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Bob Cleek

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  1. Bob Cleek

    Looking for answers, not money.

    Ship modeling was a very popular hobby in the first third of the Twentieth Century, particularly between the wars. Magazines like Popular Mechanics featured ship model plans in nearly every issue. Remember, this was at a time when there was no television and money was very tight. Guys had to find something to do with their time. A lot of models were built then, but by today's "state of the art" standards, they appear quite crude. Some were "sailor built" models by seamen who'd "swallowed the anchor," (retired) and others by hobbyists. The "sailor-built" models are often apparent by their attention to the accuracy of the rigging (more apparent the more complicated the rigging is.) You'll see minor rigging features that would have been known to a man working in the rigging of a ship, while elsewhere on the model, particularly with respect to the hull lines, the model wouldn't be so accurate. That, of course, would be expected if the modeler knew his subject from the perspective of somebody who knew the vessel's rig intimately, but may well have never seen the vessel out of the water. Closer examination would be necessary to form a confident opinion, but this model may be "sailor-built." The anchor davit on the port bow is an interesting feature (the anchor may have come adrift of that,) what appears to be a crane to port of the foremast is unusual and warrants some research, and the rig appears to have been given more attention than the hull and deck furniture. (The "crane" may offer a clue to the use of the vessel if its purpose can be identified.) The "sailor-built" models will bring a higher value, particularly if they are of an identifiable ship. That said, this model appears to be a rather nice bit of "folk art" that is now somewhere around ninety years old. It could use a good cleaning (with care... don't put it in the dishwasher!) and probably some light restoration if some of the rigging has come adrift. It's certainly worthy of display, if it's to your taste. (But I'd lose the plywood shadow box, if I were you.) If not, it will be appreciated by somebody. There are those who collect things like old homemade fishing plugs, duck decoys, whirly-gigs,... and ship models. It may be "primitive," but have you priced a Grandma Moses painting lately?
  2. Bob Cleek

    Making block

    EdT's method is excellent. It can, however, be further refined by the use of powered dedicated production set ups which yield perfectly shaped blocks on a "mass production" basis. This is Chuck Passaro's method of construction for his Syren Ship Models company's ready-made boxwood blocks. In deference to Chuck's "trade secrets," I'll say no more about how (I think) he does it, but I'd strongly suggest one consider clicking on his "Syren" link on the MSW forum home page and ordering what you need from him. They are perfect and very reasonably priced. https://www.syrenshipmodelcompany.com/
  3. Bob Cleek

    Error in kit and asking for advise

    I think Chuck's idea is best. It's easily done and should correct the error entirely. I disagree that Just leaving it as drawn isn't going to be noticed. Maybe not by an ignorant eye, but you will always know it's there and if you ever show it to a knowledgeable viewer, it's the sort of glaring error that jumps right out and pokes you in the eye. You can't have a ship that's going to shoot out a third of its standing rigging with her first broadside! Shame on Mamoli. This kind of error by an established kit manufacturer is inexcusable in my book, but unfortunately all too frequent.
  4. Amazing work on the ventilation cowls, Michael! I'd never have thought it possible if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, and in brass, too. Side-mount half-cowls were once rather common on power boats in the US. The "step" at the bottom of the doghouse here seems as if it would allow for a Dorade box-type drain arrangement with the outlet below the cowl about an inch above the deck on the side of the "step" on the prototype, assuming a drain could be run from inboard. I've never seen them installed in pairs on the same side, which I expect in this prototype was in recognition of the fact that they don't work very well. They are only half the capacity of a full cowl, so that's half the air flow. Because they are up against the cabin sides, the air flow is further limited. Finally, as the air circulation on a boat of this type is from forward aft, they aren't in a position to contribute much when placed well aft, especially next to a hatch that is frequently open anyway, although when closed up, they would allow some air to exit the saloon. This isn't any criticism of the model, mind you. Just observations about what is now a somewhat rarely encountered fitting. I've seen similar brass fittings, e.g., bells and binnacles, gold plated to good effect. The result is a model that looks like it's brass is kept polished. If you know a dentist or somebody who works in a dental lab, they may be able to do it for you inexpensively. It's a simple process, as you probably know. It only takes a microns-thing coating. Your photos are much appreciated. Before these, I would never have considered making cowl ventilators any way other than by casting or electro-plating a wax plug painted with metallic paint. Either method has significant difficulties and limitations. I expect if one were of a mind to do so, the flanges of two halves as here could be silver soldered together and the excess filed off to yield a full cowl. I vaguely anticipate that making a few of those may well be in my future. Outstanding work!
  5. It's possible that it is well-preserved. If the waters are cold enough, there won't be borers. That was so with the Mary Rose, wasn't it? She was down much longer. One would almost expect that many, of not all undamaged cannon would have been salvaged. (The burst one could easily have been left behind by the salvors.) Cannon were valuable and salvage techniques were surprisingly sophisticated in those days. "Wet" diving bells (open bottoms) had been in common use for quite some time before the Bonhomme Richard sank. Over a hundred years earlier, In 1658, Albrecht von Treileben was permitted to salvage the warship Vasa, which sank in Stockholm harbor on its maiden voyage in 1628. Between 1663-1665 von Treileben's divers were successful in raising most of the cannon, working from a diving bell.
  6. Bob Cleek

    Need help with saw blade output

    And we won't even begin to tell war stories of what mishaps can happen running an engine lathe! (Google images: "lathe accidents" on an empty stomach only!)
  7. Bob Cleek

    My top 4 most useful tools

    Hospitals and medical schools have extensive courses and protocols for handling "sharps." There are particular ways surgeons are taught to handle scalpels to minimize the danger of cuts. Baring going to medical school, you might consider getting a pair of stainless steel gloves. Google "cut-resistant gloves." There are many different styles, brands, and types. They are not expensive at all. The one pictured below is made for meat cutters, I believe. They are woven of yarn with a stainless steel core. https://www.superiorglove.com/en/white-rhino-7-gauge-wire-core-cut-resistant-composite-knit-gloves
  8. Bob Cleek

    My top 4 most useful tools

    "I wish I could get more people to convert over to using real knives with Rc62 blades and learning how to sharpen them instead of using X-Acto." Very true! The history of the X-Acto knife is an interesting example of marketing. The system was first invented in the 1930's as a surgical scalpel. Up to about that time, most scalpels were "one piece" and had to be expertly sharpened for each use after heat-sterilization, which dulled their edges. The X-Acto knife was an attempt to cash in on the market for disposable blades. (Like Gillette with "safety" razors, the handles were low-priced "loss leaders" and they'd make their money selling the blades.) The X-Acto scalpel failed because its threaded collet closer and slotted collet holding system was difficult to clean and sterilize. Not a minute too soon, however, the X-Acto company changed the name of their "scalpel" to a "hobby knife" and the rest was history. They still make their money on the disposable blades and if blades are not intended to be resharpened, there's no need to make them out of expensive tool steel that holds an edge for a good long time. I use X-Acto (or Excel) brand blades because they are better than the ones that come from the Patriotic People's Hobby Knife Blade Collective, and I sharpen them frequently as I work, keeping a stone handy on my bench. I have to say, though, that I don't use them all that much. Wherever possible, I use saws, sharp quality chisels, and small planes for shaping wood (avoiding sandpaper for shaping tasks.) I use various types of surgical scissors for rigging line cutting. You can do a lot with an X-Acto knife for as long as it stays sharp, but, more often than not, it's not the best tool for the job. Your knives above are real works of art and warrant the investment in a good blade that will hold an edge for a good long time. I think the reason it's hard to get people to use "real knives" as well as other edged tools, is that sharpening and maintaining a good cutting edge is fast becoming a lost art. Time was, (as some of us remember well,) every boy owned his very own pocket knife by age seven or eight and was carefully instructed in how to properly sharpen it. It was practically a rite of passage. Now, it's common to see guys pay hundreds of dollars for Lie Nielsen planes and then go out and spend hundreds more for fancy electric "sharpening systems" that promise instant gratification without skill or experience.
  9. Bob Cleek

    My top 4 most useful tools

    How come nobody's mentioned a computer and a credit card?
  10. Ah! "Three's the charm!" as they say. It looks "shipshape and Bristol fashion." Nicely done. You have to look twice, or maybe thrice, to realize the finished photos are of a model and not a full-sized vessel.
  11. For the money a Sherline costs, I'd be tempted to go one step up to one of the Chiwanese 7X14's, preferably one from one of the higher end retailers like Little Machine Shop or Grizzly. They all come from the same factory or factories ("The People's Patriotic Mini-Lathe Collective,") but the quality control differs. They are available as "lathe-mill combos" and there are complementary stand-alone mills that share tooling with the lathes. These small lathes have been produced in such quantity that there is now a lot of reasonably priced tooling available for them, much more than for the Sherline products, or at least for much less money. I expect the Sherline stuff has better fit and finish, but its capacity, power, and strength is somewhat limited. The 7X14's (or whatever bed length) have greater capacity, which is always nice to have.
  12. Copper tubing is the usual material for model steam engine piping. Stuart boilers are sold with all required boiler attachments, but apparently without connecting piping (steam supply line, etc.) It is important, however, to make sure you have the proper connecting fittings, valves, lubricators, drain cocks, safety valves, and other equipment. Stuart sells feed water pumps, both manual and steam-driven separately. They also sell fuel tanks separately. (Some boilers are set up to burn bottled propane gas in standard disposable gas bottles, so no fuel tank is needed. Gas valves, connecting fittings, and lines are required, of course. I've restored model steam engines, but am not intimately familiar with Stuart engines and boilers. Everything you might need for installation of a model steam plant is available from the Stuart catalog, including boiler connection piping. See their catalog at: https://www.stuartmodels.com/ You will find a wealth of information on the site http://mainsteam.co.uk/ . They have lots of information, a forum, and a YouTube library, including three step-by-step how-to-do-it videos on setting up the boiler connections for your Stuart beam engine. See the below videos. (Google is our friend. )
  13. How did you do the lettering, Chuck? It's beautiful and I think it's much classier than a brass plate. I can't tell from the photo if it was laser-etched or what.
  14. Interesting information, Michael! It seems that sheaves in the end of bowsprits with cranse irons is a more common phenomenon than I realized. Being on the west side of the Pond, I don't have the same number of pilot cutters to use as a sample. I'm still troubled by their running the traveler line past the cranse iron and its attendant hardware, though. That's a significant chafe occasion going past all those fittings and its an important line. If it chafes through, there will be hell to pay under sail. As for the stitching, it appears that they've opted for a straight stitch because it can be done on a machine with less time, skill, and expense, as the examples appear to be. I'll stand fast on the point that the two-needle "baseball" stitch makes a neater, stronger, and more long-lasting job of it. It seems a lot of what's seen today wouldn't pass muster in times past. Just because there's a picture of it on the internet doesn't necessarily mean anything more than that is how somebody else did it. If you spend some time running the traveler in and out under tension as would occur when setting the headsail flying, I expect if the arrangement is prone to hanging up and fouling, it will be readily apparent.
  15. A truly beautiful job on this pilot cutter! As others have noted, the metalwork is spectacular. Just a few comments from an old "pilot cutter type" sailor which I hope may be helpful: As you can see, there will be chafing between the leather of the jib traveler and the seizings on the whisker stay splices. Keeping it all as simple as possible and as free from chafe and chances for hang-ups and tangles is to be desired. This style of traveler poses the inherent problem of binding when running in and out the spar. As the traveler sheet pulls the ring, the ring will tend to "lay down" on the spar and bind There are a number of ways to deal with the jib tack hook and the bail for the traveler "messenger lines" (or whatever one calls them, ... "different ships, different long splices.") Some are as basic as a "U" welded to the traveler ring. Classically, the sheet bail is shaped like a somewhat elongated "U" shackle with the ring running through the "eyes" of the "U" shackle. The ring also runs through the eye of the jib tack hook which is positioned between the two "eyes" of the "U" shackle with the ring running through all three "eyes." This permits the bail and the hook to rotate on the ring independent of each other. Instead of a "U" shackle, a short bar or other forged fitting is often designed so that the ring runs through a center hole in the bar and "eyes" at the fore and aft ends of the bar are available to shackle or splice on the messenger lines running forward and aft of the ring connection. This is a preferable arrangement, IMHO, because it does not require the bail to reverse its lead, fore or aft, depending upon which way the ring is being pulled on the bowsprit which, with a bail, will run afoul of the jib tack hook one way or the other when the messenger line is pulled. Where the ring is not solid and is bolted together at the top, the bail and hook is arranged similarly to how it is done when on the ring alone. The "eyes" of the bail can be outside of the "tabs" or "ears" and the hook between the "tabs" or "ears," with the bolt running through the eyes of the bail, the tabs on the ring, and the hook eye. Alternately, if a bar is used instead of a bail, the bolt goes through the middle hole on the bar. Another common design which permits easy removal of the traveler ring, is to break the ring at both the top and bottom, with "tabs" or "ears" as you have them pictured above both at the top of the ring and at the bottom of the ring. At the top will be a bail and the hook and, if one wishes a second messenger line to complicate the rigging, a second messenger line can be attached at the bottom of the ring which can come in very handy to overcome any binding or hang-up when sliding the traveler ring in and out the bowsprit. Double messenger lines will, of course, require another turning block below the cranse iron and the question of whether redundant messenger lines are worth the trouble will depend on the size of the vessel more than anything else. Yet another version of the fitting is to use a "T" or triangular-shaped metal plate with three holes. One hole half way between the corners of one side of the triangle, or at the intersection of the vertical and horizontal "legs" of the "T" has the ring or ring joining bolt run through it. The hook and the two ends of the messenger lines are attached to the other three holes at the extremities of the piece. This is the simplest solution of all. In earlier times, the tack hook tip was "bent and balled" to permit mousing, which is required to keep the tack cringle from coming adrift of the hook. In later times. "pigtail" or "S" hooks of various designs which reduce the chance of the cringle shaking free, have been employed. The rings are not properly leathered with the plain seam stitch shown. The leather's width was cut to the match the circumference of the ring, or be a tad shy of it, then wet down and sewn together with a "baseball" stitch, stretching the leather so that the edges met exactly and the leather shrunk tight. This was a stronger stitch and finishing the seam in this way prevented fouling. This would also resolve the chaffing issue with the whisker stay splice serving seen in the photo above. I expect that using a thinner piece of leather (it may be planed thinner on the inside face) stretched and shrunk in place will avoid "scrunching" as the leather goes around the curve. While I'd defer to some more authoritative source than my own recollection, I've never seen a sheave in the end of a bowsprit in conjunction with a cranse iron. The sheave in the end of a bowsprit is common for small craft with reefing bowsprits which set headsails flying and do not carry whisker stays. In such, the line to which the headsail tack is attached runs through the sheave in the end of the bowsprit and down to a turning thumb cleat and back up to a cleat on the bow rail. This arrangement can be set up with, or without a bowsprit traveler. This is the standard arrangement in Irish hookers. (Below) "Bent and balled" tack hook, un-moused, as tack is not attached. (Bowsprit reefed.) (Below: Irish hooker showing "jib tack + bobstay" rigging run around thumb cleat on starboard cutwater and up to the bow bitt.

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