Friday, March 15, 2013


The big event of the day, at least insofar as the number of people involved, was the steam bending of the port inwale for Beetle replica whaleboat number two.  The gunwales are very stout on the Beetles, for obvious reasons, and the inwale alone is a thick, wide, and long strip of white oak.  Because of its dimensions, it required nearly two hours of steaming (one hour of steam per inch of board thickness.)  
Inwale pieces cooking in the steam bag
Once the wood has steamed enough, it needed to be quickly removed from the bag and bent and clamped into place on the boat, along the sheer, where it will be eventually fastened.  Lots of hands make this process possible.  
Newt and Jeff remove the steam bag from the steamed oak boards.
Jeff, Bruce, and Jeff begin bending and clamping the forward section of the inwale.
Because steam bent oak will tend to spring back a little when unclamped, and because the bend was for the inwale, but was clamped to the outside of the sheer strake (because it's much easier to do) Bruce added spacers amidships to increase the bend.  Some of the spacers can be seen in the picture above. 

The inwale is fabricated in two sections, fore and aft, for ease of handling and because 30 foot straight grained clear white oak boards are tough to come by these days.  A scarph joint was cut and prefitted before steaming.   

The aft section of the inwale being clamped.
The final clamp goes into place.
The scarph joint is clamped.  It will be faired later on.
Earlier in the day, Bruce and Jeff had fitted and fastened the sheer plank.  Thus, whaleboat number 2 is fully planked -- beautifully and in record time.

Bruce fastens the sheer strake with copper clinch nails.
You can NEVER have too many clamps.
Meanwhile, back on whaleboat number 1, the seams have all been caulked and sealed.  Once the sealer dries, the first coat of hull paint can be applied.

A messy job, but a necessary one.
Jeff was busy tearing apart another boat.  This time, his victim is Suzy, the Herreshoff Meadow Lark.  Leaks in the bow were a problem, and fairly severe decay in some parts of the keel to stem joint was found.  Jeff removed the rotted stem section, and will fashion a new and better replacement.

Jeff and his hammer -- watch out!
Jeff extracts a particularly stubborn bolt.
Bob continued working topside on Suzy, fastening the Lexan top to her new forward hatch.  

Bob drills screw holes in the Lexan hatch top, a LOT of screws  holes.
Although planking was just completed on the second whaleboat, and there are still 72 frames to install, it is not to early to begin bending white oak for the many thwart knees that will need to be fabricated and riveted into place.  On the first boat, we had a very high mortality rate, as one knee after another cracked and split while bending.  To avoid that this time, Carl is fabricating a compression band that will fit on the knee bending jig.  We found that a compression band helped enormously when bending frames, reducing the failure rate to near zero.
Compression band in place on knee bending jig.
The sea chest replica, needed for an upcoming interactive exhibit in the Museum is coming along.  Charles finished cutting dovetails and mortises, and glued up the four sides.  Top and bottom will come along soon.

Four of 16 tails, plus another 16 pins -- let's see. . .
Glued and clamped up to dry.  Top and bottom come next.
A reminder why to "Do as I say, not as I do."

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