Fitting the Bulkheads

Now that we have a hull completed it's really just a few simple steps to go to complete the boat. Because it is a boat however, some things just aren't parallel, so here's how we go about getting thing level on a structure which isn't.

Although the plans hint at an option of not building the fore and aft buoyancy chambers, this is not a good idea. Having a floating boat to hang onto in the event of mishap is a convenience that could save your life, so don't skip this part, install the bulkheads.

The big hole in the middle of course is a cutout which just happens to match the diameter of one of those plastic screw in hatch lids.

Set up the Stringline

Setting up a stringline from bow to stern will provide a datum from which we can measure all sorts of things for the next few steps.

It helps if the boat is level, but if it's not remember to square off the stringline and all will be well.

Temporary cross beam

A bit of tape on the string indicates the position of the bulkhead.

Measure equally along each side to locate a position for a temporary beam to which the bulkhead can be clamped while it's being fitted.

Mark the spot

I've set the bulkhead location so it will be about 75 mm (3") behind the deck overhang.

This will give something to hold onto when moving the boat (the deck) and will also be a bit more forgiving if the top fillet gets a bit ugly, as it is prone to doing working upside down and out of sight!

Bulkhead taped in position

The bulkhead doesn't have to be a tight fit, as the epoxy fillets will cover any discrepancies in joinery.

Once again I've taped the edges of the fillets to make clean up easy.

Use a square from the stringline, begin careful not to touch it, to ensure that the bulkheads are plumb, then tape or clamp them into position and epoxy fillet them in place permanently.

How it sits

The view from the far end. Doesn't look bad from this distance, I think I'll always take the aft seat when we're using it!

Note that the centre spreader should be in place at all times to ensure the beam dimension is maintained!

Filleted in place

Not my best fillets. They've been mixed a bit runny and have slumped a bit, but will respond to a bit of work as they get to a rubbery state, then it'll be a bit more sanding than I would prefer.

Making the Centre Spreader

The centre spreader shouldn't be a big deal, but it can be if you want it to be. With the seats it's one of those areas where you can put your own little stamp on the boat if you wish, without impacting on the overall design intent.

Often you'll see pictures of elaborately shaped yolks, and that's fine, but this boat won't be going near any long transport stages so we don't need one of those. Instead a simple option, narrow at the edges and thicker in the centre seemed to work to my eye, making it easy to grab and comfortable to hold.

I laminated it purely as an affectation, because I could. Although I was at risk of producing something that would clash glaringly with this very simple boat, it doesn't seem to stand out too badly.

Fiddling with the  template

First I had about eleventy-ten goes at finding a shape and proportion that was pleasing. Once I had done that, I made a ply template.

(Then I made the thing narrower than the template anyway).

Laminating the bits

Once the shape was sorted, I found some likely candidates from my scrap pile, and laminated the bits.

My wife reckons it's just like quilting really, you take a perfectly good piece of fabric, cut it up into little pieces, then sew it all back together to make a piece of fabric.

She has a point! I could have painted a couple of stripes on the thing I suppose!

Trial Fitting

As the shaping is happening, I return it to the boat every so often to check how it looks.

I think I am happiest with a spokeshave in my hand.

In place

Now we're getting somewhere like a boat. Bulkhead happy, spreader happy... ignore the seats, they come into the story a few pages over.


on this site

building - the hull
building - bulkheads and spreader
building - decks and whales
building - the seats
building - finishing
plans and contacts

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