Monday, November 11, 2013

The Utility: Fitting the first planking panels

After a brief debate about whether to plank the transom first, or last, I eventually came to the conclusion that it’s a matter of individual preference. Other boatbuilders I trust kindly offered me their opinions, reasons, and techniques. I weighed all of their input before deciding on my own course of action.

I’m going to plank the sides first, and the transom second. That way, the aesthetics of the bright-finished transom should be consistent all the way out to the sides, with no end grain from the side planking visible.

Then I’m going to plank the bottom last. The reason for this basically boils down to ease of construction, regarding the transom. It seems to me that it will be easier to plank the transom while I can still access both inner and outer surfaces of it for clamping. I wouldn’t be able to do this after the bottom is planked. Since the lower edge of the transom will be underwater, then it won’t matter if the end grain is visible (whether or not it’s an aesthetic matter).

I started by cutting two 2’ x 4’ panels from a sheet of the Meranti. These will be the aft side panels. I clamped the first one into place on the starboard side. Then I roughly traced the trim line with a pencil, and removed the panel. I drew a second line 1” outside the trim line, so the panel would still be slightly oversized after I cut it. I cut it, and checked it against the port side. Since it looked good against the port side also, I used the cut piece as a template to trace out the second panel.

With both panels cut, I clamped them back into position. I’m very happy with the fitting on the starboard side. The port side still needs a little fairing, but it’s close.

Initial fitting of the aft starboard panel.

Aft starboard panel-to-transom fit. This gap will need to be filled in.

Aft starboard panel to frame #1 fit.

Aft starboard panel-to-transom inner fit.

Aft port panel-to-transom fit.

Aft port panel-to-sheer fit. This area needs a little more fairing.

Aft port panel-to-sheer fit, forward of frame #1. This area needs a little more fairing.

1 comment:

  1. I'm amazed by how clean your clamps look, Mike. Mine are all covered in dried epoxy!