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David Lester

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Everything posted by David Lester

  1. Hi All, I haven't posted lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been working on my model. I have pretty much finished the running rigging and I just couldn't seem to get the model to a presentable state for photos and updates as I went along. For some reason I found this model very difficult to rig and I don't believe there isn't any aspect of the running rigging that I didn't do over at least once. About half of the belaying pins are completely inaccessible and I seemed compelled to run lines on the wrong sides of things, only to notice it much later! I had a tendency when snipping off the line at the belaying pin to snip on the wrong side of the pin! I was continually messing up the tension with each addition line! etc etc. and there's a fair bit of chain used for the rigging which is very frustrating to work with as it usually needs to be cut to an exact length without much wiggle room. Anyway, I got it done. I bought some internally stropped blocks from BlueJacket and used them where indicated. I think you can make them out below on the topsail halliards, which are chain. I also managed to snap off several davits. So, I'm closing in on the finish line. The remaining items to complete are the whaleboats, the anchors and the stage that attaches to the starboard side. I'm really pleased with my upgraded blocks on this model. The larger ones (3/16" anc 5/16") as well as the internally stropped blocks are from BlueJacket and the smaller ones (1/8" and 3/32") are from Syren. I don't know if any of you have ever the noticed the paradox in model building, but this last rigging job has really pointed it out to me. On the whole, this hobby is relaxing, challenging, rewarding, fun, contemplative, meditative, satisfying and any number of other positive things. However, at the same time and paradoxically it seems to comprise nothing but a series of jobs that individually are aggravating, tedious, repetitive, frustrating, and tending to make one bang one's head against the wall! How is this possible? I think we need a new word for this phenomenon. There's a word "synergy" which applies when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. What would be the word when the whole is the opposite of the sum of the parts? Perhaps "frustifaction" or maybe "satistration" I don't know. David
  2. It appears you're off to a great start. I think you'll love building this model. It's a great kit. David
  3. Hi Tom, I had to make some safety netting for my Morgan. I tried finding tulle in a fabric store, but the only stuff I could find was much too fine, so I resorted to making it. I essentially did what Bob suggest above - It was a little like tying ratlines, only the resulting squares needed to be diamond shape, so I made two rows of nails and strung lines between them so that they were a little bit like shrouds, only they ran parallel. I then ran two lines on an angle across them, which represented the outer edges of the shape I ultimately needed. Then I added "ratlines" securing them to the vertical "shrouds" and ending them at diagonal lines which defined the shape of the finished piece. I glued the knots and then cut out the piece. Admittedly, this is a much simpler shape than the safety netting on POB II, but perhaps the same technique might be made to work. The size of the "diamonds" can be adjusted to whatever is called for. These ones are fairly large, but they're exactly what the plans indicated. My next project is the POB II and I'm hoping I can make it work. I'm certainly going to try it at least. Just a thought. David
  4. I'll be attending the same event in Brockville, ON on August 31. I'm primarily going to see Pride of Baltimore II which is my next project, but I'm looking forward to seeing the Bluenose II as well, along with a number of other tall ships. I'll be taking lots of pictures and I'll be happy to share them too. David
  5. Not a lot of progress to report; I've been spending lots of time working outside on the house and yard. However I have accomplished a little bit on the CWM. I'm working from aft to fore and have now finished the mizzen mast rigging. A problem I didn't foresee is that most of the lines are seized to eyebolts, rather than seized directly around the spars, which is not a problem when there's only one line. However, some of these eyebolts have more than one line seized to them and at the aft end of the gaff there are four separate lines seized to one eyebolt. I used too small an eyebolt initially and wasn't able to cram all four seizings onto it and still have it look half decent, so I had to redo that bit using a bigger eyebolt. I always find it hard to belay lines to the pins and the ones surrounding the mizzen mast on this model are particularly hard to access, so here's a strange question. Has anyone ever considered doing much of the rigging backwards? By that I mean attaching and securing long lines to the belaying pins very early on, before almost any deck details have been added. Then run the lines in the opposite direction and seize them later to the masts and yards. I've never seen or read anything that suggests that as an alternative, and it probably isn't a viable alternative, but could it really be more difficult than belaying in a tidy manner to the almost inaccessible pins? It's just a thought that occurred to me this morning as I came close to "losing it"! Thanks again for checking in. David
  6. Hi Dave, The tool that I went without for a long time and now can't imagine how I managed without it is a digital caliper. I use it all the time - when strips of wood need to be resorted by size, what size hole do I need to drill for this eyebolt, when I need to convert mm to inches, measuring wire thickness, when I stupidly have more than one container of drill bits open at the same time and mix them up, etc. etc. I seem to reach for it continually. It won't use up all of your $100 either. David
  7. Hello All, A little more progress to report - I've finished the standing rigging! It's always a nightmare process for me as I can never seem to get the tension right among the three masts. As soon as I tension one line and it brings the mast into a more or less straight position, another line goes slack. And, I'm always too quick to get the seizings glued and trimmed, which of course makes later adjustments all but impossible. I never seem to learn from one model to the next; it's always like I'm doing it for the first time and like deja vu all over again I went down that rabbit hole this time too! But then I got control of myself and started over. I'm not sure what others like to do, but I've pretty much decided that the best way for me to do it is to get the lowest stay for each mast in place first before the lower shrouds go on, then move directly to the highest stay starting with the mizzen and moving forward. So my order was: 1. mizzen topgallant stay, then mizzen topgallant backstay, 2. main royal stay, then main royal backstay and 3. fore royal stay then fore royal backstay. And I even left the seizings all unglued and untrimmed until all were in place so I could adjust each as needed until the masts were all reasonably straight. Then it was just a matter of filling in the others. At this point it was easy to apply just enough tension to each line without it having an adverse effect on the others. Sorry if that all seems too elementary to even mention, but I'm feeling very happy about finding a system that works for me and with any luck I won't have to relearn it on my next model. I enjoyed Groundhog Day, but that doesn't mean I like living it! I've also attached the fish tackle. This is a piece of rigging that I'm not familiar with. I assumed it was related to whaling, but according to the MS instructions it was used to help hoist the anchor. Is that correct? Is it a feature of ships of this era (second half of the 19th century?) All the other models I've built are of much earlier ships. back stays secured also added the running lights mizzen topmast stay Up next is the upper ratlines. Many thanks for comments, likes etc. David
  8. Hi Rich, Thanks for drawing my attention to EdT's build log. That's one of the most impressive builds I've seen, not to mention one of the best build logs. David
  9. Hello All, It seems I have been working and working with very little to show for it! It's time to mount the top masts and then add their shrouds and stays, but a quirk of the Morgan is the lower and upper topsail yards on the fore and main masts are attached with metal brackets. That necessitates their being mounted to the masts before the masts can be mounted on the ship, which means a whole lot of rigging to add to the yards before anything can happen. There's a fair bit of chain rigging on this ship and it's had to deal with because you can't just snug it up by sliding the seizing; you pretty much have to get the length right from the beginning. You can see the metal brackets for the two yards in this photo: While there are many benefits to adding as much rigging to the yards before mounting them, it creates a great deal of chaos, especially with the long lines. I have a bad habit of inadvertently getting glue on them somewhere along their length which I never notice until much later when it won't pass through a block and I have to get up, leave the room and walk around the block before I settle down again. But, I'm getting ahead of myself; that's all lying in wait for me. 😯 One tricky bit on this model is this piece of rigging: It's a double iron block hanging below the two lower masts through which two chains pass. The piece included in the kit is almost laughable. It's a small piece of sold white metal with no holes in it. It needs to be drilled through on each side in order to accept the chains. I did not anticipate being able to use it successfully and have spent a lot of time considering how best to replicate this part from scratch. I decided to try drilling it nevertheless and couldn't believe it, but I managed to get it to work - two through holes in each of the two pieces! (Paint touch up is needed on the yard as a result of dirty fingers from handling the chain.) So now, on to the topmast shrouds and stays. Thanks again for looking in. David
  10. Hi James, You're doing a great job! I too am a Bob Hunt alumnus and to be honest, I could never have grasped the process of building these models without him. I started with his Armed Virginia Sloop practicum and moved directly into the USS Consitution. After that I found I didn't need them any longer, as I was able to work on my own. Most of my models have been MS and I believe that you can basically throw the instruction book away. (Chuck Passaro's excepted.) Everything you need is on the plans, but they are absolutely dense with information and it takes a bit of experience to learn how to decipher them. You're off to a great start and it looks to me like you've have a fine Bluenose when you're done. David
  11. Good Morning, With the lower shrouds and lower stays in place, it seemed like a good idea to stop work on the standing rigging and add the five boat handing stations at this point. I also added the ratboards as well. The ratboards were fun to do and actually quite a bit easier than regular ratlines. I always have a problem with the outermost two shrouds pulling in as add the ratlines, but that was not a problem in this case. I've also finished the five boat handing stations. While they were not difficult, it was a much larger job than I anticipated as there are many components to each one. The hull of this ship has an incredible number of things on it and someone had advised me to take a great deal of care at the outset and when adding any element to the hull to be quite aware of how it would affect the placement of other components. It was a challenge making sure everything would fit in more or less the right place. I'm happy to report that everything fits properly and I didn't have to make any "do overs." Now on to the rigging in earnest. David
  12. Hi Felix, Have you tried Cornwall Model Boats? They have Artesania Latina rigging thread. They ship very quickly and inexpensively to Canada. I use them all the time. David https://www.cornwallmodelboats.co.uk/acatalog/artesania-rigging-thread.html
  13. Hi Dave, I'm enjoying watching your progress and noticing your struggle with tapering the planks. The MS Constitution also has tapered planks. Each plank runs the full length of the deck and must be tapered so that all planks fit in at the aft end. I think you're on to the solution with the xacto chisel blade and sanding stick. I too tried the holding the ruler down on the plank and cutting along its edge without any success. (Virtually impossible to hold everything tightly enough.) I think you've found the solution with the xacto chisel blade and sanding stick. I did something similar. I didn't have a chisel blade, but I did use an xacto blade. I don't recall if I used a straight (#11) or curved (#10) blade. I needed to reduce the width of the planks from 3/32" to about 1/16", so I drew a line along the plank from point where I wanted to start the taper to the end. At the end where I was removing a full 1/32" I cut it with the knife and then sanded the full length of the taper smooth. (I use a piece of paint stirring stick, about 6" long with self adhesive sandpaper attached.) I didn't fuss too much about getting each one exactly identical, just more or less the same. I applied the planks working out from the centre line, first one side then the other and tried to keep the two sides more or less equal. However, the closer I got to the outside, the more attention I paid to the width of the planks, as I didn't want to end up with any that needed to be tapered to a point. Anyway, that method worked well for me and I'm sure you will find a great result too. David
  14. Hi John, I'm no expert, but I now have a few builds under my belt and I attach the yards to the masts after all the masts are in place. I pin the yards to the masts with those tiny nails, but I locate and pre-drill the holes in the masts before mounting them. I drill the yard, cut the head off the nail and glue it into the yard, then attach it to the mast after the mast was in place. I don't glue the pin into the mast though as I want some movement in the yard fore and aft and up and down as I tightened the various lines and get the yard positioned . I used Bob Hunt's practicum on my Constitution too and I took his advice and attached as much rigging to the yards as possible prior to mounting them. It makes for quite a mess of lines hanging, but it's a lot easier seizing those lines and blocks on the bench than at the top of the mast. In my experience, while Bob's practicums are generally pretty good, he really drops the ball when it comes to the rigging stage. I suspect he hates that aspect of model building. I have all of his practicums, and in several of them it's quite clear that he hasn't even rigged the subject ship as he shows photos from other kits entirely and suggests that a certain aspect of the rigging will be similar to the photo. In the Constitution rigging section of the practicum there are many details left out. The foot ladders are one of them, he doesn't include the railings on the aft side of the mast tops and he omits the jackstays. I know there are other omissions too, but those are the ones that come to mind at the moment. I'm not sure why they're not included other than I suspect he gets impatient as he nears the end of the build and wants to get it done as quickly as possible. That's just a guess though. I really like Model Shipways plans, but there is a heck of a lot of information on each page and I have to go over the plans again and again to make sure I haven't missed anything. After a few MS builds I've learned how to read their plans effectively, but I was quite inexperienced when I built my Constitution and I know I missed a few things. I did notice the ladders and the rails on the mast tops and included those, but to be honest, I never even noticed the jacksays on the plans until it was way too late, so there are no jackstays on my model. I hope you have a great time as you get back to your Constitution. David
  15. Hello All and thank you MicroMarine for that photo of the Scientific CWM. I've seen pictures of the ship when it had that configuration. Am I right in my understanding that it was not uncommon practice to paint gunports on the hulls of ships to make them look more dangerous than they were? Nere's a brief update on my progress. I've been working on two things simultaneously. The first is the ratboards: Here are some more in place, the upper two waiting to be trimmed along with the thread ends - Here are some after trimming and threads ready to accept the next one. I'm using a set of nail clippers to trim the boards and for some strange reason it really does feel like I'm trimming its nails.🙂 At the same time, I've been working on the five whaleboat stations. In my past builds it's just been a matter of sticking on a pair of davits and maybe a cleat or two and that's it. No so in this case. It's hard to believe but there are 30 individual parts in each of the five stations. Here you can see the davits in place - Here are the strips mounted to the side of the hull that serve as sliders. The thinnest wood I have is 1/32" and it looked a bit too heavy and I wasn't able to get the slight bow in them that's clear in pictures of the actual ship. So I laminated two pieces of styrene strip and that seemed to do the job. It was difficult to get the strip to adhere adequately to the top support piece that runs over to the hull, so I glued a piece of black construction paper to the top of the support piece and folded it up and glued it against the inside of the slider and that seems to secure it quite well. The remaining parts for each station are the boat bearers and cranes which are shown below, but not installed yet. The cranes attach to the bearers with a pair of eyebolts and pins. The challenge will be to install each pair of assemblies so that the two cranes are at the same height, in order for the boats to sit level. I resorted to vinyl again for the two fairleads on the side of the bearer. I could not shape basswood without it crumbling. Instead I laminated two pieces of thin vinyl strip together and drilled a hole near the end of the strip. Then I cut off a small square containing the hole and glued it to the bearer. When the glue was well set, I filed the round shape into the vinyl square. It's a detail that probably doesn't need to be there as the plans say that it is unknown what the purpose of these fairleads was. But they're on the plans, so I added them nevertheless. So that's where I'm at as of today. It's time to get back down to my shop as it's Wednesday and will soon be time for the Moth Radio Hour on NPR and I really hate to miss it. Thanks for all the likes, comments etc. David
  16. A little update. I've been working on this 'n' that. I've finished the cutting in tackle. Those Bluejacket cast metal blocks have great detail. They're a breeze to work with at this size (5/16") but a more difficult in smaller sizes. The plans indicated that the two lines from the cutting in tackle tie off on the windlass head and the windlass barrel. So clearly this tackle was not in place at all times, only when it was in use. The plans don't indicate exactly how to terminate the lines after being wrapped around the windlass, so I ended one set with a coil on the deck and I imagined the other set being tied off on the wooden bar above the windlass. I don't mind making rope coils for the deck, but I really don't like making the ones that hang down usually from belaying pins. I find them very hard to do. I have to admit to a bit of a cheat on these. I like using Amati rigging line generally; it seems to be very good quality without being expensive. I know that there is superior hand made rope available, but I find this one to be an excellent trade-off between quality and price. The problem with it is, it's a bit stiff and I can never get it to loop nicely for my vertical coils. I shouldn't tell anyone this, but I switch to a different rope here. I use crochet cotton for the vertical coils. It's much easier to get it to behave being very soft. The ecru is a nearly identical colour match and I always use a fine weight even if it's lighter than the actual rigging line. Again it's much easier to handle and the eye simply cannot pick up the slight difference. Then I made a start at the ratboards. A feature that's a bit different for this ship and although it's early yet, it looks like they're going to be fun to do. Still have to trim them to length of course. I find if they're trimmed to length first, it's very hard to tie them on the outermost shrouds. In the background you can see some boat davits in place. More about them in the next post. Many thanks for looking in, comments and the "likes". David
  17. Thanks Dave, I really appreciate it. I was worried about how to handle that ochre colour. I knew it didn't match any of the standard model paint colours. I contemplated mixing some to approximate the real thing and was pretty sure I could do that, but I knew I would never be able to repeat it and if I ran out or didn't have enough for touchups I'd be in real trouble. So I broke a cardinal rule and went to Home Depot and bought some sample sized house paint. There was a bit of trial and error; I probably have enough jars of "close but no cigar" shades of ochre to paint a small room, but in the end I got a decent result. I know using this kind of paint is a bad practice and I don't make a habit of it, but if you do it, Home Depot is the way to go. All the other paint suppliers only offer samples in one finish, which is flat. HD offers several different finishes in their sample sized jars and you can get the one you need. (By the way the larger Home Depot paint chips are a great size and weight to use as palettes for acrylic paints!) Thanks again, David
  18. Good Morning, So this is pretty much a recap of where I am at the moment. Lower shrouds and stays are finished - The main stay passes through fairleads on the side of the fore mast and since the end point of the stay was previously established under the anchor deck, I knew I'd never position the fairleads correctly in order for the two sides of the stay to pass through without bending. So I didn't attach the fairleads to the mast first, but rather threaded them onto the stay, secured the stay in position and then attached them to the sides of the mast. You can just make out the port one threaded onto the unattached stay. Next up is the cutting in tackle, which in some ways is the centrepiece of this model. I'm following the advice of John (Texxn5) who suggests doing it at this point in the process. Here are some of the components prepared. I have never worked with 5/16" blocks before and boy are they ever easier to seize than 3/32"! I'm thinking maybe I'll replace all the 3/32" ones on this model with 5/16". How big a difference can it make? (Just kidding) Many thanks for checking in, comments and "likes" David
  19. No music for me, but I have an internet radio in my workshop and I switch back and forth between Canada's CBC Radio 1 and NPR's WNYC. Outstanding programming on both and as a result I feel well informed on all topics great and small. Everything from chefs discussing where to get the best grilled cheese sandwich to world leaders discussing the most pressing problems of the day. I would be lost without it! David
  20. Good Morning, I'm into the rigging for real now and have just finished the lower shrouds. I am always torn between using black or tan line for the lanyards. In theory, I guess, it should be tan, but it often looks very black on actual ships. I assume it's just dirty as opposed to being tarred. In any event I opted for tan on this model. I always think the easiest way to get the deadeyes (more or less) level is to just draw a line on a card, set it on the channel and use it as a guide. I always seem to have a bit of trouble tying off the lanyard without having to add a lot of glue, however I didn't have too much trouble this time. Thanks to John's (texxn5) photographs, it's quite clear how it's done on this ship. It's just a simple loop around the shroud and the end is left to hang just below the level of the rail. It wasn't too hard to achieve a decent result using this method and the loop holds really well when drawn tight, without using a bucket of glue. Just a light dab is all that's needed to secure it. Whenever I start the rigging portion of a build, I always have to find my "sea legs" again and it usually takes a bit of time before I get in the groove. As a result, this weekend I ripped out all the rigging I had done on the bowsprit and am now in the process to doing it over. 'til next time, David
  21. Hi John, I'm not sure how old your Constitution kit is, but if it's the same as mine, you'll find a conversion chart on sheet 7 of the plans. It shows the rigging line in decimal inches as well as mm. While there are many sizes of line indicated one the plans, and the sizes indicated don't always show up exactly on the conversion chart, you will be fine with three or four or maybe four or five different sizes, regardless of which kind of line you choose to buy. For example, .25 mm, .5 mm, .75mm and 1 mm (or thereabouts) plus garden variety sewing thread for seizing will pretty much work. If your plans are older and different from the ones I have, let me know and I'll send you a copy of the conversion chart. I have never liked the line included with MS kits, so I have always changed it. While I believe that the Syren line is probably the best available, it's also a bit expensive if you are as bad at using it sparingly as I am. I find a good option in terms of quality and value is Amati line which is available from Cornwall Model Boats. David
  22. Hi Bob, With respect to the internally stropped blocks, I'm mainly going on the strength of this note which appears on the plans: "Note that most all of the blocks currently on Morgan are rope stropped. The only blocks observed to be internal iron stropped are upper & lower topsail halliard chain block and sheet blocks, and upper topsail downhaul blocks. The lower cutting tackle blocks are external iron strop blocks painted white, strops black. Lower cutting-in blocks are not painted (weathered wood.)" This note is in the instruction book: "Model Shipways’ Charles W. Morgan kit was developed in 1994-’97. Plans are based on drawings and other information provided by Mystic Seaport, and from photographs taken by the author in 1994. The Model Shipways plans and instructions were reviewed by Mystic Seaport for accuracy. In 1983, Mystic restored Morgan as a double topsail bark. The museum relied on photographs and other documentation to depict the whaler as she appeared between 1892 and 1908. Those wishing to build the model in another configuration should consult the bibliography and the numerous photographs showing changes made throughout Morgan’s career. © 1997 Model Shipways" The ship was restored again in 2008-2013. Thanks to John at www.charleswmorganmodel.com, we all have access to his many and excellent recent photographs. Internal stropped blocks are in evidence in the photographs and because of the note on the plans I think it's reasonably safe to assume that they are not just a recent addition/change. I have been comparing the photos to the plans and generally I have noticed very few discrepancies. However, It does appear to me from the photographs that there are more internally stropped blocks on the ship today than are indicated by the note in the plan. When I have come across a minor discrepancy, I have been trying to stay true to the plans rather than the photographs. It's not always easy (for me, at least) to tell in the photographs what blocks I'm looking at, but so far as I'm able to discern it, I'm going to limit the number of internally stropped blocks to those identified by the note in the plans. Not sure if this lengthy epistle helps or hinders! David

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