Tag Archives: Hull Planking

Roland’s Rules for Planking

  1. Planks should never be tapered to more than ½ of width of the Plank. If the Plank is 5mm Wide, then the narrowest you can taper it down to is 2.5mm.
  2. Batten goes from where Transom meets the Deadwood and runs along the turn of the bilge to the Bow where the wood naturally wants to fall.
  3. Divide Hull into 2 Bands. The Upper Band and the Lower Band… from the turn of the Bilge to the Keel.
  4. Calculate the required number of Planks from the Sheer Plank to the Batten at the Widest Bulkhead. Then calculate how small to taper it at the smallest Bulkhead at the Bow and the Transom for the Upper Band. You calculate it by dividing the distance of the Bulkhead from the Sheer Plank to the Batten, then divide it by the number of Planks that fit into that space.
  5. Begin Taper from the point of the Widest Bulkhead onwards to the Smallest Bulkhead. For example, if you have a 17 Bulkhead Ship and your widest Bulkheads are 6 thru 11… then begin tapering from 6 to 1 and 11 to Transom. The lower band usually never requires tapering because they’ll end up fanning out and you will need Stealers.
  6. Never bring a Plank to a Point going towards the Bow. This was done because a pointed piece of Lumber is very difficult to secure to the Bow. This is with exception of Bluff Bow Ships, i.e. HMS Victory.
  7. First Plank around the Deck is called the Sheer Plank. This is the most important Plank to get right. Because every other Plank will be in relation to where this one is placed.
  8. The Plank that goes against the Keel is called the Garboard Plank. The first 3 Planks coming up from the Garboard Plank (including Garboard) are not Tapered. Garboard Plank Stock can also be a little wider than the rest of the Planks. Like around 7mm
  9. Leave enough room between Planks in the Deadwood for Stealers that are the same width as the Planks. In the case of 5mm Planks, it would be 5mm.
  10. Deadwood – Make sure and take down the thickness of the Deadwood by around ½. This is because the thickness of the Planks and the Veneer is going to make it too thick and it won’t match the thickness of the Rudder. Once the Planks are on, take that down another ½ before applying Veneer.
  11. Tapered Edge always points down towards Keel.
  12. Use ½ Cup Ammonia for approximately 1 cup of boiling hot water for soaking the Planks for bending.
  13. Work down from the Sheer Plank. Work up from the Keel. Meet at the turn of the Bilge. Tapered Edge always points down.

#12 Strake, Last on Upper Band

Here I’m bending 2 #12 Strakes on the Plank Bender so that I can get more of a gradual bend.

Also, I didn’t bother to taper the after party. I’m leaving that until the end to be able to adjust the ticknesses of the final upper band Planks.

Bending 1 Each Port and Starboard #12 Planks

On the Strakes… As they come to the back, under the Transom. Well, I found out the hard way to not cut the excess off until the glue sets. The reason being, the excess gives your Clamp something to grab on to.

Leave excess on until glue sets

Well, the bow section of #12 Starboard side went in… But only just. The limit on the pressure was definitely there.

I had to use some Superglue interspersed with the Titebond for this one. They kind of got mixed together and it became a bit gooey.

#12 Starboard side got a bit gooey 🙄

I’m pretty happy with how all the Strakes ended up at just about where the Batten was. I almost hit it right on the nose! 🤭🤣

Pencil marks were where we’re supposed to end up… Close enough!

#11 Strake

As I bend this #11 Strake around, I realize that I’m almost getting to the limit of bendability with these Planks around the Bow bend.

#11 Starboard side

The Stern portion looks like it’s coming along great and that the numbers worked out perfectly at 12 Planks to the Transom.

While I’m at it, I might as well make a mention of bending the Planks across the Jig.

This one is the last #11 Strake. I’ve been slowly making the Strakes as I go to allow me to adjust the thicknesses as I progress. This last #11 Strake is for the Port side and will match the one on the Starboard side that I made on this Jig.

Anyway, I soak the wood in the Wood Soaker for about 1 hour. I use 1/2 Cup / 118ml of Ammonia per 1 Cup / 235ml of Water.

Then when I bend it on the Jig, bend it nice and slow so as not to allow the splinters to come up.

I learned the lesson for slow bending after making a few Planks that raises Splinters as I mentioned before in a previous post.

Nice clean bend
#11 Port side gluing in

#10 Strake

Going in to #10 Strake, which is a little bit under 1/2 of the way done, I just realized something which I want to write down before I forget about it.

I’ve read a few different sources and watched a few different videos about Planking… And really, the only real constant is the fact there are as many different ways to do this Planking as there are Model Makers out there.

You can’t really throw a criticism out there at somebody’s work and judge the work as being right or wrong. Well, you can, but most people are going to judge your work simply from the perspective of the finished product and they really can’t appreciate the work that you spent in making the Model because they’ve never actually done it.

So, as I make this turn into #10, I realize now that it’s always right around at this point where I get into a lot of self doubt about whether I’m doing it right or wrong.

I’ve been doing a lot of measuring and calculating and it landed right at around 11.6 Planks… So I’m at 10 right now so I figure that I’ll round up, although the Planks are beginning to become a bit tight and I realize that I can only bend them just so far.

#10 Strake being glued in

Something interesting I just noticed.

Well… I put the 2 Planks in the Jig last night and went to sleep. When I woke up, they were completely dried and took to the form pretty hard.

I noticed that it has this springy quality, that it actually helps in the gluing process. Because it has a self-clamping quality about it.

This Plank just came out of the Jig

I guess you guys have already figured out that i don’t like the Plank Bender process. I just think that it’s too much of a short cut. I mean, I have one, but I’ll only use it in the most desperate situations.

Just thinking to myself that I think I’m going to hit it perfectly at 12 Strakes for the upper band. Hmmm… 🤔🙄

#10 Strake Port side went in beautifully

#9 Strake

The Strakes are curving around nicely around the Bow.

I was afraid that I was going to run out of space but I think it’s all going to fit together nicely. I may need a Stealer but I’m not sure yet.

#9 Port Side gluing in

Just doing the Starboard side of #9 and I was thinking to myself that the Batten was right at around 11 – 12 Plank’s worth of Planks on the biggest Bulkhead which was the #9 Bulkhead. It actually landed on 11.6 Plank Widths… So figured I would round up for comfort’s sake.

To be honest, this whole time I was planking, I thought that I was going to run out of space.

The cardinal rule in Planking is to apparently not cut your Plank to any smaller than 1/2 if your original Plank. What is frowned on is for a Plank to come up to the Bow in a Point. The reason being, there was no way to secure a pointed piece of Timber.

I probably should do a Post on some rules on Planking.

#9 Plank Starboard side being glued in

#8 Strake

It appears that #8 on the Starboard side is also giving me problems. Hmmm

It developed this crack right at the #3 bulkhead. Guess I’ll be using a bit more Putty in the Starboard side.

Easily enough repairable

I was a bit worried about #8 Strake, but I think the whole thing is coming along pretty good.

View from Bow
#8 Strake Port side

#7 Strake

This Strake seems to be needing some bending. What I ended up doing was to go ahead and glue the forward part and to let it set. Then, I’ll go ahead and twist it on around to the Stern.

I imagine that if I was doing shorter Plank sections and doing Butt Joints instead of a continuous Strake, things would go differently.

#7 Strake Starboard side gluing forward part

I kind of goofed on the Starboard side. I ended up clamping it too hard and it caved in the bottom part of #7. I’m not worried about it… I’ll just fix it with some Putty.

#7 caved in

#7 on the Port side turned out ok though.

#6 Strake

I have a couple of gaps forming which I’m going to have to use some Putty on… I’m not that opposed to using Putty but not to excess

Gap between #1 and #2 Bulkhead

I just realized something. The Starboard side seems to be lagging a bit so I’m making a Plank with no tapering in the Stern to “catch up”.

I had to make the forward part of #6 Plank a little wider as well to make it even with the Port side.

#6 Strake Starboard side a bit wider to “catch up”

Just looking at the bends that the Plank was having to take… I have a feeling that I may need to add a Cheater in a bit… Hmmm

#5 Strake

As I was gluing in the #5 Strake, I realized that I would have to force it up into the #4 Strake above it with a clamp.

Instead of doing that, I decided to leave a Gap where I’ll slide a Cheater into it. A Double pointed Wedge into this little Gap.

Gap between Bulkheads #6 – #12
I made this Double Wedge in order to fill it

I also have another Gap on the Bow which if I didn’t leave it would have given me a reverse Camber, so I’ll put some Putty in there to fill it up.

There’s a little Gap between #4 & #5 between #1 & #2 Bulkheads

The #5 Strake was laying nicely on the Port side so I didn’t have a gap like I did on the Starboard.


#3 & #4 Strake Starboard Side

So I ended up screwing up once again and bent the Planks in the wrong direction!!!

So now, I’m having to wait for the other pre-soaked Planks to bend.

I’m still getting Splintering though… Even with Ammonia. I may leave it in a bit longer than 1 hour next time.

Splintering… Very annoying 🤔😤
#3 Strake Starboard side
Strake #4 Starboard side

I’m kind of annoyed at myself for not taking in the edges of the Planks as it makes the turn… I forgot to do it. It’s really kind of minor but it’s something that “should” be done… Hmmm

From Planking Techniques for Model Ship Builders by Donald Dressel