handy for this one. We now stop stripping from the chines up and begin stripping from the keel line down. All of these new strips should be set cove down. You are now setting the strips cove down so that the end tapers and the final strip on each side will be easier to cut beads that fit into coves on their respective mating surfaces than coves. Establishing the keel strip(s) is difficult, but rewarding. First clamp a scrap piece of cove and bead strip to the table of the band saw as a fence, then rip the beads from two matching strips. ( If you do not have a band saw, I suppose that you could plane off the bead.) Then staple (I used electrical house-wiring staples for this one!!! --sort of a nylon bridge with two small nails as the prongs) the center of the strips to one of the central station molds. You really want this set -up to stay put! The house-wiring staples really hold, but leave a relatively big hole in the strip, athough they are hardly noticable when filled-in with glue a little later. At the center point on the boat, (on a horizontal plane) the edges of the strips will fit flush. However, you will notice that as they bend to conform to the bow and stern that the corners of their inside lower edges must be beveled to eventually allow the underside of the side of the strip to conform to the vertical plane of the bow and stern spars, as well as provide a nice seamless joint between the two strips. Note the ever "sharpening" ridge of the keel line as it progresses toward the bow and stern in the following photos.

Fitting the keel strips ( stern view). I opted to rough the bevel out on the boat with the shop knife, then clean up the bevels with the Sure-Form. At this point, you will notice that the bow and stern forms are a bit oversized along the keel line, this allows you to trim them for precise fitting. Whip out the jig saw and lop off 1/2-inch or so from the forms, whatever it takes, let the flowing line of the keel strip be your guide. Also, the bow and stern spars need to taper to a knife edge where the keel strips terminate at the bow and stern (where they fit up into the upside-down-"V" formed by the keel strips). Keep trimming, fitting, and Sure-Forming, untill you get it. I did the bow end of the boat first, then liberally glued, clamped and stapled the whole works together. Once this was set up, I repeated the operation on the stern (this was a lot easier than fitting the bow).

Note: The keel strips require a lot of complex clamping and more than a few staples, as well as incorporate some very stresssed glue joints. Be sure to let everything set-up and dry well before proceeding. This is a good time to pull any remaining temporary fasteners from the lower hull, and do a little clean up. I took the opportunity to fill staple holes with glue, Sure-Form the glue joints and chines between the strrips a little and sweep up the work area.

With the first full-length hull strip affixed to the keel, I was within 1/2-inch of the lower planks at the stern. After a well-deserved rest and a savory micro-brewed ale, it will be time for a full-length strip with a bead-bead termination to be slid-into the cove-cove gap (above) to complete the planking at the stern!

Next (strip filling)


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