Making Wooden Panels.

Wooden Panels for bulkheads, chart tables and transoms or rudders may need to made using edge to edge joints.

Admittedly plywood is a convenient material for making large sheets.

However, if it is to have a natural finish, varnished or oiled plywood will never have the same look or feel as natural wood, nor is it the best material for underwater situations.

These assemblies will normally be made up from narrow planks.

The first problem is to plane the edges both square and straight so they will butt together without gaps.

Planning square level planks can be made easier by clamping two or more in the vice and planning them back to back.

Another method is to use a ‘shooting board’.

Depending on the length of the plank, using a jack (No5), Fore (No6), or a Jointer/Try (No7) plane will help eliminate any dips or bumps.

While it is possible with care to butt joint the planks, a more stable panel should have some form of edge to edge joint.

Tongue and Groove is probably the most common edge to edge joint.

Panel Joints

The tongues and grooves can be cut fairly simply with a Multi Plane.

There are several other methods using dowels, biscuits, and splines.

And there are various jigs which can be bought to ensure alignment.

Long planks joined lengthwise like this have a tendency to warp and to open up at the ends of the joint.

To prevent the end of the joint opening as it dries, plane the plank slightly hollow so that the ends meet first when clamping.

To minimise warping, alternate the direction of the grain in alternate planks.

Clamping is best done with some form of Bar/Sash/Pipe Clamp.

Use a minimum of three clamps.

There are other methods for ‘clamping’, you can even use a ‘Spanish Windlass’.

However, having at least three straight edges two below and one above will help ensure that the assembly glues up level.

Shaping something such as a bulkhead that must fit closely into an odd shaped space will need a pattern.

There are some tricks that can be used to create a pattern that will take account of compound curves, bent frames, futtocks and all the other irregularities.

The Tick or Joggle Stick is probably the most accurate and practical method for reproducing the outline of any asymmetric space.

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