RichieG

Mayflower by RichieG - Model Shipways MS2020

32 posts in this topic

 

I'm starting this build log on the Mayflower from Model Shipways. I'm pretty new to this kind of modelling, so I'm hoping for as much advice and constructive criticism as I can get.

 

The first thing that they want you to do is cut out the false keel and gently sand off the laser char. Then, you glue a piece of basswood called a 'rabbet strip' along the bottom edge and along the stern. This allows you sand or chisel the bottom rearmost part of the keel from its original 3/16" thickness to 3/32" below a predetermined mark called the 'bearding line', which is laser drawn on one side of the keel. (As the rabbet strip is 1/8" wide, it needs to be reduced to 3/32", which means that 1/64" is removed from each side. I first cut the rabbet strip down to about 3/32" in the area that need it, and then used a diamond dusted file to thin the keel as necessary. You can see this in the second picture, where the lighter colored rabbet strip is along the bottom of the keel, and the plywood has been thinned in the bottom left corner, thereby changing its color as the top layer was filed away.) I think that part went fine.

 

But, I do have this question. I've taken a picture of the piece of plywood that the false keel was taken from, and then I've included a picture of both its long and short edges. Both of them have pretty noticeable warpage; and when I put the false keel onto a flat surface as it is in the second picture, there's about 2-3 mm of vault in the center. I've soaked it and left it to dry under some weights a couple of times, and it initially looks pretty flat, but after a few hours, it's back to the same warp. My understanding is that it's pretty important that the keel be straight in order to proceed effectively. I believe that I have a few choices:

1) keep soaking the keel, and drying it under weight on a flat surface, and hopefully it eventually will flatten out.

2) proceed with gluing on the bulkheads, and then put wood spacers between some of the bulkheads in order to force the keel straighter.

3) I read somewhere on this forum that you can multiply score one side of the keel, and then brush glue deep into the score marks, and clamp it between glass until it dries. Sounds complicated...

4) get a replacement part from Model Shipways. (I've heard that they have pretty good customer service.) I don't think that this is necessary, but I'll defer to the wisdom of the forum.

 

Also, the plywood that contains the bulkheads is similarly warped. These are much smaller pieces, so the warping isn't as obvious as it is on the keel, but it is definitely there. (I've included a picture of one of the bulkheads with my finger holding down one side, showing that the other side lifts off the table.) Should I be worried about those too?

 

Any suggestions?

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If it were me I would get replacements from them on all the sheets that are warped. I have this kit too in waiting. I'm sure there's other solutions. They are good with sending replacements. Might take a little time though. 

Steve

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Get them to replace whatever is warped. That profile former is warped and you will never be able to get that warp out completely. Others have tried and it is far better to get a new component from the manufacturer. The idea of using wood blocks in between the bulkheads to force the piece into straight can work. However, I would get the replacement piece first and see how that goes.

 

Russ

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I'll have to agree, have it replaced. They are really good about these things and you should have no problems other than some down time.

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OK, I'm kind of surprised, but it seems that the consensus is to call customer service and get replacement parts. It looks like all of the 3/16" plywood pieces are pretty well warped. I'd guess they were all cut out of the same larger piece of plywood. I'll give them a call and see what they have to say. Thanks to Tiger, russ, and don, for helping me avoid some frustration down the road.

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It's important to get off to a smooth start. Better than fighting with warped plywood. You can email them too. It's not always easy getting them on the phone. One man show over there. 

jgarcia@modelexpo-online.com

 

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Thanks, Tiger. I just sent an email to Marc Mosko at mmosko@aol.com, which is the address they suggested on the modelexpo website for part replacements. But I'll keep jgarcia in mind if that doesn't work.

I'm glad that everyone gave me the good advice to replace the parts, because my inclination was going to be to put the keel into a jig, put on the bulkheads, and forge ahead paying attention to the alignment as I went. But now I suspect I was in for problems compounding on top of problems if I tried that.

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update: within 45 minutes of sending the email to Marc (and this is on a Saturday), he already responded to me and to Carlos, instructing Carlos to send the parts out. I have to agree; they do seem to have excellent customer service!

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While I'm waiting for the replacement keel and bulkheads, I've decided to try to forge ahead with the ship's boat, which I guess is something like what I would have called a 'life boat'. (This one is about 2.5 inches long, and at the 5/32" to 1' scale, I think it would be about 16 feet long. I imagine they could save about a dozen people if the ship went down, and the rest would have to just do their best?)

In any case, this boat is made of seven 'lifts' (laser-cut flat pieces) which are meant to be stacked up from the bottom to the top, and then chiseled or sanded to shape on the both the inside and outside surface. (This is apparently called a 'bread and butter hull' for some reason; maybe the lifts are the bread, and the glue is the butter?) The instructions say to glue them together first, and then shape the outside followed by the inside. However, it does say that you might want to leave off the bottom lift at first, as it will allow better access to the bottom of the inside of the boat for whatever instruments you choose to use to shape it. I've decided to take this advice to the extreme, and try to (at least roughly) shape the inside of the pieces before I've glued any of them together. So, I stacked the bottom two pieces, marked on the bottom one the inside contour of the upper one, and then filed the center of the floor down to about half thickness (from 1/16" to 1/32"). I repeated the process for the second and third lifts, marking the inner contour of the third lift on the top of the second lift. This allowed me to file a bevel along the second lift's inner edge using the pencil line on the top and the bottom of the laser char on the bottom. It certainly is easier to shape the lifts individually, as I can stick the file right through the center hole without having it hit the bottom of the boat. I've done this for the third lift as well, and stacked them to see if it's starting to look like the bottom of a boat, and actually, I think it kind of is...

I know that I'll have to do the fine tuning after it's glued together, but at least this way, I've gotten the bulk of the roughing out taken care of while the access is good.

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I must say that I think it was a wise decision to pre-bevel the bottom 3 lifts before gluing all of the lifts together. I glued them together sequentially, starting with lifts 2 and 3, and was able to fine-tune the internal beveling without the bottom of the boat in the way. Then, I added lift 4, and filed/sanded the whole thing a bit more. (The instructions say to glue them all together and sand the outside first, but I think this approach made it much easier to get into the inside bottom, particularly at the front and back.) After I added all six upper lifts, I glued on the bottom one (lift 1), and gave the inside another pass with the file and sandpaper. After this, it was easy to sand/file the outside contour and remove the little registration pieces on the front and back.

There is a contour to the top of the boat, which is described on the plans, where the front is higher than the back, and the middle dips down. I copied the heights from the plans onto the model, and carved away the upper part, and file it down smooth. Looking down at it from the top, I can see that the front and back walls are thicker than the sides, and, as the instructions say "try to establish a consistent thickness for the hull", I think I will use a dremel with a diamond burr to thin out the insides of the front and the back. (I think the outside contour is pretty much done once all the ridges between the lifts are filed away, so I'm only going to remove material from the inside now.

(the first three pictures are before contouring the top, and the next three are after. I tried to show the model nest to the full size plans from the side, front, and then a top down view which shows how there's some thinning to do on the inside of the bow and stern.)

After that, there are instructions to add internal keel and frames, floor boards, risers, thwarts, and a cap rail. But it does say to try to stain or paint the interior before doing most of that, as it will be tough to do after. So I need to decide whether to stain or paint, and what color to use. I think I want to stain it and let as much natural wood show through; I think I've seen Chuck Passaro use golden oak stain from minwax on some of his ships (this model was designed by him), so I may get some of that from the Home Depot. I'm not really sure what sanding sealer is for, but I might put some of that on before the stain, and then the wipe-on-poly seems to be popular to top it off. I'm certainly open to advice on prestain, stain, and finishing, though (hint, hint...)

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Richie, if you go to the Minwax website, you'll see more about each of their products. I think it's worth looking through. Definitely use pre-stain before staining. I've found that the better the sanding, the better the finish.

 

I've used Minwax Natural stain on my longboat and finished with their Wipe on Poly. Check out my log to see the results on basswood. Golden Oak turns out darker than you might think and people mix it with Natural stain to lighten it a bit. Do some tests on scrap wood. Also, if you don't like the finish on your model you should be able to sand it lighter. Hope this helps. 

Steve

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Thanks Steve. I think I'll try some golden oak and natural, or mix them, and try it on some scrap to see what looks good. I guess I don't want to go too dark. The ship's boat is probably a good place to try some of this stuff, because it's probably ok if it doesn't match exactly the rest of the colors on the ship.

I have a question about this model in particular: after these seven lifts are glued up, there is a piece called a caprail that is glued onto the top edge. It is laser cut on the same piece of 1/16" wood as the rest of the lifts, although in the instructions, it says that the caprail is 1/32" thick. I guess this means that I should sand the piece to half of its thickness before gluing it on?

(I've looked at most or all of the mayflower build logs, and I haven't actually seen anyone describe building the ship's boat)

Thanks for the advice and encouragement so far. It's giving me the courage to proceed... 

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I haven't gone through my Mayflower kit  and instructions very thoroughly yet, but it probably means glue it at 1/16" and when it's completely dry sand it to 1/32". 

Steve

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Tiger, I hadn't even considered that option! But, I think I'd rather thin the piece out before gluing for two reasons: 1) it's going to be glued onto a curved surface (as you can see in the plans in the fourth picture in my last post that had pictures) and it'll be tough to get a nice even thickness after it's gotten that curved contour on it (easier to just put it on a flat surface and sand it with a flat block) and 2) because it needs to be bent to conform to the curved surface, it might be easier to bend when it's thinner.

 

I did glue in the keel and frames. These were 1/32" x 1/32" strips, which are the smallest that the kit comes with. I glued the keel and the first 3 frames at the bow with titebond, but I was getting frustrated with the fact that I'd put glue on the strip and hold it in place with my finger, wait a few minutes, and invariably the strip would end up stuck to my finger instead of the inside of the boat. So I changed to CA glue for the rest of the frames. This worked much better at getting the strip to stick to the boat instead of me, and I tried to use as little as I could, and used a wet followed by dry cotton swab to clean up extra glue, but by the next day, I saw a nice white residue over pretty much the whole bottom of the boat. I wonder if I can remove some of that with acetone if I'm careful to apply only a tiny amount at a time.

 

PS. I also learned this (which I'm sure everybody already knows, but maybe a true novice might find this helpful): when trying to bend those thin strips to the contour of the inside of the hull, it's better to prebend them around something like a dowel of appropriate size (I used the cap of my CA glue bottle) in order to get a nice smooth curve, rather than just push them into the hull, where they will tend to crease in one or two spots.

 

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Hi Richie, this is Capt. Al calling....I just bought the Mayflower MS2020 kit from Model Expo.  It should arrive soon as John said it would be shipped out today.  I'm praying that I don't have all those warped pieces of ply that you did, but just in case may I ask if the email you wrote to (jgarcia etc etc) is John who I talked to on the phone this morning?  Are the people at Model Expo the same as those at Model Shipworld who I believe are the actual manufacturers of this kit.

 

You haven't specifically mentioned using the instructions written by Chuck Pissaro.  Did your kit come with those?  This was a big reason I went with this kit as I've seen the "practicum" on line and its alot more complete and understandable than any instructions I've seen.  So I wonder if you have those and plan to follow along with them pretty closely.

 

I'll be following your build closely.  So far it appears your doing a great job.

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Two further questions I forgot to include in my last post....

 

Would it be very difficult to cut new pieces on a scroll saw rather than rely on replacement parts to be good?

 

Second question relates to building up the small boat from lifts.  This is the same process I used on my Bounty's launch.  When it came down to the lowest lift, the keel basically, the bottom was completely flat except for the edges that were faired into the upper hull or lifts.  Some people on this site when they saw it thought it was wrong to be a flat bottomed boat.  I couldn't think of any way around that.  I added a keel strip and that's how it remains to this day.  Is that how you envision the Mayflower launch?  As a flat bottom?  Or do you have a way to sand/curve the bottom into a more U or V shape bottom?  That last lift would have to be pretty thick to do that and if I'm not mistaken (from what I see above) its no thicker than all the other lifts.

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Captain Al, thanks for looking in on this build. I think it's great that you're starting the same kit; let's try to help each other as we go. (Just know that I'm exceedingly slow, so you'll probably get well ahead of me right out of the gate.)

As far as your questions: I emailed mmosko@aol.com about the replacement parts, and he got back to me within the hour. Actually, he sent me a copy of an email that he sent to someone else, telling that person to send out the parts. That email address was jimenez.s.carlos@gmail.com. So I never communicated with John directly. But, if you end up needing anything, I'm sure there are several ways to get help. You could call John on the phone, or email Marc or Carlos for starters. Tigersteve suggested jgarcia@modelexpo-online.com and I'd guess that that would work too. And yes, I think the modelexpo website is the same company as Model Shipways (not modelshipworld, which is this forum that we're on right now.) But you're definitely getting the same kit as I have, as MS2020 is the same model number as mine.

 

So, that being said, you'll get the 51 page instruction book written by Chuck Passaro, which really is excellent. The exact same instructions are available on line from the website, so we'll have backup copies if we need them. And, yes, of course, I'm already following those instructions, and plan to continue to use them as the main source of information on how to proceed. But even those detailed instruction may occasionally leave some questions unanswered, which is why I'm asking things of the more experienced modelers on the forum.

 

In addition to the instruction book, there are 4 large pages of plans that you don't get online. They have, among many other things, full size plans for the false keel and all of the bulkheads. So, if you had some good 3/16" plywood, you could definitely cut your own parts with a scroll saw. I guess it depends how far you want to go. Since customer service is so good, I felt like it was far easier just to get replacement parts.

 

As far as the shape of the bottom of the ship's boat, I think that, at least for the mayflower, it's pretty clear how to shape it. If you look at the plans that I photographed earlier in this build log, you can see cross sections of the hull, and the bottom is pretty flat. You definitely will have to sand off the edges of the bottom lift to get them to blend into the second lift, but the center of the bottom lift stays pretty flat. And you can see the keel added to the center of the bottom in those cross sections. Also, there are two cradle pieces that are meant to hold the boat, (also shown on those plans) and they are pretty close to flat at the center (leaving a notch for the keel), and begin to curve upward as you go laterally. Anyway, that's my take on it.

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Thanks Richie.  You've answered all my Qs for the time being.  I do have a scroll saw and do pretty good work on it so maybe (if necessary) I will go that route.  Let's see how your replacements come and how long it takes.  I've not dealt with Model Shipways except for ordering small stuff on-line so its new to me.  My first and only kit was Artisiana Latina in Spain and forget any customer service from them.

 

I agree that the bottom of the rowboat is pretty flat.  Its just like the one I did on Bounty.  I was just curious seeing as I had rec'd some commentary to the contrary.  My chocks on the Bounty launch also matched the flat bottom so that's all the proof i need.

 

Now, as far as going slow and me getting ahead of you....that's not going to happen.  My Bounty build took 3 1/2 years to "complete" and I didn't really finish it properly.  Alot of the issues I had with that build at the start were caused by my impatience to get things done.  I wasn't aware enough of how a mm here and there can affect things downstream.  And I totally made due with tools I'd collected over the years.  So this time around my plan is to go really slow and do it right and not have to do alot of fixing and adjusting.  But we will be close and it should be alot of fun.  I have several other Mayflower build logs to look over before my kit arrives.  I've also read the Chuck Pissaro instructions on-line already.  Other than cleaning out my work space and storing excess Bounty materials, I'm ready to go.

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Sounds great! The only thing I might suggest is to start call him "Chuck Passaro" instead of "Chuck Pissaro". (I'm not sure he'd like that as a nickname...)

But other than that, I think we're ready to roll!

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Yes- def follow the instructions/practicum carefully. I'm no expert by any means, but with regards to the caprail I think you'll have a hell of a time trying to work with it at 1/32" before gluing it on. If you glue the layer for the caprail at 1/16" and then turn the boat upside down while sanding, you will be able to see the thickness all the way around. This is how I sanded my caprail for the longboat. Pre-bend before gluing. 

 

I don't have a good method for cleaning up the CA besides using a blade. Maybe others have better advice. It may affect your finish if you don't clean it up well. 

Steve

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thanks, tigersteve, I'm glad you suggested gluing before sanding, because it would never have occurred to me. I'll sleep on that, as I have some other things to do first. (There's some floorboards, risers, and thwarts that need to go on first.) This ship's boat is a whole little model unto itself.

It sounds like the best way to remove CA glue is to not use it in the first place. Then comes sanding and a distant third place is using a solvent or debonder. I'm in such a tight space there that I don't really think I can sand (it's about 2-3 mm between each of those frames. I may try folding a piece of sandpaper and getting it in there. If I can't bear that, I might try dropping acetone with a 30G needle in there and wiping it off with a cotton swab. The good news is that the floor boards will pretty much cover most of that CA glue residue, and I've learnt my lesson for the future. If you can avoid CA glue, don't use it. If you need it, then really use the absolute minimum.

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I was just thinking that also that you won't see some of it covered by the floorboards. I try not to use CA if I can avoid it. Worst case scenario- you can get a replacement for those lifts and revisit this little boat later on in the build. ;-) It certainly is its own model. 

Steve

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Building the Bounty launch and jolly boat were definitely unique projects each with their own unique wants and needs.  I did them while other pieces and parts were drying.  I'm looking forward to this little one as well.

 

Regarding CA glue... yeah there are definitely some good uses for it but I agree that its best avoided.  I found that the best use (and from here on possibly the only use) was to put a tiny drop on a knot when it was imperative that tension remained and there was no time for white glue to dry.  I see where Chuck P. (easier than trying to remember how not to spell it; :)) suggests the same use in this Mayflower practicum.  But I also learned from Danny Vadas that a mess of diluted white glue is much better for securing coils and such.  It dries totally clear no matter how much you apply and leaves the "ropes" looking very nautical and nice.  And like Johnny Bench says, "it won't make you stink." 

 

Quick note on technique for dropping a wee tiny bit of CA where you need it.  I use a sawed off sewing needle  (saw through the eye to make a two prong hayfork) and I put a drop of the CA onto a piece of aluminium foil.  The I touch the fork to the drop and touch the wet fork to the part or knot.

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well, I put some acetone on the white spots (which was most of the inside of the hull, and wiped it with a cotton swab, and the white pretty much disappeared. It was like magic. And all the frame pieces stayed well attached, too. But, I'm going to be much more careful in the future.

Question: as far as putting in the floor boards, I can't tell if they're supposed to be flat all the way across the five boards, or if they are meant to follow the contour of the bottom of the hull. I just cut the pieces roughly,  and laid them in the bottom, and they definitely won't lie flat unless I somehow elevate the center one off of the bottom to be on a higher lever where the most lateral ones will want to lie.

a quick google image search looks like most of them have the floor boards pretty flat on a level like this one; I guess I could put a shim under the center board, but I wonder if it's worth it. 

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floorboards1.gif

 

davidsonrowboat.jpg

 

these images (from the web) seem to fit more with what I would get if I just glued the floor boards right onto the frames. So, yeah, Steve, I think you've got it right, and I'm going to do it just as you say. But first, I'm going to stain the inside of the boat. I did a few practice stains on scrap wood with natural and golden oak. I think the golden oak isn't too dark, and the natural is hardly different from the unfinished wood. So my plan is to use golden oak on the inside of the boat, and natural on the floorboards, thwarts, risers, etc. so they'll stand out. (But, yeah, I'm definitely using wood glue...)

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Have you considered just a finish to the natural wood?  I like a couple coats of lacquer when all I want to do is bring out the natural color of whatever wood I'm using.

 

BTW, on a more theoretical or hypothetical question....when you are building a model, are you envisioning the ship as it would really be (for example, out at sea doing its thing) or is it more an artist's rendition of the ship as it was designed?  I like to think of models as working models not as museum pieces in absolute pristine condition.  This may be my rationalization for not always cleaning things up and leaving "salt deposits" on the deck.  But sometimes those little defects can be quite life like.  There was a model of the longboat from Old Man and the Sea that really captured the feel of the skiff after the beating it had taken.  I guess this topic then takes us to the various techniques of aging wood and metal to obtain that desired worn in look.  I didn't do any of that on my last build but on Mayflower I don't want shiny brass fittings so I'm intending to start working on this aspect.  Have you found a technique you like for darkening brass?

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Al, I think there's room for both schools of thought: the pristine shiny new model and the weathered look. My personal taste is more to the newer look. But one point I'd make is that if you go for the weathered look, it shouldn't be because you can't do the other. It should be because you can do it very well, and make an artistic choice to deviate from it. Since I'm new to this whole game, I'm going to try to develop the skill to make a clean model, and then in the future, I might challenge myself further to do weathering.

But, while we're at it, I think I get the idea of the floorboards, risers, and thwarts, although the plans seem to be a bit different from the instruction book and the photos therein. I know that there's not one 'right' way to do this, but I'm tempted to go with the book and photos, (cuz they were really built, whereas the plans are more theoretical). There are a few pieces that don't actually seem to be in the kit; the oar locks and an unnamed piece that I would call a 'knee' (actually, 6 knees). I guess if I want to use those, I'll have to fashion them from scratch. (I'm probably going to eventually want some advice on how to tackle that stuff.)

 

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All personal preference on the stain. I liked the way the Natural stain looked on my longboat. I used pre-stain then the Natural stain. Wipe on Poly (satin) applied after all was dry. It does darken the wood even though it's Natural stain. Looking forward to more progress!

Steve

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