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Dave3092

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  1. I am at the point in my build of the HMS Beagle that I need to start thinking about finishing the wooden planked hull. I am looking for suggestions on the best products, finish and application technique to do this so the wood is shown to best effect, yet it is easy to maintain after completion (i.e. doesn't attract dust, etc.). Product - Tung oil, shellac, spar varnish or other Finish - matte, satin, semi-gloss or high gloss Application - brush, spray, cloth or other Also, I understand that is hard to glue the detail work to the deck or hull after it has been finished, but it would also seem to be hard to finish the deck or hull with all the detail work on it. Comments? Thanks!
  2. 10/19/18 Happy Thanksgiving! This is a special post to recognize 200 hours of effort so far on the Beagle. In this entry I opened up the bulwark between frames 4 and 8, added the railing and started planking the decks. I found that for this work, the best way to hold the hull was to put it on the keel stand, but put the bow in the vice to stabilize the hull for the work. As I opened up the bulwarks, I realized that the original intent of the kit was to have the deck below the level of the step that defined the bulwark on each frame. Unfortunately, the way the frames were cut the top of the deck came out even with the step. I decided that I would complete the work on the deck, then add a small section of bulwark at the bottom of the openings between frame 4 and 8 to conceal the interior deck construction. This will be done in the next phase. Before installing the railing, I trimmed back the frame extensions to about 1 – 2 mm. The instructions suggested doing this after the railing was installed, but I thought it much easier to do before the installation. I found the best way to do that was to use a hack saw blade, as it is flexible enough to work down along the bulwark. I then added railing around the perimeter of all decks, piecing the fore deck to match the curve of the hull. To ensure that the rail was in the proper position over the open portions of the deck, I rigged a segment of bulwark (previously removed) to the standalone frame extensions with a rubber band. Also, to try to ensure the 1 mm overlap of the railing over the bulwark, I used a piece of 1mm lath laid on the bulwark when gluing the railing. After the railing was installed, I washed the joints with diluted glue and sanded the railing to fill in the joints. Tip: Since there is very little to hold the railing in place, it is very important to take the time to bend the railing, both horizontally and vertically, so get an exact a match as possible to the compound curve of the hull. Once the railing was in place, the frame extensions of frames 5 to 7 were removed. Again, I used the hack saw blade, since it was flexible enough to lay flat on the false deck to cut off the frame extensions. With the railing in place, I was ready to start on planking the deck. I built two jigs to help with that. The first jig had an 80 mm length on one side and a 40 mm length on the other. Combined with a straight edged side cutter, it was easy work to prepare the plank boards. The second jig was used to add holes at the end of the planking to simulate nails. I put two tacks in a couple pieces of poster board, taped them together, then mounted them on a wood platform high enough to get the planking under them. By pressing down on the nails, I could quickly add the holes. I then highlighted the holes with a pencil point, and ran the pencil around the edge of the planking to help define the edges when assembled. To help ensure that the plank ends stayed in alignment across the deck, I made a small right triangle out of poster board and used it to mark out the joint lines on the deck. The decking itself went on pretty easily. It was fascinating to see yet another compound curve as the main deck is concave fore to aft and convex from the center to either side. It makes a lot of sense to managing water on the deck, but I wonder what it must have been like to walk along the deck that was continuously sloping. [A side note: We were in Carmel-By-The-Sea recently, and I stopped in at a nautical shop that had a number of models. I examined them with great interest, but one thing that struck me immediately was that the decks were flat!] I finished the bridge deck completely (hurray!) and main deck, except for piecing around the perimeter. I will do the fore deck last. Build time to date – 201.25 hrs: 19.75 hrs for the work in this build log entry. MSS - Model Shipbuilding Simplified by Frank Mastini
  3. Thanks for your kind comments. It has been tough at times to keep from pushing through to get on with the next part of the build. However, I am thoroughly glad to be done with the hull after spending over 180 hours on it. It doesn't look like anything else (with the possible exception of the rigging) will be as labor intensive.
  4. 10/19/18 This post covers the work done to finish plank the hull. I first planked the stern followed by the sheerstrakes, decorative (I think) planking and bulwark on the starboard side. I then worked my way down the starboard side of the hull. At the recommendations from other members of this site, I read all the articles on planking available in the Articles Database getting a much better understanding of the task before me. I am constrained in that I am determined to use the materials provided to complete the ship and, therefore, could not cut planks out of a wider plank of wood as recommended. I therefore interwove planking coming around the bow with the planking from the side for each row. This is not perfect, but it is a significant improvement in appearance over the way the underplanking turned out. I did each row of plank in three segments: 1) From the bow to Frame 4 or 5 (alternatively) 2) From Frame 4 to Frame 8 or from Frame 5 to Frame 9 3) From the stern to Frame 9 or 8 (alternatively) This allowed me to do the detail work at each end of the ship, while taking advantage of the relative evenness of the center area of the side. I used the method shown in one of the Planking articles for creating custom cuts of planking. I lay masking tape of the opening, trace out the opening in pencil, transfer the tape to paper and cut out the tracing. This can then be used to create the appropriately shaped piece. TIP: Use double-sided tape on paper to provide a holding table while working on shaping the planking. I used the gluing method recommended in MSS for finish planking. I used Superglue at the beginning of the plank, then applied carpenters glue over about 1 to 1 – ½ frames. While holding the wood in place, I then ran the plank bender over the glued plank. This pressed down the plank while steaming it and drying out the wood glue to adhere the plank to the underplanking. I also found that if there was a small gap, moving the plank bender perpendicular to the current plank and toward the previous row would help close the gap. I kept a wet rag handy to wipe up any excess glue before it dried. Once I completed the planking, I went back over each section applying a wash of diluted carpenters glue to seep into any openings or gaps. I then wiped off the excess glue, dried the planks and sanded the surface with fine sandpaper. This allowed the sawdust from the sanding to adhere to the glue in any openings providing a smoother finish. After completing the starboard side, I did the same thing on the port side. For the port side, I was short of material for completing the sheerstrakes and decorative planking out of the kit. I had to splice one of the rows of mahogany planking on the port side. I cut the plank on a 45-deg. angle to reduce the visibility of the splice. Also on the port side, I substituted a 2mm x 2mm + 2mm x 4mm walnut sheerstrake for the 2 – 2mm x 3mm walnut pieces that were not in the kit. I then completed the planking on the port side. After completing the bulwark, I trimmed it to the top of the frame extensions. Since this kit does not provide the material for the interior of the bulwark or encasing the frame extensions, I decided to at least stain those areas so that they would be closer in appearance to the rest of the material on the deck, in case I am unable to cover them. One of the reasons that I wanted to do a plank on frame model such as this was for the experience of bending wood to conform to a curved surface. I have worked with wood all my life as a rigid material, but I became fascinated with idea of shaping it into something of such complex curvature. It is not perfect, but I am happy with the way it turned out and glad to have had the experience. Now on to work on the deck. Build time to date – 181.5 hrs: 56.5 hrs for the work in this build log entry. MSS - Model Shipbuilding Simplified by Frank Mastini
  5. Thanks, Eric and Antony, for the referral to the Articles Database. 👍 I downloaded all the relevant articles and reviewed them multiple times. My constraint is that I am determined to build this ship using the materials provided, which is incompatible to the methods discussed in the articles. However, I eventually decided on a hybrid approach of interweaving plank segments from the bow and side to cover the curvature of the bow. It is not perfect, but it seemed like a good compromise (see following article). Best, Dave
  6. 8/27/2018 Another item I had intended to include before is my parts inventory storage. At my wife’s suggestion, I used sandwich bags and Post-it Notes with a different color for each type of material (wood, metal, other). The parts are stored alphabetically by type. It works very well (at least so far!). This post covers the work done to underplank the hull. To soak the planks, I created a plank bath from a length of threaded PVC pipe. I cut it to a length slightly larger than the planks, then capped the threaded end. I used a slip cap on the other end to put in and take out planks. When done for the day, I would empty the pipe, then unscrew the cap so that the pipe could dry out. I used the gluing method recommended in MSS. I put wood glue on the frames and the top of the plank around the frames, and put Superglue in the middle of the top of the plank. However, I did two frames at a time, as opposed to the one suggested in MSS. I used the older version of the Aeropiccola plank bender as I thought the various curvatures available on the plank bender would be useful, which turned out to be the case. TIP: Have a plier handy to pull the roller out for inserting the wood and moving the roller up and down the curved surface. Overall, the planking went well, except for the bow area. The picture in the instructions showed the planks going across the bow horizontally. However when I tried to do that I found it difficult, if not impossible, to get the planks to lay flat against the frames. After some online research on other builds, I decided to angle the planks as I worked down the rest of the hull. This worked much better. Because of this I added an additional landing block to the bow. I generally held the hull in the vise when I was laying the planks. However, as I neared the bottom that was impractical. I found that a folded bath towel provided enough cushioning while holding the hull in place while I worked. Here is the completed underplanking of the hull. (Looks pretty rough, huh?) Once the hull underplanking was completed, I worked up the bulwark extensions to underplank the bulwark. I decided to leave the nails in as I worked down the hull and up the bulwark, hence the hedgehog appearance of the finished hull. Once all the underplanking was finished, I removed the nails, sanded the hull and filled where necessary. I made four passes over the hull – rough grit, medium grit, fine grit and 0000 steel wool. (Looks MUCH better!) Now I am ready to begin applying the finish planking. Build time to date – 126 hrs: 33.25 hrs for the work in this build log entry. MSS - Model Shipbuilding Simplified by Frank Mastini
  7. Thanks Graham and Eric for your comments. I think it is a very doable model, as long as you don't solely rely on the instructions provided. I like the idea of the PVC sections. I decided to do my lumberyard that way as I was moving between a summer house and main house. My approach allowed me to package everything up quite readily.
  8. 7/4/2018 Something I forgot to put into my last build log. I created a lumberyard from a cereal box and paper towel rolls with poster board separators. It works really well to sort out the various laths used in this model. This post covers the work done to add the false decks, the bow and stern walls, the plank landing blocks and fairing the hull. After stripping off the poster board false decks, I fitted the false decks for the foredeck, the main deck and the bridge deck. I then glued down the decks and nailed down all the decks to the keel and frames. I had to add a block on the foredeck starboard side to pull down that side of the foredeck. I planked and added the the bow and stern walls. I ran a pencil along the edge of the planks to bring out their definition. A large segment of time was spent in forming the plank landing blocks for both the bow and stern. These were recommended by MSS to anchor the underplanking when planking the hull but not provided in the kit. I struggled a bit in fairing the hull as I couldn’t tell on the port side whether frame 7 was sticking out too far or that frame 8 was too far back. I ended up taking 5 measurements (A thru E) along each frame of frames 5 to 10 on both the starboard and port sides. I compared the measurements between port and starboard sides and found that, indeed, frame 7 need to be filed back about 1 mm on the port side (compare 6-7 on starboard side with 6-7 and [R}evised6-7 on port side). This brought both sides within a millimeter of being the same on both sides. I then mounted four underplanks on each side of the hull to help with fairing the hull (also recommended by MSS). I found 3 or 4 places that needed to be filled in. I am now ready to start underplanking the hull. Build time to date – 92.75 hrs: 28.25 hrs for the work in this build log. MSS - Model Shipbuilding Simplified by Frank Mastini
  9. 6/18/2018 This post covers the work done to prepare the keel and frames for gluing. Right up front, I want to credit Model Shipbuilding Simplified by Frank Mastini (heretofore referenced as MSS). I bought the book to supplement the somewhat terse instructions provided by Mamoli, and it has been a very valuable aid in understanding how to proceed. In addition, the Italian – English dictionary of nautical terms was helpful in translating the parts list. I hit a gumption trap (from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) almost at the beginning. I ordered a tool kit, plank bender and vacuum base vise, and while the first two arrived with no problem, it took three tries by an unnamed big box store to get the vise. Between that and my schedule, it was a delay of almost two months! However, it did finally arrive. I am using a ceramic tile for the vise to adhere to and to provide significant weight to the vise while remaining portable. Ta-Da! While I was waiting, I created poster board templates of the frames to check for symmetry and to ensure the slot is centered on the frames as recommended in MSS. In MSS, he also recommends using the false deck if there are no bulwarks. I liked this way of holding the frames perpendicular (as opposed to the other methods suggested in the book), so I decided to so created “false” false decks of poster board to hold the frames in place for gluing. I cut back the poster board decks so that they would not engage with the bulwarks on each deck. Once I received the vice, I started work on the frames, I made adjustments to the frames previously identified with the frame templates. I then checked and adjusted the height of the bulwarks. Most of them were 15 mm above the deck, so I used that as the standard. Mamoli puts a 1.5mm wide step on the outside of the bulwark separating the planking for the bulwarks from the planking for the hull, so I checked and adjusted the distance between the top of the bulwark and the step to 13mm, which was the distance on most of the bulwarks, as well as the depth of the step. Once the frames were corrected, I checked and adjusted the keel slots so that the top of the frames were level with the keel, except for the two frames that sit below deck level. I then filed down the edges of the first three and last five frames to chamfer the edges to accommodate the bending of the planks. There will probably have to be fine tuned before I begin planking. Instead of using the existing cuts for the masts as is, I decided to square off the end of the masts so that they would be less liable to twist in the socket. The main and fore masts are 6mm, so I created a square mast box that is 5mm on a side. The mizzen mast is 5mm, so I reduced it to 4mm. I also increased the depths of the masts from 13mm to 15mm. It is not much, but I thought it would help provide more rigidity to the masts. I will deal with the bowsprit mast box after gluing the frames to the keel, since it is defined by the bow quadrant pieces that are added after the foredeck is in place. Foremast Mastbox Finally, I laid in and tacked down the poster board false decks to hold the frames for gluing. For the two frames that fall short of the false decks, I glued a piece of wood on each side of the keel in front of the frame after squaring up the frame to the keel (another technique suggest in MSS). They will hold the frame square until it is glued. Build time to date – 64.5 hrs: 45 hrs preparation, 19.5 hrs working on the frames
  10. Thanks a lot! I can see that now that you mentioned it, as there are 4 ladders with 3 steps each, and there are 12 slots in these pieces. The kit also had twelve steps, but it looks like the kit needs 24 - 12 for the ladders and six on each side of the ship. I guess I will have to make up the difference!
  11. I decided on the H.M.S. Beagle because we had traveled to he Galapagos islands back in 2012. I purchased the kit on eBay after it was no longer available from the manufacturer. This particular kit was originally purchased in 1995, so it us already 23 years old. So far, I have scanned and OCR'd the instructions and parts lists from the original instructions. From that, I created a master parts list to compare to the inventory provided. Almost everything seems to be there, but I have two items that I need some help identifying. These were in the same bag as the cannon and carriages. They look like a strap to hold the wheel axles, but the bumps do not line up with the axle indents on the carriage. And I haven't been able to identify what these might be. Any help identifying these would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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