Berth Headroom Modification - Nor'wester

Designs for inboard or outboard power

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Berth Headroom Modification - Nor'wester

Postby gbostard » Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:16 am

Getting started and gathering information for the Nor'wester build and I have run into a few questions I was hoping to get some info on:

1. When I decided on the Nor'wester build I was set on modifying the berth headroom area. The "per-plan" clearance between the pilot house and the berth area is 4'. I plan on using the berth area for two bunks and thus wanted to ease this transition a bit, much like Jay Duensing did with his Nor'wester here ... california. (his is aluminum - not sure if that makes a difference). I was hoping to squeeze about another foot of clearance out of the entry with this modification. The only issue I see is that the top of the entry way is literally at frame 6, so a height modification would almost certainly require a modification to the top of frame 6 (whether it be partially raised, eliminated in some way, etc.) Is this a complete "no-no"? Has anyone made a similar modification or run into this same problem? If so would you mind shooting over some pictures of your modified frame-work?

2. This is probably a pretty simple question - when beginning the plywood sheathing on the sides and bottom, the plan allows for butt joints installed as the work progresses or scarfed joints if installing the panels in one piece. I'm leaning toward butt joints as they will be more manageable with the length of boat I'm planning. My question about this is that the plywood lies directly against the chine, sheer, etc. With the butt joint backer behind the plywood and in front of the chine/sheer, is the chine/sheer to be notched to accept the backer, or is the backer supposed to span the plywood only between the sheer and chine?

Also, I plan on purchasing the "boat building with plywood" book, but are there any other books out there that you may have found helpful for a boat of the type that the Nor'wester is?

Any info would help!

-Greg, Buffalo NY

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Bill Edmundson
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Re: Berth Headroom Modification - Nor'wester

Postby Bill Edmundson » Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:29 am


1. I see no reason you couldn't do that in wood.

2. don't notch the sheer, chine, keel or battens. the blocks are only on the ply.

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Re: Berth Headroom Modification - Nor'wester

Postby mrintense » Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:13 pm

Greg in addition to the Boatbuilding With Plywood, Glen L offers the Boatbuilders Handbook Which as a lot of the same material but some different and some of it presented in different ways. I found it useful when something in the other book wasn't clear.

Like Bill said, you don't want to notch the chine. The backing boars and the chine both serve the same purpose at the butt joint, namely backing it up. There is a slight gap between the chine and the back up plate but you can fill this with epoxy and if you fiberglass the boat, it won't be an issue.

As for the choice between butt joint and scarf joint. Well my experience is with butt joint and it is a bit of a challenge to get the two pieces lined up so that they end up level with each other. Plus clamping will require some thought and improvisation. Matt (Hoodman) came up with an ingenious clamping method for his Geronimo.

Scarf joints have the advantage of being easier to assemble initially and they usually result in a nice smooth joint. But As you mentioned, handling the large piece of plywood is a challenge especially when it come to glue up time.

My suggestion either way is that if you can get some help when you get to planking, get it. It's far less stressful than trying to do it by yourself. ask me how I know!
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Re: Berth Headroom Modification - Nor'wester

Postby hoodman » Mon Jan 02, 2017 6:25 pm

My butt joints came out alright. Definitely not perfect. You can check out what I did in my thread.

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