Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Penobscot Bay, Maine
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Re: Woodworking advice needed
Why a scarf joint? If that part of the bulkhead is structurally important, then you need to install your patch with a joint that is as strong as the bulkhead was before you cut it. You also need to join the patch to the cabintop/cabin side in the same way that the original piece did--probably tabs.
A scarf joint's strength will depend on precise, accurate saw cuts. It will also require the right amount of the right glue, and good clamping. You probably can't do it with the bulkhead in place unless you're really good with hand tools--really sharp hand tools. Even then, I'd question it's strength. I doubt you'll have clearance for a skill saw, and if you do, you better know how to use it accurately. Any fenceless type of power saw that relies on a steady hand, forget.
If you don't care about looks, maybe use tabbing all around. After all, it's strong enough to bond the bulkhead to the boat. And it won't require precise cutting. If looks are important, buy some nice plywod, tear out the bulkhead, use it as a template for a new one and tab it in place. It's probably going to be easier in the long run. Or, make an ugly-but-strong patch and cover the whole bulkhead with door skin or something else relatively inexpensive.
If you patch, cut the patch first. Use it to carefully trace the outline that you want to excise from the bulkhead.