Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Port Sheer

Lately I've been working on the long, gently curved piece of wood that forms the upper left-hand side of the boat. Ugh, just using that lubberly language is like hearing fingernails on a blackboard.

Port sheer stringer. That's better! This is a actually a pair of 18-foot noodly pieces of wood, about 3/4" square in cross section, that arcs from the top outer corner of the transom, out along the side of the boat, and then up and in to the point at the bow. It rolls and spirals, it sweeps down and out and then swoops up and in, a crescendo of fine-grained fir. This defines the shape of the edge of the boat, so it's important to get right.

It's also very difficult to persuade wood to bend in what seems like five dimensions at once. This morning I was struggling with the aft end, where it snugs into a carefully angled notched trimmed into the edge of the transom. What to clamp it to?

Small C-clamp: fail.
Large C-clamp: fail.
Small bar clamp: fail.
Long rope: moderate success.
Long rope with crush-block and bar clamp: moderate success

But not close enough. There's a millimeter of space still to fill, and I'm not going to sink the screw in until that gap is closed ... even though I could get lazy and fill the gap with epoxy.

Just as I threw up my hands this morning and headed inside for coffee (come to think of it, boatbuilding before coffee may have been part of the problem) my eyes fell on Klamp Korner.


Klamp Korner is a magical land filled with the boatbuilding equivalent of rainbows and fat-hoofed unicorns: a section of the workshop filled with clamps of all size. Do I have enough clamps? Never. But I do have The BFC: a six-FOOT pipe clamp I used to use to close up 10-by pieces of oak.

I applied the BFC to the problem at hand. It's long enough that it actually extends all the way across the boat to the starboard sheer stringer. A few twists and the port stringer suddenly saw the light of reason. Gap closed.

Now I just have to figure out how to drill through the clamp, or how to move the clamp to access the screw location.


Babs said...

I think wearing a bike helmet, chainmail (sp??) and a metal face mask might be in order as you ease that clamp away from the stringer.

EyeInHand said...

Don't forget, I have a box of clamps - a BFBoC - waiting for you to pick up. (Also, I highly recommend nylon strap ratchet clamps for all sorts of exceedingly large and oddly shaped things that one must hold in awkward embrace.)

S R Wood said...

Thanks Barry! I'd forgotten about the ratchet straps. Stand by for an email.