Caledonia yawl project: fitting the centerboard well & breasthooks

I finally glued the last gunwale and with the magic of a belt sander I borrowed from my neighbour. I have been able to make it look nice and smooth. This is a tool I thought I’d only need occasionally but now that I’ve started to use it, it appears indispensable and I suppose that looking back shaping the keelson might have been easier if I had it.

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Next I tackled assembling all the pieces for the centerboard case.

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It is not super complex but you do need to pay attention to the dimensions in the plans and since they are unique it takes some planning to figure out what size stock you need to match the need. I spent a fair bit of time looking at the rows of clear douglas fir at the lumber yard figuring out what I wanted.

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what felt good is that everything roughed in really nicely.

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The last challenge is to get the centerboard pivot location placed at the right spot. The plans are good but my centerboard ended up slightly oversized and I have to figure out if I will need to modify the board .

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I still need to put graphite epoxy on the inside faces of the centerboard case and shape the forward brace.

then I tackled the breasthooks.  In the plans for the gunter yawl and gunter sloop version the breasthooks are much smaller than for the lug yawl version. The sides are only 6″ long vs. 10″ long.

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I made templates and played around with different ways to scribe the inside curve. I tried a compass but in the end fount that a very thin and flexible batten was the easiest.

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the wood came from offcuts from my neighbours hose renovation. He had found reclaimed fir from a warehouse demolition that was milled into 3×14 lumber for his rafters. Needless to say this douglas fir was dry and seasoned. When I glued it I put in threaded bronze rod to help tie the pieces together so that the glued surface is not the only part taking the load.

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this is patient work with multiple angles to keep track of. I felt like the breasthooks are one of the most sculptural parts I’ve had to work on so far.

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I worked at it with the block plane, the belt sander the random orbital sander and the very useful rasp.

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I alternated working on the bow and stern breasthooks to try and keep each learning from one process fresh for the other.  The only concern that came up is that there was a very slight offset in height of the gunwhales at the bow. The bow breasthook had to be shaped in such a way to to blend the difference and hide it.

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bit by bit I got it to take form

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and I’m quite happy with the results.

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