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Project Information

Working on the Shutter plank on the first year project at IYRS. There's a number of steps involved for putting on basically any plank on a boat. The shutter plank is the last plank on the boat.

The first step of the process is taking the spiling off the boat. The spiling is what you see in the third picture laying on the piece of cedar. The forward intersection with the stem is a perfect fit, all of the other aspects of the spiling are loose fitting. You take the rest of the measurements off of each frame with a compass.

The second step is to despile with the spiling and the compass, this means taking the marks off of the spiling and transfering them onto the piece of wood that is soon to become your plank.

The third step is to take the bevels off of the joining edges of the plank. This is why you see two lines when you look at the outline of the plank on the piece of cedar. This is done with a bevel gauge and is a little complicated to explain without having more pictures.

The next step is cutting out the plank. You cut the plank out leaving room for hand planing on the edges.

The following step is to plane down with a low angle block plane to the outermost line. Making sure as you go along that the edges are now square. After this is done you transfer the marks from the original plank onto the backside of your board. You then put the bevels onto the actual plank.

The final step after before steaming the plank is to back out the backside of the plank to match the curve of the boat. This is done with a backing out plane, the plane I use can be seen in my projects.

After all of these steps you steam the plank and as I'm sure a few of you know the general rule is for every inch of thickness there's an hour of steaming necessary.

The wedges that you see taped to the boat are over bending wedges. These are put in place to "over bend" the plank to meet the bend of were the plank will eventually have its final resting place. Because this is the shutter plank, the only place for the plank to be clamped is on the plank above it. Any other plank would be clamped were its actually supposed to be. Once the plank has cooled, roughly 2 or 3 hrs (overnight is best) its ready to be taken off for its final fitting. This includes a lot of thin plane shavings, once fit, some final priming and fastening is in order and one final thing, as well as being the shutter plank theres also another name for this plank, the whiskey plank. Traditionally a shot of whiskey is enjoyed by all in the boat shop.

So to all of you aspiring boat builders and shipwrights out there, bottoms up.

This has been by far one of the most fulfilling and prideful moments of my life.




· In Loving Memory
3,873 Posts
I love boats! Seeing them made is great. Looks like you have more than one you are working on.

Could you do a blog from beginning to end?

· Registered
23 Posts
you are a fortunate man to be surrounded by such a great environment. What a fantastic education! Your pride is well earned!

· Registered
535 Posts
Going very well

· Registered
5,279 Posts
Warms the cockles of me heart it does. You've done about as good a job of describing spiling a plank as I imagine can be done, and that's saying a lot. You've got a great and highly rewarding career ahead of you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have mine.