“Fairing” the Form.
Although my great-grandfather was a boat builder—having built and fished three catboats—and the desire to build boats may run in my blood, that doesn’t mean the know-how is genetic. The images below show setting up the form “stations” and fairing them. This was the most time-consuming part of the entire process. It seemed like there were 2 or 3 stations that were simply off, and made for a tortured, wavy line rather than the fair lines of a hydrodynamic hull.
I reference boat building because in essence that is exactly what I’m doing with this project. The whole process mirrors that of contemporary, one-off boatworks.
So, after a few days of head-scratching I consulted my personal boat-building guru—a man who has built 6 boats from scratch, by hand, and is in process of constructing a 43-foot wooden sailboat. Turns out the answer is simple,no matter how carefully one transcribes the curves of original model to paper, no matter how carefully you then scale those up onto the form material, no matter how carefully you follow the lines as you cut the forms, there are always tiny errors that can be introduced at each stage of the process. With so many transfers taking place the errors tend to compound themselves, turning minuscule variations into obvious lapses in form.
It tooks several days of checking, trimming, and rechecking to fair the lines of the entire form.
Basically the process of lofting a boat is thus:
- Carve the model.
- Divide model longitudinally (to create a half-model—by only copying one half of the boat and then mirroring it you ensure a symmetrical hull).
- Mark form station curves on half-model.
- Transcribe curves to graph paper.
- Scale up curves to final size on form material.
- Cut form stations and position onto stiffback.