I've been obsessing about getting all the planks onto Cabin Boy's too-long naked frames. I went as fast as possible, but it turned out to be very difficult to do more than one plank per day.
The reason? Lots of steps. For each pair of planks (one for each side), you need to:
1. Cut the rabbet in the starboard side of the stem.
2. Carve the hood end of the spiling batten so it fits perfectly into the garboard and into gain in the previous plank.
3. Cut out the other two pieces of the 3-part spiling batten
4. Tack all 3 pieces into place on the forms
5. Splice them together with epoxied gussets
6. Wait for the epoxy to dry
7. Spile the points onto the spiling batten
8. Carefully remove the spiling batten from the forms
9. Unspile the points on to a pattern board
10. Use long battens to connect the points, and get a nice smooth shape for the pattern
11. Cut the pattern out
12. Try the pattern out on the forms, to see if it fits without being edge set. If it doesn't fit, break open a Blue Moon beer and go back to step 3 (Argh!!!!)
13. Carefully remove the precious pattern from the forms
14. Trace the patten onto your expensive planking stock
15. Cut the plank out
16. Cut the gains into the plank
17. Wipe all the bits that will be epoxied with alcohol. This is supposed to make the epoxy stick better, particularly to oak.
18. Find a beautiful woman to hold other end of plank.
19. Mix up a batch of epoxy, with no thickeners
20. Quickly apply a light coat of epoxy to all the bits that will be fastened: the stem rabbet, the previous plan, the transom, the new plank... This allows the wood to soak up some epoxy.
21. Mix up a batch of thickened epoxy
22. Quickly apply the thickened epoxy to all edges to be glued (see 19)
23. Find out where beautiful woman has wandered off to, before epoxy dries too much.
24. Have beautiful woman hold transom end of plank while you fit the hood end into the rabbet and clamp the hood end in place
25. Work your way towards the back of the boat, using every clamp you can find. Make attentive, appreciative noises as you listen to story told by beautiful woman.
26. Drill counter-sunk holes (3) through hood end of plank into stem.
27. Screw silicon bronze screws (3) into hood end of plank
28. Drill counter-sunk holes (2) through transom end of plank into transom
29. Screw screws (2) into transom end of plank
30. Wipe excess glue off of inside and outside of plank.
31. Thank beautiful woman for the cold Blue Moon she's holding out to you.
32. Drink Blue Moon and admire your work
33. Let epoxy dry.
34. Next day, go to step 14 for Port side plank.
Whew! And this is the 'easy' method. I can only imagine what it would be like to cut the planks out of cedar and rivet them into place. That will have to wait for my next boat.
One interesting complication: The sheer plank was longer than my pattern stock, so I had to make my first scarf, in 1/8" luan plywood. It was pretty easy to do. The 12:1 scarf wasn't very long or very deep. I just used my little block plane to cut the scarfs free hand.
Then, I just glued them up, using a scrap of wood to spread the pressure. By the way, I'm told you don't want to use too much clamping pressure on epoxy joints.
This week, I also 'invented' a handy gadget that others might find useful. I didn't think of it until I was working on the very last plank, so didn't get as much use out of it as I could have. But next time...
When you are building a lapstrake boat, you need to mark the 'laps' on all the planks and all the gains. I decided to use a 3/4" lap for all my planks. That means I had to draw 16 lines on 8 planks, each line 3/4" in from the edge.
You can save yourself some trouble, and draw more accurate lines, if you make yourself a home-made lap guide, as shown in the picture above. The notch in the upper right hand end is 3/4" deep.
Once you've got your guide made, you just put it against the edge of the plank, hold your pencil against the guide, and move it along the edge. A perfect line, every time.
By the way, I should be holding the pencil at a lower angle. I try to hold the pencil so the sharpened side is flat against the side of the gauge. That's the easiest way to get a consistent line, I think.
So, after executing the above steps 8 times, and if your boat was designed by an artist like John Atkin, this is what you get. Beautiful!
Photographs just don't do justice to the graceful curves and twists in the planks as they swoop into Cabin Boy's stem. Wood -- even plywood -- is such an elegant material to work with.
And by the way, I didn't have to steam any of the planks. They bent into shape easily with fairly light clamping pressure.
Finally, it was time to plane down the edges of the garboard planks and chine logs, in preparation for putting on the bottom. The goal is to be able to lay a straight edge from one side of the boat to the other and have it lie flat on both sides.
This sounds harder than it is to do. I think these old, wooden planes know how to do the job, themselves. You just need to trust the tool and let it do it's thing.
So the next step is to put the bottom on. Yahoo!
But this weekend, I'm heading up to the Maine Boat Builder's show, in Portland. I should be there all day Saturday, so if you happen to be at the show that day, say hi! Should be a fun time!
>>> Next Episode: Ready to Flip
If you enjoyed this episode of the Unlikely Boat Builder, please consider telling a friend about it, or posting a link on Facebook. Thanks!