Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.

Hi all --

I've completed my installation of spacered inwales on my dory -- and I wanted to describe my method, since it deviates significantly than John's description on the site.  This works for new construction -- I don't know if it could work for retrofits.

1.  Before the outer rails are installed, I glued the inwale spacer blocks to the side of the boat.  I don't think this affected the curve of the side, since the side still seemed quite flexible once the epoxy set.  Note that I had already installed a modified breasthook and quarter knees to accommodate the inwale.

2.  I then epoxied on the first layer of outer rail, clamping it by screwing it thought the side into the spacer blocks.  This faired the curve of the side. After letting the epoxy cure, I removed the screws, and extended the 3/16" clearance holes through the spacer blocks.

3. I then cut the inwale to length, leaving it very slightly long.

4.  After clamping the inwale to the stern quarter knee, I 'snapped' it into place.  No glue applied yet.  (I had sealed the inner surface of the inwale with epoxy.)

5.  With the inwale in place, and working bow to stern, I injected thickened epoxy into each clearance hole (about 1 mL each), and drove a inch-long 3/16" dowel into the hole.  (I had tapered on end of the dowel with a pencil sharpener.)

6.  After wiping off the squeeze out, I clamped the joint.  (I had applied blue tape to the bottom of the joint to minimize any dripping into the boat.)

7. That's it.  It is a fairly calm glue-up, and you don't even need to finish it in one day -- you can take a break.

I have pictures on the process on my google album:

Start with picture 19 or so.

Dave Metcalf


12 replies:

« Previous Post       List of Posts       Next Post »

RE: Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.

Thanks for the write up and pics. It does not appear that you epoxy the inwale to the spacer blocks. If not, I assume that the dowels must extend through the spacer blocks into the inwale; is this correct? Are they driven into an undrilled inwale? Or are the clearance holes drilled through the spacer blocks into the inwales? From the write up it appears that the clearance holes are drilled out prior to fitting the inwale. 

RE: Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.

No -- the inwale is securely epoxied to the spacer blocks -- it's just that I inject the epoxy into the joint through the clearance holes for the screws used to attach the outer rail.  The dowel is used to force the epoxy into the joint -- the dowel does not extend into the inwale.


RE: Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.

   Dave, first of all thanks for sharing the photos and technique.  Your work so far looks excellent and I must say I am very envious of your well organized and spacious work area.  I just ordered my NE Dory yesterday so I will be following your progress with keen interest.

A couple of questions:

  1. In one of the photos i noticed you have the boat suspended, was that simply to reposition the horses or am i missing something?
  2. I have only breifly looked at the CLC instructions for the inwales so not real clear on their technique, but can you tell me if you think your technique is easier to obatin the same results? If so, why?
  3. Finally, are there any tips that you wish you had know prior to getting to the current state of build which you can share.  Or mistakes you may have made which in hinsight could have been prevented?  Thanks in advance.


RE: Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.


Is it standard on the NE Dory to use all those screws to hold the rails?  For the Skerry, there are only a couple of screws at each end of the rail.


RE: Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.

Lou --

Congratulations on ordering your kit -- I've had a blast with mine. I am a first time boat-builder -- although I am an amateur furniture maker -- hence the shop.  Answers to your questions:

1.  I did construct a hoist in the shop to that I could flip the boat.  Otherwise, it requires two people to handle it.  (I do have neighbors that would help -- but this gives me more flexibility.  I'm also thinking that applying epoxy or varnish to the interior may be easier if I can tilt the boat -- the hoist should allow me to do that.) 

2.  John does have well-written instructions on fitting the inwales that I studied at length.  My concerns with his method were -- the size of the clamps needed that would span both layers of the outer rails (1 3/4") plus the plywood (1/4") and then the spacer blocks and inner rails (1").  I didn't look forward to purchasing 30 or so 3" clamps.  Also, the idea of spreading epoxy on all the spacer blocks, and then wrestling the rail in place sounded like a major cat-herding operation.  At first, I considered constructing the inwales before adding the outer rails.  If you check the other threads on the forum, you will see where I asked the question about installing inwales before outer rails.  John posted on that thread that the outer rails were important in fairing the curve on the boat and that the inwales might distort the shape.  He suggested installing one layer of the outer rail before the inwales.  At that point, I realized that if I installed the inwale spacer blocks first, I could use the blocks for screwing the outer rail to the boat during that glue up. (I don't think the spacer blocks distorted the shape of the boat.) So, no clamps were needed for the outer rail.  Then, the idea of using the screw holes for epoxying the inwales occured to me.  Epoxying one joint at a time seemed less frantic than gluing the whole rail at once. 

3.  The construction manual for the boat is excellent.  One suggestion thatI would make -- after wiring the hull together and flipping the hull (page 35 of the manual) don't overfill the hull joints with epoxy.  I filled then all the way up, and had a bear of a time removing the wire stitches.  (Some are still imbeded in the hull, and I had to do a bit of dried epoxy removal.) You will have a chance later to fill the seams.  Other than that -- no problems thus far.  Enjoy!


Doug: I used all the screws to clamp the outer rail to the hull for epoxying it -- since I had thh inwale spacer blocks installed, it seemed a good way to not use clamps.  Without the spacer blocks, it would have required clamps.  (Epoxying the second layer of the outer rail does require many clamps.)


RE: Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.


Thanks for sharing your pictures. You are doing absolutely lovely work! And, as a roadie myself, it is nice to see your road bike in some of the pics. Is that end-tube shifters, I see? Touring?

Please do share additional photos as you near completion. 


RE: Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.


From reading your technique and looking at the photos, am i correct in that the only surface of the inwale that is glued is where the screw hole from the spacer block makes contact with the inwale, as opposed to the entire surface of the inwale?  






RE: Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.

Jeff -- Yes -- that's a touring bike that I commute to work with (only three miles, but fun).  I do most of my long distance riding in Michigan (which is the destination of the dory as well).  I am keeping my google site up to date -- although I'm in the midst of doing epoxy and sanding work, so not much new to add to the site.  I've enjoyed looking at your pictures too -- good job on your boat.

Lou --  When the epoxy gets forced in the clearance hole by driving in the dowel,  I do see squeeze out on all sides of the joint, so I'm pretty confident that I have a good bond.  (I don't clamp the joint until after I've injected the epoxy.)  I've used this technique before on epoxying mortice and tenon joints on outdoor furniture and it works well for that too.


RE: Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.

Dave thanks for the clarification.  I am going to adopt your technique when i get to that stage.


PS: Is there a trend starting, seems more than a few boat builders on the forum are also cyclists!

RE: Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.

Dave, Unfortunately I have the 2 outer rails attached so will have to clamp/screw the blocks on then the inwhale. What was the length and space that you used for the blocks. John's method is a trial and error and since yours are so nice, I want to avoid the trial and error, especially the error.


Don Cromwell

RE: Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.

Don --

The spacing depends on how your oars are going to be configured and whether you are using riser blocks or not.  My way was to clamp blocks at the bulkheads (since it looks better to have blocks there) and then to divide up the distances between bulkheads into a reasonable number of blocks and spaces. I cut a bunch of blocks -- most 2" but some 2 1/4" and also had spacers jigs of 2" to 2 1/2" in 1/8" increments. Since I was using 6" riser blocks for the oar locks I could also cheat the spacing there. I just played around with the spacing until I got it to work.  I didn't vary the spacing by more than 1/8" for adjacent gaps, and it's really not noticable.

Unfortunately, since you have both outer rails on, dry clamping multiple blocks will be a pain. (As noted above, my first step was figuring out the block spacing and epoxying them on before either outer rail was attached.) 

If I have time, I'll measure my blocks and gaps and post the measurements.

Dave M.

RE: Spacered inwales on a NE dory -- my method.


Thanks for sharing this. I incorporated your method up to the point of final inwale installation on my NE dory.  Epoxying the spacers and then screwing the first outwale into place worked very well.  Instead of extending the holes and using dowels to force epoxy into the joint, I found it was easy enough to apply epoxy to the spacers and then "snap" the properly sized inwale into place and clamp at each spacer.   Even though I ended up modifying your method,  I was very happy to find your post. It made the process go very smoothly for an unassisted builder such as myself. 


« Previous Post     List of Posts     Next Post »

Please login or register to post a reply.