Why Detail Drawing is Most Important After Design?

Having decided upon the design, make a complete drawing of it. Detail the drawing, trace in the outline or profile of the transom from your layout paper and place this on the mock-up. If you are satisfied with the drawing, lay out the profiles on the carving block. A word of advice-do not glue the carving block together if more than one piece of stock has to be used. Hold the various parts together with counter-bored screws, for the reason that, when you profile the block, it is easier to profile out each piece than the whole thing. You will find that it is easier to disassemble the parts than to work from a solid block for some of the following steps: bosting out, back-cutting and detail carving.

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After the block has been profiled, place the assembled block on the mock-up and lay in the curves on the profile with the carpenter's scribe. Do this all around the carving. Separate the various pieces and back-cut each piece to approximately 3/16 inch of the scribed line. Certainly not closer than that. Assemble the pieces, lay them on the mock-up, and see how nearly a fit you have come to the curve of the transom. By placing clipped ends of 3/16 inch Prestwood under the block, set the scribe to that dimension and run the line over. Here the differences will be apparent and can be corrected for a better fit.

The purpose of this surplus stock is that it gives you an opportunity to fit the bosted-out block to the actual transom. This must be done before any detail carving is undertaken. Once you have fitted the bosted block to the mock-up, take it to the yacht and fit it to the transom there. I usually pare off the profiled surfaces of the carving prior to this fitting so that, when I scribe in the outline of the true transom, I do not have any lines to divert me from back-cutting for a better fit after I have returned to the shop.

Having scribed the block to the true transom, back-cut to an eighth of an inch of the scribed line. It is essential that there be this surplus stock left in place at this stage of the game. The block can be checked against the mock-up transom as a matter of checking, but do not back-cut to fit the mock-up hereafter. Prior to gluing the block together, be sure that all the rough work has been done: that the bosting is complete, the back-cuts made, the periphery of the carving has been pared off and smoothed up with the necessary tools. Here, be sure that the edges are as nearly vertical to the planes of the back-cut stock as you can make them.

The eagle is detail-carved; the back cutting and fitting are being checked against the transom prior to painting and gilding the eagle. (Courtesy Yachting Magazine)

The next step is to line out the block, then separate the various pieces, glue and assemble, screw them together and, if necessary, apply clamps for a good, tight, glued joint or joints. Wipe off surplus glue with a hot, wet cloth and set aside, after setting plugs in the counter-bored holes. The final step, as in any other carving, is to detail-carve the block. Be sure that, when doing this, the underside of the carving is properly supported; otherwise it is possible that certain portions of the carving can be fractured off or that undue distortion of the finished carving can take place. This is most important. When the finished carving has been done, the final check for fit on the true transom is to be made.

Place the carving against the transom in its proper place and see if you have a fit. If you have, that's fine; if you haven't, joint the back of the carving to the transom with wood rasps or rifflers. This process cannot be hurried. I have found out that it is possible to place the finished face of the carving on sponge rubber pads (such as are sold for gardening) while rasping off the back of the carving in this final finishing fit. This prevents fracture of the detail. No clamps are necessary, but a spare set of hands is, if you have them handy. I never have, so I hold the work in place with my foot or leg or elbow or even sit on it if I have to. The important thing is to get a good close fit.

Having done this, handle the carving with great care from here on in. The next step is, of course, to finish the carving with color or gold leaf, or whatever is chosen.

There are some points that I suggest be kept in mind. Do not try to design a carving where a lot of fine detail work is involved. The detail will be lost in the overall picture. Avoid small sections, if possible. These are likely to be broken off in the course of time. Be reasonably careful to see that a watertight joint between the back of the carving and the transom is made with some of the plastic seals that are available for marine work by applying this to the back of all parts and wiping off the surplus.

To fasten the carving to the transom use brass or "Everdure" wood screws of a suitable size. I set these screws into a counter-bored and plugged hole and then pare off the plug after it is set. To set these plugs use Duco Cement, sparingly. The ends of the plugs can be finished in the same manner as the rest of the carving in which they are placed.

The completed carving of the ancient mariner shown in the drawings on the right. "A caricature of all the masters and mates I sailed with when I was a boy." (Courtesy Mr. Joel H. Squier)

The final step is to christen the carving with the vehicle of your choice. I find a bottle of ale applied in judicious amounts to the inner man does an adequate job. And be prepared to make other carvings for your friends, too.







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