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Installing Cheater Strips

In the previous video I installed two strips, the Sheer Strip which follows the shear line and then the second strip which follows a more natural bend. Between these two strip there is a gap at each end. This gap needs to be filled with what I call "Cheater Strips". These strips are tapered at one end and run off the stem of the boat at the other.

The tapered end needs to be fitted to match the gap defined by the shear and the second strip.

Cheater Strip Patterns
This illustration is from my book Building Strip-Planked Boats

Cheater strips can be run in a variety of patterns as shown to the left. I' m going with the "Top-Down with Sheer" as this requires the minimum bending of the cheater strips which makes the fitting easier. I also think this pattern looks best for the boat.

The first cheater has a long, fine taper where the sheer and second strip merge together gradually. I clip the strip off a little longer than necessary because getting the right fit may require a fair amount of adjustment. I want the grain to line up on adjacent strips so I first align the marks on the strips and then back off a bit. I align the end of the strips with the end of the tapered gap and mark where the edge of the new strip crosses the edge of the sheer strip. I connect this mark with the end of the strip with a straight line. The actual line will be curved but it will be concave so a straight line will not remove too much material. For this long taper I bring the strip over to the bandsaw.

After sawing off most of the scrap, I plane the edge smooth and make a first check on the fit. It will need a lot of work. I do this planing on the work bench which provides support for the long flexible strip. Initially, most of the wood needs to be removed from the middle of the taper so I concentrate most of my planing there, attempting to make a smooth curve along the length of the taper. I check the fit frequently to be sure I am working on the right place. I remove wood where ever the strip binds up when I insert it into the gap.  Eventually I get the taper right, but the length is wrong so I work on adjusting the length, using the reference marks on the strips to gauge alignment. Due to the curved taper of the strip, length adjustment requires removing more wood on the wide end of the taper than at the narrow end. When I get the grain alignment right, I glue the strip in place using masking tape and clamps to assure a tight joint.

All the rest of the cheater strips follow the same process. Because the length of the taper becomes shorter as I proceed I end up removing the scrap wood from the strip with a jack knife because it is quicker than walking over to the band saw. Initially I need to support the back of the strip with a scrap strip while I plane the taper, but with shorter tapers where the tip is less flexible I can start planing in the air with no support.