First the Background

If you haven’t heard of a Scamp sailboat, please check out the SCA Scamp site.

My thoughts regarding this competent little boat are found here.

What will I change for this second build?  Check it out here.

You can read my spar wood musing here.

You can read my voyaging design thoughts here.

Finally, you can find my hatch musings here.

With these concepts in mind, let’s build a sailboat.  


Deck Installed

With the gunwales and carlins filed flat, I was ready to install the deck.  Saturday morning gave me the un-interupted time I needed to complete this install.  All went as expected.

Check it out:

All cleating was slightly rounded, to receive the deck.  I then rolled all mating surfaces and applied thickened epoxy to the carlin/gunwale tops.  
2 coats of epoxy to both sided.  This is the underside.  It was installed wet for a good hot bond.  
Fillet along the front of the veranda top, joining the deck/veranda junction.  I used 6 screws to help the bow take the appropriate shape and bring it down onto the cleating.  
I worked thickened epoxy under the deck and into the bow/deck joint.  
I used small sticks to evenly support the deck and apply even pressure at the bow.  


You’ll use every clamp you own and wish you had 20 more.  

Up next:  Trimming the deck edges, then moving toward veranda sides.  

Leveling up the Gunwale/Carlin Tops

The gunwales and carlins present a most beautiful curve, but they are not flat across their top edges.

The curve looks great but the tops are not flat with respect to each other.  This would present a challenge when glueing down the deck.  
It’s hard to see, but a block plane laid on its side will reveal the truth.  The surfaces are not at all flat.  
I used a hand plane and the Shinto rasp to accomplish this work.  Ideally, you would use a spoke shave to lay inside this curve and remove material.  But, I don’t own a spoke shave, so I relied heavily on the Shinto rasp.  It did 95% of the work.  I couldn’t build a boat without this tool. 


After an hour or so, your gunwales and carlins will look like this.  This entire process took less time than I imagined.  Not only are the tops flat with respect to each other, but the open wood grain will adhere nicely to the epoxy and deck panels.

Up Next:  Glueing up the deck joints…

Backer Plates for Hagoth

I don’t want the deck cleats coming loose from there fittings.  I therefore plan to through bolt all deck fittings.  Additionally, I want to be able to hang Hagoth from it’s 4 deck cleats if needed.

By installing backer plates, you should have a good solid solution to the loose cleat problem.

Check it out:

It’s important that you don’t through away any scrap pieces until your done with your build.  These pieces were all made out of left-overs from the cockpit sole cut-outs.  Hence, there made up of (2) 3″x8″ for a total thickness of 3/4″.  This makes excellent material for backer plates.
After marking there proper location and angling to fit, I glued the plates into position.  This plate is for the fore deck cleat and the fore self-recovery tie down.  I placed it close enough to the cockpit to allow me to manage the deck lines while seated in the cockpit.  The plate is 8″ long.
Installed between the gunwales and carlins for a flush pressure fit.
I installed 2 plates near the aft end of the boat.  The fore plates are 5,1/2″ long and will be used for the aft deck cleat.  The aft plate is 2,1/2″ long and will be used for the aft self-recovery tie down.

Why did I separate the aft backer plates into 2 separate blocks?

(self-recovery strap enters from stage left)

The self-recovery strap is secured between 2 tie downs secured to the deck.  This strap is used to bring a cold wet sailor back into the boat upon capsize.  I found from Shackleton, that I like my recovery straps rather short.  I mounted the tie down brackets 80″ apart.  This may not work for you, but seemed to work OK for me.  In order to get the correct spread between the brackets, I needed 2 aft plates.  This spread also means I’m climbing into the boat in front of the oar lock and at the widest part of the boat.


With the backer plates curing in their proper position, I’m ready to begin thinking about the decking.  Once cured, I’ll begin planing the top of the carlins and gunwales to level up the top surface.  

Step by step, bit by bit.  That is the answer to life and boat building.  

The Skeleton Frame

The gunwales and carlins are so attractive to me, I with I did have to cover it all up.

Check it out:

You might remember, I added 2 additional supports up front so Bennett can sit on the nose of Hagoth during rough weather stability sea trials.  



With the carlins in place, I’m ready to make decisions as to where I want my backing plates positioned for the deck hardware.  I know this post is redundant with my last post, but I just couldn’t move on without showcasing the beautiful shape of this little ship once again before covering it up.  

Carlins Complete

This morning I got into the shop to install the second set of carlins for Hagoth.  By taking my time and working purposefully, I was able to get both final set of carlins installed.

Check it out:  

It takes a lot of clamps to mate all the carlin surfaces together. You want a good bond between the carlins. 


Where carlins meet transom.
Where carlins meet bow on Starboard side. 
Where carlins meet bow on Port side.  

Up Next:

Fitting backer plates for all deck hardware.  

Carlins Installed, First Set

Installing the carlins can be tedious.  If you take the time to properly dimension them, round the lower corners and finesse the fit, you’ll have no problems.

Check it out:

Notice the large fillets.  You need large fillets here to hold the carlin against the bulkhead.  
To maintain proper spacing, I used an off-cut from the carlin as a spacer to keep the first carlin from curling outward.  I wrapped the spacer with packing tape for easy removal.  
If the spacer fit loosely, I wrapped a little duck tape over the spacer to tighten the fit.  These spacers also kept the carlin wedged tight down into the bulkhead notch and hence also served as a clamp.  
Aft end of the carlin against the stern.
Fore end of the carlin against the bow.  Given their curve and shape, it’s impossible to cut the carlins to the correct length, so by adding a small under support, your length need not be perfect.  Notice I left room for the second carlin to the right of the carlin shown.  
Very curvaceous!!
To help me bend the carlins, I narrowed these to 3/8″ width. 

Steps I followed:

  1. Dimensioned carlins:  3/8″ x 1, 1/8″
  2. Rounded over bottom edges with 1/8″ round-over bit
  3. Filed bulkhead notches to fit angle of carlins
  4. Installed fore block in bow to support the carlin
  5. Dry fit the carlin, made adjustments to length
  6. Made up the spacers from left over carlin length
  7. Rolled outside and bottom surface of carlins with epoxy
  8. Wet all bulkhead mating surfaces with epoxy
  9. Added thickened epoxy to all bulkhead mating surfaces
  10. Installed carlins
  11. Clamped to proper height, matching bulkheads
  12. Applied fillets to carlin/bulkhead joints
  13. Smoothed fillets while green


This is wooden boat building at its finest.  When you see the seductive shape of these carlins, It’ll almost requires confession to your spiritual leader.   

Second set of Gunwales Installed

By following the same steps as before, I installed the second set of gunwales.  

Check it out:

For both gunwale installations, I used dividers to keep the screw spacing equal.  And, why is it necessary to keep the spacing equal?  When I screw into the gunwales with the final rub-rail, I don’t want to hit a previous screw hole.  By consistently marking and drilling the location of each gunwale screw hole, I can miss these holes when attaching the final rub-rail.
This time, I screwed through the second gunwale to hit the first gunwale.  
I’ve cleaned up all the squeeze out.  
Though you can’t see it in this photograph, I rounded over both bottom edges of the second gunwale.  I also rounded over the outside bottom edge of the first gunwale.  This finishes off the otherwise rough exposed bottom edges of the gunwales–so when you grab your boat to push off from shore, it’s a smooth experience on your fingers.   

Up Next:  Installing the carlins.  


Gunwales, First Pair

After bringing the Poplar into proper dimension, I was ready to set the first pair of gunwales in place.

Check it out:

I used 1″ grabber screws with fender washers to bring the gunwale against the hull.


I then clamped in between the screws.  You can’t have too many clamps.
My gunwales are a little bigger than stock.  I made them 7/16″ x 1,1/2″.   a caption
Only 6 more to go.

Steps I followed:

  1. Hold up the gunwales and mark their orientation after letting them tell you how they want to go on.
  2. Mark out exactly where I want to screw the gunwales on 6″ centers
  3. Drill the holes to accept the screws.
  4. Roll all mating surfaces with un-thickened epoxy.
  5. Apply thickened epoxy to mating side of gunwales.
  6. Screw on the gunwales (with help of my sons).
  7. Clamp in between screws.
  8. Clean up the squeeze out.
  9. Turn on the West Coast College Basketball Tournament and watch BYU beat San Diego.


It’s good to see the gunwales go into position.  It takes a fair amount of pressure to get these to bend properly and it’s always a little nerve racking to get them on without breaking.  I few extra hands help with this step.  

Finishing the CB Case Cover

After much fiddling and some alterations, I’m glad to say the CB cover is complete.  

Check it out:

I decided to use bicycle handlebar tape as a gasket for the CB case.  It’s tough, firm and doesn’t absorb water.  It also has an adhesive back strip.  
Using scissors, I neatly cut the tape to length and adhered it to the top surface of the case.  
It fit neatly over the case area and looks to provide good coverage.  
I used #8 1,1/4″ stainless flat top screws set in a brass finishing washer.  
And, there she is–finally finished.  


With the cover complete, I now have good access to the center board in the event it gets stuck in the case.  I’m glad I took the time to get this little step right.  This also gave me a chance to test the contrasting sand color which will be used on the deck and veranda top.  

Roughing Out the Carlins and Gunwales

Last time I build a Scamp I experienced some trouble when it came time to bend the carlins and gunwales.  I’ve written about this experience here.

This time, I’m hoping for a less dramatic experience.  I also decided to try a different species of wood.  Last time I used vertical grain Douglas Fir.  This wood is known to split, especially if you take a router to it.  After thinking through this, I decided to try Poplar.  Poplar has 3 characteristics that might lend favorably to carlins and wales:

  1. It’s almost entirely knot free and very smooth grained
  2. It’s light in weight
  3. It’s very soft
  4. It’s very affordable at $2.50/ board foot

Check it out:

The Poplar boards I found locally was nearly 16′ long and 10″ wide.  They were heavy and awkward to handle.  There was no way I was getting this big board on my power jointer.  Instead I decided to try using a hand plane, like your grandfather used.
I read an article on self reliance and its inspired me to buy some hand tools in the event of a power outage.  Hand tools were the way all woodworking was accomplished not very long ago.   This inspiration all came from Christopher Schwarz book “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” (google him for some excellent reading).
The Lie-Neilson No. 7 is a very large hand plane and I can’t say I use it a lot, but for this big board, it was just the ticket.
I own 5 Lie-Nielson hand planes and I will say they are all a joy to use.  Buy once and you’ll have them for the rest of your life.  New technology won’t make them obsolete.  This absolutely can’t be said about your computer or cell phone.  As you know, they’re all throw away purchases, usually within 5 years.

Once I had one square and flat edge, I ripped the boards on my table saw.  The gunwales will be 1,1/2″ x 7/16″ while the carlins will be 1,1/8″ x 7/16″.

I used my Ridgid planer to bring the boards down to their desired thickness.
I planed the boards outside to keep the shavings out of my shop.  It took a while…
And, here are the light weight little birdies.  Notice how the grain is so clear.  I think these will work great–fingers crossed.


I plan to router the edges every so slightly using an 1/8″ round over bit set at a shallow depth.  My theory is that rounding the edges tends to keep the board from splintering when you put a bend on them.  And, don’t forget to let the boards vote which way they want to bend.  They’ll tell you if you listen carefully to their needs.