56 foot Schooner transom replacement #4: Let the wrecking begin

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Blog entry by Scotach posted 09-01-2008 07:57 AM 4136 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Hauling out - the fun begins Part 4 of 56 foot Schooner transom replacement series Part 5: The woodworking begins »

We are making great headway on the transom project we began several weeks back. The original scope of work was to replace the transom on a 56’ stays’l schooner. Upon surveying the boat before work began, we found a massive section of rot in the horn timber at the top of the rudder trunk. So the scope of work increased a bit, but we managed to take out the damaged section and put in a repair that should last for a year or two until the owners can raise the money to do some major work on the boat.

Here’s some details about the boat.
The boat is owned and sailed by the La Conner Sea Scouts, La Conner, Washington

Name – Rejoice
Rig – 1931 Classis Stays’l Schooner
Length over all – 56 feet
Mast Height – 75 feet
Draft – 9’ 6”
Beam – 13’ 9”
Sail area – 1,480 Square Feet
Plank – Fir
Tons – 32 tons
Decks – Teak

So, let’s show you what we had in store with the transom.
The transom
Here we are looking at the transom after a good chunk of the day. Prior to this shot, the guys cut a hole into the transom so they could see what was behind it. Once the hole was made, we discovered that there was a 1 inch thick veneer of teak applied to the outside face of the transom. Our theory was this new facade was put on when the boat was renamed, and the new name was carved into the wood. What you are looking at in this picture is after that veneer was removed. We are calling this the inner transom.

Pattern for spiling
In this shot we’ve made a door skin spiling pattern. This is going to allow us to pick up the curves and shape of the transom. Once we obtained this info, we can lay it on the lifts we laminated previously, and lay out the shape on the new stock.

opened up
Ok, the old transom has been completely removed in this shot. You can see that there is no internal framing for this transom. The new purple heart pieces we added because some of the decking and covering board had to be cut away. These new pieces will provide a landing spot for the upper sections of the transom. After removing the outer transom, revealed the plank had a rabbet cut into them where the outer transom would lay against the inner transom.

The plywood wall surrounding the transom was erected in order to keep the shape of the boat once the transom had been removed.

transom opened up
Here’s another look into the end of the boat, you can see the rabbet in the plank ends better here and where we had to scarf a new piece of fir into the aft most portion of the horn timber.

looking from the deck
Here’s a shot of the transom from up on deck. This shot was taken before work began on the boat. The decking actually ran into a dado that was hand cut into the inner face of the transom. Under each piece of hardware (to the extreme left and right) on the cap rail, are massive hand carved pieces of wood called fashion pieces. These massive timbers were also badly deteriorated and are being replaced as well.

As it stands now, we’ve got most of the new transom in place and the fashion pieces are just about finished and a re ready to install. We’re also replacing the cockpit decking where we tore some out to make the repair to the horn timber. Ah, it’s great to work on boats!

-- Brian S. --- "If you’ve worked on the building of a boat, it belongs to you the rest of your life." -Bob Prothero

5 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3681 days

#1 posted 09-01-2008 08:02 AM


-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3671 days

#2 posted 09-01-2008 11:34 AM

I agree with Mark, very intersting!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Texasgaloot's profile


464 posts in 3669 days

#3 posted 09-01-2008 02:03 PM

I don’t have anywhere near the depth of experience you are getting on this project, but I do know this: When it comes to rot, boats are like houses, except worse. What you see that’s bad on the outside is the tip of the iceberg inside. This is fascinating. Thanks for the photo-documentary!!

Do you have an idea of who designed her?

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4369 days

#4 posted 09-01-2008 03:28 PM

Great blog, Thanks for the contuining story.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 3959 days

#5 posted 09-02-2008 03:43 AM

Yes… Please keep it coming.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

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