Monday, June 26, 2006

Ripping the 18' Long Gunwales

I found out over the weekend (via e-mail from Mr. Vitromile in Washington) that the epoxy resin we purchased last week is the wrong stuff. I have returned it to the local Home Depot, and have ordered the correct right epoxy from a company in New Jersey. While we await it's arrival, the end-to-end bonding of the 8 foot pieces of plywood to make the sides of our boat will also have to wait.

So, when Dan came by tonight to spend 90 minutes working on the boat, we went to work cutting the "gunwales" for our boat. The 3/4" x 1 1/2" gunwales are the long, slim pieces of wood affixed to the upper sides of the boat, and got their name from the days when cannons were mounted on them. Ours have to be cut from the entire length of our 18 foot 2 x 10! Lumber companies simply don't mill pieces of wood like this! Thankfully, the gentlemen who provided us the drawings for our boat also provided us plans for a nifty little jig to make the job easier. Here's the jig mounted on our circular saw... carefully affixed so that it allows exactly a 3/4" cut.
We take our time with this cut, inching the saw along... and it worked like a charm!

When we were done we had two beautiful gunwales, ready to be glued and screwed to the entire length of the top edge of the sides of our sailboat. For our 16' boat, the gunwales have to be nearly 18' in length because of the bend in the hull. For some perspective on how long 18' really is, here's Dan modeling our first gunwale! As you can see, it was a challenge to get the whole thing in the picture! This gives us the first real sense of the size of our intended vessel!

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