Stevenson Projects Weekender Sailboat Build #14: Keel Questions...3DEE is waiting....but CLOSE...

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Blog entry by Napaman posted 07-26-2011 07:13 AM 9682 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 13: Dry Assembly Part 14 of Stevenson Projects Weekender Sailboat Build series Part 15: My sail boat took a big step forward today...THREE DEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! »

oK…i am really pleased with how far I have come this week…I have been racing down my “3-DEE” list and I am now DONE…I could wake up tomorrow and glue/screw my boat bottom! We are leaving town EARLY WEDS…so I am contemplating waiting—-so I need help…

But I need your advice…below are pictures of the keel which is braced between two 2×10’s…remember in my last post I reported a slight kink…and the dilemma on whether I should screw on the bottom and push and pull on the keel as I go to straighten…

But Paul—-shipwright made a really good suggest and today I got two 12 footers to sandwich the keel…his suggestion was to either: “clamp, screw or bolt” the 2×10’s…right now as the pictures show it is clamped up….so here are the questions:

1) if I do nothing else—-just clamps—-how long should I leave it…?
2) I could take the clamps off, and BOLT the sandwhich—-if I do this I will also wrap the 2×10’s in plastic and trim them down—-so that their edge goes BELOW the keel top…this would allow me to keep the “sandwhich” and then still move ahead…the sandwhich could stay on for as long as I want…
3) what other ideas?
4) I could pop off the clamps tomorrow and it looks good???

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

8 comments so far

View lew's profile


13353 posts in 4833 days

#1 posted 07-26-2011 07:21 AM

You are way above my pay grade here. I would think the longer they stayed in place the more of the ships structure will be available to make sure it stays straight.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1288 posts in 4815 days

#2 posted 07-26-2011 07:23 AM

Shipwright is correct and it would be a very good idea to shave the 2×12s down below the top of the keel and just leave them. Set a line right down the middle of the keel to make sure it is perfectly straight. It is extremely important to have a straight keel. Then proceed with mounting the bottom. You should have true boat when finished.

Looking good!!! You are doing just fine. It is best to think this project through as you go and try to keep a clear perspective.

Keep us posted with your progress.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Tony's profile


995 posts in 5108 days

#3 posted 07-26-2011 08:21 AM

In the next post we are going to see a big change in the weekend sailor :)

With regard to the keel, the truer the keel the the truer the handling will be. Any kinks or curves in the keel, which also acts a little like a rudder in the water, will want to make the boat turn to port or starboard.

Let me state now I am not a boat builder, but I have had 1 or 2 years experience working with wood !

With those 2×10’s if possible try to use just clamps, any fixing into the keel will have to be repaired later, the filled holes are always at more risk of failing, therefore letting water into the keel and causing problems much later in life.

If the purpose of the sandwich is just an try to remedy the kink before assembly, so that the keel is true without the 2×10’s, then I think you are into a loosing battle. The stresses on the wood have come into play. The keel is a lamination and unless you have some kind of pressure constantly exerted on the keel, it will always want to revert back to it curve (if not get bigger). Steaming the wood and over bending it (over correcting) and then let it spring back into shape., I am guessing that this is not an option.

Do you think that the rest of the hull will hold the keel strait when it is fitted, without exerting to much stress onto the hull?

Think, why did the keel bend? Was it due to stresses in the wood, the way it was stored (uneven surface), ingress of excessive water/moisture (it has been laid-up for quite some time). All these causes may help you how to decide to remedy the problem.

Good luck, Looking forward to seeing the assembly started in the next episode.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5155 days

#4 posted 07-26-2011 03:26 PM

Wow lots of ideas…thanks for the comments guys…

Tony the idea of steam bending really scares me—-as also the knowledge that you dont think I can un-kink it…

So let me describe the kink—-if the entire keel we laying down on a super flat/even surface…there is a section of about 2.5 feet that is raised off the ground about 1/8 of an inch…maybe a little more…

Tony to answer your question—-will the hull help straighten the keel—-I was thinking that the act of attaching the boat bottom down on top would help straighten it…

I could pull some bolts through in the high spot…and then shave down the sandwich boards so that I can move ahead with the build when we get back in a few days…then it can stay in this “mold” for as long as needed…I can cover the mold in plastic so that it wont “stick to the keel while it hardens (that would just suck).

Eventually I will need a keel slot for a trailer—-and these could just act as that…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View shipwright's profile


8711 posts in 3876 days

#5 posted 07-26-2011 05:26 PM

Hi Matt

We apparently have a mountain and mole hill problem here. If you had said that the problem was only 1/8” originally I may not have answered at all.
The truth is that a little “knk” like that in an otherwise straight keel will not effect anything in the way of handling enough to notice.

I had suggested the two by ten on edge to give it maximum resistance to bending against a fairly serious force from a bigger kink.

So since you have gotten this far you may as well eliminate the kink .

1) The whole point is to leave it until the glue cures at which point there will be no opportunity for the kink to come back.
2) Yes, lower them clear of the keel top and bolt them, except rather than shaping the top to match the keel, I’d just cut notches in the bottom of the two by tens for the cradle cross-members. Depending on where the kink is you may be able to just shorten the boards to fit between the cross-members.
3)As John said, check that your assembled keel is straight with a string down the centerline or with a long straightedge. (strip of plywood with a factory edge)
4) You won’t find it has magically fixed itself overnight so lower it, wrap it, bolt it and go on with your glue-up. remove the boards whenever you like (after your trip would be good) and fill the bolt holes with thickened epoxy They will never be a problem, especially in salt water.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5155 days

#6 posted 07-26-2011 06:24 PM

Ok…what a relief…the powers that be have convened (though since my wife is the math teacher maybe its the power and the history teacher) all before 9:30am!

Quote from the power when I asked her to confirm 1/8…and she said: “If that.” On those two words we will probably unclamp…and glue up the bottom later today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So save me if this is not a good idea…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View jack1's profile


2161 posts in 5105 days

#7 posted 07-27-2011 08:42 PM

you need more clamps… ;0)

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5155 days

#8 posted 08-02-2011 10:55 PM

three dee…the deed is done. :) Boat bottom is screwed and glued onto the keel! Update coming…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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