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Thread: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

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    Default Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    I'm considering building a Nordic Folkboat (with lapstrake planking) on Herreshoff style molds upside down. The planking at the frames and rabbet would be fastened with screws, nails all others. Can I get some pros and cons from experienced folks on this?

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    The Herreschoff method was for building several bots to the same design. The factory set up moulds and ribbaned them out to the form, less the plank and timber thickness. The timbers were steamed over the ribbands and the planking then hung and fastened.
    If you go that way you will be spending the time and materials for building two boats and then will throw one away.
    For a boat the size of a Folkboat it is far easier to set up on the ballast keel, plank up, and fit the stringers/beam shelf the right way up. You will l not have the hassle of turning a tonne or so of slightly floppy hull.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Dear Old Gray One is not quite correct about the "Herreshoff Method" as I recall. On the smaller boats they actually made a mold (mould) for each rib station and bent a rib around the outside, fastened to the mould with clips. Then when set up on building frame each mold complete with its rib/frame and attached floortimber was at finished dimension. Ribbands or temporary strapping held the molds/frames in position with keels and stems(etc) attached. Planking was then attached directly to ribs/frames. Once completed the clips between ribs and molds are removed. Then whole hull is lifted off the setup, clamps and shelves and other inside parts added after turnover.
    I have build fairly large carvel planked boats right over the substantial molds, bent ribs in next and then removed the molds and bent in more ribs where the molds were using same screw holes. No muss-no fuss. Got to add the floor timber afterward and in that way, Herreshoff's method is superior, I think. How this is complicated with lapstrake maybe someone else can add.. Happy New Year/ JC

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    I would think the reality of retaining the hull shape while moving the part built boat to a place where lifting equipment can access the boat is the first obstacle to overcome.Then you have to make sure the hull doesn't collapse and that you can support it while fitting the ballast keel.After which considerable amount of work you find yourself at the point you would have been at before the circus began.I can understand the temptation were the hull to be carvel planked,as I know nobody who has ever wanted to spend days beneath a hull planing the planking fair.The only,and utterly trivial, downside of the right way up building process is that a few shavings will fall into the bilge and need to be removed before painting.The advantages of building upright are considerable-so why not just do it?

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Trivial difference to the amount of work making all of the moulds and clips and bracing everything solid, and does not address the issue of turning over a 25' by 7' hull when not in a factory with a squad of boatbuilders to call on.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    I would think the reality of retaining the hull shape while moving the part built boat to a place where lifting equipment can access the boat is the first obstacle to overcome.Then you have to make sure the hull doesn't collapse and that you can support it while fitting the ballast keel.After which considerable amount of work you find yourself at the point you would have been at before the circus began.I can understand the temptation were the hull to be carvel planked,as I know nobody who has ever wanted to spend days beneath a hull planing the planking fair.The only,and utterly trivial, downside of the right way up building process is that a few shavings will fall into the bilge and need to be removed before painting.The advantages of building upright are considerable-so why not just do it?
    Leave it untill the deck is on, then bilge her over onto her side to access the bottom and bilge, Then ease her back the other way for the other side.
    There is a photo in this book


    of a new build on the beach with the shear and top strakes fitted lying on its bilge whilst the rest of the plank was hung.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    I always understood the "Herreshoff Method" to be that peculiar system of erecting a mold for every bent rib (in the case of the Columbia Tender every other bent rib), avoiding ribbands all together. Hulls set up and planked in the inverted position. This does not mean that Herreshoff built every hull that way - but it was an innovation at the time and particularly payed off when building multiple hulls. Steam bent ribs over ribbands, over the molds (far fewer molds) is the way most other builders would go with carvel planking. The 'Herreshoff Method' I do not find compelling for a one-off. Then again maybe a fella just can't resist that sense of precision.

    Columbia tender notwithstanding, Lapstrake is a somewhat different kettle of fish. A lapstrake hull can be planked up around the molds with lap fastenings then ribbed out. Scantlings for a folkboat type would be lighter than carvel, and plank/ribs typically through fastened. There are strong European traditions building lapstrake right side up.
    Some of these traditions are very different than the precise lofting and molding making path taken by Herreshoff and other builders on this side of the pond.

    On a small boat where things are pretty easily within reach I certainly prefer to build upside down. I would prefer to be looking down at those bottom laps than looking up and beveling them. I'd have to think about the ergonomics of something the size of a folkboat in terms of planking proceeding from keel to sheer. The rollover would be a significant operation but not necessarily a deal killer.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Hvalsoe View Post
    I always understood the "Herreshoff Method" to be that peculiar system of erecting a mold for every bent rib (in the case of the Columbia Tender every other bent rib), avoiding ribbands all together. Hulls set up and planked in the inverted position. This does not mean that Herreshoff built every hull that way - but it was an innovation at the time and particularly payed off when building multiple hulls. Steam bent ribs over ribbands, over the molds (far fewer molds) is the way most other builders would go with carvel planking. The 'Herreshoff Method' I do not find compelling for a one-off. Then again maybe a fella just can't resist that sense of precision.

    Columbia tender notwithstanding, Lapstrake is a somewhat different kettle of fish. A lapstrake hull can be planked up around the molds with lap fastenings then ribbed out. Scantlings for a folkboat type would be lighter than carvel, and plank/ribs typically through fastened. There are strong European traditions building lapstrake right side up.
    Some of these traditions are very different than the precise lofting and molding making path taken by Herreshoff and other builders on this side of the pond.

    On a small boat where things are pretty easily within reach I certainly prefer to build upside down. I would prefer to be looking down at those bottom laps than looking up and beveling them. I'd have to think about the ergonomics of something the size of a folkboat in terms of planking proceeding from keel to sheer. The rollover would be a significant operation but not necessarily a deal killer.


    And it would be easier to retain the hull shape if one were to leave the building jig in the boat until it is turned over.

    I would put up the molds, line off the planking then add ribbands to those lines, bend the ribs inside the ribbands then remove the ribbands as I planked having first used each one as a guide to determine the bevel on the preceding plank.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    [/B]And it would be easier to retain the hull shape if one were to leave the building jig in the boat until it is turned over.

    I would put up the molds, line off the planking then add ribbands to those lines, bend the ribs inside the ribbands then remove the ribbands as I planked having first used each one as a guide to determine the bevel on the preceding plank.
    Had to think about this for a minute or three. Possibly I see what you're getting at. Interesting.

    Short answer to original question - the 'Herreshoff Method' does not make a lot of sense to me for a one off carvel - even less so a one off lapstrake. Again - steam bent ribs for a lapstrake folkboat are in all likelyhood through fastened with rivets, not blind screws.

    .

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Building a clinker hull upside down is going to make fastening plank laps a little difficult no? Assuming you are riveting or clenching laps between frames; someone is working under the overturned hull. Its gonna get crowded and dark in there....

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by willin woodworks View Post
    Building a clinker hull upside down is going to make fastening plank laps a little difficult no? Assuming you are riveting or clenching laps between frames; someone is working under the overturned hull. Its gonna get crowded and dark in there....
    Especially amongst the moulds and their bracing.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    It's nice under there, a good place to eat lunch. Really.

    I think the biggest challenge when using my approach in number 8 would be snaking the hot frames under there and getting them bent into place inside the ribbands before they cooled. It could be done though.
    Last edited by Gib Etheridge; 01-02-2019 at 12:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    The plank to frame connection is going to be with a screw. In between the frames, the laps will be connected with a nail and rivet that will be fastened as the planking proceeds so I can reach under the planking. When the boat is flipped over to complete the rest of it, it will have the bulkhead between the cabin and cockpit already installed, Station #6. There will also be a bulkhead at the aft end of the cockpit, Station #3. Molds at Stations #9 and #13 will be left in place and removed only after the full width deck beams have been installed. I'm not using molds at the half stations unless some here thinks it would be worth it. The frames at the molds will be laminated and the frames at the half stations will be steamed and bent in after the hull is turned over. It is 500 mm (19.5") between stations, not counting in the half stations.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Other than a nice place to have lunch why would you want to do it that way? I'm sure I'm missing a lot here.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by nedL View Post
    Other than a nice place to have lunch why would you want to do it that way? I'm sure I'm missing a lot here.
    Why don't you say why see it that way? I'm just trying to get some pros and cons from folks about possibly setting the boat up this way. I've never built a boat before so I'm on here trying to get some constructive feedback from people who have built wooden boats.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    I admit I haven't built a good size one from scratch, but having grown up on the Jersey shore and knowing and following a good number of the builders there (lapstrake was most of what was built there) as well as completely rebuilding a number of lapstrake boats I wouldn't personally build one upside down.

    When building right side up you set up the backbone followed by a number of moulds (many less than carvel), plank her up then put the ribs in her. No complicated building form needed.

    If you aren't familiar with, or haven't seen how lapstrake boats were typically built you might find this helpful.

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...=hans+pedersen

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    Cool Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    I have found that I get light headed after working upside down for extended periods of time. For a large job requiring care and precision like planking, I'd recommend building some kind of ankle straps that can be hung from the ceiling. This will allow you to focus more on carpentry while keeping your hands free, and less on balancing (I assume you'd just do a head-stand otherwise).

    Pros of this method include elongation and stretching of the lower back, improved core strength, and reduced risk of varicose veins.

    Cons to consider are increased risk of passing out/aneurysm, increased build time since you'll have to lower yourself each time you drop your pencil or other tools, and significant chance getting stuck strapped to your ceiling and being not being found for several days.

    That said, building while upside down sounds invigorating. I wish you the best in your decision process.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by guillemot View Post
    I have found that I get light headed after working upside down for extended periods of time. For a large job requiring care and precision like planking, I'd recommend building some kind of ankle straps that can be hung from the ceiling. This will allow you to focus more on carpentry while keeping your hands free, and less on balancing (I assume you'd just do a head-stand otherwise).

    Pros of this method include elongation and stretching of the lower back, improved core strength, and reduced risk of varicose veins.

    Cons to consider are increased risk of passing out/aneurysm, increased build time since you'll have to lower yourself each time you drop your pencil or other tools, and significant chance getting stuck strapped to your ceiling and being not being found for several days.

    That said, building while upside down sounds invigorating. I wish you the best in your decision process.

    Jeff
    Jeff, I think I am safe to assume you’ve never built a boat either but do enjoy flapping your lips to stroke your own ego.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    I should have added that I’m not against building upside down, I am just trying to see the advantage or reason why.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by nedL View Post
    I should have added that I’m not against building upside down, I am just trying to see the advantage or reason why.
    Glued lap OK. Clinked or clenched laps, damned awkward as you need easy access for some manual dexterity on the inside.
    When right way up, with cleverly designed bucking iron you can clink each strake single handed.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Ferguson View Post
    Jeff, I think I am safe to assume you’ve never built a boat either but do enjoy flapping your lips to stroke your own ego.
    Give him a break, I thought it was very funny.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by George Ferguson View Post
    Jeff, I think I am safe to assume you’ve never built a boat either but do enjoy flapping your lips to stroke your own ego.
    Hey George, I didn't mean to offend. Where's everyone's sense of humor? Come on! "I'm considering building upside down." That's a riot!!

    And I'm afraid your assumption is unsafe. I am building (in slow motion) a Swampscott Dory, lapstrake pine over tamarack with steamed oak frames between, copper riveted. I planked it upside down as described in Gardner's "The Dory Book". That's the largest boat I've built by myself. It's considerably smaller and simpler than what you're considering. Also, it's frames serve as molds during construction, so the method is not really comparable to the Herreshoff approach.

    20180625_142228.jpg

    Do you want a serious answer? You got a number of those already. Spiling and fairing was much more comfortable and ergonomic with gravity on my side than it would have been working over my head. It is easier to lean down on a plank to will it into position than to push up against it. I also found sighting along a batten for fairness more natural with the hull upside down than right side up. On the down side, while riveting, the inside man (who peens over the roves) gets a decent amount of sawdust in his eyes and does have to work over his head while lying on his back. For construction of a single boat, it seems a lot of potentially extra effort would be invested in creating the re-usable molds. Since it is a small boat, turning the hull was not difficult, so was not a consideration.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by guillemot View Post
    Hey George, I didn't mean to offend. Where's everyone's sense of humor? Come on! "I'm considering building upside down." That's a riot!!

    And I'm afraid your assumption is unsafe. I am building (in slow motion) a Swampscott Dory, lapstrake pine over tamarack with steamed oak frames between, copper riveted. I planked it upside down as described in Gardner's "The Dory Book". That's the largest boat I've built by myself. It's considerably smaller and simpler than what you're considering. Also, it's frames serve as molds during construction, so the method is not really comparable to the Herreshoff approach.

    20180625_142228.jpg

    Do you want a serious answer? You got a number of those already. Spiling and fairing was much more comfortable and ergonomic with gravity on my side than it would have been working over my head. It is easier to lean down on a plank to will it into position than to push up against it. I also found sighting along a batten for fairness more natural with the hull upside down than right side up. On the down side, while riveting, the inside man (who peens over the roves) gets a decent amount of sawdust in his eyes and does have to work over his head while lying on his back. For construction of a single boat, it seems a lot of potentially extra effort would be invested in creating the re-usable molds. Since it is a small boat, turning the hull was not difficult, so was not a consideration.
    Guillemot, I apologize for retorting like that. And, nice boat! I like it!

    I'm glad you gave me a serious response too. I see a lot of discussions on here where some folks like to demean the folks like myself who are trying to figure things out. And I see a lot of folks are very, very helpful with their advice and coaching. As for the molds, the cost on those aren't really an issue, and they'll be reused by someone else who wants to build a Nordic Folkboat. I'm actually going to create a drawing for each plank as I shape them and put them on so he can use those drawings later to maybe speed up his process (not sure that'll work though). The planks on my boat aren't going to be over six inches wide at midship so I'm hoping reaching under with a rivet gun will be manageable.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by George Ferguson View Post
    The planks on my boat aren't going to be over six inches wide at midship so I'm hoping reaching under with a rivet gun will be manageable.
    Build a test piece and try it. It may be a lot harder than you think. Holding the bucking iron on with one hand whilst feeding a rove upwards on to the nail, then driving it on upwards with the hollow punch and a hammer whilst still holding the bucking iron in place. Then you can try working your rivet gun upwards single handed.

    Have you never thought to your self why no one in the 1000 year + history of clinker boat building has not built upside down?

    If your plank are only 6 inch wide midships, how wide to they reduce to at the stem rebate where the girth is far less?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    When the poster says rivet gun,that gets me a bit concerned.The wrong type can squeeze the jaws together and while this is fine if you have rivets passing through metal,the same device can cause nails to buckle within the wood.The rat-tat-tat-tat-tat types just lead to deafness.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    When the poster says rivet gun,that gets me a bit concerned.The wrong type can squeeze the jaws together and while this is fine if you have rivets passing through metal,the same device can cause nails to buckle within the wood.The rat-tat-tat-tat-tat types just lead to deafness.
    What type do you recommend John? I'm assuming from your response you have experience with them.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Build a test piece and try it. It may be a lot harder than you think. Holding the bucking iron on with one hand whilst feeding a rove upwards on to the nail, then driving it on upwards with the hollow punch and a hammer whilst still holding the bucking iron in place. Then you can try working your rivet gun upwards single handed.

    Have you never thought to your self why no one in the 1000 year + history of clinker boat building has not built upside down?

    If your plank are only 6 inch wide midships, how wide to they reduce to at the stem rebate where the girth is far less?

    5" at the transom. 4" at the stem

    Strake Width.jpg lapstrake.jpg

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    ^ Dunno about riveting guns, this is my go to tool for clinking roves.

    You need a light reciprocating gun that mimics a riveting hammer, with a striker that allows you to go round the nail rather than directly on the end.
    Have you ever clinked over a rove yet?
    Notice how he is working round the nail with the hammer
    The first couple of blows spreads the copper (without bending the nail, do not hit too hard) then the head is formed by hammering off centre with the ball peen.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    These work pretty well, A folkboat is going to use several thousand rivets...

    IMG_4472.jpg

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Jimmy Steele set up his rivet gun to be activated by a foot pedal. Leaving him a free hand for the iron. He was doing right side up carvel. No reason that the boat can't be riveted on the laps, then the boat and forms be rolled over for ribbing. And if you are really slick, you frame the boat up without putting the roves on the rivets. pulll the frames, paint or varnish the interior then put the ribs back after coating all sides. I've not seen this on a large boat.
    Ben Fuller
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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Jimmy Steele set up his rivet gun to be activated by a foot pedal. Leaving him a free hand for the iron. He was doing right side up carvel. No reason that the boat can't be riveted on the laps, then the boat and forms be rolled over for ribbing. And if you are really slick, you frame the boat up without putting the roves on the rivets. pulll the frames, paint or varnish the interior then put the ribs back after coating all sides. I've not seen this on a large boat.
    George wants to frame out with laminated frames temporarily attached to moulds, and screw the plank to the frames whilst clinking the laps between the frames. There are 30 frames in a 25' Folkboat, so not a lot of room to work in between the moulds.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    It would be harder to line off to get nice looking planks and the sheer upside down, I would think

  33. #33

    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    George wants to frame out with laminated frames temporarily attached to moulds, and screw the plank to the frames whilst clinking the laps between the frames. There are 30 frames in a 25' Folkboat, so not a lot of room to work in between the moulds.
    There will only be 14 molds and they are 500mm (20") apart. I'm only using them at the called out stations and the half stations (intermediate frames) will be steamed and bent after the boat is turned upright.

  34. #34

    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by hightop View Post
    It would be harder to line off to get nice looking planks and the sheer upside down, I would think
    I'm worried about this too. This is something I really want to get right. I've noticed from the photos I've seen on the web that a lot of the Nordic Folkboats around the Baltic have varnished hulls, inside and out. I'm probably going to paint the outside white but depending on how the grain looks, I might varnish it.

    Since my lumber will be air drying between now and this coming October, I'm going to spend a little time building a sort of half model that is 1/4 the actual size. It will just be the station profiles cut out 1/4 size and attached to a profile piece. I'm hoping to use that for helping to get a head start lining out the planks.

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    Default Re: Building Upside Down - Lapstrake Planking

    Quote Originally Posted by George Ferguson View Post
    There will only be 14 molds and they are 500mm (20") apart. I'm only using them at the called out stations and the half stations (intermediate frames) will be steamed and bent after the boat is turned upright.
    You are laminating them, yes? Will they be the same scantlings as the steamed timbers?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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