Gunwale construction

10 Oct

The gunwale on the Ebihen 15 is built up from 5 separate pieces of wood.   I selected Sapele Mahogany and Oak for the gunwale.      I did not use full length  pieces and simply joined together each piece on the boat without scarfing as I built up the gunwale.   If you are painting, this is a pretty easy way and joints will not show with good filler and smooth sanding.  I am planning still to leave my gunwale bright (no paint), so I did the best fitting I could with each of the joints and so far I am pleased with how the gunwale is looking.   Close inspection will show the epoxy joints and a purist will probably be disappointed, but  I am more pleased then expected and the construction is still up to my hoped for standards.

First layer being fitted

You will need a lot of clamps

First layer for the starboard bow.

Second layer of the gunwale

Second layer clamped

Inner Gunwale

Gunwale oak rubbing-strake

Ready for sanding


Posted by on October 10, 2010 in Building Stage


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8 responses to “Gunwale construction

  1. Laurie Benson

    January 28, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I am restoring a catspaw dinghy with a fiber glass hull. This is the first time I have done anything like this. I need all the help I can get.

    • twsg2009

      January 28, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      You will have a great time doing the restore. Enjoy the process, learn as you go, research each step, and don’t rush.

  2. Laurie Benson

    January 27, 2011 at 11:22 am

    I have a 13’catspaw dinghy that I am restoring w/a fiberglass hull. The gunwale was teak or mohogany. It was rotted so Iam having to re-build it. The design had small 3″ or 4″ pieces of wood and then a 3″ or 4″ open space down the center of the each side. I don’t know what that design is called. I need instruction on how it is made. Can you help?

    • twsg2009

      January 28, 2011 at 7:28 am

      Hi Laurie, The open space down the enter of the gunwale is exactly that, “An Open Spaced Gunwale”. I have several sources of information that will make this a pleasureable experience. An on-line link for the catspaw is Two books which will help are “Clinker Plywood Boatbuilding Manual” by Iain Oughtred, and “How to Build Glued-Lapstrake Wooden Boats” by John Brooks & Ruth Ann Hill. Another book is specific to the Catspaw, “How to Build the Catspaw Dinghy [Paperback]” which you can find on

      • Laurie Benson

        January 31, 2011 at 7:27 am

        Thank you so much. I will look up these resources. One other question do you varnish all the wooden pieces before you assemble?By the way your boat is beautiful.

      • twsg2009

        February 2, 2011 at 5:50 am

        Each boat has different construction requirements and the Ebihen plans call for epoxy seal coating for the majority of parts prior to assembly. All the edge seams of plywood are epoxy coated for sure. The wood parts that are not to be painted, have been assembled and then varnished.

  3. Builders in Weston

    November 28, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Found your website via Twitter feed, loving the articles, thankyou.

    • twsg2009

      January 24, 2011 at 7:18 pm

      Thank you for leaving a reply. I hope my photo’s tell enough of the story to help or entertain.


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