Torture is the most correct description of what I did to the foremost section of the bottom plank on Idle Hands.
As I trimmed the template for the bow I began to realize how tough this was going to be. Plywood only likes to bend one way. This section is bending vertically, horizontally and twisting quite a bit. It is so harsh that I snapped the first piece of luan that I was using for a template. After messing around with it for most of a day I finally resorted to my backup plan, social media.
I put out a call for help on the Welsford Facebook page along with the wooden boat page to get some suggestions. As always the “folks that know” helped out a bunch. The most important thing was to keep the plywood from “curling up” fore to aft as you draw the plank in with clamps to it’s final resting place. Sounds easy…
This is what I started with – the back side is secured with three two inch screws through the chine and two clamps on the upper stringer. The plywood naturally wants to curve inward towards bulkhead number one and that pushes the end away from the stem.
I started from the back working forward slowly tightening the clamps as I went. I also had to keep pushing the middle, around bulkhead one, out so it would not curl. A turn or two at a time on the upper clamps, and then adding screws on the bottom into the chine stringer, I slowly pulled the plywood into position. The plywood was creaking and groaning the whole time; at one time I did hear a sharp snap but a detailed check showed no damage. I am really glad I ordered the high end Okoume plywood. I don’t think that the A/B fir I used for the frames would be able to handle this level of abuse.
This is the final product. It’s a huge bend but it looks awesome. Somehow the left side “shrunk” as it was drawn into place. Eventually I will have to add a little wood so it will meet up with the rub strip when I install it.
Finally, I am up to date with this blog. Its been such a busy late winter/spring I have not kept up with this site. I feel like a kid who is behind on his homework… As I type this, the clamps are off the lower planks and I spent most of the day prepping the left hand side for the next plank. If I had to guess I will probably be hanging it around Sunday of next week but don’t hold me to it.