Add the Outside Stems

With the stripping done, the next task was to attach the outside stems. First I trimmed the strips flush with the stem along the leading edge. I’d do the rough work with a Japanese pull saw, and then final work with a spokeshave. Next I added a taper to the bottom part of the stems and placed the stem on the hull. Tracing the outline of the stem along the bottom of the hull, I hoped to cut a groove that would provide a good fit for the stem to sit. Basically what happens is that the bottom of the stem fits in a slot while the upper part sits flush with the ends of the strips (upper is actually down while building since the boat is upside down).

groove for stem

The fit wasn’t too bad. It took a while to get it correct. I alternated between using a chisel and a utility knife to cut the groove. Once again my woodworking skills weren’t all that perfect. I ended up with some gaps between the stem and strips from removing too much wood. It was good enough for me though. Next I drilled clearance holes in the stems and predilled into the inside stems. Screws will be used to clamp the stems together while the outside stem is glued with epoxy.

Stems curing

Here’s a spot where I filled in a gap by the stem:
epoxy wood-flour filler

I then did some shaping of the stems, and once the bottom of the stem was trimmed down, I added walnut plugs to fill in the now vacant screw holes. I made the plugs myself by spinning small blocks of wood in the drill while shaping the wood with 60grit sandpaper.

Plugs glued in place

After the final shaping the stems basically look like this:

Bow stem cleaned up

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