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Doug McKenzie

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  1. Kurt, Here's a view of the stern of Leon taken from the same photo. My guess is that Jeppe created this cropped version to send to me with good resolution but not too big for his email. It certainly indicates that the original photo had excellent resolution. We now have a little more info on when this photo was taken since the brigantine rig was cut down to a schooner rig in 1897. So she was at most 17 years old when the photo was taken. She foundered in 1915 when she was 35 years old so she was a brigantine for just about one half of her life. Doug
  2. The 5 deck beams that span the main hatch are shown below. The marks for the 'scores' of the 2 carlings can be seen on the 2 outermost beams. The 2 carlings are in place and they in their turn are marked for the scores of the 6 half deck beams that will butt up against them. The scores are made in a simplified way shown below. With the 6 half beams in place the lodging knees are fitted. These were made in the same way as the diagonal hanging knees by glueing 3 sticks of 3/16" x 3/16" together in a cross section of an 'L'. Then, after some shaping, 3/16" slices become the raw knees. This whole assembly of full deck beams, carlings, half deck beams and lodging knees can be removed from the hull so that continued work on the interior is easy.
  3. These diagonal hanging knees are apparently very rare so how they were made for the model is probably of little interest. On the other hand, posterity and all that... We start with the cylindrical shape of the knee (like a piece of molding) and then make slices to give the left hand pair (in the photo). The arms are then beveled so that the knee will fit flush against the side of the beam (center pair). The ends of the body are beveled so that the two knees mate. The jig used to glue the two knees together has two "deck beams" sticking up from the base. A wedge ensures that the arm bevels are pressed against the sides of the beam hence maintaining the correct beam spacing. The body bevels, which are glued together, are held together by a clamp. Note that the resulting 'compound' knee supports 2 adjacent deck beams. The two knees that support a single deck beam do not come into contact with each other and as a result cannot be 'compounded' and the compounding makes the fitting easier Finishing the knees involves fairing the tops of the arms to the top of the beams, rounding appropriate edges and fitting the knees to the clamp/shelf and ceiling planking. Doug
  4. Before discussing the diagonal hanging knees, we'll finish up on the doubling up of the frames to correspond with Leon as described in the 1880 DNV Survey. There are three places, beyond the exposed frames in the 6 ports, that needed attention. At the bottom of each port and at the top of each port short pieces were glued in to represent double framing. Then, on the port side, opposite the 6 ports, little doubling pieces were glued in where 3 ceiling planks were left off. The picture below shows 2 deck beams along with the diagonal hanging knees that support them. The beam marked with a yellow pin head shows clearly how the diagonal hanging knees serve as both lodging knees and hanging knees. This arrangement was discussed in a topic of an NRG forum under the title "An unusual (to me) arrangement of hanging knees and riders on brigantine Leon." Note that knees from adjacent beams are fayed together. We only have a single diagram of diagonal hanging knees (from Norwegian sources) and this is for just one deck beam so we can not see how the knees meet one another. The method used here seems reasonable. It is of note that the 1882 DNV Rules and Regulations describes these diagonal hanging knees as only being acceptable for single deck vessels. It is possible that the arrangement is uniquely Norwegian, or at least that opinion can be held until contradicting evidence is found. As a side note on Norwegian uniqueness, the 1882 DNV Rules and Regulations gives acceptable scantlings for the hold stanchions as 4" to 5" by 8" to 12" - Leon uses 4" by 10". Other references that I have seen for America and England specify square, circular or a near square oblong rectangular cross section. Are there other places that use large aspect ratios like Norway? The next picture is from beneath the deck beams. Lots of work to finish the deck beams and the knees. Doug
  5. Once the fo'c'sle was nearly done, I realized that Leon probably didn't have a fo'c'sle for the crew, rather they probably bunked in the deck house. Before acting on this realization, I posed the question to another MSW forum under the topic, "Deck House versus Forecastle for Crew Quarters". A consensus was quickly reached that the crew was most likely quartered in the deckhouse. The question, of course, arises why did I think the crew was quartered in the fo'c'sle in the first place? My wife has the best answer - "You wanted to build a fo'c'sle so you just believed what you needed to". So the fo'c'sle has been removed from Leon and a separate little display shows "The Fo'c'sle That Never Was." The repaired Leon is shown with the little display in the two photos below. I made the shell of the hull for the little display out of 3x5 cards pressed into the inner surface of the bow and glued together. The next thing I'll be working on is the deck beams and their diagonal hanging knees which replace the more conventional lodging knees and hanging knees.
  6. The fo'c'sle is nearly complete. The first picture shows the construction of the fo'c'sle bulkhead and a corner of the sole. This picture is taken at an odd angle in order to show the lumber hatch (aka, plank hatch, timber hatch). This is the slender rectangle on the starboard side just above the water line. This hatch could be opened to allow very long planks to be slid into the hold. Fortunately, it is clearly marked on the 1880 sheer plan. There is very little documentation on these hatches and how they opened but there are a number of photos of them being used. The second picture show the hold side of the bulkhead and the entire sole. An opening in the bulkhead is shown with the door held open upwards. When the lumber hatch was used the planks were passed through the fo'c'sle and out this opening in the bulkhead and into the hold. In the third picture the fo'c'sle is shown fully outfitted except for the coal stove and coal bucket which will be installed later. With no details available, a typical arrangement was used. Three bunks are provided with storage below and the two forward bunks have pipe berths above them. This seems consistent with the report that Leon had 8 crew members when she was lost in 1915. When the lumber hatch was used. the table and the two starboard bunks were moved out of the way. The original deck beams are thinner than Underhill's, As a result, the previously installed beam shelf/clamp is a little too low. A 1/32" strip was glued onto the previously installed beam shelf/clamp so that the deck level will be flush with the top of the wale. This strip is a lighter color than the previously installed beam shelf/clamp so it is clearly visible in all three pictures.
  7. It's been awhile but progress has been made! Jeppe and I are reasonably sure now that we have the bulk of primary material that exists. So, now I'm in the process of incorporating the new material into the model itself. The first was to model the doubled frames of the original. This is important because of the 6 viewing windows which clearly show the framing. It took me awhile to figure out how to do this. The problem is that the model has 44 single frames sided at 12" while the original had 56 doubled frames sided (combined) at 18". What I finally decided to do was to match the portion of the original's 22" center to center which was wood (i.e 82% = 18" / 22"). Thus, the model's 30" center to center needs 24.6" of wood (= 30" x 82%). I actually achieved slightly less (24") by just doubling the 12" frames already in the model. The 5 doubled frames an be seen in the photo below. I still have to insert about 60 little stubs to mimic doubled framing where the frame cuts are visible. The two mast steps can also be seen. Sources were Crother's American Built ... in the 1850s, Tosti's Young America Vol 1 and numerous postings of Bob Cleek (thanks for the extended 'conversation', Bob). The fresh water tank is shown in the second picture. Sized at 750 gals, it will rise up just below the deck. I followed Tosti in modeling the tank and used both Tosti and Crothers to position it. There is almost no info on these tanks. As a result, I do not even know how they accessed the fresh water (plumbing pipes? pump with a hose? buckets?) Lastly, I've gone from flat varnish to low luster. The response from people who have seen both is very positive. I like it better too! Detail seems to stand out more clearly. Till next time, Doug
  8. It turns out that what I thought was enuff fairing of the frames wasn't. So after cleaning that up I went to plank layout. I tried three different tapes to connect the dots and just couldn't make it work - I felt like my fingers were too big and kept getting in the way. So I decided to use wood battens. I had some 1/32" x 1/16" pieces and drilled holes for pins and then I was able to connect the dots and extend to the stem and stern post/transom. I only used these battens on every other plank. My endpoints were pretty different from Chuck's but, of course, it made sense to use his marks since I'll be using his planks!
  9. Russ, I think there must be at least three phases of Leon's history the first would be as a Brigantine in presumably pretty good financial straits then as a Brigantine in not such good financial straits and then as a schooner in presumably pretty poor financial straits. The picture comes from the middle phase, of course. I have three questions about these phases: When was she cut down to a schooner? And was she a fore-after or did she have any square sails? Also when did she acquire her windmill pump, was it during the second phase or after she became a schooner? Im learning to just toss these questions out because sometimes there are interesting and useful responses! I would love to model the windmill pump if she had it as a brigantine because it is such an unusual piece of equipment!8 Doug
  10. Oops - sorry I didn't answer all of your questions. I'm planning to make a fully sparred model (without sails) but my main interest is in the interior of the hull so who knows if I'll ever get to the rigging.
  11. Matthias, I am not able to see a photo or a drawing when I go to Digital Museum website. All I see is the list of data items for Leon. Can you tell me what I'm doing wrong? I'm guessing that the photo is the one in Underhill's frontispiece because that is the only photo that I have ever seen of Leon - I would love to see another! I am definitely interested in the drawing since it may well be a new one to me. Also I hope your going to create a scratch-build blog for your project and I will follow your progress also. Thanks, Doug
  12. The beveling of the frames is complete and was almost painless due to Ryland Craze's suggestion (in our email thread) to use nail files. I ended up with a set of emery boards that went from 80 to 3000. Similar to Ryland I used 180 almost exclusively. At first, I used a longitudinal motion using the bendability of the emery boards to advantage but I found that cumbersome so I made a change. I cut the emery board in half yielding 3 1/4" long pieces. Then I laid the short piece down (longitudinally) on the frame I was beveling and on an adjacent frame. I applied pressure to the frame I was beveling so the adjacent frame was only a guide. I rubbed along the frame's edge rather than moving longitudinally. I tried to leave a strip of the laser cut brown of about 25% of the thickness of the frame to avoid beveling too much. I think I may be trusting the accuracy of the kit by not beveling completely but it was a judgement call since the technology of the kit seems to be fantastic. I put extra effort into making sure each frame was centered when I glued them to the keel to further reduce this potential problem. Only after planking will I really know if this was OK.
  13. The planking is now done (except for one transom plank) and the first pass at fairing is complete. I am reminded of my grandfather who watched ships being built in Maitland, Nova Scotia (also serving in the saw pits). He told me once that his favorite activity was watching the adzmen swarm over the hull after the planking was done. I personally don't find the fairing of the planking to be particularly interesting (the inside planking specifically) and even wondered if I could pay someone to do it! In any event, the lowest transom plank still awaits. The ends of the hull planking need to be cleaned up at the correct angle so that the last transom plank seals the ends of the hull planks. Underhill recommends using 1/4" wide plank (the rest of the transom planks ares 1/8" wide) so that the lowest transom plank will extend past the outer surface of the hull planks. Then, that lowest transom plank can be brought down flush with the outer surface of the hull planks. On the research side, Jeppe continues to locate useful documents. A newspaper article written about the last days of Leon reveals that "She was taking on too much water even though she had a windmill pump." We have to decide whether to model it or not. This depends on whether we are modelling a relatively new Leon or one with lots of years behind her and so more likely to have significant leaking. The original Sheer Plan (discussed in the previous posting) also has a curious rectangle in the bow just above the waterline. Jeppe realized that this is a lumber hatch which gives us certainty that she carried lumber - only a possibility before that. This also helps us define the position of the sole of the fo'c'sle since we know that the lumber passed through the fo'c'sle on it's way to the hold !
  14. Surprises never cease. Jeppe in Norway has just found a newspaper article about Leon's last days when she took on too much water and sank with her load of coal in 1915. The article says that "she took on too much water even though she had a windmill pump" Apparently these windmill pumps were added to these ships as they aged and started leaking more. Another surprise (having nothing to do with windmill pumps) is that she had at least one lumber hatch in her bows for taking on very long timbers that would fit in the deck hatches easily. This shows up on the original sheer plan that Jeppe has located. This in turn establishes that she carried lumber which we suspected but didn't know for sure.
  15. With the fo'c'sle on the horizon, it's time to revise Underhill's Deck Plan using our new information. The immediate object is to locate the fore-aft position of the after bulkhead for the fo'c'sle and to do this with confidence I want to make sure that the whole Deck Plan makes sense. I tried a couple of technique and they all bogged down and then I hit on this one. The first (top) drawing is the original Sheer Plan. It is pretty faint but on it Jeppe identified the 3 hatches, the two houses, both masts and the location of most of the deck beams. This drawing has been blown up to match the actual model. The second drawing is Underhill's Deck Plan . It is already at the model's scale. The third drawing is a copy of the second drawing with all the information of the deck layout cut out and replaced with plain white paper. The 'innards' of this drawing, having been cut out, was available to provide standalone pieces for deck items that can be positioned on the third drawing as indicated by the first drawing. Shown are the three hatches. Note the after hatch is smaller than Underhill's while the midship hatch is larger. The forward hatch is about the same size. All three hatchs had to be shifted forward about 3/4" (3'). The deck beams need to be added along with the partners. When all these items are sized and shifted I'll have a pretty good idea of where the companionway to the fo'c'sle is located hence where the after bulkhead of the fo'c'sle should be. I'm impressed by how closely Underhill's Deck Plan matches the original. I remember reading some time ago that in the same way running rigging was largely standardized so that different ships were very similar, that the deck plans evolved towards a kind of standard variations that did not affect the functionality. Underhill's closeness seems to support that observation.

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