Wood Boat Restoration: Plank Removal & Replacement

The maintenance of antique boats is a labor of love.  Their wood hulls can crack, bend, and warp, tarnishing future enjoyment and your investment.  But removing and replacing wood planks is possible and can even be an enjoyable exercise once mastered.

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Plank Removal

First, remove the screws from the plank while paying careful attention not to damage the lip of the screw hole.  This requires a slow and careful hand, so take your time with this process.  Once the screws are removed, use a hammer and a piece of wood from the inside of the hull to gently knock the plank out.  A 2×4 that is about 10 inches long will work well, but do be careful to not damage the batten.

Cutting New Planks

Once the plank is removed it’s important to create a near identical copy of the old wood.  Using a pencil trace the plank outline onto the new wood, then rough cut the wood while leaving the pencil lines.  Next, clamp the old plank and the new wood together and use a router with a trim bit to trim the edges and create your copy.  Bottom planks and planks with straight edges can be ripped on a table or radial saw, but a router technique will be needed in most cases.  A router with a top bearing is required for this technique.  Another option is to take your time and use a hand plane to fit the plank to the opening.  Be sure to save the off fall of the new plank to cut your bungs from.  Follow these steps with attention to detail and some practice, and you’ll be able to replace wood planks for your classic woody’s hull.

Task sound too daunting? 

Let us help!  Our staff of wood boat restoration experts would be glad to replace and restore planks on your vintage wood boat.  We’ll also make sure that any new planks will be varnished and stained to match the classic look of your hull.