This is a restoration of a launch I was given that was found in a rubbish bin on a farm here in Auckland It is an old RCM ? plan built 'Fairacre' and was pretty rotten when I received it as it is made in balsa and had been wet for quite a while. I stripped it down, re 'planked' large portions of the hull and fiber glassed it, re- built the cabin, re- marked the deck planks, fitted lights, curtains (ex Graupner Commodore bits from the 70s I had kept), stern ladder, cleats etc. It is fitted with a 540 brushed motor (originally had an old Graupner monoperm) and 70s Graupner ESC and Using 2.4 Radio gear. I still have a few things I'd like to do such as a re-wire, fitting chine spray rails, better motor and maybe some safety rails, but for now it does the job.
Now I am in the swing of planking I may as well do all the remaining decks that need planking. Therefore, very much the same procedure as before with a mahogany border, followed by caulking the inside edges of the mahogany border, then cutting the planks roughly to length, and then finally trimming on the disc sander for an exact fit. When all he planks have been dry fitted, they can are removed and glued with aliphatic glue. A couple of days to completely dry then it’s on with the sanding before finishing with sanding sealer I marked all the nail holes using the marking tool I made. This is all on this deck until final finishing which will be done with all the other decks.
Rails fitted just to see how they look. Remove and paint when the aft section is at this stage. Etching primer for copper & brass. I will cut off the excess below after final fitting. The speaking tube also fixed.
On to the railings. I am using striped electrical wire. Free & easy to solder, and different sizes. The only drawback it is a little soft. The hardest job is getting it straight. This is done in vice & between fingers.( fingers not in vice) I also flatten the stanchions where rails cross. The long silver is the flagstaff at the bow, half way along the section being made. Held in a jig to solder, saw cut hold stanchions & nails stretch rails. The tape was to hold rails against stanchions. This was not needed as I pushed them down with a screwdriver as I removed the soldering iron.
I first cut the base material to size allowing a card thickness all round for final clearances. The lower deck has a number of features in it that need to be measured. I took dimensions from the plans and marked out the base. Again following the upper deck which has a mahogany boarder I cut and planed a further amount of 6mm x 1.5 strips of material. I started by outlining the mahogany boarders, Some years ago I made a mitring device for picture framing which has come in very handy for doing the corners. Having all the pieces cut they are then glued and temporally pinned in position until set. The next job is to prepare all the edges with black card and then measuring each plank across the width starting from the centre line. I must take into account how the planks sit against main access hatch and the battery hatch opening however, all seems to look good but until each plank is positioned and glued with its caulk divider it’s difficult to tell. When preparing each plank I first cut each piece oversize with wire cutters then using the disc sander I trim square one end, then place in position and mark for final length and finish again on the disc sander giving each plank a nice push fit Because lime planking varies in colour across a batch I numbered each plank across the deck varying the pattern of colours as I cut each to length. Next I cut a number of card pieces to length and start to glue (using Aliphatic glue), plank, followed by card filler across the half width, then repeat the other side. Finally the battery hatch and main access hatch are treated in the same manner. Next comes the finishing , I use a very fine grade on my belt sander (I attach a block on the underside of the main access deck to control the sanding process) to remove the majority of excess irregularities followed by an orbital sander for a fine finish. If there is any staining by the black card residue I simply remove it with a pencil rubber. Next I put the nail holes in again using the jig I made to ensure uniform spacing and then gave a coat of sanding sealer. Final finishing will be done as a complete assembly. Preparation of the side panels is the next process before final assembly
Deck Planks, 5 x 3mm Walnut, not a good choice perhaps up a size would have been better Every fixing pin ( .7 x 10 mm Brass Flat head ) had to be pilot drilled. It does sand to a mirror glass type finish but very hard wood, so again a time swallowe'r. Regards muddy
Once the hull was finished, with planking on the base and ply skins on the sides, made a start on the deck.. Decided to go for Walnut 5 x 3mm with pear .5mm as caulking. Quickly found out it was bad choice, as each pin/nail hole had to be pilot drilled. Using a bradawl just split the Walnut planks. It may have been better using 6 x 3mm for planks.. And what with this weather, not at all helpful in the quickness of construction. The spray strips were added next to the chine and at deck level, plus a couple of reinforcement strips along the sides, i refer to em' as bumper bars. The next thing was the hatch combing, this is .8mm ply with a 3mm square top edging, hoping to improve water ingress improvement. Regards Muddy
Did you mean me John? Or Mike? I had considered planking but my mahogany planks are very very thin about 0.5mm x 5mm wide, and I would still have had the problem of 'warping on' a plywood base skin. So I persevered with the mahogany veneer and I'm happy now with the result of making it in two pieces. matching the edges for the centre line joint took the most time 🤔 More power to your plank cutters Gents👍