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    Spokane, Washington
  • Interests
    In addition to model ship building . . . bicycling, kayaking, hiking, pickleball, sailing, travel, reading

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  1. As soon as I saw this kit I decided that it would be my next build. Probably a bit early (I think I have at least a year to go on my present build),but it is different and historic enough that it really grabbed my attention. And I'm really glad you're doing build log ahead of me; I'm sure I'll learn a lot by following along.
  2. I’m back in the shipyard and can report on my work on the orlop deck level. The instructions suggest using Model Shipways English Oak stain. I have an 8 ounce can of Minwax Golden Oak stain (which will probably last me a lifetime), which I used and liked on my Spray build, and I used that instead. I first applied a coat of stain conditioner, which is supposed to assure a uniform color when the stain is applied, but it didn’t seem to have much effect. The end result is not too bad though (better than the picture below once thoroughly dry), especially since the lower decks will only be partial
  3. Like most others I imagine, I have never had to install gravel on a build before, so adding the ship’s ballast was a new experience. Following the instructions I used painters tape to block off both ends of the hold. I went one step further and put wax paper on the tape to make it easier to pull away from the gravel when finished . . . in retrospect probably not necessary. The instructions say to take a “small amount” of the gravel, soak it in diluted white school glue, then pour it into the hold. I used about 1/3rd glue and 2/3rds water, soaked about a quarter of the gravel in it for a mo
  4. A couple of postscripts . . . First, I mentioned that I felt the kit-supplied anchor was too large. I found a smaller one supplied by Amati, and it satisfies my sense of scale better than the other one. Second, I’m on to my next build and log, found at Model Shipways cross section of the USS Constitution.
  5. The most challenging step to date was installing what the instructions refer to as the hold walls (hold floor might be a better description, but they do run from the keel to the ceiling above). The are laser cut pieces, with laser etched details (individual planks and trenails). As the instructions warn, they are cut a little large and must be trimmed to fit. The challenge comes in part from the compound bending that must occur to fit -- they obviously curve upward running from the keel to the intersection with the deck above, but they also curve upward running from bow to stern. The Catch 22
  6. Ron, I had a similar thought about not building the full mast, or maybe taking a break to do something different part way through the mast build. That looks like it will be quite a project.
  7. As far as I know this is the first log on this site for Model Shipways’ cross section of the USS Constitution. I bought the kit last summer, when I think it was pretty newly released, and when I was about midway through my Spray build. I have never done a cross section, and I was attracted to the novelty (for me), the detail, and the fact that I wouldn’t be spending many months simply building a hull. So far I am not in the least disappointed. Upon opening the relatively small densely packed box I soon realized this was not going to be a simple, quick build. There are
  8. I just realized I forgot to add a few "finished" photos I took. Thanks for the kind words Moab and Rich. Rich, I have always felt that it is worth the effort to actually plank a deck rather than use some facsimile of a planked deck. And good to know there is another cyclist on board. Tom
  9. Pardon a little off topic personal chatter, but last week was a celebratory one for me. My wife and I got Covid shots, our daughter celebrated her 30th birthday, I got out on my first early morning group bike ride of the year, and . . . Sunday I finished my Spray build!! This has been a very fun build, made more so by the comments and input left by those of you who were kind enough to chime in. And I really liked the BlueJacket kit, even though I chose to do things a little bit differently every now and then. I don’t think it’s an appropriate kit for beginners -- mostly due to d
  10. Hi Josh, I didn't use any of the kit-supplied threads/ropes because they were white and needed to be dyed. I have saved leftovers from every kit I have built, and was able to do the lines from that supply, although I'm not entirely happy with what I used for the hawser. More on that in my next installment, coming up within the hour. Tom
  11. I'm at a point where the only rope I have available for the running rigging need at hand is very white. I tried soaking it in coffee for about an hour, but that didn't darken it very much. What methods and dyes have people successfully used to get the color they want? Also, now that Chuck Pasoro is no longer manufacture his great looking rope, what other sources have people found for quality rope? My next build is from Model Shipways and I'm not impressed with what is supplied in the kit, especially the running rigging. Thanks for your thoughts.
  12. On to the mizzen assembly. To my eye it really looks like an odd one. Spray was originally rigged as a sloop, and Slocum converted it to a yawl in Brazil part way through his famous voyage. The kit’s plans show how to rig her as a sloop if desired (longer boom and bowsprit and correspondingly larger main and jib), and I have to admit I had a few moments of regret that I didn’t opt to do that. I think she’s a prettier boat as a sloop, but as a yawl more . . . interesting. First thing I did was to use my jeweler’s saw to cut out the bottom mast bracket, which attaches to the bott
  13. I hope my response is not too late to be helpful. I finished the Model Shipways yacht America about a year and a half ago. The plans were more helpful that the ones you are working off of (at least what you have shown us), and I simply followed the plans. Below are photos that might help. The first three I took a few minutes ago, the final one two years ago. What your plans show as a couple of blocks at the top of the mast my plans identified as a "rigging screw", and depicted what I have always known as a turnbuckle. I have done a lot of sailing over the years, and
  14. The stays for the bowsprit are chain. As supplied the chain is brass, of course, so first thing I did was dip it in Blacken-It to blacken it. The kit supplies four pad eyes, that are larger than the supplied eyebolts, and I used three of them to attach the chains to the hull. The other ends attach to the ring already affixed to the bowsprit. The instructions suggest using fine gauge wire to attach the chains. I’m not sure I have wire that is fine enough to fit through a link in this chain, and I have no confidence in my ability to bend the wire deftly enough to make the attachment look rea
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