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Thread: Determining Keel Dimensions for Herreshoff Dinghy?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Determining Keel Dimensions for Herreshoff Dinghy?

    The Herreshoff Dinghy (11 1/2 ft) plans only provide:

    • offsets for the apex line
    • a short note that the keel is 1 inch thick [white] oak

    Other important info:

    • The aft part of the keel will need to be steam bent to match the shape of the skeg
    • Keel needs to accept a centerboard slot

    How do I determine the shape of the top of the keel in the half-breadth view? Is it a constant distance from the apex line? What about a constant width top of keel (e.g. 4 inches wide along the whole length)?

    Also, I think the plan's recommendations for a 1-inch thick plank are questionable. When I loft it on the body plan, the material left to fasten the garboard plank seems thin, especially fore and aft. Note that this assumes the bottom of keel is 3/8 inch below the rabbet line. I based this on the Catspaw example in Rossel's Building Small Boats because the Herreshoff plans state nothing about the bottom of keel.

    Without these answers, my current plan of attack is to make the keel 1 3/8 inch thick, 4-inches wide, and cut the bottom to shape along the rabbet line. These dimensions appear to provide enough surface area and thickness for fastening the garboard when I loft them out on the body plan.

    I think my only other option would be to take a trip to the Herreshoff museum in Bristol, RI and see if there's a similar dinghy I could examine in person.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Determining Keel Dimensions for Herreshoff Dinghy?

    The original boat is at Mystic Seaport. The cross section construction plan drawings show a rabbet around 1" deep. The plan calls for screwing the garboard to the keel, so having at least 7/8" for landing sounds reasonable to me.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Determining Keel Dimensions for Herreshoff Dinghy?

    According to this there is a hog as well. So 1" keel forms the rebate and the hog forms the bearding surface.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Determining Keel Dimensions for Herreshoff Dinghy?

    Not the Herreshoff method but another way.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Determining Keel Dimensions for Herreshoff Dinghy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thad View Post
    Not the Herreshoff method but another way.
    So, is the keel in the Herreshoff method the hog, with the skeg forming the rebate, or do you have the ball ache of carving the rebate from the solid , rather than from two pieces (rebate and bearding) on the bench? We need to see the drawings.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Determining Keel Dimensions for Herreshoff Dinghy?

    What I read in "Building the Herreshoff Dinghy" was that the Herreshoff constructed dinghies with a centerboard with single piece keels, and dinghies without a centerboard with two piece keels, rebate and bearding as you say. The plans I have show a centerboard, and I'm planning on including that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Determining Keel Dimensions for Herreshoff Dinghy?

    Good afternoon.
    I just found this thread. I built one of these three years ago. It may be the most fun I had building a boat. Certainly cutting the rabet in the stem was the most fun I have ever had with a chisel. It took about twenty minutes per inch. Not sure I can answer your detailed questions. I used the plans from WB but chose to build copper fastened white cedar over the steam bent oak frames. I took lots of photos. Here is a link to my project. Good luck and enjoy. Saul
    https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B0zJ0DiRH12eep

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Determining Keel Dimensions for Herreshoff Dinghy?

    Quote Originally Posted by SJKaplan View Post
    Good afternoon.
    I just found this thread. I built one of these three years ago. It may be the most fun I had building a boat. Certainly cutting the rabet in the stem was the most fun I have ever had with a chisel. It took about twenty minutes per inch. Not sure I can answer your detailed questions. I used the plans from WB but chose to build copper fastened white cedar over the steam bent oak frames. I took lots of photos. Here is a link to my project. Good luck and enjoy. Saul
    https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B0zJ0DiRH12eep
    So basically there is next to no rebate in the keel and the garboard seam is skew nailed.
    Cornish pilot gigs are built like that but it is not common.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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