Planking method of boat building
could be described as a form of carvel
However, using strips is a form of construction which is much more
the back yard builder.
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Using this method a beautifully round bilged boat can be built with
and tools than with carvel.
It requires a minimum of
tapering of planks,
and caulking. lofting The Strips.
When strip planking first began to be
used the strips were plane cut either
square or oblong in cross section.
Nowadays most home builders
use the more convenient
The most common timber used is
However any straight grained
wood can be used although it
is best if it is knot free.
Soft woods are preferable to
hardwoods as they expand
less and can absorb more compression.
Plane square edged strips will
be the simplest to cut or
cheapest if buying ready cut.
However, without any beveling
this will leave open
‘grooves’ between the outer edges, especially where there are tight
These ‘grooves’ can be filled
with epoxy, but
this will add weight to the finished boat and it doesn’t look
This can be overcome by
planning the edges.
Beveling the edges does
require a deal of skill,
especially as the bevels will have to vary as the curvature of the boat
This may be easier to do with a sander.
With the cove and bead strips
this problem is to an extent overcome.
The cove will
accept the bead even on tight curves ensuring a tight fit.
And the process will be speeded up by the ease of locating and the need
However the molding will have to be paid for, in cash if you buy ready
in time if you make your own.
And the outer edges of the strips on those tight corners will need
quite a lot
of faring to get then smooth.
another molded form of strip plank which is becoming popular.
It is so called because the tongue and groove molding allows for fast
Or at least it will be fast if you are prepared to fill the grooves on
tight corners with epoxy.
Using full length strips might
result in a stronger construction.
However, building with shorter
strips will be
The ends of the strips will
require some tapering and a
It will be easier to shape the
end strips separately then
fit a piece in between.
Joints can be simple butts so
long as the joints of
successive strips are staggered.
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Unlike traditional boat
building methods strip planking is done upside down on a jig.
The jig is created by erecting
molds on a strong
The molds cut in
the shape of
the various sections are usually of some cheap material such as
The forms are temporary
structures so their edges should
be covered in polythene to prevent the strips adhering to them.
However, internal permanent
bulkheads may be erected in
place of temporary molds.
These are set up on the strong
back, as are the internal
keel or hog and the stem and transom.
It is normal to
begin the planking from the sheer and work upwards.
However, strip planking can be
started from the keel
depending on the particular design.
Planking which runs parallel
to the sheer will look
better if the boat is to be finished with the wood showing.
And even when painted the
planking run off might become
visible with age.
While starting at the sheer
the initial planks will be
easy to fit bit the bottom planks will need a lot more tapering to
Fortunately the use of epoxy
will help reduce the need
for an exact fit.
If you are using
epoxy glue when strip planking then nailing is not necessary.
However, nailing will help to
help to hold the planks in
place and reduce the amount of clamping needed.
Normally nailing will be done
vertically through the
Thin gauge nails are
countersunk and driven across three
Nails should be staggered
across each three strip course
by about six inches.
Nailing in this way reinforces
the gross grain strength
Beware of nails running-off as
they could penetrate the
surface and cause a problem when it comes to finishing.
Starting the nails with a
pilot hole will help prevent
Gluing is not necessary with a
nailed strip construction
however some protection against water ingress is needed.
Whether or not you use
glue between the planks will depend on the design, the type of wood and
skill of the builder.
The most hyped method of
gluing is with
However it must be remembered that
hard, unyielding and expensive.
Using a more flexible compound
will allow for swelling
With so much gluing to be
done, glue drip can cause
problems when it comes to fairing.
This can be minimised by using
a thick glue which sets
Any surfaces such as permanent
bulkheads need to be
protected from glue drip.
Having completed the
planking the business of faring will smooth out any ridges.
With woods such as Cedar you
will have to be careful as
it is easy to fair away too much.
Because Cedar is relatively
soft it will need sheathing,
other woods may not.
cloth and epoxy will allow the
natural wood to show through.
Once the shell is finished the
outer components such as
the skeg and the wooden keel can be added.
There are many
advantages for the backyard builder with this method of building.
However, strip planking is a
relatively slow method of
building despite the reduction in framing needed.
Where a hull is sheathed with
glass and epoxy inside and
out it effectively becomes a core construction.
Core constructions are by
However wood is not the ideal
core material as it is
porous, unstable and subject to rot.
Any breaks in the protective
sheathing can lead to
devastating results which are difficult to rectify.
But a well built varnished
strip planked hull will look
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