The last (shear) plank

I have run out of my stash of quarter sawn white pine planking stock.  Since I can’t find any more white pine locally, I need to switch to another material for my final round of planking.  Spanish cedar is a very handsome wood that I have used to build my previous boats.  Besides being beautiful, Spanish cedar is light weight and rot resistant.   However, since only flat sawn Spanish cedar is  available locally, I will have to deal with its shortcomings.  That drawback means that it is very hard to make it conform to the hull.

In an attempt to make the Spanish cedar conform I tried my old standby flash molding.  To do so you spray water on the plank, wrap it in aluminum foil, and place a thermal blanket on top.  This sandwich is then clamped into position on the hull.  While it is clamped in place, it is heated to around 300 degrees and held there for a few minutes.  If all goes well the plank should take the shape of the hull imparted by each rib.  No matter how I tried the plank would not take the shape of the rib.

So the only option was to use the old timers method called “backing out”.  They use a plane with a convex sole to conform the plank to the curve of the rib.  I have often been awed  by those who are able to back out a plank because it takes extraordinary hand-eye coordination.  Since I have no choice, I will give it whirl.

I have a lie-Neilson convex plane and a scoop shaped chisel to use for backing out.  Here they are below.


Lie-Neilson convex plane.


Scoop chisel

I finished off the convex surface of the plank with a scraper with a rounded face.   This seems to work quite well.  It enable me to hang the last plank.

Rounded scraper

Here is the last plank.  The tan colored shear plank offers a nice contrast to the white pine planking.

Now on to the gunwales.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *