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 voyaging design thoughts here.

Finally, you can find my hatch musings here.

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

The Stave Taper Jig

The 8 mast staves need to be tapered to achieve a tapered mast.  There are several ways to accomplish this.  I prefer to build a jig, but it does require the use of a circular saw (which I borrow from my dad).

Here’s how it works:

Lets start from the bottom.  The bottom board is simply a base to the jig which needs to be nailed to your work bench.  Second board up is nailed to the base board and acts as a fence, against which the stave will be secured.  I use small brad nails to hold the stave up against this fence.  The top cleat (also nailed down) acts as a fence for the circular saw and is placed at an angle (matching the angle needed for the stave taper).  This offset will be dependent on the saw you use.  The edge of the saw fence rides against the cleat (which was fastened down at an angle to the stave) and cuts the proper angle on the cleat.  Hopefully this makes sense.
Here you can see the cut stave.  The bottom board is sacrificial and cut by the circular saw.  Notice the tapered stave.  This produces very consistent taper cuts onto each of the 8 staves.  I can rip down the jig wood and reuse as cleating throughout the boat.  


Lots of ways to accomplish the tapered stave, but after building 2 masts, I’m quite fond of the consistency the jig provides.  It’s simple to build and produces very consistent stave tapers.  Next, I sanded the edges (previously epoxied inside edge) of each stave that will contact the bird’s mouth joint during glue up.  I’m now ready to build the mast holding jig that will help hold things together during assembly of the mast. 

Let There Be Yard

I first cut the glue up to 1 3/4″ straight through and marked the corners.
I then cut off the corners.
I then planed the ends down to their respective diameters.


After hand planing the edges off until it appears basically round, I sanded with 80 grit paper.
I drilled 3/8″ holes into the ends (6″ wider than the head of the sail) before I rounded the yard to keep the holes in line with each other.  This spacing places the holes 3″ wider (on each end) than the ends grommets in the sail.  I broke the corner off the drilled holes with a small round wood rasp.  

It was a lot of fun to see the yard take shape.  It feels light, like a little birdie and springy.

Yard Fix

Yesterday in my zeal and zest, I planed my Sitka Spruce to 3/4″.  I should have left it at 7/8″ for the yard layup.  These little things always happen during a boat build.  They are actually part of the process.  The key is to slow down and fix the problem before moving onward.  Like life, unresolved issues buried alive never die, they just manifest themselves later in uglier forms.  Let’s get this yard problem resolved now.

During my sleep, the sailing Gods told me what to do.  I had just enough material to add another piece to the yard, making it 2″ x 2,1/4″ overall.  Once cured, I dimension it to it’s proper size and shape.

The oversized yard will be brought into full compliance once cured.Don’t forget to use a popsicle stick (cut square on the end) and a paper towel to clean up all the squeeze out.  This will make it much easier once cured to continue working the wood.

While I had wet epoxy on a foam roller, I decided to roll the inside edge of all the mast staves.  While still green (8 hours from now), I’ll roll on one more coat as I prepare for the mast glue up coming next week.

I always try to think ahead and use a wet roller to your advantage.  If you keep you working area clean and tidy, it will be easier to adapt and take advantage of certain impromptu situations that put you further ahead.  


If you touch your boat each and every day, it will build itself right before your eyes.

Glueing up Boom and Yard

Remember, the wood will have an opinion.  I turned the bow in the boards toward each other and marked them for easy identification during glue up.  This should keep the boom straighter than placing the bow in the same direction.
You can never have too many clamps.  I used em all!

Steps I took:

  1. I planed the rough lumber to 5/8″ for staves and 3/4″ for boom and yard (the yard should have been left to 7/8″, but I think an overall thickness of 1.5″ will be enough.
  2. I ripped the boom to 2.75″ (1/2″ wider than the plans call for).  On my last build, I felt the boom got a little too narrow in the ends (after the taper was applied), so I’m adding a little meat in these areas.
  3. I ripped the yard to 2″ and will adjust this thickness once I begin to round it.
  4. I rolled on unthickened epoxy and then added thickened epoxy to the mating surfaces.  Then clamp and clean up the squeeze out.


Just great to be building another Scamp.