Friday, February 11, 2011


I went to the lumber yard the other day to buy lumber for the sheer clamps and chine logs. I needed four 8 foot boards because 8 feet is what I can carry in my Jeep. Looking through the stack, there were no 8 foot, but there were some 16 footers. The guy helping me said he could cut these two 16 footers, so I said that was fine. I came home, ripped the boards and then scarphed them, ending with 15 1/2 foot boards. After getting them glued up, I looked back at them and saw the humor: I picked out 16 feet boards, had the man cut them in two, just to bring them home and glue them back together.

When I first became interested in boat building, I was reading about how to build a 13' mast. It said to scarph two pieces of lumber. Okay, I didn't know what that meant, so I had to consult the dictionary.
Scarph: A method of joining pieces of wood by tapering their ends.
Okay, but how do you taper the ends? Through researching boat building forums and Google, I learned how to make a jig and cut the scarph on my table saw. I took a piece of scrap plywood and screwed a short 2x2 at the angle I wanted, and clamped on the lumber I wanted scarphed. Simple, and I get perfect cuts every time.

When it came time to scarph the sides of my paradox, this was a bigger challenge. It could not be done with a table saw. Again, I did research and found that there are several ways to do this. I clamped the two pieces on a table, used the power planer first, then the file and sander. Plywood is easier to see high places because the lines that are made when cut at an angle.

I didn't do a perfect job, but I got it done. I always use epoxy to join the two pieces, and then sand and fair the joint. Scarphing is not as scary as it was the first time.

Next on my "to do" list, is make and install the sheer clamps. I got them both cut, and glued the one on the port side. Everything went well. I started to bend the one on the starboard side for a dry fit... and CRACK! It splintered and broke between bulkhead #1 and #2. WELL, CRAP!! I decided it could not be glued, I will need to make another one. That is my task for today. The weather is warmer this afternoon, so I can get back to building. If all goes well, I should be ready to turn it over by Sunday. Check back on Tuesday and I'll let you know what progress was made over the weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lezlie,
    Nice post.I didn't have too much problem with my sheer clmaps, it was the chine logs that were nigh on impossible to install. I couldn't have done them without steaming. I'll be watching with interest to see how you get on. Good luck.