October 18, 2009

The Yankee I

"The Yankee Planking Bevel I is mad of maple wood and brass. It can be used on new construction or repair work. By adjusting the slide to the correct width, bevels for planking from 2” to 7½” in width, any thickness, and ½” back-out may be precisely picked up and recorded on a bevel board."Pictured is an original Yankee I, the first in a series of tools my grandfather created almost thirty years ago. In my continuing effort to understand how they work, I initially had to learn how a classic boat is constructed. Here is a (very) brief overview of what I've found so far.

Wooden ship hulls are built in several different ways. The Yankee I is made for use with the carvel method, shown on the far left. A recent article in Wooden Boat magazine likens carvel planking to a wooden barrel. "Barrel staves, analogous to our planks, are laid tightly alongside one another, and taper at the ends. A wooden boat hull is similar, but with a few extra curves thrown in." Carvel planking not only provides a cleaner look, but is also easiest to repair, as individual planks can be replaced without disturbing adjacent ones.

The edges where these planks meet vary in angle depending on their location along the frame. The Yankee I is used to copy and transfer that angle from one board to the next. The more accurate this bevel, the better the overall construction of the craft.

I am just about finished rendering the tool for both reference and illustrative purposes. My next step will be to recreate a Yankee I using one of the unfinished blanks found in the trunk. I will also be attempting to build a hull model similar to the one my grandfather displayed at shows using old photographs and his original diagrams as reference.

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