Shop to Shore

Don (right), the very proud builder

Don (right), the very proud builder

With the launch of Don’s dory last week, our joint boatbuilding project has come to a successful conclusion. Two beautiful dories and a great time building them. Don’s fun doesn’t stop here however, during the winter he will build the sailing components for his boat: spars, rudder and daggerboard as well as completing two sets of oars.

Launch2

Launch3

The first row

The first row

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Look on the Bright Side

Interior of Don's dory

Interior of Don’s dory

Don and I both decided to finish our boat interiors with bright finishes. For the non-slip surfaces, floorboards and thwarts, we used three coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine. The rest of the interior, gunwales and the outside of the transom got six coats of Epifanes Gloss Varnish. The natural look of the wood contrasts nicely with the painted exterior.

Interior of my dory

Interior of my dory

Boxed In

Daggerboard box clamped in place

Daggerboard box clamped in place

Once the daggerboard box has been assembled and the slot cut in the bottom panel, its time to epoxy it in place. Here’s an easy method of clamping the box to the bottom panel using two threaded rods with wooden blocks, washers and nuts at each end. With the lower blocks held up against the bottom of the boat, the top blocks are then tightened down. Don’t forget to put packing tape on the bottom blocks.

Threaded rod clamps

Threaded rod clamps

Change of Pace

Piantedosi RowWing sliding seat drop-in unit bolted in place

The RowWing sliding seat drop-in unit bolted in place

The RowWing sliding seat drop-in unit takes less than a minute to install. Hardwood inserts were set into the softwood thwarts for the mounting brackets to rest on. To secure the unit in place, four knobs thread onto stainless steel T-nuts driven into the underside of the thwarts. A pair of 9-1/2′ Piantedosi basswood sculling oars with Macon blades are used with this unit.

Knob with stainless steel T-nut

Knob with stainless steel T-nut

Turn Up the Heat

Left: Screw stripped and stuck in epoxy    Right: Applying heat with soldering gun

Left: Screw stripped and stuck in epoxy         Right: Applying heat with soldering gun

Temporary screws can sometimes become permanent if they are not removed before the epoxy cures. A neat trick is to use a soldering gun to heat up the screw head and then remove the screw. In this case, the screw was not only stuck but the head was stripped and needed vice grips to turn it out.

Vice grips remove heated screw

Vice grips remove heated screw

Perfect Pitch

Manganese bronze Douglas Oarlock

Manganese bronze Douglas Oarlock

There are many different oarlocks on the market to choose from. I was looking for something that would would function like a Concept2 oarlock but in a more traditional style. That meant having the right amount of pitch so the oar doesn’t dive or wash out and can still be easily feathered. Douglas oarlocks with Martinoli sleeves looked like the perfect solution. The oarlocks have 6° built into them and the sleeves have flats on three sides which align against the flats on the oarlock to let you know if the oar is at the proper angle for either feathering or pulling.

Douglas Oarlock with Martinoli sleeve

Douglas Oarlock with Martinoli sleeve

Pair of Martinoli sleeves with adjustable  buttons

Pair of Martinoli sleeves with adjustable buttons

The sockets were mounted on blocks that compensated for the bevel in the gunwales. This ensured the pins were at 0° when they were inserted in the sockets. The blocks also needed enough wood inside the gunwale so the pin did not hit the inside of the planking. A line was attached to the bottom of each pin and looped over the oarlock horn to prevent accidental lose.

Oarlock pad before final shaping

Oarlock pad before final shaping

Made to Oarder

Hardwood tips being glued onto the oar blanks

Hardwood tips being glued onto the oar blanks

Making your own oars is a very rewarding experience. Plans and step-by-step instructions are available from several sources such as WoodenBoat magazine. They recently published an article called “The Geometry of Rowing” by John C. Harris in which he gives a formula for determing oar length. Unlike other calculations, he factors in the height of the oarlock above the water, a critical measurement in boats with more freeboard.

I made two pairs of spoon blade oars, one pair at 7’6” and the other at 8’6”. The wood used was basswood, very strong for its weight, although somewhat delicate. The tips of the blades have hardwood inserts for protection.

Basswood spoon blade oars

Basswood spoon blade oars

Rise to the Occasion

Seat riser raises the rower by 1-1/2"

Seat riser raises the rower by 1-1/2″

The thwarts in the dory are installed at a height for an average person leaving shorter rowers at a disadvantage. To compensate I made a lightweight seat riser from 1/2” ply, pine and 1” foam board. By raising the rower by 1-1/2” the oar handles are now at a more comfortable height.

Underside of the riser

Underside of the riser