Topside Stringers

November 20, 2014  Hours spent building to date: 363

With fairing finished, time to return to some real boatbuilding — which in turn led to more fairing.

The topside stringers are the long, thin members that provide a bonding surface for the topside planking.  They are curved for roughly the forward 15 feet of the boat, so the slots that they go in have to be beveled (faired) in relation to the angles on the frames to produce a nice, flat, surface for the planking.  That meant over a day’s work with rasp, file and in a few stubborn areas a Fein multitool saw to get everything squared away — I mean angled away.

The straight aft stringers are 1.5 deep and 1-inch wide.  They are fabulous vertical-grain douglas fir from a stash of at a local lumberyard that knows what I’m up to and pointed me to the right pile.  On one 3 1/2 inch board that I was cutting down to make a stringer I counted 43 growth rings.  That tree had been growing that piece for 43 years for the Tardis.  I went back and did a little more fairing after that trying to get things perfect for that one piece of wood.

The laminations for the curved parts were 1/4-inch strips 17 feet long.  Ray came over to help me get them in the slots, since  they flopped around like linguini after about two minutes in boiling water. We thought about laminating the stringers on the boat, then taking them out to get the tricky angle with the stem just right.  But with Ray holding tight, I was able to get a pretty decent cut with a Japanese saw, so we just glued them on.  The laminations are just butted up to the stem and a support block.  I thought about cutting some sort of compound angle pocket in the stem to receive the laminations, but went with the high epoxy approach since a) I didn’t want to weaken the stem b) that would require craftsmanship.

The string and 2 X 4 supporting the forward clamps in the pictures give the forward laminations an extra bit of twist to get them lying just right.  Crude, but it works, and whatever works when 17 feet of laminations are turning to rock is good with me.

(The Tardis Project is proud to note that Olga 28 designer MARK SMAALDERS has joined as a follower!)


Stringer strip lamination factory

Stringer strip lamination factory

Shop is full of long, long pieces of wood

Shop is full of long, long pieces of wood

Start of the stringer lamination -- more clamps to come

Start of the stringer lamination — more clamps to come

The Twist-O-Matic

The Twist-O-Matic

Had time  to start sheer clamp lamination -- down to the 30-year-old C-clamps by the end of the process.

Had time to start sheer clamp lamination — down to the 30-year-old C-clamps by the end of the process.

2 comments on “Topside Stringers

  1. Denny
    November 21, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Don’t you love 1) fondling a great pice of wood and knowing its going to be part of your boat forever; 2) the fact that epoxy is stronger than wood so the crappy joint is probably stronger than the Amish furniture quality one.


  2. memsahibsvoyage
    November 21, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    If I ever write a book it will be titled: “My Life in Boatbuilding: A Tribute to the Gap-filling Properties of Epoxy”.


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