vg23 – shaping the hull

While the side and bottom panels were being assembled, spliced and then stitched together in the basket mold I was also busy producing the stringers, frames and bulkheads specified in the plans. I can tell you I came very close to making the wrong cut on a number of occasions and only have dumb luck to thank for not wasting a sheet or two of wood. Actually dumb luck, high quality plans and a pretty sweet tape measure. Someone had given me a ProTapes carpenter’s measure and I’ve found its one of those tapes that you just can’t help but pull out for one last measure before the the saw blade touches wood. Saved my butt a few times.

Once all the frames had been cut and the stringers spliced I began to install them in the hull. At this stage of the building process we are only using the framing to shape the hull and once it has been properly formed all the framing will be removed while the fibreglassing of the inside of the hull is completed. This means that while we really want to get the frames properly positioned they are not fibreglassed to the hull. By cutting some cleverly located notches in the stringers and the frames I was able to slot them together without requiring cutting any of them into multiple pieces.

framing temporarily installed

It was during this process of shaping the hull that I spent the first (and lets hope last) unenjoyable afternoon in the hayloft since I was a teenager. In my younger days when the hayloft was actually used to store the year’s hay for the horses we would spend stifling hot summer days stacking bales to the rafters. The hayloft has long echoed with curses of frustration. This time the source of the cursing was the difficulty I had in manhandling a few of the frames and the long side panels. I eventually found that a few strategically placed temporary screws helped to hold things in place while I was tweaking different sections. I think this experience emphasized the purpose of the basket mold and the grief that can be avoided with one that is shrewdly built. I can tell you that at the end of that day, after the tools had been put away and I sat with a cold beer in my hand reviewing the progress, it all seemed worth it.


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