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11/19/01 - Taking Shape
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The project is taking on a distinctly boat-like appearance, and I'm heartened by it. Because I'm getting close to finishing up the planking, there is a real danger now of pushing on even when it would make more sense to quit for the night and hit the sack, with the result that potentially disastrous mistakes are made. This plank is a great example of that. As I've said before, I make a pattern for each plank using "door skin" plywood. I then clamp two sheets of marine-grade ply together and transfer the pattern to the good wood, and cut out the resulting plank. The result is two identical planks that should in theory fit exactly the same way on both sides.

The first of the two planks I cut for this strake went on perfectly, and I imagined myself getting pretty good at this, but when I offered up the plank on the other side, nothing I did would get it to lay on the land marks properly. When I tried to fit it at one end, the other end was so far off as to cause me to question my sanity. I spent a good half hour trying to figure out what was going on, and was getting pretty close to resigning myself to either trimming the plank or re-cutting a new one from the pattern when I discovered that I simply had the plank upside down. It was time for a break.

11/19/01 - So Many Clamps
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Once I figured out that the plank was fine and I was simply suffering from a massive and hopefully temporary brain fart, I breathed a sigh of relief, went in to the house and sat down to wait for this debilitating mental state to pass. When it did, I resolved to get the plank in before the end of the night. Flipping it right-side up did the trick and it went it just fine.

11/20/01 - Every Morning is Christmas Morning
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The really neat part of working on this project is that every morning offers up a new prize; I get to check on the results of the night's gluing. This looks pretty good, but I find that my eye is getting more and more critical of the work, while my hands frustratingly remain relatively constant with respect to skill. In this case, I'm looking at a spot in which the bevel crept beyond the edge of the plank land.

11/21/01 - The Okoume Death March Continues
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Okay, I think I have the hang of this now, and I'm ready to be done planking. In fact, I was ready to be done planking twelve planks ago. It's kind of handy that we start planking at the very bottom of the boat because that's where I've made the lion's share of mistakes. As I've progressed, I've gotten better at fairing the planks and the beveling to the point where I'm pretty happy with the last two on each side that I've done. Just in time too, since these are the planks that will be visible when the boat is in the water.

I'm now thinking ahead to the next step, which is fairing the bow and fitting the outer stem, the fairing the bottom and fitting the keel. I'm waffling back and forth on the kind of wood to use for the keel. The outer stem is already made up of mahogany laminates, but I haven't bought wood for the keel yet and I'm becoming more indecisive about whether or not the keel should be mahogany too. I'll decide later.

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