Planking an Aluminum Boat

Fiberglass didn’t lend itself to custom production. Aluminum made it possible to build a custom boat faster and cheaper. Frank Luke traveled to boatyards across the county and in Germany to learn how aluminum boats were built.

Equipping the yard with a machine for forming plates, a press, and other specialized equipment was an expensive project. He hired a welder and trained his crew to use the new equipment. They made the transition from wood to aluminum effectively since many of the building technologies were the same.

Here a crew is setting, bending, and welding pre cut aluminum sheets ‘planks’ to the frame of Luke’s utility boat.

Transition from Wood to Aluminum