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Curves in all the Right Places

February 3, 2022 in Uncategorized


Straight lines are pretty ‘far and few between’ on a wooden boat. From the curves around the gunwales, the stem and the compound curves at the transom, it takes a good eye to match them from one side to the other, or when replacing one section of a plank. Some pieces, especially the bulkheads, can be cut with a saw. Some others may take several shavings and shaping with the band saw, sander and scraper.  One result of the shaping are mounds of wood shavings. I remember Ron Butson showing how to make a long, continuous shaving.

The transom on a long deck launch like Nika is one piece that needs to be shaped and warped. Steamed, bent and clamped on a form to permanently change the shape of what were once flat pieces of solid mahogany. It is an impressive set up of clamps to make it all happen. Rob Gerigs had begun shaping part of Nika’s transom on such a form. This was the first of several planks that will make up the transom in what will look like a seamless section of mahogany — a very impressive demonstration of art and craft.

With the transom boards removed, you can see just how important this structure is to the overall strength of the boat. Fastened to oak framing and mahogany planking, the stern end of the launch is the first or last part of the boat you see as she flows by.

By Tim Du Vernet

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