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