Construction and Design Journal – 14ft Dory for Rowing and Sailing – Part 11

by Roy Heberger - Boise, Idaho - USA

ROUGH CUT OF THE BOTTOM – April 19, 2004

I placed the bottom panel on the futtocks today, aligned it so the one side just overhung the futtock at station 4, and used weight-lifting weights to hold it down to the futtocks, keelson, stem and transom.  I penciled in the outlines of the keelson, futtocks, stem, and transom on the inside of the bottom.  Removing the panel to the lofting board, I placed it inside up on several 2” X 4”s and asked Merine to help me spring a baton to obtain a fair curve from transom marks through the futtock end marks to the stem marks.  Thank you Merine!  Obtaining fair curves over a long distance is more than a one-person job.  I figured that this was better than lifting the lines from the lofting board, because the marks I placed on the inside of the bottom are what they are (being directly from the frames) not necessarily what they should be (from the lofting board).

Once the curves were drawn, I thanked my wife, held my breadth as she went back into the house, and I plugged in the jig saw.  I cut well outside of the faired lines, lifted the cutout bottom back to the futtocks and there it sits.

Now I have fastening and planning work to do.


For the past several days I’ve been using my low angle plane to obtain a finished edge on the plywood bottom panel.  I think I’m just about there.  Perhaps a bit more work is needed at the stem, but I hesitate to remove to much wood.  It can’t be put back.

To secure the panel for planning, I placed two, temporary 1” deck screws 3/4ths of the distance from the center line to the ends of each of futtocks 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 and one each centered into the keelson at the stem and stern.  I will likely use these same screws and screw holes to temporarily fasten the panel down when it comes time for gluing.  I will then replace the temporary screws with 1” brass screws to be counter sunk in the outside of the bottom.

Before I do that I need to make a decision on just where to place the dagger board trunk, mark the keelson, and cut the slot to the proper dimensions.  I’m leaning toward placing the trunk just abaft of the frame at station 3.   I had been thinking to place it between stations 2 and 3, but may be too far forward.  Besides in that position the dagger board would have had to be vertical.  Placed aft of station 3, I can now choose to slant it if I so desire.  Based on my experience with my solo dory (slanted dagger board trunk) and my drift boat (vertical trunk), the slanted trunk is drier.  So, there it is – a slanted trunk abaft station 3.


False Stem

Now, will it interfere with rowing – that is, with sitting in the rowing position?  Not if the top of the trunk is flush with the thwart and the dagger board inserts fully into the trunk – perhaps with a rope (to hold it down) attached at its forward edge at the top.

Dimensions are next.  I’m considering a mahogany dagger board, and I know I can obtain mahogany in a 1” X 12-1/2” plank.  So I should make the trunk with a slot between 1-1/4” minimum to no more than 1-1/2” in width and perhaps a foot long or more.  To figure the length I will need to determine the angle I will build the trunk and get the length of the slot from the width of the plank canted at that angle.  So, that’s next before I cut the slot in the keelson and bottom panel.


It has been awhile since my last entry, but I’ve been doing things.  I scarfed the four 9-mm panels and glued them in my press.  I don’t like the way the first one turned out, so I had to apply more epoxy.  I will glass the inside of that seam and of course I plan to glass the outside of the bottom and each garboard, so I think I’m okay.  My scarfs are not going as well as I’d like to have them.

I made a decision!  I will not be using chine logs at the bottom or knuckles.  Where the garboard and bottom come together I will build an epoxy fillet and as discussed below I will use fiberglass tape.  I will do the same at the knuckle where the garboard and sheer boards abut.

Yesterday, I placed the starboard garboard panel (27” wide by >16’ long) on the garboard ribs and clamped it down to obtain plank lines.  Well, just like at boat school, I found I would have to modify the strong back, because the strong back would interfere with the fair placement of the planks to the ribs.  So, with the panel in place I shortened the stem and transom ends of the strong back.  At the transom I had the stout hoarse I had built to support that end, but at the stem end the forward hoarse was too far astern, so I had to add two legs to the corners before I removed that portion of the ladder frame.  The transom is still well supported, but I need to provide support to the upper end of the stem before I proceed with planking.

I was able to bend the garboard panel to the stem and the transom and clamp it in place.  I did this without any help, so I think I will be able to plank the sides on my own.  As to the lines, I traced them two ways – direct (meaning exactly where a joint will be) or offset (meaning I used the radius of the pencil to offset the line).  If cutting on offset lines I will take the line.  If cutting on direct lines I will leave the line.  I traced and labeled the following lines onto the inside of the garboard panel: inside of bottom (direct), outside of bottom (offset) outside of stem (direct), outside of transom (offset), and for and aft of each of the ribs (1-6).  I placed marks at the knuckle point for each of the ribs (direct).  These marks are to be used to obtain a fair curve of the knuckle portion of the starboard garboard.  I removed the clamps and placed the panel on the floor for fairing the knuckle line and for cutting.  My daughter Lisa was over for the evening, so she helped me with the fairing baton work to obtain that knuckle line.  Thank you Lisa!

Today is Mother’s Day.  Wisely, I did not plan to work on the boat today.  Tomorrow I will cut the first plank.  Before I attach it to the starboard side, I will clamp it to the port side to examine if it will fit (as cut) there.  If it will, I will then trace it to obtain the port garboard plank.  If not, I will think on it some or cut the port plank large to be planed down to fit.  It should fit if the boat is to be symmetrical. Right?  Ha!

Once the starboard garboard plank is fastened (countersunk brass screws and epoxy) I will plane the bottom edge even to the outside of the bottom of the dory.  Then I will begin work on the dory-lap and gains with the plank in place on the frames.  That way I will use the angle of each sheer rib to obtain the angle of the ever changing bevel on the upper/outer edge of the garboard.  As suggested by Gardner for the Swampscott Dory, I will begin the gains about 18” aft of the stem and 18” forward of the transom.

I hope to have the planking done this week.  We’ll see.

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


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