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Today we’re going to talk about a couple of subjects. First, that boatbuilding is not an exact science, and second, about planking a boat.

So did you know that building a boat is a pretty forgiving project? We occasionally get calls from machinists who are building our boats and they really have an issue with this. They might say that they followed the plans, but “the frame is off by 1/1000th of an inch”. Barry used to say that machinists have the most difficulty building a boat because it isn’t an exact science.

There are some things that are very important such as the lines being fair or the trailing edge of the transom having a crisp edge on a planing boat. But you really don’t need to knock yourself out over minor variations from the plans.

Some people also wonder why planking patterns (or dimensional layouts) aren’t provided. Planking patterns are provided in most every stitch & glue design, but here we are referring to a conventionally built plywood boat, and planking patterns are not needed for this method.

If you recall my previous post about the building form and then setting up the frames, this is the foundation of the boat. Once you have that, it is simply a matter of taking the plywood and leaning it up against that foundation and marking where you will rough-cut the planking. You don’t need huge planking patterns because as stated above, the size will vary slightly.

We have a really great pictorial online that shows the process of building a boat from beginning to end. This is a really cool link from the 1950′s featuring our frame kit builder at the time, the late Don Ruffa. By the way, check out the Yankee screw driver–really makes you appreciate current power tools.

The above pictorial is also included with most of our plywood plans in a printed booklet form. This isn’t specific to any particular boat, but shows the typical construction of a plywood boat.

Glen-L Word of the Week:

Aft – Toward the back of the boat

The above “Word of the Week” will be a new feature in future posts so we can all increase our knowledge of boatbuilding lingo. Until next time… build more boats!

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