Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Last plank template

The second section of planking was made from the template I created and scarfed at both ends then fitted to the hull so I could mark out the last plank going aft.The last section of plank was created like all the others. There have been some questions on how this template method works, so in this last plank I will show it one more time. I'll try to explain it a bit better with more pictures.
Step 1:
Take a piece of scrap plywood, panel board or other thin wood paneling. (longer than finished plank) Draw lines perpendicular to its length about 8" to 12" apart. the more lines the more the final template matches the stringer. (not always the best thing if your stringer is a little wobbly etc.) Staple it to the hull in the same place the new plank will go with an overlap at the ends so you know you have long enough length of plywood. Try to position it approximately between the stringers.
Step 2:
Use a straight edge and project the lines outward from the panel up to the stringer above and the one below to the point you want the finished plank to stop. (on the pathfinder its at the halfway mark on the stringer. This is marked over the plywood installed below. The process is repeated for the rest of the marks on the panel back the full length. Use a measuring device like a set of dividers set at a spacing that you won't accidentally change. The dividers are placed at the intersection of the stringer point marked and the line on the panel. Push in on the divider to make a point on the panel, and draw a circle around it to identify where it is later. In this case I'm going to the top of my top stringer.
Step 3:
The panel is then removed and placed on a full length of plywood. It is then fixed in place, in my case I used a construction stapler.Step 4:
Once in place, the lines on the panel are extended outward onto the plywood. Note the marks made where my scarf is on the installed plank. This will be the end of this plank when I'm done. The dividers are then used to make marks on the plywood. One point is already located on the panel. One end of the divider is placed in this mark, the other is marked out on the line extended on the plywood. That point is then marked with a circle for future use.
Step 5:
Once all the points are marked on the plywood using the dividers, take some finishing nails and put a nail at each location made in the plywood. Just drive it in far enough not to be easily pulled out or fall out.
Step 6:
Using a batten whether it be a piece of even flexible wood or any other material, place it against the outside of the placed nails. To keep in place tack additional nails outside the existing ones. Mark along the inside of the batten with a pencil, this is your cut line.Step 7:
Cut out the plywood along the outside of the scribed lines. You now have a plank panel. To make the plank for the other side, you flip it over and trace it. then you have an opposite side panel. That's essentially it.
I take the two plank pieces and match up the bottom edges, clamp together and run the planer or belt sander over to even out the slight bumps or dips but they should be very small if you were careful in the process to this point. This particular plank is the last on and it's at the back of the boat. So I only need to make one scarf on its forward face to match the forward plank. I use my 4 1/2" angle grinder to make the rough scarf and finish up with the belt sander. As in all the other scarfs on the planking, I used a 1:6 slope. This picture is my normal setup for scarfing, I use my clamps as helpers in nearly everything I do in this project, from clamping down items to a saw horse, to hanging my power bar from the side of the boat. This method is not my idea and I tested it before going ahead and doing the whole planking with it. I personally think that this method is the easiest way for one person to plank this style of boat. The steps are long to describe but only a short time to do. And accurate! I am pleasantly surprised with how well it works.
Tomorrow night I will be varnishing the area below the anchor well, and underside of the anchor well floor. if I get time I'll glue and screw the well floor in place. Perhaps fit and final glue the forward plank.

Time: 4 hr (two evenings)


  1. Having just started my Pathfinder. Blogs like these are amazingly helpful.

    As I read your detailed descriptions, all my reservations about being able to complete this project fade away.

    Working out the Planking measurements seemed to be daunting - no longer the case.


    David Thomas

  2. It does seem hard until you start cutting wood, at worst you spoil a piece, and start over. The plank templating seemed the easiest and fastest way to do it. I thought it was a great method.
    Good luck on your build.