Posted by: Mike Randall | April 16, 2011

Toe to toe!

I had been wondering how to mill and shape the toe rails for some time. In profile they are a trapezoid shape and I wasn’t sure how to cut or plane the tapers into the sides. My Triton is not meant to allow the saw blade to be tilted on an angle, but as the angle wasnt severe I did it anyway and all worked a treat.


The non tilt blade Triton tilts very slightly

I spent a morning fluffing around trying to work out an efficient way to cut the scuppers in the toe rails to no avail. In the end I just rough cut them with the jigsaw, then rasped and sanded to the final shape.

Saved by the rasp

In the end the toe rails have turned out just right.

One of the six toe rail sections

While in this pleasant woodworking mode I finished off the helmsman seat and dry fitted all the toe rails.

Port Toe Rail in place

Helmsmans seat made from Jarrah

All looking a bit fancy really

Back to the Deck

I ‘ve danced around it for long enough, it’s time I caulked the decks. My first question was how many tubes of caulking compound?

21 to be exact and one spare

I experimented with leaving the compound sitting high in the gaps as well as lightly squeezing it down, both seem to have there merits.

Goop left proud

Squished Goop!

You have to leave this stuff for about a week for it to cure before you can cut and sand it back. Some one on the woodwork forum gave me the tip of using a sharp chisel the opposite way you normally use it to cut the excess goop before sanding. I had a go and it seems to be working just fine.

Using the chisel to cut the excess

My new dreadlocks!

While waiting for the caulking compound to cure I’ve begun painting again. Some how its not so bad this time now that there is no building really left to do!

It’s time to sort out a trailer and order some sails.



  1. My name is Errico, I’m writing from Italy (I apologyze my bad English), until now I has been enjoing (a lot) your blog as a hidden observer, but it’s time to reveal myself. I have to admit: I have started the building of my own Stir Ven in November 2010. At now, I have finished the spar, built the jig, the strongback and planked until the gardboard, having all the strakes yet ready. In the past I’ve built the 10′ Morbic the same way as the Stir Ven and I agree that the plywd clinker method is really fine for the home builder. However, as the time of turning up the hull is coming more and more close, my anxiety about the work to do inside the boat is increasing. Your work (and the magnificent show of it in your blog) is a big help for me, and I guess I’ll come to ask for your advice more than one time.

    thank you
    my bests to you
    errico orsi

    • Hi Errico
      It’s great to hear from another Stirven builder. I’m glad you have found my blog helpful and hopefully interesting. I started it for people just like yourself. If you have any questions about the interior fit out feel free to ask.

  2. Hi Mike, congrats on gooping the deck. I realise it must have been extremely anxious time thinking about it and to finally achieve something like this is a huge relief I bet.
    What were your thoughts about the way you went with the type of goop used – Epoxy hard versus silastic (?) rubbery etc and has it worked out how you thought. Does the deck finish just go over whole lot now.
    Spectacular effort and well done.

    • Hi Andrew,

      Glad you’ve been following my progress,

      The deck is definitely gooped but to date I haven’t done a lot as far as sanding it back! I have at the front of the cuddy cabin and a few other spots where I wanted to mask for final painting, it looks really good..

      Re my thoughts on rubbery stuff as opposed to epoxy. Epoxy would be way cheaper by a massive factor. I went through 21 tubes of goop and at $20ea the seams cost more than the deck timber!!! For ease of clean up and sanding the silastic is a breeze, I think epoxy would be a lot more work. As far as masking tape I only did this in a few spots I wouldn’t bother again as clean up is easy. I have noticed in a few seams that the silastic was below the seam height, these I’ve spot filled and sanded again and are now completely invisible.
      Long term I’m not sure whether epoxy or silastic would be better, though the epoxy would need some UV protection. I think I’ll be oiling the decks initially and this will go over seams and wood.

      I’m well ensconsed in final interior painting at the moment and I’ll come back to sanding the decks when that’s done, maybe in about a week or so

      Stay tuned

  3. Mike, did you consider using 600ml sausages instead of the tubes? It would have been a bit cheaper. (I guess you need the gun as well)

    She looks just great. You have a couple of readers down Geelong way, so if you are looking for a shake down cruise or two…

    • Hi Dale,

      Yeah I did consider the 600ml sausage, but as you say the cost to buy or hire the gun cancelled out any savings, anyway its done now. Amazing how quickly you put a cost blowout behind you, particularly when facing a new one!!! Did I mention something about a trailer…

  4. Thanks for reply Mike. Just to let you know – I’ve made all my moulds and have started the frames which are screwed to the moulds and set up on the strong back. At moment my shed is imminent, so soon I’ll have some where to build, even if its in the country, spose it gives me even more excuse to get out of Melb.
    With your deck what was the thickness of ply with just the standard deck versus what you used with the planking, I’m trying to guesstimate what it would take to achieve something similar on my Grey Seal. I love the look


  5. Hi Andrew,

    If you’re referring to the ply under the deck timber it was 9mm Gaboon/Okume. With or without the timber strips it’s the same. If I didn’t do the timber strips this would have had a layer of glass on top then painted.

    Is this Grey Seal build going to take as long as the Hartley build?

    Hope that helps

  6. if it does then I’ll need to build in wheel chair access

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