BH0022.jpg (60257 bytes)Breasthook (or quarter knees) from a dowel - 

An simpler, alternative way to reinforce the corners of a boat.
BH0025.jpg (59590 bytes) I admit that a traditional breasthook is very attractive, but it also involves measuring and cutting a bunch of odd angles. Can be fun, or sort of tedious, or a bit of both. But there are other ways. breasthook.jpg (11453 bytes)
BH0019.jpg (68250 bytes) This simpler alternative requires a hardwood dowel. (I'm using 5/8" on this little boat, and 7/8" or 1" on my larger skiffs.) A long shaft spade bit of the same size. If you don't have long bits you can pick up a bit extension like the one in the picture for a few bucks.
BH001.jpg (63353 bytes) I had no breasthook in this boat (my One Sheet Skiff) for a couple of years, but decided she might could use one, and while testing my approach I'd rather mess up on her then any of my other boats.
BH002.jpg (62918 bytes) First I taped a dowel where I wanted the breasthook/handle to go. If you are doing this after the boat is painted make sure you pick a spot where no nails or screws are in the way. (Don't ask me how I know this.)
BH005.jpg (63273 bytes) Reposition the guide dowel after your spade bit hits a screw or nail.
BH007.jpg (43605 bytes) Here I've drilled through one gunwale, and am about to drill the other. Be sure drill shaft is centered in the first hole as you line up for the second. (Pay no attention to the partially drilled hole to the right of the one I'm drilling.)
BH009.jpg (61646 bytes) Here I have drilled all the way through both sides. I removed the guide dowel after starting the second hole to prevent interference with the drill, but it had done it's job.
BH0013.jpg (61698 bytes) I glued the dowel in with Titebond II 
BH0017.jpg (61237 bytes) I twisted the dowel into position just shy of the second hole. I lined the second hole with glue, and spread glue on the long side of the dowel just outside the hole it was about to enter. That way it would drag that glued portion into the hole with it. I used some channel locks to get a good grip on the dowel so I could keep it moving until it came clear out the other side. It was a snug fit so I didn't want the glue to grab before it was in position.
BH0015.jpg (56736 bytes)

After the glue dries saw the dowel flush to the gunwales with a Japanese pull saw. Fill any gaps around the dowel ends, sand and seal with epoxy, paint or your preferred water proof finish. You don't want water wicking along the dowel into your ply sides, or you'll begin the rot process. (But you'd get to try Dave Carnel's Rot Therapy!)

BH0022.jpg (60257 bytes)  There she is. Not as curvy and elegant as a traditional breast hook, but still does a great job of reinforcing the bow, both in compression and tension. It also makes an equally (perhaps superior) comfy handle for carrying, and a handy tie point for car toping. You can either trust the glue, like I am here, or drill and pin the ends through the gunwales for a mechanical hold. (Which I do on larger skiffs.)

Quarter knees are done the same but you'll be drilling through the transom and one gunwale.

Feel free to email me, David Beede  simplicityboats

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