mikiek

Arrow American Gunboat by mikiek - Amati - 1:55 scale

97 posts in this topic

I got after the frame tips this weekend. I destroyed several of them while trying to get them out of the laser cut sheet. They're too small and the sheet is too thick.. My plan for replacement was to use a dowel the same diameter as the parts when they are in the sheet. Then on the table saw, rip a piece of the dowel in half, rotate 90 degrees and rip again giving quarters. Then take those and slice to the proper thickness. They pieces came out OK. Given that I had the saw out anyway I used it to cut the remaining laser cut pieces out.

 

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As you may notice - a lot of char around the edge. Sanding that off was not easy. Seems like walnut is always harder to get the char off.

 

My replacement pieces were too light colored (not sure what wood it was) so I stained them.

 

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When I had enough pieces I glued them to the upper deck - doing a better job of lining them up this time.

 

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Note to future builders - do this as late as possible!  I started in on my next task, the bench seats, and have already knocked off quite a few of the frame parts.

 

 

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Trying to spread my efforts across all my projects - so it's time for Arrow. I decided it was safe to begin hull planking. The kit has wood for 2 plankings. As Niagara was a single planking this is my first build with 2. Honestly, I still don't see the need - just do it right the first time B). To each his own. I will do the 2 layers just for the experience this time.

 

So hull planking - time to break out the proportional dividers! :dancetl6: There's an ongoing thread about these in one of the forums. Some like them. Some don't. I wouldn't plank without them. I decided to do another how-to so this post will be rather long. Hope it helps (or converts) someone. Arrow is a very easy hull, almost flat bottomed with a simple bow & stern.

 

I had already glued the wider wale plank at deck level and done 2 strakes below that when I realized (or woke up) I would need to thin down the ends of the strakes.

 

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There is no real planking plan with this kit, so I had to calculate the bands on my own. At the frame piece with the longest distance between the keel and the last hull strake, I laid a strip of paper to determine that distance.

 

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As luck would have it, that distance was 36mm and the planking sticks are 3mm wide - perfect! That's 12 planks to complete the side. I decided to break up the distance into 3 bands. Here's where it gets cool. Not sure what the part on the dividers is called but I set it to 3 (for 3 bands).

 

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Then with the long end of the dividers span the distance between the keel edge and the strake edge.

 

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The short end of the dividers is 1/3 of that span.

 

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Using the short end, you walk the dividers over that same span and make a mark at each step.

 

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Yes there is a slight space after the last step. Nothing done wrong, it's just the fact that I am doing a linear measurement on a curved surface. This is not a big enough discrepancy to worry about. You'll see why in a minute.

 

So here are the band marks for this frame.

 

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From here it's just repetition. Move to next frame, measure the full distance, then make the marks for the bands. Lather, rinse, repeat. Usually you will find that the frames in the middle have the same span. As you move to the bow or stern the measurement will get smaller. Don't skip any frames - do them all.

 

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Now get your plank, lay it where you will be gluing it and mark where it contacts each frame.

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Now it's time to focus on a band. I'll do the one next to the existing strakes. If you remember the original calculation was 12 strakes / 3 bands = 4 strakes per band. So set the dividers to 4.

 

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With the long end, measure the span between the band mark and the edge of the last strake. This is the total width of the band.

 

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The short end of the dividers is that span divided by 4 (4 strakes in the band). I started on one of the middle frame pieces - the widest overall span. On this frame the strake should be full width (3mm) and by golly that's what the dividers tell me.

 

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So there is no width adjustment needed on the strake where it crosses this frame. Continue this pattern, measure the band width on the frame, put the short end of the dividers across the plank and eventually you will hit  the  point where the distance on the short end is less than the width of the plank.

 

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I just stab the divider pin into the plank to make a mark. NOTE: some of the cheaper dividers don't have pins on the ends. I would recommend getting some with pins if you can. Here's the plank afterwards. From the holes upwards will need to be removed.

 

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You can cut with a knife or just file/sand. I'm almost done here. I've sanded the plank edge down to the holes. I left the holes just for demonstration. The trick is to sand the edge until the holes just disappear. Your plank will be the correct width at that point.

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The finished strake. At this point if you were doing short planks to make up a strake you could cut them now. Since this is a first planking I will not.

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I glue the strake 2 or more frames at a time. PVA along the long edge of the plank with CA at the frames. Be careful not to get them mixed - they don't play well together. Of course you can glue them any way you want.

 

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So much for that strake. 3 strakes left in the band. For the next strake you go thru the same process except this time (and subsequent times) the span to measure will be the from the edge of the strake you just laid to the band mark AND before you start set the dividers to 3 since you have 3 strakes left. When done with this strake repeat again after setting the dividers to 2.

 

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The beauty of this is that it doesn't matter if you screw up a strake - maybe a little too wide or narrow. Since you remeasure the remaining span after laying a strake the dividers will correct any errors. :D

 

 

I hope this makes sense. Once you do a few repetitions, hopefully you will see the pattern and understand the process. Essentially you are measuring some distance and letting the dividers divide that measurement into however many portions they are set to. The nice thing is you don't really care what that span measurement is. You just let the dividers do their thing.

 

 

Whew - good night all.....

 

 

 

 

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Mike,

Thank you for that tutorial, you broke down the whole part perfectly to a basic.

I have no questions at all and you were lucky with the numbers!

This planking is going to go fast for you.

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Per - thanks for the feedback. I'm glad it made sense.

 

One thing I forgot to say, the kit supplied planks for the first layer are too short. They don't reach from stern to bow. I had to start/stop them at the first frame piece on each end. I don't think that will matter. The second layer planks are longer.

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23 minutes ago, mtaylor said:

After seeing this mini tutorial, I guess I need to get some dividers after all.   Thanks for posting it.

 

 

Mark,

It's worth to spend some extra money for a good quality. Don't settle for a divider under 60 dollars!

I did and sent it back.

Second one is made in England and I spend 90 dollars instead.

Nice quality and nice protective box too.

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Mark - everyone has their own process for planking, this is just one more. I'm sure there are situations where the dividers may not be helpful but so far they have been a real blessing for me.

 

Right on Per!  Many of the cheaper dividers are plastic with no real points on the ends. Mine are made by Alvin and are machined aluminum. When I bought them they were $65 now they are $125. But I would still pay that for them.

 

Dividers can also be useful for transferring measurements from plans to wood. They are also used to scale things up or down.

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:D

 

 

I did finish up the first band and began on the second. Then decided I better lay some planks on the other side. Very strange, for some reason the CA wasn't setting. I literally held down on one frame for 5 minutes. Lifted my thumb up and the stick popped right up. Reapplied the CA held it down for a while let go and it popped again. Arrow just about went airborne at that point so I'm calling it a night.

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First planking is well under way and looking good. I'm starting to regret that I chose to do 2 plankings. I could be close to finishing now. Good practice I guess.

 

I'm into the middle band and I believe I will stop there and begin from the keel upwards.

 

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I still can't decide whether Amati screwed up with the short planks or if there was a reason. The only thing I can think of is maybe they didn't want too much bulk right at the bow & stern.

 

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Speaking of bow & stern, the instructions say to complete both plankings and THEN glue the bow cutwater and stern post in place. That seems weird. How will I know where the planks should end? There's also no rabbet, which will make the final planking more difficult. I may go ahead and add the bow & stern pieces and carve out a rabbet before the last planking.

 

NOTE: To anyone building this kit. Wait until the last possible moment to glue the frame tips to the deck. I have knocked most of them off at least once while planking and at this point in the build they serve no purpose.

 

 

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Ran into a bit of trouble last nite - was getting close to finishing the port hull and I realized I would be having a gap after the last plank was laid. The dividers told me this with about 4 planks left to go. The proportional width it was coming up with at the middle frames was wider than the plank. It turns out the plank widths are not terribly consistent. Guess I laid a few that were not quite 3mm. No real worry - just had to make a stealer. Once again the dividers helped out with shaping the last few planks. At the wider part of the gap I needed almost 3 planks (8.35mm). Out towards the bow & stern only 2 planks would fit. So I needed to lay 2 full length planks and a third stealer in between a part of them. I decided to make the transition at the third frame at each end. Here's what I did.

 

I'll assume you have read my previous post on basic divider usage. For the 2 full planks I set the dividers to 2 and measured the 3 frames at each end. With the small end of the dividers I made marks on the planks. Starting at the fourth frame I set the dividers to 3 and measured and marked the planks. Obviously the part of the plank with the '3 marks' were narrower than the ends with the '2 marks'

 

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After cutting and sanding the 2 full planks they were glued in place. This left me with the gap I needed to fill with my stealer.

 

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Another common use for dividers is transferring measurements. So after cutting the stealer to length I measured the gap at each frame and marked that width on the stealer. The stealer was then cut and sanded.

 

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The stealer filled the gap perfectly.

 

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I suspect I'll have the same problem on the other side. This is only the first planking so realistically I probably didn't have to do all this but it was a good exercise.

 

 

 

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Thanks for the proportional divider tutorial.  I had started a thread in the tools section and there was a lot of discussions on the pros and cons.  I ended up getting a vintage set off Ebay and paid a pretty penny for them but they are quality and well made.  They were made by Dietzgen for the US Navy Bureau of Ships.  Thanks to your post above I will look forward to using them when I plank my ship.

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Mike,

 

Just catching up with your new project. This looks great, and I love your "first" planking. It is almost too bad you have to cover it up.

 

I will be following along on this wonderful project. Happy planking my friend.

 

 

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Derek - thanks for following and I hope it works as well as it does for me. Would you mind posting a pic of your dividers?

 

Hey Darrell - I'm still scratching my head on the double plank process. I guess since our first build was a single plank kit and they came out pretty good, I was wondering after that. This build just reinforces that. The only thing I don't know is if the double plank builds are dependent on the extra hull thickness for other parts. Would it throw off the placement of some other part because the hull is thinner? I do hear that sometimes the 2nd layer material is more of a veneer than a full plank. That could make it tough to use the 'good' wood for a first and only layer.  This kit has full sticks for both layers.

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If you don't use the full width of both plank layers it may indeed throw something off elsewhere.  Additionally, the kit may, by the scant supply of bulkheads, require a thick plank layer for support, and if that is supplied in a less expensive wood, they can use a more desirable wood for the veneer outer layer.

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2 hours ago, mikiek said:

Derek - thanks for following and I hope it works as well as it does for me. Would you mind posting a pic of your dividers?

 

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No idea about age, I'm guessing around 1950 to 1960ish.  Very well made though.  Compared to buying a quality product today they were cheaper.  I'm glad I won the bid on this one.

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First planking is complete. If anyone is counting, I did have to do a stealer on the other side as well. It didn't come out quite as tight as the first one but it will do. I think I'm going to put the planking tools away for a while and work on the deck items.

 

One BIG question. As I mentioned previously, the order of steps in the instructions are 1st plank, 2nd plank, THEN add the stern post and stem. Does this make sense to anyone? Planking without a rabbet?

 

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It should work as long as you leave a flat surface for the stem, stern and keel.  It'll basically look like normal construction.  Do a little sketch to check out the concept.

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Joel - I'm really thinking of getting out of order here and adding the stem & stern post before the last planking. If not, I'm uncertain how I would get the planks at the bow & stern to be the proper length.

 

Probably would add a rabbet as well.  The sticks for the 2nd planking are full thickness walnut. Bending them at the bow & stern will be necessary and I'm thinking having something for the ends to 'bite' into would be helpful.

 

I just couldn't figure out if there was some meaningful reason why the pieces would be added after planking.

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Now into planking round 2. I have not added the stem or stern post. I'll just have to wait and see how that works out. Was wrong about the 2nd planks they are pretty thin. At first I thought they would be easy to lay - the first 2 under the sheer strake I did not shape at all and they went on easily. Same for the "garboard". Then I went thru the same routine as before, marking the bands. The frames are all covered up now so I drew some lines from the keel up to the sheer strake. Still using the dividers I began to measure inside the bands in order to shape the planks. Then I had to cut/file the strips and that's where the fun started. The strips are 3mm x 0.5mm walnut and they don't cut worth a darn. Several have split and this is the one set of sticks where there are few extras. Resorting to just pressing down with a knife which works OK but then they are too flimsy to sand. It took 30 minutes to complete 4 strakes.

 

On the positive side, planking over a first layer is quite easy. I've been used to gluing sticks to frames. Now I can put glue anywhere along the run.

 

I guess overall, I prefer a single layer. Doing a 2nd layer is too much like rework. And I HATE rework.

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Planking continues. I'm still finding those 0.5mm sticks hard to work with. I decided to take a break from that and do some deck work. Discovered a pretty glaring oversight. The Italian instructions show a pic of this, no idea whether it's mentioned in the text. The English instructions don't mention it.

 

Regarding the bench seating, I had wedged each bench into place right behind and above the preceding footrail. WRONG! There is a coaming of sorts that is supposed to go around the entire rowing section and the benches are supposed to go on top of that. This raises the benches up some which I suppose would have been a good for the oarsmen. The way I had done it, I was always laughing thinking a guy would have his boots on the butt of the guy behind him. Not any more. It just looks better too.

 

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Fortunately I was able to salvage the benches, sand off the glue and reuse them. A good thing - there is not a lot of extra walnut in this kit.

 

 

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As thin as the 2nd planking is, maybe it's better to not do it?  I went the other way on my Wasa... added a second layer of paper thin planks.  Unnoticeable.   

thibaultron and donrobinson like this

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Mark - I've been thinking that all along. I was pretty happy with the first layer, not sure what the wood is but it could have been stained darker. The one big problem is the sticks for the first planking were not long enough to run from stem to stern. I had to start them at the first frame and stop them at the last frame.

 

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I've finished both bench coamings and I must say they add to the look a lot. It also gave me a chance to realign the benches on both sides so that looks better as well.

 

I've been complaining a lot about knocking the frame tips  off the upper deck as I plank. So much so that I gave up gluing them back on - until now. I decided to add the bulwarks which are supported by the frame tips. So I glued them back on, then faired them for the bulwark which is a single 1mm x 5mm plank laid above the sheer strake. So this was essentially like laying another plank. This feature also adds to the look and the deck is starting to take shape.

 

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There are 2 layers for the bulwarks. The first runs from the bow, down the deck and ends at the stern. The second is going to be a bear. It starts out the same at the bow but you don't glue it to the last frame tips at the stern. Instead you let them extend past the stern and they will be the support for a stern platform behind the rudder. It was pointed out early on in this log that the existence of such a platform was debatable. When they pulled up what is believed to be the Allen, that part of the boat was gone so no one can say for sure if the Lake Champlain galleys had this structure. Some of the galleys used on the eastern seaboard did have the platform and I imagine this is where Amati got the idea.

 

At any rate, the instructions are quite vague on building the platform. There are a few pre-cut parts but it appears that some must be made. There is a grate right in the middle of it all. The plans are no help as all they show is the finished structure. I'm gonna have to think on this one a while.

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If you wind up needing it, you could fill in the space between the ends of the 1st layer plank and the keel piece with blocking, then put the 2nd planking over the blocking.  Niagara, I believe, uses blocks to fill in at the bows so the plank has something to lay on and help shape it.

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