Jump to content

Planking (spilling) fan

Recommended Posts

Hi to the planking Swami's among you.

 I'd like to draw my own 'planking fan' as I don't have a printer. I can draw, but haven't a clue how to configure the radiating angles. I appreciate those angles must be based on something, but what? Is there a formula? I've seen one or two of these fans illustrated on the forum, but I'd like to understand the principal properly. Your wisdom required, please.

On a related matter; is it possible to plank a hull without resorting to stealers? I'd like to think so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No formula required! Draw two straight lines parallel to each other, almost the width of your paper apart. Draw a number of points along one line slightly less far apart than the narrowest plank. On the other line, draw a number of points slightly wider than the widest plank. Join the lines up across the sheet and voila! Your fan.


Of course, you could simply start from a single point on one side of the paper instead.

Edited by druxey

Be sure to sign up for an epic Nelson/Trafalgar project if you would like to see it made into a TV series  http://trafalgar.tv

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The angle between each line in the fan is identical.  The smaller the angle - the easier it is to get a

position on it.  The function is the find equal segment subdivisions for a selected distance.

I think that would be easier to set a point on the midline at the top of a page and draw a line from it to a point on a ruler at the bottom every x mm apart.

T use it, it is better to remeasure the gap after each course of planking.  If your gap is for 8 planks,

rather than doing all 8 at the start, measure one, lay it,  measure the gap for 7 lay it, measure for 6 -lay it ....

An alternative is to use a proportional divider and pick off the points from it.  I think the fan is both easier

and more accurate as well as being a lot less expensive.


The necessity for stealers depends on the hull.  There is a minimum width for hull planks. I think it is Davis

that provided the 5-4-3 Planking Rule =  width   5 midship  4 bow  3 stern 

This being a ratio of the actual plank widths.  The slope of the midship bend as well as the size of the ship

will determine how wide a plank can be before it rocks like a teeter totter rather than laying on the frame.

If the width at the ends is too narrow = a stealer is needed.


NRG member 45 years



HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner -  framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner -  timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835  ship - timbers ready for assembly


Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks chaps. I have a split personality, altering between Mr. Dumb and Mr. Dumber.

So the function of the fan is to give a consistent even spacing of planks at a given bulkhead.

Drawing a fan consists of lines radiating from a vanishing point. So each gap between the lines represent each plank selected for the job.

Back to the fan. presumably the lines are 10 degrees apart.

Then you mark a paper strip with the top and bottom of the area being planked; then offer the strip to the fan so those marks coincide with the relevant fan lines; then mark off each fan line in between onto the paper. Take the paper and transfer those marks to the bulkhead.

Is that it? Simples?


Once again, thanks to my BIGGEST FANS!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lines can be any (constant) number of degrees apart. And yes, in principle, that is it. See Antscherl's Primer on Planking, this site:




(Scroll down and click).

Be sure to sign up for an epic Nelson/Trafalgar project if you would like to see it made into a TV series  http://trafalgar.tv

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Haven't actually heard of the 'fan' as proportional dividing tool before  :o


I used a simple paper strip for each frame/bulkhead to take off the circumference and subdivided the measured circumference into an equal number of strakes/planks of calculated (pocket calculator) width, beginning from the middle of the ship. If the plank width becomes too wide at the end(s), you will have to add stealers and vice versa. There are usually certain strakes that run uninterruptedly along the whole length and that have a fairly uniform width, namely the wales. These planks should be put into place first, dito the strake along the keel. The remaining spaces then are subdivided as appropriate.


'Fitting' the planks is a good advice and follows prototype practice. Trying to shape a priori all planks is likely to lead to frustration and poor fit ...

Edited by wefalck



panta rhei - Everything is in flux



M-et-M-72.jpg  Banner-AKHS-72.jpg  Banner-AAMM-72.jpg  ImagoOrbis-72.jpg
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

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