Other systems

Half dovetail

Square tenon

Mortise fine timber and skilled labor were cheap and plentiful, and metal fastenings were very expensive indeed. I hasten to add that I am not, in the above diatribe, talking to earnest young idealists, worshipers at the shrine of-------(you can fill in his name), but mostly to lazy old b s (you can fill thai in, too) like me, who are even yet, in our dotage, trying to figure our a way to get the job done on time, before the money runs out. To that end, one of the first sweet babies to be tossed to the wolves is the dovetail.

Having run myself aground in the great stream of historical continuity, I drag myself out on the bank and refer you to two diagrams, shown in Figure 15-15. The way I usually join beam to ledge is depicted in Figure 15-15a: Cut a plumb-sided alcove into the beam ledge, about l/2 inch deep, the full width of the beam—so that, you get the little chin whisker bearing against the house side and looking as if it grew there. (I assure you, it was a great day in the Mcintosh Boat Shop when I not only graduated from Vz-inch to Winch putty, but also learned to mix glue and sander dust for Invisible Mending. It has come in handy for those housetop beams.) Figure 15-15b shows a system easier yet: cut a sloping notch, starting at half the thickness of the beam ledge at the top. and running out to nothing at the bottom of the beam. This takes some precise cutting on the beam ends (or some very delicate work with the putty knife and Mending Compound), but it's a perfectly satisfactory joint, if you put enough good bronze fastenings in it, and it's much better than a dovetail.

By the time you have fastened a plywood lid

Half dovetail (undercut to drain moisture)

Full dovetail over the entire business, it will be strong enough to jump on from 10 feet up—and you can be sure that some joyful 200-poundcr will do it some day. (Or some night, if it's the dark of the moon, and he doesn't, realize that the Eastport tide has dropped 8 feet since he went ashore. I hope he breaks a leg.)

Back to the construction plan to get the beam layout. This will be complicated only by the length of the companion way opening, the location of the mast partners (if the mast steps through or on the housetop), and, usually, a skylight aft of the mainmast and an escape hatch forward of it. Each of these openings will require the fitting of half-beams to fore-and-aft carlins, stringers, or whatever you want to call them. Locate, fit, and fasten the beams at. the ends of these openings; stretch a tight, string from the stem to the transom, and mark the exact centers of these main beams. Fit and fasten the fore-and-aft members (including the mast-partner blocking, if any), and install the short beams two on each side, usually, in the way of the companionway, one on each side at the partners, skylight, and forward hatch. I always make the fore-and-aft members somewhat deeper than the beams, with a simple butt joint against the beam, and the extra depth extending under it. for the owner to bang his head on (see Figures 15-15a, 15-16).

The blocking between the mast-partner beams is, of course, no deeper than the beams— and when I install it, is likewise a simple butt joint against the beam, pinned in place with plenty of spikes, and tied together athwartships with edge bolts before and abaft the mast hole. No rebates, lodging knees, or keylocks. Fit. the short beams to the fore-and-aft members with the same end joints as described above: into the alcove in the house side, and with the simple sloping notch at the inboard end (Figures 15-15a, 15-17). If the design calls for hanging knees at the companionway and partner beams, fit these now, before the rest of the long beams are installed and cramp your work space.

You will forgive me, I hope, if by making the following recommendations I .seem to doubt your ability to mark and cut so simple a thing as a deckbeam. I only fear that in your youthful

exuberance vou'll try some shortcuts (in a

figurative sense, that is) and wind up with some beams that don't quite reach I, too, have oft been told of the Inscrutable Oriental

Craftsman who needs only look intently at the

gap to be filled, and goes to the lumber shed and cuts a piece that falls exactly into place. It's

an instinct, they say, totally lacking in us Westerners, who caivt do half as well writh all our steel tapes and bevel squares. (And astrolabes and prolapses, as one critic said.) All right, I admit it; but I don't think you are any better at this business than I am. So, study Figure 15-17, then cut.

Be bold, cut to the mark. Start with a long-beam, and move forward to a shorter length if you mess it up. Tack them all in place with a fivepenny box nail at each end; anchor a slat to the forward end, 5 inches clear of the centerline; and space (and tack to the slats) the centers of the beams exactly as they are spaced at their ends. Mark and cut 1 - by 4-inch blocking to fit

Beam figure 15-15

Joining beams to beam ledge figure 15-16

Beam layout

Partner and blocking for mast stepped on the housetop

Centerline blocking

Tractor Trailer Outline


Beam ledge

House side

Combination square figure 15-17

Cutting and fitting short beams

Laminated short beam between the beams right down thecenterlineof the housetop. Fasten them as shown in the diagram.

Fit, roundoff, and fasten the outer pieces of the cornerposts, with plenty of sticky stuff in the joints. Fair off everything smooth as a smelt. Lay the deck (housetop, that is), consisting of doubled plywood with joints staggered and glued between, or matched pine or cedar in narrow strakes, or single-thickness plywood butted on centerline blocking, or whatever else you fancy. You can even put white Formica on the underside, if you want. Fasten well, especially around the edges. Trim off, and glue-and-screw a Vs- by 2 V2-inch piece of trim molding all around. (See Figure 15-18.)

Fill all the punched-down fastenings with polyester putty, the boatbuilder's friend. Cover the top with canvas, loaded with paint, if you're old-fashioned like me; but I'll forgive you if you use that smelly stuff—though not on matched pine, unless it's plenty thick and independently strong. Bring this cover down around the edges, and seal the edge of the canvas with half-oval molding, hollowed out to hold sticky sealant. Remember that any exposed canvas underedge will act as a wick to draw sweet water into the joint, and the rot spores will devour vour fine work before you realize

what's going on.

When you fit bronze porilights with a sleeve (called a "spigot" in the trade) that lines the opening in the wood, be sure to leave plenty of clearance at the top and bottom, because the


Beam ledge

House side house sides will inevitablv shrink, and vou will have to lighten the hold-down bolts. But you can't squeeze these ports, and the house sides will inevitably split to relieve the strain.

You aren't entirely out of the woods yet (perhaps we should switch the figure of speech, and say you still may need some guidance across the bar)—so read on for more details.

figure 15-18

W plywood

Crown Molding Construction Detail

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How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

How To Have A Perfect Boating Experience

Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.

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