The right angle

A couple of weeks ago I made up a couple of hatches and a pair of washboards for a Nantucket Clipper ‘Tofog’.

When setting to in order to make up framed teak washboards to replace some old painted plywood I was faced with the head scatcher of how to orient the vertical and horizontal members of the washboards. None of the four sides of the washboards were parallel. I had happily made up templates without worrying about this issue – but was not about to go back and take another look as Tofog was (and is) sitting on a swinging mooring at Arfdfern, 150 miles away.

Here is a picture of what I did (click through to picassa if you want to see a larger version)

Note that the sides are not parallel and the hatch, being offset from the centreline, is not horizontal.

My solution was to orient the frame perpendicular to the base of the cockpit (fairly horizontal) and ignore the side and top faces.

I’m not sure if my solution was right or even good. Any suggestions of the RIGHT solution to this sort of problem and feedback (with examples of better or worse arrangements) are welcome.


  1. Just came across this from a link on the WoodenBoat forum.
    Very brave of you to solicit criticism! I will try to be constructive.
    Given the improper original mess you had to work with, I think it would look better as solid sections, laminated up, instead of the rail and stile configuration.

  2. Could you not fan the top crossmembers so they matched the horizontal lower line and the hatch angle. More work, but…

  3. The companion opening itself is correctly designed – a bit broader at the top – to allow for easier removal of the hatch boards. I like the way it’s not too dramatic. The popular more rapidly widening companions let the boards fall out too easily during a knockdown.

    However, this was not made as an off-shore hatch. Those verticle seams on each side weaken and the port side makes a grain conflict with the companion side.


    Ian McColgin
    S.V. Marmalade
    Hyannis MA

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