Planks Laid in Historic Whaleship Restoration

Shipwrights use rods and wedges to squeeze the new plank tight next to the old one. Photo courtesy Mystic Seaport.

Westerly Sun: Mystic Seaport shipwrights installed the first plank on the exterior of the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan this afternoon (Feb. 21), thus marking a significant milestone in the ongoing restoration of the ship and beginning the fourth phase of the project.

This latest phase of construction involves planking the external hull below the waterline. Installing a plank requires carefully shaping and “dry-fitting” it to its eventual location on the hull. The planks are then steamed for at least 3 hours to make them flexible. At that point they are quickly hauled into position, braced and wedged into place. The plank is subsequently fastened with bronze spikes and large wooden pegs called trunnels.

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