Week 11  This week we get the first batch of planks. The planking will continue up until week 16.

The bits we received

And what we did with them

Firstly we need to sand the hull frames so the planks sit well on the frames.  Have a look at the drawing in hot tip below to see what I mean.  The instructions are rather brief about how to do this.  Here is how I tackle the task.  Firstly, get a nice long sanding block and some coarse sandpaper.  Sand the frames, in the direction that the planks will lay, making sure you sand over at least two frames.  As a first start, sand each frame, aiming to leave a dark brown line of the edge of the frame nearest the middle of the hull.  This will show you that you still have the original line of the frame and haven't sanded too much off.  You need to be quite careful if you're using very coarse sandpaper as it take wood off quite rapidly.  The frames near the midships section don't need much work, but the frames near the bow and stern have to be chamfered quite a lot.

When you've done that, take a plank and check the lines of the entire hull.  Hold the plank against the frames and make sure it follows a smooth curve.  If you get any high spots, just sand down the offending frame.  If you get a low spot you need to build up the frame.  This is quite easy to do.  Simply take a thin strip of wood and glue it to the frame.  Then sand it down to get the right line.  If you can't find a suitable piece of thin wood you could use a piece of card.  Glue it in place with a little white glue.  When the white glue is dry drip some super glue onto the card and let it soak in.  The super glue, which may take 20 mins or so to set, will make the card hard and waterproof.  You can then sand it back to the right line.

Here are some pictures of my hull with the initial sanding done.  Some frames need a little more sanding.

Note how much I've taken down parts 48 so they blend into the transom.

It's really important to get this stage right.  If you get it right you have a strong hull with smooth lines, and a much easier time fitting the planks.  Skimp on this job, then the planking is much harder and the finish result is no where near so good.  I usually sand down one evening, and then leave it, and come back the next evening to check it.  It's amazing how many times you look at a place and think, "I didn't do a very good job there !!"

One to the planking.  I've decided to try planking clamps rather than pins.  I've never used them before, so I don't know how well they are going to work.  The first disadvantage is that they are quite expensive at about £9 for a pack of 10.

The instructions say to lay the first plank against the protrusion on the frames.  I decided to make life easy for myself.  I took a plank and temporarily clamped it into the recessed area.  Note - it's only clamped - not glued !!.  It's easy to push the plank against the step in the frames.  The clamps allow me to move the plank about to get the perfect position before tightening the clamp - several times if necessary.  One up to the clamps.

With this plank temporarily clamped in place I can just butt the first plank against it making positioning very easy.

Here is the first plank glued in place, butted up against the temporary plank.  It's easy to get it in the right position.  Note that clamps are used on every frame.  I was very sparing with the glue as I didn't want to accidentally glue the temporary plank in place.  If you're using pins it's a good idea to pin on every frame as well.  Now a down side to the clamps.  I find you can only do one plank per side at a time, as it's being left overnight to dry.  One down to the clamps.  However, I've had a note about this from Miskin Models.  They use a fast drying white wood glue (used to use Humbrol Extrarez until it disappeared) and at normal room temperature it is sufficiently dry for the clamps to be removed in an hour.   With two sets of clamps they say they can work on both sides of the hull and plank at the rate of two planks an hour.

Note : These planking clamps came from Miskin models.  I've had a couple of fellow builders say that they are currently being very slow to dispatch the clamps.  Better quality clamps are available from www.micromark.com in the USA.

You should glue the edges of the planks, so they are glued to each other, not just to the frames.

I've found a better way of using the clamps.  They have a step moulded into the clamp, which is 1mm high.  However, our planks are 1.5mm thick so they don't hold the plank flat.  My solution is to turn the clamp over, so the flat side is against the plank.  Then use a spare plank to pack up the clamp.  It now holds perfectly flat.  So far I'm quite pleased with the clamps.  They do hold the planks firmly.  However, you need to get the screw dead centre in the frame or it splits out one side of the frame. I'm not sure whether they are quicker than using pins, but it seems easier and gives a better job.  Miskin have advised that the frames are splitting because I'm not making the pilot hole big enough. 

This completes week 11.  You can see the last plank still held in by the planking clamps.

Hot tip of the week

Daunted by the planking ?  Just take it one plank at a time and don't rush.

The frames will need to be sanded so that the planks fit properly.  The left diagram show the frames with the square ends, and the planks only touch on the corners.  This will result in a weak model with an uneven surface.  The right hand diagram shows the ends of the frames properly chamfered and the frames sitting nicely with a full contact.  This will give a strong model with a smooth finish.

I hope this picture paints a thousand words.

How many hours does it take to build the model ??

This week :

12 hrs

Running total :

23 hrs

Take me back to week 10

Take me to week 12