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The decking begins. Not a lot new to report, just the measure, cut, fit, we’ve all done to lay a deck. This is the first time I’ve first glued the deck furniture to the false deck and the planking fitted around it. While it definitely looks better, it is also definitely more work to get the planking cut to fit.




I use Tamiya tape to fit angles and tight space, just cutting the tape to the right fit, taping that to the plank and cutting from there. I also use card stock, just depends on the piece I’m trying to fit.




While laying the first phase of the deck is straight forward, I piled up all the tools I used. It turned out to be quite the pile of stuff.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned The Chopper and The True Sander before, I’ve got these long before my Byrnes machines. They make life easier with quick cuts (it uses a standard razor blade so easy to change) and sanding to get tight square fits. It’s one more way to sand stuff along with my sandpaper, blocks, and sticks - sooo many ways to sand…




In case you’re wondering things are even and centered, only the iPhone and the person holding it are a tilted throwing off perspective. I cut ¼ planks to have to fill the notched either side on the bread hatch, I’m sure the shades of the yellow cedar will even out as I go and once the completed deck is sanded and WOP applied.


So now it’s time for the planking fan and tapered planks to form the curved deck planking. This will take a while…

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45 minutes ago, glbarlow said:

I piled up all the tools I used. It turned out to be quite the pile of stuff.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned The Chopper and The True Sander before, I’ve got these long before my Byrnes machines. They make life easier with quick cuts (it uses a standard razor blade so easy to change) and sanding to get tight square fits. It’s one more way to sand stuff along with my sandpaper, blocks, and sticks - sooo many ways to sand…


Great work Glenn. I've got the same pile on my bench! :)


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  • 2 weeks later...

Things are proceeding slowly right now, one because some of the deck details are slow work but also because the holidays are coming up and Covid or not life gets a bit more hectic.




I’ve decked a few models in my time but here we are again with another first on Cheerful, the curved planked deck. The deck is planked in two belts (much like the hull only flatter) The first step of the process is to establish the curve for the inner belt of six planks either side from the five already laid. I used thin artist tape, perfect for the job. I had one clear staring point, the full six plank width at midships. maybe a general idea of the bow and stern end point from studying photos of Chuck’s model in the monograph. But then its no more than a feel for what looks right, not easy for my metric based mind. I stuck and unstuck tape until it wouldn’t stick any more then pulled out a new piece and started again. I had to ask for a little affirmation from Chuck I was in the ball park and that finally I was. With that done I duplicated my 'artistic' curve on the other side - which I might add is harder to do.  It did help to confirm equal distances from each bulkhead using small scrap wood.




Then it’s time to line the deck just as I did with the hull. I had marked the bulkhead locations back when I installed the false deck, that was a wise move on my part, no need to guess where they are at this point.


I converted the tape line to a pencil line and removed the tape. Using the planking fan and strips of card stock I worked each each bulkhead on both sides. This is tedious but essential work, it took me a full day to complete this task, there are no shortcuts to measure, mark, measure.




In order to avoid slivers of planks on the sides of the deck furniture the monograph notes to instead cut the plank at an angle creating a notch to fill with the next plank. I had six of these to make as it turns out. I made templates by cutting one card to be just the plank width then a second card to fit the notch, then used double sided tape to combine them and complete the template. 




These are not easy to make right. The concept is easy, the execution not so much in order to get a tight fit. I used more double side tape to attach the template the the ¼ plank and used my trusty #11 blade to cut the plank.  Then I did that 5 more times…ok more than 5 more times was needed to get 6 that fit right. I was thankful this was not a kit (yet again) because I just kept ripping and cutting ¼ planks until I had what I wanted. In the end it creates a nice look I think.


As with all the deck planks I ran a #2 pencil line down one side of each plank to simulate the caulking.  In the process of making these I twice knocked a hinge off the companionway, I decided not to replace them a third time until I was done with the decking.




I’m happy with how these came out and will admit to two modifications I made, on purpose, because I’m of limited skill. With creating the notched fits around the furniture I elected not to taper the first run of 6 plank belt because I didn’t think the combined tapered and notched plank looked right, at least not to the extent I could make them.



I also modified the butt shift pattern from the plans on this first row for a similar reason. As a result I spent a good deal of time on a paper copy of the plan modifying it to stay true to the four butt shift  pattern, then transferred those marks to the deck. I elected to use a razor saw to cut butt joints partway through a full length plank for those close to the stern or bow. This was the best way for me to ensure a clean taper given my limited skill. For model purposes I really only needed one actual cut joint per row.



Here’s the first belt competed, I’m not sure I got the curve exactly right, I think it will look fine once the 2nd belt is installed. I have not done the final sanding and scraping or applied any WOP, I’ll do that with the finished deck. I’m ok with the color and grain variation, the WOP will even it out and, like the hull, it gives the deck character.


Off to cutting hooded planks for the second belt and finishing up the deck.

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Awesome job you’re doing on your Cheerful! Congrats! I’m new to this forum and have been reading and absorbing knowledge like a dry sponge and looking for more. Earlier in your log, you mentioned that you have a method for ripping/milling planks. Could you explain and post some pictures as this is an area I need to learn. Many thanks!



Edited by Freebird
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2 hours ago, Freebird said:

ripping/milling planks. Could you explain and post some pictures

Thanks for the comment. I wrote a separate post on how I rip planks. Keep in mind this is how I do it based on what I learned from others, there is more than one opinion on the topic. Here’s the link to that post.


Edited by glbarlow
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On 12/13/2020 at 5:58 AM, Rik Thistle said:

decking layout


18 hours ago, Freebird said:

new to this forum


On 12/13/2020 at 10:14 AM, Matt D said:

deck lining.


47 minutes ago, BobG said:

attention to detail

Thank you all for your kind comments, they are really appreciated. @chuck has designed such a nice model, it’s a fun, but challenging, build. Also thanks for the new likes and followers. 

I’ve finished one side of the deck, I hope to complete it by this weekend. 

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Just caught up with you!  What a nice job!  I've stolen your idea for the template you've created for the deck planking - Thanks!!  I am very curious to see how this curved deck planking works out - how did they do it for real?  and why?  I guess that's why I was in the Army, not the Navy ... some of this stuff is a mystery to me.



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The main issue on deck planking was to avoid "pointed" planks because these would certainly leak. so methods were developed to produce a more right angled cut.  Prior to about 1850 the method was to curve the planks so that only a few on the outer edge needed any kind of special treatment.  The method was to used hooked scaph joints against the waterway as Glenn describes. 



When I look at these I feel there is still a degree of "pointiness".  A later method was  to use nibbing, where planks were parallel and cut into the waterway. 


This method was probably superior.



Edited by bartley
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Thanks for that explanation.  Do you know how they curved the deck planks originally?  Wouldn’t they have been edge curved?  Or were they cut in a curve?  I enjoy just reading these conversations because I learn so much, so please excuse my ignorance.


keep going, Glenn - this is fun watching your unbelievable work progress!



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I don't know the answer to this but the curve is very gentle, as you find out when you do it on a model.  Depending on the timber I suppose they may have edge bent them with the help of steam. They did also force trees to grow with bends in them but considering their woodworking skills they may have just cut them from a wider plank.



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Completing the Deck



Decking Cheerful seems like three different projects, planking the center around the deck furniture, the first belt of six curved planks, and the final belt of hooked scarphs.  It took me a while to sort out how to do this third step and interesting design features of Cheerful’s deck, at least for me it wasn’t readily obvious how to create them, or at least create ones that fit.  So I thought for those interested, and with my never ending quest to provide way too much detail, I thought I’d share how I did it. I again acknowledge there are likely better and more than one way (write your own log:-) this is just how did them.



I did some measurements and determined that starting with 5/16 planks (the widest of my selection of cedar) would be wide enough to include the scarphs. I could have also used 3 inch wide sheet wood, and maybe I should have, but the 5/16 was my choice so I ripped some planks and off I went.



Back from the “hook” itself the plank obviously has to be 3/16 to match the rest of the deck so I slide a 3/16 plank until it met the margin plank and marked that line. I decided after some experimentation I wanted a 3mm fit “into the hook” on the bow and 2mm on the stern. I selected the smaller size on the stern because the hook portion would be too large for my taste due the more narrow overall angle, so the fit was largely dictated by my choice of size of the resulting hook (or hood as I’ve seen some call it). So I made a little jigs, one 3mm and one 2mm. I slide that under the 3/16 plank and drew a line the would become the size and shape of the hook to check the look and also put a light mark at that spot on the margin plank as shown in the photo.



Next to get the required angle on the front edge I fit and cut some Tamiya tape. You can see my earlier marks below the tape.



Then I transferred the tape to my 5/16 plank and made the cut.



I slid the full plank into its future home and transferred the pencil mark I’d made on the margin plank to the 5/16 plank, and the first step is done. That mark defines the hook forward and the 3/16 plank behind. The cut of the angle has to be larger than the mark, otherwise it won't be a hook, this can be adjusted by the width of the fit into the hook, part of the measurement process that led me to the 3mm and 2mm jigs. 



Next I used a 3/16 plank to mark its width onto the 5/16 plank, holding it firm with my heavy ruler and handy square, but double checked it with another ruler. As it turns out I needed to remove 3mm (so fun jumping back and forth from imperial to metric).



My scarph is marked and ready to cut. The total length of each scarph is determined by the butt joint plan I noted in my last post, the total length of course varied for each of the twelve (6 per side) I made.



Since I can’t take a photo and wield a #11 blade at the same time here is the result. I used my little 220 and 320 grit sanding blocks and files to finish it up. I also slightly beveled the back side on all four sides. This is an important step I believe. I want the top edge dictating the fit not any minor differences on the sides or bottom edge.



And what do you know, it fits. It's ok if its short of the mark a bit (resulted from squaring it up and matching it to the starboard size in this case) it just can't be longer than the mark on the margin plank. I also had to remember not to forget the pencil mark on the edge closes to the side to simulate caulking.



To complete the row I do the same process on the stern then determine the length of a 3/16 plank to fit between them. I cut that plank a little long then use my Byrnes Sander extremely gently and slowly form the edge until I have the right length (it’s actually spinning in this photo, close as I’ll get to live action shots).



Then it’s back to the bending station to get the required curve for a tight fit. I’ve said it multiple times and will say it once more (for the last time in this log as I don’t think there is anything left to bend): Chuck's technique of using dry heat in the form of a travel iron (so much quieter and quicker than a hair dryer) is the way to bend wood in my humble opinion. The only water I use is dipping my finger into the little pitcher shown in the photo and lightly wetting the wood.  I can (and have) unbend the same plank if I bend it too much. I have a couple of templates depending on what curve I need and always put a scrap piece between the plank and clamp to keep it from marking or crimping the plank. This process just works for me.



Here’s the completed row, the three pieces now glued to the deck. I don’t think I got the curve exactly right on the first belt. Oh well, it’s the curve I have.


I hope this step by step detail helps someone someday, it was a certainly process of discovery for me. Yet again a thing I’d never done before, thank you @Chuck and Cheerful.



Here’s the nearly completed deck. I’m not done, I’ll lightly sand the first coat of WOP and apply a second plus there are a few blemishes I’ll attend to before moving on. I personally think Chuck’s design and instructions make for a pretty interesting deck. There’s a lot more going on than my usual straight bow to stern planking.



So many joints and angles here at the stern. I think it’s pretty cool how it all fits together, making each plank was a process in and of itself.



A look at the bow and it’s interlocking pieces. The planks aren’t discolored in front of the hatches, that’s the shadow they’re casting from the poor orientation of my workshop light above and behind.



Finally another above look. My only minor disappointment is the amount of variation in the cedar color. The WOP did even it out a lot but there is more variation than on the hull. The 5/16 is darker and as it was used only on the outside stands out, plus there is a much paler plank running either side of center. I like that it’s not all the same, it makes it come alive, I just kinda wish there was just a little less variation. I’m sure that will all fade together as the rest of the deck and cannon are added. Again there are shadows from lighting, I first thought what are those squares, then realized its window light coming through the gun ports on the far side plus the work light coming from behind.


My grumbling aside, I’m happy with the finally completed hull. As Chuck noted in the monograph, with the deck complete all the big messy stuff is done. Now I begin to add the details, sub-assemblies and mini-kits to make it a ship.


I started April 30th, so it’s been eight months to reach this point. What a fun ride its been.

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