Making Plank Templates


A template is a gauge or pattern, cut out in wood, metal or other suitable material, used to help shape something accurately.

Looking at a well planked wooden vessel, it does not matter whether it is a clinker or carvel construction, but all the planks will look ‘right’. However, if you could peel off a single plank from the boat, the resulting shape of the plank may be a total surprise. In the process of planking, the boat builder is taking a flat object (the plank) and wrapping it around a 3D structure (the hull), and in doing so an oddly shaped plank will be required.

In this case, the template being taken is for the garboard plank on a Fowey river sailing dinghy. For larger vessels see the other section covering making patterns.


Using a spar gauge to mark out a tapered mast for a small sailing dinghy. The technique can be scaled up to suit any sized spar.

Video Content

  • Introduction to the centreline timbers of this vessel (stem, deadwood, keel) and the rebate
  • Plywood template - how to position it
  • Using the glue gun to stick the glue sticks in place
  • Remove the template
Choose Language

Tools Required

  • Plywood template
  • Clamps
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks

Materials Required

  • Plywood
  • Scrape wood for glue sticks