Shipyard Memories #22: Closing Up the Hull

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 09-12-2011 07:19 PM 2484 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 21: The Jig, Patterns, and Hull Glue Up Part 22 of Shipyard Memories series Part 23: Finishing The Build »

Time for the trickiest part of this round stern hull, fitting the stern panel.

Here we have carefully clamped the stern piece exactly in place and Jim is scribing the line where it meets the bottom. Note that this piece, in order to let it bend, is scarfed side to side rather than end to end. The ‘glassing of the outside of this piece is also facilitating the rather extreme bend. This is Harbour Six. You can see the bow of Harbour Seven in the background.

Now he is scribing the exact position of the side panel’s scarf, which was planed before assembly, on the outside of the stern panel. As this is the last piece and has to be scarfed at both ends, both the location and the angle of these scarfs are critical.

In the last photo, just forward of the vertical jig member you can actually see one of the elusive “stitches” of tie wire. I didn’t think I had any photos that showed one. Here’s a closer look.

Now the bottom line has been cut off and the scarf is carefully cut at the same 8:1 ratio as the side panel. When re-installed it will be clamped by sandwiching the scarf between two 3” strips of 3/4” plywood (protected from the glue by strips of poly) and then squeezed by running a pattern of screws through the whole works. Sorry, no picture.

Once the shell of the hull is complete, it is rolled over to have the bottom ‘glassed and the keel fitted before progressing with the interior. The wire ties are heated with a torch and pulled out, the joints are sanded to smooth rounded lines and any cracks or remaining gaps are filled with thickened epoxy. Then a skin of 6 oz. ‘glass cloth is applied with epoxy. All work was supervised by a trained professional shop dog. Her name was Katie and she was “the best dog”.

This point is usually about one week into the build process. The hull is always the fastest part of any boat construction.

This photo actually belongs before the last one but I wanted to show the inverted hull first for better context. Here I am using a boring bar to cut the preliminary shaft hole through the hull before gluing and bolting the keel on. The stub of deadwood is attached temporarily and will be removed to ‘glass the bottom, which is already done in the previous photo.

Here’s a close up of the business end of the boring bar. This one is just a 1/2” bar with a small fly cutter welded on the side and a 1/2” drill bit welded on the end. I’m just making a hole big enough to pass the bigger one will be used after the keel is on to bore out the shaft hole to final dimension and alignment.

That’s it for this segment. Next time will pretty much get us to the end of my available photos so yes, this will come to an end.

Thanks for looking in

Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

9 comments so far

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3186 days

#1 posted 09-12-2011 09:45 PM

Interesting work that is.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3114 days

#2 posted 09-12-2011 10:57 PM

Thank you for sharing all this with us,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3949 days

#3 posted 09-12-2011 11:11 PM

That is so cool, I wish I could watch the process in action and be part of it.

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2947 days

#4 posted 09-12-2011 11:45 PM

Skill, patience, step by step, and the quality of men (competent) collectively make the Harbor ships float. A lot to learn but the time and effort to build such is the key. In a normal process in making boats, the keel is first laid but in this method, I learned that it could also be done after the hull. Thanks Paul.

-- Bert

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4005 days

#5 posted 09-13-2011 01:04 AM

Realy great blog, Paul.

Thank you.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3221 days

#6 posted 09-13-2011 01:14 AM

I really enjoy following your blog. Great pics and thanks for walking us through the build process.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View spamfilterman's profile


149 posts in 3047 days

#7 posted 09-13-2011 02:02 AM

awesome blog, enjoyed reading it

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3104 days

#8 posted 09-13-2011 05:34 AM

Watching your boat building process step by step is most interesting and reminiscent of when I went to S2 factory in Holland, MI to watch my boat being built. Great pictures, Paul. You are a master.

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View Schwieb's profile


1858 posts in 3487 days

#9 posted 09-15-2011 11:44 AM

I really enjoy your trips down memory lane. Thanks Paul

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

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