Fitting seats in Skerry

I'm working on a Skerry, and I'm starting to fit the seats. I somehow made the boat slightly too narrow, and have been dealing with the consequences. One problem is that the middle and stern frames are slightly bowed. I've glued on and screwed in struts on these frames to straighten them as much as possible. (Earlier discussion of this:

The bow end is too narrow also, but the problem there isn't so bad. So while the bow frame is pretty straight, the seat still doesn't quite fit. When I place the seat as well as I can, it rises above the top edge of the frame by maybe 1/4" or 1/2". Also, the slot that goes over the "ears" of the frame is tight against the front of the frame:

But there on the back of the frame, there is a gap:

In other words, because the hull is too narrow, the whole seat is pushed back, but not far enough to sink down to meet the top of the frame.

I can think of three fixes:

1) Trim the edges of the seat, to match the contours of the hull.

2) Widen the front-facing edges of the slots so that the seat can be placed further back. That would, I think, allow the seat to rest against the top of the frame.

3) Add a strip of wood on the top of the frame, so that it meets the bottom of the seat.

I am reluctant to do #1. I had to do a similar operation on the breasthooks (for the same reason -- hull too narrow), and it was difficult to get a good fit. Of the remaining options, I am leaning to #2, it seems simpler.

Can anyone suggest other possible fixes?

For #2 (widen the slots), how do I do the widening: Sanding? (I have a roll of adhesive sandpaper that might be useful.) Very careful sawing?

3 replies:

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RE: Fitting seats in Skerry

When I run into these kinds of problems during a build my approach is to:

1. Try to fix the root cause. If that's not possible then:

2. Loosen what's tight

3. Shorten what's long

4. Lengthen what's short

5. Tighten what's loose

There's nothing sacred about the CNC-cut pieces. If something earlier in the build has made them no longer fit exactly, it's perfectly acceptable to change them to make them fit.

On a plans builds I had a problem with the seats not fitting (too big) and went with your option 1. A rasp, block plane and sanding took care of the problem nicely. The trick is to do a little, test fit, repeat as needed. Cardboard templates make the job easier. Cut the cardboard to rough fit, adjust it for a perfect fit and then trace it onto the wood.

If you're going to widen the slots I'd recommend using a thin rasp. If you're feeling daring, a router would make extremely quick work of it. A pattern clamped to the workpiece could make it very precise. Use a cardboard template to test the fit before cutting.

Hope this offers some inspiration. The main thing is - don't worry. This is a simple problem, very easy to fix. Just go slowly with patience.




RE: Fitting seats in Skerry

   I like the best part of Laszlo's advice on this - Don't Worry - and I do understand, that's no easy lesson to learn.  Took me long enough.  But generally, with patience, a ruler, epoxy, silica powder, sandpaper, and okoume plywood, most gaps and shortfalls can be made good on these kinds of boats.  No one will notice, and no one will care! The fact that you'll be out there on a wooden boat you made with your hands (and wit) is all that will matter.  

RE: Fitting seats in Skerry

Thank you, Laszlo and kurlanny. The seats are fitting in place now.

On to the fillets ...

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