Triton cross-section by tkay11 (aka Tony) - FINISHED

140 posts in this topic



The joints were made as usual with the Proxxon saw. To cut the angles (63 degrees) I first inscribed the top edges by 1.73mm using dividers with the measurement derived from the TurboCAD programme.






This then allowed me to use the saw at an angle which has a nicely accurate indicator in degrees. I edged the coaming towards the saw until it cut right at the line.




By the way: if you do this, WATCH OUT FOR YOUR FINGERS AS YOU MAY FORGET THE EDGE OF THE SAW COULD BE CLOSER TO THEM THAN YOU THINK! I was wary of this, but thought I’d better mention it in case others might not have thought about it.


Having made the coamings, I could now install the grating I made earlier. I now realised that the long edges could not be the same width as the grating battens if they were to fit into the coaming I had made. I reckon I must have made a very slight error in cutting the strips, but thought that I might well make the same kind of error again so I went with the grating as made.




You might well note that I've not curved the top of the grating to match the deck camber. My decision was the lazy one -- I followed the plans! As for the base of the coamings, where curvature would come into play, again I was lazy -- the tiny cracks at their base sides will be covered by the planking.


One small point to watch out for is that if you stick too closely to the plan measurements it is vital to check these against the actual measurements you achieve on the model. In my case the forward hatch I made came out 0.5mm less wide than on the plans, but as this was not going to affect anything except the width of the ladder, I kept the hatch I made.




I debated a while as to how to make the ladder. Essentially the choice was between table saw, hand saw and mill. I decided the easiest would be to use the modified Proxxon drill stand that I made for the Sherbourne. You can see the design at


I made a very slight modification to that modification by adding a locking nut below the screw adjuster. This was because I found that vibration during milling made the screw gradually move upwards. You can see this further modification in the following pictures:






The next question was how best to hold the ladder rails in place while milling. I made a paper template and glued that to a rectangle of fibreboard using water-based glue (Pritt stick).


After fiddling around clamping the rails to the template I decided to experiment and see if gluing the rail to the template would allow a sufficiently strong bond for milling. I used PVA to do this and it worked very well indeed – allowing me to remove the rail easily after milling with full-strength isopropanol, and allowing me to remove the paper templates from the fibreboard and the rails with a damp sponge.


An additional benefit of this way of clamping is that it allows an uncluttered view of the rails whilst milling.




I could then proceed by clamping the board to the micro compound table.




To make the rails equal in height and at the correct angles, I bound them together with a couple of spots of PVA, then used the disc sander for the angles. I was really thankful that the Proxxon sander’s degree marker was accurate!




I then made a simple jig for placing the steps. I again used the idea of gluing a template to the fibreboard base, then gluing battens to the template. To keep the rails apart while fitting the steps I made two temporary and removable battens from old plywood.








This allowed me to assemble the coamings, grating and ladder.






I can see from the results that I should really spend time sanding to achieve the glassy kind of finish that others have done, but for the moment I’m just pleased that I can make and put together all these pieces!


Next I’ll do some planking.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I start the assembly process of my Triton Cross Section, I have become the preverbal sponge and am absorbing every detail of your build. I pay special attention to your remarks in using TurboCAD as I too want to hone my skills in this area. I applaud your decision to continue your build even in the face of your so called blunders. The learning process is greatly enhanced through trial and error. It takes a true craftsman to take a mistake and make it whole. Good luck and God speed.



mtaylor, tkay11 and Canute like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very well done Tony!


To achive the glassy look you should test Rustins Danish Oil (a bit difficult now with all the structures, as you apply oil, wait 5-10 minutes, remove the "rest" and then "polish" it a bit). 



cog, mtaylor, tkay11 and 2 others like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the likes!


Dupree: TurboCAD is for me an almost essential aspect of the model as it allows for accurate part making, dimension checking and making all sorts of jigs. As for making mistakes I agree they're an essential part of learning. That's why I try to highlight the ones I make for others to learn from as well.


Dirk: thanks a lot for the suggestion. It's a good one, as always. I'd thought about oil but then was worried about putting it on surfaces that were to be glued. Anyway, when I've finished assembly I'll practise with oil as you suggest. I always enjoy learning!



Dupree Allen, mtaylor and Canute like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to various comments (notably Dirk's -- thank you Dirk!), I decided to experiment a bit with oils. I decided in the end to make up my own Danish oil, seeing that I already had the ingredients. I followed the advice given by Bob Flexner at The recommended dosage to start with is one-third of each, so that’s what I mixed.




I liked the results, so that’s what I’ll stick with for the rest of the build.


I planked just over half the gun deck, along with the lower strakes of the gun deck walls. I then oiled the inside of the lower walls and the two decks -- leaving the outside of the frames and the wall planking above the gun deck.






I need to finish the planking of the gun deck walls, sand down the fore and aft section faces, and then I’ll be working on installing the eyebolts for the cannon and making up the gangway brackets.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Chad and Dirk! I feel slightly ashamed (edit: maybe 'embarrassed' would be a better word) when given such encouragement from those whose work I admire, since I don't think I'll ever produce work that's as beautifully finished and precise -- but it is indeed encouragement and much appreciated at that! And I certainly enjoy learning from you, so keep on building and logging if only for my benefit!



mtaylor, Dubz, Canute and 1 other like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Mark. Even I was surprised at the change a drop of oil makes. Turns it from banal to something even my wife liked! I'll have to try some on myself.



cog, Canute, Dupree Allen and 2 others like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

"I'll have to try some on myself."


hahaha :-) Good one :P


Wish you a good christmas time Tony, greetings to your wife!



Canute, mtaylor and tkay11 like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful work, Tony! In the back of my mind I was contemplating a cutaway on my Triton, and seeing yours has convinced me!

Looking forward to seeing more on your build...

Clear skies,


mtaylor, Canute and tkay11 like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Gabe. The main motivation (apart from developing skills in making plank-on-frame models) was really to learn for myself and give anyone who's interested some understanding of how these ships were built. Almost nobody in my circle of acquaintances has much idea that there's even a hobby devoted to this kind of thing, let alone full builds, so they're quite intrigued, and, as I had guessed, simply cannot see the blunders that are glaringly obvious to my own eye -- and that's exactly as it should be.



Canute, mtaylor and Gabek like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear you, Tony!  What I find ironic is that I'm deep in the heart of North America and I'm a nut about Nelson-era ships! Having said that - I've been able to touch the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Oceans. 


I have also found this Triton build has really honed my understanding of ship-building and increased my respect for ship-builders before the industrial revolution.


Clear skies!


Canute, mtaylor and tkay11 like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


I ended the last part of my log with the statement “I need to finish the planking of the gun deck walls, sand down the fore and aft section faces, and then I’ll be working on installing the eyebolts for the cannon and making up the gangway brackets”.

Well, it became a bit more complicated than that.

I did start by planking the gun deck walls, but then worked on the gun carriages in the thinking that it would make more sense to fit the bolts once the guns were done.
Then, once the carriages were done, I reckoned I’d need to place the gangway knees so that I’d be clear about the placement of the bolts. That drew me into a discussion about where the aft guns would be rigged to since the gangway knees cover exactly the correct position (according to the plans) for the bolts for the gun rigging.

So I made the knees following Grant’s Triton build, but then reckoned that it might be better to complete the outer hull planking before working on the inside – in the belief that with all the handling of the outer hull any more done on the gun deck and gangway might well suffer. So I did the planking. And then I realised that unless I documented progress in my log, the task of writing it would become too big and bothersome.

So although I’ve completed the gangway knees, I’ll just concentrate in this section of the log on the guns and the hull planking.


Having had experience with the small cannon in the Sherbourne, I wanted to avoid the problem of drilling holes through the brackets when they are not parallel to one another. So I made a jig, as documented in the following photos.

First was getting the angles right for the jig.








To save time, the jig allows for several pairs of brackets to be cut at once. I’m only making two guns, so there’s more than enough room for the jig.


Setting the height for the table saw was simple using the template I’d made with TurboCAD.






Using a simple template and making the handles with the Proxxon drill being used as a lathe was quite simple:








When it came to drilling the brackets, I decided to double check the verticality of my drill stand, as I’d noticed that when making blocks there seemed to be a very  slight deviation. There was. It was small, but enough to be a problem. Luckily, the solution was the simple addition of a 1.5mm wedge into the stand as shown in the following picture:


And with that corrected, I then unglued the outer part of the brackets jig, placed another template on the side, and drilled away.



I fiddled around a bit with black paper to make the cap squares, but finally thought it would be better if I could make them from brass. My efforts didn’t turn out nearly as well as those of the experts around here, but I still enjoyed the process of learning.






Instead of using simple bolts for the loops, I decided to use David Antscherl’s measurements for the loops and make some loops of my own. This was far simpler than I expected, using 0.5mm black-coated copper wire as follows.



I decided I’d try out Frolich’s method of making the truck stubs. This involves making a cutter from brass rod, and cutting in a lathe.




It was easy to turn the trucks on a lathe and then cut them off with the table saw.



The pins for the trucks were made from bamboo strips passed through a drawplate and then stained.


The vertical bolts were then added as brass rod and then blackened with lead patina using the tip of a paintbrush.





The beds and transoms made and fitted.




I thought I’d try a more accurate method of drilling the trunnions than the one I used for the Sherbourne. First off was to cut the cannon whilst leaving both ends of the brass rod at the same diameter. This would mean any vertical drilling would be easy.

So after turning the brass cannon on a lathe, I made a box to the exact diameter of the outer stubs. I then made a cover with a template of the cannon that would fit just inside the top of the box. The height of the box was made a little smaller than the diameter of the cannon stubs, and a piece of sandpaper fitted to the inside of the lid: that would ensure that when clamping the jig the cannon would not roll round whilst drilling.

I used as a marker the edge of the reinforce ring nearest the trunnion.




I’ll show the assembled guns in a future post, but my next section will deal with the planking of the hull.


Gregor, mtaylor, MEDDO and 10 others like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


I thought I’d have a bash at anchor stock planking for the wales. This proved to be a bit tricky without making a special jig from metal. I did try using a sander, but in the end the method I used was to paste a template on to wood and sand that down using a sanding stick. It would be far better with a jig, of course. Perhaps next time!

Having prepared the planks, an important question was how to place them so that the butt ends would lie over frames. So I used TurboCAD to superimpose the planking outlines layer on the frames layer and move it until the ends covered the frames.


This worked fine for the port wales. And on the port side the planking went easily enough. I decided to leave a section unplanked just to show how the hull was structured.

It also was fairly straightforward to make the trim mouldings using an old hacksaw blade tempered over the gas hob to red heat and cooled slowly before cutting with a grinding wheel and filing.


Unfortunately when it came to planking the starboard side, I found that the forward end of the wale was about 1.5mm higher than the aft end. At first I thought it was to do with the curvature of the hull as I thought I had measured the position for the wale fairly carefully. In this blissful ignorance I started the planking above the wale by trimming the immediately next plank to suit. It was only a little while later that I realised that I had not cut the top strake of the wale correctly, and it was in fact at an angle. Rather than unglue everything (I’m getting really short of wood) I decided I’d live with the mistake. After all, I reasoned, I’m not going to be showing this model to anyone, and I’m only using the exercise to learn. Seeing as I’d learnt from the port side, I reckoned I’d be all right for any future builds. Lessons learned!

I followed David Antscherl’s book on the Fully Framed Model by making the plank underneath the wale to be 4” tapering down to the 3” of the planks beneath.


So I’ll now be continuing with the gangway knees and placing the guns.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


This is an excellent tutorial. It will certainly be a useful guide for me and many others to continue our work on our project.

Your Triton cross section will be a real masterpiece.




Canute, tkay11 and mtaylor like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks very much for the nice comments and likes! It's a joy to receive encouragement from peers who really understand the difficulties, intricacies and mistakes of this hobby and who've all been through the same learning experience.


G.L.: You made me laugh out loud when you say 'masterpiece'. I keep trying to explain and show in detail every point at which it clearly is far from being at all masterly (so others can learn from my mistakes), but your comment did make me go to have a look at your Oostends schipje and I can say with full confidence your skills far outweigh my own. I'll be following that with great interest from now on as I have the plans for the Brixham trawler Valerian and I want to build that plank-on-frame. I have not yet found any source giving the framing patterns for those trawlers, so the details you have about the framing on a similar kind of boat are of great use for me. I also admire your drawing and lofting skills -- it's all made too easy nowadays with computer programming with the downside that we lose the thinking behind the drafting skills.



Canute and mtaylor like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Tony,

Maybe the book: 'From tree to sea' could be a help for you. It is written by late Ted Frost, a former wooden ship builder from Lowestoft. He discribes the building of a wooden steam trawler. It is a book with plenty of detailed images. (ISBN 0 86138 033 9)




mtaylor, Canute, tkay11 and 1 other like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's really strange! I have just sent you a personal message asking about the dutch books you mentioned in your build log of the Ostend Shrimper!


Thanks a lot for the suggestion. I've just looked online and reserved it from my library!



mtaylor and Canute like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bookmark this page, really nice tutorial on how to. Will be real nice to reference back to this if I ever get to this point on my build. Great job. Thanks so much for all the information and how to in your build log.

tkay11, G.L., mtaylor and 1 other like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's very nice of you Pete. But your own build seems to be getting along just beautifully and, dare I say it, much neater than mine!


Canute, Pete38 and mtaylor like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again for more 'likes'!


Gregor: Nice to hear from you. How's the modelling coming along, i.e. Irene, Jacinthe? I've just bought the Petrejus book about the brig Irene on eBay and waiting to see it.



Gregor, Canute and mtaylor like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


I’m still not ready to show what I’ve done with the gangway knees, as I need to finish talking about the guns.

First, the turning and the blackening. I haven’t quite achieved the level of finish others seem to manage, but for now I’m reasonably happy, and won’t be doing any more until I do another model.

As an aside, I should mention that lots of photographic stores still receive film for processing. My local photo shop has lots of film canisters that they just throw away. So I go down from time to time to collect a handful. They’re great for fluids and sawdust (which I use for filler).

I was even able to blacken my guns in film canisters as they are just the right size.




Preparing the capsquares was fun. I have already shown the initial preparation of the capsquares in the previous posting. Here I show how I managed to place the rearmost loop.



Although I made a capsquare eyebolt, I couldn’t find chain small enough to make the key with its chain. Perhaps I’ll do that another time.



I reckon William of Ockham (the one born in 1287) must have been a ship modeller, because the phrase above was one he used. He was following many others (probably also ship modellers) who used the same idea in a variety of guises.

The reason I remembered this phrase was when I came to prepare the gun tackles. At first I used a variety of strops and thimbles, rigging them fully, but every time when it came to frapping them for stowage the result was lumpy. I eventually, and step by step, reduced the rigging by dropping the thimbles, then dropping the pieces that wouldn’t be seen after frapping.


Having decided that, the first thing to do was to find out how far apart the blocks for each tackle should be.

This involved rigging the guns in a rough fashion to their loops in the hull and drawing them tightly to the sides.


In order that the frapping should be as smooth as possible, I then stripped a piece of bamboo through a drawplate till it was 1mm diameter and glued it between the shortened stropping ropes.


The second block was then added and the ropes glued to the bamboo strip.



I could then rig the guns to the bulwarks. You’ll note that luckily for me the deficiencies in my turning of the cannon are well hidden by the gunports!


So I’ll now be continuing with the gangway knees.


mtaylor, egkb, G.L. and 10 others like this

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.