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Black Strakes and Wales

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 I am a bit puzzled about the realities of black strakes and wales on smaller vessels.


Can anybody give guidance - or shall I just do my "i am the skipper and  I do what looks right to me"


I thought I had an easy answer living near Charlestown so I popped in to see what was moored. Blow me  - wales yes but not on all and some were very small and narry a raised black strake to be seen !!


I am dithering - as usual- on the next bit of my build of Pickle (a lovely exercise - small size and a chance to practice new techniques. )


But I thought I had all sorted to do the second planking,

First step wales and black strake.

Kit instructions say form by adding another layer on top of the  1 x 4mm second plank strips adding strake layer 0.5 x 4 and wale 1 x 4mm.


I just dont like how it looks - wale and black strake same widths dont look right to me and there is a practical dificulty in laying planks to keep those teeny 0.5mm steps consistent.


I am thinking about putting in a single wale 1.8 x 5 which looks right toTO ME would this be historically inaccurate ?

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There was an evolution.   


7 Provincion ( Dutch - 1665 ) There are 4 single wales that stand at least twice the thickness of the hull planking.


Le Commerce De Marseille ( French 1788 )  three wales - the main (lowest)  long smooth transition from bottom planking and way thicker,  a step down above,  The other two wales - support below the gunports - stand out but are about 50% thicker than planks..


The Vincennes (USN 1825)  a single wale essentially 4 strakes wide and there is a smooth transition from bottom planking and on to the upper works. In cross section it looks like a bulge.

Edited by Jaager
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From Steel 1805


Brig Raven  100' LBP  77' keel (touch)  380 tons


Wales  To be oak or fir.  To have 2 strakes of Mainwales,  of 4.5 inches thick, and 12" each in breadth, and to have one strake of 3.5" thick-stuff next upon (above) and one strake of 3.5" next under, the main wale, to diminish to 3 " at the lower edge of the second strake; to be fastened wit treenails.


I read that the planking up to the rail is 3".

There is a smooth transition from the bottom planking to the wale as I read it. 

I can not tell if the upper works are step or also transition smoothly.  The plates show a step function for the upper planking on the larger ships.  The lower transition was not obsessively smooth on the larger ships either.


The wales are a constant width stem to stern and I would think that would also apply to the thick-stuff.

Edited by Jaager
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Jaager: there is a slight step between the wale (4 1/2") and the black strake (3 1/2") in your Raven example. The step is softened by a diagonal bevel, not a sharp edge. The strake immediately below the wale tapers in thickness by 1/2" to 3", smoothly transitioning into the bottom planking, as you say. The strkes above presumably also has a bevel along its upper edge next to the 3" topside plank.


Contemporary models with painted wales are seen both with black strakes painted black and not black - your choice!

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For my Bounty I am not using the caldercraft extra strip method and instead adding the wale directly on top of the first planking. The strip is naturally 2mm as opposed to 1mm thick and the strake is 1.5 as opposed to the same (standard second planking thickess is a mm).


This has the advantage of avoiding problems where your second planking run has a different curve to the wale run - which would look weird. It has the disadvantage of being far more difficult to bend the planks - though when I get to the standard planking it will seem easy in comparison...

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