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About ahb26

  • Birthday 02/19/1951

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    Acton, Massachusetts
  • Interests
    Recently retired. Reading, cycling, attending to an old British sports car (Lotus Elan) that has been in the family since 1967, keeping my wife and two cats happy.

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  1. Thanks to all for the likes and continuing interest. This is a nice part of the build - progress is steady and visible, and I can start to see the end. I strung the mainmast shrouds but before tying off the lanyards and adding the battens, I decided to do a preliminary belay of the running rigging, not securing the line at the pin. Belaying was a bit of a hassle on my previous model due to tight confines and difficult access (and lots more lines). This went much smoother. I got the idea to make a belaying tool out of a left-over 1/16" dowel (the staysail boom stock) and a couple of small eyebolts. This made the job relatively simple. Here's the tool, along with the threader I made up from a defunct commercial one. Wish I had thought of this when I did the Joe Lane! Most of the pins are easily accessible, but there was one tight spot at the mainmast fife rail. I had to cut a small amount off the end of the pin to get clearance, and the skylight made it difficult to maneuver the tool. I should have waited to install it. Next up, I will tension the shrouds and tie all those knots on the battens. I also need to order some more blocks to complete the dory hook rigging and the jib sheet. Lots of details left.
  2. John, in fairness to BlueJacket, I am sort of a beta test site for these laser-cut battens. There were no instructions. Nic came up with the idea on one of his previous builds and showed them in his log. It's possible he was gluing the battens to rope, not wire, and they may have stuck better. In any event he snipped without difficulty. I didn't! Got a bunch more knots to tie.
  3. Rigging the gaff and boom with the mainmast off the model went pretty easily. I transferred the mast to the ship, hooked up the sheet, and rigged the gaff throat and peak whips on either side. I still haven't belayed but all the lines are dressed, temporarily, through the holes where their pins will go. She is starting to look like a real schooner. It remains to be seen whether there is any downside to this approach, but there's not much that will interfere with the shrouds and battens yet to install, with the exception of the whips, which can be detached from their anchor points. Compared to the Joe Lane, Bowdoin has a pretty simple rig - and they are both much simpler than an 18th - 19th century full ship rig. I can't begin to imagine doing that, and I'm in awe of those who do.
  4. Tom, thanks. I find rigging to be nerve-wracking work, but it does get a bit easier as I go along. I completed the fore sail rigging but haven't belayed it yet. Belaying implies a certain finality that I'm reluctant to embrace at this point, and I think it also makes the rigging more vulnerable to a wayward tool or hand. This photo shows the line used to simulate the aft edge of the sail, and you can also make out the line at the forward edge, attached to the mast hoops. During this process, I had one block come loose from its strap, and discovered that I needed to drill out all the blocks to accommodate the slightly heavier thread used in this part of the schooner. I have been using dilute white glue on seizing and knots but that doesn't hold reliably for me - it's CA from here on out. I am going to try rigging the mainmast before I step it, to avoid having to work around the shrouds. The mainsail halyards and whips are pretty complicated and I think I'll be more comfortable not having to worry about messing up other stuff while I work on them.
  5. A small milestone reached - everything forward of the foremast (with the exception of jib sheets and anchors), along with the shrouds and battens, is done. The iconic ice barrel is firmly in place, with the topmast shroud running through just as in real life. When I glued on the sheer poles, I took the opportunity to correct a twist that had developed in the upper deadeyes. The twist was due to some combination of natural twist in the wire and the way I tied off the lanyards. I clamped the deadeyes into alignment before gluing... ... and made sure to work a little glue into the the space between the bottom of each deadeye and the sheer pole. Somewhat to my surprise, it worked! (I see some touch up is needed on the middle chain plate.) Working my way aft, next up is the fore sail gaff and boom. The rigging should be pretty straightforward, but I also need to work in the lines that outline the leading and trailing edges of the sail (and hold the gaff in place). Should be interesting.
  6. Instead of ratlines, Bowdoin has rigid battens. The kit includes 1/32" square strip for battens, but Nic at BlueJacket kindly sent me a set of the laser-cut battens he developed recently. (These are now included in the kit, I believe.) They are made up out of very thin material, a kind of fiberboard I think. I started by spraying them flat black. In theory, all I had to do was position one of these strips behind a pair of shrouds and apply a dot of CA wherever a shroud crosses a batten, then snip away the excess. However, the joints proved too fragile and many of them broke as I snipped them. So this wasn't going to work. Nic suggested a more flexible glue but I had my doubts that would help, given the tiny contact area and the difficulty of getting anything to stick to the very thin shroud wire. I decided to start over, tying each joint before gluing it. Now, I am pretty lousy at tying knots and it took me a long time to be able to tie these with any consistency. It's a modification of a cow hitch, where the line crosses itself under the batten. Done correctly, it pulls down very small and the ends come straight out onto the batten and clip off cleanly. Not all the knots in the photo were done correctly... However, the result is acceptable and I should be able to do better on the remaining shrouds.
  7. Rigging proceeds. I've added (but not yet belayed) most of the staysail (jumbo?) and jib running rigging, and the forestay and jib stay. One detail I added that isn't in the kit plans is the bar that connects the forestay to a ring on deck. I call it a forestay link for want of the correct term. On the current Bowdoin, it's a flat metal bar with shackles on each end and a fixture to support the forward end of the staysail boom. I made up a simplified version from 1/16"x1/32" stock. Since I won't be adding sails, I hooked the staysail halyard to a loop on the link. Here's an overall view of the area: And the spreader area with both stays attached. The shrouds haven't been tightened yet, that's probably next. Rigging can be frustrating but it's nice to finally get to this phase. I learned a lot working on Joe Lane and so hopefully it will be smoother this time.
  8. First rigging! (And a jaunty yellow ball at the top of the mast, as on the current Bowdoin.) Bowdoin's stays are all made up from fine stranded wire, secured with crimped sections of aluminum tube. It's the first time I have worked with wire rigging but it was not too difficult once I got the hang of it. The first step in making up a pair of shrouds is to cut a length of wire long enough that both ends reach the bottom of the bulwarks when looped around the mast at the spreader. (The wire is very springy and will happily explode off its bobbin into a tangled mess if allowed.) Pass both ends through the aluminum tube section (cut to about 1/8"), make sure the two ends of the wire are even, then slide the tube up the wire, and secure with a clip. It won't slip, so don't crimp it yet. I made up a jig, similar to the one I used on the Joe Lane, to hold the top deadeye in the correct position. Pass one of the wire ends through a tube section, then double it back to form a loop and secure with a clip. This is the tricky part: aligning the wire in the deadeye's groove and holding everything steady while sliding the tube down. There should be reasonable tension on the shroud so that the deadeye ends up at the right height. Now the tube section can be crimped with needlenose pliers and the clip removed. I used a bit of CA on the top end of the tube and on the deadeye to discourage slipping. At this point, the tube at the spreader can be crimped, then repeat the process for the second deadeye. I painted the crimped tubes black so they don't stand out so much, and took the opportunity to touch up bald spots on the deadeyes as well. The center deadeye will get the topmast shroud eventually and a sheer pole will be added. The instructions say all three deadeyes should be linked by the sheer pole, but a photo of the current Bowdoin shows the sheer pole just on the lower shroud deadeyes, with the topmast shroud deadeye at a lower height. More research needed...
  9. Thanks for the compliments! I opted for the ice barrel, and a good thing I did, as will be seen. From photos on the Bowdoin Facebook page, one can see that the ice barrel is not a perfectly symmetrical octagon as shown on the plans. Instead, it is elongated in the fore-aft direction. I cut out the floor of the ice barrel accordingly. (The printed photo is at an angle to the camera and the longitudinal elongation is not apparent.) I cut the side pieces from 1/32" basswood. Each piece had to be sanded to the right width and slightly mitered. Getting the first piece perpendicular to the base was critical. Once I'd glued in a few pieces, I made up the short seat and glued it in. The instructions mention that the ice barrel has to be notched to accommodate the masthead shroud. This is why it was good to make the barrel prior to rigging: it has to be fit into its space and notched before the shroud is rigged and tensioned. In fact, it makes sense to install the barrel before the masts are stepped, to allow access to the bottom for gluing. In this photo, the ice barrel is in place with a bit of thread strung where the shroud will go. This also shows the block that I used to space the barrel away from the mast. On the real ship, the barrel is mounted to the mast with two stout rods, but I decided to go with the block to allow for fine adjustment of the position. That's about it before the holiday break. I'll finish painting the barrel and install it, and then perhaps there will be nothing more I can do but rig!
  10. I have taken a small detour to make and install the infrastructure for dory hooks. The instructions describe them under "Optional Details" at the end of the main build procedure, but it seems advisable to do some of the work now, before rigging starts. The hooks are rigged from pendants attached under the spreaders. I made up four of them: and attached them to the spreaders. I wasn't clear what kind of eyebolt or bracket should be used on the caprail to secure the dory hooks, and settled on staple-shaped fixtures made up from galvanized steel wire. I used a jig to position and space the holes in the caprail - and inserted them, with a thin coating of CA on one leg. Finally I made up the dory hooks themselves out of the same steel wire. I won't actually rig them until most everything else is done. I may get the masts in (for good) and some stays in place before we head south for the holidays. Or perhaps I'll put it off a bit longer and work on the ice barrel.
  11. It's been a month since the last post and progress has been slow. There was Thanksgiving, and I also started a part time job after almost four years of retirement. Also, I find it difficult to go headlong since I need time to think things through. So the work has proceeded in dribs and drabs. Most of the deck structures are now glued down - a couple of exceptions where I may want to wait until some rigging has been done in order to get access to points on the deck. I drilled the holes for the binnacle and its railing using the building board as a template. (The wheelhouse is sitting out of position; the narrow strip of tape marks where it will be located.) The deck houses, winch, small square hatch, and skylight were glued on without incident. In this photo, the anchors are a work in progress and the masts are placed just to see how they look. The anchors have been challenging. I have a couple of photos showing how they are placed and secured (thanks, Jond!) but it's been difficult to get everything in just the right position. Here, everything is in its proper location but not attached yet. The cranes are so delicate that I'll probably wait until the very end to install them. The anchors themselves will be secured using line already tied to ringbolts. This photo also shows how I misplaced the deck cleat the first time around. I can attest that CA glue bonds to stained and varnished wood very well indeed! I decided not to run chain from the winch to the anchors. To use the proper size stud link chain, I would have had to drill out the chain stops in the bow slightly, but by the time I discovered that, the chain stops were already installed. Thanks for your likes and ongoing interest, and especially for your patience! I hope that by the next time I post, rigging will be well underway.
  12. I did that, but the piece split as soon as I put something in the hole. Boxwood would have been better, I think, but basswood is what I have. I finished making up the blocks involved in the sheets. The deck-end blocks all hook to travelers so I strapped those blocks with wire - my first successful attempt at that technique (although it took multiple tries to get there). The main sheet's top block hooks to a hefty U-shaped bracket on the boom (in the contemporary ship at least). I tried to replicate that: Here are the booms and blocks on the plan showing how they're rigged: One nice aspect of this arrangement is that I can rig all the sheets off the ship before I install the booms, then simply hook each sheet to its traveler.
  13. The ship's bell presented a challenge. It's a tiny thing that needs a tiny bracket to mount it to the aft side of the mainmast. (In the contemporary ship, it hangs from the boom rest, but the rest isn't big enough in the model.) I sanded out the bracket from 1/32" strip wood, but it promptly split at the hole I drilled. What to do? I glued it back together, then found a bit of silky ribbon which I laminated to one side of the bracket with CA - similar to fiberglassing. Here's the bracket cut out from the ribbon, and the bell mounted to the end of a dowel for painting. The bracket was now strong enough to accept the bell. This takes care of the lower ends of the masts. In the contemporary ship, the masts are not painted at all, but I found an older picture that shows an area of white (or perhaps the white mast boots) extending a short distance up from the deck. The rings below the white paint areas are diecast mast boots purchased from BlueJacket. The booms with sheet blocks tied on are work in progress.
  14. Modest progress since the last update. I purchased mast hoops from BlueJacket. They are laser-cut in 1/32" stock and very fragile. I stained them and tied lanyards on with the cow hitch. A few broke in the process, repaired with CA. I am not going to make sails for Bowdoin but I would like to display the model with the gaffs raised. With no sails, there is nothing to put downward tension on the gaffs to counteract the halyards. So, I will run lines between the booms and gaffs where the fore and aft edges of the sail would be. The mast hoops will be tied onto the forward line. I prepared the lines ahead of time, tying on the mast hoops and an eyebolt at each end of the line. Trial fitting - looks good! With that step out of the way, I could continue preparing the masts. I used silver-painted paper strips for the galvanized mast bands and glued the spreaders into place after carefully aligning them with the masts temporarily stepped. Next step is to install the blocks I've already prepared, then replace the mast hoops and finish the bottom end of the mast with the boom rests.
  15. Thank you all for the likes and continuing encouragement! It is nearly a year since I started this log, with almost 240 hours spent. (I have gotten sloppy in my timekeeping, however.) I've spent the last two-plus weeks preparing blocks for the upper areas of the rigging, in preparation for assembling the masts. I had enough Syren blocks of the correct size left over from my previous build that all I needed to buy were some triples. I was determined to seize the block straps this time, using the method in the J Brent video. But after destroying two blocks in a hemostat, I decided on a slightly different approach. I made up a jig consisting of three pegs, looping the strapping line and then the seizing line around the pegs: Since this is meant to attach a block to something else, the strapping line is looped back on itself. I wind the seizing line around the gathered lines several times, run the end of the line back through the loop, pull on the right-hand end of the seizing line, and if I'm lucky, it all pulls up into a tidy knot. This one isn't so tidy - an early attempt, I've gotten better. I can now lasso a block with one loop, pull the loop tight, and use the other loop to attach to block to a spar, another block, or (in this case) an eyebolt. It's important to saturate the seizing with dilute glue - it won't hold otherwise. Since most blocks are attached to the spars with eyebolts, I made up a bunch of these, with single, double and triple blocks. For the peak halyard lines on the gaffs, I seized a single or double block to a slightly smaller single block - the line attached to the gaff runs through this smaller block. This simulates the arrangement I observed in a photo of Bowdoin. Two of the blocks require a becket to which the running line will be attached. I used small beads from a dreamcatcher we received from some charity (I also use these as parrel beads). They don't scale well but at least I'll be able to thread the line through them when the time comes. Next step is to prepare the mast hoops, then assemble the masts to the extent possible before stepping them.

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