Making sense of the planking?

I think we are starting to get “into the flow” with the planking… Louise and I work like a (reasonably) well oiled machine now – as you can see from the pics below the hull is starting to take shape.

(visitors to the barn agree “it’s starting to look quite boaty”)

I think one of the main things I have learned is the need to “go with the flow”; in the earlier planks we set about the process by using a great many clamps to attempt to force the planks to sit down neatly… What I think we now understand is that the trick is to “ease” them into place by making sure we first apply the right “twist” to align the plank with it’s neighbour and mould.

This revelation came about as we moved beyond the point where we could clamp from the deckline to the new planks, and so had to rely more on the wedges. The image below shows how it worked at the transom. I am also adding a stainless wood screw at the ends of the plank (into stem and transom, as belt and braces ..and there are substantial epoxy fillets to bond the ends of the planks to these two structures….

Wedging the new plank in place

Wedging the new plank in place

Hull Strength

One other thing that we can see is how the shape of the hull affects the inherent strength of things – at the bow and stern the curve in the hull means that everything is VERY stiff – whereas the shape  mid-way along has a very flat profile, and you can quite (worryingly) easily flex the assembled planks!

Hopefully, the  structure we are building will be stiff enough, but the worrying thing is that we will only find out for sure on that first “navy lark” moment, when a bit of “left-hand-down-a-bit” fails to avoid the approaching pier/buoy/ferry, or the “depth charge” (see “I couldn’t resist it ) does not save us from running aground….



2 thoughts on “Making sense of the planking?

  1. John

    I like your wedging approach, wish I had thought of it myself! A bit late now. You can also screw or nail blocks to the temporary frames to give more purchase for clamping. I think you will find that once all the planks are on it will have acquired a bit more stiffness, and of course the glass will help too. I did decide with mine that since the boiler and engine are putting a lot of weight into the open area, I would provide some ribs and longitudinal stiffeners to distribute the load. These were added after glassing the inside, so that the glass is continuous. I’d have to provide a picture to show what I have done I guess.
    I also screwed the planks at stem and stern as you have. The glass will also add strength here.

    1. sybefur Post author

      I agree about the internal stiffening – there are of course some floors to be fitted 2-inch thick laminated douglas fir, but Nigel Thompson built a nice egg-box like structure of interlocking engine/boiler bearers and additional floors with “cross-halving joints” as you suggest – added after the glassing. I will do the same, and also as we are adding a cabin/bunks etc. these will add a deal of strength when glassed into the hull too.


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