A planking width question.

Tom Widney

LOVES Wooden Canoes
Having never restored a WC canoe before, yesterday while attaching my first plank that lay between two others, I realized that after soaking the new plank in the hot towel so we could make the sharp bend in the quarters, that the plank had swelled with the added moisture to the point it no longer lay between existing planks. I had ripped the plank to the exact width of the existing 1961 OT Guide’s 3 ¾ inches.
Any rule of thumb for the width of the new planks verses the old? I live in Albuquerque with about an 11 to 14 percent relative humidity which may make a difference.
Another issue I ran into on this first plank was that as The plank made the severe twist in the quarters that it seemed that the top edge of the plank towards the keel which I was using as the guide did not want to follow the existing plank as it bent towards the rails leaving me out of alignment as much as a ¼ in. If this makes sense in words, any comments?
Its good to try for a tight fit on the planking but there such a thing as too tight. The wood needs room to expand and contract. If you are getting a tight fit with the wet wood, assuming its just a brief soaking, then the shrinkage should be just fine.
Each piece of planking is going to lay just a bit different than the others. The grain,the growth of the tree, the twist in the plank , and how it was milled out will all effect how the plank will bend. If you reversed that plank it would of bent toward the keel by 1/4". Its good to check ahead of time how the plank is going to twist so you get a plank that works in the direction that you want it to go.
You may of had the straightest and best grain of planking but its also possible the manufacturers planking had a bit of twist to it and now you have to fit you planking to how they planked the boat.
Hold the plank out in front of you and sight down the edge like you're lining up the sights on a gun and you will see if the plank edge sweeps up or down.
You can also hold the plank in position on the boat and lay the end down and you can see if the plank is going to lay close to the position that you want without curving out of position. The aim is lay the plank so it lays flat and it doesn't have to be forced up or down.