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Lofting the Panels

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Lofting the Hull Panels

After my panels were scarfed and had a couple days for the joints to harden I moved them to the cradle. I placed them directly on top of each other and put small screws in the four corners to hold them firmly to each other.

I was ready to loft my designs from the plans to the panels. Lofting is simply lifting the dimensions off the plans and transferring them to the plywood. Devlin's plans are laid out to make this very easy. Essentially his plans allow you to draw full size pictures of the parts of the boat. The bottom pieces, side pieces, front transom, and stern are done separately. I was surprised how smoothly this step went.

The first step was to set up stations on the panels. Stations are created by using a tee-square and drawing lines the width of the plywood every foot. Next baselines were established. One baseline was established from the edge of the panels, another was drawn in at the prescribed distance from the first baseline.

After establishing the stations and baselines I was ready for the next step. This consisted of reading the dimensions from the plans, measuring that distance from the appropriate baseline and making a mark on the appropriate station line. Once all the marks were made it was time to draw the curves.

Drawing the curves was merely an exercise in "connect-the-dots". To connect the dots along a curve I used a batten (spline). The batten was held into place with finishing nails. The batten is a very important tool. I searched many lumber yards to find the right one. A batten needs to be straight, knot free, and have a straight grain. Anything less will cause distortions or kinks when bent. Since the very essence of the boat is defined by curves a flawless batten is needed. My batten was a 3/4" by 1/2" 14' long Ponderosa Pine molding strip.

After drawing in all the lines I used a jigsaw to cut out the two bottom pieces and the two side pieces. By cutting with one panel stacked on top of the other I had two perfectly matching bottom pieces and side pieces.