Location: Washington At the recent Wooden Boat festival I saw that Chesapeake Light Craft is using puzzle joints on their kit boats.
Take every piece of plywood you want to scarf and stack them on a table, staggering them the appropriate (12:1) distance in a stair step pattern.
I did it this way and was able to put a perfect 12:1 scarf into 18 sheets of 3mm ply - taking about an hour for all 18 sheets. Location: Eustis, FL Bingo Tom, the usual choices of finger joint aren't especially easy to make with hand tools, aren't very attractive and are generally weaker then a scarf. If there's a strength concern, it's not the physical properties of a properly done scarf at these ratios. Location: Oriental, NC Paul, I consider a simple scarf easier to make than a Payson butt joint if the joint is to be well faired out on the surface.
Location: Eustis, FL I too consider the scarf easier and considerably faster then the Payson butt joint.
Location: spain To make a conventional slash scarf you need a good work surface to cut the scarf on and to glue up. When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Plywood carfs are fairly easy to make, and a little practice on some scrap will improve your confidence. Ply is eaven iesier than solid wood, as the glue lines between the plys help indicate flatness as you work. If scarfing plywood seems intimidating you probably need a little practice with a hand plane anyway. My dad tried a long half-lap on some gunwale stock because he was too tight to go get a 12' long piece of stock.
A half lap is just a flat scarph with a butt joint at each end and butt joints are the weakest glue joint you can build.


Home made dovetails or similar in plywood are weak, cause hard spots and are much harder to make look good than scarfs. This is one of those things that is pretty straightforward once you start doing it, although it seems intimidating at first. I'm interested in those puzzle joints I've seen on the Nick Schade stitch and glue kayaks and any input folks may have on them. It's possible to do the initial roughing on a stair-step setup with a hand held belt sander.
If the Payson joint is hollowed out and done under clamps, then it's about as simple as they get.
I do like the extra length you can get from the Payson joint and more importantly the nearly flawless faired result, with some setup on the hollowed version.
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To get WoodenBoat delivered to your door or computer, mobile device of choice, etc, click WB Subscriptions. In the case of a glued plywood scarf the panel will bend smoothly across the joint,without any discernible hard spot, retaining the full strength of the panel. Scarphing is not difficult to learn and not difficult or particularly tedious once you've learned. This particular hull was subjected to destructive testing when it flew off my roof rack along an interstate highway.
It doesn't have the stength of a scarf but is sufficent on smaller hulls when laninated with 'glass and resin.
For my current build I had to do a number of panel scarphs and started looking into router jigs and circular saw attachments and the like.
Like some of the folks above have posted, ensure your low angle block plane is nice and sharp.


These joints insure that the various pieces of a strake get assembled properly, with very little possibility of misalignment. In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois).
In fact they are a great excuse to buy a new tool if you dont have a good long jointer or jack plane.
The boat was scuffed up none of the scarfs let go and, in fact, the boat was usable as it was.
They are appropriate in kit boats, where the builder lacks either the skill or the interest in spiling each plank shape and doing the required fitting.
Fortunately I have a drawer full of planes so I would touch up the blades on 4 or 5 before I started and use them one after the other. This said I can hack out a good scarf in a few minutes and have it waiting for a cure in a few minutes more. I do mine with a home made jig and a router, fast simple, fool proof, but if i need to do one quick I grab the Stanley #5 and have at it. Can anyone suggest a method or router jig to make interlocking joints across a 48" surface?
That way when you butter the joint with thickened epoxy for real, you can register the whole assembly perfectly. The stair-step creates the correct starting angle automatically, so it's fairly fool proof. Like Wiz says, they dont have to be perfect to be perfect, they can be kinda sloppy and be perfect.



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