Transom joinery

One of the basic skills in cabinetmaking is jointing two or more boards to form a wider board.  I seem to have lost the knack.  I don't have the machine that makes the job easy and reliable, but a skilled craftsman will be able to achieve a good result with a hand plane.  I have only two boards to join, so it should have been straightforward.  I failed on two attempts.  I decided to take the tiniest shaving off each edge with my table saw, and then carefully long-board the edges with sandpaper.  The result was unsatisfactory.  My third approach was to joint the edges with a router, which requires setting up the boards with a gap just narrower than the width of the router bit, with a fence clamped so as to assure that a small amount is removed from each edge.

This technique has the advantage that even if there is a deviation from the centerline, it can still do the job, as the 'error' is reproduced symmetrically.  The jig to achieve this is simple, but not trivial to set up.  My first pass was not satisfactory, but a second pass was, and the glued-up transom is even now curing in the shop.

I spent additional time trimming the lamination for the internal stem (apron), and test-fitting it to the building frame, but I did not fasten it in, or do the trimming, as I need it as a jig to laminate the outer stem.  I had previously cut and planed the laminations, so that was a matter of mixing up another batch of epoxy, and diving into the mess.  That too is now curing in the shop.

Assuming the outer stem lamination works out, I'll clean that up and put it aside, then return to the task of fitting the apron to the keelson, and gluing that in, and then shaping and attaching the transom to the building frame.

About 3 hours.


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