Jump to content

Some beginners questions on deck planking

Recommended Posts



I have just got the model Revenge from Amati (ship from 1577) and the manual is great, but when it comes to the deck planking they don't suggest any form of caulking. I think it would look more realistic if I added that but when I also need to cut the deck planks into "correct lengths" and use some deck planking pattern that is correct for the time period. The manual just suggest putting the planks next to each other to make a "solid" deck.


I wonder what the correct length of deck planks and pattern was during the 16th century (1577). I have tried to search for it but can't find any good information.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Greetings Zamuel,


I used the included deck planking in the kit and cut lengths to approximately 20 feet. I've attached a close-up of my completed Revenge which you may find helpful. I use a "Sharpie" black marker (felt tipped pen) and run it (carefully) along ONLY one edge of adjacent planks to simulate caulking.


I then use an awl for simulated planking trunnels. After the awl "pokes," I use a darker oak stain applied by brush over the holes. This stain is darker than the natural that I use for the actual deck planking. Remember that the butt ends of the deck planking should terminate where beams would be located.


This was a wonderful and fun project. I'm certain you'll experience the same.


Good Luck.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ron, very nice picture. Looks very beutiful! How did you find were to put the plank ends (locations on beams)? I see you have a pattern of 3 between the planks. Is that something that was used during this time period or just something you guessed?


What kind of varnish did you use on the hull, decks? I'm new to wooden builds so I'm trying to learn while I build, but want to get as much information as possible instead of just guessing.

Edited by zamuel_a
Link to comment
Share on other sites



Thank you. No, I didn't do a Build Log. I have a handful of photos I will post in the Gallery in the next day or so. The model is truly unique looking, very colorful and has lots of interesting geometry, especially with full rigging (the mizzen and bonaventure masts with lateen yards).


From her cozy spot in my dining room, my Revenge garners quite a few comments - and questions! I'm also a history buff (like many others here) and my answers can result in mini-lectures about the defeat of the Spanish Armada! Some feel sorry they asked... :huh:




Thanks also...I guessed at the deck planking pattern. On locations for plank ends, I envisioned where I would have placed beams in the real ship and then carefully measured out from a datum point which I believe I referenced to the forecastle bulkhead. I use a product called "Minwax" stain. It's petroleum-based and comes in several wood "colors." (natural, oak, cherry walnut, etc.). I mostly use the Minwax natural stain since I prefer my models to present a look of the modeling woods I use - boxwood and pear, predominantly. I replaced all the wood in the kit (with the exception of the decking) with pear or boxwood. Once dried, I hand rub a clear satin polyurethane to most stained wood surfaces. This coat has a subtle reflectance and provides a practical sealing moisture barrier.


This kit is definitely an advanced one, and I assume you have some experience. The instruction book is reasonably well done for the hull components - however,  you're on your own when it comes to the rigging sequence. Fortunately, the excellent set of plans provide a decent guide.


You've chosen a great ship model kit to build. :rolleyes:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...



Keep in mind that you are building a model representing a vessel built in 1578, not 1788 when rules were better established. As you probably know, two ships bracketing your time period have been salvaged and excavated- Mary Rose, sunk in 1545 and your Vasa in 1628. The deck planking on these early vessels looks very haphazard by later standards with very short planks, varying widths and the presence of "drop strakes" (a wide piece of planking abutting two narrow ones).


Today, Naval Atchitects treat deck plating as a major strength element to resist longitudinal bending of the hull girder, but this was not the case in the 1600's and before. The many elevation changes caused by the many short decks fore and aft would have limited the deck's effectiveness as a strength member had builders at the time even understood the concept. The need for some sort on planking rules in the late 1500's were, therefore, not necessary, and probably not understood.


As your Revenge kit is undoubtedly a reconstruction of a historic vessel for which no plans exist use the kit materials to develop a pattern that looks convincing. No one can say that you're wrong.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all


A trick/ technique that I use is to trace the 'false deck' onto paper and then draw up planks and planking pattern on it before beginning. Experiment by drawing up a shift pattern, say 4 or 5. If you are not happy with how it looks, flip over and redraw on the other side. You can then track/ check off on this pattern as you plank your deck. The image below is of the deck of my current build (HMS Bounty). Note that I have written the plank pattern near the bow and ticked off each plank as it is fitted. This technique may not be for everyone, but it helps me :)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...