View Full Version : Bead and cove planking

Dave Hancock
07-26-2001, 08:26 PM
I'm going to starting a 23' double ended sailboat in the spring and would like to strip it using bead and cove strip planking. Unfortunatly, all I've seen is the 1/4" - 3/8" canoe and kayak size stuff. Does anyone know of any suppliers that have anything for larger craft?


07-26-2001, 10:34 PM
Dave,I saw a post on the boatbuilding community forum for bead and cove material for sale.Didnt look at it much but remembered your post.


[This message has been edited by dasboat (edited 07-26-2001).]

07-27-2001, 04:34 AM
The NEWFOUND Woodworks, 603-744-6872......
Also check out a product called "Speed Strip" a tongue and groove planking that I have found that does an excellent job. It's made by a company called Maritime Wood Products but you can cut your own on a table saw. Another product that I dearly love are the clamps by Conant Engineering, found in Woodenboat. They will save time, insure good clamping pressure and are just really neat toys.

07-27-2001, 10:38 AM
Pal,what is the slocum society?

Bob Cleek
07-27-2001, 06:36 PM
It shouldn't be too hard to find for sale or have ground custom a set of shaper bits in any size you want. It would also be a LOT cheaper to mill your own stock. It's one thing to buy a bit of premilled stuff if you're just wanting to get your feet wet with a canoe or kayak, but, God, a 23' boat is going to cost a mint in premilled stock.

But, beyond that, why would you WANT to plank a boat like that with "bead and cove" strip planking? First, it is not going to be worth anything near what a traditionally planked boat would be and second, it is going to be a hell of a lot more work. Before you start, consider building a model. Xerox some sheets with the lines on them and glue that to that 1/4" foam-center poster board stuff and then cut out your molds. Plank one side with scale strips and the other with traditional planking. You'll see what I mean when you end up trying to fill in that empty space amidships on the topsides with sliver edged strips! LOL

07-27-2001, 08:20 PM
Tell you what Bob, You sail your boat, I'll sail mine into the hardest seas the world can throw, non-stop around the world...get beat half to death....and see whose boat DOESN't have seams to open on them. Any well build boat can survive...but we have two different philosphies here, and my hull doesn't wiggle.. http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/biggrin.gif http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/biggrin.gif and the bilge is as dry as a bone....

07-27-2001, 10:34 PM
You might not find bead-and-cove router bits larger than 3/8", but you will find 1/2" and 3/4" shaper cutters to use with 1/2" or 3/4" spindles. Try MLCS Woodworking, 1-800-533-9298.

Many a successful strip-planked boat has been built without ending up with sliver edged strips in the topsides. Cf. all the beautiful strip-planked canoes and kayaks.
All it requires is a sensible planking schedule, and these have been worked out countless times. If the boat in question is Joel White's 23-footer (see article in WB #126 on "Lala"), or something similar, it is well suited to cold molding, with double diagonal planking and a horizontal strip-plank layer on the outside. This is what a friend of mine who is building the Joel White boat is doing, and it's working out well.
I would recommend this over a single run of strip planking.

If a strip planked boat will bring so much less than a "traditionally" planked one, why are so many of the top wooden boat yards building them? In my experience well-done carvel planking takes a lot more expertise and time than strip planking, especially if you're hanging planks on a round-bilge boat.

Ditto on the Conant Engineering planking clamps. You can do it with C-clamps, blocks and wedges, but the CE clamps are VERY handy, whether you're doing strip, lapstrake, or carvel. But you can't use them on strip planking laid over diagonal.

[This message has been edited by Bayboat (edited 07-28-2001).]

Bob Cleek
07-29-2001, 12:14 PM
I never said anything about opening seams, Paladin... heck, my bilge is dry as a bone, too. (Except when it rains! LOL) No question the monocoque hull system is stronger. I don't think there's any dispute as to the market value of strip planking vs. carvel. I've got nothing to do with that. Just the way it is.

Now, strip planking has come a long way with modern adhesives. It also seems worthwhile as a component of an epoxy laminated hull, perhaps. Down the road a few decades, though, it can be more difficult to repair. The interlocking nature of the seams make caulking a seam or pulling a single "plank" more difficult than with a carvel planked hull. The narrow strips can also make installing through hulls tricky, since the hole may have to live with a plank seam running through it. Still, I know, I know, lots of people like them and have sailed them everywhere there is to go. Each to his own...

As for why yards are building them? It's cheaper, that's why! As noted, you have to know how to hang carvel planking. It isn't rocket science, but it takes care and thought and hand fitting. Anybody who does it for a living is a shipwright and their labor costs more than the less skilled labor the yards can put to work on strip planking or glued up hulls. This is where the self-builder has the advantage... his labor is not a factor in the cost of the boat he builds, so a guy who is doing it for the love of it can do a top notch job, while the guy who is doing it to feed his kids is going to have to bow to the market demands.

Syd MacDonald
07-31-2001, 07:19 PM
Dave, for a router bit, half inch drive, see the Lee Valley catalog. Their crown molding bit no. 16j57.53 has sections on it that will do a bead and cove, depending on the height setting and will handle a 3/4 inch board plus a little. Cost is $71.50 Cdn, peanuts in US dollars.

Ross Faneuf
08-01-2001, 01:20 PM
I've commented on this topic before, but would like to repeat (when has THAT ever happened on this forum, eh?).

I consider the bead/cove technique for strip planking a complete waste of time if you are gluing up the monocoque with a gap-filling adhesive. Despite the pretty drawings of how bead/cove planks go together, the DO NOT really help with alignment - often, they make it more difficult. Thus I feel they are really a costly aggravation.

I build Ceol Mor (36') with bead & cove strip milled according to the usual recommendations, and it would have been a lot easier if I hadn't. The hull is pretty much bulletproof for its size - 3/4" strip plank edge nailed and nailed to the frames, with 3 layers of 1/8 veneer and 2 layers of Dynel over. The edge nail did all the work of aligning the planks - not the bead/cove. Actually, making sure the joints were aligned was a little harder than it would have been without the cove. Note the edge nails did the alignment because I dry-fit each plank and predrilled for all nails.

Also, the bead/cove contribute nothing structurally.

08-01-2001, 02:48 PM
actually, that's the reason I pfrefer the
"Speed Strip" type tongue and groove technique. No nails and the planks self align, they also claim that no scarphing is required...just butt the planks together....but I prefer the scarph joint...a little more time, looks nicer...and a wee bit stronger.
And Bob, repairs are easy with a router or a router bit in an air drill run on SCUBA tanks...just fine.

Paul Brooks
08-02-2001, 04:05 AM
Yes, I used speed strip for my 19 foot gaffer. As it was my first attempt at boatbuilding it made life much easier - and I'm sure much quicker. Didn't need to spline or joint or anything either as the first piece was set up in a radiused curve to balance out the broader midships with the narrower stem and stern.

I was going to have the cedar machined myself, but the cost of the cutter at about 400 ($550), meant it was just about cheaper to buy ready made stock off the shelf of one of the main UK mills. BYW the cost of the hull timber is minor compared to the cost of everything else....Best regards Paul

Bob Cleek
08-02-2001, 12:12 PM
Different strokes... each to his own... when it comes to building your own boat. Having fun is what it is about. HOWEVER, the one fact remains indisputable. A standard carvel or lapstrake traditionally planked hull will be worth more and be far easier to sell used than any strip planked boat of the same design ever will. That's not me talking, that's just the realities of the marketplace.

08-02-2001, 12:51 PM
That may be true Bob...if you are building it to sell. BUT, it is cheaper to build initially, stronger and more dimensionally stable than a carvel hull, will take poundings in the worlds oceans a helluva lot better, is really easier to repair than a carvel hull if you know how (you will know how if you built it), easier to build without a construction crew, can use less expensive materials to achieve a stronger boat, and build it (hull decks interior etc, the wood stuff) for one fourth the shop price of having a yard build a carvel hull, and will last forever if you don't crash it...and lots of them cruising the world....

ken mcclure
08-02-2001, 01:32 PM
The cove is a great little trough for holding the epoxy. While it doesn't add specifically to the structural strength or integrity, it does help ensure that you get enough glue in there and that the glue stays there until you get the next strip set.

Whoops. Sorry, wasn't done yet...hit the wrong button.

The bead and cove also removes the necessity for bevelling the strip edges to get a good tight joint wherever the hull curves -- such as at the bilges.

There. Now I'm done. Now I can hit the 'submit' button.

[This message has been edited by kwmcclure (edited 08-02-2001).]

08-02-2001, 02:21 PM
Pal, To repeat dasboats question--- What is/does the Slocum Society?
(first man to sail around the world and his book--"Sailing Around the World Alone"--is all I know.

Nicholas Carey
08-02-2001, 03:52 PM
Originally posted by Dave Hancock:
[I'm going to build a boat] using bead and cove strip planking. Unfortunatly, all I've seen is the 1/4" - 3/8" canoe and kayak size stuff. Does anyone know of any suppliers that have anything for larger craft?

Check out CMT <http://www.cmtusa.com>. They make all sorts of [cough,cough] manly router bits.

In addition to their 1/8" radius (1/4" diameter) flute-and-bead set, CMT can set you up with router bits for what you need.

Beading. You can put the bead on with CMT's

1. Roundover bits up to a 1-1/4" radius (2-1/2" diamter). You'll need to make two passes per strip to make the bead with a roundover bit, though.

2. Bullnose bits up to 1/2" radius (1" diameter.) You only need 1 pass with a bullnose bit.

Coving. CMT offers these possibilities:

1. Corner Beading bits, up to 1/4" radius (1/2" diameter.)

2. Round Nose bits, up to 1/2" radius (1" diameter.) You'll have to route the cove in a table with the board vertical with these. Or build a table to hold the router horizontal (like a horizontal morticing machine.)

But you might find out that buying the strips will be faster and no more expensive than milling them yourself: you're buying wood retail and spending a lot of time turning a significant portion of it into dust and chips. The mill making the strips you order is buying the lumber wholesale -- his final price is probably close to what you'll pay retail for the lumber.

08-02-2001, 04:14 PM
Norske...and others....
The Slocum Society is a non-profit 501-C Historical (Hysterical) organization dedicated to recording the history of small boat voayages around the world. Notable are boats less than 50 feet and solo handled. We have over 360 registered members who have solo circamnavigated, 234 who have circumnavigated twice and 17 who have done it three times...under sail, no engine. At one time we published a newsletter but it became too expensive, as most folks didn't pay dues or pay on time and it cost more tomail the newsletters than what was coming in. I took over as Secretary Commodore some time ago and acquired the assets.....no money and have stored and preserved the records at my own expense for over 10 years now. I am intending to publish an "annual" of noted singlehanders and other notable small boat voyages in a year or so, and have the archives reduced to CD's to preserve some of the photos. Two large donations have been made, one to the museum at Port Townsend and the other in Boston. Eventually there will be a web site, but now I am using freeby high school labor to enter all the data.........

08-03-2001, 12:36 AM
A couple of additional comments re bead & cove strip planking:

You planking material is probably of lower density then the filler which would be used to fill the gaps between square-edge planks. So, cove & bead is a tad lighter.

If the filler is applied after the planking is done, filling the gap completely is doubtful.

I've been using bullnose and core-box bits to edge 1/2" planking and made guide fixtures which i clamp to the bases of a pair of laminate trimmers. I can leave the two tools set up. I find that they're easier to use than a router table.