Monday, April 2, 2012

New Ribs, New Planks

Ty Harper and young helpers pounding in a rib
Over the past few weeks, Brian, don, and the volunteers have been driving in new ribs and replacing rotten planks. Brian informs us that on yachts, old ribs are usually removed by drinding out the nails or screws holding them to the frame, and then sawing or cutting them out in sections. On old fishing boats where aesthetics are not so important, the old ribs are often left in place and new "sister," ribs are hammered down in the spaces between them. This is what's being done on the Thelma C.

The routine is this: First,  two-inch by two-inch by ten-foot long ribs are cut from two-inch by ten inch oak planks, which are then sawn in half lengthwise, right up to a few inches short of one end. This split piece of wood is then steam heated in long box made Brian made out of stryofoam and wood until it is supple. Two volunteers then stand the split end of the rib-to-be and bend it by hand over their heads as far as they can. While the wood is still warm this bend will hold long enough to help it be hammered down into the hull, between the outside hull planks and the inside hull framing. The ribs are hammered until they bottomout on the keel. Excesss rib length on top is cut off flush with the deck once the hull planking is screwed into the rib.

Marnie Liest removing old caulking
Rotten planks are removed by drilling out the screws or nails and pulling out the caulking with a curved chisel-like tool. New fir planks are cut to fit in the shop, beveled so as to allow for caulking to wdge them into each other, and trimmed by hand to a snug fit before being screwed to the ribs.

Brian Johnson fitting a new plank.
New planks and ribs.
New planks on the bow
Ty Harper inspects the hull planking over newly installed ribs.

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