Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cutting the Gains

Cutting the gains - to fair the planks into a smooth surface at the stem - has been one of those "how the heck am I going to do that?" concerns of mine since before deciding to build the Pathfinder. I mean, I admire those great looking lapstrake boats with their planks blending into such a fair and elegant surface at the bow. I just didn't understand how to do that. Oh sure, I read about, saw step by step photo instructions and watched videos - and I finally understood the mechanics of the process. I still wasn't sure I could do it.

Today, after working on the first set of gains (there are six sets), I'm still not sure I can do it. My rabbet plane didn't do what I saw done in photos - might be operator error, though. A block plane was actually more effective but not much. A 14" horse-hoof rasp was not very effective either. I tried the grinder but that is hit or miss - practice pieces weren't too bad but I don't like the results I got on the hull.

Now, despite not being pleased with my efforts, I did make progress and will continue working out a methodology that will work for me. This first gain needs more workbut that last gain ought to look pretty good.

Between the various attempts to cut the gains, I began the third plank. So, the first third of the third plank on the port side of the hull is in place. This was a "feel-good" installation as everything went well: grinding the bevels; marking off and cutting the piece; fitting only required a couple of very minor tweaks and the gluing.


  1. Hi Bob,
    Enjoying your blog very much.
    I used a router to cut my gains. I have a video here:
    How was everything in Duluth? I was born and raised there but haven't been back for quite a long time.

    1. Thanks for pointing me to your gain machine. I'll see about using that technique for the other 5 sets of gains.

      Duluth was beautiful! We had great weather and enjoyed Canal Park, Hawk Ridge and a ride up the North Shore to Two Harbors and to Split Rock Lighthouse.


    2. Hard to find a place more beautiful than the North Shore at Christmas time.