Last update, December 7, 2009
Serious and careful builders use this type of cradle during the building time with the hull. Besides not trashing up your nicely finished cradle below, it is easier to work around the hull on the deck and during the installation of the deck. The skinny sized uprights that cradle the hull are in the way for the decking process. Moreover, there are no tall uprights to pressure the sides of the hull when you are taking measurements in the marking the hull. The most important issue is there will be no movement of the hull sheer during the gluing of the deck. Yep, it has happened. All the measurement work of the day can be ruined during the night when you have left the shop and the glue curing begins. If you are new to this, the result could be beam widths outside the specifications...a deep sinking feeling when discovered. Note: Do not store the hull or boat in this cradle, just when you are working and curing.
While you are using the templates for the main cradle trace a simpler and smaller version on some junky stuff lying around. Fashion it to look like this one here and while glue was used for strength it was a rush job. Be careful of helping hands in the shop. Vern, pitched this one into the outside junk pile when I was on the computer.
The two-sheet plans for this cradle can be ordered from EC12 Store. The plans have full size cutouts to create the wood pieces. A four by four sheet of ½” plywood will easily do the trick. Ash, or some finer woods are often used.
This is a no-brainer when following the plans. Larry Robinson's instructions are thought out and in proper order. It might be mentioned that the keel support has a 45 degree cut inward from the finished outside surface. It is fashioned from two pieces. You need to have your head on straight to not waste wood...think about it. It forms a “V” to hold the filling goop.
Please note that the boat is very often carried in the cradle on its side. The low side of the cradle frame would then be up. Hence, in the unfinished cradle pictures below, it is carried bow forward on your left side. The finished cradle pictures show one to be carried on the right side. Just rotate the uprights to the side you want. Nice to know before you glue it in, huh?
During the fitting of the keel support piece make sure you understand the design of the aft vertical. The boat is placed into the cradle by sliding the aft portion of the keel into the aft vertical first. There is a subtle fit here that holds the keel down in the vertical. Keep moving the boat around while checking the separation between the support and the bottom of the keel. No trimming or shimming was needed here. When you like what you see, mark it. If you are building a new boat during this process, be sure to have the lead ballast in the keel. This is essential to the fitting process.
It is okay to fret. Setting and getting the correct fit of the keel support is critical to this cradle. Some time should be spent reading ahead and understanding the process of fitting the support in relation to the bottom of the boat and the molding of the polyester (Bondo or Fixall or whatever solidifying goop used) to fit the hull. Care here will produce what you really need in a cradle and the other features in this thoughtful design by Larry.
This is a very functional cradle and will do a lot for you at the lake. It is a tool, as well as being essential to the care of the hull against the forces of gravity. However, if you want to get pretty, the finishing should be done before assembly. The cradle here was finished after much sanding with MinWax Oak Poly Gloss with three coats.
Construction glue can be used by placing a bead along where the uprights and the keel support pieces will be attached to the base with screws. Countersinking the screws is a good idea so the heads will not mar a resting surface like a table. The glue strengthens the bond and adds longevity.
Note: The locking latches to secure the hull in the cradle were not installed. Instead a 30" luggage strap was obtained from a luggage store, looped around the carrying handles, and snapped across the top of the deck. Now, the boat can be carried in the cradle by the handles or upright by the strap. This strap is also handy at the lake when rolling the boat from side to side in the course of sail tuning.