Friday, January 26, 2018


Way back in 2015, I rebuilt the forehatch on my 1962 Alberg 35 and did a compass rose inlay on the inside of the hatch here.  The way I made the inlay allowed me to slice off pieces like a loaf of bread and I had a number of compass roses that were just sitting around on my desk doing nothing.  So when I got around to making the breasthook this past week I decided to put one of them to good use.  
I began by finding a nice piece of cherry to match the rail (also cherry).  The key to getting the fit right is to lay it on top of the V section of the bow and trace where it meets.  Then I cut out the rough V shape and slowly cut the rail angle down with a shinto rasp so that it would slide into place.  

Most breasthooks have a concave curve facing forward, but I decided to go against the grain and reverse the curve and have it facing aft.  I did this partially because I wasn't really thinking, but I will mostly say that it was because I plan on mounting a cleat (or small sampson post) on the trailing edge of the breasthook and if the curve is concave it wouldn't work.

Once I had the breasthook fitted closely to the inner rail, I started on the inlay.  Having experimented with this sort of thing before I found that placing the inlay in the desired position and tracing the outline of it with an exacto knife works best for me.  After I had etched the outline of the compass rose onto the breasthook, I took a really sharp chisel and hammered it along the lines to make sure the cherry was cut along outline.  Then it was a matter of carefully chiseling out the interior of the cut lines and then repeating the outline chisel to go deeper.  The compass rose was about 6mm deep total and ended up with the compass about 2 mm proud of the cherry.  

When I had it fitting well, I mixed up a batch of epoxy with fine cherry sawdust and glued the compass in.  I let it cure and then sanded it all down before fitting and gluing the whole thing into  the boat.  Once again, I let it cure and then sanded everything down flush with 80 grit paper.

I still need to radius the edges with a router to soften things up and of course lots of varnish, but I think it should work out well.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


I will be the first to admit that I'm a slacker, but if one were to really drill into my psyche, then you'd quickly realize that this tendency is really driven by my 'ability' to procrastinate when a deadline is not imminent.  If a deadline is far out on the horizon, I can find lots of reasons to avoid working toward that goal.  So when I finally came to terms with the fact that I would not be launching in 2017, and would be delayed until sometime in the Spring of 2018, I decided to take a break.

Since my last post in October, I have done virtually nothing on the boat until this past weekend.  The winter has a way of getting a hold of me and luring me off into the forests and mountains of Northern New England to pursue outdoor adventures.  I am particularly fond of being outside in the forest on really cold days when my wife declares me to be a 'lunatic' as she huddles by the wood stove.  I feel that it makes me appreciate the spring and summer more knowing how nasty it can really get outside.

So up until late last week I had been happily tromping about Central NH like a mountain man, enjoying the single digit temperatures, and ignoring the boat.  Fortunately for the boat project however, a warm front came through and dumped a bunch of rain and melted much of the lovely fluffy snow that had covered the area, leaving a frozen hellscape of icy crust.  After coming to terms with the now annoying conditions outside, I decided to warm up the shop and do another push toward completion.

Most of the jobs now are fiddly things that just require a bit of thought and a few screws to secure bits and pieces, but there are a few larger jobs that still need to be attended to.  The 2 biggest are building the oars for propulsion and building the 3 hatches (1 for the foredeck and 2 for the 'cooler').  I decided to tackle the hatches because I don't have the lumber needed for the oars yet.

When I built the openings for all the hatches, I added a plywood 'lip' to all of them as a placeholder for making them watertight (or mostly watertight) once I built the hatches for them.  I planned on using some rubber gasketing material (TBD), but knew that the tolerances would have to be pretty tight in order to keep things dry in the compartments.

I started on the 'cooler' hatches just forward of the daggerboard trunk. Their recessed nature made hatches a bit of a challenge because the close tolerances needed to be on both the inside and outside frames.  Using 6 mm marine plywood, I cut out the rough shape and fitted it to the recess.  I'll be using a rubber gasket material to fit into the recessed channel surrounding the opening. 

Using the same pine I used for the floorboards, I cut out the side pieces adjacent to the hatch openings and fitted those before moving onto the covering boards for the hatches.  Because the hatches have the 6 mm plywood cover, I planed ~6 mm off the boards that will sit on the plywood covers and then screwed them from the bottom of the plywood.  I still have to epoxy coat the plywood and drill some drain holes to move accumulated water out of the recessed channels surrounding the hatches, but that shouldn't take more than a few minutes.

Moving onto the forehatch, which also has a plywood 'lip' but is not recessed, I cut out a plywood top that will cover the hatch and 'lip' and then milled some of the nice Honduras mahogany that I have be using for some of the trim throughout the boat. I hand cut single dovetails on each corner and was not entirely disgusted with my effort.  They aren't perfect, but will be strong and don't look too awful.  I glued up the whole thing with the plywood top and some plywood stringers to stiffen it up.

Finally, I ripped a few strips of Honduras mahogany to make trim pieces along the trailing edge of the foredeck. It seems to give the foredeck a more finished look and I may add more at some point, but haven't decided yet.