Monday, July 9, 2012

Scarf joints and stringers

Right so, once the gunnels are done (and we are getting closer I swear) we will move on to constructing the body of the boat that your feet rest on as you row. This consists of ribs and stringers. Ribs are exactly what you would think by the name and on our boat we are making both them and the stringers out of cedar. They will be running in the same direction as the seats and are steam bent into roughly half circular shape as you would have seen in much earlier posts.

Running at 90 degrees to these and the closest to the water are the stringers, The boat is 21 feet long approx and although we could get wood that long it would have been expensive and would have been harder to cut into 3/8 strips like what we needed. So we got 12 footers which we then join, to join them we use a joint called a scarf joint which is basically a long taper on the two ends and then they are laid over each other and glued, there;s a wee video of it right there.
If I had an electric planer I could have used it with a similar jig and there are a number of jigs I could have used to cut on a table saw or bandsaw but it is way easier to have the blade move over the piece of wood in this case then try and move that length of wood through the blade. It was a nice sunny day too and I didn't particularly want to be stuck in the workshop with a whole load of cedar dust when I could be outside with nothing but the crisp slicing rasp of a plane. Apparently you can develop and allergic reaction to cedar dust quite easily and about 14% of the Canadian pop is already allergic so there are many reasons to do it this way.
In the next couple of days I will join all the pieces with epoxy so they are full length stringers ready to go on. Just a few more small pieces to be made before we start joining everything together and we have one more gunnel to bend/break!
Incidentally the plane is a bevel up low angle jack plane from Stanley and is one their newer Sweetheart range. It's very very nice...

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