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sternsailart3S.jpg (49905 bytes) Summer Breeze! - This is the story of an 11'8" long 50" beam 16" sides, 500 lb capacity skiff from two sheets of 1/4" 4x8 plywood. Award winning - She won the 2001 Duckworks design contest. 
Getting started
Quarter knees
Mast Partner
Keel & Skeg
Mast & Spars

Keel & Skeg:

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)

keelclamp1.jpg (12572 bytes) 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.

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. (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.

keelslot.jpg (16274 bytes) 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.


skeginslot.jpg (10489 bytes) 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.

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. 



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