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Scale plank lengths or use a full-length strip?


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While I am yet to begin my Niagara kit (first wooden build), I am always thinking and pre-planning. So today's planking question is: Is it better to cut scale-length planks, or to use a single strip and scribe false butts? I'm thinking that, since it's my first wooden ship, that I should use a single strip along the full length of the hull. That way, any bulkhead fairing that might be a little "off" would be less apparent. Of course, I do plan on double-checking my bulkhead fairing before I begin planking!

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SgtSki,

 

Funny you should ask.  I just did something similar for the planking above the wales on my Syren where I used one continuous piece instead of smaller individual pieces.  Take a look at my latest Syren post to see if this helps make up your mind.  I know it's not how it was done on real ships so I guess it all depends on how realistic you want to be.  (don't tell anyone and they'll never know ;) )

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I have found it easier to use individual planks as I have found that bow and stern planks often require cutting from sheet stock due to their shape.  An example from the bulwark of my Topsail Schooner Eagle 1847 build is illustrated below.

 

Regards,

Pete  

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post-5855-0-24045900-1417632314_thumb.jpg

Edited by Pete Jaquith
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According to the instructions for my Niagara kit, the model meets the rule of a scale-length plank starting and ending at the center of every 5th bulkhead, so there should be no planks ending in open air.

Edited by SgtSki in MI
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I cut scale planks but always have a longer working plank to push up against it to validate the same flow is present.   This also insures you don't artificially have the plank run where a stealer or different width is required.

 

You want to avoid the start / stop look at each plank end caused by slightly different plank angles.

 

Mark

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Except perhaps for planks at the wales, I find that using scale length planks is much easier then trying to wrestle a full length plank into position.  And, if one is very careful, medium CA is my adhesive of choice.  I can hold the plank in position and not bother with planking clamps and long waits for the glue to set.

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If your kit says that it's an option, then I guess it is. With POB kits that isn't always the case. However, if you were double-planking the hull, scale length planks is always an option regardless of the type of build. And, even with POB kits where the bulkheads are appropriately spaced, double-planking the hull makes scale length planking easier.

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Ahoy Mates :D

 

Although I agree that smaller planks are easier there is something to be said about getting off to a good start. I like to form a full length plank for the first one. Then I cut it into sections and install it. I find doing this helps to ensures a good line for the rest of the planks. On the planks that follow I find trying to fit a full length plank and getting a good seam the length of the ship much harder then doing it with smaller more manageable planks.

 

I don't get too hung up on the scale length thing though, just the pattern, run of the planks and the seams. 

 

 

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First off, if you use "scale length planks, they need not end on a bulkhead.  You can always glue a block on the inside to steady the plank ends - a butt block.

Your planks are going to bend and twist from bow to stern, and getting one plank to do that and controlling it while you get it glued down is a real pain you can avoid simply by using scale plank lengths.

When you taper planks, or need to add stealers, that's also much easier to handle using scale plank lengths.

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Greetings Grumpy,

 

Logically, I would think that lumber availability, size of vessel, typical planking practice for a specific time and place, and practicality would have an effect on plank dimensions. For instance, the time required to put a plank in place after steaming, with available work crew, would dictate maximum plank length. In addition, spacing of frames, proposed use of vessel, accepted ship building standards, etc. would also come into play. In other words, I doubt there is one hard and fast universal set of rules.

 

wq3296

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According to the instruction booklet for the Niagara, a full-sized ship's planks were 20 to 30 feet in length. The 3/16 scale says that would be roughly 4 to 5 3/4 inches on the my model. There's other things to consider as well. The butt points need to be seperated from any butt in the rows above or below it by 5 or more scale feet. There also need to be 3 unbroken strakes between one butt and the next vertically. At least for the Niagara kit but the instructions indicate that it is a universal shipbuilding rule in the full-sized world.

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I guess my treenails are going to be a little bit bigger than scale. The smallest treenail diameter that you can make with a Byrnes Drawplate (which the Admiral has graciously allowed me to order when I'm ready for it) is 3/4" in 1/8" (1:48) scale, but the Niagara is 3/16" (1:64) scale. I don't think the difference is too much to be a problem though. I think the fact that I made 4 itty-bitty treenails and drilled 4 itty-bitty holes for each plank would be far more interesting than the fact that they are a few hundredths too big. Or am I getting far too ambitious for my first wooden ship build?

Edited by SgtSki in MI
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