I almost missed one of the more charming traditions of boat building, until Tony in Montana reminded me.
The last plank added to a boat hull is known as the “Whiskey Plank.” This is the plank that finally closes up the hull completely, making it viable as a boat for the first time. It’s called the Whiskey Plank because, traditionally, when this plank was finally put on, everyone in the boat shop got a shot of whiskey to celebrate. In my case, by the time I got these troublesome little pieces of wood in place I was past ready for a snort of something strong.
With a new sense of purpose, got the next to the last strips all done. That’s a total of 8 strips in two full days of work. One last strip on each boat will close up the hulls.
The split strip should work fine. The narrow width even makes it easier to flex. Otherwise, at this point it takes wedges to hold the strips in place against the previous bead, plus bungies, plus staples.
There are only two more strips to go on each side of each boat. Until the boats are christened appropriately, I refer to them as North and South. South has the more difficult finish, since one strip won’t fill the gap. I decided to flip it over and have a look at the inside. If the hull/keel joint looks messy I’ll bail on this tough stuff and run a router down the seam and finish off with a nice accent strip.
Wow. The last two strips on each side are incredibly difficult. If I’d known how difficult, I surely would have taken another tack.
There’s still a lot of curve in this section, in the direction the strips don’t want to bend. But the strips are short so you can’t get any leverage. Pushing them into place takes both hands, and they still spring out of the slot and pop you in the face. Plus, each strip has to be cut exactly to size, with bevels and long tapers on both ends, which means prying them into place multiple times as you shave and refine the shape. I haven’t broken a single strip until this point, and I broke four on Saturday – one for each strip that went on successfully.
Began piecing in the last sections of the hulls. Considered a couple of quicker ways to do this part – ways that allow you to fill in the strips first and trim them all at once – but each of those only give you once chance to get it right. Doing each piece individually takes more time, but if you mess up you just toss that piece aside and grab another.