Hi, I am building my first wooden ship model. It is a San Fransisco
Galleon. The instructions are terrible, so I rely mostly on the
Anyway, I have planked the outside of the ship and need help planking
the second layer.
I have uploaded pictures to this site:
If you can help me with what to do next, it would be most appreciated.
Thanks in advance
Such instructions, if you can call them that, are typical for European kits.
No you haven't -- see below.
The reason you're having trouble with the second layer of planking is,
frankly, because the first layer is completely unacceptable.
1. It looks like you have a whole bunch of nails and pins in place. They
will interfere with what you have to do next. Pull those pins out! It
looks like you laid individual, short planks, down between bulkheads.
Planks should be laid in as a single plank almost from stem to stern on most
models. On a small galleon, that should be easy to do. You should read the
ship modeling FAQ and/or buy a beginner's book on making wooden ship models.
It also looks like you didn't fair the bulkheads in properly by sanding
them smooth before planking. It might just be easier to rip out the
present planking and start over. However, you might not have to do that.
2. The entire hull must be sanded quite smooth. Your hull looks like a
terminal case of measles or elephantiasis. Use a sanding block -- USE A
SANDING BLOCK -- do not do it just holding the sandpaper in your hand.
Sand the damned thing down untill all those ugly hills, rills, valleys, and
gulleys are gone, gone, gone. Do it carefully and slowly. If any areas
are too dished in, fill it with bondo (at any automotive store. ) When
you are finished preparing the hull, by careful sanding and filling, it
should look like a finished hull.
If after sanding and filling, you find that you've sanded through
the planking in lots of places, and/or what remains of the planking is very
thin, then just put another layer of planking, correctly, on top of the
first layer. Many modelers do triple planking.
3. You start the first plank (the garboard) at the keel. Soak the planks
in ammonia water (not the kind with soap) for a few minutes. Remember that
all planks must taper towards the bows and stern (more toward the bows,
typically). Lay the next plank down butting to the previously installed
plank. Hold it in place with temporary pins or with planking clamps -- See
Micro Mark for them and/or rubberbands. I usually end up using all three.
You need lots of pins or clamps. I usually have a clamp every two inches.
More with pins.
Work alternate sides, one plank at a time (e.g, port, starboard,
port, starboard, etc.) After the plank dries in place (about 1/2 hour) you
should have no trouble gluing it using thin cyanacrilate glue. A bit of
glue all along the but joint to the previous plank and all along the hull
between the underplank and new plank. Don't worry too much as to how it
looks as long as you keep the seams nice and tight.
4. Once the planking is installed, you can fair the entire hull again and
get it nice and smooth.
5. The reason for double planking is that in a plank on bulkhead model,
where the bulkheads are quite far apart, it is almost impossible to avoid
dishing the planks (making them hollow) between the bulkheads. You put the
first layer on, sand it, removing most or all of the dishing. I use a
somewhat different technique, which is a lot less work and comes out better.
I glue in a layer of 1/2 x 1/2 very hard balsa between the bulkheads. You
can be sloppy at this as long as you keep these blocks butted to each other.
Lay them in lenghtwise. When they're all in place, you can plane and/or
sand the entire hull to the finished shape, using the bulkhead edges as a
guide. Then the final planking layer is easy. The hard balsa also gives
you a good surface onto which you can screw in your planking clamps.
HOWEVER -- based on the planking you showed, it is clear that you have a lot
to learn and are very likely to get into much more serious difficulties
further down the road. The hull is only 25% of the job and not the hardest
part at that. I strongly urge you to get, read, and reread "How to build
first-rate ship models from kits" by Ben Lankford. Available from Model
And while there, join the shipmodeling mailing list. The discussions
there are just what you need. Don't be afraid to ask the same question
to that list. Most of the folks on the list are into wooden model
ships. Help requests for planking are frequent, and folks usually help
RC Boater wrote: