name of medication

December 14, 2010

Wood Boat Construction: Frames, Planking, Fasteners, etc.

Filed under: Yachting — Tags: , — Richard Jordan @ 1:44 pm
The Bones of a Canoe

The Bones of a Canoe

I purchased the December 2010 issue of Wooden Boat magazine the other day at West Marine. As a brokerage we sometimes used to advertise in it especially when we had a wood boat for sale. These days that is pretty rare. I have been thinking about wood boats a bit more recently, so here is an article on the basics of wood boat construction. When talking about wooden boat construction, there is a basic set of questions and associated terminology that are wholly different from those of glass techniques. This article goes through the two basic questions and lists possible answers for each.

What are her bones?
The first question relates to the platform which gives the hull structure. The framing as it’s called is either steam-bent, sawn, or composite. Most small to medium size employ steam-bent bones which means the wooden ribs are soaked and then bent via heat to form the dinosaur like backbones of the hull. They are clamped in place and when cooled spring back only slightly. Steam-bending frames prevents them from fighting to spring free of fasteners and minimizes the risk of cupping or cracking in the future.

Wooden Boat Magazine December 2010

Wooden Boat Magazine December 2010

Sawn frames are made up of one or more piece of wood cut to the needed shape. They are more common in large wooden boat construction when steam bending would be too difficult to handle. It is a more complex method and takes more time to get right because you have to cut and measure. Finally, composite frames usually steel is a final way to provide a framing structure. Wood purists might not want to purchase a composite constructed boat. The worry with steel is rust which will eventually happen. With all these methods (steam-bent, sawn, or composite), the real key to quality is the builder skill not so much the technique.

What kind of planking does she have?
Carvel, Lapstrake, strip, and cold molded are the common choices. Carvel construction is the most traditional and describes a method in which wood planks are only fastened to the framing without any overlapping. It makes repairs easy as you only have to remove the fastening to the framing. Fasteners could be monel, bronze, and stainless steel in order of quality. A common example of carvel construction is double planked, mahogany over cedar with steam-bent oak frames. Another common planking wood is long leaf yellow pine. Tar paper is used between the two layers of planking. Afterwards, the seams are caulked.


Carvel vs Lapstrake Planking

Lapstrake planking is similar to carvel except that the planks overlap and are fastened to each other. This technique is usually used on smaller vessels. The “lap” adds extra strength acting like a stringer to stiffen the hull but leaves a gap that collects dirt and debris. Strip planking melds old and new world wood techniques when set in epoxy. All the basics are the same as carvel except that the strips are narrower and are fastened athwartships to each other. Construction is faster, less expensive, and requires less skill than carvel because you do not have to shape the planks. Finally cold molding involves laminating veneer over a mold. One way is to combine this technique with strip planking and mold veneers over the strip planked hull. The veneer is laminated in place with epoxy.

If you have approached a wood boat or if you have one and people approach you, you will recognize the common terminology above. Mostly the important factors are the builder skill and wood quality not so much the techniques used.

Looking to Purchase or Sell Your Yacht? Please Contact Us.

Our professional and knowledgeable brokers are not only attuned to the ever changing international market but also have thousands of bluewater miles under their belts. We have the experience and integrity to ensure that your purchase of a boat will be a decision that you can be proud of.

Jordan Yacht and Ship Company represents fine sail and power yachts worldwide, both new and used. The majority of our many listings are just minutes away from our office. Call or email for an appointment and let Jordan Yacht and Ship Company help you launch your dreams.

"Now that we’ve completed the sale of my boat, I’d like to take a few minutes to thank you and all the folks at Jordan Yacht and Ship Co. for the exceptional “hands on” help and guidance you gave me as I went through my first experience with selling an ocean going vessel. The fact that I live and work more than a thousand miles from the ocean made the job more challenging than a typical brokerage project. In addition to finding a buyer willing to pay a fair price for a boat I really enjoyed owning, you, literally, got your hands dirty seeing to her proper dockage and maintenance. I couldn’t have done it without your help. Further, I’m particularly impressed with your attention to details, documentation of all expenses no matter how minor and your immediate response to my voice and e-mail communications, even after business hours and on weekends. I’ve already recommended you and Jordan Yacht to my boating friends. When I’ve tended to the medical issues that prompted my sale, I’ll be in touch seeking your help in finding a new sail boat!" - RB, S/V Maryah