The first run of planks in lime have been completed on each side. There will be some filling and sanding needed to get all the curves of the hull running smoothly, but I’ll probably leave that until I’ve completed all the first layer. Mostly there have been no problems, and my plank bending skills have improved. I did have a small problem when fitting one of the final planks, between two that had already been fitted, in that the glued joint of the plank to the bulkhead de-laminated. I hope I’ve cured this by drilling tooth-pick sized holes in the offending plank, into the bulkhead, and those either side, then reinforcing the joint with glued toothpicks (see photo). After sanding down, it seems to have worked.
I’ve found a useful hull planking instruction manual, written by J. Hatch (Captain Pugwash) on the internet:
I wish I’d read this before starting the kit, and I would recommend it to any beginner before diving in to an ambitious model boat project that involves planking a hull. There is some detail on how to cut ‘RABBET LINES’. These are grooves in the keel that accept the plank ends for a neater finish. In the case of this kit, it might have been better to cut some of these before gluing the keel together. Too late now, but I’m still confident I can achieve a good result.
My next planking will be five of six plank widths lower down. Once again, I will glue one plank in place, letting it run the way it naturally wants to run to the bow and stern, then I will complete planking in between. As before, I will replicate each plank on one side, with the same on the other side.
The planking of this hull is more difficult than on Bluenose. I’ve watched a few youtube videos and consulted the book ‘Planking Techniques for Model Ship Builders’ by Donald Dressel. The second plank I’ve fitted on each side is five plank widths down from the first plank, measured from the midway bulkhead. The plank has not been tapered and has been allowed to follow its natural path over the bulkheads.
I began by using some purpose made miniature clamps to hold the planks in position while the glue set, but found that additional packing was needed (see red arrow) if the plank was being fitted to a curved part of the hull (which is most of it). As this first layer of lime planking will be covered by another layer of walnut, it doesn’t matter if there are small holes, so I dispensed with the clamps and instead just used the screw part to hold the planks down after drilling holes.
The finished two new planks look mainly OK, but they don’t look right towards the bow and near the stern. The area between the two arrows, for example, looks too flat to me, and needs more of a curve, so I decided to add another thickness of lime planking locally, then sanded it down to get the curve I want. This worked well – see blue arrow, and I repeated this at the stern. I’ll need to do this to some of the other planks as I progress. It is time consuming, mainly waiting for the white glue to set, but the sanding down is quite quick and easy. With these two planks in place and shaped as I want them, I will fit the planking in between, and these will need tapering towards the bow, and stealers fitted between where they fan out at the stern.
I’m pleased to have at last finished this model. I’m generally happy with the standard of the Amati kit, but you do only get the materials you need to complete the kit. If you lose anything, or make mistakes, you might need to buy spares. Some of the components are tiny, and easily lost. I dropped a few dead-eyes while making the kit, and they ‘disappeared’, so I had to buy more. Also, as mentioned in an earlier blog, it’s not a bad idea to supply your own material for the sails, as you will need more than is supplied with the kit if you make mistakes (I did).
The finished model looks lovely in my opinion. As I didn’t want it to become covered in dust, I decided to order a made to measure acrylic display cabinet. I chose one made from 3mm sheet and I’m pleased with it. I bought a large piece of walnut to make into a display cabinet base, and into this, using a router, I cut a 3.5mm wide – 5mm deep slot to accept the display cabinet. This took ages because I had to construct my own jig to cut the slot to the required size and absolute accuracy, but I was rewarded with a perfect fit. Very satisfying.
The stand supplied with the Amati kit is made out of basic plywood, and doesn’t do the finished model justice, so I’ve made my own from the side of an old mahogany drawer.
I’ve already returned to working on the Mary Rose and will update on progress soon.