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I'm a first time model boat builder just getting started and still at the planning stage. Some questions about the scary bit - planking! 

 

- Firstly is there any good reason to attach the planks with nails? It seems to me that the stresses created by nailing will tend to warp the plank and prevent it flowing smoothly from stem to stern.  

- I'm stunned by the variety of methods available for bending planks; hot water soaking, curling iron heat, crimping tool etc. Which one is best for a beginner? I'm inclined to what I call the crimping tool.

- I've decided that, as a novice, single planking with lots of filler and a painted finish would be the best approach. Thoughts?

 

As part of my planning I've carefully read several of the build logs for this kit. Most of them make me think "I could probably do that", then I read Steve 12345's and my reaction was "Never in a month of Sundays"!!! 

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This was my first boat also (32 years ago) . to answer some of your questions, it depends if you intend to paint hull or not (I didn't but the picture you show probably would encourage me to do so). If you paint,which is more forgiving with a single plank hull, then you can "fake" it with more filler and use a plank bender ,nails (temporary), sandpaper and a good eye. Otherwise, soaking and heat source (modified soldering iron or hair dryer ) "white"pva glue and fingers or various clamps etc . I never liked nailing wet planks, but if you let dry before glueing, there OK.

Don't be disheartened - we all redo and replace. A single planked relatively small scale is not easy. My next boat was the Corel Victory, where the difficulty was understanding the plans, but the actual built was perhaps easier, having already built this. 21 builds later I'm now up to "scratch"

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

As I noted in my new member self introduction, I am traveling to Europe in October for an extended stay and this project is to be built there on the dining room table over the winter. I plan to take as much of the necessary tools and supplies with me as possible. The kit has already arrived over there. I have started collecting all the supplies and have just completed building a portable work station that can double as a storage box.

 

I now have identical wooden two trays that can be screwed together to form a 2” deep storage box to fit into a suitcase. One of these trays has a removable vise/vice assembly as shown in the picture. Now to finish collecting all the other stuff!

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So almost ready for departure. Here are all my tools and supplies loaded into one of the trays. I have done my research. A plank bending tool is being supplied with the kit by Cornwall Model Boats. Have decided to try the dry plank bending method first. Makes more sense if it works. Note two packets of Bulldog clips. I even have a few LEGO blocks!

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Welcome to the site!  I’m in no way an expert or even a novice, but I have had best luck plank bending with the solder iron type plank bending (after soaking in water), as well as the travel iron.  I used the crimping style once and never tried again.  Best of luck!  I have the same kit in my stash as it is a nice little ship! 

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Welcome to MSW.

I have this kit my stash. It is a smaller scale kit so there wont be to much plank bending. I have used the crimper and Would never do so again.

I found it put to much stress on the bend and ended up snapping. I personaly use the hot water method.

I would use the first planking as the base and second plank to gain more experiance.

Which ever method you use, good luck with your first build.

Paul

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I have not even got the crimping tool out of the box but I am already going off the idea of using it. Having listened to several opinions and done more research it seems to that it works by thinning and thus permanently weakening the plank. With experience, care and several broken planks I suspect you could eventually build the experience to use it relatively effectively. On the other hand the electric plank bender apparently temporarily softens the lignum which regains it’s strength as it cools. Looking at YouTube videos this seems to be a more novice friendly approach. 
 

Question - after using the electric plank bender is the plank dry enough to glue right away or do you have to wait awhile?

 

Lastly this device is clearly only a regular soldering iron with a round metal drum of metal attached to the working end. Has anyone ever tried to make one?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Personally, I wouldn't use a crimp type bender.  Building this model was my first and I had a lot of trial and error.  In the end, I ended up soaking the wood and bending with a curling iron.  I have one that runs off butane so it doesn't need to be plugged in.  I also found that once you soak the wood and bend it using heat, it's usually dry enough to install right away.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Finally work is underway! Opened the box and discovered the kit materials together with a DVD. Spent quite a lot of time studying the DVD which was valuable in planning ahead. Key sections of the DVD included a list of contents, pictures of the finished model, detailed photo based instructions and generic videos of various building techniques.
 

Transferred the instructions to an IPad for ease of reference during construction. The instructions included a system of icons to identify repetitive things such as cut, sand, bend and glue. See picture. A few written instructions were also included (in several languages) but generally the pictures were self-explanatory.  All very impressive and exactly what is needed by a first time builder.

 

Laid down the false keel on the home built vice, installed the first three bulkheads and almost persuaded the Admiral to break out a bottle of champagne to celebrate. She loves the stuff but I prefer just about anything else to drink. Underway at last. 

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Installing bulkheads going very smoothly and will soon be on to planking. The illustrations in the instructions show a vary basic planking techniques which I suppose is appropriate for beginners. Things like tapering a plank to a sharp point to fit the gap. I could go down this route, but having studied the planking advice on this site I’m going to try for something a bit more sophisticated, partly as a personal challenge but also because I’m still undecided whether or not my workmanship will be adequate to use a natural finish on the model - which I know will show every single defect!

 

The kit is designed for single planking, using filler to fill the gaps and finally painting to cover up all the shortcomings. I have decided that I should try to complete the planking to the best of my ability and only then do I need to decide whether it needs hull painting to cover up mediocre workmanship.
 

Looking forward to the challenges of plank bending. Stay tuned!

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After gluing all the bulkheads discovered that one was misaligned. I had carefully ensured that they were all set at right angles to the false keel (in plan view) using clamps and Lego blocks. After the glue dried I looked along the keel line from the bow and discovered one (only!) frame was slightly rotated. Time to discover ungluing! Discovered that I could not buy isopropyl alcohol locally and the substitute of surgical spirit proved useless. Ordered what I needed from the internet, to fix inevitable future problems, and decided that I could use sanding to deal with the immediate issue without waiting for Amazon.

 

Trial fitting of the false deck piece suggested that it might flex into position without using any pre-bending techniques. However decided to pre-bend anyway - just for the experience. Put the piece into a preheated baking dish, poured on boiling water and left it in the oven for ten minutes. A quick surface wipe to remove excess water then elastic bands used to bind it into place while cooling and drying. Certainly seemed to be quite flexible after time in the oven! See illustration. Hopefully it will have a nice natural bend when dry.
 

 

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Edited by Neil10
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  • 3 weeks later...

So progress has been quite slow but steady. Used a small (6”) rasp to fair the edges of the bulkheads, much faster than sand paper and the rasp handle gives good control. An ultra cheap set of miniature files and rasps from the internet was a good investment. Still need to fine tune the fairing by trial fitting of a plank.

 

Then went on to plank the main deck using a 2B pencil on the edges of the planks to make the joints stand out. A fair amount of lead smudging is dirtying the deck but trust that a little light sanding will clean this up before applying a light coat of matt polyurethane to protect the planks. Aware that brushing might spread pencil lead around so this will have to be done very carefully.
 

You will note that the plank layout, or at least the joints, is not uniform. Not sure when I lost control of the symmetry and this was definitely an “Oh s**t” moment. Thought about this for a long time, and decided that, after all the deck furniture is installed only you professionals will notice. OK so I’m lazy!

 

Now need to trim the planks to the correct deck outline. Decided that cutting downwards is the only way to prevent splintering so will use a digital caliper to transfer the hidden under deck shape to the top sides to pencil in a cutting line. 

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Deck planking completed but not the way the kit instructions contemplated. They wanted me to paint the deck, which obviously an easy solution for beginners, but I wanted the challenge of allowing the individual planks to show. Seems to have come out quite well. The planking on the raised stern section is better than the main deck as my skills improved. Next step is to start planking the hull which can start next week when my plank bending travel iron arrives!

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First hull plank edge bent with travel iron to get vertical curve about right and glued into position around mid ships prior to bending horizontal curve in towards the bow in place using the same method. 

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Edited by Neil10
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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

After a Xmas break back to work planking the hull. Interesting challenge getting planks to bend in two plains. Have now adopted the approach of bending in place on the hull using a travel iron and a little water rather than on a jig as shown in post #17. This seems to work well and is definitely faster but leads to occasional slightly singed fingers. Since my target is a painted single planked hull, which is the kit objective, perfect fit is not essential. Filling and sanding will cover any blemishes!


The kit instructions suggest no interest in a “nice” planked finish but I have been experimenting with the target of a better quality job by tapering planks at bow and stern. Fully aware of advice not to taper planks beyond 50% but decided this was mainly for model authenticity so have fully tapered some (see plank near false keel) to minimal width as needed. This will not show under the paint!

 

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Edited by Neil10
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  • 2 weeks later...

Progress is quite slow but planking almost complete. A great replacement for socialising during Covid. To date have effectively used a 6” rasp to roughly contour the hull and smooth the plank joints. Much faster than sanding and the small flat face of the tool gives excellent control. Next step is to use filler on gaps and low points and then sandpaper for final smoothing.
 

Next install the bulwarks which will entail a lot of pre-bending at the stern. Am Inclined to pre-paint the interior face of the bulwarks rather than face the challenge of painting in situ.

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