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David Lester

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About David Lester

  • Birthday 10/01/1952

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

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  1. Planking the gun deck - So the adventure continues with this kit. It's so different from the others that I've build, I feel like I'm flying blind. I think I mentioned in any earlier post that the decking comes all pre-cut, tapered etc. You cut the pieces out of a billet. Below is the billet with the gun deck planking all removed - The system works in theory, but it's quite a different matter in practice. The pieces include a "frame" which comprises the nibbing strakes, which is infilled with the decking planks. It's like a jigsaw puzzle. In a perfect environment, they all fit together with impressive accuracy, but the problem is, there is absolutely no margin for error. There are four pieces to each side of the outer frame and they all fit together with scarf joints and of course they have a curve. If any of them is misplaced by even a millimetre then the whole thing falls out of whack and nothing will line up on the other side or at the other end. In addition, there's the problem of having to sand each plank. As you can see in the photo, there are the little bits that attached each plank to the billet and they have to be sanded off. The least variation in how much you sand affects the fit and the effect is cumulative. It's normal to start planking in the centre and work out to each side, however I felt that if I did that this time, I would have a poor fit on each side where the last planks meet the outer frame. So this time I started on the port side and worked across the deck, my thought being that I would have to adjust only on one side. I got a good fit all the way across at the bow, but by the time I got to the stern, here's what the fit looks like - It's hard to believe how quickly the errors in placement compound and I can't imagine how to compensate for them. Nevertheless I got a passable result in the centre of the deck which is the only part that will be visible when the upper deck is in place. Even so, due to sanding inconsistencies, I was short by almost the width of one plank, and because all of the joints are pre-determined there was no way to maintain the staggering of joints at the spot where I inserted the extra plank. I was pretty sure these issues would arise, but I decided to proceed anyway, because about 95% of the gun deck is completely obstructed from view by the upper deck. There's only one area that's open and the life boat is over top of that, and I made sure the planking looked ok in that area, so I figured I couldn't do too much harm. My thought was if the right approach to this planking method became apparent in this "practice" run, then I would use it on the upper deck. But at this point I don't believe I can successfully plank the upper deck using this method, so I have ordered some wood and will plank the upper deck in the more usual way. I'll report again when I discover the next surprise! David
  2. Hi Paul, Many of the Model Shipways kits just call for putting the planks directly on the bulkheads. As I recall that never caused me too much trouble, but it can be a bit tricky keeping it smooth and level and it certainly can cause problems with your planking pattern as you don't necessarily want your planks always ending on a bulkhead. For my POB, I chose to use a solid subdeck first. It gives a really nice smooth flat surface to plank on and you can easily place the plank joints wherever your pattern calls for. However, as you mentioned, thickness is a concern on the POB. The planking is 1/16" thick and it you add a subdeck, you will probably be too high. I ordered a 1mm sheet to make the subdeck and .5mm strips to use for the planks which worked out about just right. Together they are just under 1/16". The .5mm planking from Cornwall Model Boats is quite inexpensive so I ordered a ton of it. I ordered both 3mm and 5mm widths. I bought both their cherry and tanganyka. I wasn't sure which colour I would prefer, but when it came the two were indistinguishable. It finished really nicely, but I had to be careful sanding, it's easy to go right through! I like the colour of your hull. David
  3. Thanks everyone for checking in - I've started in on this project and trying to get used to its idiosyncrasies. On the positive side, the pieces fit together with much more precision than I am used to on Model Shipways kits, but on the other hand already there have been some pitfalls which I have managed to catch, but I am worried about the ones further down the line that I miss until it's too late. The stem, keel and stern went together beautifully - They attach to the false keel and fit virtually perfectly. The false keel is 4mm thick and the keel/stem/stern assembly are 6mm thick. I tacked a 1mm strip down both sides of the false keel to help position it correctly - I would have expected the kit to include a thin walnut strip to fit along the bottom of the keel, but there was nothing even close in size. So I used a piece of basswood that I had that was the right thickness, but I had to sand it down to the right width. There are two pieces that are held in place by two of the bulkheads which receive the ends of the two masts. These are not mentioned in the instructions and it takes a bit work to even find them in the plans. They have to go in at the same time as the bulkheads or else it's too late. This one is for the fore mast This one is for the main mast, but look where it's located. Right in the middle of the bulkhead. That bulkhead will have to be cut out to accommodate the mast! Similarly, I discovered that some serious adjustments have to be made to accommodate the bowsprit - The part marked BH comes as one piece, but it needs to be cut in two and a large opening made it in. Also, the first bulkhead has to be cut, otherwise there is nowhere to put the bowsprit, which passes through the upper deck and rests on a bitt on the lower deck. Otherwise, it's progressing nicely. There are horizontal strips that tie the bulkheads together and they fit so precisely that it's amazing. Once I have all the bulkheads in place and the strips glued it, it should make for a quite rigid structure. The odd location of the bulkhead where the main mast goes caused me to look ahead at the gunports and how they're located vis-a-vis the bulkheads. I actually found a casual reference to it in the instructions, which suggested that it might be possible to find that a gunport opening was obstructed by a bulkhead (as if it was something that might or might not happen!) It looks from the plan that it is a certainty. Anyway, that's all for now. Thanks again, David
  4. Here's what I did - I searched for images of wood grain, then printed gold lettering (I didn't worry about the carved aspect of the lettering). For the yellow, instead of painting the wood yellow, I printed yellow on a piece of paper and printed red lettering on it. Then I combined the two and glued them to the stern and coated them with some varnish. I did the same for the star on the bowsprit, this time searching for images of patinated copper and stars. I re-coloured the star and combined the two images It takes a little bit of trial and error on the computer getting the curve in the lettering, spacing etc. as close as possible to the real thing. That's one idea at least. David
  5. Hi Andy, Thanks for your input. I am aware that this is a snow brig. I'm just not sure how much that affects the rigging compared to a regular brig. The area of the kit's rigging instructions that is weakest, (apart from lack of belaying points shown) is in fact the lower main yard. I was looking at the on-line manual for Caldercraft's Badger, because it is a British brig of approximately the same period and it indicates that its lower main yard is rigged like a crossjack, so I'm really interested in seeing your input about this detail. The main question for me is the braces. There are none shown on the plans at all and I can't believe that there wouldn't have been any. I believe if the yard was rigged like a crossjack, then the braces would lead forward from the mast. If this is not how this yard should be rigged, then I assume they must lead aft, then through a sheave in the hull and belay to an inboard bulwarks cleat. Does that sound right I'm not sure if I'm ready to spring for a copy of TFFM just yet, they all appear to be pretty expensive. Anyway, this is all far in the future for me as I have much to do before getting to that point. David
  6. Good Morning All, So, I bit the bullet and ordered this kit from MarisStella. I couldn't believe how quickly it came. I ordered it on a Wednesday and it was on my doorstep the following Tuesday. It was shipped with DHL, which I had heard was the best courier for international shipping and I can see why they have a good reputation. This kit was expensive, especially when adding in shipping, duty, taxes and all in Canadian dollars. I have not looked at the VISA bill, so I don't know what the actual total was and my wife and I have tacitly agreed not to discuss it. I don't normally bother with showing the parts of the kits, but I thought it might be of interest this time, since this is such a new kit. There's a large manual - it has very little in the way of written instructions, but is mostly computer generated images that take you through the process. They will require a fair bit of scrutiny to follow, but appear to be quite comprehensive. Here is a sample page: There are four sheets of plans - two for the hull and masts and two for the rigging: Many sheets of laser cut parts. Here are just a couple of examples: This kit has an interesting and different (to me at Least) approach to the decks. I don't know if other MarisStella kits use this method or if it's unique to this kit. The two decks - gun deck and upper deck each comprise a thin sub deck over which is laid the actually decking. However, in this case all of the decking planks are pre-cut, tapered, joggled etc. You can see the decking planks in the top sheet in the picture below. I'm not sure yet how successful this will be, so I will find out. Strip wood, dowels and blocks: stripwood is walnut and lime, blocks are balsa. Appropriate set of fittings - the blocks are standard issue, but there some very nice parrel beads, cannon balls, hearts, bullseyes etc. There are many photo etched parts, which look very nice. And of course, the most interesting aspect of this kit - the 3d printed components. The cannon barrels, windlass, anchors all make a welcome change from cast metal and I expect will paint up really well. The more "controversial" parts are the stern components and the head rails, which you would normally expect to see made from wood. I have always hating making head rails, so I won't mind just having to paint these ones, but on the other hand it's going to require some precise modeling as I have to ensure that they will fit. When you scratch build them you can always alter them to fit the hull; I won't have that luxury this time, but on the other hand if they really don't fit at all, I can always make some new ones from wood. With the stern and galleries, the idea is that you plank the flat surfaces with thin planking, and only the painted trim work of the resin component will be exposed. This will be a bit of an experiment and we'll see how it goes. Again, if it's a complete and utter failure, I can always scratch build these parts. The kit provides for a fully finished gun deck and suggests using one of two options - either closing in the upper deck completely in which case none of the details of the gun deck would be visible or leaving a large portion of the upper deck out, exposing much of the gun deck. I am leaning towards fully closing the upper deck, but haven't decided yet. In any case, I will fully plank the gun deck as good practice for using the pre-cut decking planks when it comes to the upper deck. Until I start building, I won't know what all the pitfalls will be, but at this point, I can identify one huge problem and that is the very poor rigging plans. There is no mention of the rigging and no illustrations of it whatsoever in the manual and the rigging plans are very sketchy. I don't like to complain or find fault unnecessarily, but I can see that this is going to present me with a real challenge. I have become pretty good at following Model Shipways rigging plans, which I find to be quite comprehensive and easy to follow. But here, lines seem to begin and end at random, no line is labeled and not a single belaying point is indicated. The rigging plans are virtually incomprehensible and I'm not even sure of their accuracy - for example at a quick look, it appears to me that there are a least one too many stays on both masts, certainly more than are shown in the photographs of the finished model. So, I am going to have to be resourceful and round up other sources for details. I have never build a brig before, so I'm not too sure how much it differs from other ships. The original model was researched and built by a model maker named John Adela, whose business is called The Art of the Age of Sail. I was surprised to discover that he's located only about 30 miles from me. I have contacted him and he has offered to help me with any specific questions, but I can't be pestering him on a routine basis, so I'm going to have to discover some other sources. John suggested that British brigs of this period were rigged very much like British three-masted ships of the same period which is helpful to know. I know I can buy plan sets for American brigs from Model Shipways, which might be of some help, but I'm not sure how much they might differ from the British ones. Also belaying points look to be unique on the Ontario - there are only fife rails, no pin rails. Instead there are many cleats mounted to the bulwarks. Any suggestions that anyone has about where I should turn would be more than welcome. I spent the day yesterday "retooling" my shop by which I mean cleaning up all the detritus from my previous build, so I'm ready to get started. David
  7. Thanks again all. Bob Hermann - it hadn't occurred to me to put the gaffs in the lower position until a friend sent me a video he took of Bluenose II motoring with no sails up and the gaffs were lowered. So I decided to show my model that way too. I think it's a good option for the Bluenose because it really shows off the rigging and the many large blocks of the peak halliards. Bob Garcia - lucky you for having made it to Lunenburg last year. We saw Bluenose in Ontario last September on the Tall Ships Challenge and we decided to make a trip to Lunenburg this year, but you know what occurred and we never made it. David
  8. I am the world's worst maintainer of build logs. I forget to take pictures until I realize that I am quite a way along since my last update and then for some reason, the longer it goes, the harder it seems to be to do the update. So better late than never, here are some pictures of my completed Bluenose. To be honest you haven't missed much during the rigging as this is a pretty simple model and the rigging couldn't be more straight forward. There isn't too much of it, and there are no unique problems to overcome. The trickiest thing about this kit is deciding how to handle all of the metal work on the rigging. I've chosen to eliminate much of the metal work as I doubted my ability to recreate it well enough. I did use some around the mast tops and I made some turnbuckles. One detail that I did choose to include was the use of internally stropped blocks, which I purchased from BlueJacket and they seem to recreate the look of the original Bluenose quite nicely. I can see why the Bluenose is such a popular kit. Apart from being a very handsome model, it isn't too difficult to do, doesn't take too long to do, but at the same time is a very satisfying. So now that this one is done, I have decided to jump off the deep end and launch into a challenging new build - the HMS Ontario from Maris Stella. I had been unaware of this ship until reading about it on this site, and I find it to be of interest because it's so local to me. I live a five minute walk from the shore of Lake Ontario and it's only about 40 miles across the lake to the site of the wreck. So far, I have built Model Shipways kits almost exclusively and have gotten pretty comfortable with them. So I expect the Ontario will present some new challenges for me which I am looking forward to. David
  9. That should work Paul. Just be careful not to get the stanchions mixed up. It's very easy to do; the differences are minimal, but fairly crucial.
  10. I always have an internal debate about attaching the deck furniture. I believe the better practice is to leave openings, adding supporting "beams" where necessary and install the items, all before planking the deck, planking around them. I have done that in the past, and it works really well, but this time I thought I'd try the simpler approach and I just glued them down on top of the planked deck. I think the result is not quite as good, but it's ok. It seems to work so long as you get a good tight fit accommodating the shape of the deck and you have to double check the height of the coamings, as they should be a shorter height when glued on top than when installed before the decking goes down.
  11. My masts, booms and gaffs are pretty much ready and it looks like I'm into the rigging now. All of the blocks on the Bluenose were internally stropped and it appears from old photos that they were all painted white. This is a detail that I wanted to include. There seem to be two options for internally stropped blocks: one is the wooden ones from Syren and the other is the cast metal ones from BlueJacket. I weighed the pros and cons of each and in the end settled on the BlueJacket ones for two reasons. The first is the Syren ones are not available in the smallest size that is called for on the Bluenose plus they are so exquisite that I didn't think I had the heart to paint them. On the other hand, the BlueJacket ones are available in all the specified sizes and they are intended to be painted, so they seemed the right choice for this project. Many of the blocks on the Bluenose were attached with shackles. I have no confidence in my ability to replicate them skillfully enough at this scale, so I have opted to seize the blocks to eyebolts which I know will look better in the end. The bowsprit is installed and rigged, including my fake turnbuckles - The foremast is held in place with temporary "stays" while I start in on the lower shrouds That's it for now. Thanks, David
  12. Paul, I think mine was the same as yours. You have to essentially scratch build everything on the deck. I just measure the plans, make a note and transfer the measurements to the wood. I have my own quirky little system. I measure everything in 32s of an inch and make a note, ie: width 12, height 14 which of course means 12/32 x 14/32. If something is over an inch, my note reads, for example, 1-15 which means 1" + 15/32". Just be careful with the detail insets on the plan. They are usually double the scale. I have been know to mistakenly build the odd very large hatch or two!
  13. That forward wall fits nicely. I found that to be a particularly finicky thing to do on mine. Did you make a cardboard template? I must have gone through ream of cardboard until I had a template that fit. Looks great! David
  14. Hi, They're kinda on a par, but I suppose the Bluenose is the easier build. I have found the MS plans for both kits to be very accurate. I visited the Pride of Baltimore last summer and took many photographs, and I found almost no discrepancies between the plans and the actual ship. For the Bluenose I am having to rely on the old photographs that I have found on line, but again, the plans seem to reflect reality very closely. Photos of the Bluenose II are not of any help, because the details are considerably different. So, to answer your question, it probably makes sense to begin with the Bluenose. It's an easy hull to plank and the rigging is relatively simple. In addition to the build logs on the forum, have you discovered this website: https://suburbanshipmodeler.com/ This guy has a pretty comprehensive build log of his Bluenose. Most old pictures of the Bluenose can be found at the Nova Scotia archives - https://novascotia.ca/archives/bluenose/ but the site is not much fun to navigate; you have to wade through page after page to find the pictures, but it's worth it. They can be quite helpful when something is not quite clear in the plans. Anyway, those are my thoughts for what they're worth. I hope they're of some help to you. David

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