One Way to Make a Stem


One Way to Make a Stem
By Charlie Jones

In building stem pieces, sometimes there are tapers which are not constant over the length of the piece, such as on the B and B Yacht designs Princess 22 that I am building for a customer. This is called a "winding bevel".

Since the taper changes the bevel on the stem, you cannot cut the bevel easily using a band saw. You COULD make a saw table where you could vary the bevel as you were cutting, but that's not really practical for just one piece. Here's another way to cut that winding bevel. I'm posting a series of pictures showing how I did it. This is only one way, but the overall time was about 2 hours doing it like this.

Here's the stem with one side finished, ready to finish the other. The bevel has been cut, using a band saw , to the angle of the small end. You can just see the line at the large end showing the bevel angle at the large end.

Next, cut down to just shy of the layout line. I used a pull saw, but another type works too.

Then I used a narrow chisel to dub off the excess wood between the cuts, being careful to not split off the bottom edge.

By the way- if you locate the trash can just right, all the chips fall right in

Then I used a wider chisel to pare off the rough parts left from the previous step, again being careful to not splinter off the bottom edge.

After the complete side is smoothed with the chisels, then I finish with the planes- first the block plane, then a smoothing plane.

Here's the completed stem, ready to be offered up to the boat. It isn't completely smoothed since usually it will need some final trimming to make it fit.