Closing the gap

Almost there!

After what seems like months we are very close to finishing the planking of the hull. In this post I wanted to describe the process I am using to finish the planking before cladding the hull (with it’s glass skin).

Curvy planks

Planks curving as a result of the varying length from keel to deck.

Planks curving as a result of the varying length from keel to deck.

I started planking parallel to the sheer (deck level), i.e. from the bottom, as the boat is currently upside-down.

As you can see this means that the planks have taken on a curve as we approach the keel. This is because the distance from the deck to the keel is shorter at the bow and stern, than it is amidships. So, as we fitted the planks we reach the keel at the bow and stern first, forcing the curve you see on each plank.

This picture was taken last month, and you can still see the “inner keel” AKA “hog”, and the use of blocks and wedges to hold each new plank in place while the epoxy glue dries.

Avoiding difficult (&weak) joints.

As the planks on each side of the boat meet we need to have a way of “joining” them so that we have a smooth finish and neat join.

Some books recommend “cutting each plank to fit against it’s opposite number as they are fitted” (talk of drawing pencil lines from underneath and making a good cut). I concluded that this was to all intents and purposes impossible (you would be making about 100 joints, each of which would be at a different angle and length). …and a friend also noted that you would wind up with a line of joints forming a very weak point in the hull structure.

Paul Fisher excellent strip-plank building manual suggested an alternate approach, of first planking one side, then sanding/planing these planks to lie flush with the hog’s  chamfered surface, so that the planks from the other side can just be planked over the top and then sanded/planed to the desired finished hull shape – a MUCH better plan.

This approach has the dual benefits of no “difficult” cutting/fitting and no “line of joints” to inject a weakness into the structure.

The process in pictures

Below you can see a number of pictures which show how we first plank over the hog from one side, just cutting each plank so that it finishes over the centre line with it’s end in mid air. and then it shows how (with about an hour’s work with the trusty Wicks power plane and AMAZING Bosch belt sander) the planks are prepared for the planks from the other side to be fitted over the top.

(remember you can click on the images to get full size pictures).

I am very pleased with the result, we have “finished” about two feet at stem and stern, and as you can see we are now ready to fit the last few planks. (Amazingly and frustratingly we ran out of strip and needed to order about 10-15 meters more (from than the 1,000 meters we originally ordered… a quite accurate estimate from Selway Fisher,  but sadly short not over!)



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