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Martin W

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    The Litchfield Hills of Connecticut

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  1. Thanks everybody! Chris, 38 moves tops just about everyone I know. My parents were with an oil company and moved 32 times -- I settled down somewhere around the 25th, and REALLY hope this will be the last. Spy, it's great to hear from you. There was a time when the Swan class builds were all over the place, different, and exciting. I still hope that when I finish this Fly I can take on a scratch-build of a Swan at 1/4 scale, which will be much easier on the eyes. Ron, we're leaving town next week, and right now from the perspective of non-stop packing it seems both like an infinitude and much too soon. Jason, we will be almost neighbors -- I'll be in Winchester. When I get my wits about me again, and if CT doesn't enter a second shutdown, we'll have to get together to talk ships. Mike, I have gone around in circles about taking these two ships. I gave the Prince away, just because 3 of these crates wouldn't leave any room for the other things I have to squeeze into the cab of my truck. I reminded myself of Bob Fine's motto of one ship in, one out, and decided that someone else might enjoy looking at a model and maybe even get inspired to try their hand at it. Thanks for checking in, Toni, and thanks again for the suggestion about the peg board -- aren't you also about to make a big move? Florida? Santa Fe? They're both pretty warm. Cheers to all until I get to Litchfield County! Martin
  2. Hello Everybody -- For these past 6 months, I've started on some phase or other of the Fly only to realize I had packed away the tools I needed to get it done. I put together a batch of Syren's deadeyes, and used the sanding contraption to round them off, but then saw I had no equipment to solder the chainplates. I started on the masts and spars, and tried out different species of wood, ultimately ending up with the spruce that I used for the Rattlesnake. But then I only had stock long enough to cut 2 masts. And then packing took over. We bit the bullet and bought a house in NW Connecticut, having sold our house here much faster than we had imagined possible. I finished my last two woodworking projects (a blanket chest for my sister out of walnut, and a credenza for Mrs W out of white oak), then used my full scale tools for one final task, that of packing the two models I'll be able to take with me. Here's the process, based on Toni's sage advice. Here's the old Rattlesnake perched on a piece of pegboard, to which I've screwed some pieces of scrap that will hold the sides. The frame is the white oak credenza (minus the drawer pulls, which I've roughed out, and will have to finish carving in CT). Here you can see the back of the box that will encase the model. And here's the fully encased model: Next up is the Fly, which will be easier, since it's unmasted and will take a smaller box. It isn't on its final base yet, so I used a piece of one-by pine that I had lying around the workshop: The process is just the same as before, but with a smaller box, and with some baltic birch 1/4 inch ply I wanted to use up: And here's the last glimpse before getting to my new boatyard: The only problem now is that with no modelling to do, and no furniture or carving projects going, I can only twiddle my thumbs till we start the drive. I might have to take up beer-drinking. Cheers, Martin
  3. Well done, Ron. What wood are you using? I can't tell the actual size of the carving, but those cuts under the wings and separating the wings from the head are awfully tight. Are you using some kind of gouge, or ye olde exacto? For most of my carvings, I had to resort to using dulled exacto blades as scrapers, and found that strategy more effective -- and less destructive -- than the more straightforward one of gouging out waste. Cheers, Martin
  4. Ron -- How many times do we all have to learn that a big part of model building consists of gnashing the teeth and using language that would make a sailor blush? I spent the weekend out in my woodworking shop cutting dovetails for drawers. When I tried fitting the pieces together nothing would hold. And then I realized I had cut tails for pins, and had to do them all over. So I know your feeling. Cheers, Martin
  5. Definitely cooler, more wine, and probably only the occasional remnant of a hurricane: Connecticut, where I'm already designing (or dreaming of, depending on whom you talk to and whether my wife is involved in the conversation) my boatyard/wood working shop. When we'll actually manage to get there is another issue. Till we do, and I get a work place set up, I'm mostly entertaining myself by watching other builders' progress. Cheers, Martin
  6. Hi Peter -- Beer is always good, even in the cold. I don't have my classical sources at hand right now, since I've packed them up in preparation for our move out of the prairie. But I do recall a warm evening in Cambridge with some friends, when we were foolishly drinking merlot instead of IPA, and we entered a wager into the College Betting Book about the construction of Bellerophon's belt. Whether the bet was ever resolved, I can't say, because of that initial error of drinking merlot in such warm weather. Never again! Martin
  7. Wow, you've added metallurgy to your impressive set of skills. Getting the right sized anchors seems to be a persistent problem, and you've solved it. Ditto with the chains. Having rejected the ones that came in my kit, I'm trying to get my nerve up to re-learn silver soldering techniques for the umpteenth time. So tell me, where do you get your bass wire? All that I've bought locally has been coated with something that prevents soldering. Cheers, Martin
  8. Nice fix indeed. I'd worry, though, about offsetting your template, since that could set you up for a parallax effect. It's just me worrying. Martin
  9. Well done! I'll raise a glass or two in your direction! And I agree about Bellerophon's breast plate -- it should definitely be gold, or at least bronze. And as I recall, there's something about a belt, though I can't remember the details. Cheers, Martin
  10. Hi Ron - When I was dry fitting my head timbers, I pinned them in place. That gave me a modest success in judging how everything should come together, since pins slip and the pieces rotate around the pins. But still I could get a general sense. With your precision that might not be enough. I'll be eager to see how you solve that problem. Cheers, Martin
  11. Thanks, Ron, I've just placed an order. If I recall correctly, a wood supplier did once advertise on MSW. I used to have their site bookmarked, but have never ordered anything from them. If this works, then I'll be thrilled, because in my view there can never be too many wood suppliers. Cheers, Martin
  12. Hi Ron -- That's an interesting series of experiments on getting a sharp line on your blacking. If the tung oil doesn't prevent the seepage, and if you're thinking of keeping the unblackened area natural and unstained, then why not use something blonde shellac, or varnish, or even polyurethane? Maybe the blacking would seep under?? If you've already said this, forgive me, but where did you source your Swiss pear? I've started shaping some masts & spars out of a hunk of maple I had, and decided they are much, much too light (pretty close to white). I've always liked the mellowness of Swiss pear, and think it could be a nice match with the castelllo/boxwood I've used elsewhere, but haven't been able to find a source for modelling sized stock. And let me join the chorus of voices singing praise for your craftsmanship. Your joinery is beautifully tight and a pleasure to behold! Cheers, Martin
  13. Great work, Ron. Your skill with handtools is impressive -- I have to admire the precision you attain. And that billethead especially is a charmer. I personally find 5 pointed stars almost impossible to get symmetrical. Could you say a bit more about your ebonizing technique? What is quebracho bark extract, and where do you get it? Cheers, Martin
  14. Ron -- I really like the fact that you're relying on hand tools so much. The quietness of working wood by hand has always been one of the key attractions for me. And I can only admire your keen eye in spotting the table edge as the right curve -- marvelous! I believe I spotted the handle of a chisel in one photo, and a Lee Valley chisel in another, so I wonder why you're not using those to make the initial rounding and tapering shapes for your masts -- shavings are a lot easier to clean up than sawdust. I can't even begin to list the difficulties my own hawse holes gave me!!! Cheers, Martin

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