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cdrusn89

US Brig Niagara by cdrusn89 - Model Shipways - 1/64 scale

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I was looking for a way to "ensure" accurate alignment of the masts and cross trees, at least in one dimension so I came up with this. I had always wanted a laser level for various interior home projects so HQ approved the purchase on that basis. What HQ doesn't know won't hurt them (or me hopefully). Anyway, here is the laser level in use to get the fore mast cross trees perpendicular to the mast. I think this will also come in handy when it is time to install the masts at least in the athwart ship direction. I cobbled together the mast holder as I did not have a satisfactory way to hold them - this makes it easy to adjust up and down and the laser ensures that it is vertical. I sort of have to depend on measuring to get the mast rack and hounds at the correct angle. That piece of board against to wall is going to be my new mounting board. The Amati vice has served its purpose.

Tree alignment.jpeg

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I built the below to provide an adjustable support for the laser. It comes with a mount that allows about 3" of adjustment with a clamp that fits anything less than about 1/2" in width. The aluminum angles are what the laser clamps to and then I can use the mounts adjustment to get the lines where I need them. I use the step ladder so I can get the laser as close as I can to where it is needed since the beam is a little less than an 1/8" wide at five feet.

Laser setup.jpeg

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Working to get all the components completed before heading back to paint shop. Still have to fabricate the fore top gallant and spanker mast but could not resist trying a dry fit of the main mast components. I used a piece of .032 music wire for the very top of the main top gallant mast. Trying to taper the wood to 1/32" (and keep it centered) was more than my lathe-less workshop can manage. It will all be painted black anyway so aside from there being no taper to that very short section I doubt anyone will be the wiser.

MAin mast dry fit.jpeg

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I continued working the upper masts. It took six tries to get two acceptable royal/top gallant masts. They get pretty fragile if you thin them down per the plans (don't ask me how I know). I am sticking with using .032 wire for the extreme upper section. Once they are painted it will look okay (I hope - not really interested in try to make any more masts. I dry fit all the masts to see how they look all together and I am impressed with how tall they are. I am going to see the replica this summer - should be quite the sight.

 

I also got a chance to use the molding cutters I got from Artesania Latina for Christmas. I used it to cut the quarter round needed for the bolsters on the mast platforms. I used 1/8" X 1/8" stock and the quarter round 3 X 3 (millimeters I assume) cutter. Came out pretty good but I am sure there is a technique to this that I have not yet mastered. More practice required before tackling anything more complex. Should be great for adding a little spice to deck furniture.

 

Speaking of sights - I got to sail on the James Craig (1874 iron hulled, three masted barque) through Sydney harbour (as the Aussies spell it) and out into "The Great Southern Ocean (aka South Pacific) in early December. Quite a sight with four sails set on the fore mast, three on the main, spanker, two jibs and two staysails. An all volunteer effort with the paying passengers lending a hand where necessary to get the sails raised and set.

Two Royal masts.jpeg

Two mast dry fit.jpeg

Moulding scraper.jpeg

Underway on the James Craig.jpeg

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Thanks Jim - Note the toothpick stuck in the base of the main mast to get it to line up with the centerline. Should have been more careful forming the tab that fits into the hull.

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Ahoy Gary,

  Permission to come aboard? I just found your log. Great Job!! After all, we are nearly neighbors. I live just down US 1 in Sebastian, Fl.

I will follow with interest as I have completed the Niagara also.

Pythagoras (Tom)

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Tom - welcome aboard. I was beginning to think ship modelers were pretty scarce this side of Florida. They seems to have an active community on the other side (at least in and about Tampa) but I have not found anything on this side. Would be great to get together sometime.

Edited by cdrusn89

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I decided to work on the bowsprit while waiting for the paint to dry on the masts. I built a jig to hold the bowsprit while I work on assembling and doing what rigging I can before it going on the ship. I read on one of the build logs that you should get as much of the fitting on the bowsprit before adding the jibboom and FJB so I started with the Forestay heart. I decided (not sure why, maybe I needed to see some return on the Syren Serving Machine I bought last year) to serve the lines that secure the heart to the bowsprit. The serving machine works as advertised and it only took 15 or 20 minutes to get two pieces of .025 line served with 80 WT thread. I did have to add a collar in the tube where the thread passes through to the crank to keep the line from abrading and eventually failing. That is the good news. The bad news is that I have a hard time noticing that the line is served, even when I know that it is. Am wondering if the effort to serve all the shrouds and stays, or even just the ends is worth the time and effort. Once you start on the shrouds you are pretty much committed -like pig at breakfast.

 

So here is the bowsprit jig and the Fore Stay heart. The heart is only attached (for now) by the bridle. It needs to adapt to the correct angle when the Fore Stay is rigged. Yes, it needs some paint touch-up, all in good time. And the jig works for accessing the underside of the bowsprit too.

Bowsprit holder.jpeg

Fore Stay heart.jpeg

Fore Stay heart lashing.jpeg

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Slowly working off the various things that attach to the bowsprit before attaching the jibboom. Here are the hearts for the bobstays. I used the Syren 5.5mm hearts instead of the 1/8" called for in the plans but I though the Syren hearts were too thick so I glued the outer two pieces together and filed a groove in that. I think it looks okay if not exactly "in accordance with the plans". As you can see I also got the Fore Stay Preventer hearts.

Got the Bowsprit shroud collar attached too.

I (finally) read the note on the plans about the footrope for the Sprintsail yard (not show on the drawing of the sprintsail yard, nor is the note on that sheet). So I am now preparing tom put a footrope on the spintsail yard before it gets attached to the bowsprit. Since the spintsail yard sling goes right behind the jibboom I think it probably goes on before the jibboom.

Paint is dry on the masts and I could not resist a dry fit. I also finally got around to hanging the plans up where I can see them I have the sail plan going to the immediate left of this one.

Bobstay Hearts.jpeg

Bowsprit Shroud Deadeyes.jpeg

Painted Masts.jpeg

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Completed work on the sprintsail yard prior to mounting on bowsprit. Considering all the "yard work" coming up I built a little jig to hold the yards securely while adding foot ropes and the various block that have a home on the yards. I added the yard lift tackle to the bowsprit as well. Hopefully I will not regret having those lift lines "hanging around" while I add the jibboom and FJB.

Sprintsail yard.jpeg

Sprintsail yard lift tackle at Bowsprit.jpeg

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Except for the foot ropes on the jibboom and FJB I have assembled and rigged the bowsprit/JB/FJB about as far as I can without the fore mast to supply the stays and the hull to provide the end points. I will put this somewhere safe and out of the dust (although that has been considerably reduced since the mast/yards were completed). I will paint the "thimble" (actually a small Britannia metal bullseye) black before this goes onboard. I think I also have to add some blocks on the JB and FJB for the head sail downhauls. Will research that tomorrow before football.

 

By the way, does anyone know where the jibboom outhaul tackle belays? The tackle is shown in the upper right on sheet 5 below the plan view of the bowsprit but there is no mention of the belay point and the belaying pin table is also silent on the subject. No big deal, I am sure I can find somewhere up forward to secure it, just wondering.

Bowsprit assembly.jpeg

Bowsprit assembly 2.jpeg

Edited by cdrusn89
Added question on jibboom tackle.

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HQ had to look for something at Walmart and as we were passing the fishing tackle (on the way to fabric as I recall) I saw some tackle weights on the shelf and got the idea for some line (or anything you can hold with an alligator clip) weights. I bought some pyramid (Aztec not Egyptian) sinkers with an integrated swivel and used some existing alligator clips that I got (I think) from Micro Mart. Put the two together and you have a 4 oz weight with an alligator clip. I bent the attachment on the alligator clip to try and get the weight directly under to clip.

 

At the moment I am using them to tension some rigging line after it has been served. I am trying to get pieces long enough to do at least the forward most lower shroud completely served.

line weight in use.jpeg

Line weight pieces.jpeg

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Nice build! I will follow you closely since in the near future I am planning to build a similar ship and I have much to learn. Will running blocks be used in this ship? I would like to see the rigging process of them :piratetongueor4:

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Oliver,

I am not sure what you mean by "running blocks". Could you explain a little more and I will be happy to tell or show you what I can

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Having looked through the thread on this site on foot ropes, and thus determined that indeed there are two foot ropes required for the jibboom/fjb and the drawing shows that they have knots (to give your foot some purchase as you get closer to the ends I assume) I had to come up with a way to put the knots in the .012" line (black Syren in this case) evenly spaced, and (hopefully) more or less the same on each foot rope. Being a fan of the brute force approach I used short pieces of .025" music wire in my yard arm jig spaced per the drawing. Then I tied a simple overhand knot in the line around each piece of wire starting in the middle of the line. I used 50/50 white glue and water on each knot and when dry used a pair of tweezers to lift the knots off the wires and then did the other half in a similar fashion. After the knots are off the wire a gentle jug on each knot will close up the gap where the wire was and produce the required knot. Here is the line with one side done and the other on the wires.

 

Here is also how they look installed. I discovered that there are similar (not as long) foot ropes on the spanker boom so I am getting double duty out of my little row of wires.

Footrope.jpeg

Foot ropes installed.jpeg

Edited by cdrusn89
add an additional thought - typo

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Added the three blocks for the head sail downhauls and the bowsprit/JB/FJB assembly is as complete as I think I can get it at this point. I used 3/32" blocks for the downhauls although the plans call for 1/16" and 5/64". Syren sells a 2mm block which is pretty close to 5/64s (1.98mm according to Google) but the difference to 3/32 is not worth the effort IMHO and 1/16" blocks are too small for my aged fingers to work with.

 

I am going to put this away somewhere safe (I hope) and move on to completing the masts and serving the shrouds (or at least parts of the shrouds) before turning to the rest of the yards.

Bowsprit final.jpeg

Downhaul block.jpeg

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Foremast cleats, chocks (except for the Main Preventer Stay chocks which go on when the stay does), Main Stay collar and Spring and Main Topmast stay collars and thimbles and the mast band and fairlead. Next come the blocks for the various lines - there are at least 10 blocks that go under the fore top (and I think about that for the main top as well). Making a spreadsheet to help keep track of everything.

 

For those interested the the closed heart is from Syren (7mm closed) not the one in the kit, the cleats are Syren (5mm) and the thimbles are 3/32 bullseyes from Bluejackets.

Foremast fittings complete.jpeg

Fore mast thimble 1.jpeg

Main Stay Heart.jpeg

Edited by cdrusn89
update

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More Syren rope arrived today so I started serving what will become the lower shrouds. I got two pieces a little less than two feet long each. I am still undecided about how much of the shrouds to serve. It took just under a hour to serve the two lengths and I was operating about as fast as I could spin the wheel most of the time. What seems to take time is having to stop three or four times on each piece and reposition everything.

 

Given the hurried nature of the construction and the manpower limitations that the shipyard and Navy were operating under it is at least possible than none of the shrouds were served - just one of those things that never made it to the top of the bosun's "to do" list.

 

There is at least one Niagara build on this site (6ohiocav) where the entire fwd shroud was served and the others just the part around the mast down to where the two individual shrouds split from the "pair". That might be a  good compromise. I also got around to the getting the deadeyes stroped and installed on the fwd top and the top onto the mast. Have to add a few eyebolts and search the plans for other "goodies" that mneed to go there BEFORE things get really crowded.

 

And yes, that is a pin to position and hold the course yard - I am not so trusting of my abilities to try and get the course yard to "hang" only by the truss and sling.

ForeTop.jpeg

Edited by cdrusn89
typos

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