A plank short of a full run.

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Earlier this week, while i was doing the second run of planking i found that i was ‘a plank short’ – of being able to complete the line of planking ; and that’s a problem which i shall endeavour to explain later. I was also a good 2 boards short of being able to do the whole job because i was rapidly running out of 9mm plywood despite having bought the number of boards specified in the plans – and i haven’t been particularly wasteful so i don’t know what has happened there.

Anyway…….according to my partner, being a ‘plank short’ is pretty a normal state of affairs around here so let’s start with some blog.

Blog time then : it’s mid October and this morning the weather has broken – from the last 10 days or so of mainly fine and dry days to our autumn normal of rain and wind. Iv’e been working flat out to make best use of the fine days – in fact up until this morning i hadn’t taken a break in 15 days of work. Why that came about is that my working days are rapidly getting a lot shorter and i’m trying to stick with my main goal which is to complete the hull by the end of the season – which is rapidly approaching. As my regular visitors will know i’m building the boat under an open shelter and i need dry conditions to make planks for instance and reasonable conditions then to glue and fillet them. Yesterday we had the nicest day of the the fortnight so i spent all day just sanding, filling, filleting and coating the plywood where i haven’t done it so far.

The bottom bow plank, starboard side, goes on.

On the bench.

I feel that i’m now in the most boat-builder-y stage of the project in that i’m bending stringers to go around the boat and then making planks to fit the curves of the stringers ; the plank shapes being taken directly from the top and bottom edge of their respective stringers. The first thing to say is that a plywood board is some 2.4m long and 1.2 metres wide so it’s not a case of offering up a sheet of ply and drawing a line around the stringer ; i first have to make a pattern and check/fit that and then transfer that onto a sheet of plywood, fair the resulting curve with my long batten, then cut that and offer that up to the boat. Obviously the boat is some 5.4 metres around the outside so each run of planks is made in 3 pieces which have to butt together accurately , bend fair around the curves and in the case of the bow plank also twist into place – the bow being vertical and it’s join with the middle plank near horizontal.

I had a seriously stressful time with the first (starboard) bow plank because despite doing a thorough dry fit and planning my sequence of work it all went horribly wrong when i slapped the glue on and started attaching the plank ; the line of the plank went askew, the screw holes under the bilge chine were almost impossible to access properly and at one point i was completely stuck with screws half in/half out, the glue starting to kick…..and the sun came out as well so the glue started going off even faster.

The overall sequence of work, by the way, is that the builder has to make the second run of planks before fitting the first run …..and then as so on up through the 4 runs of planks ; that because the next plank up has it’s shape taken from the 2 stringers it’s attached to. Also that there’s a lot of hand planing to do before fitting the planks because each plank sits on a bevel in the stringer and there has to be a straight line or ‘plane’ across the pair. It took me most of a day to plane the big bevel on the bilge/chine stringer each side and difficult because i’m working with the plane upside down and the job is almost a ‘blind’ one……physically tiring as well. Later on with the upper runs of stringers and planking iv’e got the time down to about 3 hours a stringer but i have to stop frequently and back some of the screws out, re countersink them, put them back in ……and then go and re-sharpen the plane where iv’e just chipped the blade on a screw !.

At the end of play this week though and with my partner doing a fast dash to get 2 more plywood boards iv’e finished the first 2 runs of planking , faired, filled and filleted…..and ‘tingled’ them all before sanding and coating with epoxy resin yesterday.

On the bench – 2.

Alongside the hull planking iv’e also been working on the interior fit-out because the bunk flat boards and seats all have to meet, fair in with and attach to the inside of the hull planks. At the front of the boat there is a wide and long bunk flat that’s about the shape of a decent sized yacht’s ‘vee’ berth and that’s made up from 4 boards that sit on bearers that notch into the frame structure. Iv’e gone oversize with the board bearers because i had the 70mm x 20mm stock left over from the bilge/chine stringer so i used that for the bearers. While i was doing that i made the covers for the big locker outboard of the off-center ‘board’ and the cover for the big central locker which will house a battery compartment and the main dry storage locker. Running out of plywood, and then working time, meant that i couldn’t make and dry fit the seat tops – i’ll cover the internal arrangement of compartments and lockers in a future post .

2nd bow plank on

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