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I have completed the framing on the keel and the next step it to file the frames on the keel down where the planks will fit right. 

What is the best way to do this?  I know that if I rely on my eye, I'm going to grind too much off of the frames.  I am going to bend a plank to the shape that is close

and then try to use it as a guide but I'm still afraid I'm going to take too much off.  Are there any tricks or suggestions I can use as a guide in doing this?


It's sort of hard for me to visualize how the planks will fit before I actually install them.  Everything has gone so well so far that I hate to mess up now. 


Any help would be appreciated.



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This is one of the areas in ship modeling where people tend to get really frightened. Among those who have planked hulls before, there are many different takes on how to fair the hull. Some like power tools like a dremel to grind or sand the edges of the bulkheads; others use hand sanding.


I like hand sanding. One thing you want to avoid is taking off too much material. It is easy to gouge a bulkhead with a power tool running at 5,000+ rpms. Hand sanding gives you more control over the process. You can always take off more material if you need to, but it is far more difficult to put it back on if you take off too much. You can glue on strips to pad out a bulkhead if you take off too much material, but it is much better to get it right the first time around. So, take a minimalist attitude towards removing material from bulkheads.


When hand sanding, I use a piece of 80 grit sandpaper wrapped around or glued to a sanding block. 80 grit will be aggressive enough to remove material with a minimum of effort. You can use anything like 100-150 grit as well, if you are concerned about being too aggressive. The block should be wide enough that you can grasp it easily and thick enough that you are not rubbing your knuckles against the bulkheads. The block should be long enough to cover several bulkheads at a time. Sand along the length of the hull in long strokes, back and forth, so that you are taking material off several bulkheads at a time. Do not bear down too much. Let the sandpaper do the work for you.


The key is to go slow and check with a sample plank often. Sand some and then check. Sand some more etc. The plank should cover about half the hull at a time when you are checking. However much material you think should be removed, make a conscious effort to remove less than that. Then check with the plank, holding it over several bulkheads and check it from several different angles to see how it lays. Hold the plank against the bulkheads in several different positions and angles to make sure that you getting good contact all over. This is a process that will take some time. Do not rush through it or allow something to pass if you are not sure. Time spent here getting the hull faired will make planking a lot easier.



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I agree 100% with Russ. 


This is one of those jobs that is tedious and fingernail on blackboard irritating but makes a big difference in how easy the planking will go on and how good it will turn out. The only thing I would add is to check both sides simultaneously so you don't take too much or too little off one side or the other and to be sure there hasn't been any warping or twisting of the structure as you've put it together.

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Ahoy wdretired :D


Planking is all about the prep. Here is what I learned


First: I will second Russ's excellent post and then add this.


Use the side of a pencil and always have a highlight on the the corners of your bulkheads. The laser burn is usually your first highlight. This will prevent you from altering the shape of your hull.  Provided you assembled your hull correctly only one side (corner) of the bulkheads should really need to be sanded. It's that "assembled correctly thing that always haunts us newbies".Sometimes you will have to reduce or shim a bulkhead and this is "OK", Having the other bulkheads clearly marked will only make it easier for you to bring this one in line. As a matter of fact mark anything that should "NOT" be sanded so you will know right away if your contacting it with the sand paper. I found covering some areas with painters tape very helpful. 


Next: Find some strips of wood that are half the thickness and width of your planking to use as battens. The thinner wood will act like your planking after it has been soaked. Pin them to your hull and pay attention to which way they want to run as you push them flat against the bulkhead. Do not force them to go where they need to be, but pay attention and let them show you the flow of your hull. You will find a small adjustment on bulkhead "D" can make a huge difference as to where a batten ends up on Bulkhead A and so forth. Slowly make adjustments to get the battens to form the three or four belts needed to plank your hull.  In some case near the bow or stern you might need to 'spile" a few planks. This is where marking the corners really helps. If you find that you are sanding through the highlights on both sides of the bulkhead "stop" and consider that fact you might have to spile a plank here. 


You are doing the same thing with these battens that you will be doing with planks later on. Spend the time to get this right now and you might find planking fun. I did

Edited by JPett
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