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Information on wales (click to open/close)
The main wales on a ship are a massive belt of planking made up of three to six runs of planking, depending on the size of the ship. On the Oneida the wales are made up of three strakes, or runs of planking making them a total of three feet wide. The front of the wale begins in the rabbit at the stem, runs along the hull even with top of the gun port sills and terminates on the stern blocks. Wales add a great deal of longitudinal strength to a hull as well as protects the ship from cannon fire.
Cutting a rabbit for the wales (click to open/close)
Some model builders will cut a planking rabbit into the stem and keel. On the Oneida model there will be no planking below the wales so I didn't cut a rabbit except for the wales. Cutting a rabbit was done by holding the end of the wale against the hull frames and with an Exacto knife; a cut is made along the outside edge of the wale piece.
Using a cutting bur to cut depth of rabbit (click to open/close)
To cut the depth of the rabbit a cutting bur was used. As the bur cuts deeper, keep going back to the outer edge and make a deeper cut with the Exacto knife. As the rabbit gets deeper it gets easier to control the cutting bur to achieve a clean sharp rabbit. Looking at the photo you can clearly see a gouge running off the stem. This is what happens when you let the cutting bur get away from you. To avoid this, after making the outside edge cut, go back and cut off the inside corner so you have a little trench. Then carefully creep up on the finished edge with the bur until its deep enough to prevent the bur from jumping out of the rabbit and across the stem.
Softening and bending wales (click to open/close)

Wales on a ship will take a lot of stress from the required bending and twisting to form to the shape of the hull. To begin the forming process of the wales a glass of water is boiled in a microwave. Then the end of the wale is placed in the boiling water for about 10 minutes. The wet strip of wood is now bent with a hot bending iron. Heat from the iron will turn the water to steam and the wood will have to be soaked again. It will take several soakings and bending with the iron to form the strip to the required shape.
Soak wale then clamp to hull (click to open/close)
Once the end of the wale has been bent it is soaked one more time and clamped to the hull. Spring clamps are always used rather than the screw "C" type clamp because the "C" clamp leaves a dent in the soft wet wood. So much pressure has to be applied to the wood the dent is very difficult to sand out. As you bend the strip around the bow check the lower edge to make sure it's touching the frames. The strip not only bends around the hull but also takes a twist at this location.
Keep strip clamped until it dries (click to open/close)
Leave the strip clamped to the hull until it has thoroughly dries. Once removed from the hull there will be a little spring back, for the most part the wood will retain the shape.
Cut end of wale on an angle (click to open/close)
The square end of the wale will have to be cut on an angle in order for it to sit in the rabbit.
Clamping wale tight against the hull timers (click to open/close)
The rabbit is a little too shallow to hold the wale piece in place while its being glued and clamped. The end of the wale tends to pop out of the rabbit so two scrap pieces of wood are clamped to each side of the stem, which holds the wale tight against the hull timbers and in the rabbit.
Using spring clamps to hold wale in place (click to open/close)
A series of spring clamps are used down the entire length of the hull to hold the wale in place.
Beveling the planks (click to open/close)
Wales on the Oneida are made up of three strakes of planks. The edges of the second and third strake are beveled in order for it to sit tight against the lower edge of the plank above it. This bevel will change angle down the length of the strip. Starting at the stem there is only a slight angle then as the wale bends around the hull there will be an abrupt change to the bevel. As the wale approaches and runs along the side of the hull there is only a slight angle. At the stern the wale takes a twist to the lower transom. Here the bevel takes an extreme angle.

Go to part 28- WATERWAYS

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