Fine Tuning the Port Rabbet

The port rabbet line was cut and shaped using hand planes and a rabbet plane. Once the bevels were set to match the frames, it was time to refine the rabbet. 

The rabbet plane was set on the bevel that lies with the frames and floors and allowed to cut into the keel. This produces a clean, crisp notch where the planks will lay. By laying the rabbet plane on the bevel with the frames, the notch will change direction with the hull. If the rabbet were cut in a stagnant angle, the frames would not lie flush up against the notch. By allowing the rabbet plane to flow with the contours of the hull, the rabbet will also flow to match. When the planking is put on, the planks will also follow this same curvature and lay flush into the rabbet of the keel.

The forefoot was a bit trickier to cut. The rabbet plane can not cut up to the edge of the stem, even with the blade moved forward to act as a bullnose plane. The very edge needed to be cut out with a very sharp hand chisel. Just like the plane, the hand chisel takes off a tiny scraping of wood with each passage. Over time, the forefoot will take shape and the rabbet line will come to life. 

It is important to ensure that the depth of the rabbet is uniform and deep enough. If the rabbet is wavy, so will the planks. If the rabbet is shallow, the joint will not be as strong and the hull will be more prone to leaking.

Using a piece of wood as a template will make it easy to make the depth of cut uniform. The wood template can be slid around the rabbet to ensure appropriate depth. Any shallow spots are easy to identify and then plane down a bit further.

Once everything is cut to size, the whole area can be cleaned up with sand paper, but special care must be taken to avoid rounding off the sharp corners of the rabbet. If these corners were to become rounded, the strength of the rabbet joint is reduced.

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