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    Beach Park, IL and Eastport, ME
  • Interests
    Retired from career in construction engineering.
    Returning to ship modeling as vehicle for better understanding shipbuilding technology and history.
    Currently researching clippership Grey Feather built in Eastport, ME in 1850. Current builds include rigging Connie started 48 years ago; kit-bash of Baltimore clipper Dapper Tom; scratch build of US Brig Cabot..

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  1. I am wondering if there is any more definitive description of HMS Margaretta and Unity than in these paintings, which appear to be contradictory. The first doesn’t depict any square rigging on Margaretta.
  2. red oak

    Yes, I have. For deck planking. And I agree that the grain is very pronounced, but I disagree that you can have "scaled" wood grain. True to scale wood grain I don't think you can possibly discern. As far as appearance, it depends on what you fancy. Although, I admit I'd probably not use it again, once all the deck furniture and guns and rigging are added, it still provides some character and texture to the deck, which otherwise might be flat and dead looking. Not sure I'd plank a hull with it.
  3. There is a pic posted by AON in the Nautical General Discussion forum of a pinrail on the Niagara, copied below. Notice the black lines run down from the pinrails to the ceiling near the deck. Is this reinforcing for the pinrail? Given the huge forces imposed onto the pinrails by half a dozen lines from the running rigging, I am surprised that this isn't more common. I've never seen this depicted on models. Lacking these reinforcements, does anyone have detail of how the pinrails were joined to timberheads? Must have been one strong joint ... dovetailed with several pins?
  4. Nice batch of pics. Lots of detail I've not noticed before.
  5. Poplar for modeling

    Menard's specialty dimensioned lumber (plastic wrapped) goes under the name "Mastercraft". Not sure if that's their own brand, or if there is an independent company out there. They used to stock a variety of species, but now you have to special order walnut and cherry and mahogany. They seem to usually have poplar, hickory, maple and oak.
  6. Sails

    No worry: She lives in a glass case, so is protected from the admiral and grandchild. My only concern is how she'll age, if the sails will get brittle and crack on there own.
  7. I've thought it would be neat to have a movie (or a book, even better) that began, oh, thirty years earlier and ended in "THE MUSIC-ROOM in the Governor’s House at Port Mahon".
  8. Sails

    I have made sails of tissue paper (the kind used in gift wrapping, not the stuff you wipe your nose with) attached to a bolt rope running the perimeter of the sail, made of fine (28ga) brass wire. The ends of the wire are doubled about a half inch and soldered together. On gaff-rigged fore-and-aft sales, and on square sails, I'll run another wire at one or two reef points, and on large square sails I might add bunt lines, all soldered together. Then I cut the sail paper material about 1/8th inch larger than this brass skeleton, saturate the sail at the brass wire with dilute white glue, and fold over. At the reef lines, I cut a separate strip of sail material and glue in a similar manner over the wire onto the sail. Then, lash to the yards, or attach to the stays, and complete the running rigging. The brass can be bent for the desired effect. Produces an effect that's acceptable to me. The construction is easily seen in the backlit pic below. Lit from another angle, it looks ok, too. I'll also use brass wire for the sheets of head sails to hold them out as if pushed by the wind.
  9. Poplar for modeling

    I get some from Menards, as well. It is also known as tulip poplar. Woodcraft stores sometimes have it in a greater variety of sizes. The Woodcraft stuff is also drier, and frequently on sale. Beware: When you take the plastic wrap off the Menards stuff it can quickly warp or cup, depending on the ambient humidity. Id stay away from the Aspen. Much too soft, fuzzy ... I haven't found a good use for it (not even good kindling).
  10. Poplar for modeling

    I've used poplar for one solid hull project and am currently using it for another. Similar source as yours. No problems. Don't know how it would work cut down for planking. I know it paints well, but not sure about staining -- it has a variety of strong grain colors.
  11. Brigs Niagara and Lawrence

    Oh, yeah. In my previous post that gunboat pic might be copyrighted by AP so if an administrator wants to pull it that's fine. My point is that the true appearance of Niagara may be more like the camels in Pathagoras's model than the Brig. (Love that display, by the way).
  12. Brigs Niagara and Lawrence

    Pythagoras's model of lifting the brigs over the bar might be better appreciated in the context of this pic of Gull Point at Presque Isle. Lots of sand to deal with around there! Now that I've started my build of Niagara and am reading a bit more about the construction of the brigs, the picture is becoming much more clear that the originals were much more "rustic" (as someone said above). Given the time constraints, lack of materials and building talent, I wonder if they were just barely afloat? Given all the constraints, I can't help believing that "shortcuts" were taken. How many trenails had to substitute for iron spikes, and how many of those were installed spaced farther apart? Was there a lot of time spent faring the hull? How much did they plane the planking to get smooth surfaces? Was there enough oakum to fully caulk...were they really wet boats? Since Lawrence was started before Niagara, did she get any preference in use of available materials? Were they short of cordage, so the rigging they might not be as weatherly as desired? If so, could that have affected Niagara's sailing abilities (and contribute to Elliot's tardy arrival to the battle)? As far as the outward appearance, I'll bet they weren't too different looking than the gunboat (also built in a hurry) in the pic below. It would be interesting to build a model version of Niagara and Lawrence (as well as HMS Detroit) that focused on how deficient they may have been (compared to the "idealized" reconstructions we are familiar with). Which, IMHO, would only increase the appreciation of the battle.
  13. I also felt that sails on a schooner model were important. I also agree that if you have sails, you need water. Here is my We're Here. (Please forgive the temporary tape on the display case). I found that it was essential to reduce the sail area to about 60% of actual or the volume of sail material overwhelms the model, if sails are furled. Also, I find I get better looking sails when made of tissue paper than any cloth I've found. By saturating the bolt ropes in dilute white glue and allowing to dry before furling, the sail can be draped easily.
  14. Wood for large solid hull

    Thank you.