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Martin W

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Nothing boring here, Ron. It's always good to see the progress of a craftsman. Cheers, Martin
  8. Nice work, Ron. I always admire the clean lines you're able to get on your work. And congratulations on your move: if the only thing you've lost is the one oar, then you should be relieved. Of course you'll never know what you've lost until you can't find it. Cheers, Martin
  9. Hi Spy -- Your response came in right as I was submitting mine. It's great to hear from you. And I can't count the number of times I've bled over some part of the build. I keep a box of band aids at my work bench, and go through them apace. My own eyesight is terrible, and last summer I got an infection in a finger joint which left the whole finger almost unusable so that working on fine details has become even more of a challenge than before. Nonetheless, we endure. Cheers, Martin
  10. Hello Everybody -- Thanks for all the kind comments, they always remind me that ship modellers really do form a community. And thanks to everyone who clicked the Like button. Mike -- Pegasus would be interesting to carve. There's lots of opportunities for working out details, and as I found out making that rocking horse some years back, there are some long-standing conventions that can guide you along the way. Best of luck with it, and I can't wait to see what you come up with. Toni -- As always your advice is really good. I hadn't thought of using a building board, because I'd become fixated on using a mounting board. But your suggestion sounds much more stable and protective. I still worry, though, about the fact that the models will be riding in the seat of an F-250, which has never been known for its smoothness (or quietness). And then there are my other two builds that are rigged -- with those I can only think that I'll have to make cases for them. Peter -- I would absolutely LOVE to spend the rest of my life in the Alps. I'd need to relearn both the German and Italian that I've long since lost, and I'd have to find resources well beyond those of a retired university professor. One reason I'm eager to get to a cooler region is because I miss ice skating terribly. My wife & I have been talking about a trip to Lugano -- which I haven't seen since 1988 -- and that's made me start thinking about the food, which I might miss even more than the skating. Cheers to all, Martin
  11. Hello Everybody, and Happy New Year! Checking the log I keep for myself in the boatyard, I see that it was 3 October that I started work on the Figurehead. I proceeded in a somewhat methodical fashion, but suffered several setbacks that made this little project longer and more involved than I'd expected, even for such a slow worker like me. One setback is that the Coolpix I've had for only about 9 years, and that replaced the old Nikkormat I bought in 1971 stopped working with any reliability. My sister and wife pressured me last summer into buying a smart phone, and I have just this morning figured out how to upload pictures from it to my laptop. Pictures of the steps in carving and the mishaps don't exist, I'm afraid, so I'll rely on verbal narrative. I began by working out a clay model that helped me understand the basic design issues. Setback #1 came when I wanted to study that model for some detail, and found it completely squished under the glue bottle. By that point, I was committed to the carving, so I didn't bother with resurrecting the flattened clay version. I decided to try carving in cherry rather than my usual boxwood (castello), just for a switch. One consequence is that the grain of the cherry is more obvious in the final carving than the boxwood's would have been, and it made the overall piece more fragile. I oriented the grain lengthwise, but still suffered two major breaks. The first was when the entire right arm (on the starboard side) broke at the shoulder. That was early enough that I could glue it back into place, and then follow the Roman technique of supporting the thin piece of the arm through connections with the body, one at the shoulder, of course, and one at the wrist. The second break came with the foot on the same side, because the back-bent angle of the legs meant that the calves and ankles were cross-grained. I left the feet outlined only as "boots" since any more detail would have led to more breaks. And when I glued the foot back on, it broke again almost immediately, so I've left it off until I put the figurehead permanently into place. So here are some views from different angles: The pointing arm on the port side, I carved separately, and then pinned on. It's a bit larger than the right arm, because I had to allow room for the hand and fingers. And here, by way of contrast, is the kit-supplied figurehead: Oddly, this version looks decidedly feminine, in contrast to the masculine Mercury figure of the plans (and in FFM). Her arm -- and the one on the plans -- is raised more vertically than mine. And in the plans (and FFM) Mercury is pointing a single finger upward. That struck me as slightly offensive, so I had my Mercury pointing the way Onward. I'll add a few coats of wipe-on poly, then store it away, with the detached foot, until the whole ship is done. I'm unsure what to do next, since I don't really want to add any fragile details for a while. Mrs W & I plan on pulling up stakes here on the prairie and establishing our retirement home in some cooler region. I have no idea how to move a ship model, and have already begun to dread the damage I'll inflict on this one and my other two. Cheers, Martin
  12. Hi Peter -- Your choices for the paint scheme for Bellerophon seem appropriate, bronze would have been too dull. And that weapon does look odd -- who knows. Maybe it's supposed to be a kind of curved short sword. As for the goat's head over the lion's, my guess is that the goat coming out of the back of the lion looked so ridiculous that Bellerophon cut it off to make the chimaera look more presentable. And I have to envy that heroically narrow waist! Cheers, Martin
  13. Hi Peter -- Nice work on the hardest area! You mention that the rails are cast -- what material are they cast from? They look just like hand-grooved and shaped rails. Cheers, Martin
  14. I'm surprised, Peter, at how much of a difference the lower height makes. It does, and the difference is definitely an improvement. Cheers, Martin

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