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Spiling - Probably a Quick Answer

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I'm not planking the hull yet, but have begun to plan for it. I came across some articles and pix about spiling. 


My Niagara build calls for 1/16"x3/32" sticks for hull planking. In some of the pix I saw, someone was really having to put a curve in the plank. Not bending but cutting an actual curve - spiling.


So if/when I have to do that does it mean I may start out with material that is wider than 3/32" ???  If yes, is it better to get some slightly wider sticks? Cut from a sheet?


I just ordered boxwood sticks for the hull, so if I need some additional material for spiling I want to get that ordered so it is on hand.

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Good morning Mike

Yes you will need wider planks, I don't know enough yet myself to help you with what you need to do.


But this topic was going earlier



I think in the past they looked for the trees with right bend in them.

Cheers Chris

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I realize that the answer to my next question would depend on the hull, but on average what percentage of planks start out with wider material? Niagara has a narrow bow.


And again, assuming one must start wider, is it more economical to use wider planks? Use a sheet? I'm thinking sheet as anything you trim from a plank ends up waste.


I apologize if these are "duh" questions but I'm getting a little nervous over this.   AHmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. ^_^

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Mike, I can't help you with the number of spiled planks you would need but would hazard it would be very limited. I think most people try to do a bit of edge bending to avoid all but the most obvious spiles - but that may not be a universally held view. The trouble with going to wider planks than those called for, except for those needed for spiling, is that they pose additional challenges because of the vertical hull curvature and they will severly limit edge bending (which is a moot point if you're prepared to spile everything anyway). I hope that may be of some use. Good luck,



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You can make wider planks by edge gluing narrow planks.  It may look strange if you're not painting or coppering.  


If you use steam or hot water for making the planks pliable for bending, check whether the glue will hold up.  I use heat from a modified soldering iron for bending.  Fish glue stands the heat well.

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I don't mind doing the spiling. If that's how it was done then that's how I want to do it.


My concern was really to make sure I had the proper materials on hand.  It's a pet peeve of mine, getting motivated to work on something and then either running out of or not having the parts I need.


I have another timber order to make. so I'll add a few wider planks and maybe a sheet as well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My 'duh' of the day is what is 'sheet material'?  Got a picture of this?  Why is it easier to spile?


I am the last person to get concerned about authenticity (I just hope to finish a project) but wouldn't the builders use the same material in the shipyard, same length/width/deepth for this effort?

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