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Thread: White oak transom - splines, drifts ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    northeast Ohio

    Question White oak transom - splines, drifts ?

    I'm making up the front of the outboard well for my Ninigret build.
    I have 3 boards ready that are 1-1/2" thick by 5-1/2" wide.
    The plans call for 1/2" pine feathers (or splines). No width is given.
    I have heard of bronze or galvanized drifts being used elsewhere.
    If I go with splines I am guessing 1-1/2" wide, giving me 3/4" insertion on each side.
    Drifts that are 4" would give me 2" insertion each side.
    G-flex epoxy to be used no matter what way I go.
    What would be your preferred method building up this transom?

    Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000

    Default Re: White oak transom - splines, drifts ?

    I like splines but not for fastening or glued, just to seal the joint. I like drifts for fasteners as they hold but allow for movement/swelling.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    N.E. Connecticut.

    Default Re: White oak transom - splines, drifts ?

    I think I would go a little less than 1 1/2" for the spline, I think 1 1/4" is plenty. I have also thought that cutting the spline on "the bias" to the grain would be better, less chance of splitting.
    Given that oak is very unstable I would build the transom so that it can expand/ contact and change dimensionally. If you hard glue it to framing at each end it could end up splitting with the wet - dry cycles.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Northern Europe

    Default Re: White oak transom - splines, drifts ?

    My folkboat transom was splined oak and it allowed for movement though it was well fastened to its frame. I think boards that wide are going to move, but have no experience with g-flex, i do not think i would worry so much about movement if you halved your boards again, but i would still spline it with regards to the grain mentioned above.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: White oak transom - splines, drifts ?

    I would resaw the boards, bring them into the house and let them stabilize in a warm place, put them back together in 2 layers with staggered seams and 10 oz. glass in GFlex between the layers then seal it very well. Three layers with staggered joints and the cloth in GFlex would be better. The outer 2 layers would be thinner than the inner in order to keep the glass closer to the surface.

    I would also soak the end grain in a borax solution.

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