Friday, February 23, 2018

Keel: Truth and Theory

I cleaned up the edges of the keel, sanding & chiseling away the excess epoxy, to get a better look at the fitting of the laminated pieces. It'll work. There are some things I need to fix. There are some things I wish I'd done differently:

I wish I had cut ALL sides of each board with the table saw. Never assume the lumberyard edge is straight. There were some parts that were narrower than the rest of the board. Now, those places have caused uneven sides in the laminated section, and those spots need to be filled.

I wish I had planed the boards more. I needed the thickness of my laminated keel to be one inch. I also wanted to leave myself a little room for error. That's why I started getting nervous when the planed boards got as thin as 5/8". Unfortunately, leaving them at that thickness also meant that the surfaces didn't get planed as flat as they could have been. It turns out that, at 5/8" there was still plenty of thickness for me to plane them just a little more so that the surfaces would have been at least somewhat better. After lamination, the combined thickness is 1-1/2 inches. I was shooting for 1-1/4. So, I could have taken another 1/16" off each board, easily. The surface irregularities, though seemingly minor to the naked eye, left noticeable gaps when the pieces were combined. I knew that would happen, anyway.... but it could have been better.

For the very same reasons mentioned above, I wish I had taken the time to sand the surfaces of the boards after I'd planed them. I don't have a thickness planer. I have a general-purpose planer/jointer. It "gets the job done," but it's a lot to ask for one guy to get a nearly 10-foot board planed perfectly flat with one of these things. Just a little surface sanding would have knocked down some high spots, and improved the fitting.

Those are some lessons learned.

In most places, the fitting is fairly decent.

In some places, the fitting is better than in others.

This area on the starboard aft is definitely getting shimmed.

In some places, the fitting is not pretty. This gap in the seam will get filled with some more thickened epoxy. I'm also going to shim the gap seen at the bottom part of the photo.

This little gap on the side will get a shim, also. Is that a hairline crack I see?

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