Tuesday, January 18, 2011

All Hands on Deck

The next task in the deck planking was to fit and epoxy down all the longitudinal planks. Beginning at the center king plank, I worked my way outward fitting and "clamping" each board in place using 3/16" fender washers with #8 round head sheet metal screws 3/4" long. I used the grid lines already on the subdeck to establish hold downs every 4" along each plank. A pilot hole was drilled prior to putting in a screw. Where the leading edge of a plank mated to the perimeter cover boards, a rough angle cut was made on the chop saw or band saw. Then holding the plank in place, a final line was marked using a spacer. I sanded to the line on my 1" stationary belt sander. (Actual work took a lot longer than writing about it.)

A box of 100 washers allowed me to get two or three rows done on each side of the boat at a time. I used pieces of luan plywood as spacers which happen to measure 3/16" thick. Once I had a batch ready to go, all screws were removed and the unthickened epoxy spread on the subdeck areas to be glued and the underneath side of each plank. Then thickened epoxy was spread on each plank and the plank put in place. The washer/screws were hand started and then beginning at the forward end, spacers put in place and the screws tightened to lock the plank in place.

After a set of planks were fit and screws tightened, the spacers were removed so they wouldn't get bonded in place. I put in some 3/16" tile spacers just to make sure nothing moved, but they were not necessary. After the epoxy set overnight, the screws and washers were removed. Any washer that stuck to the wood was unstuck with a chisel. I put the rounded edge of the spacer towards the wood to reduce the chance of marking the wood and helping with removal if stuck.

The process was tedious and my shoulder hurt at times from holding the cordless screwdriver, but seeing the deck transform from boring to way cool was worth all the fuss. It took four days of work but I'm ready to move on to the next step if I can figure out what that is. On the last day of epoxy work I made some sample boards with planking scraps so I can experiment with staining, finishing, and gap filling.

However, I have a few more screws to remove first.


  1. Your boat is looking fantastic and you are really keeping me motivated to continue with my boat project. Keep up the good work.