Building a Beginning Billing Boats Kit, Dana Fishing Boat – Part 2

It took me a while looking at the instructions to figure out if the deck on this model is supposed to be planked. I’m accustomed to planking a deck that’s free of obstructions, and the pre-molded deck and deck houses seemed like they would be awkward to plank around. Also, the illustrations in the instructions don’t seem to show any indication that you are expected to plank the deck, though the photocopy-quality photos do show a wooden deck. But, the question is answered in a short paragraph in the instruction text, that clearly states that the deck is to be planked. Also, there are sufficient light-colored wood strips for deck planking.

Now, I’ve seen photos of models by people who have laid deck planking right down onto the plastic deck. But if you don’t want to deal with trying to fit the planks in between the deckhouses and such, you might try what I did.

I started by making a copy of the deckplan. Turned out to be pretty close to the molded piece. I cut out the deck and openings for the deckhouses and test fit on the model. It took a little extra trimming around the deck houses.

Once I was satisfied with the paper pattern, I transferred the shape to a piece of 1/64″ plywood, which is thin enough that you can actually cut it with scissors.

I actually cut the wood a little oversized to make up for the fact that my pattern didn’t quite reach the edge of the deck, so I have some pencil marks on the wood to indicate locations that need extra trimming to fit. I also drew a centerline down the deck to aid in planking.

Once I was happy with the fit of this sub-deck, I started planking using the kit supplied planking, which is very thin veneer that the instructions claim is obechi, but it looks like beech to me.

Starting by planking on one side of the centerline, I made sure to use a long straightedge to keep it all in alignment. I used two full length strips first, one on either side of the center line, and then cut the extra planking that covered the openings. All later planking was done only to the edge of the openings, but I made sure to continue to use the straightedge to assure straight planking.

To simulate the caulking between planks, I simply rubbed the edge of each plank with a pencil. Since there were no long planks on the deck, I didn’t worry about plank butts until I got to the edge of the deck houses. There, I just placed the plank butts somewhat randomly, though I mirrored the planking on opposite sides of the deck.

I noted that my kit had more planking strips in the box than were listed in the parts inventory, which was a good thing, as there was just enough material to complete the deck this way, with one strip left over. So, don’t waste any!

At this point, as long as I was planking, I jumped ahead to the construction of the deckhouse roofs. These are made up of laser-cut plywood pieces and planked with strips of mahogany veneer. I decided to get a little creative here and ran a strip around the edge of the roof planking.

There’s really not much else to say about this planking. Like with the deck, I started with a centerline and laid planks on either side of that, and worked outward from there. Again, I edged each strip with pencil. Again, there were more strips supplied than listed in the inventory, but this is particularly good, as the grain of the mahogany veneer sometimes makes the strips fall apart. I had a couple strips that were in such bad condition, they couldn’t be used. But, even so, there was enough to plank these parts.

I ended up treating these roofs with Tung Oil. You have to be careful about using finishes early, as glue will not stick to it, and there are parts that will need to be added to the roof tops. I will scrape and cut into the wood where any parts are to be glued, so that the glue will hold the parts in place.

By the way, if you mess up your planking, all is not lost, you can buy obechi and mahogany in the right sizes from the Billing Boats USA website.

Next time, I’ll get back to doing some work on the hull before I start painting it.


3 thoughts on “Building a Beginning Billing Boats Kit, Dana Fishing Boat – Part 2

    1. catopower Post author

      It helps if you can sand the deck a little bit to smooth out the wood texture. The wood has a nice natural color, so painting or staining is not necessary. However, some clear varnish will help protect it from moisture. You can, of course, paint the wood if you prefer, but I think it looks better in natural tones.

      If you choose not to add the wooden deck, you would of course need to paint the deck instead.

      1. boatnovice

        Thanks! I finally got this model for my 8 year old son. We are building it together. But since this is my first model, I am clueless. Thanks for the help! Would be interesting to see how you are going to rigged her.

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