Construction and Design Journal – 14ft Dory for Rowing and Sailing – Part 4

by Roy Heberger - Boise, Idaho - USA

GRAND CHILDREN – February 8 & 9, 2004

We had Taylor and Carter staying with us Sunday through Monday and added to that we had Nathan this afternoon as well.  Needless to say, all I have done on the boat has been to think, and not much of that has happened with the confusion around here.  Ha!

The next step will require some precision saw cuts and hand planning to match the precision on the lofting board.  I have made a set of 12-14 blocks designed to hold frame material in place on the lofting board while the angles for the miters are lifted from the lofting board to the RBC frame stock.  Tomorrow I will start to carefully lift the lines to the frames.  My plan is to bisect the angle at each frame joint (i.e., between futtock and garboard rib, between garboard rib and sheer board rib, between sheer board rib and cabin side rib, and between cabin side rib and beam).

Having that line on the lofting board, I will overlay the frame piece and lift the line to the piece.  I will do this for each piece, one at a time, adding additional notation on the pieces to indicate its specific orientation within its frame.  I expect this to take a while.

When that process is complete I will recheck each piece on the lofting board before taking it to the saw.  When I do saw the piece, I will leave the line.  I will square the line to the other three sides of the piece, place the piece in the vice, and plane the extra wood to that line – insuring a flat surface.  I will do that at both ends of each piece.

When each piece is completed, frame-by-frame, one frame at a time, I will place them on the lofting board where they will be secured with the blocks.  I will again check each miter for accuracy and precision against the bisected line on the lofting board and against its neighbor for fit.  If the fit at the seam is not perfect, I will use a pull saw in the seam to fix the slop – just like at wooden boat school.  That procedure worked very well there.

Well, I’ve gotten ahead of myself, but it has been useful to layout the process before me.  I’ll report back as I make some progress or confront a problem.


Yesterday’s entries in this journal did help to organize my thoughts for today’s work.  Bisection of the angles at each joint on the ribs went well.  In fact it went quickly, the process taking under 2 hours.  So I had time to actually lift the lines for those miter cuts to the frame members.  I was able to complete that task as well, it requiring about 4 hours.  So, the futtocks, ribs and beams all sit with the miter angles squared to all four sides and are awaiting the saw.

I experimented with the table saw versus the pull saw.  Given that all of the angles are different, I see it as more problematic to make jigs for use on the table saw.  I experimented and feel those jigs would be necessary to obtain precision cuts just leaving those miter lines.  So I then experimented with my pull saw.  I was very impressed with the precision of these hand saws when I took the short course at boat school – so impressed that I’m now on my second pull saw since 2002.  I’m going to cut each of these angles by hand – using the pull saw.  I will finish each with the low-angle plane.  That I will start tomorrow.

I bought the lumber for the internal keelson today.  It was a very nice, knot-free 2″ X 4″ X 10′ white oak plank.


I went back to the lofting board to check heights above baseline and just look at the lines in relation to the strong back, also referred to as a ladder frame.  I decided on an elevation of 32″ above the baseline for the top edge of the strong back.  By that I mean that the outer edge of the inner keelson (equivalent to the inside of the bottom) will be 32” above the top of the strong back at station 4.I will need dimensional lumber as follows: two 2″ X 4″ X 16′ boards, five 2″ X 4″ X 8′ boards, plus a box of three-inch screws to hold it all together.  I will make those purchases and begin to assemble the strong back tomorrow as well.


By my count there are 40 joints and there are 78 miter cuts (the garboard ribs will intersect the stem as there is not a futtock at station 1).  So, I started on the cuts today – and finished.  The pull saw did a splendid job, and little planning was required having checked each cut with a compound square.  The task took about eight hours.  I took a needed break at mid afternoon from my work to purchase lumber and 3-inch deck screws for the strong back.

I’m thinking about using the RBC for the gussets.  That would add weight, granted, but it is weight where it is needed – below the sheer line.  I may tackle shaping the gussets tomorrow.  I don’t look forward to working with the epoxy.  I have some left over from the solo dory, but not enough to complete this boat.  I have a local source, so that’s not a problem.

It is time to start thinking about the marine plywood – kind, thicknesses, amount, source, cost (materials and shipping).  I think I’ll do some reading and get on the internet as well.

 Frames 2 & 3 Setup and Underframe Details Forward


I began construction of the strong back to add to the two horses I had built earlier.

As I struggled for room to move, I realized that with the lofting board on the floor, two work benches in place the table saw and the extension table I had built for the saw, that  I was not going to have sufficient space to build this boat unless I moved my river dory outside.  That and dealing with typical (and not so typical) garage stuff took the greater part of my day.  Much of it was spent in doing that and rearranging the stuff in the garage.  I had to pull the 15 Hp outboard and its gas tank out of the drift boat.  Along with three fly rods (which I will use yet this winter), fishing buckets, nets, and clothing all came out of the river dory and found suitable storage places in a garage that was being transformed into a boat shop.  I put the mast for the river dory in the trailering position on the boat to support the boat cover and secured the cover into place.  Then I pushed and groaned the boat on its trailer into the yard behind the garage.  Ugh.  Good thing most of the snow was gone. I’ll need help to get it out again.

The remaining stash of RBC then had to be moved as it had been under the boat trailer.  So I cleared a space by the wall where the RBC stash is now sorted by size and neatly stacked.  Now the lofting board resides where the boat sat on its trailer and I will have ample room to move.  I finished the strong back and mounted and leveled most of it on the horses.  One corner is low, but it will take two persons to remedy that.  So I will ask for help from a neighbor this weekend.

I did decide to use RBC for the gussets.  As long as I drill the holes for the fasteners and do a good job with the epoxy it should work fine in that role.

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5 – Part 6 – Part 7 – Part 8 – Part 9 – Part 10

Part 11 – Part 12 – Part 13 – Part 14 – Part 15 – Part 16 – Part 17 – Part 18 – Part 19


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.