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Garboard plank - Can't get it to work!

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Hello! I'm new here!


My name is Jakob, a 25 year old from Sweden. I'm scratch building the HMS Surprise and have built up the inner parts with bulkheads etc. However, the planking process has bugged me a lot and I haven't been able to get the garboard plank right. I've been trying to find guides and forum posts about it, read several, but still haven't been able to make a correct garboard strake. This has got my modeling to periodical halts, but I'm still determined to keep going and one day examine my complete model.    


From my understanding the garboard should be shaped so that the following planks above will have a natural flow without any bending (up-/downwards that is) to the planks. I'm not achieving this, and it seems as though it's not even possible on my model (maybe my planks are to large though? see below). I've been able to somewhat get the planks in place but I would have had to bend them against their natural flow. One problem is that I can't seem to figure out what shape the garboard should have. Some say/show convex, concave, or that they just sand it in a "trial and error" kind of way until it works (when I did that my strake became like half the width of the other planks, rather than the double width as I read it should be).


I wonder if the size of my planks could be a problem. My model is in the scale of 1:200 so it's smaller than any models I read about. At the same time my planks are 5mm wide which my local model store manager proposed. I've read some people have 5mm planks for models double the size of mine which makes me wonder. Is this a big problem or could it work just the same?


The first time I really tried measuring how the garboard should look like (have been taking breaks in between here so I can't remember exactly how I did these measurements, but I followed a guide anyway), I got a paper template cut out and shaped my two garboards accordingly. Then I tapered one a bit and glued it to place, I started fitting the other planks but quickly saw that the planks at the bow section would go more and more upward. I would have to adjust every plank individually to make it work (wouldn't even be fixed with a drop plank) so I finally decided to restart and try make another garboard since I read that this problem is caused by the garboard plank. The next garboard became the one that got even thinner than the normal planks which also went completely wrong. 


One thing that once again made me think maybe the error is in my (perhaps) too wide planks, is that the planks at the bow would always raise/go upwards a little instead of just straight forward. Even if I would taper away the garboard so it wouldn't even go into the bow section, the planks would go upwards.


I'm sorry if this is a little messy! Hopefully someone of you who are cunning in this craft can catch some important signals in what I have said and give me some guidance!



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Hello Jakob, and a very warm welcome to the forum from 'Down Under'.


One of your problems may be that your planks are too wide for your scale.  For true to scale plank widths, your planks should only be about 1.5 mm wide at as scale of 1:200.


Have you read any of the articles on planking in the articles/downloads section?  there are several articles on planking to choose from.  You can find them here:





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Yes I read "Simple Hull Planking for Beginners" a couple of times, especially the garboard chapter. I've also read "A Primer on Planking" and "Planking Tutorial - Lining Off a Hull". I've also read other articles/guides found elsewhere. 


Having 1,5 mm planks would be impossible I suppose. Or well, toothpicks would perhaps solve that somewhat... I thought if splitting my planks in halves so they became about 2,5mm. Would this width be a good adjustment enough? 

Edited by Jakob
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Hello Jakob and welcome! It looks like you are getting some good advice here. I recommend that you go ahead and start a build log and post some pictures of your build.



In progress:
Medway Longboat 1742 - Syren Ship Model Company -1/2" scale

USS Constitution - Model Shipways - Scale 1:76

HMS Granado - CAF Model - 1:48

HMS Sphinx - Vanguard

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm sorry this comes a bit late, but other things have gotten in my way. Thanks for you help!


I've successfully cut my former planks into half their width, they were actually 4mm wide so the planks now cut are about 2mm. This made things a lot better. I've planked one side of the ship (not the upper part yet though) and will do the rest soon. Currently I'm trying to solve some problems with the stern part. I figured that maybe I should have the section which is directly below the cabin (which connects to the planks) at place since the planks at the stern will finish there.


Maybe I'll find the energy to start a build log, of course that would be best.

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