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Lining Off Planks (small boats)


This section covers more than just lining off planks, it shows how to transfer the bevel from the mould to the hog and removing it. It also covers the relationship of the garboard to the boat, developing the garboard template, cutting the garboard and starting to fix it. To see the next step for the garboards, please refer to the steaming planks skill where the garboards for a Fowey 14’ river sailing dinghy are steamed into position by Marcus Lewis.

Lining off planks is the process of setting up the plank widths throughout the hull, and it is applicable for carvel and clinker planked boats alike. With the characteristic ridges formed by the overlaid planks on a clinker vessel, the ‘look’ or run of the planks is critical for a nice looking vessel especially above the waterline.

With a carvel planked vessel, as you get a smooth hull from this type of construction, the run of the planks is less critical. However, if the hull is varnished or the seam moves, the underlining plank outlines will soon show themselves.

Any boatbuilder or shipwright would approach this process with care as there is huge pride in getting the run of planks correct in both types of vessel. Space to view the vessel is a benefit, however in some yards and workshops this is not possible. Having a developed eye for the flow of a plank is another skill worth having, as well as peace and quiet and time on your hands to complete this stage.

This skill demonstrated lining off the planks for a small sailing dinghy (15’ clinker Mayflower sailing dinghy). Usually once the process has been done, the moulds are marked up for future use.


The process is demonstrated in the accompanying video clips with a step-by-step guide. The conversation with the boat builder, in this case Marcus Lewis, is unscripted and covers the technique from his experience.

Part 1

  • Setting up the sheer
  • Establishing plank widths
  • Wrapping battens or ‘ribbons’ around the moulds

Part 2

  • Setting the plank spacing at the transom and aft moulds
  • Turn of the bilge – impact on the plank thickness
  • Garboard plank
  • Bevelling the hog

Part 3

  • Bevelling the hog at the transom continued from part 2
  • Preparing the rebate on the forward deadwood and the stem
  • Setting the plank widths at the transom

Part 4

  • Setting the plank widths at the transom continued from part 3
  • Dry fit the garboard template
  • Transferring the information from the template to the planking stock

Part 5

  • Transferring the information from the template to the planking stock continued from part 4
  • Garboard cut out using a bandsaw
  • Transferring the garboard shape to the next piece of spruce for the other side
  • Start fitting the garboard plank
Kies Taal...

Benodigd Gereedschap

  • Hammer
  • Clamps
  • Planking plan
  • Tape measure
  • Off cut of planking stock as a template / gauge
  • Rebate plane
  • Chisels
  • Smoothing plane
  • Level
  • Cordless battery powered drill
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Pencil

Benodigde Materialen

  • Suitable wood for battens or ‘ribbons’
  • Plywood for templating
  • Larch planking stock