Shearwater 17 Temporary Deck Forms

Hello Everyone -

I'm a first time poster here who has been lurking for quite a while.  I'm at the point in the assembly of my Shearwater 17 where the instructions say to remove all of the wires on the deck and remove the temporary deck forms, after the "tack welds" have cured.  When I bent that Sapele deck around that curved form it was under quite a bit of pressure, and I'm having visions of my deck springing to a flatter shape when I remove the forms.  Any input?  Thanks!

8 replies:

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RE: Shearwater 17 Temporary Deck Forms

Your instincts are correct: the deck will flatten somewhat. Try pulling it into shape by wrapping it with the straps you use to lash your boats to your roof rack or hold it to the proper width with Extreme packing tape before you glass the inside. That's what I did with mine. If, after your best efforts, the deck overhangs the hull, when you put them together, it's no big deal. Just plane off the excess before sheathing the outside. -Wes

RE: Shearwater 17 Temporary Deck Forms

Thanks Wes, and I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.  I appreciate the tip.  I still haven't unwired the deck yet.  Maybe the longer it stays wired up, the more the shape will stay?  Its already been a couple of weeks.  Anyway, I'll have to do it eventually! - Gray

RE: Shearwater 17 Temporary Deck Forms

Hi, Gray,

Like you, I am a first-time builder working on the SW17, and was also worried about this, so I appreciated your post and Wes' reply.

I had the idea to replace the temporary deck form with the front bulkhead to hold the curve. 

After tacking, I figure to remove the front bulkhead from the hull, wrap the deck like Wes sugests to hold the curve, then unwire the temporary deck form and wire in the front bulkhead in its place.  The bulkhead will act like a deck form, and I can remove the wrap and fillet the deck with the front bulkhead attached and the curve intact.  I will not have to remove the bulkhead from the deck after this, and I can actually glass-tape it in when filleting. 

When the hull and deck go together for the final time, I can glass-tape the bulkhead to the hull for waterproofing (I would have had to glass it to the deck at this point in any event). 

You are probably far beyond this step, but I thought I would throw this out anyway.

Good luck!



RE: Shearwater 17 Temporary Deck Forms

I am further ahead on my sw17 now, but It took alot of force to bend the foredeck to meet (not even, but close) the temp bulkhead. there was no way I was going to remove the temp bulkhead before assembling the deck with the hull. So, I filleted and glassed the inside of the deck to within an inch of both sides of the temp foredeck bulkhead (I did take the other three out). then I cut (trimmed) the bottom of the temp bulkhead so it would not get glued to the hull. Just in case, i drilled a line of 1/4" holes in the center of the bulkhead vertically to allow the temp bulkhead to be cut or broken in half if it was hard to remove. That was completely unnessicary. 

Then I followed CLC's directions for joining the hull and the deck,but with the foredeck temp bulkhead still wired in place. Once the deck and hull were tacked togehter and the deck was resting against the real bulkhead, I unwired the temp one and removed it. I intended to glass that area, but with the boat upside down I just made some large fillets between the deck and the forward cockpit bulkhead, on both sides, as the manual suggests.

Then on to the rest of the steps!

Good Luck and happy boat biulding,


RE: Shearwater 17 Temporary Deck Forms

Hey, Joel.  Sounds complicated, but effective.  One of the little challenges deciding what to do, is that the temp deck form and the bulkhead occupy exactly the same space under the deck.  Even the manual says that you have to loosen the wires on the bulkhead and move it out of the way of the deck form.  This prevents the possibility of wiring the bulkhead into the deck while the form is still there, and then removing the form.  And that means that I have to go through a step where there is no support for the deck curve as I change over.  You handled this by waiting until tacking the hull and deck together before removing the form, but how did you deal with the fact that the form and bulkhead occupy the same space?

I don't want to redrill and move either one, since the cross-section of the deck is different even an inch away, and I find the pieces to be cut to exactly the right shape for where the holes are pre-drilled.

I am still inclined to stitch the bulkhead to the deck in place of the deck form.  I have tack welded the hull, and it seems strong enough to remove the bulkhead and put it into the deck.  I may even do that before I tack weld the deck, so I don't have to worry about the tack welds popping when the deck curve has no support.   I also want to glass the bulkheads, and I am told that is easier when the bulkheads are out of the boat, so I can do it at the same time.

It is good to know that others have faced this challenge and overcome it.  Thanks for posting.


RE: Shearwater 17 Temporary Deck Forms


You can wiggle your temperary deck bulkhead so that it is ~1/4 inch forward of the hull bulkhead. same wire holes... 

That is why I drilled holes in the temp bulkhead. I realize that I would not be able to cut it out (with the real bulkhead so close, and that sealing the perminate bulkhead was important. But I was able to pull the temp one out after the deck and hull where tacked, so the holes were not nessicary. 

Your plan of using the hull bulkhead on the deck sounds like it would work fine too. I would do all the hull filleting and taping/glassing except an inch on either side of the bulkhead first, as the hull is much easier to acess without the deck installed. You can finish up around the bulkhead with the deck on - it will be more difficult to reach, but you have to   reach in there to do the top of the bulkhead and the hull/deck seam in the standard method anyway.

I think you have several good choices, now don't think too much, pick one and keep on boat biulding! I think this sort of problem solving is what makes boat biulding interesting.

I am currently stalled out, with the hull glassed and almost ready to glass the deck - a lot of clean up to do first, especially around the hatch areas.

I do plan another excursion from the CLC directions in the cockpit coaming. My experience to glueing up a layer cake like the coaming is that dry running all the clamping is great. But, as soon as everything is coated in glue, the inner layers (coaming spacers) will be sliding out with even the slightst clamping pressure. Sounds like a mess to me. I plan to use 1/8 inch dowels vertically to hold the assembly still. If I measure well they will add a nice looking detail.


RE: Shearwater 17 Temporary Deck Forms

Thanks, Joel.

Like you I am continuing to improvise.  Now I am considering omitting the fore hatch (purely for looks - the grain on my deck panel is gorgeous), and instead having a removable front bulkhead so I can fillet without the hatch (my own concoction, but experienced advisors tell me it should work).  I also plan to put in Lazslo's famous bow and stern blocks instead of an end pour (I'm told western red cedar is the wood to use), and to use CLC's grab handles instead of the toggles (with extra reinforcement beneath the deck). 

All these steps are new to me, but the challenge and creativity of exploring different options is great.  I think that's one of the real benefits of the CLC system - there are so many different ways to do it right.

I will get back to you when I get to the coaming stage, to see what your experience with the dowels is.  If you are interested in connecting off the blog, my email is on yahoo.  My user name is kaerlud-101.  Best!



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