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Summer Breeze building notes - 
Day Seven  (Oct 16, 2000)

Made the keel or "shoe" as some call it, and the skeg and glued them in place today. I used cypress.

They are both made from 1x4 which is 3/4" stock. The keel is 2 1/2" wide. (This is pretty arbitrary, but it makes for 3/4" strips on either side of the 3/4" skeg.) The  finished skeg is 36" long but the blank is 38".  (It runs long and gets trimmed.) It tapers from 3.5" to 1". My approach is the same as used on the Bevin's Skiff. Here are their instructions. (off my site) Their instructions might be a little clearer. (Remember their bottom is 3/8" so don't use their nail sizes)

keelclamp1.jpg (12572 bytes) Here I'm dry fitting the blanks. Mark a center line on the transom. Then marks on either side of that half the width of the keel. The edges of the keel should hit those marks. Make a center line mark on the bow end that will line up with a center line mark on the stem. Once positioned trace the edges of the keel with a pencil. I drilled 2 pilot holes for #12 1 1/2" ring nails in the stern end of the keel and one hole at the bow end where I use a temporary dry wall screw with a small square pad of 1/4"  ply, so it clamps instead of pulling down into the keel wood. Now I unclamp the keel and round it's edges.

routeskeg.jpg (15643 bytes) I like rounded edges, but they aren't really necessary. Here I'm rounding the edges of the skeg with a 3/8" round over bit in my router. A clamp on the router and a clamp fixing that clamp to the workbench makes a mini shaper.

keelslot.jpg (16274 bytes) I begin the skeg slot by drilling a 3/4" hole in the keel with a spade bit. The 2 1/4" wide keel is then run against the table saw fence set to 3/4". (Do short sample cuts in the end and measure the slot before cutting the whole thing, to be sure you have the fence right.) Saw until the blade just cuts into the hole. Flip the board and do it again. Finish the cuts with a hand saw. 

skeginslot.jpg (10489 bytes) Rounding the tip of the skeg with the 3/8" radius round over bit makes it a perfect 3/4" round which will fit the hole at the end of the slot.  

I don't have pictures for a good bit of this. When gluing I forget to snap any. 

I'm still trying to keep this as simple as possible, so I use #14 x 7/8" bronze ring nails to attach the keel. You could use screws if you like.  I pre drill for the nails with a bit slightly smaller than they are. I use a pattern of 2 at the edged, then 1 in the center every 4 inches. In the skeg area, I only nail the edges. At the bow, where the butt blocks make the bottom 1/2" thick, I used 1" nails.

I clamped a spacer in the skeg slot to be sure it stayed the right size. I spread PL on the bottom of the keel, screwed it to the stem, and nailed it to the transom. The rocker in the bottom seems to hold it in alignment pretty well. I could have attached some temporary alignment blocks to make sure it went in right, but it turned out I didn't need to. After the ends were attached I turned the boat right side up on the shop floor. I put some scrap 3/4" stock to either side of the keel to keep the boat from rocking. I then stood in the boat using my weight to press the keel to the floor while I nailed from bow to stern. I needed to prop the stern up with a boat cushion while I did the bow at my weight wouldn't pull the keel all the way to the floor otherwise. Also propped the bow while nailing the aft end.

Much of this will be unnecessary if you have a helper. They can hold a "bucking iron" - any heavy weight, usually a sledge hammer - against the keel behind where you're hammering. Then you can keep the boat on your saw horses. (Your helper may want to wear hearing protectors.)

I then flipped the boat back over and glued in the skeg. My original idea was that the slot would keep me from having to fit the skeg to the bottom, however I didn't like the way it wanted to rock in the slot against the bottom. So I marked the curve of the keel on it and used the band saw to cut the curve in it's bottom edge. The accuracy isn't that critical as PL glue will fill gaps well. (Up to 3/8" I'm told) I'm sure it would be fine to leave it straight too.

I butter up the skeg and put glue in the slot to get good squeeze out. You don't want air pockets in there. I didn't put any nails or screws into the skeg from the inside, since it seemed strong enough without them. You might want to though. Be sure its at a right angle to the boat bottom.

trimskeg.jpg (8183 bytes) After the glue has set I cut the skeg and keel off flush with the pull saw. 

keel&skeg.jpg (7551 bytes) Here it is glued. 

As with epoxy it's very good to work as clean as you can when gluing. It's much easier to clean up glue while soft then to struggle to get it off later. I keep a bunch of tongue depressors around (sort of large Popsicle sticks.) and use them as disposable scrapers. You can cut the end at the desired angle and scrape squeeze out as you go. That said, there will be dried glue to clean off. How hard you work at it depends on the level of finish you are going for. 

roundrails.jpg (9052 bytes) Here I've used my belt sander to clean up the top of the gunwales, and then the 3/8" round over router bit to soften the edges of the gunwales and transom. 

Wont be long now! Next the mast step and the sailing bits.

Day Eight! 



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