Cathead

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About Cathead

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    Eric
  • Birthday 09/08/1979

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    Missouri, USA

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  1. Oh, don't start that nonsense.
  2. Jack and Scott, I grew up east of Rochester (Wayne County) and still have family there who keep me appraised. I apologize for leaving out the Canadian side, was just thinking about the shore I'm most familiar with. It's a terrible situation to be sure.
  3. Heh, Jim, that looks great, if only I could do that for our 1/2 acre orchard and 1 acre crop field. Birds and Japanese Beetles are playing their usual hell with our applies and other fruit. David, I'm sorry to hear that. Since our damaging late freeze here in Missouri, the weather has been remarkably cooperative, about the right amount of rain and no true extremes of hot/cold. That's not normal for here, and I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. If you want to feel bad for someone else, though, read up on the situation along Lake Ontario in NY. It's been so wet for so long that the lake is at near record levels, flooding coastal towns and expecting to stay that way for months.
  4. It might help if you read "by" as "my" and the "b" in "buccaneer" as an "f". Just don't read it aloud in polite company.
  5. I think the unfortunate reality is that this forum has far more questions and topics than everyone can keep up with, especially those with the knowledge to answer every question. Sometimes the person you need is busy; not everyone checks the forum every day or even every week, and it's easy to miss a given question or topic for a little while. There's a real tension between the immediate need of the modeller for an answer, and the delayed response time of other forum members who aren't necessarily on the same schedule. I certainly can't keep up with everything that's happening on here. I'm in central Missouri, a bit north of the river.
  6. Of course, when using such stats, one should also remember that such a large navy was also spread thin across the globe, performing myriad duties in service to Britain's worldwide empire. It's not like most of that huge navy was just sitting off the American seaboard waiting to pick on the little guys. Citing that without context is like comparing the entire US military to the Taliban or ISIS, rather than the actual ratios of forces and capabilities in-theatre.
  7. I think it's hard to do unto others as we'd have them do unto us. It's hard for me not to see Likes as somehow lesser than a written comment, yet my personality really struggles with writing lots of generic "Looks nice" posts if I don't have something specific to say, and so I work hard to remind myself that a Like is a completely legitimate response. Also, sometimes nobody knows the answer to your question. I know I've felt bad about not responding to a question in a build log before, but if I don't feel I can add anything helpful, it doesn't feel right to take up space saying "Beats me". Finally, I struggle to decide where the line between constructive criticism and nitpicking is. We all have different standards for "good enough" and photos can often be very unforgiving, so I don't know how or when to point something that looks wrong to me but the builder might be fine with. I'm also not such a good builder that I'm always comfortable attempting to critique others' work, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that regard. It's a difficult situation to parse. This also goes back to the tension between the two roles of build logs: as a live community experience of a model's progress, and as an archive of the work that was done. In the former role, lots of comments are welcome and even psychologically beneficial. In the latter, lots of comments are a PITA, as anyone reading through a past log has to wade through lots of irrelevant content. The only other online forum I frequent (a baseball site) has the opposite problem: all comments are essentially live-streamed (they aren't numbered and tagged as at MSW), making it really easy and fun to interact with people but nearly impossible to find past content again. Neither approach is perfect.
  8. I received a nice response from historian Bill Reynolds at the Campus Martius Museum in Ohio, which he's agreed to let me share here (lightly edited) because elements may be of interest to some readers: Based on this I'm just going to proceed with using the generic Bates plans as a best approximation of Arabia's hull, which will be mostly hidden under the deck and guards anyway. Also, I don't know when I'll update this again; we're going to be on vacation for part of June and I may not find time to get back to this project until the end of the month. In addition, regular work and the garden season is keeping me busy and making it hard to find blocks of time to sit down and mess with plans on the computer. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and I promise I'll keep plugging away at this.
  9. Back when we worked for the National Park Service in the mountains of Virginia, we had a container garden like yours because we lived in an NPS cabin up on a ridge and they don't want you planting anything in the soil within a park. Problem was, the black bears liked our tomatoes too much. Came home one day to find the biggest pot dragged off the porch with a bear chowing down on the tomatoes around the back corner of the cabin.
  10. We did run a market farm for a number of years, selling to farmers market/CSA shares/restaurants/etc but in the last few years we've backed off that and just grow mostly for ourselves now. We still raise most of our own fruit/veg/dairy/meat year-round. These berries are all for us. We freeze a large quantity, make & can jam, dry them, and ferment wine. We've canned straight strawberries in the past but don't really like the quality. The wine comes out nicely and is great for storage since it improves with age. This has been a particularly abundant year for the berries, though, we've had especially good weather for them (less heat than usual and moderate rain) so they're just going berzerk.
  11. We had wild strawberries where I grew up along the Great Lakes. They had a better flavor than the garden ones, but of course were much smaller and harder to pick. On our current farm, we grow several varieties of strawberries that aren't the usual commercial types. They have far better flavor but compensate with poor storage quality (which is why you don't find them in stores or grown by big farms). This spring I've been picking 4-6 gallons of berries every other day for a couple weeks now, and they're still going strong.
  12. Ah, now I understand what you meant. I hadn't really thought about the mule. I suppose I could find some S-scale model railroad figure, but I'll worry about that when everything else is finished. I tend to think that figures detract from a model because they can never be made to look as realistic as the non-living parts. Otherwise, as Roger suggested, I've sent messages to both the Howard Steamboat Museum in Indiana and the Ohio River Museum in Ohio, explaining this project and inquiring about any further resources or references they might know of that might offer hints to details of the Arabia. I'll report on any results when I hear back.
  13. kscadman, thanks for the comment and I'm glad you're following along. It looks like MSW censored something in your post; just what feature of the bow are you asking about?
  14. Gerhard, Roger is correct in his explanation of the guards. Virtually all sidewheelers had them, and their use varied on sternwheelers. It's my understanding that sternwheelers built for the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers generally had relatively narrow guards to extend their cargo capacity, but sternwheelers intended for the Missouri River did not, as the wider decks could more easily be tangled in the narrower river channels of the latter. Another function of the wide guards on sidewheelers was to provide extra width from which to run lateral bracing, like the extensions on some bridges, which was necessary due to the very large and heavy wheels and the weight of cargo placed on the guards. Guards let these boats carry far more cargo without much increase in draft. Finally, consider that most early steamboats (at least through the Civil War) ran primarily on wood, which is a rather bulky fuel. These vessels were extremely inefficient in their fuel use, and so needed a lot of storage space for that fuel in addition to cargo space, and because they took on new fuel sometimes on a daily basis, it needed to be stored on the main deck within close reach of the boilers. As for the wheels, you note that European steamboats often kept 1/3 of the wheel's diameter in the water, but that would never have worked in western American rivers. Vessels here commonly needed drafts of less than 5 feet, sometimes only a couple feet, so the wheels had to stay mostly out of the water. Otherwise Roger is correct: American paddle wheels were much larger (and mounted higher on the vessel) because enlarging them increased their power without placing the paddles too deep in the water (or creating the wrong entry angle), necessary for the unique conditions of these rivers.
  15. Roger, I don't think these vessels were customs-registered as you suggest. Unlike the Great Lakes, interior river craft had no chance of reaching another country. Any of these riverboats that ventured even a brief distance beyond the mouth of the Mississippi would have capsized in no time, and I don't think anyone collected or recorded information beyond the most basic dimensions, at least in any organized fashion. The most comprehensive source of steamboat information I know is Way's Packet Directory, 1848-1994, which is a stunning collection of steamboat information but doesn't record details beyond such basic dimensions as length, breadth, and draft. Further, it's my understanding that plans, models, and other "official" methods of design were little-used in the period during which Arabia was constructed. Most yards just built them from scratch, not following any particular standard design other than commonly-accepted practice. For example, Louis Hunter writes in Steamboats on the Western Rivers (1949, updated 1973) that: He also adds in a footnote that: So it seems highly like that Arabia, built in 1853 as a thoroughly unremarkable boat, has no records, models, plans, or other archival information. Also, the various writers from whom I'm drawing my guidance (Adam Kane, Louis Hunter, Alan Bates), have all seen and studied the models and plans that are in existence and have already summarized their characteristics in their writing. That's why I'm using Bates' hull plan here, as it's intended to be representative of typical sidewheelers of the period and there are no further data to contradict the adoption of this form. Whether or not his plan is "right" for the Arabia seems impossible to know for sure, but it's unlikely to be "wrong" in the representative sense. Further, when I laid his plans over the photos shared earlier in this log for the stern, I was impressed to see that the lines did show a high degree of similarity, to the extent that I could overlay them given the hull distortion in the photograph. So I'm pretty comfortable using this hull plan for a model that is, after all, intended to be a representation rather than a recreation. As regards the specific shape of the hull, Adam Kane's study included the 17 known/excavated steamboat sites within the Mississippi River system. He writes that, Kane includes plans for Buckeye State that are, indeed, very similar to the flared stern shown in Bate's plans. As for the bow, there were essentially three broad types of steamboat bows in this period: spoonbill, scow, and model. The first was shaped like an upturned spoon or the bluff bow of a merchant ship; this increased cargo capacity at the expense of speed, and also helped boats on the shallow, sediment-laden upper Missouri River to pass over sandbars without shoving a sharper bow into them. However, this didn't come into wide use until the 1870s according to Kane, so is unlikely to have been used on Arabia, which anyway wasn't specifically built for the upper rivers (it originally served on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers). Scow bows are essentially barges and not really relevant here. The last shape, model, refers to the sharper bow shown in the Bates plans and Kane's draft of Buckeye State, which seems to have been typical for pre-Civil War boats. So again, I'm comfortable following the Bates plans as representative of a vessel from this era. Finally, as regards the middle portion of the hull, Kane also notes that Arabia had vertical sides (some boats had slightly flared sides), so I'll be adopting that approach as well. Thank you for the questions; I probably should have spent more time laying out these thoughts before or along with presenting the first draft of plans instead of just dumping them out there with no explanation. Given the explanation of my original thinking above, what are your thoughts?