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Original keelson curve/taper

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:29 am
by Woody
Keelson (inner keel) at transom is 3 3/8 wide (tall) and 2 5/8 at stem. The top of the original board appears straight. The bottom is straight to a point approx. 4 1/2 feet from the stem then begins a gradual curve/taper to meet the stem and sit in the notch. If the bottom where straight to the stem this would create an abrupt transition/angle (10 degree change at the point of intersection if my protractor is correct).
If I follow the curve of the stem at its termination it projects 2 plus feet above the transom (boat is flipped upside down).
I have read the keelson is "dead" straight in a couple posts.
Does this mean the top side of my keelson was curved originally and the bottom was straight? I'm struggling with this!
Could the original craftsmen contoured this keelson to meet the stem in order to create a smooth transition?
If the stem were longer and actually flattened to project straight back to the transom I wouldn't be struggling with the idea of a straight keelson.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:45 pm
by richnle
I do not know if this is helpful relative to your questions on the inner keel, but I just replaced the outer keel on my Grady White so I will share what I saw there. When I laid the blank keel board on the bottom of the upside down boat, it sat flat on the boat from the transom until a few feet from the end of the stem. The boat definitely curved away from the flat board for those last few feet. The amount of curvature was small enough that the carriage bolts and wood screws were able to easily pull the new keel to the curve of the boat without steaming or shaping the keel. Based on this information, I would feel pretty certain that the inner keel has the exact same curvature. I hope this helps a little. Best of luck!


PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:17 pm
by Woody
Thanks for reply. Everything I'm looking at tells me there is a curvature to the inner keel: shape of original inner keel, terminating angle of the stem, shape and curvature of cheeks (sister keels on either side of inner keel).
I have cut and shaped the inner keel and one cheek and wish to finish the second cheek. I need to move my boat on the trailer next week. These components need to get installed so I can install temp. bracing on the bottom.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:38 pm
by LancerBoy
This sketch may answer your questions. This is 1962 Thompson Bros. Boat Mfg. Co. of Peshtigo, WI:



PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:00 pm
by Woody
I found this sketch earlier and held a straight edge to the inner keel as drawn. Am I correct in seeing a slight curvature of the inner keel prior to the stem?

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 8:08 pm
by Bill E
I might be late to the dance on this topic, but I thought I'd add my $0.02. When I remade my keelson, I had the same internal debate, especially since my boat had lost all of its original shape. I decided that what you've come up with had to have been the original design. You want the rear 1/3 or so of the hull dead flat for planing. In front of that, it's less critical, because on plane it's out of the water. My new keelson is flat to within 2-3 feet of the stem/gripe notch, at which point it begins the curve and fairs into the curve of the stem assembly.

Glad to see you're getting serious about your project again too! We need to get together and trade war stories.

Where have you been?

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 11:16 am
by Woody
Hey Bill
The boat is at Lake Hartwell in the lake property garage. We are moving to Charlotte area but will continue to visit Atl area for years to come. I have a good couple months of moving stuff before I can get back at the boat.
My thoughts are now on where to source plywood for bottom? Will I have to scarf material for length?
I still need to do plenty of frame repair/replacement, but like to think ahead.
Missed the Hartwell Antique Boat show this April. Hope to be there in a couple years.
Where are you on your boat? Send me the link if you have a posting of updates?

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 12:12 pm
by Bill E
Hey - I just drove through that area on the way up to Winston-Salem last weekend for a graduation ceremony. We'll also be up at Hartwell for a party end of June. Maybe I could break away for a visit, or you could swing by on the lake?!? PM or email (or text...) me your address up there, so I'll know if we'll be anywhere close.

For a number of reasons that I won't go into here, I stopped cold around March last year and hardly touched it again until just recently. You may recall that I was laminating all 60 new frames out of white oak purchased from Peach State Lumber near Kennesaw, GA. I also purchased two sheets of 3/8" (9mm) meranti-type ply through Southern Crown Boatworks. I'll probably use these for the bottom; will see how I like it before moving ahead with that material for the planking that I'm replacing. Essentially, I'm replacing everything at or below the waterline, and possibly the tails of the planks above the waterline (except the mahogany top strake).

Southern Crown had been located just off I-85 within 5 miles or so of my house. Within about a month after I discovered them, they moved operations to the owners' home down in McDonough. They specialize in parts for wooden boat restoration. They'll order you any plywood you want, and if you're not in a particular hurry, they'll combine shipping on their next big order. It's still higher price than I could get with a quantity order from a place like World Panel, but I haven't been ready to buy that kind of quantities. SC has to make their money somewhere, and the $10 or so per panel is worth it to me to be able to get it in small numbers. Maybe you and I could combine an order from WP and save some shipping, working out a handoff of material between the two of us.

Last weekend, I also bought a few sheets of $10.50 5mm underlayment plywood from Lowe's. I'm going to use that for templating garboards and strakes before I cut into the good stuff. Another option would be $8/sheet 1/8" hardboard (Masonite).

When I quit, I had frame pairs 21 through 30 (dash to bow) made and installed, frame pairs 1 (stern) through ~12 made, plus most of them #13 through #20. I had realized after making some of #16-20 that everything from that point forward would need not only bend, but also twist. I had to modify my bending forms to accommodate opposite twist for port & starboard. I'll probably remake some of #16-#20, rather than try to force a twist into a frame that was made with only bend. I think #16 might take the twist as I screw it into the keelson, but we'll see. I also had my new T-keelson built, planed, and installed, and was nearly complete with both sister keelsons (if I recall the right term). The starboard side is the easiest to access, so that's where I've focused most of my work.

Right now, what I'm doing is fitting the new frames into what's left of the hull, and mating them with the sister keelson and keelson (cheek member). I had to buy more clamps last weekend, because I'm clamping stiff battens to frames 1-10 at several points along the curve of the bilge and on the bottom to make sure that I have good alignment. Recall, too, that I'm recreating the boat's shape from virtually thin air, since all the frames and the keelson had completely lost any shape that I'd want to replicate. So far, I'm happy with how my new frames are looking like they'll work out. I might have to redo another here and there to get fair lines, but I am encouraged. I'd love to have it on the water by fall (for real this year...)!

I'm also debating whether to do a wholesale replacement of the transom for a few reasons. First, what's there has apparently already had some repair/replacement done, because it doesn't have any ID carved into the wood. (I.e., I wouldn't be getting rid of anything of real historical value.) Second, it's extremely oil-soaked from having oily bilge water sit against it for years in the past. Third, it has a pretty significant curve outward, I'm assuming from having this 90hp Merc sitting on it over the years. Fourth, it's not only riddled with holes from the original fasteners, but also from the other bottom-replacement job that was done before I owned it. Finally, it does have some softness that perhaps CPES would help solve, but given everything else, I think I might just replace it. I do like the idea I've read of sandwiching some marine ply into it for additional strength and watertightness. To help prevent the new one from bowing outward with the weight of the motor, I'd probably make the oak crossbeam a bit beefier, too (the one that has aluminum brackets tying it to the sister keelsons). Some means of supporting the motor on the trailer would help, as well.