Making a Stem
Host Rich Hilsinger and boatbuilding instructor Greg Rössel introduce the small boat stem and the joinery involved in its construction. The joinery in a stem can be complex and the wood hard to work, and Rich and Greg share many tips to help achieve satisfactory results. They present several options for stem construction: naturally grown crooks, laminations, and assemblies made from small pieces of stock that are bolted together. They then demonstrate the construction of the latter stem, showing the steps to achieving a strong, good-looking result.
This episode includes a discussion of how to work from a lofting board that shows the complete stem construction—the shapes of the pieces, the rabbet, joints, bolts, and stopwaters. There is further discussion of using the lofting board as the assembly jig, creating a full kit of patterns for the stem, transferring the patterns onto white oak, cutting out the components, laying out the fastening locations, and doing the final assembly.
Also included in this episode is a discussion of stopwaters, and the important role they play in creating a watertight structure. Rich and Greg show how to make them, their proper grain-orientation, their correct layout and location, and procedures for drilling accurate stopwater holes.