Friday, September 7, 2007

Port hull planking continues

I'm still planking away; am somewhat disappointed by the rate of progress but there's a lot of surface area to cover compared to the floats, and a lot more walking around from one side to the other.

Here I'm putting a gentle curve into one area of a plank; this takes me no more than about 3-4 minutes:

Tip: heat both sides of the area you're trying to bend.

I just recently purchased those knee pads in the picture above. Wow but are they ever comfortable; you almost forget you're working on your knees half the time.

A shot from the rear; I'm drilling screws into the foam:

As I worked my way up toward the bow, I wasn't happy with this particular plank and decided to remove it and re-do the battens:

After removing the plank, I added some extra screwing blocks. It sometimes helps to be able to screw the battens down to more than just the form frames:

That right-angle drill attachment comes in handy between frames 1-3, where space is tight.

I keep re-discovering planking tricks that I had forgotten back from when I did my floats. For example, use a clamp to give you leverage when trying to twist a batten into a flatter position:

Here's how the battens near the bow keel ended up:

I did use the hot box for the last three bow planks and it was a life-saver, so I'm glad we constructed it; that curve by the keel is really tricky to get right with a heat gun. I found that my heat box has a very thin line between just right, and over-heating. "Just right" is about 3 minutes, 15 seconds; once you get past 3 minutes 30 seconds, it starts to scallop something awful.

Ah, now that looks better (at least it's good enough for me):

Laying in the next-to-last bow plank:

I had an Oaf Moment (tm) and cracked the keel batten right in front of frame #1, and had to brace it out with several blocks:

It can sometimes be difficult past form frame #1, to know what things should look like. Yeah, the battens extend out but let's face it they're made of wood which may not behave quite the same in all situations, or maybe you didn't quite screw them at the right angle to frames 1 or 2. I remember fighting with this area on my floats, but the main hull is worse simply because it's larger. Here's a side shot of my last bow plank to give you an idea:

Notice that I made almost no pretence at trying to make that last curve at the keel. I actually got the bow template out to check, only about 4-5 inches in front of form frame #1 are used, and it's obviously a very thin area, so I'm not concerned. If it doesn't look quite right post-join, I'll build it back out with putty.

Compared to the bow area, the flat gunwale sections are a breeze. They do require you to get grungy in order to drive in the screws though:

I struggled all the way up to the bow, trying to minimize the gaps between planks. I'll have to repair some holes with some extra foam before I laminate, some of the holes are just too big for putty alone (eg, 1/4"-1/2" gaps running a foot or so). Eventually I figured out what I was doing wrong and got my scribing technique to work. Here's a custom scribed plank that is correcting the plank orientation back to vertical (or nearly so):

Here's where I quit for the day:

I have only a few feet to go before I reach the stern, and maybe eight more feet of gunwale. Then I'll get started on the keel high density, and doing the putty in between the planks. I was going to try to use a polyurethane glue, and glue the planks as I went, but I was having enough trouble just coordinating things as it was - so I decided to stick with what worked before, even it makes the boat heavier than need be.

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