Solution to a Vexing Problem

Lining up the frames for the Palm Beach 22

As you can see in the above picture, we’re starting to compile a nice set of frames for the Palm Beach 22.  If you’ve forgotten what this boat is supposed to look like, you can check out the plans here.  At any rate, you can see the frames have notches in them for battens that run the length of the hull.  And as luck would have it, one of these notches is over the top of the 1-1/8″ wide x 6-1/2″ deep stringer.  The frames are to be held fast to the stringers with 1/4″ carriage bolts.  That means drilling and counter boring holes through the frames and the stringers.  That presents us with two problems.  The first is how to drill that long hole through both the frame and stringer.  That’s a tough one to just eye-ball without accidentally coming out the side of the stringer.  How would you do it?

Here’s my drilling guide for the bolt holes through the stringers.

My solution was to make a drilling guide like this.  I took a 1-1/8″ board (exactly the same width as the stringer) and drilled a hole into the edge with a drill press.  Then I fastened two cheek boards to it to hold it in alignment with the edge of the stringer.  Insert a long drill bit and Voila!  A perfectly aligned hole every time.






Not much margin for error here. Drilling a 1/4″ hole through a 1-1/8″ wide stringer that is 6-1/2″ deep.

You can see here how difficult it would be to make this hole reliably without a guide.  And since we have 28 of these holes to drill, the guide is a good way to get a perfect hole every time.








A tough hole to drill because the side of the batten notch is on the edge of where the hole is supposed to be.

Now for the vexing problem in the title.  Take another look at the first picture in this article.  See that hole in the bottom of the batten notch directly over the stringer?  Drilling that hole is pretty straightforward since the notch lines up pretty well with the stringer.  But take a look at the picture at the left.  What do you do when the edge of the batten notch splits your hole?  How do you drill that?






An insert makes drilling this hole possible.

The answer is to make an insert that fits in the notch and lets you get the hole started.








A successful hole is no problem with the insert.

You can see how this makes executing the hole much simpler.  Of course you still have to tilt the drill to get the hole started, but you don’t have a problem with bumping up against the side of the notch.







A picture of the half-completed hole shows how the insert makes this task manageable.

And take a look at this partially-complete hole.  The contrasting wood colors show how the hole goes right down the side of the notch with no problem.






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