Making a Bowsprit


I’m making a bowsprit for a friends boat and have some thoughts on how to shape the piece using various jigs to rout. Doing it with chisels is a possibility of course but was hoping you all had better ideas. Here’s the skp. bowsprit.skp (51.7 KB)
i was thinking for the notch, pattern rout with a 30° dovetail bit (do they make these?) and a 30° pattern (bearing on top) chamfer bit (do they make these?). hopefully this makes sense.


I’ve never seen a dovetail cutter with a 30° angle. You could get a cutter ground for it but for a one time job that seems a bit much. What are you making it from? You could use a router to get rid of most of the waste in the notch and even use a dovetail bit to undercut the forward curve some. Then chisel out the rest. Does it really need to be cut at that angle?

What is the hollow on the underside aft of the notch for? Is the desk crowned?


it’s laminated sitka spruce (5 x 1"x6"). that’s a good idea to rough rout then chisel, I’ll probably end up doing that and yeah the deck is crowned


So I assume that notch fits over the rail? Does the forestay attach to the bowsprit? If so, will there be a bobstay as well? If the forestay does attach to the bowsprit, I would be concerned about stress risers from the sharp corners. I think the more typical thing would be to cut a notch in the rail so the bowsprit can pass through.

What kind of sailboat is it?


notch fits over the rail, forestay, bobstay, and cat whiskers and pulpit all attach to the bowsprit. I was thinking the same thing about the notch in the rail. Not sure what type of boat but I know it didn’t originally have a bowsprit. It’s actually my friend’s dad’s boat, not sure if he’ll be able to be persuaded to alter the current design, certainly would be an easier job.


this is the old one in place


Interesting. Well, since you’re replacing an existing one, maybe the design will work OK.

Vertical laminations of the spruce?


yeah, vertical lamination


I would experiment with bolting on a custom wedge base cut to the needed angle for a plunge router with a straight bit…


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