This keelson is the result of
several attempts to get it out of a 16 foot 2x10 plank. Please note
that this is not exactly what the plans called for.
Getting the keelson out
Making the keelson presented some special challenges that I did not really
anticipate before hand. The plans call for a 3/4" thick plank with the plywood
butt jointed down the centerline. Attempts to get that and the evolution of
events are described below.
- I tried to plane down a 16' 2x10 plank to half its thickness. I came to find out my
thickness planer would not do the job. It smoked and the blades developed problems
before getting half way through the first pass.
- I set my tablesaw blade to as deep as it would go and started ripping the
plank edgewise. The tablesaw struggled and soon began smoking. Not good.
- I pulled out my cellphone and called a local lumber yard and asked if they
could surface plane down a plank. They said they didn't have that ability and did
not know of anyone locally who could. I recall having a plank planed down in this
fashion at a lumber yard in Maryland.
- I went to Home Depot and got a new plank. This time I ripped it into 3/4"
wide strips. I was thinking that I could glue them up to make a 3/4" thick plank.
But then I thought about all the epoxy and gluing and whether I had enough big C
clamps to deal with any warpage and hold it straight. I set the strips aside and
pondered the matter for a bit.
- I went ot Lowes (I had picked over Home Depot's stock). I thought of cutting
a rabbit 2" deep, then cutting a strip off the plywood bottom to compensate. I set
my router to 3/4" deep and started cutting. First, I found that this was a bit
much to try to route. It seemed it would take all day, and that I would go through
more than one bit, maybe several. I tried a number of strategies. I also discovered
a new, annoying quirk in the router - it tends to adjust itself to make a deeper cut
than the original 3/4" setting. I was getting a bit annoyed by now as I had ruined
- I got yet another plank from Lowes. This time I would set the tablesaw to
vary carefully edge rip the board to two inches. I would make two passes on each
side instead of trying to do it in one pass and taking a chance of destroying the
tablesaw. Once this was done, I turned the board face down and ripped out the rabbit.
I set the router back to 3/4" to finish the corner. At top you see the final result.
At bottom is a stack of the failed earlier results.
- In talking to the designer I realised some modifications are in order to make this
work. The problems with the rabbitted keelson are that there could be shrinkage and
checking. Also the plywood is not there to offer rigidity from the cross grain.