H.M.S. Fly Gun Deck Planking

NOTE: There are two way to do this section which will be described below. The first method is outlined within the H.M.S. Fly instructions and explained below.

The second method has been developed by Lloyd and although it will take longer to complete produces a top quality finish. Both methods work and it is a mater of choice which one you would prefer to use.


 

Method 1 - Taken from the H.M.S. Fly instructions.

The instructions say to cut the deck through the middle to aid fitting, this will be hidden by the upper decks and is the easiest way to do things. I first drew a line down the centre to aid with planking (0.5x3mm Tanganyika) then cut along the length. If any adjustments need to be done only trim the deck edges and slots NOT the centre line you cut.

HINT: When planking It would be a good idea to mark the edge of the planks with a black felt pen. This gives the illusion that the planks have been chalked and I think improves the look. You will see from my picture that I did not do this but having seen others that have it looks so much better

Basic Gun Deck

Pin and glue the deck once planked. When dry and before the beams are fitted sand and varnish the deck. Make sure you fit he hatch combings, capstan, rear main mast bitts and main pump cistern and cannon carriage.Now glue the fore deck beam in place, cut and pin only! the fore and aft decks.

Make sure the deck is correctly trimmed to fit the bulkheads ready to take the pre-formed gun-port strips. The front of these will require allot of soaking (a good hour)to make them pliable. Once they are seated correctly(take your time with this!) glue and pin them.

Once completely cured, remove the pins, and trim any excess to the same shape as the stern counter patterns.


Please see Hints and Tips for deck planking.

NOTE:

  • When I glued the gun-port strips in place I clamped the midships sections instead of gluing as the bulkhead extensions will be removed later

  • The capstan should be checked to make sure it fits under beam No.9a

  • The forward riding bit assembly is best assembled on your bench and then fitted, it will drop into the holes with a snug fit and a little glue.

  • Gratings - Make sure you get these the correct way around. The top of the battens are to be seen in their entirety as shown in the instruction manual.

NOTE!! you will need to fix the cannon carriages before you add the upper deck. See the Cannons and Channels section for importand information


 

Method 2 - Developed by Lloyd and available as a PDF at

the end of this page.

Lloyd Matthews – April 2013 ©

PLEASE READ GUIDANCE NOTES PRIOR TO FITTING THE GUN DECK

This author will incorporate a bowsprit ‘heel and step’ in the forecastle, and will use the design in H.M.S. Victory as a guide, Figure F1. A galley stove will also be added later.

Cut away section of H.M.S Victory (Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)
Figure F1 – Cut away section of H.M.S Victory (Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)

NOTE: If you are building the "Captain's Cabin" please check related section within the "Hull Modification" instructions. It describes how the keel should be prepared prior to assembly. If you are following the H.M.S. Fly instructions please start just below Fig F6 below.

Even thought the hull was assembled, part of the keel as shown in Figure F2, was removed with the use of a fret saw; ensure that 1mm was left proud to be level with the gun deck.

The remaining part shown by pencil lines also had to be removed, but the small section on top of the bowsprit hole was left remaining. To achieve this, a junior hacksaw was used with a new blade, Figure F3; it was sawn very gently then removal is relatively simple, but this was not rushed.

HMS Fly Part of the keel had been removed with a hand fret saw
Figure F2 – Part of the keel had been removed with a hand fret saw


HMS Fly - A junior hacksaw being used to remove a part of the keel
Figure F3 - A junior hacksaw beinf used to remove a part of the keel

Using a chisel blade in a craft knife, carefully cut the ply so the section of keel can be removed, as shown in Figure F4, and then with the same craft knife and needle files remove the part of the keel so the bowsprit can be inserted, Figures F5 and F6.

HMS Fly - Section of the keel being removed
Figure F4 - Section of the keel being removed


HMS Fly - Section of keel carefully cutaway and filed so bowsprit can be inserted
Figure F5 - Section of keel carefully cutaway and filed so bowsprit can be inserted

 

HMS Fly - Bowsprit inserted to ensure fit is correct
Figure F6 - Bowsprit inserted to ensure fit is correct

Gun deck part no. 28 came in two halves; on each half, the outside edge bulkhead slots were filed so each side fitted easily on the hull assembly. Note: Do not make any adjustment along the centre joint. The two halves of the gun deck were carefully lined up, and masking tape was used to keep them together, Figure F7. To enable the masking tape to be removed after fitting, turn up the ends of the tape, making this operation easier. The gun deck is fitted onto the hull assembly, ensuring each half is on the correct side; further adjustments may be required. The gun deck can be removed as many times as required, and the masking tape will keep them aligned.

Guide lines are drawn for the planking on the gun deck, Figure F8; go to ‘Tutorials’ and check ‘HMS Fly Detailed Deck Planking Techniques’. The length of the planks will be 80mm and a ‘3 butt’ system of planking will be adopted. Figure F8 illustrate the 80mm plank length with the ‘Blue’ arrow; this length is then divided in 4 equal divisions, the ‘Red’ arrow.

HMS Fly - Two halves of the gun deck are held together with masking tape
Figure F7 - Two halves of the gun deck are held together with masking tape

 

HMS Fly - Marking up the gun deck ready for planking
Figure F8 - Marking up the gun deck ready for planking

Once the gun deck had been marked for planking, the surface is primed with a slightly diluted PVA adhesive. It was found that through experimentation that when PVA is used to glue the planks to the ply, there was good contact adhesion between the plank and the gun deck, when they were applied. The down side to this is that the gun deck slightly buckles when the PVA had dried; it was placed on a flat surface, and books put on top, to make it flat again, Figure F9.

Gun deck place on flat surface and books placed on top
Figure F9 – Gun deck place on flat surface and books placed on top

PVA adhesive is run along the centre edge of the gun deck, Figure F10, and a small amount is also placed on the top edge of the keel in the hull assembly, Figure F11.

HMS Fly - PVA adhesive is run along the centre edge of the gun deck
Figure F10 - PVA adhesive is run along the centre edge of the gun deck

 

HMS Fly - Small bead of PVA adhesive ran along the top edge of the keel
Figure F11 - Small bead of PVA adhesive ran along the top edge of the keel

The gun deck is placed on the hull assembly, and masking tape placed along the centre joint to ensure the two edges are perfectly flat. The gun deck is then fixed in position with clear tape and spring clips, ensuring that there is full contact along the top edge of all the bulkheads. The reason that adhesive is only placed along the centre edge of the gun deck and keel top, is that this will allow plenty of time to fit the gun deck, Figure F12.

HMS Fly - Gun deck positioned onto hull assembly prior to finally gluing into position
Figure F12 - Gun deck positioned onto hull assembly prior to finally gluing into position

Figure F13 illustrates how the gun deck is in full contact with the top of each bulkhead.

HMS Fly - Gun deck in full contact with top edge of all bulkheads
Figure F13 - Gun deck in full contact with top edge of all bulkheads

Adhesive is applied around all the edges of the gun deck and bulkheads, Figure F14

HMS Fly - Glue is run around the gun deck and all bulkheads
Figure F14 - Glue is run around the gun deck and all bulkheads

Allow at least 24 hours to ensure that the gun deck is fully fixed in place; then make sure it is level at both the bow and the stern, where the modifications have taken place. In this authors model, thin card and ply was used, Figure F15 & F16.

HMS Fly - Card is used to ensure the gun deck is level with modified stern section
Figure F15 -Card is used to ensure the gun deck is level with modified stern section


HMS Fly - Forward end of the gun deck is made level for planking
Figure F16 - Forward end of the gun deck is made level for planking

The completed gun deck with its slight transverse camber and slight longitudinal downward curve is illustrated in Figure F17

HMS Fly - Gun deck fixed to hull assembly
Figure F17 - Gun deck fixed to hull assembly

As stated previously, this is the first time this author has built a period ship, and the planking of the gun deck presented its own challenges for this novice builder. The sequences of steps now described are not intended for the experienced builder, but for the novice to gain experience prior to planking the actual gun deck.

Two A4 sheets of paper are fixed with clear sticky tape; then the outline of the gun deck is drawn, Figure F18. The plank positions are marked on the paper as shown in Figure F8, and longitudinal 3mm width lines are drawn on one half of the paper to represent the plank widths, Figure F18.

This author has chosen to start planking the port side (left), following the ‘3 butt’ system of planking. As each plank is drawn, they will be shaded on the paper using an 8B pencil; the plank butt ends are drawn in with a black pen.

When doing this one must be very methodical completing each plank run before starting the next. The ‘3 butt’ system incorporates 4 plank runs, and each set of these have been marked on the paper, Figure F18

HMS Fly - Illustrates the planking on the port side of the gun deck
Figure F18 - Illustrates the planking on the port side of the gun deck

Starting from where the first plank is marked in Figure F18, the port side of the gun deck is relatively easy to plank, following ‘Tutorials’ - HMS Fly Detailed Deck Planking Techniques.  Note: Don`t forget to caulk your planks

The starboard (right) side is a little more difficult to ensure that the plank butts remain in the same sequence as the port side, and care must be taken that the correct point is taken to lay the first plank on this side.

Figure F19 illustrates the starting point which this author took to start planking on the starboard side, which will ensure that the pattern of three planks will be between each two butts. It does not matter where the first plank is laid providing that it will result in three planks being between the two butts.

Figure F19 also illustrates the plank laying sequence for each set of 4 plank runs to complete the ‘3 butt’ system of planking.

This author found that it was much easier to understand this system of planking by fully drawing out how it will look. Mistakes first made are easily rectified with a rubber, but if they made when actually planking the gun deck, they will be extremely difficult to correct.

It must be emphasised that it is only this authors approach to learning planking, and there are many ways to approach this topic.

 

HMS Fly - Planking of the starboard side of the gun deck
Figure F19 - Planking of the starboard side of the gun deck

 

HMS Fly - Aft section of the gun deck
Figure F20 - Aft section of the gun deck

The aft end of the gun deck, Figure F20, again illustrates the ‘3 butt’ system of planking.
This hand drawn plan of the planking will now be used as a guide to plank the actual gun deck.
Referring to Figure F19, the following sequence of planking is followed on the gun deck:-

  1. Start at 1 on the Centre Line and plank the entire length. This
    plank starts in the centre of the hatch, so the other end of the plank is 80 mm forward.
  2. On the PORT side the next run starts at 2        
  3. On the STARBOARD  side the run will start at 2  
  4. On the PORT side the run starts at 3          
  5. On the STARBOARD side the run will start at 3 
  6. On the PORT side the run will start at 4
  7. On the STARBOARD side the run will start at 4     

The planking sequence for ‘3 butt’ system will have been completed once on the PORT side and once on the STARBOARD side, and the centre plank is common to both sequences.

AUTHORS NOTE:

Do not mix different plank strips in a run; for example a plank strip is 1,000 mm in length, and the Fly is approximately 440 mm in length, so the plank strip is sufficient for two complete plank runs. Do not use the remaining 120 mm in the next plank run. The width of plank strips can vary, and this will reduce uneven gaps between the planks.

Prior to cutting the planks, one side is marked with a continuous pencil line to ensure a continuity of grain and colour in two or more plank runs, Figure F21. This is the side the adhesive is applied

HMS Fly - A line is drawn on the underside of each plank, and ‘butts’ clearly noted
Figure F21 -A line is drawn on the underside of each plank, and ‘butts’ clearly noted

When a plank is cut, this will form a common butt for two planks; this author used the notation AA, BB, CC etc. to ensure that the planks were always kept paired, Figure F21.

Here we have a short clip on "Cutting the Plank". We are using the tool developed within Detailed Deck Planking Techniques.

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When applying the adhesive to the underside of the plank, use a minimum amount only; a small continuous bead of approximately 0.5 mm the full length of the plank was found to be sufficient producing very little excess adhesive (Figure F19, ‘Tutorials’ - HMS Fly Detailed Deck Planking Techniques). Should there be any additional adhesive remove immediately with a craft knife, Figure F22

HMS Fly - Excess adhesive is removed from plank before it hardens
Figure F22 - Excess adhesive is removed from plank before it hardens

(This is a test example only)

When laying a plank, make sure one end is firmly pushed into a butt, and then lay the full length, Figure F23. (See a short video on laying planks)

Press firmly down along its entire length ensuring that the plank is flush with the adjoining one, but not too hard otherwise the gun deck ply may break, especially in the centre area.

HMS Fly - Laying a plank ‘butt’ first (This is a test sample only)
Figure F23 - Laying a plank ‘butt’ first (This is a test sample only)

Methodically follow the gun deck plan drawn in pencil; as each plank run was completed, this author drew a yellow pencil line on the plan indicating its completion, Figure F24.

HMS Fly - Each completed plank run is marked on gun deck plan
Figure F124 - Each completed plank run is marked on gun deck plan

 It is useful to have something to ensure the planks are pressed firmly against each other. This author used 80 mm brass right angle bar 7mm x 7mm, Figure F25.

HMS Fly - Planks are firmly pushed against each other when first laid
Figure F25 - Planks are firmly pushed against each other when first laid

As each run is completed, trim any excess planking away from openings in the deck, e.g. mast holes, hatches openings etc. Figure F26

HMS Fly - Planks are trimmed around deck openings
Figure F26 - Planks are trimmed around deck openings

For this operation use a new craft knife to ensure that minimal pressure is being exerted on the planks.

The ‘3 butt’ sequence will start to appear, Figure F27; as the planking is continued, refer to the hand drawn gun deck plan constantly, and always check that there are 3 planks between each pair of butts.

HMS Fly - Three planks start appearing between two ‘butts’
Figure F27 -Three planks start appearing between two ‘butts’

When the area around the bulkheads are planked, special care will be required to ensure a good fit. For example, Figure F28 illustrates a stern area which is particularly difficult to plank.

HMS Fly - An area that requires special attention when planking
Figure F28 - An area that requires special attention when planking

With the use of a new craft knife and a flat needle file individual planks are shaped around the bulkheads, Figure F29.

HMS Fly - Planks are cut to fit around bulkhead areas
Figure F29 - Planks are cut to fit around bulkhead areas

 

HMS Fly - Plank is fitted around bulkhead area
Figure F30 - Plank is fitted around bulkhead area

Along the edge of the gun deck the plank holding tool cannot be used, and in these circumstances use a pair of self-closing tweezers to place the plank into the correct position, Figure F31.

HMS Fly - Self-closing tweezers are used to position planks
Figure F31 - Self-closing tweezers are used to position planks

The areas around bulkheads nos. 5, 6 & 7 are not planked, as the part of the bulkhead above the gun deck will be removed once the gun port patterns have been fitted, Figure F32 (starboard side)

HMS Fly - Areas around bulkheads 5, 6 & 7 are not planked (starboard side)
Figure F32 - Areas around bulkheads 5, 6 & 7 are not planked (starboard side)

For this author the planks arranged themselves conveniently around bulkheads 5, 6 & 7 on the starboard side however, the planks on the port side were a little more awkward.

On the port side around bulkhead no. 8, a plank but is just behind the bulkhead, meaning that the very outer plank could be difficult to fit when the gun port pattern is in position, Figure F33, so this plank is fitted.

 

HMS Fly - Plank behind bulkhead no. 8 is fitted
Figure F33 - Plank behind bulkhead no. 8 is fitted

 

HMS Fly - Plank shaped but not fitted
Figure F34 - Plank shaped but not fitted

The other plank behind bulkhead no. 8 is cut to shape but not fitted, Figure F34. To ensure that this plank is not lost or damaged, it has been fixed to a lollipop stick, Figure F34.

The planked gun deck is shown in Figures F35 & F36.

HMS Fly - Forward end of the gun deck
Figure F35 - Forward end of the gun deck

 

HMS Fly - Aft end of the gun deck
Figure F36 - Aft end of the gun deck

The excess planks are carefully cut away from the gun deck, Figure F37.

HMS Fly - Planked gun deck
Figure F37 -Planked gun deck

There we have it. The planking techniques can be used on any deck for any ship.

Thank's to Lloyd Matthews for this in depth guide into Deck Planking. I will certainly use these techniques on my next build.

Need a PDF? Here it is: Gun Deck Planking

 

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