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Before I got into the treenailing and beakhead project, I figured I would knock out a scratch grating "how to" for those who asked.

I was forced into developing a method of creating gratings a few years ago because of the large scale of the pirate ship I built to honor my old high school football/basketball coach. I don't know if I've bought any gratings since. Actually, I'm not sure why anyone would care to go through what I'm going to show here, rather than buy the same product in a pack. Here goes.....


The challenge is to make a series of slots at perfect 90 degree angles to the long edge of a piece of material (maple in this case). The depth and width of each slot must be very precise and uniform....and....the spacing between each slot must be very exact (that's the real tricky part).


Beginning with my small table saw set up.....this small table saw doesn't have a height adjustment for the blade so I created flat surface on the right side of the blade shimmed to the exact height needed for the slot cutting. Note, this blade has been modified by grinding the kerf down to the exact width needed for the grating slots.

The most important feature being the tiny strip (arrow pointing to it) which I am calling the "slot indexing strip". The next photo will make it much clearer how it works.



Seen here (below), after I have already made 16 slots, you can see that the indexing strip has been set into the last slot cut before beginning the next cut. This indexing gives me absolutely positive spacing between each slot. Not seen in the photo is the T-Square I use to move the board forward through the cutting area.

I should also note, I can change the size of the grating squares by simply adjusting the location of the indexing tab (strip) left (larger) or right (smaller). I can also change the depth of each slot by removing shims from the sliding platform, thus lowering the surface and exposing more blade. I cannot change the kerf of the blade.



And here's the results at this point...disregard the burn marks on the back of the board as that section will not be used.

Obviously, I could have made many more slots in this board but decided this would be enough for this demo.


Now over to the Mini Table Saw.....straight forward, set the rip fence to the precise thickness needed and begin slicing the cheese.....



Assembled and very rough at this point....creating the half-lap joints for the corners of the frame.



And there you have it.....works for me.



Admittedly, I am not much of a "show-and-tell" expert, so this might not make the most sense to everyone. Best I could come up with.


Cheers Mates

Edited by SawdustDave
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No problem Omega. Of course, there are other methods out there some members might find equally, or even more effective. I tried a number of ways....came fairly close with razor saw....even a hack-saw blade. This is the method that seemed to give me the most consistent results when it came down to having them fit together in the end.

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I use the term "mini table saw" referring to my MicroLux miniature table saw....post-11777-0-26911300-1410129317.jpg


Grinding the blade.... That would be way too technical Joe.

The steel on those blades is super hardened, so you can grind away and hardly make a difference. I eyeballed most of it marking my starting point, I worked on one tooth at a time and worked my way around on one side, then flipped it over and repeated the process. Then installed the blade for a test cut (only 1/8" deep) and measured the width of the cut. I remember, I actually had to repeat this process several times before I got the perfect result.

I would say, as long as you are consistent with the method of grinding on each tooth....moving the blade across the grinding wheel with several passes with moderate pressure (as opposed to holding it still)....you will not upset the balance of the blade.

Edited by SawdustDave
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Final note on the blade....careful not to attempt taking off too much at one time. As this was done over 4 years ago in my case, I can't tell you exactly how many times I mounted and re-mounted that blade to make test cuts and check for wobble that would have come from upsetting the balance. The fact that the diameter is only 7-1/4" is a very big advantage.

Good luck with this. Glad this helped you Joe.

Edited by SawdustDave
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Mark....sorry about the confusion. Two different table saws. The 7-1/4 blade is mounted on my small table top Skill table saw. I only use the MicroLux to slice off the individual pieces from the board once the slots have been cut.

Tried using other methods of filing/grinding down the kerf....the steel is so darned hard I couldn't move any material with a file.

Actually, the process was not all that intense....maybe 5 or 6 sec per tooth at the most. Not nearly as bad as tying rat lines :)

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Joe....Those are just two of my table saws....not counting the industrial floor model.

Tell the Admiral you must have these essential tools in order to....Git'er done!

Tell her a fella named "Augie" put you up to it. That will work for sure.


If not, just suck it up and go for it.....then stop by the jewelry store on the way home.

I'm talking diamond necklace here. :)

Edited by SawdustDave
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Finally got around to treenailing the beakhead deck and bulkhead....then realized something ain't right here. Then it hit me....the bulkhead planking should be bamboo....the same as the hull planking.

The walnut strips seen here were applied prior to my decision to use bamboo to cover the hull.

Just another do-over walk in the park.


Edited by SawdustDave
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Omega....I think I can get by with putting a thin veneer bamboo planking over top of the walnut. Might decide to leave the doors as they are. Contrasting colors might be a nice look.

Took the Admiral out to IHOP for breakfast and grocery shopping.... About to head to the shop and attack this little setback.

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Took a quickey shot of the re-planking of the beakhead bulkhead after I spent most of the morning drilling out the opening for the bowsprit (finally got up the courage).

Note, the shade of the bulkhead planks appears to be a little washed out....that is due to the angle of the overhead light used to get this shot. I'm not the greatest photographer.

Any of us who have ever done this knows the challenge of getting the precise angle and hole size through the planking without damaging the deck or the bulkhead. The process can definitely get a little harry.


The second photo shows the different tools I used to begin very small and work my way up to an opening large enough to insert that 18" long drill bit and begin measuring and adjusting the angle.

Final shaping was done mostly using the rat-tail file and the small Dremel rasp bit shown.


Now, we shall move forward with the entire beakhead.

Edited by SawdustDave
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Good solid mechanical method Nigel. That method works best if done prior to planking the hull, or even installing the bulkhead.

I just couldn't come up with a solid way to clamp a block to the narrow deck. Thankfully....managed to carefully "creep up" on it without doing any damage.

Thank you and Pete for your visit.

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Progress on the beakhead construction is beginning to take shape. At least I can finally enjoy seeing the last of her decorative colors now installed. Both sides of the panels have been planked with a thin vaneer of bamboo strips.




My personal opinion, this is the most challenging part of the Mayflower construction....and possibly the most fun to do.

Thought it would be a good time to show the inboard side of these stanchions at this point, prior to pressing on with completion of the grating and adding the port side top panel.



A closer view of the stanchions. I am nailing each stanchion with steel wire to add to their strength.



Edited by SawdustDave
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