Marco Polo Project Saint John New Brunswick

Marco Polo Project Gallery

    Here are the latest photos sent to us from Bob Coes, Project Manager taken on October 12'th - the first day of planking on the Marco Polo Replica. This day marks a special turning point in the construction of the ship's hull. Project Manager, Bob Coes, along with Ken Sparks, Lou Doyle, and Joseph Poirier at the steam box, hung the first two planks at the bow - one port and its mate on the starboard side. Friday, October 13'th, Ken and Lou were back on the job and the three of us hung the next pair of planks below the first pair. Bob plans to plank the hull stem to stern beginning near the 10 foot water line. Planking will progress aft and downward to the steel platform.
   Be sure to check back often in the coming months, we hope to have lots to show.

October 25/2006
Just click on the pics for larger view.

    The first five photos were taken on 'day one', October 12'th. This day was a bit of a test for us. All went well! The steaming process; the bending qualities of white pine; and the hanging of the planks with three inexperienced hands, all went off without a hitch.
   The first photo shows the plank already on the frames and fitted into the rabbet joint on the bow stem. Planks in this area are bending in three directions at the same time: across its flat, its edge, and twisting on its end. The less time taken to hang the plank reduces the stress on the plank and its fastening to the frames. The next photo includes myself, Bob Coes, to the right, Lou Doyle centre, and Ken Sparks to the left on the photo. Both Ken and Lou have contributed a great deal of time and expertise as volunteers on the project.
   The next three photos show the planks from various angles: their fit, clamping arrangement, and lay or shape. Photos six, seven, and eight showing two planks on each bow were taken the following day. Again, one begins to see more clearly, the details mentioned earlier.
   The last six photos in this group were taken October 20'th. By week's end we had sixteen planks hung. More than half of the planks were hung on the frames with only one or two persons. However, a minimum of three are needed where the bends are sharper. The planks near the centre of the hull can be installed by only one person even though some bending may still be required. Ideally, planking on a vessel of this size requires two to four people depending on the location of the planks. Steamed planks must be hung more quickly for reasons mentioned earlier, thus requiring more hands.
   The first three photos in this group show three rows of planks all continuing aft to frame #15 - approximately two-thirds the length of the ship. The fourth photo taken looking forward gives an indication of the extent of the planking in just over a week. It also shows the butt joints on the frames. Butt joints near the bow, where the bend is greater, are between the frames backed with a butt block and additional fasteners. The fifth photo is a close-up of the starboard bow with the planks already fastened and fitted to the stem. The sheer line and general shape of the hull is becoming more obvious to the eye. The last photo is an overall shot of Marco Polo's hull showing the lay of the planks. The batten positioned approximately five feet above the planks represents the sheer line at the main deck.
   Bob Coes and his volunteers are extremely pleased with the progress to date The setting up of the steel, the ship's frames, stern assembly and bow stem, and now the beginning of the planking process, have all taken place in just over four months. We hope that more volunteers will step forward and contribute their time and energy insuring the continued success of the Marco Polo Project.