Monday, February 8, 2010

Fairing & Plywood Side Planking

I know it has been a while since my last post but I did have two excuses. My first excuse is that fairing is hard to see and fairing is very boring read about and my second is that I lost my camera. The following photos I took with my cell phone and the light makes them look brown. Fairing is just smoothing or planning off wood on the chines and sheers so that the plywood planking will lay flat on the surface of the longitudinal members. It is a long slow process and you really cannot see anything happening in photos. I wished that I had taken a couple of pictures with all the wood chips on the floor; you really do remove a lot of wood. I just needed to take my time and keep checking my progress with a straight edge. Fairing is an important part of building because if you don't get it right your boat will not have smooth sides and bottom. I was sure glad when it was completed but I was pleased to see how it all turned out.

Once all the fairing was done it was time to move on to the side plywood planking. The idea is to attach the 1/4" mahogany plywood to boat framework with #8 3/4" silicone bronze screws. I purchased 4'X 8" sheets and they needed to be cut in half making two 2' X 8' pieces for each side of the boat. The problem is that the plywood needs to wrap around the framework and curve was too sharp without once again adding some steam so the wood would bend without breaking. The other issue was the length was about 16' so I need to fiberglass them together make one long plywood piece for each side that was wider than the 24” width that I had. I was trying to get the most out of a sheet of plywood because they are $129 each; I off set them so I would have the correct width along the length of the boat. I used a piece of plywood as a backer board and fiber glassed a butt joint to achieve the length that I needed.

I found that pre fitting the plywood with clamps and using towels soaked in hot water made bending a breeze. When it came time to do the final assembly, the wood went right into position.

The one thing that I did just prior to gluing and screwing with epoxy was to the test fit with clamps and marking all the screw holes with an “EVEN RIVET FAN SPACING TOOL”. This is a fan spacer that has 20 fingers / opens to 38” @ 2”. I happened to have this tool when I built my airplane and I used it for layout and marking of equal spacing for screw hole patterns. It worked out great for spacing the screws in a straight line every 3". You can get one of these for $45 at

My brother Gary came over once again and helped me install this 16' piece. A good friend, Terry Kohler also stopped by to see my progress so I put him to work helping us clamp things into position while we drilled and screwed the plywood sheet into place for the final time. Be careful, if you stop by to look you may become a boat builder.

1 comment:

  1. Nice trick with the rivet spacing tool. That sure would have been nice.