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Steps in Building a SCAMP sailboat

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Making the frames for the cuddy deadlights

Scamp sailboat showing the porthole

The Scamp cuddy has 2 round windows. Portholes that don't open are called deadlights. I took a break from the bench / lockers and Guwales I've been working on and made the frames for the little windows. It was a perfect afternoon project listening to Bob Marley music.

Several SCAMP builders have made similar frames. Bought bronze or brass ones are quite pricey and a bit of overkill on a 12 foot dinghy.

laying out the porthole on marine plywoodrough cutting the plywood

After deciding on the size I laid it out on some 9mm scraps. Since everything is going to be custom cut I can choose any dimensions I like.

I rough cut the outside diameter using the bandsaw. I cut a bit large.

circle-jig on table sawrough cut piece on the table saw

There are many ways of cutting perfect circles using band saws, routers or in this case the table saw.

I simply put a screw through the rough cut circle centre and turned the plywood into the blade gradually getting a perfect circle. You don't even need to rough cut a circle. You can actually use the table saw sled to gradually cut corners till you have an almost round piece then turn the near circle into the blade to finish off.

slight bevelcircle cutter

This table saw circle cutting jig makes a circle with a slight bevel but I like this. Using a bandsaw or router jig gives perfectly square sides.

To make the center circle I used my circle cutter on the drill press. It must be on a drill press, never by hand. It is a dangerous gizmo and I have to be very careful using it. I did not take a photo of cutting the deadlight frame. This is a photo of cutting the round hatch doubler, but it shows the cutter.

I actually screwed the deadlight frame onto the drill press table because I did not have enough space for a clamp.


This is the rabetting bit I used in the router to cut the rabbet that seats the window. It's a 3/8 bit.

I cut the depth of the rabbet just a little over size. I'm thinking that the epoxy and maybe sealant will take up some thickness.

I also used a router to round the edges of the frame. It's a very small radius cutter.

window fitsplastic marked

I made a pattern in cardboard and transferred it to the acrylic sheet. It has a protective cover top and bottom so it won't get scratched. I used a magic marker to transfer the pattern.

Even though I used a fine toothed blade on the bandsaw the edges chipped a bit. I sanded the edges to get rid of the uneven edge. The plastic circle fits well.

sanded frameshammered finish

I've sanded the frames and they are ready for epoxy. A trip to Canadian Tire and I have the nuts and bolts. I have already positioned and drilled small holes that I used for positioning.

Several people have used the copper hammered finish from Rustoleum for the finish. It is quite nice. I'm trying to decide on copper or aluminium finish. I think it depends on what colour scheme I finally decide on. I'll do a sample before painting the portholes.

drilling window framesframes epoxied

I taped the outside and inside frame pairs together and drilled them at the same time. That way I know that if I'm a little bit off they will still fit together.

All the frames and the inside of the drilled holes are epoxied. I dug out the sides of the cuddy and coated both sides while I was at it.

It took me 2 full afternoons to make the frames (and put a coat of paint on the starboard lockers). I find that I really work quite slowly.


I decided to try painting the frames in RED! It is not as forgiving a finish as the irregular spray on hammered finished but if the red doesn't work out then I'll try the other finishes.

It took quite a lot of sanding and filling in the various nicks I had put on them but eventually they were more or less ready. I like the colour.

The paint is quite slow drying but I'll eventually add a couple more coats. Since the side is not installed yet, I have time.

I decided to add a third deadlight on the front

The front airtight container makes for great storage but it is completely enclosed and very dark. I decided to add a small deadlight on the front panel to bring in a bit of needed light. John Welsford had suggested a small window on the top but I could not figure out a way of making a framed opening that did not collect water, a bit like a bowl. So that's why I'm putting it on the front. It might look a bit odd but I'll live with this.

front windowfront window

Pieces are cut but I still need to sand some. The plywood is meranti. It is very britle and tears out quite easily. I used the circle cutter on the drill press and I cut the rabbet for the plexi with a chisel. I'll have some filling to do where a couple of splinters came out. I did not feel like setting up the router. It was very pleasant sitting in my thinking stool, in the warm shop, listening to music and just quietly working.

front window

It's better to get this done before the top of the cabin gets glued on. It's almost impossible to reach from the hatches.

I cut the hole in the front using various hand saws and files. It took a while but the hole is made.

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 with people willing to help you.

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 some little old lady muddling along.