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Medway Longboat - 1742 -1/2" scale - by Chuck

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Started on the main mast.  Because it is best to use the same wood as the rest of the project, a 3/8" x 3/8" square strip of cedar is being used.  You could obviously replace this with a dowel of another wood already rounded off but the difference in wood texture and color would really stick out.  Most of the mast and boom and gaff etc will NOT be painted.   Its a good thing to try if you havent done so...rounding off a square strip like this.



First I used the template provided to line out the strip with a 7/10/7 ratio.  Just transfer the tick marks for the two center lines every four of five inches down each side of the mast.  Using a 7/10/7 ratio will create a perfect octagon after the corners are shaved away.  This is being done to make it easier to turn this in a lathe or chocked in a hand drill.  The strip is 20" long and its much longer than you will need so there is plenty of meat on either side to chock this in your hand drill.




Then connect you lines with a sharp pencil so you have a guide when slicing and planing off the four corners.  I used a sharp #11 blade to shave and whittle off the corners almost down to the lines.  It doesnt have to be perfect.....then I ran a sanding stick across the flats created.



Then drill the holes that will be needed for the sheaves you will simulate on the mast later.  There are three.  It is easier to do this now while the strip is square.




This is what my mast looks like after I shaved off the corners.  Its ready for me to chock in my hand drill and taper it.  This will take a while to do and be sure you use a mask because it makes a lot of dust.


Here is a photo of how I do it in my hand drill.....this is from another project.  I believe this is the lower mast for Cheerful.  Or if you are lucky enough to own a lathe, that would be a good choice.  I didnt worry about creating the small shoulder or stepped portion of the mast for the longboat.  I will do that by hand once I create the general taper.  In the end the lower part of the mast turned out slightly smaller than 3/8" which is just perfect.



Then finally,  I was able to finish up those sheaves so they looked good.  To simulate the sheaves I used a #11 blade and some round needle files....you can use whatever you feel most comfortable with.  Here is the final results.  This was done after I created the stepped portion or "shoulder in the mast as you can see.  This was just done by hand.  The cedar worked very well for this operation and I was happy with the results.  More to follow....




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Today I finished the base and stand.  I used yellow cedar around the base after applying a sheet of burled veneer which was darker.  The hope was to make the boat stand out against the dark contrasting base.  I added some lettering around the base so now I dont have to make a nameplate.  Next time I will make the letters just a bit smaller but I am going to go ahead and use this one.





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I am not sure.  Maybe some folks dont like this and would prefer another type of stand.  What I may do is just offer the stand and cradle parts as a whole separate mini kit for the project.  I know that some in my club for example didnt like my cradle.  Rather than force folks to pay for the parts as part of the rigging package I might make it as a separate kit.....with the veneer and the laser cut sides for the baseboard and then the two cradles.   The center piece is just a scrap of 1/4" cherry I had that was 4" wide and 11 1/2" long.  


The veneer is glued to the top and the four sides are then glued to it.  But to prevent the top from warping you must also glue a veneer to the bottom of the board.  This evens out the board so it doesnt cup badly.  I used a sheet of 1/32" basswood for that on the bottom.  The veneer is glued on with Titebond on both sides.  I spread out a thin coat over the entire board and then clamp the veneer to it.  I do this on both sides at once and then clamp all three pieces between two thicker boards if you get my meaning.  This presses everything nicely together.


If things arent crazy I may even be able to cut these as you buy them so I can add your name to the sides like I show it.

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21 minutes ago, JToma said:

I like the stand. Its a lot better than anything I could do. I'd be interested.

Yep - so would I.  Sounds like you might have another 'sub-kit' in the future Chuck.....😃

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I will add it to the list....


I also managed to experiment with the mast parts.  I completed the ball truck for the top of the mast.  Its things like this that make you appreciate 1/2" scale.  The ball truck has two sheaves for the flag halliards. These were laser cut and etched for you.  But as you might guess, only on one side.  So if you want, you can add the simulated sheave slot between the two holes on the bottom of the ball truck too.  But in all honesty, I dont think anyone will see it.  I did it anyway.  You can see the unsanded version in the photo

You need to round off the edges and corners on the top  and bottom to make it look nice.  I did this after I glued it on the mast.  Its easy to rotate and twist the mast as you hold sandpaper against the ball truck to shape it.


Make sure you orient the sheaves on the ball truck correctly when you glue it on top.  They go parallel to each other for and aft....,one sheave to port and the other to starboard.



I also stepped the mast but not permanently.  On the contemporary models and in real life the mast would sit in a hole through the floorboards.  This would have been a pain in the butt!!  Lining up a hole for the mast in the floorboards even before you added the thwarts and just praying the mast would be lined up correctly.


So my solution was to create a thin mast step instead.  Its a little guilty simplification.  Its basically a square with a hole in the middle for the mast.  I rounded off the edges to make it look nice.  Its only 1/16" thick.  I placed the mast in position and in the mast step as the titebond was setting.  Then I adjusted the angle and straightness of the mast to find the proper placement for the mast step.  This was done before the glue sets so you have to work fast.




The mast is set straight up and down with no aft rake......having said this, I did add an ever-so-slight aft rake because when I add the forward stay, I always seem to pull the mast forward.  Knowing that I will probably do this yet again in error, I compensated for it by leaning the mast slightly aft.  It should correct itself once I rig the forward stay which will pull it forward slightly.








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Continuing with the main mast. 


I painted the areas of the mast red or black to suit.  Then I simulated the mast bands with black masking tape.  The tape was cut into strips 1/16" wide and wrapped around the mast a few times to get the correct thickness.  Before anyone asks how thick.....just until it looks right.  Not too heavy.  I wrapped around twice and it was plenty.  Then I used some rusty brown weathering powder to make it look different than the painted mast and more like metal.  I will only use brass or actual metal when absolutely necessary.  In this case it isnt needed.  Then I finally made some eyebolts using 22 gauge black wire.  I drilled holes through the bands and inserted the eyebolts.  I also ran some pencil over the sheaves I made on the mast to make them look different and stand out a bit more.



and a close up view....




At the base of the mast, it was painted red up to the band there.  This band was made the same way but this time 3/32" wide tape was used.  The eyebolt was made using 20 gauge brass wire blackened afterwards.   I cant find pre-blackened 20 gauge wire.  The mast isnt permanently stepped yet but the mast is now completed.  I will now make the boom and gaff....




I also made the 7mm deadyes that we will need for the model.  These are just like the kits I offer.  Three layers are glued together.....then I remove most of the char from the outside.  To finish them up I throw the in my block tumbler to soften and round off the edges.  Not to long though...or they will get funky.   These are boxwood and not cedar.  The cedar is too soft to make these.  You can see four deadeyes that were released from the spru with no sanding or laser char removal.  The other group is ready to go but no finish has been applied yet.




Any questions please dont hesitate to ask.

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Chuck, a question about the mast step. Could you have positioned the mast without gluing the little square mast step, temporarily attached it, then used it as a guide to drill the hole in the floor boards? If so, how would you go about temporarily attaching it? Just a question, not a criticism.

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Nope...not too easily which is why I didnt do it.



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Time for sticks and strings!!!😄


I finished up the boom, gaff and bowsprit today.  Nothing unusual to report and its just more of the same.  Square stock was rounded off like the mast.  The gaff has laser cut jaws that need to be attached.  Then a few eyebolts were added to follow the plans.


The boom has a hook made from 18 gauge copper wire (blackened) on its inboard end.   There is also an eyebolt.


The bowsprit has a sheave on its outboard end which is typical and it was simulated the same way that was used when making them on the mast.




So now I am ready start with the strings.


I added the horse under the tiller which is typical for the period and as has been discussed numerous times.  This not only follows the two contemporary models that are fully rigged but also contemporary rigging plans.  One great example can be found I believe on page 80 of mays book.


The horse was made from 1/16" brass rod (blackened).




And lastly a photo before I start rigging.  The Boom and Gaff will be rigged first while the there is more room.  Then the shrouds and stays will be done afterwards. I have also uploaded the rigging plan (without sails).





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Starting rigging...


The boom was rigged first.  But before I started I knew I would need two 1/4" single blocks set up with hooks.  See below.  One is for the boom and the other is for the gaff.  So I made these first.  They were stropped with .025 light brown rope.  The hook was made with 22 gauge black wire.  I also used a thimble but this is optional.  I know they are a pain to make but if you want to give it a go,  use some 1/16" brass tube to make them.  The photo shows the blocks without a coat of wipe on poly.....



Making thimbles if you want to give it a try.  Just use a small punch to lightly tap both sides so they flare out.  Then blacken them.



With those done,  I started rigging the boom by adding the topping lift first.  I used .025 light brown line.  It was seized to the outboard end of the boom.  Then it was brought up to one of those blocks hooked to the mast. See below.


topping lift block.jpg


Then the loose end was brought down to the aft belaying pin on the starboard side.  I set the angle of the boom I thought looked good and then secured the line to the belaying pin on the thwart.  But it isnt glued on permanently yet.  It will absolutely need adjusting and retensioning as I progress.  So I left it extra long with no glue for now.  I probably wont use any glue at all.  But remember I will be rigging it with sails after I I rig it first without sails.  So I will need to be able to undo all of these lines and readjust them later.  You can see that second block on the mast hanging which is for the gaff peak halliard later.


topping lift1.jpg


So to finish off the boom rigging,  I added the main sheet which is shown below.  Two 1/4" single blocks were used.    One lashed to the boom and another seized to the horse.   The sheet was run between both using .018 light brown rope.  The loose end was made fast to the horse and left extra long again.  No glue being used yet.  Once the shrouds and stays are added everything will be retensioned.








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