Why Detail Drawing is Most Important After
decided upon the design, make a complete drawing of it. Detail
the drawing, trace in the outline or profile of the transom
from your layout paper and place this on the mock-up. If you
are satisfied with the drawing, lay out the profiles on the
carving block. A word of advice-do not glue the carving block
together if more than one piece of stock has to be used. Hold
the various parts together with counter-bored screws, for the
reason that, when you profile the block, it is easier to profile
out each piece than the whole thing. You will find that it is
easier to disassemble the parts than to work from a solid block
for some of the following steps: bosting out, back-cutting and
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the block has been profiled, place the assembled block on the
mock-up and lay in the curves on the profile with the carpenter's
scribe. Do this all around the carving. Separate the various
pieces and back-cut each piece to approximately 3/16 inch of
the scribed line. Certainly not closer than that. Assemble the
pieces, lay them on the mock-up, and see how nearly a fit you
have come to the curve of the transom. By placing clipped ends
of 3/16 inch Prestwood under the block, set the scribe to that
dimension and run the line over. Here the differences will be
apparent and can be corrected for a better fit.
purpose of this surplus stock is that it gives you an opportunity
to fit the bosted-out block to the actual transom. This must
be done before any detail carving is undertaken. Once you have
fitted the bosted block to the mock-up, take it to the yacht
and fit it to the transom there. I usually pare off the profiled
surfaces of the carving prior to this fitting so that, when
I scribe in the outline of the true transom, I do not have any
lines to divert me from back-cutting for a better fit after
I have returned to the shop.
scribed the block to the true transom, back-cut to an eighth
of an inch of the scribed line. It is essential that there be
this surplus stock left in place at this stage of the game.
The block can be checked against the mock-up transom as a matter
of checking, but do not back-cut to fit the mock-up hereafter.
Prior to gluing the block together, be sure that all the rough
work has been done: that the bosting is complete, the back-cuts
made, the periphery of the carving has been pared off and smoothed
up with the necessary tools. Here, be sure that the edges are
as nearly vertical to the planes of the back-cut stock as you
can make them.
The eagle is detail-carved; the back cutting and fitting are
being checked against the transom prior to painting and gilding
the eagle. (Courtesy Yachting Magazine)
next step is to line out the block, then separate the various
pieces, glue and assemble, screw them together and, if necessary,
apply clamps for a good, tight, glued joint or joints. Wipe
off surplus glue with a hot, wet cloth and set aside, after
setting plugs in the counter-bored holes. The final step, as
in any other carving, is to detail-carve the block. Be sure
that, when doing this, the underside of the carving is properly
supported; otherwise it is possible that certain portions of
the carving can be fractured off or that undue distortion of
the finished carving can take place. This is most important.
When the finished carving has been done, the final check for
fit on the true transom is to be made.
the carving against the transom in its proper place and see
if you have a fit. If you have, that's fine; if you haven't,
joint the back of the carving to the transom with wood rasps
or rifflers. This process cannot be hurried. I have found out
that it is possible to place the finished face of the carving
on sponge rubber pads (such as are sold for gardening) while
rasping off the back of the carving in this final finishing
fit. This prevents fracture of the detail. No clamps are necessary,
but a spare set of hands is, if you have them handy. I never
have, so I hold the work in place with my foot or leg or elbow
or even sit on it if I have to. The important thing is to get
a good close fit.
done this, handle the carving with great care from here on in.
The next step is, of course, to finish the carving with color
or gold leaf, or whatever is chosen.
are some points that I suggest be kept in mind. Do not try to
design a carving where a lot of fine detail work is involved.
The detail will be lost in the overall picture. Avoid small
sections, if possible. These are likely to be broken off in
the course of time. Be reasonably careful to see that a watertight
joint between the back of the carving and the transom is made
with some of the plastic seals that are available for marine
work by applying this to the back of all parts and wiping off
fasten the carving to the transom use brass or "Everdure"
wood screws of a suitable size. I set these screws into a counter-bored
and plugged hole and then pare off the plug after it is set.
To set these plugs use Duco Cement, sparingly. The ends of the
plugs can be finished in the same manner as the rest of the
carving in which they are placed.
The completed carving of the ancient mariner shown in the drawings
on the right. "A caricature of all the masters and mates
I sailed with when I was a boy." (Courtesy Mr. Joel H.
final step is to christen the carving with the vehicle of your
choice. I find a bottle of ale applied in judicious amounts
to the inner man does an adequate job. And be prepared to make
other carvings for your friends, too.