Scarf Whole Sheets

I am just about to start my first build, Wood Duck 12, and I am finding conflicting instructions in the plans and manual about scarfing. On the full size plans there is short step-by-step which says to scarf two 4' x 8' sheets of plywood together, cut in half diagonally, stack, then cut out full size pieces.

In the manual I get the impression that it says to cut out pieces from one sheet and then another sheet and scarf each piece together separately.

Am I missing something? Do most people scarf the whole sheets together and cut out full size pieces or cut out first and make several scarf joints for each long piece?

P.S.  - I know there probably isn't a right and wrong way to do it, I am finding great difficulty in making any progress because every time I have a question about something, I go online to research it and everyone says it can be done a 100 different ways. With so many choices, and corresponding pro's & con's, and never any clear "winner" I never know which method to go with! Whenever I set aside time to build I run into a decisions that needs to be made about construction methods or materials, and I spend all my time doing research.

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RE: Scarf Whole Sheets

Scarfing the full sheets before cutting assures that your panels will be properly aligned. Scarfing after cutting is probably more work and almost guarantees misalignment.

You might also look into butt joining panels after cutting instead of scarfing. This system is much easier than scarfing and, if done properly, strong enough for our purposes. You can see photos and description of how I did it on my daughter's Ganymede at


RE: Scarf Whole Sheets


 Do you know if there are any more inconsistancies or conflictions that I will find as I build using the CLC manual.

Is the CLC manual best guide for my purposes? Should I be using something else or in addition to the CLC?

RE: Scarf Whole Sheets

The CLC manuals are comprehensive and clear, but tend to lead the beginning builder to overbuild. There are quite a few blog sites written by people who have built boats like yours. Reviewing them will help you to avoid some of our mistakes. Most of all, remember that this isn't rocket surgery (or brain science) and any mistake can be corrected. Enjoy the build and don't fret too much about doing it perfectly. -Wes

RE: Scarf Whole Sheets

Not trying to make your building decision more difficult, just offering a suggestion.  I prefer to loft panels on full-length plywood panels, but don't like to cut 4-foot wide scarfs, especially if scarfing just two panels into one.  I stack the two (or more) 4x8 panels, then cut them into four 2x8 panels.  Set all the factory 8-foot edges on the same side in a stack and plane the scarfs.  Lay out the panels so they can be epoxied together with their factory edges aligned in a straight line.  Epoxy them together following instructions (packing tape to avoid lots of clean up, unthickened epoxy applied first so wood doesn't suck epoxy out of thickened epoxy, etc.), and double and triple check that ply laps and edges are aligned as they should be AND that the ply won't slip or slide when I leave the shop.

It can look and sound daunting if you've never built before.  You are being careful and patient.  That's good.  Laszlo's blog is an excellent resource.  I'd also suggest CLC's boatbuilding video.  There are other videos online that might offer help as well as the books CLC recommends.  The number of ways to accomplish the tasks needed to build a Wood Duck aren't meant to be a deterrent to building, rather they are just an illustration of the ingenuity of the many individuals that have built them.  Enjoy your build.

RE: Scarf Whole Sheets

Cutting the sheets in half is recommended by CLC for some of their boats. It's the method I used (but won't use again) on my Merganser. Gard is building a Wood Duck, though, which is too wide for this method. The Wood Duck sheets need to be cut on a diagonal. -Wes

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