Monday, July 2, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday

How to Hang a Plank on your 1841 Sailing Vessel:

Step 1: You must assemble a (large) group of willing friends to help and provide them with the appropriate safety equipment.

Step 2 : Provide your willing friends with clear and concise instructions on how the process will go and how not to get hurt.

Step 3 : Prepare a plank of live oak ~3" thick, 14" wide and about 30 some-odd feet long.  Create "dutchmen" to fill in any checked areas or loose knots in the planking.  Put in the steam box to soften for 3 hours or so.

Step 4 : While the plank is softening up in the steam box, prepare the hull with eyebolts (above and below your plank location), pry-timbers,  pipe, and have wedges, ropes and mallets available for your willing friends.

Step 5 : Roll the hot plank out of the steam box and onto sawhorses.  Caution : the plank may be very hot.


Step 6 : Using your readily available 12 ton forklift with gantry boom and lifting gear, pick the plank up at it's balance point and bring it around to your patiently waiting friends.

Step 7 : Have your friends pick the plank up and put it in place.

Step 8 : Tie the ends of the pry timbers to the eyebolts previously installed in the hull and install pipes in the holes above the plank.  At this point, the plank should be held in place with the pry timbers like so:

Step 9 : Be sure the end of the plank is securely butted against the end of the adjacent plank by driving it home with a 12 pound or larger maul.  Use plenty of elbow grease. 

Step 10 :  Using your wedges and a maul, drive the wedges between the pipes and the edge of the plank to assure that it is in intimate contact with its neighboring plank. Also, drive the wedges between the plank and the pry timbers to assure that the steamed plank will conform to the contours of the framing beneath.  Again, use plenty of elbow grease.

Step 11 :  When done driving wedges, relax and smile a bit.

Step 12 : Allow the plank to dry for a bit.  While this is happening, create several dozen locust trunnels; or tree nails, to attach the plank to the hull.  As they are locust, which is very hard, this may take a while.

Step 13 : Using a large auger bit and drill, make at least 3 holes through the planking and into the ribs at every rib.   Then, taking a maul, drive the trunnel through the plank and into the frames.  

Step 14: Shellac the plank and caulk the planking.

Well, this is how you do it if you're the owner of the 1841 whaling ship Charles W. Morgan and want to hang a few planks.  If you missed this at the WoodenBoat Show last weekend, you may not be too late - head on down to Mystic Seaport and check out the progress!

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