Bluenose Canadian Schooner

Scruppers and Bulwark Planking

May 25, 2016

Day 55.

Next up is to finish up the planking above the deck.  This involves planking the bulwarks – the walls that sit along the deck.

Since ships can easily end up with water on the deck, they typically have scruppers to allow the water to drain off.  These are typically holes or slots.  On the Bluenose, these are located on either side of the stanchions and are flush with the deck.


The first step in planking the bulwarks will be to get the scruppers cut.

Since the hull planking started flush with the deck and worked down, our bulwark planking will start at the deck and work up.  This means that we can simply cut the scruppers into the first plank we install on the bulwarks.  The challenge will be getting the spacing and sizing right.

These are tiny holes, and they need to be positioned on either side of each stanchion.  But most of our stanchions are not installed yet.

So, I started by pinning a plank in place and marking the existing stanchions.

Photo May 22, 11 58 03 AM.jpg

The first plank is temporarily clamped in place, and the locations of the existing stanchions are marked.

Once these were marked, I removed the plank.  The fake stanchions between are evenly spaced, so some quick work with my dividers and ruler got those marked pretty easily.  I ended up with a plank that had all the stanchion locations marked.

I chose to use this approach, rather than simply marking based on plans to ensure any variation in my actual build was taken into account.

Photo May 22, 12 07 15 PM.jpg

With the existing stanchions marked (shaded), the locations of the fake stanchions were measured out and marked.  The center lines were measured and marked, then an actual 1/8″ strip was use to mark the left and right edges.

The shaded markings are the existing stanchions – the other markings are where the fake stanchions will go.

Next I made a small jig to control the depth when I start making the holes.  This is just a few pieces of 1/64″ thick material glued onto a board (and coated generously with CA glue so it won’t file away easily).  This lets me hold the plank upside down in the jig and file away at each spot where I need a hole.  It turns out I have a flat file that is the right width for the scruppers, so I’ll use that to file out the holes.

Photo May 22, 12 09 07 PM.jpg

Jig to control depth while filing out the scrapers.  The jig was made of several pieces of 1/64″ thick sheet glued together.

The process was tedious.  The quarter deck has scruppers the full length of the deck, and the fore deck has scruppers on about 1/2 to 2/3 of the deck.  And I had to do both sides.

The planks were different heights for the fore and quarter decks (since the fore deck sits lower, and the tops of these planks need to line up).  I made a second jig for the other plank height.

The cut pieces were a little rough and required some cleanup.

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A plank with all the scruppers cut.

Once installed, the next strip of planking was added above these planks.  This strip is thinner, which creates the waist.

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Plank installed on the quarter deck with scruppers cut.  This plank is shorter than we used for the fore deck so the waist lines up across the decks.  The thinner plank above the waist has also been installed.

Photo May 25, 6 39 22 PM.jpg

Another view of the planking.

Some filler will be carefully applied to remove the seam between the planks, with final touch-ups happing during the paint priming phase.

Once both sides of the ship had their planking added, it was time to move on to transom planking, which should be the last piece of hull planking…