Construction and Design Journal – 14ft Dory for Rowing and Sailing – Part 12

by Roy Heberger - Boise, Idaho - USA

MY MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT BRAINSTORM – 4:00 a.m., May 10, 2004

Again, I was up in the dark making notes and sketches.  It came to me out of nowhere how I would step the mast and perhaps provide a base for a pedestal used to transport the mast while towing the boat on a trailer.  I have these stainless steel plates that are 6-inch long by 1-inch-wide by 1/8-inch thick that I’ve had since Michigan.  There are eleven of them.  I completed my thought process at Boise Metal Shop midmorning.  They are to weld stainless-steel tubing to the ends of seven of these plates to make hinges and add two holes counter sunk for stainless wood screws in each.  They will also make two hinge pins with d-rings to allow for tethers.  Two end hinges will be fastened to each of the cabin tops on wooden steps I will construct above supporting frames 2 and 5.  One center hinge will be fastened to the base of the mast on the bottom, and two center hinges will be fastened to two support pedestals I will construct to carry the mast and boom well above my head level when I am rowing the boat.  The mast and pedestal hinges will be placed between the two end hinges on the forecabin when I want to step the mast or use the pedestals, respectively.

The remaining five plates will be used for chain plates.  One inch of the end of each will be bent to 30 degrees, rounded, and drilled with a ¼” hole.  On three the countersinks for two wood screws will be on the outside of the bend side.  On the other two the countersinks will be on the inside of the bend side.  I will place chain plates on the sides of the boat at station 3 (2), on the stem (1), and on the transom (2). 


Using the jigsaw I cut out the starboard garboard to be well oversized.  I placed it on the garboard ribs and clamped it at station number 4.  Pressing it first to the transom then to the stem, I checked to see that I’d not screwed up.  I hadn’t.

So, I added lateral support from the strong back to the stem before proceeding with planking. I fastened the oversized garboard to the starboard ribs with clamps – adjusting to insure it was properly in position and proceeded to drill screw holes through the plank (three for each rib and the stem and transom).  Note that all holes through the plank and into the ribs and transom were drilled so they would be parallel with those members.  The holes drilled through the plank at the stem were perpendicular to the plank. I fastened the plank down securely with temporary screws and proceeded to plane the plank flush with the stem, bottom and transom.  I tackled the bevel face of the upper/outside of the garboard to accept the sheer board.  I got most of the planning done – leaving the gains for Tuesday – before I called it quits for the day.  I think it took about 4-5 hours for this work.

Seat Risers
Side Deck Supports


I removed the temporary screws from the bottom, drilled the countersinks, resized the holes just through the plywood, and fastened the brass screws to the bottom.  It had been permanently fastened to the futtocks using temporary screws and epoxy.  I needed a work surface and the bottom was well suited for the work I will do next, but the temporary screws were not counter sunk.

I then removed the garboard and clamped it flat on the outside of the bottom of the boat to obtain a good work surface.  I again consulted Gardner and proceeded to plane the gains on each end of the outside of the garboard plank.  I started at 18 inches from the end and made the gentle bevel/taper.  I drilled countersinks in each screw hole and resized the holes to accept the brass screws.

The plank was ready, so I mixed up some epoxy, spread some (unthickened) on the inside of the garboard where the plank will touch another gluing surface.  Then I mixed up some more epoxy and added wood flour to obtain a peanut-butter texture (not runny).  This I spread on the on the ribs, bottom edge, transom edge and stem faces ahead of the bearding line.  This process takes some time.  I use Popsicle sticks and Merine is my source for them.

I was ready.  With the transom end of the plank resting on the floor, I put one temporary screw in the hole drilled through the plank for the bottom of the stem, held the plank with one hand, aligned the screw with the hole (not an easy task actually), and put several twists on the screw with the other (not tight).  I lifted the plank and made a loose attachment at station 4.  While it was most difficult to get that first screw into the correct pre-drilled hole in the rib, from there it was easy.  I used brass screws, having already drilled the counter sinks in the plank.  I had a problem at station 6, so I used the stronger temporary screws there until the glue sets.

It’s starting to look like a boat is happening in my garage – I mean Heberger’s Boat Shop.

THE PORT GARBOARD – May 11, 2004, cont’d

Well, getting the shape of the second garboard using the first made that job a lot easier.  Of course I checked first, by putting the starboard garboard up against the port side ribs to look at fit. It should fit of course if the boat is symmetrical.  It did.  So using the same process for screwing and gluing, the second garboard went much faster than the first.  By the way, I outlined the finished garboard shape on the lofting board just in the event I want to build a stitch and glue dory for somebody some day.


I mean this plank took some time!  While the garboard plank was tilted at quite a nice angle for working, the sheerboard plank is almost vertical as the boat sits upside down on the strong back.  I was fighting gravity the whole time.  Also, it’s a rather weirdly shaped board, so I was being super careful and went slowly.  I drew the final outline of it on the lofting board as well.  So the whole boat is now there.  Of course it is getting to be a bit of a challenge to make sense of all those lines and labels.  I left plenty of overlap at the knuckle so as to be able to fill the outside void with epoxy for added strength.  The lands went fairly well, but I’m glad it’s an epoxy boat to fill those potential leaks!  I can see the shape of the boat now.  While I should not be surprised at this, it looks like my drawings.  I must be doing something right!

I’m contemplating a layer fiberglass for the bottom and garboard, for the whole outside of the boat and fiberglass tape inside for the seams at the knuckle and chine.  I went to the Gougeon Brothers website (West-System Epoxy) for their useful advice and downloaded and printed a bunch of reading material on epoxy and glassing.  I’m not yet decided, but I am leaning toward adding the glass.  I don’t look forward to it at all.  There are several reasons for that – the process, the added weight, and the added costs.  I’ll do the reading.

PLANKING DONE – May 21-22, 2004

The last plank (the port sheerboard) is attached, and the epoxy is hardening.  The planks are planed and sanded true with the transom, and I have put the final fair curve on the planks at the stem.  At this point the hull is basically constructed – bottom, garboards, and sheerboards.

It is ready to receive the false stem, but I will not attach that until other work is completed near the end of the project.  I have pulled all of the screws connecting the cross spalls to the strong back, so the boat is ready to flip upright.  I hope to get some help flipping the boat over some evening this week.

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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