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David Lester

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About David Lester

  • Birthday 10/01/1952

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  • Location
    Cobourg, Ontario
  • Interests
    reading, woodworking, architecture

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  1. My Pride of Baltimore II is now finished. I added the rope coils, the railing and stanchions along the top as well as the running lights. I meant to mention the baggywrinkles earlier, but forgot. I tried many different ways to make them and nothing would work. In the end, I decided I'd been overthinking it and just used some pieces of wool. I found some wool the right colour and about the right size. I simply cut it into lengths and threading it onto the line and glued it. On close inspection it's obvious what it is, but from a slight distance, it certainly gives the right effect. On the real ship, the stanchions for the rail are just a dull metal colour. The ones I have were brass, so I blackened them only slightly so that they aren't quite black, but aren't bright shiny brass either. I always have trouble getting my rope coils to behave. I use Amati hemp from Cornwall Model Boats for the rigging and it's very nice line to use. However I can never get it to coil easily. The coils always want to go too round without appearing to hang. To solve the problem, I switch to crochet/tatting thread for the coils. I found one that matches really well and it's essential to use a very small size. It's Lizbeth thread, size 40, colour - medium mocha brown. This stuff is very soft and I find it much easier to use and it's virtually impossible to notice any difference. If anyone is contemplating building this model, I can highly recommend it. It's a really good kit and the plans are very accurate. There are many resources available for confirmation and I found virtually no discrepancies. Many thanks for your interest, and everyone, please stay well. David
  2. I have now essentially finished the rigging. I haven't posted during the rigging phase as it wasn't very interesting and it simply progressed in the usual way. I had one minor setback though. I had the same problem on a previous model, but failed to learn the lesson. I managed to break both the aft cross tree on the fore mast and the long spreader on the main mast. In both cases I had quite a bit of rigging already attached. I attempted to repair the breaks, but the result was pretty bad, so I had to undo the rigging and replace both broken pieces. The lesson I failed to learn is to not use the kit supplied basswood for these parts. There's a fair bit of tension on them and when I caught my finger on attached lines, it was enough to snap the parts. The basswood really isn't quite strong enough. It's much better to use some walnut or other hard wood for these parts which is what I did for the replacements. I suppose it would also work to use some very thin sheets and build up the thickness plywood style. I definitely will not forget this next time around. Three jobs left to do - add the rope coils on the belaying pins - touch up the paint in a couple of places - and add the rope railing that runs along the top rail. It's not included in the kit, but I found some really great stanchions for it at Cornwall Model Boats. I opted to omit the netting that hangs below the jibboom. I know that I simply couldn't model it in such a way that it would enhance the model, so I just left it off. This model has two turnbuckles which are placed just aft of the fore mast near the top. I've seen several methods for making them on-line, but I don't really have the metal working skills required and in most cases I think the results tend to look a bit bulky and over scale, so I made dummy ones by sanding down a dowel to a very small diameter and adding a small eyebolt at each end. I think they fit the bill ok and are scaled according to the plan. I always struggle a bit with some of the running rigging when not using sails. The plans show the model with sails and there is always a bit of tweaking involved by eliminated some of it and adapting some of it. I'm sure I haven't hit it 100% correct, but oh well. So, I'm really in the home stretch now. Thanks for your comments and likes. David
  3. Hello All, In my last post I was experimenting with ways to make the baggywrinkles. I found this “cleaning mitt” which looked like an ideal solution. It would have been perfect, however the scale was way too big, and the pieces fell apart if I tried to cut them down. So I prowled the dollar store and found this cat toy. These little thingys would have been perfect, as they were about the right scale, but when I cut them off and attempted to thread them on the line, they just crumbled, so it’s back to the drawing board for the baggywrinkles. At this point, the deck and hull are pretty much finished; later I just have to add the stanchions and rope railing along the rail. I really hated the supplied life rings. They are cast, including the rope that surrounds them, which looked ridiculous to my eye, so I found these ones at Bluejacket without rope and then I added some rope myself. Not actually all that much fun to do, but the result is well worth it. You may notice that I have omitted the airports that run down both sides of the deck. The ones provided have a large rim that protrudes above the surface, and I just hated the look of it. I did use them on the cabins, but I hated the thought of them on the deck. I know I can buy flush ones, but they would have required very precise holes to be drilled and I doubted my ability to do that 14 times. One misstep and the whole deck would have been ruined. The supplied ones with the large rim would have been forgiving and the holes easy to drill, but I opted to omit them nevertheless. I was perplexed by the colour of the hull. It never appears the same twice in any of the pictures I find. It seems to change over the course of a season in the water. However, I found a picture of the hull being painted, so I used that one as my guide and managed to find a decent enough match. I’m now well into the rigging and it’s always the same – as I near the end of the woodworking part of the build, I can’t wait to start the rigging and then as soon as I’m into it I wonder why I was so anxious to begin. In any case, it’s going fine. I have been experimenting with upgraded blocks. On my CW Morgan I used Bluejacket cast blocks for the larger ones and Syren for the smaller ones. Both were great. For this model, I am trying Master Korabel which I bought from Vanguard Models. In addition to being good looking, these ones are also nice to use. They have very sharp grooves cut into each corner and the line really grabs. They never slip out of place. However, they are so finely made, that every hole has to be re-drilled to get the rigging line through. I recreated the star decoration on the bowsprit on the computer. So that’s it for now. Many thanks, David
  4. Happy New Year Everyone! I have been pretty derelict in my posting lately, so thought I better do something before the build gets too far along. The hull is pretty much finished, bulwarks installed and top rail in place. The upper hull and inner bulwarks are painted. I'm still debating on the shade of green I'm going to use on the lower hull. The stern caused me a bit of trouble. I never manage to get a perfectly symmetrical hull, which doesn't matter too much when you view the side of the model, but it's more noticeable when viewed from one end or the another. So, just as a carpenter has to do some fudging to get square factory made kitchen cabinets to fit into an out of square kitchen, I had to do quite a bit of tweaking to get the lettering and other details to fit an out of whack stern. This isn't the best stern I've produced, but after many tries, this is the one I'm going to live with. I've started in on the deck furniture. There is a ton of it on this ship and the tolerances are pretty small - very little space between components. I know from experience that if I simply start at one end and work to the other that I'll either have no space left or too much space left. I was particularly concerned about that on this ship because of the number of items. That's the reason that I didn't build the coamings in before I planked the deck, which is my preferred method. I opted to have all of the pieces finished and moveable before fixing any of them in place. My only exception is for the fife rails which I like to do first and get them positioned and then locate the other things working from the fife rails in both directions. This ship has a lot of natural honey coloured woodwork and I was concerned about duplicating the look with basswood which is notoriously difficult to finish. My solution seems to be ok. It's a light wash of orange acrylic paint, very watered down, then followed up with a couple of coats of orange shellac. One detail that this ship has that I haven't run across before is "baggywrinkles." I've been wondering how I'm going to recreate those. I asked a friend who is an avid knitter if she had any fuzzy wool, so she gave me these samples: I might be able to make one of them work, but then yesterday I spied this in the grocery store and bought it on spec: In many ways it looks less like a cleaning mitt than a baggywrinkle dispenser! If this proves to be my solution, it looks like I have a lifetime supply of baggywrinkles. That's where I'm at for now. Many thanks for looking int. David
  5. Good Morning, A little more progress on my POB. I took this picture at the Tall Ships Challenge this summer and have been working to try to replicate the colours on the deck. The deck on this ship is quite dark (and actually a bit rough looking.) I wanted to get a dark colour for my deck, but hopefully not quite as rough. I used a .5 mm veneer strip (I believe it's cherry) and then painted it with watered down acrylic paint, a mixture of brown and orange. It was so thin that it worked more like a stain than a paint. I then finished it with amber shellac. The result is pretty much the effect I was after. After a bit of experimentation, I found red and yellow colours that match the actual ship pretty well. (That's yellow masking tape on the outboard edge of the plankshear, not a really poor paint line.) Installing the stanchions looked like a daunting task to me. The instructions show installing them all first and then planking them afterward. I knew I would have trouble getting them all at the right angle. I have Bob Hunt's practicum for this kit, and while I haven't been following it, I did use the method that Bob suggested for this job. He suggested building each section of bulwarks between the gunports off the model, (spacing the stanchions correctly of course,) and then installing each as a sub assembly. This method is proving to work very well. In the photo below, the sections are just sitting in place for the picture, not glued in yet. I'm also painting each section before installing it. I can't imagine painting those stanchions successfully after they're installed. That's all for now. It looks like a really windy and rainy day shaping up, so a good one to spend in my workship. David
  6. When I was selling real estate, a seller client received an offer conditional on a home inspection. The seller told me he was going to go over the house prior to the inspection and fix every little thing so that there would be absolutely no issues for the inspector to identify. When the inspection was finished the buyer's agent called me and said "the inspection went well, but we have one question - we noticed a to-do list on the fridge door and we're wondering what 'paint over water stains in basement' means?"
  7. Good Morning, Brief update - One problem I often encounter is this: early on in the build, before planking the hull, I glue pieces of scrap the mast mortises and then cut a rectangular tenon on the ends of the masts and fit them snugly in the mortises. So far so good. However, much later, when I square up the top ends of the masts, I often have trouble getting the square exactly in the right plane. If I leave it like that, the mast top isn't properly aligned and it can't be left that way. In order to fix it, I end up trimming the lower tenon, so I can rotate the mast, but it results in a very loose and poor fit and I wonder why the heck I spent so much time getting the tenon to fit well in the first place. This time, I'm trying something different. I padded the mast mortises with scraps of wood, so that they are actually square rather than rectangular. Then I carved round tenons on the masts. They fit very snugly and at the right angles. Now my hope is that later I can simply rotate the masts to line up properly without losing the nice snug fit. Planking - I have to admit it - I am probably the world's worst hull planker. It's never my favourite part of the build and I never approach it with a good attitude. The POB is a single planked hull and I was not happy with the job I was doing. On top of that, the plans indicate planks 1/8" wide but the provided strips are 3/16" wide which doesn't look quite right to me. I was fretting about it all, but I think I have a solution. I had bought some cherry from Cornwall Model Boats that is .5mm x 3mm to upgrade the decking and I bought a ton of it. (Might as well get my money's worth out of the shipping fee, right?) 3mm is approximately 1/8" so I am going to double plank the hull with this material. It's so thin that it's really just a veneer, but I think it's going to address my problem. Once I made this decision, I was able to finish the first layer without more fretting, as I knew I would just sand the heck out of it and use a lot of wood filler. I've now got a good smooth solid base, (although ugly as sin,) and I'm ready for the veneer layer. Thanks again for your comments and likes. David
  8. Hi Jack, Your perseverance is better than mine. I've pretty much abandoned my build of this kit. I've identified so many problems with its design that it's defeating me. I'm not the best hull planker in the world to start with, and I'm finding this clinker style very difficult. It's almost impossible to tell how much taper to give each plank at the bow and stern and it's not clear from the instructions how high up the planking is supposed to go. Also the planking seems far too heavy for the light framework of the model and I found it almost impossible to bend. Then there is supposed to be a thin walnut plank on top of the planking, but it appears as though the bulkheads have run out by that time and it's just edge glued to the plank below which seems almost impossible to me. I hate to give up on this kit as it's a handsome little model, but I'm not sure I have the patience for it. Your clinker planking is much better than my attempts were, so it seems you're off to a decent start. I'll be watching with interest to see how you overcome the other various problems. With hope maybe I can gain some encouragement from your results. All the best. David
  9. Good Morning, I have been progressing slowly on my POB; too many leaves to rake and too much painting at my daughter's house to do! I've attached the plankshear and wales. This plankshear is a tricky piece to position correctly. As is so often the case, the location of the gunports is key. I think I have it more or less in the right spot. I hate to add paint this early on in the process, but I couldn't think of another way to get a good crisp delineation between the yellow and the black where the plankshear and the wales meet the hull. I have now completely covered this area with masking tape to protect it while I proceed to other areas. The plankshear is yellow outboard and dark red inboard. I've scored it with a razor blade to help with the delineation when I add the red paint and the inboard side. The plankshear doesn't actually fit the hull very well. No matter what I did it came up about a half inch too short. This has to be a design flaw, because even allowing for minor differences in the way the hull is shaped or faired from one builder to another, a half inch is a lot. By getting the holes for the stanchions where it appears they ought to be according to the plan, the shortfall was at the bow. I ended up cutting off the mating ends of the plankshear and making a new piece to fill in the space at the bow. It looks a little rough at this stage, but there is much to add at this location which will virtually bury it. Parts of the framework appear discoloured because I wasn't happy with its location on my first attempt and decided to remove it and relocate it. Dissolving the glue spread the black paint around a little bit. So, that's all for the time being. I'm now about to start planking the counter and lower transom. David
  10. Best street name yet (Florence, Italy)
  11. I haven't thrown it across the room, although many years ago I did throw a garden bench I was building across the room. The top and bottom rails for the back had dados in them and there was a series of slats that had to line up perfectly in order to get the top rail on. It did not go well. However I managed to salvage it and we used it for many years. I've decided to plank the hull conventionally and see how that looks. David
  12. Jim, Maybe I'll just plank it normally and leave it at that. Thanks for the suggestion. It isn't too late; I haven't thrown it across the room yet. David
  13. Well, I'm just about ready to throw this thing across the room. I have made four attempts to plank it, never getting more than three planks on and then dissolving the glue and starting over. I was hoping it would be a little in-between project bringing me nothing but joy😀, but it is the most aggravating difficult thing I've tried to do out of all the models I've built. There are many problems to solve: the bow and stern are identical, so if I try to use one plank for the whole length, it has to be cut and fitted perfectly at each end, rather than fitting it only at the bow and just cutting it off at the stern - the planks overlap, so it's very difficult to figure out how much to taper each one at the ends - I don't know what the planking wood is, but it's very hard, very thick and is too heavy and inflexible to work with against the weak and flimsy framework. If this hull was about 24" long with sold bulkheads it might be ok but as it is it's like framing a wall with 2x2's and trying to nail 2x4's on as the siding - and last, but far from least I simply cannot get this clinker planking to blend from the overlap into a flush fit at the bow and stern without looking like hell. As you have probably inferred by now, I am not having fun with this one, so it's going to have an indefinite time-out and I'm going to focus on my Pride of Baltimore. At least I didn't spend much money on it. David
  14. You're coming along pretty well. I had quite a bit of trouble with the plankshear on my CWM too, not so much it breaking, but rather I couldn't seem to maintain a consistent projection from the hull for the length of the ship. If you're unhappy with the look of your plankshear, I would echo Landlubber Mike's suggestion to sand it smooth with the hull and then apply a new piece over top. That's what I did as well. It gave a very crisp look and it's a very easy fix. David

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