Design & material for bottom-boards

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Having fitted new ribs to my 20' clinker halfdecker I now need to revise the bottom-board arrangement. The previous setup used painted plywood panels, but I was never very happy with these. What other alternatives work well for a non-slip, low maintenance, traditional looking floorboards?
I'm attracted to the idea of softwood slats, but I can see that shackle pins and suchlike would keep falling through the gaps.
Ideas please - ideally with pics!
 

Peterduck

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Re: Design & material for bottom-boards

The gaps only need to be wide enough for water to get through, not shackle pins. You could use a piece of cardboard as a spacer when laying them out. It doesn't need any more space than that. The outer ones which are fitted to the inside of the planking can be fixed in position with screws, while the inner ones should be held down by turnbuttons recessed into the boards. These are usually placed between boards for convenience.
Peter.
 
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OK, I'm thinking slats. Now, best timber species and surface treatment?

I've got to make new bearers too. Some of the originals were cut to an accurate fit on the inside of the clinker planking & fastened through every plank, others were cut to a curve which rested on the plank edges and only fixed to the hog and at their ends. Any opinions about the best way to fit the new floor bearers?
 

mikefleetwood

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In the not too distant future (I Hope!), I face the same question. I was wondering about using "decking" from the local DIY centre for the slats. I'm not quite sure what wood is used, but it is obviously sold for exterior use so should be suitable. Conveniently comes with a ridged upper surface so should be non-slip.

What does everone else think?

By the way, it would seem that the norm round here is for the floor planks not to be fastened down. Just fairly close fitting, with a finger hole drilled at the ends of every second, or so, plank so it can be quickly lifted when needed.
 

Porthandbuoy

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On Mariposa the bottom boards are simply a tight fit with finger holes. I admit to thinking that having them screwed to the bearers might be better if the internal ballast was ever tempted to shift.
Mine are simply white pine treated with Burgess Woodsealer and Top-Gloss. Not exactly non-slip, but with only sitting headroom I don't have far to fall.
 

srp

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English larch. Light in weight and it doesn't produce splinters - or so I read somewhere (might have been John Leathers book on building a clinker dighy or maybe in Classic Boat). Treat them with matt Sadolin or similar (varnish or paint will just give you extra work in the future and may be slippery). I fixed mine with a U bolt I made from 6mm brass, protruding upwards through a slot in the boards and held with a wooden wedge.
 

Peterduck

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Re: Design & material for bottom-boards

Like so many other parts of boatbuilding, this is an area where each yard had their own way of doing things, and each one was "the only right way to do it". I would be putting in four bearers in a 20footer; bow, stern and two others to divide the space into thirds. Fasten these to the hog. I'd be a bit wary of fastening to the planking because it may create "hard spots" while the rest of the planking is flexible. By using transverse battens underneath the slats, you can make them into panels. I would consider four panels. port and starboard fore and aft. If it is possible rig fixed battens at the ends for the slats to tuck under, and then secure with turnbuttons to the inner bearers.
Peter.
 
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Re: Design & material for bottom-boards

Thanks, Peter and everbody else,

I was concerned about creating 'hard spots' as you say. having just removed a horrible collection of oversize riblets and other botched repairs. Slatted boards fixed into panels on cross-battens is the way to go.

I'll put up some pics as things progress.
 

ErikBenson

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Re: Design & material for bottom-boards

Hi, I am in a fairly similar quandry. My FMB is mahogany built, but came missing the rear floorboards. The others look like Mahogany but can I use Iroko or Niangan as respectable substitutes ?
 
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