Advice on cutting hatches

Posted by Jim L on Mar 23, 2007

I am at the hatch cutting stage on my Shearwater 17 Hybrid and am having problems. I am afraid of the CLC recommended saber saw approach, but I am willing to spend as much time as it takes doing them by hand. I started by very carefully drawing a Dozoki Razor saw(27 tpi)across my pencil line on the top and bottom of the rear hatch (ie, perpendicular to the boat centerline). Since the deck is slightly rounded, eventually you can cut through. This gives a very thin, straight cut on these straight sections of the opening. The same approach does not work on the straight sections of the fore & aft lines and, of course, does not work on the rounded corners.

For these, I tried using the Bonsai saw I bought from CLC. I am trying to make very gentle strokes, but the teeth dig in on the pull stroke such that you have to pull pretty hard to get it to move at all. This tend to tear the cedar strips, and it is lifting the fiberglass next to the cut. I fear a mess if I continue. I bought a "Detail Saw" from Japan Woodworker because it was advertised to have 25 tpi (the CLC saw is more like 20 tpi), but it turned out to be an identical saw.

Has anyone else run into this? I'll try any reasonable suggestion.

Jim L