Ready to plank!

Last Saturday we had a lot of fun bevelling the keelson – at one point we had 5 people attacking the board with planes – good times! We got the rough shaping done in short order, and then fine-tuned it and the stem to the proper gently rolling bevel.

After we got the keelson shaped, we took advantage of the gorgeous mid-winter day, and got all 4 boats out to enjoy some fun on the water! The rowboat made a trip to Granville Island for some beer, bread and cheese to welcome the sailors back to the dock – always appreciated!! What a fabulous day!

This week we did a bit more shaping of the stem, then got busy with the pattern for the first planks, the garboard planks.

We tried out the method of patterning where we clamp or nail a thin batten in place where each edge of the plank will land, then hot-gluing short sticks across the gap, effectively creating a lattice truss. We also glued a piece of thin plywood at the stem to get the shape of the hood end. Taking the assembly off the hull, we laid it flat to determine the shape of the plank. Worked like a charm!

Next, we moved on to cutting a blank for the planks, and scarfing and gluing them to create a full-length plank. The boat is 14′-5″ long, and our plywood is 8′ long. We need to join two pieces end-to-end, and the way to do that is a scarf joint, which is an angle cut across the width of the material, and then epoxy-gluing them together. We made a jig to get the proper angle, stacked 4 blanks (2 for each side of the boat) and then used hand-planes to cut the sloped ends.

The layers of the plywood are a great guide to get the angle nice and even – and it looks cool!

We then laid out the planks end-to-end (taking up much of the shop!), applied the epoxy, and clamped them together. The whole process went very smoothly, thanks to several of our members having experience with this type of construction, and it was a great educational experience for the rest of us!

Next week we plan to cut the shape of the first planks, and quite possibly fasten them to the boat!! We’ve had a great turnout of members the last few weeks as the excitement of the new build takes hold – it’s been great fun!!

Backbone is fastened!

We have a backbone on the Gannet build! Last Saturday was spent cleaning and mounting the laminated stem and the plywood transom. Yesterday we cut the keelson using a gorgeous Douglas Fir board provided by Arnt from his stash of church pews.

After cutting the keelson to size, we rounded over the edge that will show in the boat, to avoid splintering the edge. Then we epoxy-glued the keelson to the stem and transom, creating the backbone of the boat. Next up we start beveling the edge of the keelson and stem to accept the planking.

We spread some excess epoxy on the inner and outer faces of the transom, and that gave us the desire to finish the transom bright instead of painting it – I mean, LOOK at it!! Sadly there are some pencil marks that would end up being visible – but that may just provide an interesting patina. We’ll see!

That was a wonderful milestone in the progress of the boat build!