How do you make a straight piece of wood bend around corners? Well, if you’ve been following us for a while, you might recall my previous experiment in steam bending. I briefly entertained this idea for the cockpit coamings, but almost immediately realized this would not work for what I needed to do outside.
Way back when I built those coamings out of fiberglass, I actually thought that the curved hunks of teak I salvaged from the original demolition would be able to be spliced back into the new teak caps. I found that due to various factors, this would not be possible. Thickness, width, glass tape, & resin… Believe me I tried, but it just wasn’t going to pan out.
So with the off-cuts of the big plank of teak from Macbeath I managed to save enough scrap to finish building the curve for the end of each cap. After a bit of calculating I figured that a mitre cut of 10 degrees on each piece would be the ticket. For extra strength I opted to biscuit-joint the glued edges rather than just a straight epoxied butt joint. A biscuit joint is a slot cut into each side of the wood with a separate “football” shaped spline inserted for strength, as well as additional glue surface. I cut, routed, sanded and slotted these 12 little pieces of wood 24 separate times in order to create the requisite shape for each side of the cockpit. Once everything was established and appeared to [roughly] fit, I glued up all the little pieces with Thixol 2-part epoxy and clamped them together with an old ratchet strap from back in my picture framing days. After the resin cured, I scraped and sanded the surface until I got pretty close to the curve that I needed.
Back at the boat there was still some cutting and shaping to do to to make each cap fit. Drilled, countersunk, glued, and screwed, each cap was plugged with teak and sanded flush. I had some additional “dutching in” at the ass ends of each cap to match flush with the existing teak toe rails. After I finished my work, Jeni did her magic with the teak sealer to blend it in and make it match the rest of the woodwork.
Of course, you can see each and every glue joint where I put it all together. But hey, at least the grain matches the long boards, and now, we can finally remount the primary winches. Check one more item off the “to do” list.