Garboard Planks (or Shadows of the Whiskey Plank)

Until I made the first plank, I felt I was dancing around the idea of building a boat. Most of the spars have been made. Pieces like the rudder head have been cut. Aprons and stems have been created. Even the backbone with its moulds and fretted battens (I’ve moved them countless times) hadn’t mentally convinced me I was building this boat.

Before shear batten was adjusted.

That all changed yesterday when the garboard planks were lain on the moulds for a test fit. I am pleased with the result and the technique. Those steps are as follows:

  • 2 sheets of the 6mm okoume ply were ripped down the length to 12″ wide panels. The finished plank was almost 10″ at its widest and this width worked (by happenstance?).
  • These were stacked and tapered to a 8:1 scarf for joining.
Scarfing of 2 stern ends. Previously had done 4 for middle joints.
  • With wax paper on my Black & Decker Workmate, the panels were joined. “Wet” epoxy on the scarfs were followed by thickened epoxy.
  • I used a small nail through the panels to prevent epoxy slide in the joint. Small wedges under the clamped joint batten help snug it all down uniformly.
  • 24 hrs later one panel was ready. A heat gun and scraper readily removed the excess. (Thanks Ross Lillistone).
Stacked planks with tracings from the spiling truss.
  • Since I let the bow end run wild for final shaping, I was not convinced I had enough panel once joined so I added 8″ from what was to be cut off at the stern end.
Added 8″.


  • The trussed batten ladder from the moulds worked like a charm. The finer ends do need extra cross pieces to hold the joined battens in place.
I regret I didn’t take more photos, but I was wrapped up in the process. I’ll take more detail pics in subsequent planks. Here are the planks resting on the moulds.
Garboard planks resting.


Planks landed on their marks.
Some slight trimming of a couple moulds will be required.

All in all the work went fine and much better than expected. There will be some twist in the fine ends to the planks, but that is expected. I likely could have done without the 8″ scabbed piece. This part will be painted and nobody will know. I’ve heard some complain about wielding the long planks, but I had no problems and thankfully … they fit!

At this point we have 105 hrs in the build. Most Americans have probably 4 times that in television viewing over the same period, but that is a sad discussion I’ll save for another day. Later-

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