Best way to make frame templates

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Re: Best way to make frame templates

Post by PeterG » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:30 pm

Templates really are most useful if you are making multiple copies of pieces. I went through the Shipfitter apprenticeship at a Navy Yard. Shipfitters are carpenter working with steel. There I learned lofting, making templates (from 1/4" pine boards and waxed heavy paper), cutting and shaping parts out of steel, then fabricating subassemblies and installing them on ships. Templates were helpful for complex shapes and for repetitive work like making the same items for several ships. But if it was a one-off item I was making, then laying it out directly on the steel was always quicker. Same principle applies to wood boats. If you plan on making more than one piece or boat (or passing templates to a buddy for his boat?) the time to make templates is definitely worth it :-). For my Malahini, I had to use a combo of lofting, templating, Glen L patterns, and direct layout on the wood. I found the patterns were reproduced less than full size which caused inaccuracies, especially bad with the stem. So I drew the boat full size on plywood using the plans, and drew the stem, frame bottom pieces, deck beams and transom directly on the wood using plan dimensions. That worked out great.
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Re: Best way to make frame templates

Post by sproggy » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:30 am

Having given this more thought I may make templates for the repeated pieces (where the same shape is needed for both sides) but not for one-off things like full-width bottom frame sections or deck beams.

In my case this will mean 10 ply templates (making 20 frame sections) and 9 items cut directly on oak. Plus stem, transom knee and breasthook which I'll do directly on the ply.

My full size plans weren't perfect either. I think the dimensions are close enough but there is some distortion - edges known to be straight have a noticeable curve on the paper. This is most obvious on the stem where the face that mates with the keel has a pronounced convex curve to it. That's the only bit I haven't corrected yet as I need to figure out the correct angle otherwise the stem will be rotated from its correct orientation.

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Bill Edmundson
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Re: Best way to make frame templates

Post by Bill Edmundson » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:04 am


I make one side then flip it over to be the template for the other side.

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