Building the Bouchie Dory Part 15 – The Garboard Planks

In the world of wooden boats we refer to the lowest planks near the keel as the “garboards”.

Where that name comes from is hard to say. The vikings called them kjølbord. Kjøl means keel, so it stands to reason that somewhere back in history, in some language, there is nautical reference to something called a gar that we have forgotten. The Germans have the word “garen” meaning to cook. If there is any plank on a boat that will often need some steam it is certainly the garboard. Perhaps that could be the origin of the term. So let’s talk a little about the “cook-board”.


In our dory the garboards are quite wide and extend from the chine rather than the keel. This is a common characteristic of the grand banks dory. Historically there were a lot of big wide white pine boards available but these days plywood make a damn practical substitute.


When I designed this boat I laid out a garboard that had a straight line for the upper edge and we came very close to that in the final construction. In fact, if were were just concerned with speed of construction over looks, it would have made sense to just work with the straight plywood edge and call it good.


For the sake of economy I also designed these garboards to fit within a 16” wide plank. that allowed me to cut a sheet of plywood into three pieces. Cut one of those into two 4’ lengths and scarf them onto the other two 8’ lengths.


We covered scarfing plywood in Episode 12 of this series so I didn’t include that process in this video.

Now go get your cook-boards in the oven folks.