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I now need to install the Bow Eye

I'm just about ready to put on the third plank but before I do this I need to install the eye in the bow. It is used for towing and anchoring and possibly mooring the boat.

Getting an eye was more complicated than I expected.

When I prepared the bow piece I had added a doubler and a layer of fiberglass. The bow is only half inch ply. It will get some glass on the outside.

When I came to getting and installing the eye I found to my surprise that there are lots of nice eyes with a spread of 1.5 - 1.75 inches but wider ones are scarce and expensive. Shipping is high. I was looking at over 45 dollars for a half inch thick fixture with overly long legs. I did not really need a stronger eye, just a wider one.

The spred between the 2 support pieces is about 2 inches. I also needed space for the nuts.

Since the bow is in place and 2 planks have been installed it's not so easy to modify the front.

I modified an eye to fit

I had 3 choices, get a big eye, cut into the bow/stem support pieces and reinforce them after, or modify the eye I could get. I decided to modify the eye.

I fretted and worried that it would not be strong enough but in the end I figured that the eye is likely stronger than the bow, and I'm not dealing with a big yacht, only a 12 foot dinghy.

I used a clamp to force the legs apart. I made a hole in the wooden table and lined the other side with a scrap and slowly opened the clamp. I did not want to damage the threads. It worked well and I was able to spread the clamp apart. I only need an extra half inch so I don't think it is a big stress on the metal. There was a bit of spring back but the clamp will now fit. The roof supports are the same distance as the bow support so I used them to make sure the width was adequate.

I had to squeeze the legs back together a bit to get the backing piece on. I should have thought of this before I spread the eye.

In order to be able to put the eye in I had to drill holes that were quite large because I had spread the legs. In this case it does not matter because I intend to put some thickened epoxy in the hole anyway. I don't anticipate ever having to remove this fitting. It is almost impossible to reach once the roof and front deck is in place.

In the unlikely case I ever need to replace the fitting it will have to be cut and a new one placed above or below it.

Front view of fitting seems OK. I had to modify a couple of washers for the back to make the hole larger and cut a flat spot on the side so I would not have to cut into the stem support. Not particularly difficult but not very pretty. It's now ready to go on. I have an extra nut on there for the photo, but I was just checking the size and forgot to remove for photo.

I will wait to actually put it in till I've finished the front of the bow. It needs to have a layer of glass cloth and resin. That will happen after I've installed the third strake.

After posting the photo on Wooden Boat Forum, someone suggested theat the back washers were not very robust and could bend. I had also said I did not much like the bar at the front either. So I decided to get better washers.

This is easier said than done and it's difficult to find a washer with a quarter inch hole that is at least as heavy as the cross bar. So I figured I would make them.

metal supermarket

I went to St Catharines to get some bird seed and at the same time went to the Metal Supermarket. Oh My! I'll be going there again. I picked up a 3.5mm thick piece of stainless bar as well as some aluminium bars I will use on the runner / skeg of the Scamp.

I figured a couple of hours but it took me almost 5 to cut round drill and clean the washers. Making a nice looking washer is time consuming.

Drilling holes for the bow ringrounding the washer

After drilling the holes I rough cut the pieces using a metal saw. Rough is the operative word. The green string holds the key chuck. I took the photo after stopping the press and just before I took the bit out. It is not there when I'm working. I then tried to cut the round with a jeweller's saw. It worked but was really slow. I only did one that way. I then used a file to rought it closer to my mark.

I then put the 2 round washers on a bolt and put the bolt end in the drill press. Using the file first then sandpaper, this allowed me to make the washer round and to polish the sides. Not difficult but time consuming.

shaped washersfront

The completed new washers and backing. They are not going to bend. The bow eye looks better than with the bar across.


The ring looks nicer front and back and is strong.

emails: Christine

If you decide to build a boat be careful. These tools can be dangerous. If you don't know how to safely handle something find out. There are lots of forums out there.

This web site reflects my personal ideas and doesn't represent anyone else's point of view. I don't claim to be an expert in anything, just someone muddling along.