Kerf Cut Chine Log Bending

Hey Shorty!

I wrote you some years ago about some tips on building a flats rat. I love that little boat and have since started a small boat building workshop to help my friends build some. We have five being built right now! It's been great fun and the guys in the class are enjoying what they are learning.

We use cheap pine for our framing logs. Seems like when we bend them to shape the bottom of the sides, about half end up snapping on us. Now what we do is cut some kerf or relief cuts about every four inches on the framing logs that go along the contours of the bottom of the sides. Not only does it make it super easy to bend the framing logs to meet the curvature of the bottom, we haven't had a single one snap on us yet since we started the kerf cuts!

We are a fishermen by nature and these are fishing boats. The flats rat was a perfect first build for the group. It holds a lot of weight for the bigger guys and for fisherman's gear. It's an easy, inexpensive and very versatile little boat. As I'm sure you already know!

We are on a shoe string budget. Heck, everything we have for our shop was gifted, donated or lent to us. People heard of our class and some who didn't have time to participate donated stuff for the cause. It wasn't planned that way, but honestly it has work out great so far!

So onto the relief cuts. We cut our framing logs from cheap 1x4 pine. It's about all we have around here in San Antonio. It's full of knots and almost impossible to bend...even the slightest bit! So we started cutting slits/relief/kerf cuts into the chine logs. Just using a simple jig saw we cut about 1/2 way through them about every 4 inches.

It takes very little time to cut them, however the results have been fantastic. About 5 boats now and not one chine log has snapped on us. In addition the wood bends easier and seems easier to match the shape of the curvature on the bottom of the sides. Also since the wood doesn't fight us as we bend them, one guy can do it and if you see in the pictures, we just use office clamps to hold it until the glue dries! No nails! Plus as I said, we are on a shoe string budget so I had to get clever with clamps! As you know a boat builder can never have enough clamps (let alone to build 5 boats at the same time!) :)

Harold Krause