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    Decatur, AL
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    golf, gardening, and now... model ship building

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  1. I’ve been traveling on business, and its spring time in Alabama, so I’ve not had much to work on my America. I’ve made a little progress over the last day or so. The rudder is now attached. Next, I refocused on the cockpit. I glued the two strips of walnut pieces together, then inserted it into the cockpit opening. I had some scrap balsa that I used to make an insert to place pressure on the wall while it dries to form. I’m going to let this dry until tomorrow so no more work for this evening. Hopefully, I can spend some time on it over the next several days.
  2. Since the last time I posted, my build time has been limited for various reasons. I began construction of the companion way. I decided not to use the windows supplied with kit for the doors. It just seemed that trying to paint the detail needed around the window framing was going to be beyond my skill set. I keep my eyes open for pieces of wood, plastic, and metal that I think I can re-purpose and use in some way. I can’t remember where I found these, but I have some thin plastic pieces that I thought would be perfect for the windows. This plastic is less than 0.5 mm think, and one side has a texture to it giving it somewhat of a frosted appearance. I thought this would work well for the window panes. I completed an assembly of the companion way doors with pieces cut from the plastic as windows. I used cherry strips for the outside framing, and walnut for most of the interior pieces. I had the idea of cutting very thin strips (< 0.5 mm) from basswood, and gluing these around the edge of the windows, thinking the lighter colored wood would have the appearance of a painted edge around the window. I was not satisfied with the resulting assembly. Here it is in the next photo, but as I said, I'm not going to use it and will make another one instead. I think the darker colored wood on the inside versus the lighter colored wood on the outside was not a good combination. On the second try I decided to use walnut for the outside framing and cherry for the inside strips. Also, I did not like the basswood strips around the windows, and decided that I would make the windows somewhat larger. I started with a 16mm x 16.5 mm cherry piece for the backing, and 1mm x 2mm walnut pieces for the outside framing. I used cherry for the center frame pieces. I cut the window panes from the plastic in the earlier photo to fit the opening at a height of 6mm. I removed the plastic pieces and painted the back piece black, then reinserted the panes. Then I added cherry strips to the lower portion of each door. Finally, I applied a coat of tung oil. Here is the finished assembly. I considered trying to find something that would simulate door handles or knobs, but at this point I feel I’ve spent more time on this piece than I need to and should move on. I glued the door assembly onto the companion way piece, and then began building up the roof. I have now turned my attention to attaching the rudder so that I can mount the tiller bar. After that I will complete the cockpit build (walls, caps rail and bench).
  3. My focus now is on construction the cockpit and the companionway. I re-read several of the build logs to see how others have completed it, and focused on this portion of the plans. I had not opened the hardware package until now. As I looked at the quality of the various hardware pieces, I have to say once again I’m underwhelmed. I expected to have molded pieces of the companion way doors, but am disappointed to see that these doors are not supplied, only the small windows. I do not understand why Mamoli supplies a molded door piece for the forward companionway, but not for the rear companionway. That makes no sense to me. As I’ve looked at the small scale, and the intricacy that will be required to paint the window seals and the seals around the sky lights, I’ve started looking for alternatives. Hamilton described in his build log how he used a straight pen as a make-shift brush under a magnifying glass to paint the seals around the glass pieces. I still may do that also, but my plan now is to find plastic that can substitute for the windows, and frame around it with 0.5mm strips of a lighter colored wood. If it looks like I think, I will not have to paint anything around the windows. From Greatgalleons build log, it appears that he built the cockpit and the companionway as a complete and separate unit and then installed it in the deck opening. I think I will take a different approach and build it piece mill into the deck, so from here I am proceeding with the cockpit floor and walls. One really good purchase I’ve made and used extensively is a JLC saw and miter box. It has tight precision and makes excellent cuts. I used this to cut the 11mm pieces which will be used for the walls of the cockpit. As can be seen, it has a stop that is set with a screw. I set it so that each cut was 11 mm in length. I used walnut strips for the cockpit wall. I took a strip of heavy stock paper and set it against the edge of the deck opening to determine the circumference. I found it to be 147mm. I cut two strips of tracing paper to11mm x 147mm, and began gluing the walnut strips to it. Hamilton mentioned in his build log that the laser cut pieces for the cockpit floor, seat and wall cap were not correct and I can see that he is correct. Using a caliper, I measured the opening and using my bandsaw cut a floor piece from the walnut sheet I used for the cap rail. In this picture you can see the differences in the dimensions. Also, the laser cut pieces are cut out of mahogany plywood, which is really nice looking wood. But, I just don’t think the mahogany blends well with the walnut and cherry already on the deck. Therefore, I have decided to use primarily walnut for the cockpit and companionway pieces. I don’t much think I’ll have a use for the mahogany pieces. Using the 1mm x 1mm walnut strips from the kit, I lined the cockpit floor. Here is the result. I applied 2 coats of tung oil to the floor and to the cockpit walls. I also think I will build the cockpit in the deck as opposed to building it separate and installing it as one unit. Here is the cockpit floor installed in the deck opening.
  4. Below is one of the cap rail pieces after cutting on the bandsaw and some sanding on the edge. This piece still has the pattern stuck to it. Here are all 3 pieces cut, sanded and the pattern removed. Next I will apply tung oil, then attach them to the hull.
  5. Now I'm cooking with gas... I cut the cap rail pieces this afternoon. What a pleasure this bandsaw is to use and what a difference it made.. I'm sanding and finishing the cap rail pieces and will post some pics when I'm through with that step. Thanks for the comment Gary, and you're welcome. My pattern method worked real well with this bandsaw (no splintering at, very precise).
  6. I continued with the vertical pieces around the remainder of the deck. For the cap rail, I purchased a walnut sheet (3/64” x 3” x 24”) from Model Shipways. I bought 2 in case I need a spare. 3/64” is 1.19mm, which is slightly thicker than what the plans called for (1mm). I turned the hull over and traced the outer edge onto graph paper. This required two sheets. I marked the hull on both sides with painters tape at the step between the fore and aft decks. The painters tape allowed me to line up the two sheets. I traced the fore deck on one sheet, then the aft deck on another, trimmed one of the sheets, and then taped them together. I measured 3.5mm inside the edge along the entire deck and drew the inside edge line, then measured 0.5mm outward from the traced line and drew that line. This gave me a pattern 4mm wide that matched the exact contour of the deck with a 0.5mm overhang. I then cut the edges out, making 3 pieces: a V-shaped piece for the bow, and two pieces that run the length of the starboard and port sides that meet in the center of the stern. Next, I applied 3M two-sided tape to the back side of the V-shaped piece so that I could apply it to the walnut sheet. I intended to apply all 3 pieces, but realized I should cut one side, then apply the other side for ease of access on my bandsaw. Here is the walnut sheet ready to be cut. I applied 3M painters tape to the other side to help prevent the splintering. My bandsaw is a 12” bandsaw, obviously not designed for precision cuts on 1mm thick wood. I was concerned about the precision, so my plan was to cut it to within maybe 0.5mm to 1mm of the pattern, then sand the edge. Once completed, the pattern can just be peeled away and discarded. It sounds like a great plan, but didn’t work out that well. The thickness of my bandsaw blade versus the thinness to the walnut sheet just didn’t allow for the precision I wanted. Despite taping the backside and going very slowly, there was still splintering and I just was not pleased with the results. After cutting the V-shaped piece and sanding it, I stopped and decided I needed a plan B. Here are a couple of close ups with circles around some of the consequences of the splintering. As for my Plan B… I’ve ordered a Proxxon Micro Bandsaw. It’s supposed to be delivered day after tomorrow. I’ll recut the V-shaped piece. The other pieces haven’t been cut yet. Hopefully the quality improves with the new saw. The only difference between the men and the boys is the price of the toys...
  7. I sanded the deck and applied 3 coats of tung oil finish. I don't remember if I mentioned it, but I used walnut around the edges and between the decks, and cherry for the deck planking. I really like the colors and don't think these pictures do it justice. Next step was to follow the plans with vertical and horizontal strips around the edge of the deck. I'm continuing to add the vertical pieces around the inside of the deck over the next few evenings. I have some interruptions coming up over the weekend, so time will be limited until next week.
  8. Thanks Gerty! I continued with the planking on the fore deck. Here is a progression of that work. Ready for sanding and then tung oil.
  9. Hamilton: Thanks for posting! Yes, you are correct - it was probably not the best kit to pick as one's first kit. Besides the lack of precision, the poorly translated and very limited instructions are not what a first timer needs. Your Yacht America build log has been invaluable to me! I really appreciate the effort you made with the photos and the details. I can't tell you how many times I've been back to it, found certain pictures, zoomed in and noted details. Please keep an eye on my log and steer me in the right direction when needed! Thanks, Tim
  10. I have started and completed the aft decking. Here is a progression of that work Here is the aft deck installation completed. No sanding or finish yet.
  11. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was not going to use copper plates below the water line. I’m following the pattern that Greatgalleons used – black above the water line, red below. I realize this is not historically correct, but again, this is my first ship build and I’m trying to learn from the experience. I do not intend for it to be absolutely historically correct. I will use copper plates on future ship builds. After finishing with the black, I taped it in preparation for the lower hull painting. I used a packing box for a make-shift paint booth on my workbench. I applied 7 coats with an air brush. Here is coat no. 1. Coat no. 2 Coat no. 3 Coat no. 4 Coat no. 5. I used a heat gun between coats to speed the drying process. That worked very well - 7 coats applied in about 35-40 minutes. Coat no. 5 finished. Coat no. 6 Coat no. 7 Finished with the red paint. Here are a few shots after the tape was removed. I turned my attention to the deck planking and have added walnut strips around the inside edge of the deck. I will use cherry strips for the interior decking. That is my progress so far.
  12. Referring to Greatgalleons’ build log, he used black india ink for the black portion of the hull. I like the appearance in his photos, so I purchased some and tested it on some planking along with some Hull Black from Model-Expo. I was more satisfied with the black india ink, so that is what I used.
  13. After adding some filler and final sanding, I thin marked the waterline and taped it for painting the black on the upper portion of the hull.
  14. The next step I took was to trim the top of the bulkheads so they are flush with the deck.

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