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Key Largo build Charleston SC by mickffly

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 1:30 pm
by Mickffly
I am planking my Key Largo hull bottom. I am nearly finished with the third (of four) layers of 4mm okume.
I see some builders lay the 4th layer longitudinally, instead of putting the final layer on the 45 degree bias. Does it matter?
The entire bottom will be covered with fiberglass and epoxy...and I was planning on using graphite in the epoxy to make it solid black through and through. Seems like keeping it on the bias will make it easier to fit the curves. Of course going longitudinal will give me an idea of what's coming when I do the mahogany planking from chine to sheer!

My thinking... if I put layer 4 down on the bias and do a good job sanding, no one will see that under the glass and epoxy anyway.
Seems to me all boat below the waterline will be black and that should include near and up to the also no need for mahogany planks for the last few feet of the bow, as I have seen some builders do...?

Re: Key Largo build Charleston SC by mickffly

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:05 pm
by Bill Edmundson

It won't matter. I used 2" wide mahogany strips on the topsides. I cut 2" okume strips on the bottom thinking if the pattern did show through it would just look the same. I did a good job sanding and you can't even see it. In the end there was on money savings using that layer of ply as opposed to mahogany. When you figure in the cost of sawdust the ply cost as much as to solid wood.


Re: Key Largo build Charleston SC by mickffly

Posted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:05 am
by Mickffly
I am getting close enough to side planking that I am investigating lumber sources. A few questions:

Can someone give me an estimate as to how many board feet of lumber (mahogany, sapele) it will take to plank the sides (20 foot Key largo)?
...I know that I can resaw 1/8 inch for final application, but not sure what to expect for how many slices I will get from, say, a 4/4 rough plank...or how much waste to expect.

I see Jimbob used sapele. Looks nice. My lumber guy is trying to sell me on Spanish cedar. Anyone have any experience with the latter? Seems like sapele is reasonably easy to work?

Re: Key Largo build Charleston SC by mickffly

Posted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:51 am
by JimmY
Hi Mickffly,

I'm getting ready to do some resawing for planking as well. Some will depend on your method of resawing. I was talking to the local lumber mill, and while they have a band saw it leaves a pretty rough cut and the blade kerf is quite thick, so you need to account for planning/sanding to smooth them out. They talked me into using my table saw (since I'm looking at ~2" wide planks for my deck) since the blade will leave a smoother surface and may not need any planning/sanding even though it is a thicker blade.

I would not expect to get more then three planks out of a piece of 4/4 rough by the time you flatten one side and allow for the saw kerf, the last piece may or may not be thick enough. You might consider using 8/4 and be able to get an extra piece per board.

Anyhow, if you get 3 pieces from a 4/4 board the board-feet would basically be 1/3 x square feet of the sides of the boat. For example, assuming 20 foot planks by 3 foot high sides times 2 sides would be 20' x 3' x 2 x 1/3 = 40bdft. You also have to take into account the width of your planks and width of the rough lumber as this will add waste. If you are going to spile the planks, then factor in more waste to cut curves.

My local lumber yard has 8/4 African Mahogany, but it is all quarter sawn. So, I'm actually going to rip 2" square strips, turn them 90 degrees,and then rip the planks.

I've worked with Sapele for my frames, and it is nice to work with. I've seen a few boats here planked with it, but the grain is a little to wild for my tastes on suck a large area. It looks beautiful, but it is a personal thing.

Re: Key Largo build Charleston SC by mickffly

Posted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:05 am
by DrBryanJ

I used sapele for my side veneer. It was nice to work with. I don't remember how much I needed. I had some 5/4 and 4/4. My resaw set up was not very good. I got 3 planks from the 5/4 and 2 from the 4/4. I went thicker than 1/8, closer to 3/16. I think with a better resaw set up, I could have gotten 3 from the 4/4. JimmY is correct in was with spiling. To get 4" wide planks I sometimes used 8" wide planks. Only problem I had was that I was not careful enough in selecting my lumber. Ended up with wide variation in color. I haven't stained yet, so I don't know if it will be a problem.


Re: Key Largo build Charleston SC by mickffly

Posted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:09 am
by PeterG
After a quick hand calc I estimate about 80 square feet of planking for the hull itself (sides and transom, not including the deck). If you get four 1/8" finish thickness planks from each 4/4 rough cut board (you might get 5 planks if you're careful) that would translate to about 20 board feet of rough cut boards to be re-sawn to make your planks.
A good article on Spanish Cedar can be found at the J. G. McIlvain web page:

I just picked up about 64 board feet of 4/4 rough cut African Mahogany and 10 sheets of marine plywood from McIlvain's here in CT. The wood is excellent quality and the ply is Bruynzeel Hechtout Okoume, all at reasonable prices.

Re: Key Largo build Charleston SC by mickffly

Posted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:39 am
by Jimbob
I got three 1/8" pieces out of a 4/4 sapele plank.

This how I did it. My sapele was surfaced on two sides so when I resawed, I sawed with each surfaced side against the fence first. The cut was set for a little over 1/8" so I would have enough to plane down to 1/8". After sawing off the surfaced sides, the thicker center piece allowed me enough material to plane down both sides to the 1/8".

Be careful when planing down to the 1/8". Go slowly, and spray with water, when you are getting close to the 1/8". I had tear out on a few boards.


Re: Key Largo build Charleston SC by mickffly

Posted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:22 am
by Mickffly
Thank you. As I am sure the "veterans" of the forum know...this forum is fantastic!
Like most of you, I start to ruminate over an upcoming build challenge several weeks out...sometimes I come up with a great solution...sometimes I don't! Having the forum is an amazing security blanket as there is nothing like the voice of experience.

Thank you all for your suggestions. I got some great resawing tips, great reference material on Spanish cedar, and a tip to "wet" the veneer while planning to avoid tear out...I never heard of that but will give it a try.