Spiling for cheaters: the garboad plank is cut

Spiling is the process of transferring measurements from the boat frame to planking materials so that they can be cut and fitted.  It involves transferring measurements from the boat frame to a pattern, and subsequently to planking material via the geometry of intersecting arcs, and connecting control points with a long batten.  Fussy.  Instructions for spiling in the books I have are obscure and difficult to follow, and conventional wisdom suggests it is more easily learned from an experienced person.  After reading and re-reading, I found another approach that seems simpler, and I have adopted it, at least until it fails me.  It feels a bit like cheating, but it makes complete sense to me from the get-go.

The image above illustrates the alternative method.  Two battens are fixed to the frame along the planking marks, and adjusted so they appear fair.  Narrow strips (I used planking material scraps) are hot glued to the battens (in triangular patterns to assure rigidity).  Carefully remove the lattice-work battens, trace the shape onto the planking material, and cut two of the planks at once.

I cut the paired planking sheets with my dozuki razor saw rather than a jig saw.  It worked beautifully.  In fact, I cut the line (rather than obeying the cabinetmaker's maxim of leaving the line), and when I finished, there was no trace of the line on either the plank or the waste -- and this with a saw that has a kerf of only 0.012 inches.  Very pleased, I was.

The planks seem to lie nicely on the frame, though this first pair, the garboards, are the trickiest to hang, as the winding plane is more extreme than with any other planks.  That will be tomorrow's task.

2 hours of further work on the stem, and another 2 hours to pattern and cut and fit the planks.


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