Breasthook

With the transom knees in place, it is time to begin working on the last of the knees, the breasthook! The breasthook is merely the knee that goes in the bow. It sits on the heel of the stem and is screwed to the sheers. 

It all begins with a rough cut timber. I set a large piece of scrap on the bow behind the stem and traced the curvature of the sheer onto the face of the board. The shelf clamps had to be cut a bit shorter to allow the knee to fit into position.

With the initial cut completed, the breasthook was test fitted into the space available, but it was still a bit too large. The other factor that was inhibiting proper seating of the breasthook was the evident lack of bevels.

The stem is raked and the sheers have a slant to them. The breast hook has no bevel to the sides because the bevels are unknown at this moment. Once the breasthook is test fitted, the bevels can be transferred over to the wood by simple tracings. 

The bandsaw table was slanted to match this bevel and the sides of the breasthook were passed through the blade to impart the same bevel on the wood. With the bevel cut, the breasthook can slide down into place and produce a much tighter fit.

With a tight fit verified, bedding compound was applied to the faying surfaces of the breasthook, sheer, and stem. Then the breasthook was tapped into place with a mallet. 

You might be wondering why bedding compound was applied for the breasthook but not for the transom knees. Well, the rule of thumb is wood glue is used between pieces that wont be submerged, bedding compound is used between pieces that will be submerged. I do not ever plan on submerging the bow of the dinghy, but it might happen during the life of the dinghy. The chances of water breaking over the bow is much greater than water breaking over the stern! 

Back to reality, I don't plan on water breaking over either end of the dinghy, but the transom knees are glued and the breasthook is bedded.

To lock the bedded breasthook in place, bronze fasteners were driven through the sheer and into the sides of the breasthook. A bronze screw is driven into the front and back of the breasthook to lock it in place.

The intermediate holes were drilled, countersunk, and driven home to lock the breasthook into place and solidify the front of the bow. As part of my obsessive focus on details, the screws were all clocked so that their slots are all aligned to a mostly vertical orientation, just like every other screw on the dinghy. 

With the last knee in place, the dinghy was left alone so that the bedding compound could finish curing. Once everything is cured, the excesses will be removed and work can continue on the little craft.

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