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Question re: wood for hull planking

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I am currently building the Revenge by Amati and I wonder if someone could help with a question regarding pliability of holly or swiss pear.  The kit is double planked and requires some complex curves at the bow, especially for the wales and upper strakes.  The wood supplied is some sort of walnut, 1x5 mm, and not really suitable for bending along its edge, even with soaking in water or ammonia.  And I really don't want to make these planks with spiling (and after watching Chucks's videos, seems like you don't really need to do this anyway if you have the right type of wood)  I have some 1x4 mm Holly and this wood is so pliable I can bend it along its edge quite a bit without breaking (almost 90 degrees).  The same is true with some 1x3 pear wood that I have.  So my question is this:  can a slightly larger plank of pear or holly, say 1x5 or 2x5, be bent just as easily without fracturing?  I am thinking of replacing the hull walnut with pear and would like some advice before I put an order in with Crown Timberyard.  Unfortunately I have neither of these sizes to test at home and the 1x4 holly is a bit out out scale for hull planking.  





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My experience has been a bit different Jeff.

I ve never used or even seen holly. I ve used swiss pear a lot though. I ve found that it does not like bending much. It can but it needs a lot of force to keep it in shape, it can fracture suddenly and does not respond well to steam/hot water bending. Also, it resists sanding as it is hard. At 1 mm any wood will bend. At 2 mm, you might struggle with pear. Maybe I am wrong though.

Of all the timbers I have, pear strips are the only ones that even after many years they are still dead straight, everything else has warped with moisture changes and time.


My 2 cents

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Jeff I am not an expert at planking but have learned a lot from those better than myself. In reading your post I have to presume you are trying to avoid spiling or at the least, minimize it. I have tried Chuck's method of heating and force bending the planks with less than good results. In the demo he did in his video I think (guess) he was using 3/64 planking (a fat 1mm). Wood doesn't bend in 3 planes as I have been  taught so that may be a good limit to keep in mind.


In my mind spiling is unavoidable but can be mastered. I have been tutored by a fine modeler and have been allowed to capture his NRG presentation of a number of years back on our web site. It is in our RESOURCES segment under SHOP NOTES Part II on Planking. Our web site is www.modelshipwrightguildwny.org. His pictorial presentation is easily understood. Mind you we are not the first nor last word on hull planking but you may find the references within helpful.


My 4 cents.



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In the boat I currently build, I spilled all 35 planks, some very heavily. The 2 mm maple refused to bend sideways but very happily bent any other way. Some planks were 80 cm long and after the first 2-3 planks I standardised a method. Best to spill, very satisfying too. You will not convince a 2 mm strip to take this bend!





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