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Bob Cleek

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  1. Wow! What a gold mine. That one went right into my "favorites" file. A lot of good reading there. Thanks!
  2. Bob Cleek


    Has anybody ever tried tumbling wooden cleats in a "block tumbler?" If so, how did the turn out?
  3. I'm glad you did! This level of discussion is what makes MSW forum as good as it is. It's how we learn from one another. Thanks much!
  4. On large ships, the capstan shaft, running below the weather deck, often had sets of bars on each deck such that with eight or ten men to a bar, many tons of weight could be hauled with two or close to even three hundred men on the bars at one time on a large warship. On capstans, a continuous-loop messenger line would be turned round the capstan and fastened ("nipped") to the cable with ties, called "nips" or "nippers," as the cable came aboard. The ties would be continuously tied, "leap-frog" fashion, by ship's boys (hence the term, "the little nippers") tying the messenger along the cable as it was hauled so that the capstan could be turned continuously by the seamen to haul up the cable. Turns around the capstan with the lighter messenger line made wrapping it around the capstan a lot easier than wrestling with the heavy and less flexible anchor cable. See: http://nautarch.tamu.edu/model/report2/ This article pretty much answers the questions raised in this thread. Texas A&M University's Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation ("CMAC") is a great resource for modelers. See: http://nautarch.tamu.edu/cmac/ In any sort of a swell, the bow will rise and fall with the swells. The bow's buoyancy adds tremendous lifting forces to a cable with a load on it. This makes it possible to also take advantage of those lifting forces to "horse up" on a cable and anchor, and to initially break out an anchor when weighing it, much as one would reel in a large fish on a rod and reel when deep sea fishing. (Of course, when fishing, the movement of the fish adds a further dimension to the excitement of it all!)
  5. Bob Cleek

    Advise on first ship kit

    They are very similar vessels, but, as I understand it, two different British Admiralty longboats. Each is an exact replica of two different contemporary longboat models in the British National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. The Model Shipways "Armed Longboat" is a 1:24 scale kit and the finished model is 24" long. It carries a cannon at the bow. This kit was, I believe, designed by Chuck Passaro for Model Shipways. The "Medway Longboat (1742)" does not have a cannon, but is equipped with a anchor windlass and sailing rig. It is also 1:24 scale (1/2" = 1') and is probably about the same size as the "Armed Longboat." The Medway longboat is sold by Chuck's own company, Syren Ship Models. See: https://www.syrenshipmodelcompany.com/medway-longboat-1742.php You buy it directly from Chuck. He has a rebate/discount price deal if you sign up to participate in the group build of it on this forum. (See: I am sure that if you send Chuck a PM, he can answer your questions with more detail and perhaps help you choose between the two. I've not built either of them (as yet,) and Chuck could certainly let you know which was the better fit for your needs. I believe that with the deal on the Medway Longboat through the forum, the prices are roughly equivalent.
  6. Bob Cleek

    Advise on first ship kit

    You might consider setting the small scale build you've been working on aside and building Glad Tidings first. You'll probably enjoy Glad Tidings a lot more at this stage of the game. After that, you'll have more experience and confidence and can go back to finishing the "big boat." There's no rule that "you have to eat your peas before you can have desert!"
  7. Bob Cleek

    Advise on first ship kit

    Given your previous modeling experience, I would urge you to build on that. You'll be fine. Your steepest learning curve will be in dealing with the nautical terminology and learning how wooden vessels are built. I'd strongly encourage you to start with one of Chuck Passaro's longboat models marketed by Model Shipways. You can follow his build log and group build posts in this forum and see what building one entails, as well has have access to advice from others building the model and its designer himself. Chuck's instructions are excellent and his kits are "finestkind." You won't have to worry about missing parts, junk wood, and indecipherable instructions. When you are done, you'll have mastered hanging real plank on real frames and mastered the basics of anything you'll later encounter building ship models and you'll have a very interesting, high quality, work of art of which you can be proud. Once you've got a longboat under your belt, you can move on to his larger and much more complex Syren. Avoid the temptation offered by many kit manufacturers to undertake a hugely complex and challenging model, and too often a low quality kit, right out of the gate. See: https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/forum/76-medway-longboat-1742-plank-on-frame-group-project/ You can download PDFs of Chuck's instructions here:
  8. Bob Cleek

    2mm block threading

    This is true. working over a piece of paper or tinfoil will catch the drips. CA is great for some things, but I agree, it is somewhat nasty and messy to work with. While it doesn't set up quite as stiff as CA, I sometimes use clear nail polish. (The color really doesn't matter, since the end will eventually be cut off.) The acetone thinner evaporates very quickly, especially if you blow on it for a few seconds. It's really just a matter of getting something on the thread that will stiffen it enough to get it started through the hole. Nail polish comes with a brush in the cap and isn't messy at all. Cheaper than CA and with a longer shelf life, too.
  9. I'm enjoying this post, such as it is now in its infancy. Long ago, I built an an old MS "yellow box" Despatch #9, kit-bashed to an SF Bay Crowley Red Stack tug (they had a sister ship) and a Bluejacket Mary Taylor. I've got an old Marine Models Morgan still mint-in-the-box, beckoning from the shelf, simultaneously seducing and guilt-tripping me for the last 45 years. All these are solid hull models. Thinking back, it's refreshing my memory to watch the process of getting out one of these rough-cut solid hulls. Kurt, "I feel your pain!" Once upon a time, these solid hull model kits were "state of the art." Sad to say, "Many were sold, but few were finished." as the fantasy of a fine ship model was dashed on the rocks of reality when the inexperienced immediately found themselves against the lee shore of "thinning the bulwarks." The double-planked, plank-on-bulkhead models coming into the marketplace were advertised as "easier to build" and "more like building a real ship." After that, people turned their noses up at the solid hull models, considering them "second class." After all, they didn't even have "real planks" and "real copper plated bottoms," notwithstanding that their prominent topside plank seams and nail-studded copper plates were way out of scale. Over time, it seems a lot of people have forgotten (and a lot of the ones that used to remember have croaked!) how challenging a solid hull is to do well. There's a big difference between "making a model" and "assembling a model." Some recommended back then that the best approach with solid hulls was to determine the sheer at the deck and simply cut off all of the wood above that from which the instructions said you were to carve the bulwarks. Thereafter, one cut a rabet the depth of the bulwarks' thickness and proceeded to lay the covering boards and deck planking. The bulwarks being out of the way eliminated the tedious carving and made easier work of shaping the deck camber, striking a good deck centerline, and fitting covering boards and deck planking to the outboard edge. (One might say that there wasn't "the devil to pay.") After that, a strip of wood or metal the thickness of the bulwarks which rose to the correct height above the deck sheer was fastened against the face of the rabet and the seam filled and faired. I didn't do that on my two prior carved hull models, but I would seriously consider it if I ever I get around to my Marine Models Morgan. Gerald Wingrove did this on his Coriolanus model written up in his book, Techniques of Ship Modeling, but then Wingrove is a wizard at modeling anything and I can't presume that what he makes look easy I might accomplish even poorly! With respect to old kits, I add that "lead bloom" is an odd sort of thing. It seems to have it's own mind, sometimes being a problem and other times not. I've read the conservation literature on it and it seems to be a function of the ambient acidity in the environment of cased models. I've apparently been successful in "curing" it in one instance by providing for ventilation within a case and sealing the oxidizing parts with thinned epoxy sealer. (It was more likely the ventilation than the sealing that did the trick, I suspect.) In other instances, where it hasn't been apparent on old models, I've noted that the alloys used to make the small parts of some of the older kits did vary to some extent, probably in the ratio of antimony and/or tin added for hardness. Few were ever pure lead in the first place. Some seem to oxidize more than others, but I can't say in a given instance if this is due to environment or alloy. Suffice it to say, if the "lead" parts in an old kit don't evidence deterioration after years of age sitting in the box, they are probably going to be alright if used when the model is finally built. If, on the other hand, they have any signifiicant coating of white lead oxide dust on them, they are best used with suspicion, if not reservation. If all else fails, they can usually be used for patterns to cast replacements of less perishable alloys or otherwise scratch-built. There's a lot of bargains to be had in old kits that go begging because of the curse of "lead parts." ... Just sayin'.
  10. Install the blade you want to match the zero-clearance insert. Crank the blade all the way down. Install the blank plate in the table top and screw it down. Turn on the saw and slowly raise the running blade as far up as it will go, so that it cuts its way through the aluminum or wood insert as it's being raised. That's all there is to it.
  11. Not to drive you crazy or anything, but be aware that the Lee Valley "miniature" line of planes, etc., while they are, I am sure, quality tools that "work just like the full-sized ones," are basically intended as collector's items more than practical working tools. (Hence the fancy "jeweler's" cases in which they come.) While they work like the big ones, they aren't ergonomically designed, due to their small size. IMHO, "cute" as they are, if one is looking for a "user," they'd be better off with a good "modeler's" or "gents" (as they used to be called) plane. No doubt the Lie Nielsen "squirrel tail" model is "finestkind," and I'd say "go for it" if one can stomach the price, but, frankly, good as they are, one pays a big premium for the label alone on many of L-N's products. Their irons are great, but a top quality iron, in this case, even an L-N iron, can be put in other planes and provide much the same effect for a lot less damage to the pocketbook. Besides, their modeler's plane body is cast iron, not the bronze bodies for which they are famous. Kunz (German) is the last company I know of that's making a copy of the old Stanley (and Record) #100 Modelmaker's Plane with the squirrel-tail handle. (The handle. which rests against the palm with an index finger on the finger pad ahead of the blade, makes this small plane much easier to use well than the simply "miniaturized" smaller planes.) It doesn't offer the bragging rights of an L-N or even a Lee Valley/Veritas, but for $20 bucks and a bit of honing after first taking it out of the box, it is a subtle way to make the statement that you have more brains than money.
  12. Bob Cleek

    The resurrection of the Flying Fish.

    Nice model and I expect it outlasted the cat in the end, didn't it?
  13. I've had my full-sized Workmate for about as long. I use it all the time. It's one of the most versatile benches of its kind. I've never seen the miniature "Hobbycrafter" model. I googled it. Apparently, they don't make them anymore. There were a couple on eBay for big bucks and the shipping was sixty bucks or so, too. I was dumbfounded by the prices they are asking for old big Workmates, too. If the Hobbycrafter is half the tool the big one is, I'd definitely be looking for one, but not at eBay prices!
  14. Filling cracks with anything that is as inflexible as epoxy resin isn't a good idea. If and when the wood swells up again, it will be pressing against that inflexible cured epoxy and cause greater cracking further down the crack. You'd be much better off to replace the cracked piece entirely, if at all possible, with properly dried wood of the same species. As you seem to realize, atomizing epoxy resin isn't a good idea. Inhaling it isn't at all recommended. (And this advice is coming from a guy that isn't a sissy about such things.) Epoxy isn't going to make things much more solid unless you build up a rather thick coating and standard cured epoxy resin is quite brittle. (WEST Systems epoxy markets a brand of epoxy known as "G-flex" which cures to a somewhat flexible state. It's now being used as an adhesive in full-sized wooden boatbuilding, but I don't think would do you any good in this instance. As a structural material, epoxy has to be used in a matrix of stronger material, such as glass or carbon fiber fabric or matting. Again, I'm afraid a "do over" of the damaged parts is what is required to restore your model in this case. Most epoxies can be thinned with alcohol or acetone, but I shudder to think what gunked up epoxy would do to an airbrush!
  15. Got it. The airbrush would be a better option. Applying the shellac to areas before they are closed up will prevent that in the future, of course.
  16. Yep, "satin" varnish contains simply gloss varnish and... well, essentially "dirt," which has to be kept in even suspension when being applied. It's intended to be an imitation of a real hand-rubbed varnish finish and it's a pretty poor one, to be sure. I used it once in over fifty years of yacht and furniture varnishing and I won't ever touch that junk again. If one desires a hand-rubbed finish, the honest way to get it is to hand-rub it with rottenstone and pumice to the degree of flatness one desires. A true hand-rubbed varnish finish is a delight to the eyes and the fingers. There are few finishes as smooth. Your mileage may vary, but I'd suggest simply finishing with gloss varnish and flattening the gloss by rubbing. It may be a bit more work, but, as usual, the really good jobs do take a bit longer.
  17. An airbrush will work, but I use a brush simply because I don't have to worry about masking and overspray or getting into the cracks and corners. I only apply a single coat, as thinned shellac will penetrate bare wood rather well. Adding more shellac on top of what's already soaked into the wood is really only gilding the lily. Thin as the shellac is, or should be, there aren't any problems with brush strokes mucking up the smoothness of the surface. It's barely noticeable when dried... or should be.
  18. The latter. You do the best you can sealing, depending on the circumstances, and hope for the best. Usually, an element, such as a deckhouse, can be sealed as it's completed and before installing. Sealing is best done just before painting, or what would be painting if not left natural. Planking, of course, is sealed after the topsides are faired and the job is done. The shellac should be thin so that it soaks into the wood readily and doesn't leave any visible build-up after it's dry. There will always be ambient moisture in the wood. I'm not sure, however, from where the misconception comes that it is necessary to wet wood to bend it, though. It's the heat that's necessary. Moisture, whether it be boiling water or steam, is simply one convenient way to convey heat from its origin to the wood you want to bend. The gondola builders in Venice actually bend their planks over a live fire, taking care not to burn the wood. Some experienced modelers use other types of sealers. Minwax "wipe on" finishes seem popular. I'm not sure how Minwax compares to shellac in terms of a moisture barrier, but it will serve the same sealing effect to one degree or another. It would provide a soft satin finish, and bring out the wood's color and figuring, better than shellac as it's intended as a visible finish. Shellac is capable of doing the same, but that requires a lot of hand rubbing and repeated applications, as is done with fine classic furniture, and their delicacy makes miniatures poor candidates for a traditional "French polished" finish. I can't comment on the archival properties of Minwax and other modern and often synthetic finishes. Like many materials available today, they simply haven't been around long enough for us to know. Shellac's longevity, on the other hand, is well established by the archaeological record. Absolutely! That's the first line of defense. Moisture always seeks an equilibrium. The value of a sealer is that it slows the rate of absorption and evaporation and so "levels out" the cycling between high and low humidity. That retards the amount of movement. The cyclic movement of the parts will weaken the structure over time. The less movement, the longer the structure stays strong and tight.
  19. You betcha! I avoid water-based acrylics as much as possible for exactly that reason, even though I seal my wood with white shellac before painting. Sometimes I cheat and thin them with alcohol, if that works on a particular brand. Airbrushing with alcohol solvent allows the solvent to evaporate quickly. Trying to airbrush paint thinned with water results in a wet mess every time. Oil-based, solvent-thinned "modeling" paints are getting harder to find, although the fairly new acetone-based Truecolor acrylics, claiming to be equivalent to the old Floquil, are getting great reviews. Artists' oils (Grumbacher, Windsor and Newton) are fine if you don't mind conditioning your own with acetone, turpentine, Japan drier, Penetrol, and linseed oil, raw or "boiled," provided the pigment is ground finely enough for modeling scale purposes. If it's any consolation, Paul, the seams on your model look quite like the seams on many newly built carvel planked boats I've seen. In fact, in full-size construction, it is expected that the swelling of the planks after launching will cause the stopping in the seams to bulge outwards exactly how the putty or filler you apparently placed between the seams on your model has done. On full-sized boats, the bulging stopping is sanded fair at the next haul out and paint job looks to be doing. This phenomenon can continue with a new boat for two or three haul out cycles before the planking "settles down," or stabilizes somewhat. Of course, if a boat is on the hard for a long period of time and dries out significantly, the problem will usually arise again upon the following launch. The same problems occur in building models and full-sized wooden boats. Wood is a dynamic medium, always moving, to one degree or another, depending upon temperature and humidity changes. The degree of that movement depends also upon the species of wood and the grain orientation of the wood. In the case of the model in this thread, Lime ("Basswood" in the US) shrinks 6.6% radially and 9.3% tangentially, Pear shrinks 3.9% radially and 11.3% tangentially, and Maple shrinks 4.8% radially and 9.9% tangentially. These percentages are for drying from a live cut. Once fully dried, the "movement" factor due to changes in relative humidity may vary from "live cut" shrinkage, and is referred to as the species' "stability." Stability will generally be a lower percentage of movement than "drying" from a live cut and, as said, will vary from species to species. The ratio of movement radially and tangentially after initial drying will likely be proportional to the stability of a species. The Wood Database is an excellent resource. A handy hyperlinked version of their print book can be found at https://www.wood-database.com/basswood/ It's important to remember that the actual distance of movement multiplies relative to the size of the piece. Thus, a one quarter-inch wide plank might move +/- 4% with wide fluctuations in humidity, which would be nearly negligible over the width of a quarter-inch plank, but if, say, sixteen quarter-inch planks are butted against each other, the total movement of the four inch width of quarter-inch planking will move in total almost an eighth of an inch, which, if it's shrinking, is a lot more than the elasticity of the wood is going to endure without splitting, and if it is expanding, will be enough to induce stresses in the structure to which the planks are attached to cause catastrophic failures. In full-sized vessels, transversely cracked frames are a frequent result of planking expansion, often caused or exacerbated by driving caulking too hard or filling seams with inflexible, hardened stopping or splines of harder wood species. Regardless of species, wooden boats are always moving structures, some more than others for a variety of reasons. Some, the Vikings' longboats as a classic example, are even intentionally engineered to flex in operation. Models are different only in a matter of scale. What doesn't "scale," however, are the laws of hydraulics. The amount of pressure created by the water in the wood doesn't vary according to the size of the wood. The water in a tiny piece of wood expanding isn't going to compress any more than the water in a large piece, even if the amount of expansion is proportional to the size of the piece. Sealing wood by coating or impregnating it with some water-resistant material will slow, but not stop, movement because it retards the absorption and evaporation of moisture in the wood. Much as many have tried, there is nothing found as yet that totally "encapsulates" wood. Indeed, the unintended consequence of limiting wood's ability to "breathe" in the marine environment can often create a more favorable environment for decay fungi. Balsa-cored fiberglass decks were once thought to be an innovative solution to achieving lightweight panel stiffness until it was discovered that "water will always find a way" and moisture entering through poorly sealed fastener holes and such soon caused the balsa cores to decompose to rotten mush. As models won't be living in the water, the problem is less severe. One of the best sealers is also one of the oldest. A coating of white shellac is an excellent sealer for model parts. Coating planks with white shellac ("white" because it's the colorless type versus "orange" shellac, which is unbleached.) It won't prevent the wood from moving ever, but it will slow down the absorption and evaporation cycles causes by ambient humidity considerably. The fewer movement cycles, the less stress is placed on the structure over time. I'm sure a lot of experienced modelers already know this. Those who have experience in full-size wooden boatbuilding certainly are familiar with these principles. These comments are offered for those who are in their modeling "learning curve" where others of us were decades ago. As for myself, most of what I know about this was learned from experience, A mistake is a lesson that isn't soon forgotten.
  20. Ooops! I overlooked that little detail. No, I'd say it wasn't a kit model in that case.
  21. Bob Cleek

    Latest pieces off my drawing board

    Beautiful work! I love them! I also love my LEROY and other brand Rapidograph pens. There is nothing that produces the "snap" of a line like good old India Ink. I tried those Micron fiber-tipped technical pens once and they couldn't come even close. What mediums are you using for color and shading?
  22. If your model was built in the 1920's it certainly was a very well done model for its time. The standards have risen over the years and the speed of that has accelerated in the last few decades as miniature machine tools, computer numeric control machining, and other technological advances have found their way into model-making. Considering the tools and materials your great-grandfather had to work with to build that model, he must have been a very accomplished model-maker. It appears that it may have been an early kit model. Ship modeling was a very popular hobby in the last century up to WWII, which was a bit of a distraction, to say the least. Thereafter, television reared its ugly head and men started sitting on their butts and watching TV after work every evening. That put a major dent in the modeling hobby. The advent of injection molded styrene plastic models breathed some life into modeling generally in the 1950's, but by then it was mainly a pastime for kids. Serious adult modeling seems to be making something of a comeback in the last decade or two, perhaps encouraged by the internet which opened access to the research and information necessary, and the availability of on-line retailers for what would otherwise be a smaller market that would not be well-served by "brick and mortar" hobby shops. For these reasons, I would consider your model to have some historical interest from the standpoint of it's being an excellent example of an early kit-built model. You may want to inquire of Bluejacket Shipcrafters whether it is one of their early models. They would know more about it if they could identify it as one of theirs. ttp://www.bluejacketinc.com/ Please do read the posts about packing models that are here in this forum. PLEASE, do not put it in a box full of packing peanuts or other such material. That is a sure way to damage the rigging. Packing a finished rigged model for shipping is a rather delicate procedure. A model such as this one, if it is to last, should be kept in a proper case and displayed out of direct sunlight and damp air. In the meantime, you can carefully cover it with one of those light plastic bags that the dry cleaners use to cover clothing. Cut the bag open and drape the bag over the model. This plastic material is light enough not to damage the model and it will keep the dust off of it. As everybody has said, models of Young America are quite common and you should not expect to get big money for it. It's still a beautiful model and the fact that it's an heirloom makes it valuable to you and your family. Imagine if you cased it and were able to pass it down to your son. What a wonderful thing to be able to say, "My great-great-grandfather made this."
  23. Bob Cleek

    Foul Weather Tarps

    Good point!
  24. Bob Cleek

    Foul Weather Tarps

    Removable rails is good... but it looks like the poor suckers still had to step up and down to get past the hatch as they went around. I'm presuming they covered the hatch, but the hatch sill is still a step up. I'm always amazed at how much work it took to get things done on the old navy ships.

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