Caledonia Yawl Project: Installing the knees to the thwart

My next step for the forward compartment was to glue in the perimeter batten to hold the edges of the deck. I used small ribbed copper nails to hold down the battens in place while the epoxy set.

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I will leave the copper nails in as they won’t rust and won’t do any harm.

Then on to the knees that I had laminated a while ago, while I was in a laminating mode with the stems. I had enough off cuts of fir laminating stock to do the knees at that time. But since I’d just run the through the thickness planer when I had rented one for another task.

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The knees were first smoothed with the 1/4 round over bit of the router. That all worked mostly well except on one outer corner of the curve where the wood likely under tension ripped out with the router. I had to then glue the ripped section back down and sand it smooth.  To fit the knees instead of doing a template, I first cut the base angle and then scribed the right angles cuts to fit it to the inner gunwhale. When I made that cut I was a little conservative and I had the plane it down a few times to get it to fit snugly. I then used one side as the template for the other side and it went much faster.

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I’m now just going to do a touch more sanding before I get on to coating it all with Decks Olje. A two part oil finish that creates an fairly easy to refinish gloss coating. I like the rich clear finish it gives. Since I’m not planning on having too much material with a clear finish (Gunwhale, knees, thwart, Centreboard caps and bulkhead trim) I’m not too fussed about the cost. (nearly one third more than the cost of Cetol Natural Teak finish or most varnishes).  I have hesitated with my final choice for a while but ultimately decided to give Decks Olje a shot because of the penetrating oil of part 1 and the ease of touching up. In theory if you keep on top of it you could just touch up abrasions indefinitely without having to strip it all down as you would with varnish. Time will tell if I’m happy with it.

The Caledonia Yawl Project: gluing the forward bulkhead

Over the last few weeks I’ve been going in several directions at once. Playing around with the rudder straps and figuring out exactly how to place them parallel on a curved aft stem. Sourcing nice bronze rowlocks, small cleats and trying to find a reasonable amount of Sitka spruce for the masts and spars.

But the fitting of the hull was slightly stalled. Mostly because I was still a little stuck fitting the deck beams and the kingplank. But with some playing around I’ve finally fit it in a way that seems to work.

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We cut out the holes in the bulkhead for two 12″ Armstrong hatches. My son is testing them out to see if he would be able to go into forward section for a nap.

I came up with a nice gusset for connecting the kingplank to the bow that will allow me to screw down the head stay to a very solidly fitted pad eye.

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rough fit of the bow gusset

I also installed the bow eye that is bolted right through the stem.

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Then when everything was fitting well, I took the plunge and glued it all together. I had a small scare when one pot of epoxy set off much faster than expected (I had maybe miscounted my hardener pumps?) but recovered and was able to make a fairly nice fillet along the whole length of the bulkhead.

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The next stage is to figure out what kind of access hatch I’d like to put in the top. I don’t think the two access holes in the bulkhead are sufficient. The curved fore deck will however make it a more complex little hatch to create. Particularly if I want to keep the profile low and water tight.