Attaching gunnels
September 26, 2017 12:07PM
Getting ready to attach the gunnels to my freestone skiff. I am using 1 1/14 x 3/4 northern white ash. I would like to avoid drilling holes in the gunnels ( for screw attachment) if possible, and only glue.

Any thoughts?
Re: Attaching gunnels
September 26, 2017 10:30PM
I've done it many times. Clamp the gunwales on with a few less than ten thousand clamps and epoxy putty. Use a tapered spacer in the middle, perhaps 1-1/8" thick that tapers to a point at both ends, so the gunwales are spaced that far apart in the middle. So you can bore hole for oarlock pins in one or two places. You might have to cut saw kerfs almost but not all the way through the fat spacer, so it will bend. It depends on the boat. If so fill the kerfs with putty before clamping it all together.

A solid two piece gunwale with a solid spacer is the second strongest there is. A solid gunwale laminated in place out of lots of thin strips is the strongest of all.

After the glue is hard sand it all smooth and put one layer of 6" inch wide tape over top the solid gunwale. Now it's there for the long term.

There is a boat for sale right now (search for Victor Colvard's boat) that I made that way something like 35 years ago. It looks as good now as the day I sold it.

Re: Attaching gunnels
September 27, 2017 01:41PM
Also.......forgot to mention. Solid gunwales can be two strips of 3/4" inch what ever or laminated strips (strongest of all but messy to make). Either way you can clamp and glue them together without fasteners. But in both cases I like to cover the almost finished product with at least one layer of glass.

And they don't need to be spaced apart in the middle for oar lock pins. You can make outrigger oarlock blocks instead, like the following.

Make the oarlock outrigger so it fits vaguely well. Duct tape Visqueen over the gunwale where the outrigger oarlock block will go. Slobber epoxy putty into the notch where it fits to the (Visqueen covered) gunwale.

Clamp it in place. Walk away. Bolt it in place at a later date. Or figure out a quick change way to fasten outrigger oarlocks, do they can be moved forward or back depending on today's payload. If you do figure that out I'll award you with a no bell prize, plus the prize money.

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