The TotalBoat Work Skiff: Fitting the Breast Hook & Quarter Knees


After finding and forming the perfect timber for the breast hook of the TotalBoat Work Skiff, Lou fits it perfectly into the bow and works to do the same aft with the Quarter Knees. Join us in the Open Door Boatshop as Lou shows us how he expertly measures, cuts, fits and beds these pieces into the skiff.

Lou’s Tips From A Shipwright series is full of great insight into the mysteries of boat building and in this case, skiff building. With great tool advice and tested techniques, the skiff series offers much more than the how-tos of boat building. The “Old Man’s Method” is tried and true and the delivery from sage Louis Sauzedde is the icing on the cake.

It’s almost time to paint and oil the skiff. What color would you like to see the skiff painted? Lou will be using Wet Edge Topside Paint – which comes in 20 colors – about 17 more than Lou is considering. What’s your pick? Grey, Fighting Lady Yellow, or Black? Remember the bottom is Spartan Bottom Paint in Red! 

Thanks for watching! Comment with your Wet Edge paint color vote below! We won’t promise Lou will listen, but he wants to know what you think!



20 responses to “The TotalBoat Work Skiff: Fitting the Breast Hook & Quarter Knees

  1. I build cedar wood strip canoes so it was interesting to see some of the techniques Lou used to fit the pieces. But, did not understand why or how he had to steam the chunk of wood.

  2. This is the 2nd video that I click on the photo and it doesn’t start up.
    The last one did the same thing.
    Prior to that, they all worked.
    I click on the email, and it takes me to the video landing page.
    I click on the photo, and nothing.
    Are you links bad?
    And suggestions on my end to what I can do?

  3. Paraphrasing a famous quote by N. G. Hereshoff: “The only colors for a proper yacht are White, Black and Flag Blue”. I vote Black.

  4. I don’t understand the complications with the breasthook such as the need to look for a crook in a tree to cut out and then cutting it in a Y pattern. Doesn’t it just take compression loads from the sides of the boat? Why not just fill the V with a solid chunk of wood. Is the grain pattern important for some reason? I’ve been pondering that question for a while now. It must be one of those mysteries or just a historical design artifact.

  5. Lou is amazing. Whether I have built anything or not, it is a privilege to watch a craftsman at work. The satisfaction he gets from sharing his experience is priceless. Knowing this, that Lou hasn’t worked a day in his life because he obviously loves what you does. And his work shows it. Thank God for Lou and for the good folks at Total Boat.

  6. Never saw how he cut the breasthook before he steamed it. Beautiful piece of wood and a great fit. My wife always said that I was the best sawdust maker!

  7. For a working skiff in a busy harbor I vote for high visibility yellow.
    Lou -and you- are going a great job.
    I’m working to repair a 1920’s outboard launch and have learned so much from these videos.
    Thanks Lou!

  8. What outstanding work. I have built a few boats but to see you work its more an artist and a boat builder ….if I were doing your work I would sleep well at night

  9. I would do both grey and black, grey interior and rails, and lift rails, rolled and tipped Black exterior, and also leave some of the natural wood such as the quarters and breast hook, though i would darken them up a bit, maybe a medium to dark wood tone. that’s a lot of work for just one color, make her fancy.

  10. Suggestions are a good thing and everyone will offer their opinion. But ultimately the decision belongs to Lou as it should be. Whatever he decides is the finish it should be.

  11. The skiff is looking great! It was so satisfying to see the knees and breasthook installed. I’m wondering if Lou could explain the steaming process further; is this a short cut to kiln drying?

    Thanks Lou, TotalBoat and Jamestown Distributers

  12. Black would be a stately looking color for the exterior but here in the south, it would turn 100 degrees sunny and humid into a 125 degree day in paradise. This is a wonderful series with fun guy.

  13. Lou, I love watching you. I have built a couple small boats @ I learn something every time I watch you! ps ,get rid of that belt @ go back to the rope.

  14. Lou thanks for letting us watch you, I learn something on every session.
    Now get rid of the belt @ go back to the rope.

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