2014-10-27

Post XX - Planking Techniques

On the whitehall hull, the topsides and garboard areas are pretty flat and my first few planking sessions didn't require very much custom planing. As I approach the turn of the bilge I'm relying a lot more on my block plane to get a good fit. I had originally planned on following the technique described on the Laughing Loon website:


The problem is that you need at least three hands to cut a rolling bevel like that -- one to secure the strip, one to hold the work against the plane's sole, and a third to push the plane along the strip. In the LL case, the "securing" hand is replaced by a clamp on the amidships station mold, and the builder's hands do the other two jobs. He also has a much nicer saw than me and pre-cuts every strip with a 3deg bevel beforehand to minimize the necessary planing work on the not-so-curved sections of the hull.

I have a lot of short strips and you end up needing to fit in even shorter lengths here and there so as not to have the seams all line up at the same mold station. It makes it tough to use exactly the LL method everywhere and I just couldn't get good results. I also have a super shitty table saw that barely manages to cut straight (let alone accurate bevels, see Post II), so I made up my own method.

First, check the bevel before cutting -- just hold it in place and you can see exactly how much to shave off the inboard side of the strip.

Figure 63: Check the bevel by putting the strip in place. 


And before you go saying I'm a no-talent hack...I know the staples are crooked and it doesn't bother me in the slightest.

Step two: clamp a block plane gently in a vise. Do this carefully in a pussy little vise using a block plane you don't care much about. No Lee Valley planes allowed!

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No clue who keeps linking here from homemadetools.net, but I'm
glad somebody takes an interest in my hackish methods.
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Figure 64: Beat-up block plane clamped in a small, weak vise.


Step three: Use your left hand kinda like the picture below. I use thumb and pointer finger to set the bevel angle and my other two useful fingers to squeeze the strip against the plane's sole. Right hand pulls the strip through my fingers and the blade. If you're one of those satan-spawn lefties then do all of this backwards like everything else in your backward life. 

Oh, and i quickly realized that the edges of the strips are sharp as fuck and will quickly cut your fingertips to ribbons. Use gloves or a little scrap of wood under your fingers to protect them!

Figure 65: Muckle onto that strip!


This technique is working really well now that I've used it for a few bevels. I just mark on the strips how much bevel is needed as I fit them (Figure 63) and as long as I come somewhat close then the result looks fine. 

Finally, some boat porn for anybody that actually reads this; current progress on the port side is 10 strips. 8 strips to starboard. Got a way to go yet, but it's very gratifying seeing the curves coming together at long last. 

Figure 66: Current progress: 10 strips port side, 8 strips starboard side. 

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