Building a 25' Ply on Frame Cabin Cruiser #9: Progress! Keelson, Stem, and Transom

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Blog entry by AlTriolo posted 05-13-2017 02:41 AM 2924 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Finished scarf joints and work with the keelson Part 9 of Building a 25' Ply on Frame Cabin Cruiser series Part 10: "Slow but steady" »

I got to work for six hours today and accomplished a lot! Here’s where I left off. Getting there took some hard work.

I started by shaving frames 8-13 to receive the curve of the keelson as the bow rises. In addition to these random photos, I also used a pull saw and random orbital sander. Each frame got the treatment at least twice. One frame got five passes.

Next was to get set up for the transom. I cut the keelson to the correct angle and cut a guild to be placed into the jig. I then used a straight edge to line them up and added lumber for the transom to rest on.

Finally, before the rain came, it was time for the stem. I didn’t follow the plans for the measurement since I’ve stretched it 11%. So I measured the actual angle and cut he board to fit. I used a protractor from some tool and used a 1×3 as a spacer. Worked like a charm. The cut was nearly perfect. I drew a center line on the stem and screwed it in. I will resin this before trimming for chime log and sheer clamp. I didn’t get a photo before the rain came. :-(

4 comments so far

View Rich's profile


7060 posts in 1743 days

#1 posted 05-13-2017 06:49 AM

I mean this sincerely. You are my new hero. What you are accomplishing there is beyond my comprehension. Keep posting.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View English's profile


692 posts in 2631 days

#2 posted 05-13-2017 02:13 PM


It’s coming together. Looks like your work space is going to be a little restrictive. That’s going to be a big boat. You may need to add on to the carport first!!!

It looks great, all the frames look good and straight. Thanks for posting!!!!

Post note for you.. I just got Big Brother ready for the water for the season. In addition to the repairs I had to do on the transom, I had more cracks around the cabin. Each spring when I have uncovered the boat I have found where the plywood I used for everything above the hull, gunwales up, has been expanding and contracting causing cracks in the glass and paint. The hull plywood is Douglass Fir marine plywood and I have not seen any issues with expanding and contracting and no checking so far. But the plywood I used for the gunwales up is a Home center grade 1/2” Lauan plywood, it was suppose to be exterior grade. On Jeff’s site he talks about plywood and said that the hardwood plywood at the home stores is fine to use. So I saved a little money and used it. I will say that I was not as patient as I should have been. Some of the plywood got installed and I did not pre-coat the underside before installing. Then when I was finishing I realized that a few areas it was not possible to get back into the areas to seal the underside, the gunwales and the roof overhangs where the worst places.

I found cracks around the gunwales last season, and this year around the gunwales and the pilot house roof. The roof cracks looks like they were there last season and I didn’t notice it. Water had gotten in and rotted the pilot house roof overhang on the port side forward. All of these areas had been glassed. So the expansion cracked the glass and opened the seam between the joints on the plywood. Water seeps in, and the plywood swells more opening a bigger crack, vicious circle. I have also had some DE-lamination of the lauan plywood under the windows where water leaks through my windows slides and into the end grain of the plywood at the window. These areas where glassed and epoxied.

So the moral to this story is be sure your plywood is exterior grade. Make the supplier provide glue specs., and be sure to take the time to seal the underside of every thing that goes on the boat. After you have been working on the boat for months, the water starts calling you and saying “put the boat in the water”. For me I just built and didn’t think ahead far enough. Now I have to make repairs more often.

For this year all rot is removed and cracks sealed and Big Brother is ready for the summer. But I will be inspecting for cracks more often, fixing the cracks is easy. Replacing plywood because of rot, not so.

Sorry to steel your blog with my issues but wanted to let you know that patients will save you lots of work down the road.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View AlTriolo's profile


28 posts in 1721 days

#3 posted 05-13-2017 02:38 PM

Hi John,

Your insights and experiences are perfect for this blog! Thank you. I’m still waiting on my lumber yard to get back to me on some questions I have. Now I have more.

Regarding space, my plan is to move it elsewhere on the property and cover it once it’s flipped. I’ll then either work under the cover or remove the cover depending on the weather.

View English's profile


692 posts in 2631 days

#4 posted 05-13-2017 03:00 PM


I had a 24×28 shop, but the boat was in a side bay that was 24×12. With tools all round I had to roll the boat side to side and front to back depending where I was working. I think it had several miles on it before it left the shop.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

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