[prelim - draft] Making Templates


What is involved to make a Template?   The templates should be able to be assembled in about four hours.The Fairing Instructions detail the additional materials and tools required.

Picture matboard is cut to the correct sizes of each template with a utility knife, wood furring strips are cut to the correct size with a hand saw. The wood furring strips are attached to the picture matboard with a utility stapler. The Mylar patterns are attached to the template assembly with double stick carpet tape and the keel profile is cut with a utility knife.

Can I make the templates out of plywood or acrylic instead of picture matboard?   Yes, however, it is much more difficult it because most people don't have the tools or skill necessary to accurately make them with these materials. First, it is extremely difficult to cut the leading edge wrapped around portion of the template. When sawing this sharp a radius, the saw blade bends, resulting in different profiles on each side of the material. Because you flip the templates over for starboard and port, you will have two different shapes. Secondly, the fairness and accuracy of the keel are only as good as the template. If you cut them out on plywood or acrylic, you will need to spend a lot of time fairing the template to get it smooth. Most people find that this time is more productively spent fairing the keel.

Can I use foam board to make the templates?   No, for several reasons. First, it is very difficult to cut the complex radius at the leading edge so that you have the same shape on both sides. Actually, it is very difficult to cut any part of the profile so that it has the same profile on both sides. Second, and most importantly, the surface of the foam board is thin paper, which has no strength and the foam in the middle has no strength. Therefore even if you succeed in cutting templates that have the same shape on both surfaces, when you put them on the keel, because there is no inherent strength, the template will collapse to the shape of the keel.

How long will it take to fair my keel?
  The amount of time to fair the keel is dependent on the methods and tools used. The Fairing Instructions break the process into simple steps so that many people fair their keel in less than fifteen hours.

The Fairing Instructions are more detailed than the original version, Additionally, information in the Fairing Instructions can further speed up the fairing process. Experience suggests that if you use the correct tools and concentrate on one variable at a time you can fair the keel quite quickly. The wrap around feature of our templates reduces the judgment required when fairing the keel, further speeding up the fairing process.

What tools do I need to make the templates?   The templates are fabricated using a hand saw, ruler, utility knife, and utility stapler.

What tools do I need to fair the keel?   You will need a buffer/sander/grinder, an orbital or random orbital sander, a SurForm file, a ruler or straight edge, and plastic filler spreaders. On keels that have a lot of lead to be removed, a power plane quickly removes the lead high spots.

What materials do I need to fair the keel?   The instructions make specific material recommendations, the other instructions generically list the materials to be used.

How much material will I need to add or remove?   The amount that is either added or removed can in large measure be controlled by you. Most lead keels after they are faired have very little fairing material on them. If you want to get to the absolute minimum, you may need to remove between five and fifteen pounds of lead on some boats.