I’ve started the planking at last. I was hesitant because I’ve been reading about how it should be done and some experts suggest first cutting a ‘rabbet line’ (a groove in the keel in which the plank ends are slotted into). To me, it was not quite clear exactly where all the plank ends would fall, so I decided not to cut one. Instead I will rely on cutting the ends of the planks very carefully, to fit snugly against the keel. This model requires the hull to be planked twice, first in lime, then in walnut, so the really neat planking will need to be the finished walnut. The lime planking really only needs to be well glued in place and to follow the correct contours.
This photograph shows the first lime plank. The next will be corresponding plank on the other side, and this is the procedure I will adopt. The kit instructions suggest using white glue to fit the lime planking, then super-glue to fit the walnut. I’ve fitted this first plank with a combination super-glue and white glue because I preferred glue it in place in stages, holding in place by hand, using super-glue, then reinforcing this with small wood fillets behind, glued with white glue. The end result seems fine to me.
While I prepare for the daunting task of planking the hull, here is a copy of a painting of the only known drawing of the Mary Rose made at the time she was afloat. We now have a far better idea of what she looked like since the the remains of the wreck were raised from the sea bed in the Solent in 1982. A a large section of the wreck had remained preserved under silt since she sank in 1545. She was engaged in a battle with the French, watched by Henry VIII, when, possibly overloaded with men and guns, she attempted a turn. It is possible that she healed and this allowed water to pour in through lower gun ports that had been left open. Of the 500 on board, only about 30 survived.
The remaining section of the wreck is on display at the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth. For thirty years the remains were sprayed with a wax and water mix to impregnate the wood with wax, preventing it falling apart. Now it is drying out.
The model will have two layers of planking. The first in lime, then finished in walnut. The planking at the bow of the Mary Rose requires some quite severe plank bending. This is my first attempt at bending a lime plank with my new plank bending tool – looks like a modified soldering iron.
Before fitting the upper decks I corrected a slight warp in the area of the transom by gluing wood blocks to hold it square (see photograph). The decks were then fitted temporarily (as suggested by the kit instructions. I used very small screws.
It’s been quite easy up until now, but I will soon be time to start planking the hull.