And now to put on the ribbands. We always use clear fir, 1 5/8 inches thick and a bit wider than that. Half of these we leave solid (at least while they’re young, green, and flexible); the others are cut with a saw, flat, right up the middle, stopping a foot short of the other end. They recuperate between boats, in the darkness under the shop floor, and last for years. You can use two layers of green spruce, and consider them expendable, if the fir is hard to come by; but watch them with suspicion between molds. Fasten the ribbands to stem and transom with one 2½-inch number 14 screw; use the same wire,½ inch longer, for the softwood molds.
These ribbands have one purpose only, and that is to hold the bent frames precisely to the shape of the hull, at the inside of the planking, until the planking can take the job over. Their arrangement, therefore, is governed by two considerations: first, to get them on fair, as easily as possible, and spaced closely enough to do their job; and second, to hang them so that they follow somewhere near the line the planks will take, and can be removed one by one, as the planks go on, without leaving a great area of unsupported frames at one end of the hull. Study the problem with the aid of a long batten draped around the molds. Think of Great Circle courses and barrel staves. Look at the body plan on the lines drawing, and consider each diagonal as a ribband. They are spaced twice as far apart as the ribbands should be, but their arrangement is about right.
Hanging the ribbands
Start the first one just below the 36-inch load line on the stem. Drape it in a gentle sweep, to cross mold number 5 barely clear of the load waterline, and up the transom frame just below the line of diagonal 5. This will, of course, be done in two halves, with the butt end screwed to the transom frame, for the second. The after half should lie fair, against and above the forward one, where they lap by each other. Fasten an exactly similar pair on the other side of the boat. Check to be sure the molds still stand, undistorted, in the true athwartships station plane. You understand, of course, that you do not bevel the molds where the ribbands land. Just hit the forward corners in the fore body, the after corners aft of amidships. Shoot the screw fastenings into these corners, square to the run of the ribbands.
I like to have the uppermost ribband just clear of the sheerline, to remain in place there until the sheerstrake is fitted and fastened. You must bevel the forward end to fit against the flat of the stem above the top of the rabbet. Be sure its inner surface is in line with the back rabbet. Always work in matched pairs, keeping them as nearly as possible at the same height, each side, on every mold they cross. Where the ribbands lap past each other and end, forward or aft of amidships, they will tend to flatten out in the last bay they cross. Even them up with clamps, and edge-fasten them; back off the screw ½ inch, in the last mold they reach.
The final job in this setup is to brace the rib bands, down in the hollow of the wineglass, against the outward thrust of the frames. Use I-inch-square pine props, up from the floor, butted square against the ribbands halfway between molds (see Figure 7-1). Experiment with a thin slat, jammed into a frame socket, bent outward to the flat of the bilge; and notice where the pressure comes. Hold the tuck ribband true at all costs. There’s no sadder sight in a boatshop than frames leaning stiffly away from their sockets-unless it’s the same frames straining the ribbands inward at the turn of the bilge. You can do something about it, up there, as you’ll learn in framing. Down below, the ribbands must do the job on their own.
Now, about those frames …
Clean out the braces, pile the firewood, round up your crew, and get ready for the big day. I feel that we’ve come a long and tedious way, with too many side excursions; but pretty soon, now, she’s going to start to look like a boat. You are going to enjoy two, or three, or four of the happiest days of your life. You are going to put in steam-bent frames; you’ll breathe vapors as sweet as honey, and shout with relief as those old bad doubts retreat. .. and take up new residence in the pile of planking stock. You’ll know how J. Keats felt when he first looked into Chapman’s Homer. And though the too, too solid flesh of your hands threatens to melt, thaw, and resolve itself into cooked meat, you’ll still have (let’s see, now: seven bays at four each; add four more in the counter; three forward of mold number 1, double it)-70 golden nuggets of pure happiness, when the timber goes chunk into the heel socket, and you ride it down and mold it to shape against their ribbands. Some fun, I assure you. This is Mardi Gras, breakthrough-the only quick and easy process you’ll encounter in this whole business of boatbuilding.
Before we get going, I would like to discuss in my usual unpleasant way some of the bad advice, incorrect assumptions, and plain ignorance that show up in practically every treatise on steam-bending techniques-and in about half the designs and completed boats you’ll see.
The first and perhaps worst mistake is based upon the pernicious fallacy that Too Strong is better than Too Weak. The Designer, urged on by the Owner, specifies frames built of wood 21/4 inches square (by God, this one is going to be built to last). The Builder, who is an ingenious chap, if long-suffering, uses super-steam, snake oil, and compression straps, and bends that timber in so that it touches all the rib bands ( or perhaps one should say, “so that all the ribbands touch it” -there will be just the tiniest suggestion of a hollow at each clamp); this way, there will be very little slivering on the outside of the bends, even at the tuck and the turn of the bilge. It’s a beautiful thing, that curved piece of flawless oak … and a beautiful thing it continues to be, when the boat is planked with fine, dry mahogany (extra thick, of course) and caulked tight in the good, old-fashioned way. (None of that sissy stuff with a wheel on this boat.) The boat is launched, and swells, and swells; they take her out and drive her (she was built to take it); and maybe she grounds out on a bar one day and pounds a few times before the flood makes enough to kedge her off (but she was built to take that, too).
And then, in a week or two, she starts to leak. So she’s hauled out for examination, and someone finally discovers that one seam at the turn of the bilge has, for some strange reason, opened up, and you can pull the caulking out with your fingers. That’s easy to cure: drive in three strands, smooth off, put her back in the water…and this time they install that most wonderful of all inventions, an Automatic Bilge Pump. Ten or twelve battery charges later (or the end of the yachting season, whichever comes first) she’s hauled again, the offending plank is removed, and the impossible truth is revealed. Several of those magnificent frames have broken clean off, right on the line of the fine, one-piece bilge stringer. (The bolt holes are only 3/8 inch, but the 7/8-inch counterbores for the heads may have a slight weakening effect.) Put in sister frames (half the thickness of the original ones), replace planks (be sure to use good, dry stock to butt against the soaked planks-this makes for a very interesting development at the ends), and maybe the other side won’t let go until next year.
If you think this is an exaggeration, examine some old Navy liberty boats, or yachts built by the master craftsmen of European yards. The frames are such as no small boatyard could afford to match-standing square across, beveled inside and out, with the greatest dimension athwartships. They are scientifically correct and lovely to behold. They are shaped from oversized stock, which had been bent on a slab with a compression strap on the outside of the curve, and cooled in place.
The wood fibers had to make a violent and painful readjustment under duress, and they didn’t like it. Unfortunately, most of them are badly cracked or have broken clean off. If you want to know why this happened, hearken to the voices of the salty ones: “Do you [ of course, you don’t!] realize what it’s like, driving to windward in the Fastnet, with the wind force 7?” Or, “Just watch one of these slam into the landing stage with 50 men aboard, and you won’t wonder.” If you suggest, timidly, that you’ve seen a heavily laden seine boat flexing her topsides in and out against the pilings half a foot every roll for hours on end, or have watched an old Down East lobsterboat twisting her tired length over the short seas as fast as her mighty 1947 Buick can push her-and nary a broken timber or open seam in either of them you’ll be treated to a diatribe on clam baskets and the men who build them. Why, those farmers couldn’t bend a real frame if they tried all winter!
The point I’d like to make (and I seem to have spent considerable time getting to it) is this: in bent frames, even as in ski bindings, women’s voices, alcoholic drinks, and the tethers that hold the heroine to the railroad trestle, too weak is usually better than too strong. When that frame is shaped in place it should have no regrets or hypertensions, no nervous dread of cold drafts or needle pricks on its Southern exposure. It should be relaxed, serenely confident, as it starts in its half-century of service ….
Sometimes those skinny fellers’ll fool you. They may not look like much, but they’re withy, real withy. And don’t feel too bad when that Constant Visitor sneers at your efforts and tells you that Manny Lucas never has to laminate his timbers to get them in. As Sam Crocker used to point out, with patient forbearance, you’ll probably have to wait 20 years to prove you’re right, but it’ll be worth it.
So much for super-frames and the men who can bend them. Let’s consider the Annual Ring theory, which appears in every good discussion of steam bending.
The theory, and the reason supporting it, are simple: bend the frame so that the annual rings, when viewed end-on, run as nearly as possible parallel to the line of the planking, because the frame bends most easily in this plane, and because fastenings driven through the annual rings at right angles (that is, in line with radii from the center of the tree) are least likely to split the frame. It is therefore very smart to use square frames, so that you can always present the proper face to the ribbands.
The only trouble with this bit of advice is that it is almost completely wrong, as well as being impossible to follow more than 20 percent of the time, even with square frames, which only a trained naval architect would specify, anyway. It contains one tiny bit of truth-that one out of five frames will actually bend slightly more easily (although with no less likelihood of breaking) than a piece of wood from the same plank which has the rings at 20, 30, or 45 degrees to the plane of the planking. As for resistance to splitting-surely anyone who has ever spent two days on a farm knows that oak stove wood is always cleft straight through the heart, in line with the medulary rays. Any fastenings driven on these radial lines are most, rather than least, likely to split the frame. So what do you do? Forget the whole business, and take them as they come!
Then there’s the Percentage-of-Moisture theory, which tells you to get that oak stump to steambox before the leaves begin to fade. This advice appears at first to be sound and reasonable. Surely a piece of dead-green stock, so limber it will almost bend in cold, is likely to give less trouble than one that’s fully air dried, hard and stiff as an iron bar? Strangely enough, this conclusion is also wrong-at least in the light of my own experience, which covers thousands of bent frames, and the use of frame stock that had seasoned from IO minutes to IO years. The dry stuff (at least a year on the sticks, for I ½-inch or 2-inch plank) seems to require shorter steaming time, and bends more easily and with less breakage. It is admittedly much more difficult to work before it is steamed, and rough on drills after it has cooled and hardened again, but that is all you can say against it.
And now, what magic lubricant do we apply to this frame stock before it goes into the box, or add to the water in the boiler, so that the wood becomes pliable as rubber and tough as whalebone? Frankly, I don’t know! I have tried linseed oil and kerosene. Others swear by permanent antifreeze, creosote, bag balm, and one or two more that I won’t mention in a book that might fall into the hands of small children. All these treatments work wonders-if you have really straight-grained white oak to start with, plenty of screeching-hot wet steam to cook it in, and the speed of a sleight-of-hand artist to get it bent to shape before it knows what’s going on. Unfortunately, the timbers you forget to paint, subjected to the same steam and speedy treatment, also bend very nicely, and the only real differences you are likely to notice are: (I) the treated timbers are darker in color; and (2) you are in somewhat less danger of sliding off and breaking your neck with the untreated ones. (The hot oil does make things a bit more exciting if you lose your gloves.)
I don’t use any of these treatments. But I have not the slightest doubt that someone could (if he hasn’t already done so) develop a boiling process involving a good wood preservative, perhaps a fiber-softening ingredient, in a solution that would go higher than 212degrees; this might be worth investigating. However, plain steaming, at atmospheric pressure, with no tricks or additives, seems to work satisfactorily; and I suspect I am no more likely to try anything else in this direction than I am to investigate the possibilities of rock elm or some other substitute for white oak.
I know about glued laminates, and I assure you that the cost would be enormously greater than the cost of our good bent-frame system. And don’t try to convince me that putting edge-glued strips around the bulkheads is the answer. I have built strip-planked boats, cross-planked deadrise boats, lapstrake boats, plywood boats-and I still prefer the type of construction we are describing here. So, let’s get a few things together, and bend the frames. I’ve promised you great joy, and so far I’ve come up with nothing but grief.
Getting out the frames
First, of course, you’ve got to get out the frames. In this particular boat they will finish 1 7/8 inches by 1 5/8 inches, and will be sawn most economically out of rough 2-inch plank. Slice them off 13/4 inches thick, starting just inside the sapwood and as nearly as possible parallel to the outside of the tree-that is, if the plank tapers, work in from both edges. Don’t skimp on length. Any one of them, in its proper place, should reach at least 2 inches above the sheerline. The frames that are going in away aft should be a foot longer than that.
If the rough plank is sawn oversize, trim the frames on your table saw to a scant 2-inch width. Dress off all four sides in a surface planer to your finished dimensions. Inspect them carefully, choose ends, and square the butts. (You might also make sure that the top ends are even enough so that you’ll be able to hit them true with your mallet.) And now, with your thinnest saw, set very lightly and filed sharp, split every one of those frames dead center, edgewise, from the top to within 4 inches of the square butt end (see Figure 7-2).
You will have taken out, I hope, a bit less than 1/s inch of the original 1 5/8-inch thickness. If you want to be properly methodical, you can mark all these frames with numbers to your own system, so that you’ll know where each one is supposed to go in the boat. (It’s embarrassing to get one all bent in and discover that it stops below the sheerline.)
Three pairs of frames will need special treatment. These are to go at the after end of the tuck, where the reverse curves at the butt ends of the frames are most severe; that is, two pairs immediately forward of station number 6, and one aft of it. The best way to make these up is simply to lay together four pieces, each 3/8 inch thick by 1 7/8 inches wide, and tack the butt ends together with a pair of 1 ½-inch screws. Tie a string around the bundle halfway along the length of the frame. Some sharp mathematician will point out that this assembled butt is 1/8 inch thinner than the regular frames, and I will counter with the fact that this frame is exactly the same as they are at the top, where the sheer clamp demands uniformity. If you insist on perfection, and have read to this point before cutting the sockets for the frames, you can make those six sockets 1/s inch shallower.
If you want to be absolutely sure that you won’t lose one of these special frames by breakage, make up four spares. They may come in very handy farther aft.
There’s one more thing I feel obliged to add here, but it should be in very small print, so that only the desperate few will notice it. It’s this: I once knew a man who couldn’t get any white oak for his frames, and used some tough, young, fast-grown oak of another variety instead. He pointed out, in his defense, that 85 percent of the boats and yachts on this coast are framed with this other variety, and most of them are doing tolerably well; and furthermore, you show a piece of this oak to one of those smart young architects and he smells it and says, “That certainly is a beautiful piece of white oak” (with the bark still on it, mind you); so what are you supposed to do? Tell him he ought to work in a boatyard for a year, and learn the facts of life? Don’t be ridiculous. Congratulate him on his sense of smell, and let it go at that.
So if you can’t find any good white oak, remember that there is another kind, known (though not to botanists) as gray oak. In North America it grows on, I think, 57 different types of stump (in England only one, strangely enough), but it’s all gray by the time it gets to the boatshop. And if you, like the man I’m speaking of, can get some young, heavy, fastgrown oak of this variety, and sozzle it with some potent bug juice after you get it bent into place-don’t worry too much about its ancestry. There are many others in the same boat with you, if I may be permitted to coin a phrase.
Of course, if you turn pro, and contract to use only genuine white oak in the boat you are to build, that’s a different matter altogether. You should not take advantage of their ignorance, however thickly and obnoxiously it may be displayed. If you don’t know how to recognize Quercus alba when you see it, ask almost any farmer or sawmill man. Don’t bother the botanists. They’ll draw you pictures of roundlobed leaves, and have you taste the acorns, which are sweet.
Bending the frames
Let’s assume, then, that you’ve got your frames ready to cook, and get on with the business. If you haven’t already done it, make up and install that steam-box bulkhead, complete with pusher and cross rack, just far enough in to take your longest frame. No sense wasting steam. Lay the frames on edge, so that the laminations can hang apart. Separate the tiers with cross sticks at the open end of the box. Don’t push them back any further than necessary, or you won’t be able to see them ‘mid the encircling gloom, and it’s no fun fishing around in there. Don’t try more than a dozen in the first batch, unless you own more clamps than I think you do. You’ll need four on each frame, and you’ll not want to stop and fasten, when things are going really well, just to get clamps free. Close the door on the steam box, whoop up the fire, note the time when the steam starts coming through strong, and assemble your gear.
Inside the boat, laid out on the strongback, you’ll have a big mallet, a good claw hammer, the stone-crusher shown in Figure 7-3, a can of eightpenny nails, some cotton gloves-and, eventually, yourself, shod with non-skid rubber, trying to rally from a knock on the head. (Young fellers do get a little worked up, first time they try it, and tend to forget they aren’t really sitting on a cloud.) You might also have with you a piece of black crayon, and while away the hour marking where the frames are to be spaced on the ribbands. Throughout most of the length of the boat they will, of course, stand plumb in profile-that is, parallel to the nearest mold, from heel socket to sheer ribband. Forward of mold number 2, and aft of number 7, we’ll start to compromise with this ideal; but right now we won’t worry about that problem.
Outside the boat, your assistant festoons the ribbands with all the C-clamps you can buy, borrow, or steal, and provides himself with two heavy carpenter’s hammers ( one for each side of the boat, and damned lucky if either one of them is in reach when he needs it) and a better pair of gloves than you’ve got. He may decide to make himself a short gaff for hooking the frames out, after he’s groped for a few with his wrist exposed. There are some special boatbuilding terms that are used to describe this experience, but I think we can afford to omit them here.
If we’ve forgotten anything, it’s too late now. They’ve been cooking an hour, with the box huffing and puffing and spewing out great gouts of ink-black water. Take your stand on the ribbands just forward of mold number 5, and call for the first frame timber. Your helper should fetch it at a dead run, shove it to you butt-first over the top ribband, and then dive to the keel with hammer in hand. You start the
butt into its socket, crawl up the ribbands with your big mallet, and belabor the upper end until your helper cries “Hold, enough”-and drives the butt sideways in the socket, while you are riding the frame down to the ribbands. It bends quite easily to the shape, but you know perfectly well that it’s only waiting for your foot to slip. All this has taken about 30 seconds.
Right now the serious business begins. It is not enough merely to bend it out until it touches all the ribbands, and there fasten it to await the planking. It and its three companions will inevitably distort the fair curve of the ribbands between the molds, and cause a flat spot, ugly to look at and difficult to plank. Someone is going to get all excited here and point out that molds should never be more than 2 feet apart. I know one good boatbuilder who uses no molds at all, and others who couldn’t turn out a good job if they made a mold for every frame in the boat.
Take my word for it: if you know how to work the timbers, you can keep them fair with this 4-foot spacing. You’ve got to over-bend each frame, manipulate it, shape it with your hands, feet, and the stone-crusher, until it stops fighting and relaxes into place. And the way you do it is this: the outside man clamps the frame to the ribband just below the turn of the bilge, and then you pull the head of the frame inboard all you dare, and half a foot more (see Figure 7-4). Hold it IO seconds, let it go outboard to take a clamp on the next ribband up, and repeat the extreme bend and holding. (You’ll learn eventually to bear down on the top as you pull it in, to increase the amount of the bend and move it upwards on the frame.)
Continue to move upward, ribband by ribband, breaking it in each time, until you end up with the bending tool at the very head of the frame. The frame should be by this time completely tractable, so that one clamp only, to the ribband just above the turn of the bilge, will almost hold it in place. Of course, you leave at least four on it, until you have time to fasten to the ribbands. I hope that you have remembered through all this excitement to keep it lined up at those black crayon marks. As a last act before you leave it, nail the head of the frame to the uppermost ribband, right at your crayon mark.
And what if the frame refuses to take this punishment-being bent to 6-inch radius, when it needs only to fit a curve three or four times bigger? If it won’t take the quick turn without showing signs of distress, you don’t want it in your boat. Throw it out and try another. But if it does take it-then it’s a good, tough frame, well adjusted within itself, and quite able to withstand all the flexing and shocks it’s likely to get in the next 30 years. And it accepts those ribbands as guides, not captors, in assuming its final shape, so that the curves of the planking fore and aft will remain fair.
Now, this bending should have been easy to do (I hope much easier than trying to describe it). If it wasn’t easy, there’s something wrongpoor stock, steam not hot enough, too much time lost somewhere. The same rule should apply throughout this business of boatbuilding and possibly in broader fields of endeavor, if you want to get philosophical about it. If it comes hard, try to figure out where you’ve gone wrong. (It might be the designer, too, you know. Invite him to come up and demonstrate. You and he might be somewhat surprised at the results.) But hang onto this thought: if it’s done properly, it should be easy.
Use up the rest of this first batch here in the middle of the boat-forward and aft of station number 5-to develop your speed and skill. These big frames are the easiest to fit, since they require very little twisting. There is the further advantage that a frame you break here may still be long enough to reach the sheerline if you go two stations forward with it. Remember to keep the boiler full and driving until the last timber is out of the box. Take the clamps off, one by one, and substitute for each of them a 3-inch number 12 steel screw-for which you drill a 3/16-inch hole-through ribband and frame from the outside.
Always try to drive those screws precisely in the middle of the frame, because this is the one spot you’re not supposed to hit with the plank fastenings. You’ll break your precious tapered drill every time you let it fall into one of these hidden gopher holes. Finally, before you start another batch, check all these newly bent frames to make sure they are still touching the ribbands above and below the reverse curve, ‘way down low. They have a sly tendency to lift away here as they cool off.
It should be safe now to go aft and consider the special problems in the counter. These short frames aft of the stern post might appear at first glance to be the easiest of all to fit, but they are not. They can get you into bad trouble if you don’t watch out. They’ll try to straighten out by pulling the bilge ribbands insidiously upward; and you’ll realize, too late, with the topsides all planked, that she looks starved in the flanks. You can try to blame it on the designer (the transom does look too big, it’s true), but you’ll be wrong. You gave up too soon. You let the clamps take part of the burden, instead of fighting it out to total victory with your bare hands. (You think I’ve forgotten your gloves? Oh, no. You shook off the right-hand one early so that you could hang on to the mallet handle long enough to drive the frame down the inside curve to the heel socket.)
And maybe you had some foolish notion that you could twist this frame and haul the head aft, so that it stands plumb in profile, and follows those crayon marks up the ribbands to the sheer. An attempt to do this would impossibly complicate an already difficult situation. Forget your ideals. Let the thing lie almost as it wants to, leaning drunkenly forward from the bilge up. Pull the top of that frame in, and hold it ‘ti! your arms crack, and your foot is paralyzed; and then, having let it fall out against the ribbands at the turn, tie that top with rope, across to the strongback, with enough tension to pull the frame clear of the sheer ribband (see Figure 7-5).
You will have noticed in the midst of this struggle that the extra foot of length on the frame was a great help to you. You may also have had the fleeting thought that three or even four laminations (totaling the full thickness of the two-layer frames, of course) would have been much more pleasant to handle. Why not? It’s far better to have them go in with only moderate strain on their fibers and your muscles. The butt ends of at least three pairs, as you remember, are already prepared for that extreme turn at the after end of the tuck. If you have doubts, or troubles, fit all the frames, between station number 7 and the transom, in four layers each. Easy does it, every time.
One more point, before we go up front “forward,” to you purists) to discuss the problems there. In this matter of allowing the frames to lie naturally, with their heads leaning toward the bow, try (as they will try) to have this effect increase gradually and evenly as you work aft. The second frame aft of station number 7 could start the trend; it is permissible also to increase the distances between frames at the bilge as those distances decrease at the sheer. And, of course, match them up port and starboard, and tell all your visitors you meant to do it that way, and that you’ve got authority to back you up.
The same spirit of moderation and compromise should guide your hand up forward. You’ll be able to hold the line aft of the number 2 mold, but beyond that you ’11 encounter an increasing desire in the frame heads to lean aft. Don’t fight them too hard. Better to allow a slight laxity in posture than to have them present a hard and unyielding corner to the planking. And shape them, before clamping, just as earnestly as you shaped the frames in the stern.
Remember, when you are bending those three terrible pairs aft (the one just forward of mold number 7, and the next two aft of it) that the ribbands that form the tuck are sacred and must not be forced outward. Better to have no frame there at all than to allow a bulge in the fair curve of the plank line.
And now to fasten these frames to the foundation. I hope you will by this time feel that those sockets were worth cutting if only to locate and hold one end of the frame while you worked on the rest of it. I think you will get great satisfaction and reassurance from the act of fastening them; you’ll know it’s good; and never mind how it looked on the construction plan. If you estimate that each of these connections will take a 500-pound load, and count only the frames between stations number 2 and number 7, you still come up with a figure of 20,000 pounds, which is a nice little start toward supporting 6,500 pounds of ballast and keeping the garboard seams tight. And all free, you might say-since your critics will maintain that the floor timbers do all the work, anyway.
Those same critics will shake their heads in shocked disbelief if you follow my advice and fasten each frame heel with two hot-galvanized 20-penny spikes. Drill 3/16-inch holes for them, angled out and down, and countersunk so the heads will be out of the way when you fair the frames off flush with the back rabbet. Back on the tailfeather, and up the stem, where there is less wood to hit, use IO-penny nails, or 2½-inch number 8 bronze nails. Pay no attention when the Voice of Doom gets going on the subject of electrolysis. If the two metals are not in actual contact with each other, and are buried and bunged in sound wood, they’ll manage a peaceful coexistence in spite of all the agitated experts.
Now, while you are (having bent the last frame) in the full flush of pride and victory, you would do well to get down on your knees with an adze, planes, a slice, battens, thin boards, a big hammer, and a punch, and fair off the frames and the back rabbet to make ready for the garboard. You’ll want a clear conscience when you face the next operation.