Header photo (detail) courtesy Michael Eudenbach

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Planking taking shape

Wendy Byar

Four planks up counting the garboard

Plank 5 going on

5th plank
The 2nd thru 6th planks are clench nailed to battens. It is sort of like carvel with a backing plank. I suppose the battens reinforce the seams since the planks are thin for lightness and they are not nailed to the molds. It takes some care with the anvil and hammer to keep everything aligned so neither the planks or battens split. The frames are fitted after the boat is planked. It is taking a beautiful shape. The 5th and 6th planks were wumped, or prebent to a cupped shape before being hung. the last two planks will be hung lapped.

Courtesy Wendy Byar

Gina Pickton

Wendy Byar and Newt Kirkland attaching a plank

Knot drilled out with Forstner bit and replaced with a bung

Jeff and Newt have been making good progress with planking the boat. The process of putting a plank on is the same for each one, a set of steps that gets repeated over and over again until all 16 are on

We start by spiling the pattern and preparing the boards. The cedar we have is not long enough to span the entire length of the 28ft whaleboat so we have to scarf two pieces together. After planing each board to the proper thickness, we use our pattern to cut the proper shape into the boards, making sure to leave enough room for the scarf. Next we repair any parts of the plank that need it, drilling out knots and replacing them with bungs and adding dutchmen where necessary.

As the planks work their way up around the turn of the bilge, they get wider and wider. In order for the board to take the curve we bend them before attaching them to the boat. To do this we use a process called Whomping.

You can see more about how we do this by watching the videos above. Narrated by John Schwarzenbach

courtesy Gina Picton

Thomas Armstrong

Wen Byar clench nailing

From Wendy's blog Green Boats:
"Here is the skinny. We drill the holes through the plank and batten, and place the nail oval perpendicular to the grain. Back it with the iron next to the hole and tap the nail thru from the plank side until it just clears the batten. Move the iron over the nail. Hold it at an angle so the nail starts to turn back into the batten. Tap it home flush with the plank surface."

I was at the workshop Thursday and it was a dark day, which produced this combination of natural and artificial lighting.

She's a long boat at 28'

A nicely turned bilge

Newt and Jeff

She's really taking shape

photos Thomas Armstrong

I made my way down to the Workshop last Thursday to see the progress on the whaleboat. Coincidentally Gina Pickton and the new workshop director Bruce MacKenzie (more on Bruce later @ 70.8%) had put together some photos and videos for me. Wen Byar had also sent me some updates. The boat looks swell and is really graceful, and the work looks top notch. My first impression was of how long, and how sweet she is. The videos will outline the process of wumping or whomping, basically steaming a plank to make it more pliable form fitting the curve of the boat. Thanks ladies and gents, you are doing exceptional work. Special thanks to John Schwarzenbach for his narration on the videos.

Original post Thomas Armstrong for Whaleboats for the CW Morgan