Templates for the first two pairs of planks were included in the plans, along with a note that these should be carefully checked, as every boat would be slightly different, and it was unlikely that they would fit perfectly. No, they didn’t, and the first plank of the second pair had to be recut. The remaining planks had to be measured, from the previous plank, and the appropriate point on each bulkhead, using a batten to fair a line between the bulkheads – a process called spiling.
I tried a few different techniques, and the one that I found most accurate was to use two battens: one sitting on top of the previous plank, and the other sitting into the notches on the bulkheads where the next plank was supposed to end. Small lengths of ply were then hot-glued between the battens, forming a truss that could be carefully transferred to the plywood sheet, traced out, and then cut and planed to shape.
I already had two folding saw benches, and in order to properly support the long planks I bought a couple of Ryobi benches that could be adjusted in height. This made planing the planks down to the right shape a simple matter, as long as I had a sharp plane! A water-cooled grindstone made that easy to accomplish, and it had to be done regularly, as the glue in plywood blunts sharp edges remarkably quickly!
After the first couple of planks had been glued to the boat, the only place I needed to use screws to hold the ply in place was along the stem. Everywhere else was handled by the lap clamps.
After each pair of planks had been added, I worked along each join with a scraper, removing excess glue, and checking for areas where there hadn’t been enough glue squeezing out to indicate a good join. This had to be done inside and outside the boat. I’ve scraped and sanded the outside of the hull, but I will wait until the boat is turned over to remove the few bits of excess epoxy that I couldn’t reach because clamps were in the way. I will also wait until then to run fillets of epoxy along the junction of bulkheads and planks, to reinforce the glue that has tacked each plank against the bulkheads.
On a good day I could get a pair of planks cut and glued. On a difficult pair it would take a couple of days to reach a satisfactory result. Last weekend I cut and shaped the keel, and cut, steamed, and dry fitted the laminates for the false stem. This weekend I hope to have these glued and screwed in place.
So, lots of progress has been made, and whilst the hull isn’t as fair as it possibly could be, I’m happy enough with what’s been achieved so far. Hopefully, I’ll have more to report next month.