This section is from the book "Amateur Work Magazine Vol6". Also available from Amazon: Amateur Work.
Carl H. Clark
After the moulds are all correctly set and the ribbands fastened, the form is ready to receive the frames. These frames are of oak 1 in. x 1 1/2., and are spaced 9 in. apart, center to center. This brings three frames between each two moulds, with another bent in to take the place of the mould when the latter is removed. The positions of the frames are marked off on the bottom, and also on the top ribband to guide in bending them in evenly. The frames should be of rather green stock, as thoroughly dry stock is two brittle to bend readily. It is, in fact, many times advisable to obtain a fresh green stick and have it ripped up at the mill to the proper size. This green stock bends very readily and after it seasons in place there is no tendency to change shape.
In building a boat of this size, a steam box is very desirable, as there are many pieces which will require steaming to render them pliable. It should be about 12 ft. long and 10 or 12 in. square; it may be built of rough boards, but should be fairly tight. One end is closed and the other has a door. It should be placed in a convenient position and steam led to it from a wash boiler or teakettle, which may be heated by any convenient means, such as an oil stove.
A number of frames can be steamed at once, they being drawn out as required. The frames should be steamed until they are heated all through and very limber. A frame is then taken out and bent partially to shape over some convenient forms, such as a stiff barrell or similar shape. It is then put into the proper place in the form and bent out until it bears evenly against all of the ribbands; it is then clamped solid in place. Care must be taken to bend the frames quite sharply at the point where they leave the flat of the bottom, to take up the curve of the sides. A monkey wrench clamped on to the frame is sometimes used to obtain a sharp bend; one must, however, use care not to break the frame and destroy its strength. The frames extend to the center line of the bottom and may be fastened at once by two or more galvanized nails driven through it into the bottom.
The timbering may be begun at any desired point, but should continue equally on each side of the boat. As soon as each frame has cooled somewhat, the clamps may be removed for further use, and the frame held in place by pieces of wire wound around both frame and ribband, or in any other way which may be convenient. Very little fastening is necessary after the frame has "set." The top of the frames should be allowed to extend above the upper ribband a foot or more; a rope is then passed around the tops of the opposite frames and the tops drawn together somewhat to assure that the frames will not have too great an outward slope.
At the ends of the boat the frames will have a considerable amount of twist, and instead of following a square up the side, will tend to slope more towards the ends, giving them a sort of radiating appearance. There is no particular harm in this, and it makes the bending much easier. Abreast of the center board slot the frames should be kept clear the same as were the bottom cleats.
It is desirable that the frames be finished somewhat before putting in as there are certain places where they will show. Those between molds 2 and 5 especially should be quite well finished and the inside covers bevelled, as they come in the cabin and will show if the latter is not ceiled.
When the above work is done the frames should all be fair and touch all of the ribbands evenly; any small irregularities will of course work out during the planking, but any great unfairness may be removed by giving the frame an additional bend.
Stock for the planking should be 7/8 in. thick, and of cedar, pine, cypress or hard pine. The two former are the lightest, but cannot now be obtained generally in long lengths nor in wide boards owing to their scarcity. Cypress has lately come into use for boat building; it can be obtained in almost any length or width and is on the whole a very satisfactory material for planking. Hard pine is rather heavy, but is extremely strong and durable and easily obtainable. It is, however, harder to work than any of the others.
The kind of stock used must in any case depend upor the locality and what is obtainable; other things being equal, however, the writer would recommend cypress Whatever stock is used should be gotten in lengths o: about 15 ft. so that each plank will have no more than one butt or joint in it; the widths also should run from 8 to 12 in.
A little consideration and inspection of the form of the boat will render the work of planking much easier A thin batten 3 1/2 in. wide, 1/2 in. thick and about 15 ft. long, and as near straight as possible, should be gotten out for future use. If this batten is laid up against the bottom of the boat about 4 in. from the rabbit, it will be noted that the straight line of its edge does not follow the rabbit in the bottom, but lands well up on the stem and stern board. The same effect will be noted if the batten is bent around the bilge. It is thus seen that the edges of the plant cannot be straight, but must have a curvature in order to bring the ends down to a reasonable height. It is for this reason that the stock for planking must be so much wider than the actual plank. The garboard, or plank next to the bottom, is the first to be fitted Undoubtedly the garboard is the most difficult plank to fit and must be done first. Following out the above principle the garboard will be made narrow amidship. and as wide as possible at the ends, so that the planks above will not have an excessive amount of curvature The width amidships should be about 4 in. and at the ends about 12 in.
Perhaps the best way to fit this garboard will be to make a pattern from a piece of 1/4 in. stock. The forward and aft ends should be fitted separately. The 1/4 in. piece may be easily bent around and fitted by trial. It must fit nicely into the rabbit of bottom and stem at every point. When each portion of the pattern has been fitted they should be tacked in place, and the upper edges trimmed down until they join in an even, smooth curve. The pattern is now laid on the board, marked around and the shape cut out, one of each for each side. The plank itself must now be fitted by trial, but only a small amount of trimming should be necessary. To hold the plank in position, clamps may be hooked around the moulds, and shores may also be wedged between the plank and the floor. Care must be taken not to split the plank; a piece of board must always be placed under the end of a shore or clamp screw. When the two portions of the plank have been fitted they should be clamped. place and the over-lapping ends cut off just even and in lf way between two frames.