Monday, February 27, 2012

Black Pearl Project - Strip Planking the Hull

Well, it's been a full week since the last update on the Black Pearl Project (BPP) and I've managed to make some headway on the hull.

In my last upate I had just finished setting up the forms. The next thing to do was  cut and fit the internal stems. I went with Western Red Cedar becuase it's easy to work with and it's light. The latter being the most important as these stems may very well be staying in the boat when it's completed. The stems are not for strength but rather are used to help forms/shape the stems. It would be quite hard to get the correct shape without them. There is no pattern provided for the stems, so you are on your own. I went with a simple straight shape. This seems to be the "norm" for this design.

Internal stem - bow.
After fitting the stems, I moved onto the chine and sheers. With the execption of one small flat spot on the chine (which I fixed with a small shim of cardboard) everything faired out quiite nicely.

Stern showing internal stem, chine and sheer.

Looking aft - showing chine and sheer.

Port side - showing chine and sheer.

This meant that planking the hull was next on the list. There's a raging debate on about how one should join strips if you can't find full length boards. (To be honest, I 'm not even sure where one could find 19 foot boards that are clear of knots and other defects - certainly not around here, that's for sure!!)  Some people advocate, vehemently, the need to make strong scarphed joins in the strips. While others say that a simple butt join is sufficient.  The former is a more complicated process while the latter is quick and easy. I bandied the idea around in my head for a while and decided to go with a very simple scarph. At Princess Auto, I found a set of shears that will cut small wood stock. It cost be less than 7.00 (regular 15.00) but cuts like a charm, giving a very clean and accurate 45 degree angle. One snip and you've got a great cut!!

Shears cutting a 45 degree.

To support the join during the build, I've decided to put a backing plate on using a glue gun. Once I'm finished the planking, I can pry the backing plate off because the glue I'm using does not make a permanent bond.

Backing plates on joins (interior)
The 45 does not give a long scarph joint but I'm not that concerned. If you look at how the joins are in a stripped boat you will see that the join is greatly strenghtened by the strips both above and below. In order for the join to fail, both of these strips must break as well. It was a no-brainer, for me, then to go with the quick and easy joins!!

Join (exterior)

After the decision was made on what kind of join to use, it was off to the races. I started the sides on Friday night and spent an hour or so getting down the process.. Saturday AM and afternoon were spendt puttting up more moldings in ther house but by late afternnon I was back at the boat. Just after supper, I put in the final strips on the hull sides. Not too bad for a few hours work, I'd say!!

Looking aft - sides completed.

Port Bow.

Port Quarter #2
With the sides completed, I moved to the two strips that run either side of the centreline (keel). These took a lot more time/fooling around than I be aniticipated. I knew that fitting the strips at the bow and stern was going to a bit tricky but I didn't think they'd be that much of a pain in the rump. I'm thinking a lot of it was my fault in that I didn't think it through enough and just tried a number of different approaches before I came up with one that worked. Nonetheless, with a bit of shaping, cutting and swearing, I managed to finesse the strips into a reasonable fit. Sailing will be a little more smooth now that I've turned these corners - pun intended!!

Port bow - with planking started on the bottom.!

The pointy end - stem.

The other pointy end - stern

I'm looking forward to fitting the final strip on the hull so that I pull the staples and get a good idea of how it all looks. Then I can start shaping the stems and begin sanding the hull . Then the true shape of the boat will become clearer!!

Thanks for dropping by,



  1. Sean, you're really moving along with this.

    Tony :-)

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  3. Sean, I followed your lead on the SOF Disko Bay, but I doubt I would follow on the strip-build... although you seem to be moving along quickly it looks a bit too tedius for my liking and skills... perhaps one day a long time from now... I expect you'll have it ready for the water by the time the St. Philips practices start up again...

  4. It's not as tedious as you may think - especially once you get into the groove, so speak. Tonight I planked one half of the hull bottom in about an hour. Pretty relaxing, actually! I needed the relaxation because a brand new computer I just bought today crapped out on me - seems like it might be a loose connection in the power supply. Either way I have to bring the damn thing back to the store tomorrow!!

  5. Really looking like a work of art Sean. I admire your skills. Looking forward to the finished product.