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About jhearl

  • Birthday 09/26/1949

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  • Location
    Milford, Virginia
  • Interests
    Shipmodeling and photography

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  1. I have a good deal of experience with macro photography. I own several high-end cameras and macro lenses. I never use any of them when photographing my models. The main reason is depth of field (DOF). DOF is very shallow with macro lenses - often just fractions of an inch. I use what might be considered a high-end point-and-shoot camera (Fuji X100) that has a so-called "macro" mode but that mode is really nothing more than a close-focus mode - not a true macro capability. The current version of that camera costs $1,300, so it's not for the casual shooter. But there are probably far less expensive P&S cameras that have a close-focus mode. They allow you to get within a foot or less of the model. Today's high-resolution cameras allow you to severely crop an image so you can move back from the subject then crop out everything that's extraneous. That will give you a much greater DOF, meaning that much more of the subject will be in focus. I also rarely use a tripod. With a macro lens, it's a critical necessity, but with a P&S, you can get very sharp pictures by simply hand-holding the camera. So, bottom line, forget about expensive, special-purpose macro gear. Get a good quality P&S with a close-focus mode and high resolution. With it, you can take overall shots of the whole model and close-ups of individual parts. Cheers - John
  2. If you go to a hardware store, you can find locknuts with plastic inserts that you can use to replace the ones on the headband. The locknuts will not loosen up once you put them on. Just be sure you know what size thread you need before you go to the store. Cheers - John
  3. I have been using DMC Cordonnet thread for years now. It comes in ecru, which works well for un-tarred rope and it can be easily dyed after the rope is made if you want a dark brown. It is a cotton thread but has no fuzz and is considerably less expensive than linen. It comes in sizes 20-100 (100 is smallest). Here's one online US source that appears to carry all sizes: https://www.tattingcorner.com/threads-12/dmc-cordonnet-67/ (I've never ordered from them and have no affiliation with them in any way - just one source I found on the web.) Sometimes, even the 100 is too large, so I use Gutermann cotton sewing thread for the smallest lines. Sometimes, you have to just use thread itself without twisting it into rope for really tiny lines. I'm not sure what kind of rope machine you have, but on mine, I can use multiple threads (such as 6 or 9) to get even thicker rope if three 20s aren't big enough, for example. When I got started making rope, I made up a sample length with each thread size so I would know what I needed in the future for a particular size finished rope. Cheers - John
  4. I'm afraid it's not quite that simple. This would only be true if the strands were laid side-by-side. In rope, however, the strands are twisted together, making the diameter of the rope less than the sum of the individual strands. My home-made rope machine uses a weight on the ends of the strands to hold them in tension while twisting. I have found that I can slightly vary the diameter of the finished rope merely by changing the weight and even by changing the speed of the motor that twists the strands. Other styles of rope machines may create ropes of different diameters with the same thread that I use on my machine because they make rope in a different way. In the end, I think the only way to know is, once you acquire a machine, make sample ropes with the thread you intend to use so that if you ultimately need a 1mm rope, you will learn how many strands of what size thread you need to make that rope on that machine. Cheers - John
  5. One advantage to a primer over a clear sanding sealer is that it will show up any defects that need to be repaired before painting the final coats. I always find something that needs to be fixed. On hulls, I usually use something like Rustoleum or Krylon in a rattle can from the hardware store. Of course, it has to be sanded before applying finish coats. Cheers - John
  6. The Ronnberg book mentioned above is included in the kit you have, so there would be no need to buy another copy if that's the one you're thinking of. Cheers - John
  7. That's too bad that poplar isn't available in Canada. I'm no fan of aspen. I got some by mistake once when I was buying poplar and didn't like it at all.
  8. I second the suggestion on poplar. It's not hard to find pieces without any green. It's very easy to work with and is harder than ordinary building pine. It has a fine grain and machines well. It's inexpensive and is readily available in 3/4" thick boards, which makes it easy to turn into ship modeling lumber. In some of the large lumber stores, you can also find boards in 1/4" and 1/2" thicknesses that are typically 3"x24" and often they are very white and almost grain free. I've used poplar on several models and like it a lot. At the moment, I'm using it to plank the outside of a deckhouse and the planks are 3mm wide and less than 1mm thick. Cheers - John
  9. Are you aware that you can purchase the plans directly from Model Expo? http://www.modelexpo-online.com/product.asp?ITEMNO=MSPL2033 Cheers - John
  10. The most challenging (and rewarding) part about building from scratch is that there are no instructions. You have to figure out what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. You have to think far ahead to understand how something you do now might affect what you need to do in the future. The best plans in the world won't help with that. Having experience in building kits is helpful, of course, but you may be surprised at just how different the experience is when you have to go it alone just from a set of plans. If you want to try scratch building, I'd suggest starting with a very simple boat so you can really get a feel for what it takes. Don't forget as well, that you won't have any pre-cut parts. You're bound to need dimensioned lumber that isn't available unless you can mill it yourself. Scratch building is great fun and highly rewarding, but it's certainly not easy. Cheers - John
  11. I've watched all of his videos in the past and that guy is just amazing. Highly recommended! Cheers - John
  12. This thread inspired me to finally make a jig of my own today. Pretty much the same concept. The only thing I did that's a bit different was to make the brass post a bit taller than the highest position of a 4" blade, allowing me to measure from blade to post no matter what the height of the blade. Seems to work.
  13. Indeed, I've seen the pictures in another thread of that digital solution. Quite impressive. I hope you didn't think I was saying your jig was not a good idea - I was simply saying that using the mic alone for setting repeating plank widths isn't very effective. I have a commercial jig very similar to yours for my 10" saw and it can be quite helpful. I plan to make one for my Byrnes saw as well. One way the mic could be helpful, in fact, is with your current situation. If you know how far off you are with your digital calipers, you can then accurately adjust the fence with the mic. However, if you're going to add that I Gauge device, you won't need the mic at all. Cheers - John
  14. I too thought this might be a good solution and ordered one with my saw, but in practice, it turns out to be not such a great idea. Because I like to work in metric, I ordered the metric version of the mic. The other day, I needed to cut a number of 3mm wide planks and decided to give this method a try. I immediately realized I hadn't accounted for the thickness of the blade. Let's say you are using something like a .040" thick blade, the first thing you have to do is to convert that to millimeters if you're using a metric mic. That happens to be 1.016mm. So you have to move the spindle of the mic 4.016mm, which is not easy to do when the thimble is only marked in .01mm increments. For the next cut, your choice is either to try to move the mic another 4.016mm or reset it to 0 and re-position it against the fence slide. Note that to move the spindle 4mm requires 8 complete turns of the thimble plus that additional 0.016. As well, the maximum travel on the spindle is about 16mm however the barrel is only marked to 13, so you might get lucky and be able to move it three times if you're careful about where you set it to start with, but at that point, you will have made 24+ turns of the thimble to make a few cuts then you'll have to turn it back another 24+ turns to reset it for the next cuts. It gets very time consuming and tedious very quickly. I think the mic has its uses (although I'm finding them to be more limited than I expected), but not for using wide stock to cut multiple planks to an exact width. Some of the problems I mention would go away if you were working entirely in Imperial rather than metric - you could move the thimble to exact marks, but it's still a lot of turns for a few cuts. Cheers - John
  15. I'll offer a somewhat contrarian view. I bought my Preac in 2001 and it has served me well all these years. I have only had my Byrnes saw for a few weeks now. I don't have a lot of room on my tool bench, so I can't have both saws on there at the same time without removing another tool. But since having the Byrnes saw, I have yet to have any need to pull out the Preac. One of the first things I did was make a sliding crosscut table and for the base, I used 3/16" hardboard. (It's sold as marker board and is smooth brown on one side and smooth white on the other). The reason for using 3/16" was so that any long stock placed on the crosscut table would go over the rip fence so that I would not have to be constantly removing/replacing it. I find myself changing between the two modes very frequently and I knew going in that dealing with the rip fence would be a big issue for me. Using such thick material for the base meant using 4" slitting saw blades, but they are working just fine for me. In fact, just the other day I ripped some 3/4" poplar with the 100-tooth blade that Jim sells and it cut through it with no problems at all. Only once have I used the carbide blade so far, and that was to cut some 3/4" boxwood. The slitting saw blade just wouldn't cut it. This was some true, European Box that I had harvested from some old-growth bushes and is hard as a rock. One great advantage of the Byrnes saw over the Preac is the ability to cut thicker material. My Preac would barely cut 3/16" and to cut 1/2" stock meant cutting one side, turning the stock over and cutting the other. And because of the small motor, it would often bind up on something like that. That problem has been entirely solved with the Byrnes saw. The other real nuisance with the Preac was setting the blade to a particular height. The adjustment mechanism on that saw is quite primitive and I found that when I tightened the blade down, the height would change, so there was often a lot of trial and error to get it right. Not so with the Byrnes saw. The height adjustment is quick and precise and stays where you put it when you lock it down. If you need to cut lap joints or notches at a precise depth, this is something you will appreciate immediately. Unless I'm doing something precise like lap joints, I don't even lock down the blade height on the Byrnes saw. On the Preac, you had to lock down the height and it was always awkward (not to mention the hole in the cap screw always being full of sawdust). On my current model, I've lately been making some planks that are about 1/2mm thick and 3mm wide. Pretty tiny stuff. I've had no problems cutting it using my crosscut table (I'm using a 220-tooth 4" blade for this). One issue I've had, however, is that when ripping wider material to get these planks, it is so thin, it slides under the rip fence. So I have to clamp a piece of wood to the fence so that the wood sits right down on the table. The rip fence on the Preac is designed differently and sits tight to the table, so it would be better for that kind of work, but then, I'd have to take one of my other tools off the bench, pull out the Preac, set it up to make the cut, then put everything back in place. If I had room for both saws, I'd probably use both, but as it is, I have not really missed the Preac at all so far. Cheers - John