Some scattershot Ulua progress

Progress on the Ulua has been pretty slow of late, with our attention given over to Temerity and lots of other family activities.  I’ve also been procrastinating badly with regard to fitting out the interior.    There has been some work done though on some of the auxilliary parts.


I covered starting the inwales in my last real post.  They are now glued in.  The outwales are also fabricated and waiting.

Scarfing ‘wale planks together.

Crude but effective scarfing jig.

Detail showing scarf joint of inwale, dry fit to interior prior to gluing.

Dry fit of inwales in interior.

Detail showing notches cut in bow area to accomodate bending of inwale.


I had a lumber mill cut the planks for the ‘iakos from very thick African mahogonay and ash stock.  They really grumbled about doing the hardwood work, they seemed to think it was bad for their saw.  The results were very good, though, and I don’t think I could have done it myself on my cheap table saw.

Fitting up the sanded planks.

Setting up the ‘iako laminating jig.  The 2×2 and 2×4 blocks will be screwed to the strongback table with machine screws along a faired curve.

Laminating an ‘iako.  I had thought to do more of traditioinal Hawai’ian double-bend, but wasn’t sure how much it would spring back after gluing, so I went with the simple bend called for in the plans.


While I was in laminating mode, I decided to do the main section of the boom as well.  I had a lovely 18′ length of 3/4″ fir, and I ripped two planks out of it and laminated on a jig (again built on the strongback).  The boom-jaws still need to be made up and fitted.

Dry fitting the planks in the jig.

Lots and lots of clamps are needed to get a nice uniform joint.


I had purchased two blocks (4′ x 8′ x 4″) of yellow (probably the ‘bad’ kind) of urethane foam, and these had been taking up a lot of space for over a year.  I was also worried that they would be damaged by light.  As it turned out, they were already warped somewhat from just sitting on their edges.  So I decided to make up the ama as a little side project.

Above:  lofting the profile shape of the ama on a scarfed-up piece of 3/16″ ply.  I scarfed two 2′ x 8′ sections with fiberglass reinforcing of the joint, which may have been overkill.  The bow profile is left square as it will be hand shaped in the end.

Char holds the ama sheerweb.  This floppy piece of ply is then glued between the  blocks of foam, and then the shape is cut out with a handsaw.

Ama shaping in progress.  I am using only a handsaw, my Japanese pull saw and straight and flexible long sanding boards to do the shaping.

2 Responses to “Some scattershot Ulua progress”

  1. 1 Buck

    I learn more every time you post a series like this. Kudos for your hard work and for taking the time to show what it’s like.

  2. 2 Joe Rouse

    I’m loving it. She’s looking really great!

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