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.

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