Posted by: Wayne | September 22, 2010

Planking the garboard strakes

Over the past couple of days I have been putting on the center and forward sections of the garboard, or plank closest to the keel (bottom panel in this case).  The first step was to plane the stringer so that it follows the line of the plank.  I simply used a block plane and did it mostly by eye.  I periodically checked the bevel by laying a straightedge from the bottom panel to the stringer.  It should land cleanly on the stringer.  Then it was time to start planking.

I started with the center section.  The first step was to acquire some cheap hardboard to make patterns.  This should allow me to conserve the much more expensive plywood.

Optimizing plywood use with patterns.

After laying out the strakes, it is time to make the real plank.

Cut the plank oversize and mark the edges...

Then trim to the marked line.

After cutting them out, it is time to contort myself and goop glue into all the various corners, then fasten the plank in place with a mix of zip ties (at the bottom panel) and screws (at the stringer).

Gluing up the lowest plank is a bit awkward.

After the epoxy had set, I removed all the ties and screws.  I also made patterns for the forward and aft sections of the garboard.  The aft section has yet to be mounted.  I started fitting the forward section and planed one heck of a bevel on the stem.  I also trimmed the bottom (remember the 10mm error mentioned in a previous post).  Then I followed an iterative process of clamping the plank in place, tracing the edges, trimming to the line, clamping in place, and so forth.  Finally, I had both planks fitted to the forefoot.

This evening, I glued both planks into place (I am trying to do planks in pairs to reduce the chance of pulling things out of line).  I started by laying everything out.

Forefoot panels ready for glue-up.

I am joining the pieces of each plank with a butt strap, made out of the same 6mm plywood as the plank.  The plans show join locations, and I am simply following the locations as specified.  The forward join is just forward of bulkhead 3 (inside the front seat).

Gooping up the butt strap.

You never know where you will use leftover IKEA hardware.

During this whole process, Maria was taking pictures and Gabriel was amusing himself with safe tools in the garage.

Junior boatbuilder's helper, staying out of trouble.

After installing the butt strap, I gooped the remainder of the stringer and bulkhead edges.  I also put a generous dollop on the stem.

This darn well better not come loose. Ever.

Now came the fun part.  The planks I am installing goes from about 30 degrees above horizontal at its aft end to vertical at the bow.  Plywood really doesn’t like to bend like this.

Lots of clamps are needed to force plywood into these curves.

At this point, it was time to repeat the whole process for the starboard plank.  After getting everything clamped into place, we are left with something that is starting to resemble a boat!

The bow, safely clamped up.

It is hard to believe that 6mm plywood can be forced into such curves. It sure looks pretty, though.

It takes a LOT of clamps to make these curves.

Now I get to wait for the epoxy to cure.  I will probably leave the clamps in place for two days, instead of the usual one.  The last thing I want to see is a plank springing free when clamps are removed.  Two short, easy planks to go, then the entire garboard will be planked.  After that, I get to goop an epoxy fillet into the junction between the bottom panel and garboard, then add a layer of fiberglass tape to hold it all together.



  1. Looking great!

  2. Thanks! It is really fun to watch your progress. You look to be a week or two ahead of us right now. I wonder which one of us will launch first?

    God bless!

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