On the firest Summer Breeze, I made
them both made from 1x4 which
is 3/4" stock. You can laminate the skeg from the two pieces in the
drawings of the sides layout. It tapers from 3.5" to 3/4". The keel is 2 1/2" wide.
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)
Here I'm dry fitting the blanks. First make center lines inside and outside the
boat. On the outside mark
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
of the keel 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 in the stern end
of the keel and one hole at the bow end where I use a temporary dry wall screw
which goes through a small 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.
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. (If you laminate
a 1/2" skeg use a 1/4" round over bit) A clamp on the
router and a clamp fixing that clamp to the workbench makes a mini shaper. You
can also round edges with a rasp and sandpaper.
I make the skeg slot by drilling a hole in the keel with a spade bit
where the forward end will go. (Same size bit as the thickness of your skeg)
Using a table saw, circular saw with a guide, or a hand saw cut the slot from
the end to the hole.
Rounding the tip of the skeg with a radius round over bit makes it a
perfect fit in the hole at the end of the
slot. (Again 1/4" or 3/8" bit matched to skeg stock.)
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 the nails. I use a pattern of 2 side by side about
3/4" in from the edge, then 1 in
the center every 4 inches. In the skeg area, I only nail the edges.
Either lamp a spacer in the skeg
slot to be sure it stays the right size or put the skeg in the slot. Spread PL on the bottom of the keel,
screw it to the stem, and nail or screw it to the transom. (#12 1 1/2" ring nails) The rocker in the bottom
seems to hold it in alignment pretty well. You can also attached some temporary
alignment blocks to make sure it goes in right.
If you're working by yourself:
After the ends are attached,
turn the boat right side up on your
floor. (Remove the skeg if you had it in the slot.) I put some scrap 3/4" stock to either side of the keel to keep the
boat from rocking. I then stand in the boat using my weight to press the keel to
the floor while I nail from bow to stern. I needed to prop the stern up with a
boat cushion while I did the bow as my weight wouldn't pull the keel all the way
to the floor otherwise. I also prop the bow while nailing the aft end. It's also
possible to leave the boat on sawhorses, and slide a saw horse along under where
you are nailing.
If you have a helper:
It's quite a bit easier if you have a helper. You can keep the boat on saw
horses, and your helper can hold a "bucking iron" - any heavy
weight, usually a sledge hammer - against the keel behind where you're
hammering. (Your helper will want
to wear hearing protectors.)
Now flip the boat back over
and glue in the skeg. First test the fit, and adjust if necessary. 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 as it dries.
After the glue has set I cut the skeg and keel off flush with the pull
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.