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Thread: Lofting the Brewer catboat

  1. #4936
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Let us slowly ease into the subject of toerails, ponder awhile and cogitate over what exactly needs to be accomplished and how to best go about doing just that.

    The plans specify a width of an inch and a quarter and a height of an inch and a half. There's an enlarged detail of the cross section of the deck edge taken about midships and there it is, the toerail, more or less rectangular in cross section and looking as simple to build as can be imagined.

    There's only one thing wrong...if the entire rail was build to that section it would look awful. Whereas, what we want is something that sings the sweet note, four notes, actually, one for each corner of the rail, all in harmony with the sheerline itself.


    A few design points...



    The bottom needs to sit tight to the deck and be the same width for most of the run

    The outer side needs to follow the plane of the sheer plank. In some places where the sheer plank is curved in section, the toerail side needs to follow the extended curve.

    The top face should be a constant width for most of the run, except where transitions occur at the bow and stern. The top face should be parallel to the deck crown at any given point, because it transitions to a wide section at the bow and to a knee at the transom, both of which follow the crown.

    The inside face needs to lean outboard. The lean can be varied along the length of the rail to result in a constant width at the top face.

    The height of the rail should be lower at the point of least freeboard than at the bow and transom, I'm looking at a quarter inch difference here, which doesn't sound like much but I believe it lightens things up.



    It's not actually possible to satisfy all these requirements due to the changing flare and tumblehome of the sheer plank, so some fudging is required. It's that fudge allowance that needs to be calculated before saw can be put to timber.



    To begin, a sawn pattern of the front section of the rail, roughly shaped, needing refinement but giving a sense of what's needed....


    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 07-09-2018 at 10:08 AM.

  2. #4937
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    While you ponder, consider setting the toerail back from the shear a little bit for the visual effect.

    I did a photo search on catboats and found them both flush and set back from the shear so it's a matter of personal preference.

    Just my .02 worth!
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  3. #4938
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    I always preferred the look of tapering the toe rail in height from the bow to the stern in a nice sweep, but not bringing the height back up aft. Something like 3" at the stem and 1.5 at the transom.

  4. #4939
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    The taper, like that of a bootstripe, is visually related to the change in beam, ergo the catboat doesn't need much rise at the aft end.
    No adversary is worse than bad advice.

  5. #4940
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by rkymtnsailor View Post
    While you ponder, consider setting the toerail back from the shear a little bit for the visual effect.

    I did a photo search on catboats and found them both flush and set back from the shear so it's a matter of personal preference.

    Just my .02 worth!
    Yes, I'm setting the toerail back an eighth of an inch from the deck edge, which might not sound like much but it gives a nice crisp reveal which looks nice. Production fiberglass boats need a big setback because...well, because the deck edge is a mushy, indistinct line of dubious fairness that you don't want to highlight by placing a bent piece of wood in close proximity.

    You can't set the rail too far inboard as you need to be able to screw it into the edge of the sheer plank.

    jim

  6. #4941
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    I always preferred the look of tapering the toe rail in height from the bow to the stern in a nice sweep, but not bringing the height back up aft. Something like 3" at the stem and 1.5 at the transom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Figment View Post
    The taper, like that of a bootstripe, is visually related to the change in beam, ergo the catboat doesn't need much rise at the aft end.

    Sometimes I write things to see if anybody actually reads these maunderings. Usually these errors go unnoticed, but not today, oh no. One hint of raising the height of the toerail aft has met with staunch opposition, as well it should. Congratulations, both Mike and Navydog on your good sense and attention.


    My old catboat Sea Rover had a nice toerail design. The original 1916 toerails were still on the boat when I owned her, and so were available to copy. Here's a shot when they were being installed. They were set flush with the deck edge. The original deck was canvased and the canvas folded down onto the sheer plank and covered by the rub rail.

    Sea Rover had no tumblehome, which kept the design of the toerail simple as all the slant of the outer face was outboard. Also, the toerails were higher, which resulted in an easy slope on the inboard face. Unfortunately, the high toerail adds a lot of visual weight to the topside, making the freeboard seem higher and, when combined with the rub rail, making the deck edge look heavy. I'm going to try and lighten things up here with a lower toe rail and a lighter rub rail.

    The rub rails themselves will be subject to much tapering, both in depth and thickness, heaviest at the point of lowest freeboard, tapering forward and aft. But that's a story for another day.



  7. #4942
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Figment View Post
    The taper, like that of a bootstripe, is visually related to the change in beam, ergo the catboat doesn't need much rise at the aft end.
    Not sure about the toe ral, so I won't comment, but I believe that the bootstripe usually respects the shear rather than the beam.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    The rub rails themselves will be subject to much tapering, both in depth and thickness, heaviest at the point of lowest freeboard, tapering forward and aft. But that's a story for another day.


    Does she even need a rub strip? Not common practice on yachts with solid rather than canvassed decks, and vulnerable to being disturbed breaking the seal of the paint and bedding compound so letting damp in.
    Your deck is so well bedded onto the shear strake that I do not think a rubbing strip will do much.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  8. #4943
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    I don't have rubrails on my boat and I wish I did. To many docks are beat up and bringing the boat in to fuel up in cross winds can put you up against the piling before you can deploy a fender. Same with getting in and out of slips. 3/4" or 1" brass half oval on the flat to protect the wood rail wood be my choice as well.

    Jim,
    I assume you will back these out on the table saw. If you're not familiar with the technic let me know, I'll post a how to comment.

  9. #4944
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    I don't have rubrails on my boat and I wish I did. To many docks are beat up and bringing the boat in to fuel up in cross winds can put you up against the piling before you can deploy a fender. Same with getting in and out of slips. 3/4" or 1" brass half oval on the flat to protect the wood rail wood be my choice as well.

    Jim,
    In which case this is a better solution.
    Barrow 29-11-75.jpg
    A thicker strake of planking fastened directly to the frames. Impossible to scrape off if snagged on some projection.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  10. #4945
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    In which case this is a better solution.
    Barrow 29-11-75.jpg
    A thicker strake of planking fastened directly to the frames. Impossible to scrape off if snagged on some projection.
    That's pretty and more difficult to knock off but you can still damage it in a chop and bump a piece off or split the rail.. Then you have a conundrum of a repair. Replace the plank or plane it flat and put a new piece on. Piles aren't generally an issue but some times the docks are poorly designed and you could get under the edge or on top and tear the rail off. Forming a rail out of the plank is more work then it's worth in my mind.

  11. #4946
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    That's pretty and more difficult to knock off but you can still damage it in a chop and bump a piece off or split the rail.. Then you have a conundrum of a repair. Replace the plank or plane it flat and put a new piece on. Piles aren't generally an issue but some times the docks are poorly designed and you could get under the edge or on top and tear the rail off. Forming a rail out of the plank is more work then it's with in my mind.
    Actually less work than screwing a second plank to one that is already hung. If you did knock a chunk out of it it would be easy enough to scarf in a dutchman with good modern glues. That one will be a strake of 2" oak set into 1" larch topside planking, with the projecting corners rounded off.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  12. #4947
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Maybe so, but it won't cover the deck to shear plank seam or cover the edge of a canvas deck. Nothing a 100% solution for every situation.

  13. #4948
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Does she even need a rub strip? Not common practice on yachts with solid rather than canvassed decks, and vulnerable to being disturbed breaking the seal of the paint and bedding compound so letting damp in.
    Your deck is so well bedded onto the shear strake that I do not think a rubbing strip will do much.
    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    Maybe so, but it won't cover the deck to shear plank seam or cover the edge of a canvas deck. Nothing a 100% solution for every situation.
    So we come full circle.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  14. #4949
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    I made a series of sample cross sections of the toerail to get an idea of how things would look. The samples were cut using the guidelines set out in post #4936. To recap, a constant width of an inch and a quarter, a top width of thee quarters, the outside face follows the topside flare of the hull and the inside face rolls to make up any difference. And the height drops from inch and a half at the bow to an inch and a quarter at the lowest point of the sheer and continues aft at that height.

    This formula results in some pleasing cross sections in the places where the topsides don't flare or tumblehome too much...





    Aft, however there comes a problem. The tumblehome results in the outboard face rolling too far inboard, needing an increased width in order to maintain the three quarter inch top width. This sample follows the contour of the sheer plank but ends up an inch and three quarters wide in order to maintain the top width.






    This is a series of blocks that maintains the same pitch on the outboard face as the second block up, going aft. Instead of continuing to roll with the sheer plank the pitch remains constant for the last four feet of the boat. It's a workable compromise that could look good.






    On the subject of rub rails, guards, whatever you want to call them, i'm all for them. As much as I try to avoid bumping into things a lot of my small boat handling depends on that very thing. Prepare for impact!

  15. #4950
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post

    This is a series of blocks that maintains the same pitch on the outboard face as the second block up, going aft. Instead of continuing to roll with the sheer plank the pitch remains constant for the last four feet of the boat. It's a workable compromise that could look good.


    Works for me too.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  16. #4951
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Ya I'd say the second profile is the way to go.

  17. #4952
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Jim what's the finish plan for this toerail? Topside color? Deck color? third color? bright?
    No adversary is worse than bad advice.

  18. #4953
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Figment View Post
    Jim what's the finish plan for this toerail? Topside color? Deck color? third color? bright?

    Thanks for your comments, Navy, Nick.

    Mike, it's a little early to be picking out colors but in general terms there will be a trim color used for the rubrails, toerails and the half-round band at the top of the cabin side and the cockpit coaming. I do want to accent these parts as they're all sweeping fore-and-aft lines, but not with too dark a color as I think it makes them look too heavy. On Sea Rover we used a very dark green from Kirbys for the trim, and after a few years changed it to a light gray, which lightened up and improved the appearance.


    The stock for the rubrails and toerails was sawn out of a plank a few years back. It was a long plank and I needed part of it for floor timbers so I first sawed out these five rips for future use. The first rip has wane, sapwood and worm holes, but the other four are clear. They are an inch and a half thick by three wide and twenty seven feet long, enough to get out the rails full length.

    As the sit they are impossible to bend. The hope is to cut them as close to the final dimensions as possible so they will be able to be bent in.




  19. #4954
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Bar clamps hooked into the cockpit comes to mind.

  20. #4955
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    Bar clamps hooked into the cockpit comes to mind.
    This is just one more time I'm glad the boat's not planked up. Bar clamps will reach the edge of the lowest plank. Just a soft pad under the clamp and I'll be able to pull the rail straight down.

  21. #4956
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Lucky you. But it always best to say we planed it that way.

  22. #4957
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    Lucky you. But it always best to say we planed it that way.

    It wasn't a complete surprise, okay?.

    Along with the two side pieces of toe rail I need a piece to go across the stern as well as two quarter knees to transition between the sides to the transom piece. I've had a piece timber set aside for the transom piece and it took all of fifteen minutes to plane it down and saw it out. Two hours was spent devising a way to clamp the little bugger down. The fore and aft faces are sawn to the same bevel as the deck and transom.



  23. #4958
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    A pair of quarter knees will transition between the side pieces of the toe rail and the transom piece. These will be laminated into the proper curve. After laminating a section as wide as the transom piece a solid block will be glued on to the outside corner to finish the piece.

    Seen here is a pattern being made for the knees. The transom piece is clamped in place with the pattern beneath. The inside of the side pieces is represented by a penciled line. A too-fat line has already been drawn and rejected. The question remains..."will my knees be thin enough now?"

    I gotta mock it up. I've already made the bending jig, but I could recut it. Mebbe I should push the line another half inch. Aggghhhh!!!



  24. #4959
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    From here it looks like you could push it a little more Jim. But your closer than me Good to see you out in the boat shed again.

    Steve

  25. #4960
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Will there be any cleats or fair-leads in this area? Tks for bringing the various considerations of toerail shaping to our attention. I'll watch with interest your approach to the stem as I am faced with a similiar conundrem myself. / Jim

  26. #4961
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Where did you ever find a piece of wood 27' long for these rails? They sure will look sweet.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  27. #4962
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Geftb View Post
    From here it looks like you could push it a little more Jim. But your closer than me Good to see you out in the boat shed again.

    Steve

    I'm still on the fence, Steve, but thanks for the input.

    Jim


    Quote Originally Posted by chas View Post
    Will there be any cleats or fair-leads in this area? Tks for bringing the various considerations of toerail shaping to our attention. I'll watch with interest your approach to the stem as I am faced with a similiar conundrem myself. / Jim

    There will be a couple of fairleads on the knee or transom piece. I wish I didn't have to have any, it looks cleaner without them and they do catch the sheet at all the wrong times, but, they are handy tying up and towing. There will also be a couple of good-sized cleats in the area, sheet-catching toe-stubbers, but handy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Where did you ever find a piece of wood 27' long for these rails? They sure will look sweet.

    I bought a pile of Angelique when I started this build. This wasn't the longest plank, but it was a good one, three inches thick and about twenty wide. Those five rips were sliced off the edge of the plank back when I was doing floor timbers, earmarked for this particular use.


    I've mocked it up, much less left to the imagination now. I'm going to leave it and do something else, come back with a cup of coffee from time to time, try and work up the courage to glue up.

    Keep in mind that the actual knee will extend all the way back to the transom and scarf into the transom piece.



  28. #4963
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    I've mocked it up, much less left to the imagination now. I'm going to leave it and do something else, come back with a cup of coffee from time to time, try and work up the courage to glue up.
    It has been my experience that often when a part looks too clunky or large it is best to go away and look again later. Like when making a drawing your eye seems attracted to a particular detai and you can't escape studying it and making it (in your mind) stand out like a sore thumb. But in reality those bits seem to disapear into the fabric of the shape and soon enough they become "invisible"... To me from here it looks perfect, as usual.
    Very nice Jim, thanks for sharing.

  29. #4964
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    Yes, I'm setting the toerail back an eighth of an inch from the deck edge, which might not sound like much but it gives a nice crisp reveal which looks nice.....

    You can't set the rail too far inboard as you need to be able to screw it into the edge of the sheer plank.

    jim
    This one has been nagging at me, and it just dawned on me why, as I hear a long-departed critic's voice in my head. For such a big brute of a guy, you sure do like to get fussy with your details. Goddammit if you're going to draw a line, draw it like you MEAN IT. After the second paintjob all of these precious little reveals and chamfers are blurred away. (in your head, use Tony Bennet's voice)

    That deckline is a meaningful line, I think.

    $0.02
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  30. #4965
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Jim, I don't get the taper on the inside face of the toe rail. I don't dispute that the taper lends visual grace to the device, but doing so would seem to compromise it's function. After all, it's purpose is to keep one's foot on the deck. So a counter taper might actually be more appropriate.

    Jeff

  31. #4966
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Jim, I don't get the taper on the inside face of the toe rail. I don't dispute that the taper lends visual grace to the device, but doing so would seem to compromise it's function. After all, it's purpose is to keep one's foot on the deck. So a counter taper might actually be more appropriate.

    Jeff
    Jeff, if people were the size and shape of billiard balls then that would undoubtedly be true, but we're not. We're top-heavy lumps and no kind of rail much lower than your waist will stop you if your top half is propelled sufficiently outboard. The best that can be hoped for is a little trip at the last minute to aid in a clean head-first entry.

    Seriously though, the angled inside face is presenting a nice plane for the foot, particularly if the boat is heeled. There's a natural inclination to lean inboard on the leeward side of a heeling boat and in that attitude the feet should find the inclined surface more comfortable than a plumb one where the top corner would be the point of contact. Especially barefoot.

    'Nother nice feature of the inclined surface becomes apparent when attempting to wash the deck with a bucket of water. That inclined surface directs the water overboard in a most satifying manner.

    Jim

  32. #4967
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    Jeff, if people were the size and shape of billiard balls then that would undoubtedly be true, but we're not. We're top-heavy lumps and no kind of rail much lower than your waist will stop you if your top half is propelled sufficiently outboard. The best that can be hoped for is a little trip at the last minute to aid in a clean head-first entry.

    Seriously though, the angled inside face is presenting a nice plane for the foot, particularly if the boat is heeled. There's a natural inclination to lean inboard on the leeward side of a heeling boat and in that attitude the feet should find the inclined surface more comfortable than a plumb one where the top corner would be the point of contact. Especially barefoot.

    'Nother nice feature of the inclined surface becomes apparent when attempting to wash the deck with a bucket of water. That inclined surface directs the water overboard in a most satifying manner.

    Jim
    i love how every piece on this boat has at least 3 considerations as to why it is so. A testament to your self expression it will be.

  33. #4968
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    hello jim,

    i think the shape and function of the toerail / rub rail on sea rover are wonderful,
    but i do very much wish there were chocks or fairleads up forward..
    i found a pair of old ones for cheap, i think they will be a good fit


  34. #4969
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Quote Originally Posted by coelcanth View Post
    hello jim,

    i think the shape and function of the toerail / rub rail on sea rover are wonderful,
    but i do very much wish there were chocks or fairleads up forward..
    i found a pair of old ones for cheap, i think they will be a good fit

    I agree that a pair of chocks forward would be a useful addition. However, I'd mull it over for five or six years before I took saw to wood. There's a lot to consider.

    Jim

  35. #4970
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    Default Re: Lofting the Brewer catboat

    Five or six years!!!! Well, with the speed that the years are slipping by you will be sailing in no time

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