Re-Do on the Bow

Bow, Heated and Separated

Did I mention being overly aggressive on chanfering the joints? You actually don’t want much chamfer at all on the ends of the panels, where they come together at the bow and where the stern is vertical. You want a wide external “v” there so that you can fill them with wood-putty and make a nice rounded external shape to the joint. This is for two reasons–you need the be able to lay the glass cloth smoothly across this seam and you don’t want a sharp external edge that can be easily “dinged” as you launch and recover.

Well, my bow joint was totally tight and sharp as a knife. This was only discovered after it had been wired and glued together. (Actually, how could you miss noticing it as you wired it together? It’s just that after taking the wire out and studying the bow, it looked worse and worser.) Holy cats! Can I get this apart and fix it? Turns out you can, and pretty easily, too.

1. Heat up the joint with a ceramic heater and gently pull it apart, being careful not to separate the long seams along the chines.

2. Cut a thin shim to fit in the bow seam, so that the resulting joint is open at least 3/8″. You can see in the photo that the leading edge of the shim has been sanded to a taper.

3. Liberally apply wood-putty (sawdust and resin) to the shim and install with spring clamps. Be careful to ensure that the bow is straight and vertical–it would be very easy to skew it to the side.

Tapered Shim for the Bow

Glued and Clamped, No Wires

This wasn’t my only “repair” before glassing. I noticed that two seams had not maintained their alignment in a couple places near the stern. The joints in this area had a habit of snapping off of alignment 1/8″ or so over a 10″ length. So I plastered in some wood putty and scraped/sanded the surface down smooth. You can see how this turned out, appearance-wise under the glass, in a much later post (see the Finishing and Varnish┬ápage).

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Wood Putty Fills Slipped Seams