Shearwater Sport hull stitching gap question

I'm stitching together my Shearwater and joints are all fitting well, except at the bow. There's a gap between the bottom and side panels starting from the temp bulkhead and going to the bow. At the bow it's about 2.5mm. I've done a first pass at tighening the wires over the entire hull but it didn't help.

I'm afraid that if I tighten the wires to close the gap anymore they may start to tear out. Has anyone else had this problem or know of a solution?

Also, it looks like there might be about a half mm different length wise between the bottom and side panels at the end. How do you deal with that?

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RE: Shearwater Sport hull stitching gap question

Hi Snowbound, 

Welcome to the little nuances of stitch and glue construction!  The first thing you need to do to close that gap is drill a few more holes to add some stitches.  This will give you more even control of the gap and it also spreads the load being put on the holes/stitches already in position.  I'm sure you've noticed how much tension is on your present wires.  Add one ore two sets of holes at the widest section of the gap and see how that goes.  The less you have to add the better, but adding is pretty much the rule of the road based on my two builds.  I would also suggest backing off some twists on your present wires and slowly work with the new group as a whole if that makes sense.

Another trick that may be worth trying if there is just too much stress is to moisten the wood with warm water.  Allow some soaking time and then slowly bring the panel edges together.  This technique was absolutely required on the Wood Duck I am presently building.

As for the length difference, a half mm is nothing.  Those minor differences are all going to disappear during the fairing stage epecially at the bow and stern where you'll have to round things off for the fiberglass to lay properly.

I hope that helps and sets you at ease a bit.  Have fun!



RE: Shearwater Sport hull stitching gap question

Thanks for the advice Dave, I am having fun.

I carefully tighened the wires more, listening for any tearing sound and it's now almost closed. Not quite there, but good enough for tonight. 

Overall I'm pleased. I'll have a bit of adjusting to do at the bow and stern, but between the fore and aft temp bulkheads the joints have fit together very well. 



RE: Shearwater Sport hull stitching gap question

   While perfection is your goal, I wouldn't worry too much if you can get the gaps down to 1mm or so. You'll be covering these areas with fillets and tape (and maybe cloth too) on the inside. The exterior will all be covered with fiberglass cloth, sometimes multiple layers. So very small cracks will be filled by fiberglass. They'll be plenty strong and virtually invisible.

Still, do try to close all the cracks if you can.

RE: Shearwater Sport hull stitching gap question

   A few drops of CA glue (super glue) can be used between the wire stitches to help coerce the panels into position. Dampening the panels with a spray bottle or wet cloths  was a big help on my WD12 build.

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