America's Most Historic Yacht

Carlins and a Keelson

Posted By on August 27, 2013

These days, most of the work is focused on installing carlins in the deck. Carlins help to support the deck, and attach to the deck beams via ramped half-dovetails. The slots cut into the beam look like this:


Or if you prefer a drawing…


The carlin slides down into the joint. The ramp keeps it from sliding right through the deck beam as could happen with a normal through-dovetail, and the dovetail locks the carlin in place and keeps the beams from moving.

There are a lot of carlins in the deck.


Some go fore-and-aft like the large ones in this photo,


and some go side to side. You can see an example of the latter at the bottom of the above photo.

The locations for all of these are drawn out and posted up on deck.

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Sam was an IYRS intern and is now with the crew full time.  Here he’s flattening a deck beam face before laying out the next carlin.

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He’s got everything he needs right at hand.


Leo’s been working on the beam shelf. The beam shelf is a long timber that runs the length of the boat, and fits up against the underside of the deck beams (hence, beam shelf).


If you’re familiar with boat parts, it acts like a bilge stringer in that it helps to support the hull fore-and-aft. These are pretty straightforward along the middle section of the boat, but as he gets to the stern, the sudden curve in the hull makes fitting this part a real challenge.

He’s been using a very long batten to lay this part out.


There’s really no substitute for a good quality batten when it comes to creating fair lines on a boat.

The keelson is now complete. The keelson sits on top of the floors, and is made of laid-up layers of yellow pine.


Much of the material for the keelson came from the old building floor that had been constructed at the beginning of the project. This is the platform that all of the frames had been built on.


Some of the material came from old ceiling planks that were not good enough for re-installation, but could be made to work for the keelson. In case you didn’t know, the ceiling is the planking that goes on the inside of the boat’s frames. Here’s the ceiling back when it was first being removed.


The ceiling and hull planks were fastened to the frames with wooden trunnels. Some of these trunnels remained in place and are still visible where the saw cut through them.


Others came out when these old timbers were cut.


Even if it’s not in the same place, it’s good to see original material staying in the boat.

Andy has been drilling for bolts that connect the keelson to the keel. Before the keelson was installed, Leo drilled down through the bronze floors and the keel. Now that the keelson is in place, Andy is drilling back up through those holes from below to complete the hole through the keelson.

First the drill bit is pushed up through the hole in the keel by hand.


Then the drill is attached to the bit. It’s a very long bit.


The long shaft that’s been welded to the drill bit has a smaller diameter than the drill bit itself. To make sure that the drill runs straight and true through this hole, a bushing has been made that has the same outer diameter as the drill bit and the same inner diameter as the rod. The bushing snugs up into the keel bolt hole and helps to keep the bit running true as it exits the top of the keel and goes up into the keelson.


Here’s the bit just emerging through the lower hole in the bronze floor.


Going up into the upper hole in the floor.


And now it’s a long slog through the layers of yellow pine that make up the keelson.

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Drill’s getting closer to the keel, almost there.


And the tear-out that appears at the top of the clamped block tells us that he’s through.

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The pine block that’s clamped onto the keelson guarantees that the exit hole at the top of the keelson will be clean and neat. The pine block is sacrificial, so the tear out there doesn’t matter.

More next month…

Framing complete

Posted By on May 30, 2013

A lot has happened over the past six months. By early May, all of the frames had been cut, beveled, assembled, and all but two were installed. You can see these last two leaning on the catwalk to the left.


With the framing almost complete, the size and shape of the boat are readily apparent now. Even with the distortion from this panoramic shot, it’s clear that this is a beautifully fair hull.


As Eric says, when you have really good drawings, building exactly to those drawings yields a wonderfully fair hull.

The caliber of the workmanship is easily seen in long views down the center of the hull (in this case looking aft), where mistakes and unfairness would jump out.


The crew has been doing the final tweaking of the deck beams before locking them in place. They use a laser line to make sure that everything lines up exactly right.


You may recall the piles and piles of framing stock that used to fill the shop floor. This is what’s left now.


Not much at all…

The last frame went in at 3:44 PM May 26th 2013. Bob was there for the event.

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Bob stuck around, and was fitting carlins all weekend.


In case you don’t know, the carlins are timbers that surround openings in the deck. They tie into the deck beams using half-dovetail joints. If we zoom in, that joint is visible in the photo above.


The crew will be working on carlins and building up the keelson next. The keelson is a long beam that rides atop the floors and runs the length of the boat. It’s made up of layers of wood that are laminated and fastened together. The crew is trying to reuse as much of the old material as possible, and one way to do this is to incorporate old yellow pine ceiling planks into the new keelson. Here’s one that still has the old trunnels in it.


The building floor (formerly used for laying out and assembling frames) has been disassembled, but this wood (also yellow pine) will be used for the keelson as well.


Back in the saddle

Posted By on May 5, 2013

Sorry it’s been so long since we’ve updated.  We’ll be doing monthly updates very soon now.  In the meantime, here are some progress shots from January 2013.


This is the main skylight at Jeff’s workshop in California.  Pretty impressive, I’d say!

The boat is almost entirely framed now.  The last frame will go in over Memorial Day weekend, and there will be much celebrating to mark this milestone.



The shape of the boat is very clear now.

More soon!

A look back

Posted By on December 23, 2012

Here’s a collection of photos from throughout the restoration. We’ll start with some old pics just to remind us of where the project started.


Ok, that’s going back quite a bit. Maybe not that much.


Here we go. This is the day that Coronet arrived at the IYRS campus. She’s just now coming off of the barge. One of the first tasks once she was in the building was to assess the condition of her structure.


This required taking off planking to see how the frames were doing. Most of them were not doing well.

The interior had been carefully removed, catalogued, and stored earlier. The deck was pretty much gone, so it was removed.


You can see a deck beam here, bracketed by two lodging knees. Any parts that could be saved, were marked and stored.

The same went for any of the mechanicals or hardware.


The team had access to a a half-model of Coronet. In the old days, the patterns for frames and other major parts didn’t come from a naval architect’s drawings, they came from the half hull. The half hull was made by the ship’s designer, and then measured as accurately as possible. These measurements were then scaled up to create the full-sized patterns used to build the boat.


Here, Eric and Chris are measuring the model using instruments that will give them measurements in the thousandths of inch range. These, along with measurements of the actual hull, were used by the project’s naval architect to create the drawings that are now used for the restoration.


Those early measurements eventually led to patterns that give us this:


While many of Cornet’s new floors are bronze, all of her original floors were of the “long arm / short arm” variety.


One of the problems facing the team was that the massive stock for these types of floors is nearly impossible to find. The bronze floors will last longer, be less expensive, and be stronger than the original floors. Nevertheless, wherever feasible, the traditional floors are incorporated into the boat.

Bob, Coronet’s owner, is an avid woodworker.


The team in Newport has built the forms for the skylights and steam bent wood for them.

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Bob has worked with Jeff (the project director) to construct the mahogany skylights and companionways.


He also carved Coronet’s name into the transom.


You don’t normally get owners who enjoy getting into the building aspect of the boats that they own!

More recent pics coming soon.

Progress through the October 2012

Posted By on November 28, 2012

There is always a variety of work to be done around the shop. Since good wood is always at a premium, it’s practical to fix good stock that has a simple defect rather than reject it outright.

This shipwright is cutting out around a knot. He’ll glue in a triangular patch, called a “dutchman” in its place.

The frame pattern will only cut through a part of the patch, and since the futtocks are doubled up, there will be a negligible loss of strength in the frame.

As the framing progresses, the sweep and curve of the hull become more obvious.

There are also little side projects that make the shop a better place. This shipwright is cutting out dados for a new sandpaper shelf.

This is what he ended up with.

Organization helps the shop run much more smoothly.

And of course, there’s the daily work of patterning out futtocks,

and then setting up the building floor

with the mylar patterns of the completed frames.

Leading of course, to putting the frames together.

The new floors are being attached as the frames go in.

Everywhere we can save an original floor, it’s incorporated into the structure.

The same goes with deck beams.

By August, fifteen frames had been installed aft.

Sixteen by September.

Eighteen by October


And so the work goes steadily on. Here the crew are cutting rolling bevels into the frames.

Coronet’s last captain, Tim Murray, had commented earlier about the skylights that were positioned in their approximate locations during the transom reveal in July. Bob, Coronet’s owner built these.

Awaiting the day when they’ll be installed for real…