In the course of building my guideboat I find that certain tools become favorites. I seem to be always reaching for one or the other of them. Truly, I find it would be very difficult to build this boat without them. So who are these unsung heroes of tooldom?
First off, two of the three I have selected for special honors are very inexpensive. The first is one you can make yourself with very little effort and an expenditure of about $5. It is called a long board or fairing board. It is basically a long, thin strip of wood with two handles that is covered on one side with sandpaper. You can also buy one for anywhere from $40 to $60. Long boards are very easy to make. Get yourself a thin strip of wood about 18″ or so long and the width of the sandpaper. Then attach the handles that you can buy at most any hardware store for about $5.
I use Klingspor 80 grit sandpaper on my long board. The paper has a sticky back that easily attaches to the wooden board. The Klingspor paper seemingly lasts forever. I have used the same paper from start to finish while constructing my latest boat. You can reach Klingspor at 856 21st Drive SE, Hickory, NC 28601.
So why do I find a long board so handy? By now you have probably realized that nothing on a boat is at right angles. Everything seems to be a combination of curved surfaces that defy to builder to get them to fit together tightly. Case in point are the wale ends that must be fitted to the stems. The wale ends approach the stem at an angle. To make matters worse, the stem is tapered toward its forward edge. Nothing there is at right angles. The long board enables you to carefully shape the wale end and get it to fit properly. Then there are the hood ends of the planks that must fit snugly into the stem rabbet. Again, the long board simplifies this task. And the list goes on and on. When confronted with these challenges you instinctively reach for the long board. So it is right at the top of my favorites.