Bluenose Canadian Schooner


April 23, 2017

Day 387.

With the dory prototype complete, work began on building the four dories that will actually go on the ship.  There will be some small differences from the prototype based on the lessons I learned, but the basic construction will stay the same.

Since I have to make 4 of these, I started by lightly gluing together sheets of basswood and gluing my template to the top.  This way I can cut multiple copies of each part at once on the scroll saw.


To make cutting all the pieces easier, I lightly glued multiple sheets together and cut them at once.

Having multiple sheets of wood glued together also makes it easier to cut the tiny pieces for the frames.  The extra thickness gives the piece more stability as they are being cut.

The pieces for all four boats are cut, cleaned up and sanded.


The pieces for all four dories.

The pieces were assembled just like the were for the prototype.

At this point, I installed the cleats, which I forgot to do on the prototype.  These are just small strips across the bottom of the boat between the frames.  These were glued in, then snipped to length a pair of shears.

I used my scroll saw to cut all the planking for the boats.  Each boat requires 4 narrow pieces and two wider pieces of planking.  All the planking was made from 1/64″ thick birch.


The frames assembled and planking cut.

Planking was done just like it was on the prototype.  The extra supports at the bow and stern were added using 1/32″ strips.  The horizontal strips that form the thwart (seat) supports was swapped out for some thinner wood and placed a little lower than it was on the prototype.


Planking is finished.  Details like the seat support trails and small bow/stern braces are added.

The rails were made from the same 1/64″ birch sheet material that was used for planking.  This is thinner than I used on the prototype, and it should look better.  To make the rails:

  1. A boat is placed upside-down on a piece of 1/64″ thick birch sheet material.
  2. The shape of the hull is traced onto the wood.
  3. Dividers are used to measure how thick the sides of the boat (planking + frame) are.
  4. The measurement from the dividers is used to draw a line inside the outline made on the sheet.
  5. The rail is then cut along the lines using a scroll saw.  The side drawn on is the bottom of the rail.

The rails on these dories should be flush with the outside of the hull.  That’s hard to get exact when cutting and gluing, so I made these a little bigger than necessary.  Once they are glued on, I’ll trim and sand off the excess to get it nice and flush.


The shape of each boat is traced onto 1/64″ thick sheet wood to make the rails.

With the rails painted and glued on, I used a pair of flat edge snippers to trim off the excess material.  The outside edge was then given a quick sanding.  I’ll touch up the paint right before I finish the dories.

You can also see two white dots on the bottom of the boat.  This was how I identified the different boats.  I used dots to indicate which boat was which (1 dot, 2 dots, etc.).


After gluing each rail onto it’s boat, the edge of the rail was trimmed to be flush with the hull.

The splash rail was made from 1/32″ square strip wood.  The pieces were cut to length and one end was rounded off.  The other end was cut at an angle where the two pieces would meet.

The spray rail pieces were glued on, and some filler was applied to the spot where they meet. Once dry, the rails were sanded and painted.


The splash rail is made from 1/32″ square material.

Next up are the thole pins.  Each dory has 12 of them – 6 on each side of the rail.  I’ll be using 1/32″ brass rod for the pins.

The first step in making the thole pins is to drill the 48 holes.  This was done with a pin vise, one-at-a-time.


Holes are drilled in the rail for the thole pins.

With the holes drilled, I moved on to making the pins.

I cut 40 or so short pieces of the brass rod using my snippers.  I didn’t try to make them an exact length, and I left them about twice as long as needed.   These pins are so small that the extra length will be really helpful when I’m trying to pick one up and glue it in place.


A ton of pieces are cut from a 1/32″ diameter brass rod.  These will be the pins.

One by one the pins are installed.  Each pin is picked up with a pair of tweezers, dipped in CA glue, and inserted into a hole.  I tried to position them so the amount below the rail was the same.

After the glue dries, I’ll use my snippers to trim the tops to the right length.


The pins are glued into the holes in the rail.  They are lined up below the rail, and left long above the rail.  They get trimmed once the glue dries.

After the thole pins were finished, I added the little rope loops to the stern of each boat.  I drilled two holes in the back of each ship and ran some brown rigging line through the holes.  The line was tied into knots, forming a loop.


A rope handle is added to the stern.

And that completes the four dories!

The next step will be to make the dory kids (racks that hold the dories on the deck) and the oars.


Four completed dories.