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About genericDave

  • Birthday 12/18/1973

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    Austin, TX

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  1. Just booked my trip for the conference! Excited about the line up and the chance to meet everyone in person!
  2. It has been a while, and I've only had a chance to tackle a few things. None of it took very long, but my schedule has had me going a few weeks at a time without touching the ship. The waterway was installed. This was the first piece that I made from boxwood instead of the kit's basswood. I cut the strips from some boards and sanded them to create the angle shown in the plans. I didn't bother running them all way to the last bulkhead since that area will be covered with the cabin. I also tackled the black strake and the wales. These were also cut from boards instead of using the kit's basswood. For these, I went with Swiss pear, because I had seen a mention in a thread somewhere that Swiss pear looks really good when you use black leather dye on it instead of paint. My tests looked great, so I decided to proceed with pear for the strake and wales. I found the Swiss pear difficult to bend, even with water and heat. The bow requires a very tight curve and it took several tries to get the pear to bend that way. Since these are black, I probably should have used boxwood instead. Oh well. It worked out, just took more work than it should have. I plan to tackle the lower hull planking next. It will likely be a long process since I'll be cutting the planks from boxwood myself. I'm going to try to do a 'correct' job with the planking, so I'm planning to do a bunch of reading before I start.
  3. After spending a couple weeks figuring out what to do with wood and getting the materials ordered, I finally got a chance to dive back into the actual build. The kit's instructions and plans suggest fairing the hull by beveling the bulkheads before installing them, rather than sanding the edges after they are glued in. I considered trying this, but ultimately went with the traditional method of gluing in all the bulkheads and sanding the edges down afterwards. I was worried that beveling in advance might result in some bad angles. The bulkheads were glued in, working from the center out. Next I did a round of fairing the hull. I plan to do a final hull fairing round right before planking (after I get all the filler blocks and framing installed), so this first pass was just to rough in the general shape. I did a horrible job at fairing the hull on my Bluenose, so I spent a lot more time on it for this build. I built out the mast slots and moved on to the bow filler blocks. These were roughly cut using a hand saw and Dremel, then glued in and shaped by hand with a sanding block. I approximated the timber heads and knight heads and got those installed. I'll clean up the shape of those during my next round of hull fairing. At the stern, I got the wing transom installed and made the stern filler blocks using a similar method to what I did for the bow. Then the stern frames were added along with all the various plank supports. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to handle the window frames. I might use the kit's cast metal pieces, or I might try to make the frames myself...I'll figure that out later. For now, I added some framing around where the windows will go so I can keep my options open. Around this time I noticed that my stern wasn't straight. The last bulkhead (and the wing transom, filler blocks, and all the framing), was tilted a little bit. I'm not sure if this was caused by a bad job of installing the last bulkhead, or if it was a result of all the other work on the stern. Regardless of the cause, it was off by enough that it was going to be a problem. So, I cut the stern assembly off the ship. I removed the sternpost, then used a thin saw blade to cut through the keel, following the shape of the filler blocks and the last bulkhead, taking the entire stern assembly off as one piece. I did some cleanup on the cut edges, then glued the assembly back on with the correct alignment. A couple years ago this kind of mistake would have caused me to abort the build, but now I realize it's all just wood, and it can easily be cut/glued/remade. After a couple hours of work, I had everything reinstalled and the problem was fixed. I'm a little concerned about the strength of the joints, but once the planking is on I think everything will be firmly held in place. Next I added a beam just before bulkhead #12 to support the deck planking where it will run up to the front of the house. I also decided to go ahead and build out some fake interiors for the hatches. The plans indicate that the hatches are kind of see-through, so the center keel and bulkheads have some open space below each of the two hatches, and the kit recommends painting these space black so it looks good through the hatch grating. I decided to use some thin sheet material and build some boxes to enclose those spaces. Rather than painting them, I actually dyed them black before installing them using some leather dye. While researching what woods to use, I ran across some posts here that mentioned that black leather dye on swiss pear looks great for anything that needs to be black. I tried it out on some scrap pear and was really impressed. Since I still had the dye out on the workbench, I decided to use that for the hatch interiors rather than black paint. These probably won't be noticeable once the deck and hatches are in place, but I had a little extra time and wasn't ready to move on to bigger things I think my next step will be to install the waterway. I'm going to run the waterway the entire length of the ship, even though it will be hidden by the quarter deck after bulkhead 12. That seems to be the recommended approach since it will strengthen the hull a bit. Before I glue it in, I'll do a final fairing of the inboard edges. The waterway is going to be the first piece that I'm making from boxwood (from some tests, I think I can more accurately reproduce the taper on the waterway using boxwood). I received my shipment of boxwood from Syren last week, and I've got my new slitting blade from Byrnes, so I just need to stop procrastinating and cut some strips!
  4. I decided to try gilting some wood as a way to procrastinate on fairing the bulkheads. The Fair American plans indicate that several parts should be finished in 'gilt'. I've seen some models where these parts were just painted with a golden color. I've had mixed success with metallic paint in the past, so I decided to try some actual gilting. I thought I'd test this out now while I'm waiting on wood to come in. I picked up some sheets of gold colored leaf and some 'size' adhesive and sealer (about $20 total). The gold leaf sheets I'm using aren't actually gold - just gold colored. You can get actual gold leaf for a little more $$, but I don't think it really matters for a model ship. The process is pretty simple. Seal your wood (the size needs a non-porous surface). Brush on the 'size' (adhesive), and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Lay a sheet of gold leaf over the piece, and press it on. Let it sit for a bit. Brush off any loose gold leaf and cover everything with the sealer. The results were pretty good. Not perfect, but pretty good. Definitely better than I think I could do with gold paint. The test piece was just some scrap boxwood that I milled to have a little relief. The test piece was about 5/32" wide. I can probably get better results after a little practice. For now, I think my plan is to use this technique for all the parts that call for gold. Some macro shots of the results:
  5. Thanks @Jim Rogers! They looked they were back up, but I wanted to make sure before I placed an order. Just ordered the Swiss pear from them and the boxwood from Chuck. i also ordered a slitting blade from Byrnes to get a little better quality once I start cutting planks. Now I just need to get those bulkheads faired before the wood comes in!
  6. @Tigersteve, @Jim Rogers, thanks! I'm pretty happy with how it turned out! @petervisser, thanks! The wood I'm working with now was bought from Wood Project Source back in January. I ordered one each of several types so I'd have some samples to work with. They don't appear to be taking orders right now, so I'll have to get the wood for the build from somewhere else. Right now I'm planning on ordering the boxwood from Syren. For the swiss pear, Crown lists is on their site, but I'm not sure if they are back up and running yet. I also know of a couple fine wood dealers here in town, so I might check there for the pear as well.
  7. So, since my puppy ate my planking, I thought I'd look into replacing some of the kit wood with better materials. Since it can take a month or two to get a wood order delivered, I thought I better figure this out before moving on. I read through a bunch of threads and articles in the database, and chose a few woods to start with. Earlier this year I ordered some samples of several woods, so I used those and built up a little test model. My focus here was on a couple things: Can I actually cut usable planks from boards with my table saw? Will the higher quality woods produce better results? Can I create a color scheme that I'm happy with? My test build was done in about 4 hours (including cutting all the planks), so it isn't necessarily the best planking job I started by taking scans of the plans and making some templates of bulkheads 7-9 (which are fairly straight and don't require bending planks). I cut those out on my scroll saw. I made all the planks and assembled and painted everything. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, and I think this is what I'm going to with. The lower hull planking is boxwood, to give the lower hull a lighter look that's seen on most Fair American builds. The wood was left natural aside from some wipe-on poly. My hope is to leave the lower hull unpainted on the actual build. The wales and 'black strake' are swiss pear. Even though I painted it here, I've read that many people have had great results replicating an ebony look by dying swiss pear with leather dye, which is why I'm working with swiss pear for these. My order of leather dye won't be here for a week, so just painted these parts for the test. For the test, I primed them with a lacquer based primer and airbrushed them black. The outboard bulwarks are swiss pear. I don't really care for the yellow painted look the plans call for, and I've seen a few builds that used a different shade of wood for the bulwarks to give them some distinction from the rest of the hull. I left it natural, with a final coat of poly. The cap rail was made from boxwood, primered and airbrushed. The inboard bulwarks, cover board, and waterway are boxwood. Since these are going to be painted red, the actual material doesn't matter that much as long as it has good sanding/finishing quality. I just used some 'Insignia Red' paint left over from my Bluenose build for the test. I'm planning to find a red that is a little more muted for the actual build. The deck is also made from swiss pear. I like that the shade of the wood here matches the outboard bulwarks...I don't want too many different colors/textures. This was my first experience actually working with anything other than basswood. I'm really shocked at how much of a difference the wood makes. I told my wife that all my ship builds just got a lot more expensive The boxwood and swiss pear feel more solid. They cut easily, but have crisper lines. I find it way easier to sand and finish the wood while keeping straight clean lines. I'm going to stare at this over the weekend, and if I still like it on Monday, I'm ordering a bunch of wood!
  8. Thanks for all the quick responses! @jimbyr, I was seriously just going to email you and ask what to order, but I rarely post outside of my build logs so I was trying to get my post count up That was one of the blades I was focusing on, so it sounds like one I definitely need. @Jaager, I am considering just getting a small selection of blades while I'm at it, and doing some trial-and-error to learn the differences. I'm still working on sourcing the wood (thinking I'll get the boxwood from Chuck, because I want to support when I can, but if I want other woods like some Swiss pear, I need to find a source), and I might end up with some varying thicknesses if I go with a local source (turns out we have 2-3 specialty wood dealers in Austin, Texas...who knew). I've also got a bunch of samples of different woods that I ordered earlier this year (in anticipation of starting to work with higher quality materials), so I'll be well equipped to do some trial runs. @Moab, I keep hearing/seeing recommendations for the slitter blades, so I think I definitely need to add at least one to my little workshop-in-a-closet. I think Jim's helpfulness is obvious given that he was the first reply in this thread I can't imagine better customer service than I've seen from Byrnes. @mtaylor, That is an excellent pdf. It has a lot of the advice I've seen around the forums in one convenient place. Already added it to my library of saved docs I also got a copy pm'd to me from another member. I think I've read it 3-4 times now, and I learn something new every time. So, assuming I grab the 3" 90 tooth .03 kerf blade Jim recommends, are there a couple other blades I should grab at the same time to get me 'covered' with a good set of blades?
  9. I'm going to attempt to cut my own planks for my current build since my puppy ate the material that came with my kit. I've found a lot of great info by going through all the threads here and in the wood forum. I found this thread particularly helpful: byrnes table saw questions. I feel like the resources on this site (including the PDFs in the Articles Database) have given me a great start on all the various tips and tricks. Aside from finalizing my wood selection, I only have one thing left to figure out... I'm considering buying a new table saw blade, and wanted to ask for suggestions on which one to get. I have a Byrnes table saw with the stock 4in carbide blade. I've successfully made test planks using this down to 1/32" thick from boxwood and swiss pear, and the results are certainly good enough to use. But I've read that a slitting blade will improve the finish, and that a blade with less kerf will waste less wood. Since wood isn't cheap (and is getting harder to source with various vendors shutting down temporarily or permanently), making the most from each board is very appealing. However, I saw that if you go too thin on the blade, it might bend or warp when it heats up. But when I go look at the blades available on the Byrnes site, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I see blades with a .04 kerf, .03 kerf, and .02 kerf. I'm also seeing all kinds of different teeth numbers. I'm also not sure if using a 3" or 4" blade will matter with what I'm cutting. So my question is: If I'm going to be cutting planks from wood up to about 3/16" thick (probably things like boxwood or swiss pear, with maybe a little cherry or such), which blades from Byrnes would you suggest? (List of what they offer is here.) I know I can get blades from a variety of places, but I'd prefer to stick with ordering from Byrnes because I need to order a draw plate anyway, and I've been really happy with their product and want to continue to support them whenever I can. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
  10. @NWSailor welcome aboard! I make no promises that my build is accurate, historically correct, or even remotely close to what a modeler "should do"! @Fright I've been lucky that our two cats (ages 18 and 11 years) have never taken an interest in my workbench. I think I got a little lazy after they were so well behaved, and forgot that puppies have very little self control! @Jim Rogers, I'm pretty happy with how the new pieces turned out. Since this is my third ship build, I'm finding that I'm a little more "brave" when it comes to just going off-book and making things from scratch. That will probably come back to bite me later. We've gotten lucky with our little sheltie puppy. Even while he was teething, the only real damage was $150 worth of window blinds. I don't blame him for eating the planks...I shouldn't have left them within reach. Lesson learned! I'm not too worked up about the wood 'helped with' by the puppy, since I probably wasn't going to use the walnut planking anyway. But it has forced me to start thinking about how I want to plank the hull, and with what wood. I'm hoping to keep most of the hull unpainted, so I want to get the planking right. Earlier this year I ordered a bunch of wood of various types to help me get familiar with the different shades and properties of each. Tonight I cut some strips of boxwood and pear, and I've started building a sample of the hull/wales/bulwark planking. If I like the results, I can hopefully get an order in that will arrive before I'm ready to start planking. If all else fails, I can always plank with the basswood from the kit. So far, even with just cutting some planks from boxwood, I'm seeing how much difference the wood makes. I've always just used the kit's basswood, but now I'm wondering if I should take out a second mortgage to buy better wood
  11. The keel assembly is pretty straightforward. The instructions show the center keel coming in two parts, but the plans and the laser cut parts have just a single piece. After removing the pieces and dealing with laser char, I cut the rabbet. The bottom keel, stem, and sternpost need to be glued on, which is where I hit my first problem. Like others have encountered with this kit, the pieces don't quite fit together. The bottom keel isn't long enough, and the sternpost is a little too short. I have plenty of basswood laying around, so I decided to just remake the sternpost and bottom keel. I first glued the stem in place so I had a good starting point for measurements, then cut a new sternpost on my scroll saw, followed by a new bottom keel. Everything was then glued in place. I moved on to the bulkheads next. The bulkheads in my kit are plywood, which I'm not a fan of. I find that it tends to ship and flake off and is harder to sand than basswood. And, even though I know the bulkheads won't be visible in the finished model, I hate the look of plywood. To make it worse, two different looking plywoods were used, so the bulkheads don't even match. Oh well. All the bulkheads were cut free and lightly sanded so I didn't get laser char all over my fingers as I worked. I didn't get all the char off...I'll get the rest as I start fairing everything. Many of the slots in the keel had to be adjusted to get a good fit with the bulkheads. Once they were all dry-fit, I sanded down the tops to fair them to the keel and ensure that the shape of the deck will be correct. This was easier to do before the bulkheads were glued in, as I could mark what needed to be adjusted, remove the bulkhead, sand it, and replace it. I still haven't glued the bulkheads in. Before I do that I need to figure out my approach to fairing the hull. I did a horrible job with that on my Bluenose and on my aborted 18th Century Longboat. The Fair American's instructions detail a different approach, where the bevels on the bulkheads are roughed in before the bulkheads are glued in. I'll need to spend some time looking at that and decide if I want to try that method. Meanwhile...our 5 month old puppy decided to 'help' me with my build by eating some of the wood from this kit. I learned a valuable lesson about keeping things out of reach. Several pieces of basswood were destroyed, but those were easy to replace and I've already got them on order. He also managed to destroy most of the 1/32" thick walnut provided in the kit for the second hull planking. I was thinking of replacing that anyway (I don't like the color of that wood for the hull), so I'll be trying to decide what kind of wood to replace it with.
  12. After a few months off, I'm back at the bench with a build of the Model Shipways Fair American. The day after finishing my Bluenose build back in January, I started in on the 18th Century Longboat, and made it as far as planking the hull. However, the hull planking didn't turn out great so I boxed it back up until a time comes that I'm ready to put the work in to improve it. I took a few months off to deal with our new puppy, and finally had a chance to dive into the Fair American over the last week. I chose the Fair American because it has some things that will be new to me (visible hull planking, guns and gun ports, square rigging), and because as a model-of-a-model I think it can offer some 'creative license' since the goal will be to represent a ship of the period, not necessarily a well-documented specific ship. Right away I realized this build will likely require more research and planning than I anticipated. I'm a big fan of Model Shipways kits, but this kit is older and I've found the plans a little difficult to work with. I think this is partly due to the kit being converted from a solid hull design to a POB design which resulted in some, but not all, of the plans being re-done. It feels like this kit could really use a pass to modernize it. To get started, I did the typical inventory of parts. I printed labels for all the parts. I organized the wood into plastic tubes, and sorted the various bits and pieces into bags. As I did with my Bluenose build, I'll likely be replacing the rigging line and blocks with better parts from Syren. I also scanned in all the plans and put together my 'build books'. These have full-size copies of everything in the plans and instructions, but cut and arranged to fit normal sized paper. I find it way easier to work with the plans in this way since I can easily open the book to a specific page and have it out on the bench (where space is limited). Obviously I still have the full sized plan sheets available when I need them. I've also gone through the instructions and plans and identified every part and piece, and created a spreadsheet listing out all the work to be done. I did this for my Bluenose build, and it ended up being a great way to track what was finished and what needed to be done. It is a living document that I continually update as I work...constantly adding and reordering steps as I go. It helps to keep me aware of what steps are next, and stops me from skipping ahead. The plan currently contains over 200 steps, but that number will increase as I go. (Page numbers refer to the instruction book, plan numbers refer to the page in my custom 'build book', and the date/days let me keep track of when things were done and how long they took.) So with everything prepared, I broke out the tools and started in building a ship for the first time in four months...
  13. Thanks everyone! Glad to have the second build in the books! The next build is underway...build log coming soon!
  14. Finished! After 645 days, I've got the Bluenose mounted and moved to its final home on the bookshelf. After almost two years of *always* having something that needed to be done on the ship, it is a weird feeling to be finished. Fortunately that feeling won't last as I started prepping the next build this morning.
  15. I ended up going with the “red ensign” flag. I made it using a guide I found here on the forum. I prepped the art in Photoshop, then printed it on iron-on transfer paper. Then I applied it to some white fabric and cut it to size. I’m about halfway done with the mounting board. Hopefully I can get the ship mounted in the next day or two, then I’m done!

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