Recent work

Let’s start at the stern this time.

The upper planking leading back to the transom is now complete on both sides. Here’s the port side looking forward. You can see how the yellow pine weaves into the older planking as it goes forward.


And here’s starboard.


You can see the beaded covering board along the top of this run. The little cotton puffballs at the ends of the planks are the cotton caulking that’s driven into the seams.

Speaking of which, here’s Evie caulking this new planking on port.


We’re concerned about the planks shrinking, so we caulk them very soon after they’re installed, and then coat them with boiled linseed oil.


The caulking reduces air flow around the planking, and the oil seals the wood to reduce moisture transfer.

The transom has some tricky seams that take some time to make sense of. Let’s see if I can explain this properly with a few photos and some words.

The transom planking is 2 3/4″ thick, and it meets the side planking in a mitered joint. That’s all well and good when the side planking is also 2 3/4″ thick. Here’s a fid (a stick representing the thickness of the transom planking) coming across the transom frames to meet up with the side planking.


That looks like a nice fit, but how do they get the angles right? It’s a little easier than you might think. We use a jig that locates where 2 3/4″ would meet the outer face of the side planking to start.


The pointed end on the left is 2 3/4″ out from the inner edge of the jig. It works like this:


The inner edge goes against the frames like the fid above, and the pointed end hooks around side planking. The sharp bit touches the planking where a 2 3/4″ transom plank would intersect with it. Mark that location, move the jig up the plank, mark, repeat. Connect all those marks, and you now have a line along the outside of your planking that marks the tip of the mitered joint. Looking at the previous photo a little closer…


the base of the miter is located where the inner face of the side plank meets the corner of the transom frame. If you make a cut that connects these two lines, you have the miter angle that will mate perfectly with the transom planking. Easy! So, why go to the trouble to do all this? Why not just cut the side planks at this angle on the bench? Well, because the angle changes as you go down the transom…

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This kind of changing angle is called a rolling bevel.

All is well until you get down to the Whale Strake. The Whale strake is much thicker than the waist planks above it. The top whale strake has a decorative bead, possibly to soften the transition.


The transom planking thickness doesn’t change at the level of the whale strakes, so this leads to a situation where a thinner plank miters into a thicker one. We believe that our solution for this situation is the same as the original builder’s solution, based on close examination of old transom photos: we miter only the inner 2 3/4″ of the whale strakes and dub the rest off to match the plane of the transom. A closer look at a previous photo shows how we determine where to cut the whale strake. Using the jig, we can lay out where the plane of the transom planking intersects the outer face of the whale strakes.


You can see how the whale strake is dubbed flat to match the outer face of the transom planking. The inner miter is now determined more by art than formula. The idea is to follow a fair curve that picks up the curve of the planking above it. Looking up at the whale strake from below the transom you can see where Walt has marked off that curve with a black marker.


Below that area, he and Roger worked out a curve that carried the shape of the bottom planking up to that curve along the side.


I’m sorry, but I can’t explain this one with words. Trust me, it’s going to be beautiful.

All that talk about the transom planking, here’s John’s work marching down the face.


A batten shows where the next plank will go.

Kevin has been replacing beaded bulwark planking.


At the bow, this planking is thicker, made of white oak, and caulked. Along the sides of the boat, the bulwarks planking is tongue and groove construction and not caulked.


More soon!