Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wood Cleats for Wooden Boats

Given time and patience, mariners crafting their own vessels can make most of the hardware required for running rigging themselves.
Doryman recently cut out a dozen or so rough wooden cleats and is now shaping and fairing them to fit various boats.

The first picture shows a centrally located forward cleat and it's corresponding starboard chock. Each wooden hardware piece is made of mahogany and finished with one coat of epoxy for added durability, then polished off with several layers of spar varnish.

A close up of the rail mounted, hand carved chock. The design is simple and easy to make. Bedding compound is used and there is a bronze screw set diagonally on each side of the ears, where most chafe will occur.

The next cleat is mounted to the aft inwale of a Thistle and will be a dock cleat as well as the lead block for the spinnaker sheet. The hole in the middle has the sheet lead through it, from out to inboard, and a stopper knot tied in the end to capture that occasional runaway sheet. The sheet is lead around the outside aft of the cleat, then forward and across to the opposite side of the cockpit to the middle crew member. Since there will often be quite a load on the sheet (sail on one end and crew on the other), there is a reinforcing block supporting the inwale and cleat.

Another application of this cleat style is on the breast hook of the bateau Huckleberry. This bateau is light, so a wood cleat will work fine in this location. Since the forward cleats on a boat will occasionally be used to tow the boat, a wooden cleat should be made of a hard, weather resistant wood. In this case, though, it is made of the same mahogany and mounted with two through bolts.

The last example is a jamb cleat, used for tying off a line that requires quick release. The line, most likely a sheet, is lead around aft of the cleat and secured by a full wrap. One quick "rodeo roper" motion releases the line.

All featured wood hardware were cut, carved, shaped and sanded individually without jigs or specialty tools.

A hand carved piece of jewelry for your beautiful wood boat!

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