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Triton Cross Section by ChadB (Chach_86) - FINISHED

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Ooops! I've only just recalled that all this is a re-post of a long-finished build! I've edited comments to suit. Sorry about that!




Haha! Don't worry about it- I fully expect this to confuse a few people!  :)



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11. Cross Spalls


Thanks for the tips Lee and thanks to everyone else again for the kind words. 

I decided to go Lee and Gary's route of a tight string down the centerline and cross spalls across the tops of the frames. I was kind of freaked out about glueing anything to the tops of frames, even though that whole area will be covered. Something about having to separate it at some point and the possibility of a frame breaking scares me a little- So I came up with something removeable that still does the job of centering the frame and keeping it in place. 
I was lucky enough to have a few sheets of extra boxwood left over from my frames, thanks to Jeff at Hobbymill. I don't think I could say it enough that he provides the best quality milled wood around and has answered MANY questions I've thrown his direction about different types of wood. So back on subject- I ripped nine 5mmx5mm strips that were all long enough to cross the top of the widest frame (200mm or 8 inches would be a good length. 
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The next step was to take one of the spalls and lay it along the 'Top of Frame Line' mark on the frame assembly drawing and mark the inside of the frame. I then sanded down to this line on my disc sander and checked and resanded until both sides were where they needed to be.. 
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So you'd think that would be good enough, right? But no- I'm a man, and it's in our genetics to over-engineer anything we make, especially something trivial like this. So I still had some of the small strips of boxwood left from making treenails (the stips that would eventually be cut down to toothpick size) and I glued one on each side along the top of the spall like so.. 
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OK- so even though I joked about doing this- there was a reason behind it. I had a couple frames that that were a tiny bit too wide at the top for whatever reason. Nothing real bad, but enough that it seemed like it could be an annoyance down the line. So to fix that, I took some small square scraps and glued them to the outside of the strip affixed across the top of the spall. If the frame was a bit wide, I made sure that this little square was glued in snug against the frame to keep it in place. 
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Once everything was dry, I went back and just double checked that all the frames were fitted correctly and added the centerline on the top using the centerline mark on the frame assembly drawing. So now I have a frame that can be aligned correctly and ready to be mounted. 
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12. Updating the Jig


Just a quick update- I decided that there really isn't a reason to actually use a string, since the centerline on my jig would do the trick. I understand why it would be used on a full model since there's not as much room to work with a jig like this one because of the stem and stern getting in the way. So to make my centerline accurate I had to extend the board up like this.. 

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13. Setting frames


Well, I finally finished mounting all the frames to the keel last night and included spacers in between the frames. I turned out to be a little harder than I originally thought it was going to be- but the finished product 

came out real well. Here's how I did it... 
First using the jig I previously built, I'd put the frame in the correct position on the keel buy pushing the slide right up to lines on the drawings. The first couple frames I would then glue in place and treenail after, but I found that whle drilling the hole in the frame for the treenail, it would vibrate the frame free. This could have either been that I was using the drill press to drill the hole or that the keel had already been finished with tung oil. So after roughing up the top of the keel, I decided to dry mount the frame and drill the treenail hole freehand using my little battery operated Dremel.. 
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..I drilled the treenail holes on the floor side since I was terrified that drilling on the other side would cause the frame to split. Once that was done, it was glued and set on the keel with the treenail inserted. Using the cross spall built earlier, I was able to center the frame by matching up centerlines.. 
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Once the frame was set and dried, I ripped a few pieces of scrap that would be used as spacers between frames. There are only two distances between frames- 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch. The next frame was mounted as desribed earlier and the spacer was sanded until it fit snugly between the frames at the keel. 
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I had drawn a line on the vertical part of the jig where the lower part of the spacer would go. Now I was able to trace the shape where the spacer would be fitted. Since the distance between frames at the keel was measured, the spacers would keep the top of the frames the same distance apart. 
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Trying to hold the wood straight and in place while trying to trace the shape turned out to not work well, so here's how I tackled it.. 
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After the spacers were cut out on the scroll saw, I had two pieces that wouldn't leave a whole lot of extra to sand later 
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To set them was easy. I smeared each side with glue, lined them up on the jig, and clamped the frames to keep them tight.. 
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I just repeated for all the frames, and now have them all mounted. The first thing I noticed was how solid everything seems. This will be good for the next step of sanding the hull, which I'm totally terrified of doing. 
Onward! -Chad 
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14. Fairing (Blech.)


So far in my short ship modeling career, I think fairing a hull (well) is right up there with planking a hull as one of the tougher things to do. I now know why it's tough to get good advice on how to do it well, since it's just about impossible (as far as I can see, anyway) to explain how to do it well. I just had to jump in and feel it out along the way. 
I started with the frames not being roughly faired so that the fore and aft sides of the frame were even, which in hindsight was a mistake since it would have been easier off the keel, but really just adds extra time to the fairing process... 
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I turned out to be a real pain to sand those areas down, so I decided to start on the floor, since it was flat and would let start getting a feel for what kind of tools were going to work. The first thing I had to do though was determine where the flat part of the floor ended and started curving up, since - once again- nothing was faired first. I did this by taking a copy of the Cross Section Frames drawing and drawing a "centerline" down the middle perpendicular to the frames. Then I took each of the Frame Assembly drawings and measured the length of the floor, copied it onto the "centerline" of my other drawing, and connected the sides with a french curve. Finally I just pasted it to a scrap piece of matte board and cut it out, giving me this... 
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The floor was pretty easy since it was flat- I found a standard card cabinet scraper worked best. I guess before I go any further I'll mention the tools I found worked best. First and foremost- a $10 pack of 3 cabinet scrapers was a fantastic investment. Of course, with cabinet scrapers they will have to be sharpened- so I also had to pick up a $10 burnishing tool and a waterstone (about $25). Sharpening them is almost an art in itself, as I've gotten sharpening the card scrapers down but the curved ones have taken a little more practice. I looked at about every link on sharpening cabinet scrapers that google brought up, but everyone has their own way of doing it so I just went at it until I found something that worked for me. Other than the scrapers I used a flat ruler sized piece of scrap wood and 4 sanding blocks with 100 grit sandpaper on them. I found the sanding blocks are used the most. All are pretty much just small rectangles with one side curved over that I cut out real quick on the scroll saw. One of them is just a little over the width of a frame, and the others are about a frame and a half thickness. The thicker ones I find usefull for sanding across multiple frames without getting "caught up" between frames, while the thinner one is good for just working on a single frame. 
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So after the floor, I started on the inside since I thought this would be the harder part (it is) and on the side that would eventually be fully planked. I figured it was best to get a feel for things on the side that would be a little more forgiving since it will all be covered anyway. This is where I can't really explain what went on since it just has to be "experienced". I imagine it like trying to describe to someone how to sculpt- kind of tough to do I would think. I just started rough and kept refining it little by little. This was when I noticed a problem on the horizon- one of the frames seemed out of place at "the turn of the bilge" (thanks Lee). I 
thought about it and finally decided one night to break the frame loose and reset it to try to align it. Once it was broken free with an exacto knife I had no clue what to do- that's how I ended up with this gem  ...
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..first I aligned the turn of the bilge area by laying a scrap piece of wood along the frames and wrapping thread around the frame and the scrap, and behind the free frame, which kind of cinched everything into place. Then I used a couple more pieces of scrap to align the tops. Once everything was glued into place, the frames aligned much nicer. After that was done and I had the inside roughly faired, I started from the floors and just started cleaning it all up by working my way up with a scrap pushed down along the inside to see what needed to be cleaned up. 
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So now I have about 3/4 of the cross section faired with only one of the outsides to go (once I got a hande on the inside, the outside is pretty easy). Although I don't think I'll be able to leave a whole side open as 
planned since I still have a few spots that aren't totally faired because I STILL left the frames thin  , a decent section near the bilge will be, which is OK with me. The only disturbing thing I've noticed is separation on some of my futtocks.. 
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I was pretty careful not to have anything like this when I built my frames, so I think it could be from either the little bit of bending that went into setting a few frames on the keel or the cold snap we had a few weeks back when the cross section sat in the garage (since moved inside). There's only a couple spots like this, so I may try filling it with some wood glue/sawdust mix and see what the results are. -Chad


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14a. More Fairing (More Blech.)


I just finished the fairing of the hull and I can honestly say I won't miss it. I think the whole process took me quite a while because I really only worked in 10-30 min spurts because 1.) it's an incredibly monotonous and tedious process and 2.) any longer than that and I go from the "quality work" mindset to the "good enough" mindset. After I finished the rough fairing with 100 grit sandpaper I took it all the way down to 600 grit in the places that would be visible. I found that since the finer sandpaper doesn't last very long it didn't work on wooden sanding blocks very well. I took a trip over to the local woodworking store and found a felt pad (about 5 bucks) which worked like a charm. It was just flexible enough to get around the inside and evenly sand the outside.. 
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The "finished" product.. 
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    Bilge Rat

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Hi Chad,


It's great to see a refresh of this build and it's great to see you back.  

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"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:

Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0

Past Builds:
Triton Cross-Section
USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War (Gallery) Build Log
Wasa (Gallery)

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15. Making a Story Pole and Transferring Lines.


So I decided the next step should be transferring lines to the inside and outside of the hull. It took me a few days to remember reading in one of Russ's older posts about using something called a "Story Pole". It's a vertical "pole" that has all the heights of different spots on the hull. Once the idea kind of came together it seemed like a great idea for making sure everything was going to be even and uniform on both sides. I started by using some scrap from the frame setting jig I used as a base, since I was going to use that jig to hold the model in place while transferring lines. Then I used various drawings to transfer heights to a scrap piece of apple left over from the keel. Put together and squared up to make sure it was exactly vertical, this was the finished product.. 


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Next I used some more scrap to make a couple "arms" to beable to get the height right up against the frame to mark it.. 


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Then I made sure the model was secured in the jig and centered the same way I used to mount the frames. This way nothing was wobbling or uneven..


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Transferring lines was then real easy. Move the story pole up to the frame and tick of the height. I just started from the bottom and worked my way around the hull. Once a height was sufficiently marked, I just 
moved on to the next height up (unlike in the photo that was taken post-transfer  ) 
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Once I had enough marks, it was just a matter of "connecting the dots". I double checked the height by measuring from a fixed point- say the top of keel- to the mark and then checked the measurement on both the opposite side and opposite end to make sure nothing is going to be either crooked or slanted! 
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I'll probably cover the lines with a bit of wipe on poly or some other finish just to make sure the lines don't get rubbed off along the way, but the final product should be good enough to finally start adding some meat 
to these bones! -Chad


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16. Adding the Thick Stuff


So things have been quite easy now because of the time put in to fair the hull and make sure all the lines were transferred correctly. I decided to go ahead and do all the thick stuff first and fill in the rest once that was all in place. It was real nice to work with something other than boxwood and apple (cherry), too. 

I started by soaking the cut planks for about 20 minutes and then giving them a little bend by clamping both sides over a board with some foam in the middle. The foam keeps it from getting marked up and gives it just enough of a bend to sit a little more naturally against the frames.. 
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Then I gave one side a bit of a beveled edge using a sanding block so that way the other plank touching it would fit nicely. I also sanded the back (the side sitting on the frames) to a bit of a rounded edge so it conformed to the frames. I finished off the front side with some 400 grit sandpaper on the felt block (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite tools) and clamped it down. 
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The limber strake was alot easier to make than I thought it was going to be. I just set the fence of the tablesaw as close to the blade as possible and raised the blade to just the height of the groove where the limber board site. The limber board was hand made and just took some trial and error to get the right angles. -Chad 
The "finished product".. 
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17. Finishing the Hold Planking, Cutting Limber Boards, and Cutting out Gunport Sills and Lintels


. I finished up the hold planking with one side fully planked and the other just thick stuff as to show off frames. All the planking was pretty straightforward, but I was a little worried about making sure my treenails were in nice straight lines. It's one of those things I've tried to do to the best of my ability since mediocre results would stick out like a sore thumb. 

I started with this little jig which was a small piece of scrap with a block on either end that will let it fit over all the frames and stay in place. I marked on the scrap the positions of each treenail so it could be marked 
on the frames. 
*Sorry about the photos. I'm actually a little embarassed to be showing them because of the horrible white balance. My kitchen table has been my headquarters over the winter and the lighting overhead is the new 
energy-saving flourescents 
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Once I had marks across each frame, I connected the dots.. 
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Once the lines were drawn, I drew perpendicular lines to make sure they would be even across the frames also, which left me with small crosses at the points that needed drilling.. 
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I started drilling the holes using a pinvise but it took forever, so I switched over to my small rechargeable Dremel which worked well. I went through and used a pn to start a hole so the drill had somewhere to start. All treenails were done with cherry and I used a 1mm hole for the thick stuff and a 1/2 mm hole for all the rest.. 
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Once that was done I wanted to finish up my limberboards. I had opened a thread a while back in the general discussion about it and came to the conclusion that they would be 3 feet long with openings on either side to pry them out. So scaled down gave me 3/4 inch long sections with half circles drilled out on each end. I already had the long continuous limberboard shaped, so it was just a matter of cutting and drilling. I started by cutting the lengths, then setting up this little jig to make sure the half circles lined up. Two boards were put in and lined up so the drill bit would fall directly between the two. Any small adjustments were made 
with a file.. 
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Overall a simple task once thought out. I will glue in place eventually and there will be small pieces to cover the ends. I don't know if they were actually staggered like this, but I really like the look.
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And then just last night I finally built up the courage to cut out the slots for the gunport sills and lintels. I don't know why this scared me so much, but it ended up being incredibly easy. I think it was actually seeing Grant,s method of cutting out the slots in the floors on Dokondr's build log that really made it easy- thanks Grant! Everything was already marked, so I just used a jeweler's saw to make a few horizontal cuts and break out the pieces with an exacto knife. 
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So that's it so far. Next up I believe I'll finally tackle the wales! -Chad

Edited by ChadB, 24 December 2016 - 11:35 PM.

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18. Filling out the Gunports


I was fooling around with making anchor stock wales (which is a little trickier than I thought) and decided to put it aside for a while and go ahead and finish the gunports. Since the gunwales are going to be done in bloodwood to simulate red paint, I went ahead and did the sills and lintels in bloodwood also. I also added a thin veneer to the sides to complete it. Since the insides of the gunports will be the only parts showing, it looks a little rough around the edges (literally). I just made sure the joints on the inside were nice and tight and that planking on the outside and inside will lay flat and not leave any gaps. -Chad 


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19. Anchor Stock Planking


I decided to give anchor stock planking for my wales a go instead of the four basic strakes in the plans. I used Peter Goodwin't book on the English Man of War for most of the information. There was a fantastic write up on lengths and just general information on them. So far I've found this book a great investment and a good sidekick to the cross section. 

The very fist thing I learned is that just winging it on a tablesaw will just give you a heap of ebony scrap and leave you a couple bucks short from having to replace it.  So once I got rolling I started by drawing out a template to get sizes and angles. I figured that each plank will have to be pretty exact for them all to fit together nicely, so this was a good starting point. Unfortunately I'm a computer idiot so yes- that is an 
actual picture of a drawing . 
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Next I cut up some ebony making sure all the planks were exactly the same size, specifically 4.5 inches long- which is really important. Then I went about making a jig for the tablesaw that would slide against the fence and cut at the correct angle. I find pictures better than trying to describe- so here's what I came up with. I will not that keeping all the planks the exact size was important to make sure they fit snugly in the jig and didn't bounce around while cutting. 
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From here everything was pretty simple. The only other note would be that I found ebony is some nasty stuff. It gets all over the place and chips easily, so I tried to give everything a once over to make sure the cuts didn't take any extra. Also, since everything is enclosed in the jig when making the initial cut the triangular piece left over tries to shoot down between the blade and the table, which caused some problems the first few times. I aleviated the situation by using a footpedal to stop and start the saw and stop right before cutting all the way through and just breaking the little triangle off... 
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I would then just pop it back in the jig and finish that side. Afterward, I just turned it around, made sure it was seated in the jig against the left side and repeated. This was when a footpedal came in handy since I used a pushstick to hold the piece in place. 
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From there it was just repeating until I had enough (about double whats in the photo for both sides) 
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After this, fitting them to the frames was simple. Since each side only has 1 full anchor stock and the rest were partial, it was just cutting most up to fit them here and there, but because of the exactness in making 
them they all fit well. This can be seen in the photo. which needed some glare to actually see where all of them join! 
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So once the wales were done and I was contemplating the deck beams, I gave wales, hold and frames that will be seen a coat of wipe on poly. On a separate note- I didn't realize how bad the photos of the hold were (I think my camera is on the way out) until I went back and looked, so here's where I stand now.. -Chad
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Dupree Allen

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I'm so glad that this build was reposted. Reading it and digesting the contents make me want to dive into parts of the build that I have not come to yet. So many techniques and ideas to choose from. How can one not learn with so many shipwrights sharing a vast amount of knowledge. Thank you all.

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"A slow steady hand conquers a fast shaky mind" - me



HMS Triton 1:32 Cross Section

Mike Y

Mike Y
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Small note on treenails: I use the same method as you, and after some practice it works fairly ok. But it is more efficient to use a long strip of wood instead of a short ones - you spend roughly the same time per strip, but get much longer treenail material in the end ;)

Great log, thanks for posting!

Edited by Mike Y, 25 December 2016 - 03:30 PM.

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Hi Chad,

Thanks for posting this again, I already learned a lot...
Just one question about the treenails, I have looked in the other logs but I can't find one where the wales were treenailed (maybe difficult to see it he images?). In the case of your wales (and some others) you used ebony. In that case the treenails should be made of ebony as well, right? How difficult it will be to make the treenails with the method you used?

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Dupree- Glad it is helping you! That was the whole purpose when I started and am glad it wasn't lost forever.


Mike- I'll have to give it a shot as I'm thinking I should get started soon with them on my current build. Thanks for the tip!


Anguirel- You are correct in that the treenails would be ebony, but I ended up skipping on the wales because it would be an exercise in frustration to pull ebony through a drawplate. Ebony is a beautiful wood, but my God is it a bear to work with. It is very hard and brittle, so I would think every piece you pull through would eith not pull through or break. Also, the ebony is so dark and sands to  such  polish that the treenails would be very tough to see. I could probably do some digging tomorrow and try to find out an answer on the treenail pattern, though.



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