Preview: Shortcuts for Shaping Complex Wooden Boat Pieces – Part 4, Using Hand Tools For Final Shaping

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This week Eric Blake demonstrates using hand tools for the final shaping of complex curves and tapers of wooden boat pieces.

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13 Responses So Far to “Shortcuts for Shaping Complex Wooden Boat Pieces – Part 4, Using Hand Tools For Final Shaping

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    steve johnson says:

    Thank you Eric.. super demonstration and well shot . Even the audio good enough to catch these words thru dust and dust mask.. ‘get rid of anything that doesn’t look like boat’ . Love it

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    Jeff Davis says:

    Did I hear a comment on a waxy product to reduce the friction of mortal surfaces that buffs out but doesn’t get into the piece you are workin on?

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    John Bukowsky says:

    Eric – that series was simply amazing. Thank you. I need to remove all the existing, nasty peeling varnish from the beautifully made eyebrows on my cutter. I was not sure how to without creating flat spots, etc. You, my friend, brought the solution to life with the styrofoam suggestion and how to customize the block to a perfect shape. You saved me from making a groovy bit of mess – many thanks. John

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    Michael Mittleman says:

    Great craftsmanship, Eric. To paraphrase a finisher’s axiom, once all the cutting, laminating, shaping and sanding are completed, the job is half done. The several coats of grain filler, stain (maybe), and varnish will require more time than the fabrication of the part itself… and finishing uses yet another set of specialized tools and techniques.

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    Benny Andersen says:

    How thick are the layers of teak that you cut out for the laminates?

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      Benny Andersen says:

      And did you cut them out on the tablesaw or the bandsaw? And did you somehow smothen the surface of the layers before gluing them?

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        Eric Blake says:

        Hey Benny,
        The laminates are 1/16″ thick. A good sharp table saw will slice strips this thin but there is some waste. The veneer I am using in the video were sliced at a veneer mill, sliced with a huge knife. The finish off a sharp table saw is fine for a lamination like this. The more consistent the glueing surfaces are the better looking glue lines you will have. Using thinner veneer not only makes the tiller stronger than one made of thicker laminates, they tend to look more like solid wood grain.

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    gerald spiegel says:

    I agree with Ken wholeheartedly, best money Ive ever spent, Its always a relaxing pleasure to watch,

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    Larry Cheek says:

    I’m always impressed and enlightened by Eric’s imaginative devising of techniques, such as making the styrofoam sanding block for a consistent final shaping of the tiller.

    I have another reflection to offer on this tiller series, thinking about the time a boatbuilder would invest in crafting a piece like this.

    How many hours would it take a professional to make this tiller to Eric’s standard as demonstrated here? I’m guessing 5 or 6. (Eric, please check in on my guess.)

    In my experience, a typical amateur needs twice the pro’s time for any given task. Thus, figure 10-12 hours of labor on this tiller (through the final varnishing).

    Among the lessons I’ve learned in boatbuilding (two kayaks and three sailboats so far) is that we amateurs can’t possibly lavish this kind of meticulous attention on every piece. We’d never live long enough to finish the boat.

    What works, though, is to select certain prominent details and finish them to aesthetic perfection—or at least to the best of our ability. These draw the eye and remain a lasting source of pleasure in using the boat. And they lure attention away from the many LESS meticulously crafted pieces.

    Since a tiller is in prominent display and use in any sailboat cockpit, and since it can give the user constant tactile pleasure (or its opposite) as well as visual delight, it’s an excellent candidate for spending a whole lot of time on to make it right.

    With boat #6 underway, I’ve bookmarked this series for reference when I get around to the tiller. Thanks once again to Eric and OCH for a really useful demonstration.

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      Eric Blake says:

      Hey Larry,
      It takes longer to varnish it than to build it
      I think this whole series was shot in two x 2 hour sessions after work which didn’t include laminating the blank. Having a professional shop set up where every tool is on the ready and at hand makes a huge difference in being able to build anything efficiently.
      Thanks for your comment.

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    Ken Weinstein says:

    Best money I ever spent joining OCH in the beginning as a lifer! Thanks for another great instructional video, Eric.


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