Bow panels

Practical Boat Owner - - Practical -

Fair­ing bottom stringers and bow chine sup­ports

With the chine stringers on and planed back, we could move on to pre­par­ing for the rest of the panels. The first job was to fair the boat’s bottom stringers to ac­cept the panels. This meant tak­ing the stringers down to the level of the frames, plan­ing bevels on the frame edges that stood proud and us­ing a bat­ten to en­sure the struc­ture was fair, without any lumps or in­con­sis­ten­cies.

At the bow, where the an­gles mean that the panels will have to take up a big curve, we made sure that the sup­port­ing struc­ture was faired so that it matched the curve of the frames and cor­rectly sup­ported the panels.

Fit­ting bow panels

The bow panels are only 4mm thick, which seemed odd – un­til we re­alised that they have to take up an in­cred­i­bly tight curve. The front of the panel must be ver­ti­cal where it meets the stem, and the aft end hor­i­zon­tal – a huge amount of twist.

We per­suaded it to take up this curve by first plan­ing off the bevel where it met the stem, and fix­ing it first to the keel edge with tem­po­rary screws and penny wash­ers to stop the screw heads pulling through. This done, we worked slowly from the aft end, adding a screw at a time in lines into the stringers to slowly pull it into shape.

At the bow, the screws needed to be at no more than 5cm in­ter­vals in or­der to per­suade the ply­wood to take the shape. We had to use a block plane in situ to en­sure that it would pull into a butt joint with the hull side panel, trim­ming where nec­es­sary.

Once dry-fit­ted, we could re­move it, prime and add epoxy be­fore re­fit­ting. This time, we added many screws to en­sure that the correct shape was main­tained – and in par­tic­u­lar to take out any ‘scal­lop­ing’ along the edge of the ply­wood.

We made sure to ap­ply a good bead of epoxy to se­cure the frag­ile bow panels Both sides fit­ted – you can see the num­ber of screws needed to force the panel into the correct shape

4mm bow panel primed and ready to fit

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