sing staples to clamp 2 sheets of plywood together, I then cut the hull’s planks, port and starboard, all is composed from 3 pieces. Then the deck’s pieces, and other parts: forward and aft bulkheads, skeg box and skeg blade… After 3 boats, I can now cut the wood with quite some accuracy. Sometimes, I’d wished to have the accuracy of a CNC machine, but such a machine that can cut in the 1.22 x 2.44 m dimension is not a possible option for most home builders, including me.
Next is the dusty job of beveling the edges of the plywood bilges, the edges are carefully bevelled at different angles along their lengths, to ensure a suitable gap, not too small, and not too big, for just a small amount of putty to go into the seams in a later phase. Then I joint the parts together using finger joints instead of the originally – planned puzzle joints. Straight finger joints, though not as strong as puzzle joints, they’re easier to cut and to fit, and most importantly, easier to align longitudinally.
This is very important, in my first boat, the 2 ends of port and starboard bilges differ as large as 5 ~ 6 mm. I can now confidently keep the tolerance under 1 mm along the 5.5 m length. Patterns of the joints are drawn on paper, photocopied into multiple sheets, glued onto the plywood and cut accordingly. I work carefully as to ensure a tight fit, an accuracy of a small fraction of a millimeter is required. This is quite hard when done by hand as my thinnest saw blade is already over 1 mm thick.
measure twice, cut once struck me once again 😢. As I’m about to joint the bottom bilges, I discovered that 2 pieces were incorrectly drawn and hence were cut 10 cm shorter compared to the design. Frustrated, I stopped working for a day, feeling really miserable…
I found out a way to cut (puzzle) joint nicely: just draw & cut something on the 1st piece of wood, the pattern doesn’t need to be too perfect, then use it as a template to draw and cut on the 2nd piece. This method is less error – prone compared to cutting twice following one same pattern.