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Spindrift 10N gunwales


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I'm a first time builder about to start the gunwales on my 10N. I

purchased a 12 foot board of Philippine Mahogany and had it ripped to

make 12' strips of 1 1/2x3/4 and thought I was all set. In researching

the easiest way to attach them in the forums, I read in a few places that

these need to be 3 ply, laminated but I don't find this in the plans.

So, do they need to be laminated? If so, should I rip the wood I have

or get some another type of wood for the other plies?

Any additional advise on how to attach the gunwales would be appreciated.



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Hi Lawrence

The short answer is that it is much better to laminate them as this helps to preserve the shape/curve of the gunwales when you cut the boat in half...they won't spring back the way a solid piece of timber will. I ripped the quarter inch strips from some pretty small stock which was doable but a bit fiddly and they ended up not totally neat, but that all disappeared in epoxy on the messy day when I glued them on.

Here are a few photos of my Two Paw under construction. I made a temporary long, thin bench out of an old bit of 1/2 inch ply which worked well. It ended up with lots of epoxy on it but was easy to sand/scrape off.


Peter HK



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Thanks so much for the very helpful info and pics. I have decided to laminate. I had the Philippine Mahogany 1x2 (.75x1.5) planed

down and also got two lengths of maple. These may not be the ideal woods, but I'm hoping the epoxy will overcome any deficiencies they


These two strips combine for a width of 11/16. I'm wondering if I should I add another strip of Philippine Mahogany to bring it

closer to 1 inch.

Any thoughts?


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I have three layers on my gunwhales (#447). It has been in service since 2004 and has taken more than a few heavy knocks against various pilings, etc. and has not had any structural failure. I would recommend the three layers.

The only failure I had on the boat was from a fall that I had against the gunwhale from the inside and the subsequent dip in the water. The loads in that fall caused a "tear" in the side of the boat right next to the nesting bulkhead in the after section of the boat. The gunwhale itself did not fail in that accident and the repairs were straightforward and relatively easy, since I built the boat.

BTW, I am refinishing the boat and will be showing it at the Perdido Wood Boat Festival at Pirates' Cove in Josephine, AL from April 29 thru May 1. Come on down and see us.


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  • 4 weeks later...

On my Spindrift 12, I used white oak cut into 1/4" x 2" x 8' lengths. I then placed one layer, using butt joints on the inside of the hull, then another layer on the outside of the hull, encapsulating the edge of the Okume plywood. This gave me a gunwale close to 3/4" thick. I then took some of the scrap Okume and made a cap on top of them to hide the edges. I shaped using a router, then sanded, sealed, stained, sanded, and so on. It came out looking really nice, not too overbearing in relationship to the rest of the boat. Graham does not like white oak but from my experience and testing, it works great. I also used Sassafras and black walnut lumber. My dagger board and back seat are made from those three species. The white oak is very durable and hard to damage.

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