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Widht and lenght of Cutty Sark's deck planks

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  • Member since
    February 2009
  • From: Klaipeda, Lithuania, Europe
Widht and lenght of Cutty Sark's deck planks
Posted by Wojszwillo on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 12:23 AM

I nearest future i plan to build Revell's Cutty Sark 1:96. I want to make the deck from wood planks, glued to plastic model's deck, scaled to 1:96, but i cant find nowhere the exact size of original deck planks of Cutty Sark. I have many drawings of Cutty Sark in different scales, but there are large differences if i try to recalculate original dimensions of deck planks.

What sort of wood was used in original Cutty Sark deck planking? Teack?

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 4:44 AM

The original deck planking of the Cutty Sark was teak.  According to the George Campbell plans, the planks on the main and forecastle decks were 5" wide x 3 1/2" thick.

Mr. Campbell doesn't indicate the lengths of the planks, but a good guess would be a maximum of 24 feet.  (That figure comes from his book, China Tea Clippers.)  Remember, though, that only the planks running down the sides of the main deck would be full-length.

The plans show the main and forecastle deck planking as being made up of "common plank" - i.e., boards with straight edges.  The planks on the poop deck and the roof of the poop deckhouse are tapered toward the stern.  (There's a good discussion of planking details in the aforementioned book.)  Another interesting detail:  the caulking on the main and forecastle decks is black; that of the poop and the roof of the poop deckhouse is white.

I've made this point several times here in the Forum, but I hope I may be forgiven for mentioning it every time the subject of this great ship comes up.  The smartest thing any Cutty Sark modeler can do is get hold of a copy of the Campbell plans.  They contain just about every detail a modeler could want, and the price makes them one of the biggest bargains in ship modeling.  They're available through the ship's website:  http://www.cuttysark.org.uk/index.cfm?fa=contentShop.productDetails&productId=40&startrow=1&directoryId=6 .

I'm one of several Forum members who've ordered copies fairly recently.  (The ones I bought thirty years ago have just about fallen apart due to heavy use.)  The shop's mail order service is excellent.

Mr. Campbell's book, China Tea Clippers, is also extremely useful.  Virtually the entire text is available online somewhere, but I fear I've misplaced the address.  Maybe another member can help.

Hope that helps a little.  Good luck.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    February 2009
  • From: Klaipeda, Lithuania, Europe
Posted by Wojszwillo on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 4:37 PM

I have both - G. Campbell plans and book of G. Campbell.

But in book Campbell wrote, that planks in this period, as Cutty Sark was build, was usual 6 inches wide, in plans - 5 inches. In other plans i have planks is 7 / 7.5 inches wide.

Ok, i will try next thing - i have a lot of pictures of Cutty Sark, and i will count number of planks that borders to one of deck erection (in all plans i have these erections have almost the same width), and will divide width of erection by number of planks counted...

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 7:31 PM

My strong suggestion is to believe the Campbell plans, unless there's some strong reason to do otherwise.  He was the naval architect in charge of the restoration of the ship in the late fifties and early sixties; I strongly suspect he actually measured the planks. 

The verbiage in the book (at least the edition I have) is:  "Planks average 24'0" long.  Teak, yellow pine (British), white pine (American) thickness 3" teack, 3 1/2" other[.] Width 5" to 6" normal, or 4"-8", teak 6" 8"[.]  Margins about 9" teak or greenheart[.]"  That's a little bit cryptic, but I don't think it really contradicts the notes he wrote on the plans. 

Be careful with photos.  The planking of the Cutty Sark's deck has been replaced several times, and it's not safe to assume that the widths of the planks have remained constant.  The first time I saw her, in 1978, the carpenters were replanking the forecastle deck.  One of them explained to me that the main deck was covered with some sort of tropical hardwood (not teak), which was stuck down on top of the original planks with some sort of adhesive.  (That explains why no boltheads or bungs were visible.)  Those modern planks have now been removed.  I assume the original planks (or some of them, at any rate) were still there; I'm sure the conservators will replace them with some authentic-looking material.

The ship's website contains lots of information about the research done during the current restoration.  There may well be something there about the plank dimensions. 

Remember that, on the scale of the big Revell kit, the difference between a 5" plank and a 6" one is pretty small - 1/96 of an inch.  (That's slightly over 0.010".)  In the U.S. (I can't speak for other countries), pre-milled "stripwood" can be found pretty easily in 1/16" widths.  That's 6" on the scale - mighty close.  To get 5" wide planks you'd have to mill them yourself - not a major problem if you've got a miniature table saw, but extremely difficult otherwise.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Carmel, CA
Posted by bondoman on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 7:46 PM
Or you could sand off .01".
  • Member since
    March 2007
  • From: Portsmouth, RI
Posted by searat12 on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 9:56 PM
Or you could simply go to the Cutty Sark restoration website and simply ASK the people who are working on the ACTUAL ship!!!
  • Member since
    February 2009
  • From: Klaipeda, Lithuania, Europe
Posted by Wojszwillo on Thursday, July 16, 2009 12:12 AM

 searat12 wrote:
Or you could simply go to the Cutty Sark restoration website and simply ASK the people who are working on the ACTUAL ship!!!

Often at restauration some parts/details are made not conform to "original", if can say so.

  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Tampa, Florida, USA
Posted by steves on Saturday, July 18, 2009 11:01 AM

Longridge's Cutty Sark book goes into quite a bit of detail on planking the ship's deck.  Per his instructions the planks are 20 feet long (2-1/2 inches in 1/96 scale) with the butt joint of each plank being offset 4 feet from the plank next to it.  This gives a repetitive pattern of the butt joints aligning across the deck at every fifth plank.  The butt joints should also fall on the deck beams, which are (mostly) spaced four feet apart and are shown on the "Inboard Elevation" in Campbell's plans.

 

Steve Sobieralski, Tampa Bay Ship Model Society

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