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Well enough reading and enough delaying.  Made my first attempt at a "prototype" of the quarter board for my model of the Howard W. Middleton based on pictures and measurements of the actual board (12' x 9").  Used a piece of 5/32" holly before going to the "final" work on a 3/32" piece of boxwood just to see if this is at all doable. Here is my first VERY crude attempt at replicating the two pictures I took of the quarter board earlier this year.  At least it's a start...

 

 

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A question...I noticed the full size version of this has the letters gouged into the wood, while your prototype carving has the lettering raising above the surface in relief....seems it would be easier to use a miniature gouge to carve the lettering on your prototype piece into the wood...did you try any of that technique? 

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Cliff,

 

Actually the letters are raised on the real quarter board - it's difficult to tell in the picture.  I would absolutely be easier to gouge then do raised lettering.  But as I get into this a bit more, the actual capped letters (H, W, M) measure 6" and the smaller letters 5".  That means I would have to carve out a cap in 1/16" scale and the others smaller.  Not sure that is even feasible (for me at least) so may go to plan B and carve the two ends (they would only be 1/8" long) and use stick on letters that come in  1/16" and 3/32" for lettering.  That would also mean increasing the width of the board from 9" (3/32") to 12" (1/8") so I could fit the stick on lettering.  Certainly open to any input from any of you experts but I think that is my plan for now.

 

Larry

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I have carved lettering in a woodworking class and I can relate that it is an art form not easily acquired by the casual user even in full size.

Have you considered laser engraving, done by others? I have seen some pretty convincing results. If that doesn't work because of resolution or other factors you may want to try a decal like application you make with a copier and some bold font reduced sequentially until scale is reached.

Joe

Edited by Thistle17

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There is also brass lettering available in various sizes and fonts.  Some of the model ship suppliers carry some but a Google should find what size, etc. you need.

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Now I get it Larry...funny how things look different sometimes in a photo.  I applaud your efforts as it seems to me carving lettering must be among the most difficult tasks....any deviation in the font sticks out clearly...I look forward to seeing your future progress. 

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Couldn't find any brass lettering small enough so tried the press on white lettering I have on a piece of boxwood.  Once the ends are carved and board is painted black, it shouldn't look that bad.  Caps are 3/32" and lower case letters are 1/16".  Curious to know if anyone has actually carved raised letters that size - seems impossible...

 

Larry

 

 

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Getting closer but still trying a few prototypes using boxwood.  Piece is a bit wider and thicker than final version but gives me a bit more latitude.  I have to admit this is not easy stuff.  Won't be quite as detailed as original quarter board but will be "artistically" close...My biggest problem so far is having the back of the piece break off as i cut down into the wood - you can see the impact on the top middle protrusion in second picture.  Any suggestions to help would be much appreciated.

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OK, got two sides of prototype to look reasonably consistent (will forgo the cut out lines to give a cleaner look in this scale) so I guess there is no reason to delay.  Final piece is on top and a bit narrower.  Just did some measuring of space needed to fit all the letters after using 1/8" on either end for carving and that will be another challenge for another day...

 

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VERY frustrating!  Did second quarter board (one at bottom) this morning after getting a fair first one at top and this one was a total failure.  Pieces broke off from both ends.  May have to reconsider this process...:(

 

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Larry,

 

You mention in a previous post using boxwood.  Seems the wood in the photo is a bit grainy for boxwood.  Did you try English boxwood or is it Costello?   English box is a bit on the yellow side colorwise but will hold the tiniest detail without breakage compared to other woods.  It is hard to come by so I use what little I have in the bin for carvings only, and Costello boxwood for most other parts whenever possible.

 

Allan

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Allan,

 

The wood is European boxwood (a fellow forum member was kind enough to send me a small supply of boxwood, pear and holly to try).  I'm sure it is the limitations of the carver rather than the limitations of the wood...

 

Larry

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Larry

I concur with Allan. Your wood is looking a bit grainy compared to what I have come to expect from good boxwood.

 

I don't see the sharp edges on the carving, that you should expect.

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Are you sure it is not basswood? Sounds similar, so these words could be confused. On your photos it looks like basswood or similar - cuts easily, but quite fluffy and soft. Even adding a profile / moulding to it is hard on our scale, if you look for a good result.

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Whichever specie of wood, extremely sharp tool edges are critical to success. Once you need to use blade pressure on small sections, they will break off or crumble if the tool isn't sharp enough.

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Larry,

 

Try gluing the wood that you are going to carve onto a heavier strip of wood.  Use a glue that can be unglued with a known solvent.  The PVA (yellow) glues can be unglued with alcohol.  The heavier strip supports the piece that you are carving.

 

Roger

 

 

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Thanks all for your suggestions.  I took a break from carving and finished tying all my ratlines (1200 clove hitches to be exact...).  Given my lack of success (I did my best to use everyones suggestions) I will probably simply use the press on letters.  I'm sure there is a way to link this post to my build log post in the scratch build section but if anyone wants to follow you can simply search for name of ship - Howard W. Middleton.

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Try moving away from your model a bit.Three feet will make a heck of a difference on how your project looks. 🔬As your experience level increases you can get closer without wanting to tear your hair out. 

You are not alone nor can you goof something up that hasn't been done by an expert before. 

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Finished product.  Simple planking wood, painted, press on letters with a bit of carving at ends - scale came out just about exactly to 12' actual quarter board measurement.  Not what I set out to do but pleased with the final look.  End of this topic for now - other pics posted in scratch build log...  Thanks to all for your help and support!

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