Planking the Stem

The stem is a very important part of the dinghy, this area will get a beating as it cuts through waves, bangs into piers, and is dragged up beaches. To make everything strong and watertight, the strakes need to tuck into a rabbet joint on the stem that is filled completely with bedding compound. 

Bedding compound is messy as it is goopy and sticks to everything! To avoid these messes, dry fitting the planks is crucial. Once all the planks are cut and fitted, then the bedding will be applied as the boards are nailed on.

The bow on our dinghy is going to have a very narrow angle of entry to facilitate its ability to cut into a wave and decrease the slapping and banging that occurs in a slight chop. The topsides are going to extend down to the forefoot, and the bottom planking will fit around this area.

To get this effect, long strakes were cut that could reach from the sheer to the forefoot, and then the rest of the planks were cut and fitted to match. Cutting the planks is simple, the first cut is marked with a pen at the sheer, then it is cut. Once that part is test fitted, another line is made where the plank reaches the stem. Marks are made where the rabbet line is, and the board is cut with a miter handsaw along that line. This produces a very tight fit that will keep out any water that might try to works its way through.

Up to the first frame, all the planks ended at the chine log. For the very short span between the first frame and the stem, the planks skipped the chine log and continued on to meet up with the stem. This produced the very fine entry angle I was looking for when I designed the hull without the issues of fitting tiny bottom planks that will practically need to be scarphed to the join them securely.

Once everything was test fitted dry, it was time to remove all the boards and install them again using copper nails and bedding compound.  With everything attached, it is now time to wait for the bedding compound to cure so that the hull can be faired and prepared for the second skin going in the opposing direction.