UNE Student Weekly Post: Abby’s Documentation/Reflection


We have officially begun the process of building our 14’ Caravelle Rowing Skiff. The first three

projects attempted were laying the grid for the side planks, forming the transom, and building the two

frames for the boat. I chose to help attempt laying the grid for our side planks.

In order to lay the side planks, a tape measure, some string, some screws, a combination square,

a framing square, and a pencil were used. First, on either end of the 6 millimeter plywood, a screw was

placed about half an inch from the long edge. A piece of string was then stretched between the two of

them as tightly as possible while keeping the string from actually touching the plywood. Then a

combination square was used to line up against the string about every three or four feet. This was done

to make it easier to use a straight edge to form the base line of the grid. Using that line and a tape

measure, the full length of the skiff was measured. From there the direction of the bow and aft were

determined. From the bow, every four feet was measured. Because the design for the side planks has

them measured at 14’7 ¾” the last measurement only came to 2’7 ¾”. A framing square was then used

to find our perpendiculars at the 4’ marks that were previously made, ensuring we had 90 degree angles

at each. Then the midline of the entire plank was found and the perpendiculars were continued to it.

Four rectangles were formed by all of this. The hypotenuses of each were measured from each corner to

ensure they were equal across to prove the rectangles indeed had 90 degree angles in each corner. In

doing this it was discovered that in measuring to the midline there was a breakdown in communication

on whether to measure from the baseline or from the edge of the plywood. This was easily amended

and we were able to move on. From there a perpendicular was drawn every 12”. Once that was squared

away, Marks were made at the various measurements required for our skiff’s side planks.

Okay so throw together three completely inexperienced college students together and tell them

to lay a grid for the side planks of a boat. You know what you’re going to get? Mistakes and

miscommunications. Luckily the group I worked with was very forgiving toward each other and had

some serious problem solving skills. Our breakdown in communication came when we were all taking

turns measuring to the midline of the plywood. One person started and then two others finished. By the

time we got to measuring the hypotenuses we discovered that our finished midline took a veered

severely toward the top of the plywood at our bow. It turned out that the person who had started the

measuring had measured from the baseline and not the edge of the wood. Once we figured it out, the

problem was easily fixed and we were able to move on. Now as someone who had never even thought

of trying to build a boat, I was pretty darn proud. To be honest, I thought it was going to end a lot worse

than it did. Granted it did take us the entirety of our class time but, hey, we got it done. I’m really

looking forward to completing this project and doing even more to help create this beautiful piece of

wood working.