Caledonia yawl project: bevelling the keelson 

In a nice turn of events, my children are off visiting my brother in Victoria with my mom, which is giving two full days to work on the boat.

After gluing the keelson to the aprons last week I’m now ready to do the beveling so that it is ready to have the floor timbers and garboards glued to it.  The challenge is that there is a fair amount of wood to plane down and it is not just one angle but a whole series of changing angles called a rolling bevel that follows the contour of the boat.

To accomplish the rolling bevel of the keelson I have the station molds as guides where I can find the angle that the garboard will have at each station. In between it is simply an approximation of the transformation from one station angle  to the next.

cutting kerfs as guides to help me know the shape of the bevel at the station mold.
cutting kerfs as guides to help me know the shape of the bevel at the station mold.

In my case the method was to try and make as long a pass with the power planer as possible to establish a pattern of the change in angle well before I got down to the last few millimeters. That way the rolling bevel transition was well established and could be adjusted as I went along.

placing the garboard on the beveled keelson to check the shape
Placing the garboard on the beveled keelson to check the shape
Getting very close to a nice fair rolling bevel
Getting very close to a nice fair rolling bevel, note pencil mark where a little more needs to be removed.

The next step before I can glue up the garboards is optional, but in my following of the videos on Offcentreharbor.com on glued lapstrake plywood construction, instructor Geoff Kerr suggest gluing the floors right away instead of waiting to turn the hull around. Since the station molds are machined on a CNC machine and quite precise it make sense to take advantage of that as a guide.

placing the floors and making sure they line up well.
placing the floors and making sure they line up well.
The floor at station 2 has nice round drain hole added before it gets glued
The floor at station 2 has nice round drain hole added before it gets glued

Not much changed and yet the beveling of the keelson was a really significant piece that will set the rest of the building of the hull in motion. In many ways it is like a keystone on a Gothic arch which is very strong but without it the structure can’t hold up.

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