The last plank in Opal´s refurbishment is in place
The last oak plank in Opal´s refurbishment is in place in the ships hull. A great deal of work has been undertaken to restore the ageing 64 years old traditional sailing ship to full strength – while at the same time installing a unique Regenerative Plug-in Hybrid Propulsion system.
Supports hold the plank in place while it cools off from the steam box treatment
The art of planking is not an easy one even though it has been around for thousands of years. The usual building method was to start at the keel and work upwards. However when wooden ships are being restored the art is even more complicated since each plank has to be carefully plied to fit precisely.
A ship builder is preparing an oak plank
The heavy oak planks are steamed to up to 120 degrees celsius in a steam box so they can bend and twist as needed to match the hull design. This work requires a great deal of expertise and hard work. Expertise that is difficult to find in todays societies.
A planking steam box
When the planks are in position a stuff called oakum is forced into the seams between the planks and then seams are covered with melted tar so that the hull is watertight.
Tar sealment for the seams
When the plank is in place, it is left to cool off for a day before further treatment.
Ship builders inserting the last plank of the restoration project