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Thread: Oselvar Faering Build

  1. #1
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    Default Oselvar Faering Build

    (Traditional Oselvar færing exhibited in Bergen Maritime Museum. taken from www.vikingship.com)



    I have always found Norwegian boat design to be quite beautiful in its form and construction. Faerings in particular from the Hardanger area have an economy and apparent simplicity of construction that I am drawn to. Inspired by Lagspiller’s thread on this forum last year. “Traditional west-norwegian rowboat project”, I’ve decided to try to build an Oselvar boat. I’ve been gathering as much information about these boats as I can for the better part of a year, but there is not a lot out there in terms of plans. Lagspiller has shared with me some of the drawings from the boat he built and that has been extremely helpful. I have also emailed him asking a number of questions.

    The Oselvar is a three plank boat and the boat he built has four but the lines are very similar. I also bought “Inshore craft for Norway” by Bernhard and Oystein Faeroyvik. This book contains the lines for this boat as well as many others. So I scanned them and brought them into my 3D program and built the boat in 3D to give me a better understanding of the forms and lines and angles. It’s clear however that all this information is useful only as a guide and the boat will be built, to a large extent, by eye.

    At this point I should clarify, I don’t have a lot of boat building experience but I do have a lot of experience working with wood. My background is in sculpture; most of my work was in wood but these days I make furniture. I do a lot of steam bending in my own designs but the biggest differences between furniture making and boat building is that the project gets wet all the time. This introduces a whole other set of considerations that a person like me has to become familiar with.
    I am just finishing off my first boat – it should be in the water next summer. Because my workshop gets below freezing this time of year I will finish it in the spring. It is a glued lapstrake dory. It was a great first boat project but there was something quite dissatisfying about gluing those strakes together. I dislike plywood for most applications and I have never been a fan of epoxy. I guess I’m just a traditionalist. It has been partly that dissatisfaction compelling me to try to build a traditional Oselvar boat. I find the lines of Iain Oughtred’s boats to be beautiful but the way they are constructed puts me off buying a set of his plans. There is also something about the way a Norwegian boat is built that appeals to my sculptural approach to working with wood. When building a boat over forms that are taken off drawings, the whole process is very mechanical and dry; there is no involvement of the imagination or “eye”. Even in my furniture making, there are no plans from which I work and there are rarely any fixed dimensions. There is symmetry and balance but given that a lot of what I make is steam bent, there is lot of flexibility in dimensions.

    I started gathering materials for this project last spring. I began with the stems. I looked at the two part spliced stems that are common to most Norwegian boats and decided, I guess rather arrogantly, that it looked weak. Instead I decided to steam bend the stems as one piece. At first, I had a number of failures due to inferior grade white oak.


    Next, I attempted the bends with black walnut, which resulted in success. However, I was told on this forum that I would have to beef up the dimensions of my stems if I wanted to use black walnut instead of white oak. Finally I found some top quality quarter sawn white oak that was still green and very cheap. Perfection! They have been drying since April on this rack.I painted the ends and the edges with wax and so far there are no cracks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    The same saw mill happened to have a very large cedar trunk sitting around on a large pile of other trunks. I worked with the mill owner to cut it up. He charged me $150 for this whole pile. He cut it to 6/4 but I ripped it all down and planed it up to 9/16”. It has very few knots and is very wide; perfect for the wide planks for an Oselvar. It's Atlantic cedar. I cut off all the sap wood last May as I had an infestation of ambrosia beetles. The little bastards damaged quite a bit of the heart wood too.

    Next, I started on the keel. I had difficulty finding a good piece of white oak for my keel so I ended up making it out of Black Locust. It took quite some work, as I got the initial dimensions too thick. I wanted to plane it down to the correct dimensions but found even the sharpest high angle plane would tear out the grain. I resorted to scrapers. It took a long time.





    I set up the keel in the front of the barn, where I will be building this boat. I put in an overhead beam against which I will be able to brace the planks and braces for the stems.














    Whilst in Maine last July 4th I cut some red oak crotches and brought them back to Connecticut with me. I axed them to about 2" and they are now drying. I was hoping to use them for ribs or maybe oarlocks.







    Anyway, I'm at the point where I am starting to shape the stems before I join them to the keel. I will keep you posted.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Thanks! Keep at it. Look forward to rowing her.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Those crooks might do nicely for the beam and standing knees that you need:

    They certainly will make the kjeip that she will need.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Good luck with your project. I have a three strake Oselver that is now having at least one of the garboards replaced by a local guy who has spent a lot of time in boatshops in Norway.

    You dialed in the way to solve the extremely wide dimension of the middle strake on Oselvers: They used the swelling on the butt of a tree to accomplish it. The middle strake on my boat is about 21 inches wide. Because of this extreme width, they are very prone to drying out and cracking. In Norway, when they are hauled out, they are put in a tiny boathouse a few feet from the water's edge and covered with a wet mat. Don't get freaked if it does crack. I was concerned about cracking on my boat. I asked an old Scandanavian shipwright at a yard where I was working...he said, "Oh, we just let them sink and haul them out two weeks later. Your boat will be ok."

    You might note the the forward and after garboards are often hewn not steamed. In other words, you start with a thick board and carve the shape. As I understand it, traditional Norwegian building did not use steaming very much if at all.

    I would be very, very cautious about altering any detail on your boat. Anytime I have done this I have come to grief. The boat has about a thousand years of history...now that's a traditional boat. In that time, the builders have refined out the best way to build these boats.

    Best of luck...I agree, they are beautiful boats.
    Last edited by pcford; 12-11-2009 at 11:51 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    21 inches!!!, Really? according to my measurements the widest plank is about 16 1/2". Are you sure you are not measuring diagonally down the stem?
    The middle strake is prone to cracking from the reports I have read and I was on the fence for a long time whether to build a 3 strake or 4 strake boat, but it seemed such a shame to cut these wide planks down. But if they indeed need to be 21", then I guess I will go back to planning a 4 strake boat. Either way, I am using Atlantic cedar which swells and contracts less than the Norwegian/ Scots Pine that they traditionally make these boats with. I hope that will make a favorable difference. On the other hand, I don't think the Norwegians have such extremes in temperature and humidity as they do here in Connecticut. Well, if it cracks then I will just have to sink the boat for a week or two.

    In preparation for this project in October I started making the clamps that will hold these extra-wide planks in place. I make one of these every week or two. I still need 3 or 4.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    tapsnap....Your boat is roughly 16ft. long...if I am reading the drawings correctly. Mine is 22.

    By the way, I should have said the middle strake appears to have been cut from a piece of wood about 22 inches wide. I am extrapolating the upper and lower edges. At no point is the plank measure 21 inches from lower to upper edge. The upper edge is forward of the lower edge as it lands on the stem. So I projected these two edges. I hope I made myself clear.
    Last edited by pcford; 12-11-2009 at 10:00 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    tapsnap....Your boat is roughly 16ft. long...if I am reading the drawings correctly. Mine is 22.

    By the way, I should have said the middle strake appears to have been cut from a piece of wood about 22 inches wide. I am extrapolating the upper and lower edges. At no point is the plank measure 21 inches from lower to upper edge. The upper edge is forward of the lower edge as it lands on the stem. So I projected these two edges. I hope I made myself clear.
    Tapsnap,
    The best way to resolve this is to build a model, say at 1/16 scale, planked in cardboard. That will show you whether you can get your planks out of the stock that you have.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Peerie Maa, I agree, I have been considering doing just that. The 3D model is great for certain things but I think an actual model would help resolve a lot of unknowns in the construction.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Here is a couple pics out at Jay smiths place of I believe pcfords 22' faering and a larger version in the background.If you are wondering about the viking ship there is more info at http://wildexpeditions.org/index.html
    Jay plans on waiting till Feb. to continue work on the ship.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Thanks, emf!!! Did not get a good photo when I was at Jay's place. By the way...both vessels are stem to stem...going the same way, in other words.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Nice. It's unusual to see a faering that big. At that size they are usually seksaerings aren't they? Do you primarily sail this boat? I understand what you meant about the really wide planks now.
    I went to the website it's a very impressive project and a great program for kids. I would have loved to have done something like that when I was a teenager.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Quote Originally Posted by tapsnap View Post
    Nice. It's unusual to see a faering that big. At that size they are usually seksaerings aren't they? Do you primarily sail this boat? I understand what you meant about the really wide planks now.
    I went to the website it's a very impressive project and a great program for kids. I would have loved to have done something like that when I was a teenager.
    It has only one rowing station. It is mostly sailed. It rows pretty easily, but is not a lot of fun to row into a headwind. The boat definitely had alterations from original...it had a lead ballast keel. It sails fine without the ballast keel. Not like a racer but it'll definitely go to windward. Also, it has fore and aft seats on each side over the middle frames. I did not see additional rowing stations when I replaced the original sheer clamp. It is a mystery what the original configuration was.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    I managed to get a little work done on the stems this evening.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Hey tapsnap, just wondering what 3d program you used?

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    The 3D program I used is Lightwave 3D. I have been using it for the past 10 years or so. It's not really meant for this kind of 3D work though. It's more for 3D animation. A better program for 3D engineering is Solidworks. It's a program I use also but I'm not as adept in using it, so it's much faster for me to do it in Lightwave.
    Last edited by tapsnap; 12-15-2009 at 09:58 AM.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Continuing to shape the stems this evening. I began with the bandsaw then finished with the spokeshave.
    Last edited by tapsnap; 12-13-2009 at 10:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Will steamed stems really hold their shape over time?

    An aquintance of mine messed up the bow of an otherwise fine clinker built doubleender by steaming the stem instead of hewing it from a grown crook. The steamed stem straightened a wee bit as he planked and the bow dropped and the flare was reduced. He did not notice the error until he fitted the last strake and could not ger a fair shear. There was nothing he could do about it. Sad story.

    In Scandinavian boat building steaming was not used until the early years of the 20th century. In my area the oldtimers split the forward and aft pieces for the first two strakes from logs with twisted grain. Each half of the log was hewn to become a plank. The third and fourth strake were soaked in water and bent in place cold.
    The gunwale and outwale were sometimes split from long thin spruce trees that had grown in the shadow of thier higher neighbours. Split wood bends better than sawn.
    Amateur living on the western coast of Finland

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Nice to see photos of your project. I'll admit now that I did have some doubts the first time you mentioned your plan. But your questions were good, and when you got around to forming the keel it was clear you were really going to give it a shot. I was impressed, but still not confident. Now I am. The photos of your shop and the planning ooze craftsmanship. It will be very interesting following how your adaptations turn out.



    Probably not all that much of a coincidence, being that Oselvers are from this rather small geographical area, but Onarheim, mentioned in the drawing you posted, is a town on a neighbouring island. Our building instructor is from there...

    If your photos are current, I am just a bit ahead of you on my second build. Laid up the keel - stem assembly last saturday and will begin next saturday by cutting back & planing in the 'rolling bevel' (you guys called it something like that) from the 'T' on the keel to the stem. Then its time for the first garboard. The other guys in our build are way ahead of me.

    Looking at your last picture... it appears you have already shaped the inboard end of your stem. But on the chance you haven't - it is easier to get the scarf right if you leave the final 10 cm square. Then plane it down after it is attached to the keel.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Lagspiller,

    Do you have any insight on my Oselver? See post number 8. It is roughly 22 ft. It has but one thwart...there are bench seats fore and aft over the middle frames. I got it about thirty years ago...at the time it had a Marconi main...I assumed that was a latter day alteration, so I changed it to a sprit. Now I understand it was likely the original sail. It also had a ballast keel...I'm sure that was not orginal. The sheer plank; sheer clamp; top of the stem and sternpost were are rotten. I replaced them. It has been in storage for many years.

    I am having Jay Smith...a local guy experienced in Norwegian boatbuilding replace at least the forward starboard garboard.

    Thanks for any insight you might be able to give.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Heimlaga, I hope the stems don't creep over time. I'm not so worried about them doing so while I'm building the boat as there are 4"x4" posts either end of the boat, against which the stems are bound and there is downward pressure on the keel from the overhead bracing. However, once the boat is in the water they may want to move - I don't know. But there are other forces in the boat counteracting that tendancy. As far as I know steam bending a stem is an acceptable way of making a stem. I believe John Gardner talks about it in his book "building classic small craft" .

    Lagspiller, I had no idea you were currently building another faering. That's great news. I will try to catch up to you over the next few days. That way I will be able to compare notes with you and it will give me a timetable to keep up with. This is great, you know, your posts really were the inspiration for my project. Thanks

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Tapsnap - I haven't seen a steamed stem, but as far as worrying about it straightening out... I wouldn't be much concerned. The original stems are made i two pieces, glued and rivetted, but it is the pressure of the hull boards that is the real strength. With all the balanced tension they apply and the frames in place, I can't imagine the stems could possible straighten - even if they tried.

    It is roughly 22 ft. It has but one thwart...there are bench seats fore and aft over the middle frames. I got it about thirty years ago...at the time it had a Marconi main...I assumed that was a latter day alteration, so I changed it to a sprit. Now I understand it was likely the original sail. It also had a ballast keel...I'm sure that was not orginal. The sheer plank; sheer clamp; top of the stem and sternpost were are rotten. I replaced them. It has been in storage for many years
    .
    I looked for a picture, but can't find it.
    Boat sizes vary. Yours is on the big side, if it is færing, but not unheard of. The one I'm building now is 19'5''. I think the færing built specifically for bermuda (or marconi if you prefer) rig are generally longer than the sprit boats.

    Yes, some are original with bermuda rig. In my experience, that is for the boats specifically built for racing. They point higher than the sprit classes and are a touch faster. These boats also have a deeper keel - which might very well be ballasted. That is generall screwed onto the permanant keel. Even with the adjusted keel, they require an active crew to balance. When at rest with just the mast in place, an empty bermuda boat heels over until the waterline is just under the gunnel. It looks quite wild.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Quote Originally Posted by lagspiller View Post
    I looked for a picture, but can't find it.
    Boat sizes vary. Yours is on the big side, if it is færing, but not unheard of. The one I'm building now is 19'5''. I think the færing built specifically for bermuda (or marconi if you prefer) rig are generally longer than the sprit boats.

    Yes, some are original with bermuda rig. In my experience, that is for the boats specifically built for racing. They point higher than the sprit classes and are a touch faster. These boats also have a deeper keel - which might very well be ballasted. That is generall screwed onto the permanant keel. Even with the adjusted keel, they require an active crew to balance. When at rest with just the mast in place, an empty bermuda boat heels over until the waterline is just under the gunnel. It looks quite wild.
    Lagspiller...Here she is:




    As I recall the keel extends below the garboards about 3.5 inches. (9 cm) As I mentioned, the boat originally had a ballast keel. It extended maybe 18" (.5 meter) below the bottom of the boat. My hazy memory...it was about 1973...recalls that the lead was about 100 pounds. I recall that the deadwood of the ballast keel was Alaska Yellow Cedar. If my recollection is correct, it is then unlikely that the ballast keel was original.

    She does heel over quite a bit. However, one always feels safe...like resting in Momma's lap!

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Ok... looking at the gunnel, I can't see any sign of a keip (oar-bedding). No marks visible in the photo and no widening of the gunnel where the oars are. That suggests it was built specifically for sail - probably a racing boat. They don't have oars - cause that stuff would only be in the way when hiked out, riding the gunnel in a gale...
    The depth you mention for the sail keel sounds right, too. I don't know the present official measurement for the keel, but can ask someone in the oselver club if you get interested in 'extreme sports'.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Thanks, Lagspiller. The sheer clamps as they exist now are copy of the orginals...as best as I could manage. I replaced the sheer clamps and there were only one set of fittings for oars.

    Do the sailing Oselvers have fore and aft bench seats like mine?

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    pcford, here is a picture of racing Oselvars that might answer some of your questions. I copied it from http://www.oselvarverkstaden.no/ It was taken by Vidar Langeland.



    Their interiors appear to be quite different from a regular rowing and sailing Oselvar. They also look like they are larger.

    In terms of the progress on my boat, I cut the scarf on the stems this evening and planed them to the correct angles. It wasn't really difficult getting them to fit but I am holding off gluing and riviting them as the temperature is going to drop to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-11 degrees Celsius) tonight and tomorrow's high is will be 20 degrees. The glue I will be using is an epoxy especially for use on Oak and Teak but the lowest temperature it can be used at is 28F. My workshop will be like a meat locker tomorrow. I can try to warm it up or I can wait on gluing the scarf until it warms up.
    Last edited by tapsnap; 12-17-2009 at 10:05 PM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Quote Originally Posted by tapsnap View Post
    pcford, here is a picture of racing Oselvars that might answer some of your questions.
    Hehe... for all I know, I might be in one of those boats.
    That's the fleet I used to race with.
    Those are 8kvm sprit rig boats. They are generally about 18'.
    Good shot of them. Pay special attention to the way the jib is attached. The forward stay swings on a boom, hinged at the mast. Opposite arrangment of a whisker pole. When running downwind, like these boats, the LEADING edge of the jib is swung outboard on the boom.

    The bermuda rigged boats sail in a different class with larger sails. There is one in the same series of shots....
    http://www.oselvarverkstaden.no/inde...d=27&Itemid=30
    Click on the picture with the caption 'Segling'.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Lagspiller...
    Thanks so much. I think we now know the provenance of my boat. She is a racing class boat originally with a Bermudan rig. I had a designer do a sprit rig...it is not the same as the sprit rig which I see in the photographs...however, it looks appropriate and works well. The biggest drawback is that we had to step the mast about 18 inches forward of the thwart. (To allow for the difference in center of effort between the sprit and and Bermudan rigs.)

    I have forwarded this information along to Jay Smith.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Lagspiller,
    Are you guys still using the urethane glue you were using last year for the scarfs? I remember you had a problem with it failing on the oak scarfs. You said it didn't really matter as the planking and the rivets did more of the holding than anything else. Does urethane glue even have any adhesive properties on the oak or did you use it for it's gap filling properties?
    I'm feeling cautious and was wondering whether I should use Resorcinol. My scarfs are clean and tight but there is the problem of moisture and temperature. I can get the temperature higher by wrapping the joint in an electric blanket but do you know if the Resorcinol glue is moisture sensitive? ..... Anyone?

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Resorcinol is waterproof but you need the heat. i think the old norse way used no glue in those scarfs, just the rivets and the swelling wood. The Controversies were strip built in Maine with resorcinol and they did all the fitting and gluing in the day and cranked the heat to 75F overnight with good success as far as I know.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    I meant the moisture in the wood. This wood has only been air drying for a few months.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    I use sikaflex in my skarffs and in the laps to good effect.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    We have used different types of glue. It doesn't really seem to matter too much once the boat is built because the rivets and planking are the real strength. As long as it holds until you get the boards on and the glue is waterproof I think it is not so important what you use. The first glue we used, and had most trouble with, was Tech7... comparable to a 3M product you guys knew... named something like 3M 5200. A bit stiffer than Sikaflex, but not 'permanant'. Most of us now use the polypropelyn glue. That works fine as long as the temp is high enough in the shop. I used a 'flexible' epoxy on my stem scarfs and the uretan/polypropolyn glue on the keel scarfs. Concidered resorcinal, but dropped it because of the colour band it would leave and the fact that I used up the 5 kg tin I bought for the first boat.

    Our keel & scarf materials are more or less pulled right up out of the sea, scraped clean of shell & barnacle and put to use almost immediately. The keels that were shaped in june and first put to use in september are less true than the fresh ones...
    Last edited by lagspiller; 12-19-2009 at 05:53 AM.

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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    Thanks Lagspiller and EMF, that reassures me. I will try to get the joints glued up this weekend. By the way, can you do me a favour and photograph the rolling bevel from several angles before you rivet on the first boards? And one other question; do you finish the rolling bevel completely and adjust the hals to it or are you making minor changes to the rolling bevel as you are fitting the hals?
    Anyway, I've got to go now to make preparations for this winter storm that is about to hit us - lots of snow and wind.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Oselvar Faering Build

    I had to adjust the bevel after beginning to fit the first hals, but that was because I was too careful about taking off too much. Saw that immediately when I pressed the hals in place on the first fitting. Then I made it longer and let it run out to within a couple of mm of 0. That way you don't get a grope that will collect water. Once I knew how it was supposed to look, I finished it completely before moving on to shaping the garboard (hals).

    You will see what I mean right away, so don't worry about it. Do what you think is right and then make the adjustment when you see how it works with the garboard.

    I can make the photos you ask for - because I entirely dropped the shop today. Everybody else took a holiday, so I went christmas shopping instead.
    You can do the rolling bevel with the keel in the strongback, but we have found it is easier to do if you take it out and turn it up-side down. Then you stand, looking down on the piece and have a lot easier access. But you need to have the bits glued together first and then help to turn it over.

    There is a trick when gluing the stem to the keel. You don't need to get everything wedged perfectly in place now, but make sure the depths at the bow and stern are correct and they are straight. Wedge the bits in the strongback, attach your central string (put in a screw just below the scooped out bit under the top of the stem... I'll find a picture. Look below) and measure the height at a right angle above the keel/stem joint. Bow - 82 to 84 cm, stern 72 to 74 cm. This is important because it is the only thing in this process you cannot adjust later and ALL the other measurements depend on it being correct.



    The second shot shows the real use of the notch - not just for placing the measuring string, but for clamping the stem. A couple of turn of rope and a winding stick...
    Last edited by lagspiller; 12-19-2009 at 12:05 PM.

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