Wa’apa, Frame 1

This is the first post documenting my construction of a Gary Dierking designed sailing proa, an overview of the building of this wooden boat and links to Dierking’s website can be found by clicking on the section above titled Dierking Proa, Wa’apa.

Frame 1 of which there are two, one in each of the two bow sections, is built with 4mm marine okoume plywood and off cuts sapele I have lying around the shop. I laid out the frame onto the plywood from the measurements given in the plans and then laid the solid wood onto the plywood to mark for the laps and the length. Cutting ship laps into the hardwood perimeter of the frame is not necessary but they are easily done, fun to cut and, even backed up by plywood, are a slight improvement over a butt joint. I epoxy glued the hardwood sides of the frame first and let the glue set before proceeding. Given that this is a personal project under no time constraints and worked on in small spurts when I have the time I prefer to glue up a little at a time, there is less chance of a big mess of epoxy this way or errors permanently glued into place.  I coated the faying surfaces of both the okoume and the hardwood with thin epoxy. I did not use any thickener as I knew I could get a tight gap free joint between the flat surfaces of the plywood and sapele. I did, however, go over every surface again with the thin epoxy to ensure the joint was not starved of glue because of the wood sucking up the first coating of epoxy.

Hardwood epoxy glued and clamped to the sides of frame 1 and frame 1.

After the epoxy has cured on the side pieces I cut and fit the joints for the bottom part of the frame and the deck beam and glued them up in the same fashion. After the glue had dried I cut a hole for the 4″ inspection port to the water tight compartments on either end of the hull. I glued a circular 6mm backing block to the bulkhead as 4mm is not much to hold either screws or bolts.

Completed frame/bulkhead 1