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Thread: Douglas Fir Keel

  1. #1


    I was wondering if somenody could please give some advice on building the stem/keel. I am building 25' sail boat, light displacement and unsure how to start the keel. I want to run douglas fir over frames and then cedar panking over that. The keel will then bolt onto the body at later point. Can I shape the douglas fir and then rip it into layers that will bend over the frames, then epoxy back together? Any insight would be very helpful. Thanks


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Durham,NC, USA


    Dan: I did a lot of laminating douglas fir to make the inner and outer sections of keel. I cut fir into 1/8 to 1/4 inch veneers, shaped them to fit, then plastic nailed and epoxied them in place. Some of the process pictures are shown in my albumn. web page . Hub Miller and Ian Nicholson describe the process in their books, as well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Gone West!


    There are far more qualified folks that will answer you in good order, but I'll chip in a couple of thoughts/suggestions. I am assuming that you are working from plans. If you are building traditionally, the plans may not call for a keel laminated to shape. Rather, it may call for fashioning the keel from a few parts connected by joints, knees, etc. That's not to say you can't laminate it, just that it may not be necessary or desirable. Which is the case (more knowledgeable folks will want to know)?

    Given that the boat is “light displacement,” laminating may be indicated in the plans. If so, you might laminate the stem and keel in one piece on the floor, or possibly laminate them separately and join them in a traditional manner. There are numerous, very good books that cover this ground. In any event, I’d leave all but the coarsest shaping till after ripping and laminating if you decide to go that route.

    A bit more info on your project will go a long way towards getting the help you want/need.

  4. #4


    How do I post pictures on here?

  5. #5


    This may work. Thanks for the responses by the way. I designed this boat myself, it has displ. of around 2400lbs. If you see the jpegs, I want to build the canoe body and then affix the keel afterwords. I think the ballast will be around 500-700 lbs so I'm wondering about the keel plate or whatever the correct terminology is. I was thinking of 2X4 doug fir ripped and bent over the stations. Cecil, I went through your album (sweet) and that is kind of what I was thinking. Anyways, I way try to shape it from a single piece, just seems like it will be a lot of work, ballast isn't that extreme so I thought this might work.

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