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Old Jan 10, 2015, 12:40 PM
Tug Hercules Fireman
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Canada, AB, Medicine Hat
Joined Mar 2008
240 Posts
Terminology - Bow Stem etc. ...

Greetings & Happy New Year to all.

Looking to get some clarity on terminology;

The terms; Bow Stem, Keel Stem, Stem Bar and Bow Iron; are they all the same thing?

I am referring to the vertical, flat piece on the front of the bow. See arrow in attached photo.

In my particular Tug of interest, this piece is very pronounced.

Any insights are appreciated.

Thank You.

Tug Hercules
Fireman Rick
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Old Jan 10, 2015, 02:42 PM
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Joined Dec 2004
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RICK- The part identified with the arrow is called the STEM POST. In the case of the tug, the stem post is rabbeted out to let in the hull planking leaving the stem post proud forward of the rabbet. The stem post is scarfed or spliced into the keel, usually after the turn of the stem as is made of the same material as the keel.

The term flat iron is used for the metal band of metal which is fastened to the front of the stem post for additional protection from floating debris striking the bow when under way. On pleasure craft and cruisers the term cutwater is used for the metal protection of the stem.

The same terminology can be used for the back of the hull on a double ended hull, i.e. STERN POST. On hulls with a flat or radius transom, the stern post is the center vertical post which is connected to the keel usually with a bolted knee into the framing.

The breast nook or piece is the part which is fastened to the stem post to accept and fasten the shears.
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Old Jan 10, 2015, 04:54 PM
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Joined Dec 2004
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But in this case, it's steel or iron, not wood, and there's no rabbeting. The stem post is a flat section, perhaps 1x6, of steel plate, a continuous extension of the keel. The garboard strake of plating at the keel, and the plate ends at the stem post, are formed parallel to the stem/keel into a three-layer sandwich, and are riveted through.
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Old Jan 14, 2015, 09:05 AM
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Hayward, CA
Joined Jan 2009
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If its a wood boat, then the wood part at the front of the bow is called a "cutwater". The cutwater is not necessarily a structural element and is attached to the front of the stem post which is an extension of the keel and a structural element of the boat. Not all wood boats are built this way, most have a single stem post which serves the same purpose.
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