Here, the transom has been glued to the sternpost. I drilled a hole through the transom and into the stern post so as to use a pin to hold it while I adjusted it. It is important to make sure that the top of the transom (down at the bottom while on the jig), is horizontally level.
The rear surface of the transom has a pair of lines inscribed along each edge to show where it must be beveled in order to shape it so the hull planks will lie flat against it. Here, I you can see the transom after it has been sanded to produce the correct bevel.
This process of shaping the various pieces of the hull frame to take the planks is known as ‘fairing’ and will be necessary along the entire length of the hull.
The bulkheads do not have any sort of markings to show how, or if, they should be beveled, and the best way to make the decision is to lay a strip of wood across several bulkheads, and later frames, to see if it lies flat, or if it only touches the surface at one or two points.
Now, I should not here that, although the plans make a big deal of ‘fairing’ the jig, I don’t see a great deal of necessity unless there are glaring imperfections. Once the ribs are installed over the bulkheads, you will still need to check to make sure they produce a ‘fair’ curve anyway… for my money it makes sense to do forego an ‘overall’ fairing step, and do any fairing on a plank-by-plank basis once the planking stage is reached.
For doing the actual fairing, at whatever stage you choose to do it, a sanding stick is very useful. Here, I have used a piece of baseboard moulding with sandpaper tapes around it to do the job as this allows you to lay the stick along a whole range of frames, or bulkheads.
As a note of interest, this sanding stick (with the same sandpaper) is the same one I used when I was doing the build of the first kit over ten years ago. Probably, the length of time this sandpaper had been in use represents a record of sorts…
Before moving on to the installation of the ribs, you need to replace the keel assembly as the end of each rib ‘hooks’ into the notches beneath the planking groove. The notch holds the rib in place as you bend it over the bulkhead form.
For additional support and steadiness, it is advisable to temporarily pin or nail the transom to the transom horses, as shown.
There are about umpteen different recommended methods for preparing wood for bending and the instructions with this kit gives a broad overview of the main approaches.
The method that worked best for me here was to cut the rib pieces (from the supplied 3/2” by 3/32# stock) and then pour a full kettle of boiling water over them. The wood needs to soak in this until the water cools (about an hour to an hour and a half), and then it is ready to bend into shape. Here, I have placed a piece of sheet metal over the strips to hold them underwater.
I have used the practice of adding a good glug of household Ammonia to the water as this is generally supposed to help soften the wood. In all honesty, I think the actual effect is minimal, but every bit helps and it certainly does no harm.
Once the wood has soaked you can get on with installing the ribs. You begin this by sliding one end of a cut rib into the keel groove above the bulkhead. Be sure to only insert the end halfway through the groove as you need to leave enough room for the corresponding rib on the other side.
When the end of the rib ‘catches’ under the keel, begin slowly bending it down along the top of the bulkhead. This first part is fairly easy as long as you do not rush things and simply slide your finger slowly along the rib to bend it into place.
When you reach the ‘bilge’, or sharp turn, use a clamp to hold the upper section in place before proceeding. For the next part you will continue to bend, but be sure not to do this by pressing the end of the rib. Instead, press the section of the rib just below the upper clamp very slowly until it meets the bulkhead and then continue, moving you finger down the rib a millimeter at a time until it is properly shaped and you can clamp the bottom end in place.
It is almost inevitable that you will have a few pieces break. Invariably this happens because you move too quickly, but sometimes the wood had minor flaws that work against you. Not to worry … it happens, and all you can do is cut another section and try again.
Here is the port side with the first 5 ribs installed (I began at the stern). You may find it necessary to use a few larger clamps to hold the keel assembly firmly down on the jig as I have done here.
Now the ribs have been installed on both sides. Note that bulkheads one, two, and three do not have ribs.
You need to let the ribs dry out thoroughly and, to ensure this, I let mine sit overnight before going ahead with the planking.
The first plank, or ‘strake’ is known as the ‘Garboard Strake’, lies in the groove along the keel assembly. The side of the strake that actually goes into the groove is marked on the sheet from which the plank is cut and it is advisable to mark all planks in pencil to identify their name/number and orientation before removing from their respective sheets.
Most strakes will require some soaking and bending before being installed but the garboard strake only requires a little sanding at the bow end, and along the edge to be fitted into the keel groove. Make sure you consult the plans and make the forward end of the strake is positioned correctly.