Bluenose Canadian Schooner

Dory Kids and Oars

April 24, 2017

Day 388.

The dories are complete, and it is time to get them installed on the deck.  This requires two more mini-projects.  First I need to build the dory kids – the racks that hold the dories on the deck.  Second, I need to make a set of oars that will be stored inside the dories.

The design for the kids is laid out in the Model Shipways Bluenose kit plans.  There are two kids and they are built exactly the same.  I’ll be making the kids out of 1/8″ x 1/16″ strip material.

The kids are made from two long strips that are attached to two cross bars.  The long strips need to be notched so the cross bars can fit.

To start, I marked the location of the first cross bar, which goes at the end of the strips.  I filed it down with a flat needle file until the cross bar fits.  I did this with all four long strips held together.


The long pieces for the dory kids are notched for the cross bars.

I then repeated the process for at the location for the second cross bar.  This completed the long strips.


Parts for two kids (two strips each) with notches for the cross bars.

The cross bars were cut to length, and everything was pinned down to a building board and glued together.


Each kid is pinned down and glued together.

Once the assembly was dry, it was removed from the board and placed on the bottom of a dory.

The next step is to make some angled pieces that will sit on the cross bars and cradle the dories.  These need to be shaped to match the curve of the dory hull, which is different at each part of the boat.  So, I’ll need to measure and trace the shape of the hull at the specific points where the cross bars will go.

I positioned the kid where it should go, and marked where the cross bars hit the bottom of the boat.


A test-fit on one of the boats.  The locations of the cross bars are marked with pencil on the boat.

I used these marks and a used a contour gauge to get the shape at each mark.  A contour gauge is a special tool with a bunch of little pins.  As you press the gauge around something, the pins move, leaving you with an imprint of the shape.


Using the pencil marks on the boat, a contour gauge is used to get the shape of the boat at that point.

I traced these shapes out on some wood.  I used 1/8″ thick basswood so it matches the width of the cross bars.  I traced two pieces for the fore and two pieces for the aft (one set for each of the two kids).


The shape of the hull is transferred to wood sheets.

Next I cleaned up the drawings and marked off the actual cradle pieces based on the shapes.


Using the transferred shapes, some pieces are drawn to form the ‘cradle’ on the dory kids.

These pieces were cut out on my mini Proxxon scroll saw, sanded down, and glued into the kids.

Once these were in place, the dory kids are basically done except for some stain and a few rings.


An assembled dory kid.

The next mini project is to make some oars.  The dories were row-boats, so each one had a few oars.  If we made the right number of oars for the four dories, we’d have a bunch of oars piled in the boats, and that won’t look great.  So I’m only going to make 4, which gives me two for each of the top two dories.

The oars will be carved from strip wood.  These are tiny, and fragile, so I’m going to prepare more than I need so I’m not totally screwed when I break one.


Several strips of wood are clamped together to make oars.  The shape of the handle is drawn.

For the oars, I’m using wider strip wood.  I clamped several of these together and drew the outline of the handle along one of the flat edges.  I left the other end much longer than necessary.

I used files and such to cut out the handles.


The shape of the handle is roughed in on the entire stack at once.

After the handles were roughed in, I unclamped the pieces and started working with sandpaper.  I sanded each handle to round it off and give it a nice smooth curve up to the blade.

This is where having extras helped, as I broke three during sanding.

Once I had four that I was happy with, I marked where the end of the blade should be.


Individual oars are shaped with sandpaper, rounding off the handles and cleaning up the curves to the blade.

The extra material was cut from the ends, and the blade was rounded off with sand paper.

I decided to give the oars a little bit of a fancy color scheme.  This isn’t based on anything – I just wanted them to have some character.  I started by staining the end of the handle to match the other wood on my ship.

Once the stain was dry, I masked off a portion of the stained wood with tape, and painted the rest of the oar white.  Finally I used a tan color (same color I used for the inside of the dories) to paint the blade.

That finished up the oars.


The finished oars are painted.

Now I just need to put all this together.  The kids were stained, and I added eye bolts to the cross bars.  These eye bolts are used to tie down the boats.


The full set of dory ‘stuff’.  Four finished boats, two kids, and four oars.

To secure the boats to the kids, I could just tie off some rope.  However, I suspect that the crew would get tired of constantly tying an untying these, so I bet they did something a little more sophisticated.  I decided to make some hooks attached to ropes, and use those to secure the dories.

I started by making some hooks out of brass wire.


To secure the dories to the kid I’ll be using ropes with hooks on the end.  The hooks are made from brass wire.

I ran some tan rigging line through the hook and tied it with some black thread.


Rope is run through the hook and tied with black thread.

The black thread was then wrapped around to add some sizing.  A little bit of CA glue locks the thread in place.


The black thread is wrapped around the rope, siezing it in place.

This was repeated to make two ropes for each kid.  The length of the ropes was fine tuned so it fits just right – holding the dories in place but still loose enough that I can unhook it.


A completed set of ropes, sized to fit a stack of two dories.

The rope are run over the boats and hooked onto the kids.


The ropes are hooked onto the dory kids, holding the dories down.

With all the ropes finished, it was time to install the kids on the deck.  The location was taken from the plans.  These were simply glued in place with a little CA glue.


The kids are glued to the deck.

Once the kids were p-laced, I just had to set the boats in place and secure them down with the ropes.


Two boats are placed on each kid, secured with ropes.

Two oars were dropped in each of the stacks.  These are not glued in right now (I hope I don’t lose them).


Two oars are place in each top boat.

This completes the work on the deck structures, machinery and such.


The work on the deck is now complete.

I’m now at a pretty big milestone – I’m ready to start working on masts.