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As you can see in the picture above, make sure your framework is "square" before you start planking. If your skeleton is suffering from twisting,"potato chipping", or is bent. . .the planking work will intensify said faults. Because of the "Murphy's Law" we tug builders work under, if your tug frame was leaning to starboard, planking can not possibly pull the bend to the port. Sort of like the jellied toast always falls on the- jelly. Constantly monitor your skeleton for being "True".

Below, you can see that the miracle of "Wood Filler" is used by me - a lot. Wood filler is wonderful. I use basic exterior "Elemer's Wood Filler". It works perfectly. Plan on several applications and lots of sanding in between. If you use the "foam blocks" under fiberglass approach, my next planking choice, you will still use wood filler to create an even base for the fiberglass. It's nice that this model can be put together any way you choose with lots of work but no problem.

Choosing your "Running Gear", motors and steering, should be one of your first considerations. However, the question of "How do I Plank my Hull" hovers around the top of the heap of questions we builders mull over in our tugboat minds. You can see in the picture of my first "Planking" work that I could have used a little bit more homework on planking hulls. Thus, here are some photos of planking on my tug's and other's tug's hulls and at the end of this page are pictures of how I am going to plank my next hull.

Over 30 Newsletter Members have, over the last few years, sent me pictures of their tugboats being built. I thrill

to see each labor of tugboat love. Ken's work above shows how we all hope our planking will progress. Below is

Jim's planking all completed. . .super. 

Below is my finished planking and wood filler attempt. Note the added rub rails which sort of dress out the

planking work. Note: The chain hawser pipes are made from stainless steel fishing pole holders and the

cut-off pieces are used for twin stacks. Also, I use mirrors for windows. . .just me.

                   Now, there is a strong hull and Dave makes it look easy.  

I think I'll do my sanding outside. Bottom line though is, I'm quite scared of doing fiberglass but as Arnold said in the movie "Conan the Barbarian", "What ever doesn't kill me makes me stronger".  Uh, huh. . .we'll see.                     03/25/18   Need some ideas. . .just email me, Michael at  Anytime

I hope you find these free pictures helpful for your "scratch built" large scale tugboat. If you have any questions or would like a free PDF of my tugboat's keel, email me anytime, Michael:

Use "Flotation Foam" that is used to make docks because it is oil resistant, of a hard consistency for shaping, and it is readily available. 

It's really cool to see Dave's son carefully scrutinizing the finished foam job. Did I mention that this approach eliminates "Planking".

OK, starting below is how I am going to build my next hull "Planking". I packed all the voids in "Kathy Sue" with foam so that

if she ever went under, at least the recovery would be easier because the flotation properties would make her much lighter. 

I don't have a picture, but I remember looking at the final flotation foam filling and I got to thinking that it would be easy

to just fiberglass the hull and skip the planking. . .below, enter Dave's sharing and how he did his hull.

Below, look closely at the minature "ship lap" planks Michael B. designed. I made my cedar strips like his design and

they are for siure the "Cat's Meow", perfect. Thank you Michael from us all.

Above, ready for fiber glassing. Dave used wood filler to fill in the voids and then sanded it all down to perfection.

Looks very good to me. . .I can do this. Thank you Dave for the inspiration to dive in head first and fiberglass. Did I

mention that I know nothing about fiber glass. That I hate its smell. . .it's mess. . .it's spendy costs. . .its sanding and

sanding. Well, its just proof that I will do anything to make the strongest, watertight and beautiful tugboat even if

it includes, fiber glass. Free fiberglass lessons on the Internet-

As you look over the work above, you can see that I used blocks where it is easier to fill than planking. All my screws are

"counter sunk" so the wood filler covers them easily. Note below, that I add extra support pieces to the frames so as not

to be drilling and placing screws into the very end of the planks, splitting them. Plus, you want the bottom planking to be

extra strong since it will be the bottom of your ballast boxes holding 60 or so pounds of lead bars.