wooden boat
Small Boat “Louise Marion”     Sides & Bottom












The Sides and Bottom
Each side was made from three pieces of 1/2" plywood. These were scarfed together and cut to shape. I used a circular saw to cut the shapes of the sheer and chine as these curves were not extreme. I clamped the sides to the sheer clamps and chine logs and measured for the forward and aft ends. Where they met the stem was the most critical. I took special care to get the shape and the bevel correct. I left a slight excess of material on the other three edges and trimmed these after each side was screwed in place.

I turned the hull over bottom facing up after the sides were on. To do so, I lowered each end to the garage floor with a handy billy and tipped it over onto a couple of low saw horses.

The bottom was a bit more of a challenge as the ply for each half needed to fit firmly into the keel rabbet plus take the multiple curves of the bottom. Here again I needed to scarf the ply. I felt it would be better to scarf the sheets together prior to shaping rather than shaping each piece before scarfing as the sheets, though long were not difficult to move around. Once glued up I cut the general shape of both bottom halves leaving a slight margin of excess to trim. As the sides were clamped in place I was able to determine the exact shape of the ply at the keel and cut accordingly. A little trimming with a block plane and each half took it's exact shape. Needless to say it took several fittings for each bottom. I again left a little overhang of material at the chine and transom for later trimming. When I had a good fit I screwed the bottoms to the keel, chine logs, floors, and transom using galvanized screws.

I left the bottom at the forefoot uncovered from the stem back about 2'. The curvature of the bottom as it made the transition from near horizontal to near vertical was extreme. This necessitated some thought. I finally devised a method where I cut pieces of ply into 4 sided polygons and bent each successive piece to conform to the hull shape as they were clamped and screwed to the chines and keel. The wide end of each piece was clamped to the chine, glued with thickened epoxy and screwed using galvanized screws. The narrow end was then clamped to the keel rabbet, glued and screwed into place. Each piece necessitated a precise fit to conform to the shape and curvature of the hull sides and bottom. When the epoxy set I sanded the hull fair and prepared the bottom and sides for glassing.

I had not used fiberglass before and found it challenging but not difficult. Two sheets covered the bottom. One for the port side and one for the starboard with about an inch overhang at the widest section. I carefully mixed the epoxy and applied it over one side of the hull bottom with a roller and sleeve. I then carefully laid the glass sheet on the hull bottom. This was made much easier by previously rolling the sheet into a roll and unravelling it along the length of the bottom. When in place and adjusted I poured epoxy onto the bottom and squeegeed it out using a window washing squeegy. The squeegy worked especially well for smoothing the epoxy in a flat uniform coat over the glass. I glassed and epoxied the sides next. These were no big deal after the bottom. I suppose if I had been more practiced at fiberglassing I wouldn't have needed to sand. As it was I sanded all glassed surfaces using a belt sander. This gave me reasonably smooth surfaces with only a little spot touching up with thickened epoxy.