Building the skeleton

The skeleton consists of the stations strung out along the strong-back. I constructed the strong-back out of plywood, a 2×5″ box beam screwed together. It came out remarkably straight despite some bowing to the plywood I used. Once I strung the stations on and started aligning them, however, I discovered that it bowed to the left a little. I could straighten it out by wedging my supports, but I knew that they would get bumped around during construction, so I needed something more permanent. I thought of (and tried) using a wire on the outside of the curve to pull it straight. I could tell that it was working, but that the tension in the wire would be too great (it made an interesting instrument however.) My roommate Chris suggested a ratchet tie-down strap and that was just the ticket. I attached some eye-bolts bow and stern and made some clearance holes through the stations for the strap and then ratcheted it into submission. Using a string mounted from bow to stern along the center line, I was able to adjust the tie-down until the bowing was completely gone. Each station was then carefully adjusted, sighted down for vertical and horizontal alignment (guide lines are printed on all the stations) and screwed to the strong-back via some small pieces of plywood. This was a time consuming process, but not one to be skimped on since the position of the stations will determine the ultimate shape of the boat.

I attached the bow and stern internal stems (the curved pieces that the strips will be permanently glued to in both ends) to the skeleton using screws and wires. Since the skeleton gets removed at the end, but the stems remain, the attachment has to be temporary. I tried using double-faced tape, but it didn’t hold well enough for my liking. This method seems to work fine. I hope I won’t have any problems removing the skeleton later.

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