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How long do you soak the planks ?


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20 minutes for basswood in water that has been brought to boiling point, but not boiling while the wood in soaking.  Other timber is different, I know mahogany gets very brittle and will break easy if you leave it in too long, you may have to use trial and error.

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Dear Philo,

Your question implies that you're planking a hull, so I'm assuming a certain size of your wood. With respect to Fish's comment, I don't bother to boil the water with basswood. But like Fish, I find that with basswood about 20 minutes does the trick. If you're using hardwood, a longer soak is necessaryand perhaps the application of heat to assist in bending.

 

In any event I've found, just as you suggest, that to place the water-logged plank in place and let it dry and then glue in place works great. And actually, if you are using CA, it benefits if the wood is a little wet.

 

Tom

Edited by TBlack
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I have a 4 inch diameter piece of PVC pipe. I have a rubber boot over one end and a pipe clamp so that it is water proof. The pipe is 4 ft long. I fill this with water and zip tie it to the leg of my bench. When I am planking my hull I select about a dozen planks and put them in this tube. I cover it with a wieght. it is so convienent to lift off the cap and a wood strip pops up. I never bother with hot water or any other solution. I make sure the strips have soaked 20 to 30 min and I keep the pipe stoaked with strips. One caution - don't leave strips in there too long they will eventually sink to the bottom. I also find that I don't have to soak the second layer because it is so thin.

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I also use PVC pipe, 1 inch diameter or so.   I have different lengths, but nothing over 18 inches as the planks are normally never more than 30-35 feet long or about 8 inches at 1/4" scale.   Yeah,  I do go with longer pieces at times, and fake a butt seam,  thus  the longer piece of pipe for those occasions.   Some species will indeed sink, so the shorter pipes make retrieval easier.

Allan

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Hi Philo, I also use PVC pipe, 1 inch diameter or so and with a rubber stopper in one end.  I filled it with plain water and soaked the planks for an hour or so.  Then I bend and dry the planks using an empty can with a little candle inside and also using s steam iron.  Depending of the curvature I want I have different sizes of cans.  It works very well.

 

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Another method is to wet your plankng strips and wrap them in plastic wrap and nuke them for about 2 minutes in your microwave.  They will be flexiblle enough to clamp on to your hull.  Let the plank dry and you have your shape.  Be careful caue the wood will be hot.

David B

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keep this in mind, on a real ship how much could they really bend the planks ?

now I have not done a large number of models but so far I have found that a 10 minute soak for the basswood is all I need.

the way the planks lay should follow the shape such that most of the plank is nearly flat.   only in a few places should most hulls have much of a bend to deal with.

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Years ago I was in Milwaukee and was able to observe the planking of the replica Dennis Sullivan.  The plank was put into a steamer cabine and left for a set amount of time.  It was then taken out of the cabinet and placed and clamped to the hull until it dried.  The palnk was very pliable as well as very hot.

David B

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I do some soaking but I found that an old curling iron cast-off from wife works very well.  Set the heat to about 250 F, and just move the strip over the iron while bending it.  A light wetting (a minute or so) helps.  

 

Word of advice... get your own curling iron or buy your wife a new one and take her old one.  I wouldn't want to hear of any major battles or divorces over curling irons. :)

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I use very hot water in a tall Thermos flask soaked for about 10 minutes, I am told a little ammonia helps even more. Above all once shaped I dry the palnt of any free moisture and allow to dry naturally for 20 mins or so to help reduce shrinkage.Shaping is simply done between my fingers.

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I soaked for hours cut then glued into position Looked fantastic UNTILL the planks dried out and then large gaps between each plank!!! 

The planks must be "damp" only when you glue into place soaking to bend and shape But Only DAME when fitting for the final time and if not using CV glue they can be dry when final fitment.

happy planking

Andy

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I am at the planking point for the San Fran II. As this is my first planking, and a single hull of mahogany to boot, I am learning as I go.

 

Lots of good ideas here. I bought a 1.5" dia. piece of pvc, 2 ' long and sliced the top third off with a saber saw, fitted the ends with caps and mounted it to a 2x4. It's not pretty but it holds water in a nice neat and small little trough.

 

So far I have found that under 20 minutes won't do for this wood. A slight bend and it snaps so tomorrow a new wrinkle: hotter water, longer time and the can clamping trick. Eventually I'll find the right combo. Never used a curling iron before in my life but I'm about to try one tomorrow too. And yes, it is a cast off that won't be missed so there is no fear for my safety.

 

As a newbie I''ll report back when something works... and doesn't. :)

 

Randy

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Randy - I stand my PVC on end and cap only 1 end. Thsi way I know when the wood is completely soaked. It doesn't float! Also ti doesn't take as much room. I use zip ties to attach it to the leg of my bench. It is handy so I can reach in pull out a strip and install it.

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Good point Floyd. That'll be version II... I sort of feel like Edison with the light bulb... I'm going to have a bunch of versions of all kinds of things... but that's not a bad thing... I mean, is there such a thing as TOO many tools, jigs, apparatus's etc? Can't imagine that world.

Thanks.

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When I built furniture and cabinets I had big equipment... 36" wide belt sander, 24" planer, big this and big that. All gone... to my ex-business partner who bought 'em off me... now I need a whole new assortment... little this and little that... fun times.

 

I have found my nirvana... with mahogany I mean... 25 to 45 minutes works well when I bend it first around a can and let it dry somewhat into shape. Then dry fit to the hull and adjust... so far so good. Right now I have one glued on and drying, one clamped on the other side and drying from the soak, and one bending on a can. Time for breakfast. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Is it possable to soak planks too long? I put a few at a time in to soak, come back the next day and bend to shape. Then once dry glue into place. This way I have some soaking, some drying. This helps when I only have limited time to work in the shed. I guess it only takes longer to dry but someone can correct me here if this is not right.

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Good day Snowmans,

 

I think the answer is yes, it can soak too long. My thinking is the water swells the fibers and while they will dry out they probably will not dry out to the degree they were before the soak, especially not by the time I want to glue. Maybe in time it won't matter but I tend to soak up to a few hours and when done for the day I soak no more. I start again when ready to go. Right or wrong, it's what I do.

I also bought a sealing iron (used by model plane builders to put the thin skin on wings and such). It really is a just a small iron, about 4" long that basically steams the bend into the wood. Was $20 US and it works great.

I also note that the longer the soak the fuzzier the grain but all in all everything gets a hefty sand so that isn't really a big point.

 

So, I guess as long as the wood is dry enough to glue and not warped from too much moisture... no big deal so long as it works. Hows that for a non-answer? I really wasn't trying to be ambiguous. :)

 

Randy

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I just use the good ol' Plankbender from ME.   Soak my planks in regular tap water for about 10-15mins or so while the iron is heating up, then get right to bending them.  After bending I'll gently use the iron to drive the rest of the water out- planks hold the exact shape I need.  Never had swelling, shrinking, or springing out of shape.  I LOVE that thing!  :)  That was probably one of my most useful tools "in the old days."  :)

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Snowmans (does this refer to winter weather or is this about women?),

 

A lot of this bending stuff depends on the wood you're using and how thick it is. But to your question, I've found that if you soak a wood like cherry for too long it will change the color of the wood (it gets lighter and grayer). I can't imagine that it would take a whole day for the water to do its thing. You might try shortening the soak time and see how pliable the wood is.

 

Tom

Edited by TBlack
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