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Thread: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

  1. #1
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    Default Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    I've been learning a very great deal by reading this forum. The generous sharing of ideas, advice, and encouragement is infectious and heart warming. So, its with a little bit of embarrassment that I finally am getting around to sharing what I've been doing. I'm not really shy, but initially, I felt that what I had wasn't really going to add to the conversation. However after reading quite a bit here and getting to "know" some of personalities, I've come around to knowing that my story will be appreciated and (hopefully) serve a bit as inspiration.

    I'm building one of the new versions of the classic H-12 1/2. Designed by John Brooks, it is a Somes Sound. WoodenBoat did a very nice article of the SS in issue #217. If you haven't read it, I recommend it highly. Here is the SS Red Sky, built by Brooks:



    I'm not that far along.

    The SS is a glued lapstrake boat. Waterline length is 12.5' and LOA is just shy of 16'. It carries a 585# lead keel and has a weighted centerboard. Brooks has designed both marconi and gaff rigs and I am opting for the marconi. The jib is self tending.

    I'm using 9mm okume ply for the planking, sapele for the transom, keel, and various other bits, and a fair bit of black locust was used in the stem, transom knee, c/b trunk, etc. The black locust I have will not yield really long boards. I had to struggle to get the stem from it. I have also used some doug fir that was felled and milled on my property. That is being used for shear clamps and other structure above the waterline. I may use doug fir for the seats. I like the idea of using the wood taken from my property on my boat. It gives the tree an extended life in a manner of speaking.

    I've another thread I just started that relates to this build: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...83#post4228483. I probably should have started this one and included the keel casting query here. Ah well. Next time.

    More to follow.....

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Thanks for posting, Jeff. I like the Somes Sound, and will be following this thread. Post plenty of pictures.
    Al

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Quote Originally Posted by almeyer View Post
    Post plenty of pictures.
    Al
    Ditto with bells on...
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Jeff, I look forward to tearing up Puget Sound with you. I've seen the plans for this boat, and it seems very well thought out. And I know Herreshoff purists will think this is pure blasphemy, but I actually prefer the look of this lapstrake version over the original carvel. Cheers, amigo!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    I invite purists to take umbrage with the symphony of curves on the left (which actually might be a 14 but it is a lapstrake version either way).
    Re-naming straits as necessary.

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Thanks for the interest so far. James, I too prefer the lap version of the boat on a purely visual basis. But even more compelling, to me, is the shallower draft that the Somes Sound has from the H boat. This should make it easier to trailer launch. Something that is important to me. Also, I may do some boat camping and I reckon the 18" draft will allow me to come near enough to the beach to offload gear. The SS is meant to be a day sailor and not a camp cruiser. Nevertheless, I don't see why a boom tent can't be fitted. Anyway, I've got a long ways to go before I start using this boat. Plenty of time later to talk about the ways and the means. I'll introduce these topics later on.

    I started building this boat about in mid February this year. Brooks gives lots of helpful hints on the construction sequence, timber quantities needed, and hardware requirements. He provides full size plans for station molds and web frames, as well as for the stem, transom, and other bits. He cautions against setting up the building jig too soon and instead recommends that one make as many parts as possible before having the jig take up a sizable portion of one's shop. So I followed that advice... more or less. Fortunately, I have a nice comfortable sized shop and working outdoors is also very easy much of the year here in the PNW.

    My shop. Its 30x40 with plenty of light and even heat in the winter. The garage door is 9x16. Concrete floor. :




    Here's the SS in its infancy. Building jig, molds, transom. The keelson is being glued up as you see it.:



    Even though Brooks gives all the positions of the planks on each mold, I wanted to see the lineoff myself. Thus:



    I also had to do this to confirm the bevel of the stem. Brooks' full size plans give the bevel but I didn't find that it was "right." I could force the battens to lie along the bevel he prescribed but there was this awkward bulge created between the stem and sta. 2. So I changed the bevel. He told me to simply do what looked right to make a slippery looking hull. I think I got it right. Too late to go back now!

    The build is actually way beyond what shows in the photo. Having started this thread late, I'll have to do catch-up. Oh, hell. Here's a photo of where its really at. I'll fill in the blanks later....



    Keel on, transom sanded with screws plugged, all the holes from clamping battens are filled, and the outer stem (can't see it here) is fair and smooth to the hull.

    More later.........

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    This is a wee boat with a good reputation and i very much like the shallower draft and board version on a boat this size. Look forward to seeing some of the earlier setting up/backbone/case construction details. Your well ahead in the build.

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    My wife has decided that I can build her one of those.

    I grew up on the island at the mouth of Somes Sound and learned to sail on an H12 1/2, so perhaps I am predisposed, but I agree that you've got the start of a lovely boat. Please do let me know when it's time to pour lead; I want to see her in person.

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    OK, going back in time.....

    Scarfing the planking stock was relatively straightforward. As per Brooks' plans, I ripped each sheet of 9mm ply into two 2' lengths. He goes so far in his plans as to give a planking layout on the sheets so that one can minimize waste. This layout includes two of the sections being scarfed on an angle to create a doglegged 16' section. This is to better approximate the curve of the required planks. The ply was marked/scored at each end for the required scarf length then stacked up and held together with screws and clamps. One must take care not to put a screw in the area to be scarfed. Some learn this lesson the hard way. Fortunately, the screw I discovered the screw before the plane found it.



    Its a pretty good workout to accomplish this. I tried using my power plane but found it to be a bother. Its noisy, too aggressive, and can cut too much-too quick. Actually, I just don't enjoy the aesthetic of using it. But, it does remove bulk fast and is worth its weight sometimes. Here, though, I enjoyed using hand planes. The planes leave a pretty smooth surface, so I roughed it all up by dragging an old multimaster sawblade over the works. The epoxy was happy for that I imagine.

    Then gluing together the scarfed ply chunks:



    One must remember to include the plastic sheeting in between each layer. Some must go back and do this after realizing their error. Fortunately, no ply was accidentally made "thicker" during this operation. I usually did my glue ups at the end of the day. Then by morning I could start anew.

    There'll be more, but right now, I'm heading up to Port Townsend for the Pocket Yacht Palooza!

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Some more history.....

    This being my first boat build, there were/are a few tricks missing from my bag. I found that making the transom, keelson, and stem was pretty straightforward. Brooks provided full size plans for the transom and stem and detailed measurements for the keelson. So there's little guesswork. Just a lot of careful layout and planing to the lines given. Assembling all this into a backbone was also near enough to other things I've done that is didn't present any real obstacle. Here, the photo shows how I used laser level to align everything. I found this to be very helpful in setting up the jig and getting molds and transom all in proper position. Fortunately its a tool I already had from my house remodeling work.




    However, the making of planks was another kettle of fish. I tried spiling using the temporary jig and compass method. Dog knows how I tried! I could not get it to work. I understand the geometry involved, but there must be something I'm missing in the execution. The planks simply didn't fit from stem to stern. And I didn't edge set. This failure really bugged me during the entire planking process. Enough so that I kept returning to it with my compass. I even tried to work backwards once... Took a plank that fit and tried to take measurements off it to the boat. Nothing worked. Finally, I gave up and decided the gods must be crazy.

    What did work was to use a plywood template, that could lay close to the bevel line, and simply scribe it to fit. This would be similar to how one would scribe a molding to a wall, for instance. Basic carpentry. I cut the scribed line on the template stock, refastened it to the molds, then simply measured the distance to the next plank to get a width. Those points were connected with a nice batten on the actual planking stock. Using this method I was able to get planks that would easily lay on the molds right to the lines required. So sweet and no swearing. It wasn't a fast method and I'm sure that the pros here will scoff. But I think I got a nice hull done.

    This photo shows the scribed jig for plank #4. I did have to use the compass marking technique to get the lower plank edge at the stem. Typically, I'd leave a quarter of an inch extra from the first mold to the stem... just to be sure. I'd refine the line on the actual plank before final hanging.




    The next photo shows plank #4 being affixed. I used Brooks' method he describes in his book. Using a stiff batten the width of the bevel, holes are drilled and screws driven to clamp the new plank to the prior one. There are no clamps involved. This method allows many planks to be hung in a day. However I worked slowly enough that I only did one per day anyway. So, perhaps, clamps would have suited me better. The screws and batten does a very smooth job of holding the plank edges together.



    Once I learned how to spile a plank my way, all the planks went on without a hitch. This was very satisfying. I even got pretty good a cutting the gains although I'm painfully slow at it. Also, I'm not sure that I brought the planks down to as smooth a transition into the stem as one could. I like what I did, but I'm sure others could be better.

    Once the planking was done I turned my attention to getting the center board trunk built and installed. Brooks designed it to be built of timber and 12mm ply. I chose to epoxy coat the inside although he gives this as an option. My boat will live part of its life moored out so having a waterproof trunk interior seems important, to me. I will also coat it with bottom paint to keep the creatures away.

    Here's the inside with the trunk installed. Cutting the cb slot was easy with jig saw and router fixed with a bearing trimmer.




    Two of the molds had to be removed in order to fit the trunk. Fortunately the hull is very strong at this point so it doesn't need them. Even with me sitting atop the hull cutting the slot, there was no discernible hull deflection. I've left all the others in, however, for support when I attach the lead keel. Adding that nearly 600 pounds gives me pause. I will probably set in some vertical legs under the trunk to give bearing onto the shop floor during that process. No sense taking any chances.

    This is close to bringing my build up to the present time. I've filled all the holes made by the battens by loading a plastic syringe with thickened epoxy and squirting it in. I found that by applying masking tape to the inside of the hull, the epoxy wouldn't make a huge mess. It took me a few passes to finally get all the dimples filled. But now all is smooth. With some final sanding I should be ready for paint soon. But first I need to finish the lead keel.

    The boat today:






    - Jeff

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    I love this design and will be watching your build come together. Keep the pictures coming.

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Jeff,
    Superb planking. If I can achieve anything close to that I will be delighted.
    And an excellent Thread, guiding strugglers like me.
    But you haven't posted any pics of the days-end single malt.
    Pete.
    Some Sound DownUnder.

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    I'm getting closer to the day when I will actually cast the lead keel. Which brings up the next decision: Should I use bronze or Stainless steel for the keel bolts? The designer has called for the use of threaded bronze rod in 3/8" and 1/2" diameters. The cost difference in the materials is significant but I can handle the extra for bronze if the stainless is a no-go. Crevice corrosion is the bugaboo for it but being a glued lap boat, the bolts ought to remain fairly dry. (unless they get wet, after all, its a boat) The boat will live most of its life on a trailer. It will be on a mooring in seawater from mid May to late Sept. or thereabouts.

    I'll appreciate any advice. Thanks.

    Jeff

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Thanks for the pictures, Jeff, it's really looking nice.

    If I understand your posts correctly, you're going to mount the keel while the hull is still upside down? Sounds a little risky, and perhaps problematic when it comes time to turn the hull over. But I'm asking out of ignorance, haven't been there myself.
    Al

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Quote Originally Posted by almeyer View Post
    Thanks for the pictures, Jeff, it's really looking nice.
    . . . you're going to mount the keel while the hull is still upside down? .
    Al
    It has been done, By Paul in Ireland. http://emblasail.blogspot.com.au
    Pete.

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Yes, as Pete said, others have done it this way on the Somes Sound. Basically the boat is lifted using a couple of straps wrapped around the hull. The keel is attached to a third line from above. It's this line that controls the rotation. Gravity, of course, wants to take over, so the third point is critical. There... that's the idea. I'll have to think all the steps through completely.

    I'm going ahead with this method because I just don't work well lying on my back on the floor. After the keel is done, there is considerable fitting to the hull, deadwood, forefoot filler, and a keel filler. Doing this fitting under the boat doesn't sound like fun at all.

    I did some final detail work on my keel mold today as well as on the lead melt pot. See this thread for the keel work: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-lead-for-keel

    - Jeff

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    I really like your glass garage door. Great source of light and practical!
    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    In case some haven't made the connection..... I have cast the lead keel for the Somes Sound. Read all about it here: Melting lead for keel

    I'll continue this thread soon with the work I need to do on the keel and its attachment to the hull.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Moved the keel into the shop today. I used the Egyptian pyramid building method. It worked slick with no real backbreaking effort at all. Roll and push. The sun was a bit warm though.






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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    The Pharaoh is please with your progress! It is the very process you are going through that put me off from building this boat. Glad someone has the courage to do this - she'll be a great boat.
    Steamboat

    I get by with the judicious use of serendipity.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    I also have bought SS 12.5 plans but the lead keel stopped me dead in the tracks. I opted to build a JW Pathfinder instead. Your progress is heartwarming to see. Beautiful build!

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    I haven't abandoned the project.. just slow to share.

    After casting the lead keel I could then make a plywood template of it to use when shaping the deadwood and keel fillers. I also did a bit of shaping of the lead keel itself. The plans called for a flat surface where it meets the hull but, of course, the hull is curved. Brooks says to remove about an eighth of an inch from the wood keel to approximate this fit but I found that to be not near enough. So with a power plane, I removed about eleven pounds of lead in a slight arc. As I'd read here on the forum and elsewhere, lead planes rather easily. However it does like to clump together inside the plane and must be cleared every couple of passes. I also had to fill a few shrinkage cavities that had formed during the cooling process. This was no big deal to do. I melted the planed off lead to fill these holes.

    Along the way, I got to being curious of the actual weight of the keel. I was pretty sure it was very close to 600 pounds but wanted to check. Lacking a large scale and not wanting to bother to take it to one, I devised a system of levers and fulcrums. Using simple analysis of the forces on static objects I could determine the weight using my 100 pound capacity postal scale. Here's a photo of the setup. If anyone is really interested, I can further explain the math and how this works.



    The shaping and fitting of the deadwood and keel fillers was pretty straightforward. But it was tedious and I had to work on top of the hull which is a bit trying on my aging bod. Nevertheless, I finally got a good enough fit. A fit well within the tolerances allowed by well thickened epoxy.

    Shaping the forefoot filler.



    Deadwood, keel fillers, and forefoot filler in place.

    Then I had to actually put the keel into position to see if the fit was anywhere close. It was, with just a bit of planing to do to get the gaps a bit smaller. I must admit that I had some trepidation in lifting the 600 pound keel over my hull. I got the hoist (graciously lent to me by Steve Eun Mara Stromborg) set up then called a friend to come over to tell me that I'm not doing something too stupid. Bob said it looked good to him... then left. I took a few more checks then proceeded. The lift worked as it is supposed to and didn't turn into something evil. I was able to accurately and softly place the lead onto the hull. I don't think an engine hoist would work for a much larger boat as it just did for mine. The Somes Sound has a six foot beam and I had to lift at nearly the widest part. I'm glad it worked out.



    After knowing the lead keel would fit, I decided the best course of action would be to right the hull so that I can fit the floors and their associated parts. The keel bolts pass through the floors and floor fillers so they are rather needed in position prior to attaching the lead. Also, while the hull is right side up, I can strengthen the hull a bit more prior to attaching the lead.

    I followed the lead of a couple of other SS builders in the turning process. Two loops of nylon webbing hung from chain hoists attached to the ceiling will lift the hull and allow it to be rotated. Heres a youtube video of our process:

    http://youtu.be/oWgpIMl1pcg

    The turning went very smoothly. I only got excited once when I thought it would get out of control as the deadwood came down. But the hull stabilized at a quarter turn and had to be forced to rotate further.

    It is now very gratifying to see the hull in its proper orientation. I'm now in the process of finishing its cradle and keeping the hull stable enough to work on. Once this is done I'll work on the floors, etc, and install the shear clamp. My plan is to then invert the hull again so that I can have easy access to attach the lead and fair it and the deadwood into the wood keel and garboard. Then I'll seal the hull and apply the bottom paint. Then I'll turn the hull again to finish the build.

    Jeff

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Jeff, this is a really beautiful build !!


    but you know that ... well done .
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Your plan is to attach the 600 lb. keel while the boat is upside down? Sounds kind of risky. Don't know that I've seen it done. But, you've been doing a great job so far, so maybe it'll go OK.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    I got a chuckle out of watching the dust cascade off the laps as it flipped.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Beautiful!

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Nice choice of boat, and great job building! Very inspiring.

    Mike

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Looks great!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Looking great Jeff, I do have to swing by and see it sometime.

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Having righted the hull, my next task was to install the shear clamps. These were laminated of doug fir over the molds, permanent frames, transom, and stem prior to installing the final plank. I was really grateful to be finally installing these because at a little over sixteen feet and having a pronounced curve, they were a little difficult to store in the shop and still be out of the way.



    After they were installed and trimmed, the boat took on an entire new attitude. No longer a wimpy sheared lightweight. The outside shape of the hull finally was fully revealed. I'm liking this boat more all the time.

    I have a little bit of final planing to do on both sides, but not too much. After working on the inner and outer stems and the parts of the keel/deadwood that is made of hard to work black locust, the doug fir was a breeze. You can see in this photo that I still have to shape the top of the transom. I think I'll do that a bit sooner than I planned because today I barked by arm on that upper corner. OUCH

    After the shear clamps I spent quite a bit of time tidying up the interior of the hull. Although I'd been very careful to scoop up the still unhardened excess epoxy that had gooshed out from between planks, there was still some to remove. The good old heat gun and scraper did the trick on most of it. I also used my Fein tool with a saw blade to remove the bigger thicker gobs. The saw creates dust but my vacuum sucked it all away as I cut. Cleaning up the inside paid a lot of visual dividend!

    Now I'm in the process of installing the floors. Got most of the fitting done with only the one at station 12 to go. I also need to make floor fillers along the cb trunk. Then do a final fit on the trunk cleats before I screw and glue them all into position.



    Working on the floors was a bit tedious in that I had to be on my knees and straddling the trunk. On the other hand, the trunk made for a handy place for clamps to hold the floors while planing them for the fit. Gotta take the bad with the good, I guess. Actually its all good.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    I've been making slow but steady progress..... Seems like other parts of life are always getting in the way. Nevertheless, I'm fortunate to have a lot of time to work on the boat.

    After installing the floors, I once again turned my attention to the lead keel. I decided to do the final filling and fairing after it is installed onto the boat, so the drilling of holes for keel bolts and centerboard pivot pin became the order of the day. Or days, as it turned out. Drilling lead isn't all that easy of a task and must be undertaken in a calm manner. Gotta keep on an even keel, so to speak. The pivot pin is a 5/8" diameter bronze one. Fortunately I already had a longish 5/8" bit that I could use. Of course I worked up from smaller holes, drilling from both sides of the keel trying to meet in the middle and for both holes to be straight. Well, on the smaller holes I could sort of ream the sides enough to attain alignment but as the diameter increased this became problematic. So I made a better jig to help out. This is what I finally used:





    The jig helped an awful lot, but the two holes were just a tad off from each other. Not a lot, but enough to keep the pin from being tapped through. Not having a 5/8 reamer and not wanting to sixty bucks plus shipping on one, I used a 1/2" reamer that I had. This did the trick. I was able to enlarge the inner portions of the holes to allow the pin through. I still must be hammered quite forcefully, but that's OK since I want a friction fit to keep it there.

    Then, onto the keel bolt holes. First I had to invert the hull again:




    Then I drilled the holes through the wood keel, floors and associated parts. Then set the lead onto the hull and drilled about an inch or a little more into the lead from inside the hull. That was tough duty for this old man. The good part about it was that the holes, being drilled upwards, let the swarf fall clear easily. After this "marking" I removed the keel to my benches where I could finish drilling through. Going very slow so as to not jam a bit forever, this task took me a several hours over the course of a few days. In between sessions I'd try to figure out how to make the job easier. It never became easy. But, I did find that the best bit to use is a standard jobber twist bit that's been dubbed as if for drilling brass and other soft metals. The scraping action makes for much less catching and jamming in the hole. I tried different sorts of lubricants including: mineral spirits, LPS-1, paraffin, and a graphite spray lube. The last one I like the best but they all worked OK.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    After drilling the keel I hefted it again onto the upturned hull. The holes needed a bit of reaming so I did that and checked them all with a smooth rod. Then I measured for the bolts, checked that twice, and cut the expensive threaded bronze rod. That done all I had to do was mix up a whole gob of thickened epoxy, spread it about, and drop the keel into place. One thing I hadn't expected was that the addition of the epoxy made the surfaces slippery so the keel didn't simply plop and stay put like it did when dry. The smooth rod came into play then to pin the keel until I could drive more bolts. Snugging down the nuts brought the hull up just a slight bit... just enough to squeeze out a very slight amount of the thickened goo. Then I faired out the leftovers and called it good.

    Next will be final fairing of the keel with some sandable epoxy, fill the countersunk keel bolt nuts, and do a big filet between the keel/deadwood and the hull as Brooks calls for in his plans. I plan on coating the hull and keel with System 3 Clear Coat. Then I'll commence to paint.

    As I left the boat today:


  33. #33
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cundys Harbor, Maine
    Posts
    865

    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    She looks really nice, you are doing a great job.

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Northern Europe
    Posts
    12,949

    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Cracking job. Never realised the lead was spread over such a length, should make for a very pleasent motion. Carry on.

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Jeff's Somes Sound Build

    Hi Jeff - just found your thread now! I wish that your build was ahead of mine as your thread offers great insights to any future SS builders. You are making light work of this build, when I think of how long it took me.

    I found that you could bend the curve into the lead keel at the thinner ends, which reduced some of the planing and epoxy filling required, but either way it's a slow process and looks like you have a good fit.

    Enjoy the journey!

    Paul

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