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  1. If roots can be square, why not dowels? The real question is how you make square holes to put the dowels into? I saw a drill once that claimed to make square holes.
  2. See post #4 in this link for an excellent animation of the process for using contour/waterlines for detecting imperfections in hull surfaces.
  3. Beck, Thanks for posting your animation! It does a much better job illustrating what I was talking about than my words. Now remember my caution - you can spend a great deal of time trying to get everything perfect (I speak from experience). Personally, I am a frustrated perfectionist because I know perfection isn't possible. At some point you just have to stop and say it's good enough! If you are planning to build a real model you will probably end up using filler, files and sandpaper to eliminate the last imperfections.
  4. Like Wefalk, I have used the back side of the saw teeth on occasion with thin brass and aluminum. Another trick is to angle the saw blade very low near the surface of the metal. This way you will have several teeth cutting at the same time and the saw behaves a bit better. But when you get near the end of the cut you have to angle the blade perpendicular to the cut and it might not cut as smoothly. I have also used the broken tip of a #11 blade, dragging the back side (not the sharp edge) against brass tubing to "worry" a cut lengthwise along one side. Surprisingly, this worked pretty well for short cuts!
  5. Kevin, I retired a year early, but it wasn't easy. I had a job I loved, and I worked with a great bunch of people (we were together 35 years). After I "retired" the folks at work occasionally asked me to help out on a project. But after about three years I finally stopped taking jobs and really retired. I have known a few people who just didn't know what to do after retiring, and some took up to six months to learn the new "job" of not going to work. But you aren't really retired until you no longer know what day of the week it is. For me, I know when it is Sunday because the comics in the newspaper are colored. I have one word of caution. At first you may have little to do and you may annoy your wife by being underfoot all the time. Then you may find local organizations that are doing things you like and you may volunteer or be recruited for a committee or board, or two, or more as time passes. These can be almost as bad a time sink as a regular job - for a while I was on nine boards and committees! I have learned to minimize such commitments and maximize the time spent with family and friends. For me, that is the real joy of retirement.
  6. Look at post #9 for ideas about how to get a smooth hull surface. You are right that you don't get a perfect hull shape from lines drawings, and even working from a Table of Offsets can produce some significant errors. One problem you seem to be seeing is that sudden/drastic changes in the hull surface may result in "wrinkles" around the transition points. It is OK to use multiple surfaces for the hull, keel, stem post, stern post, etc. This can also be a problem at "knuckles" in the hull surface - these are places with sharp bends or "kinks" in the surface. With a fairly coarse grid mesh the grid facets cannot bend over the knuckle. A solution is to create two separate surfaces above and below the knuckle. This all depends upon how much control your program allows for these sorts of things.
  7. Nice build. The clippers were beautiful ships! You mentioned the "Underhill book." Did you get "Masting and rigging the Clipper Ship and Ocean Carrier" by Harold A. Underhill? It has very detailed descriptions of the masting and rigging of clippers. However, one thing about it really bothers me. He has excellent drawings, but the publisher has scattered them more or less randomly through the text. And the references in the text refer to "Plate ??" and do not give the page numbers! It does have a list of plates after the contents, so you can jump back and forth and eventually find the drawing the text is referring to.
  8. Vaddoc is certainly right about one thing. If your intention is to make a real model just getting close to the right frame/station outlines is good enough. When you plank the model hull (assuming you plank it with wood) you will end up sanding it to get a suitably smooth surface. You can fiddle with a CAD drawing forever trying to get it perfect. You need to decide what is good enough.
  9. Tony, The first time I tried to create a hull I used cross sections (frames/station lines) and discovered the port and starboard sides weren't perfectly symmetrical. Now I create half hulls and mirror the finished piece, with assured symmetry. I tried to follow Kris' procedure and I have to say is seems to be about 10 times as much work as I do with DesignCAD! Once you have a station/frame curve why do you need to start over with all the many points and splines? In DesignCAD any line/curve can be used as the template line for creating surface grids. From my experience fewer points is better than a whole lot of points. I use only the minimum necessary to cause the curve to fit. The reason is that when you start refining the frame/station curves using the method I described above, lots of closely spaced points make it difficult to reshape the curve. Phil
  10. Working on the half hull will likely be a lot easier. Once you get the station/frame lines done and start adding the skin you may discover some irregularities in the hull surface. Even when working from a Table of Offsets this can happen. Adjusting only one side to get the properly faired surface is much easier than trying to correct two sides. After the correct lines are created it is simple to mirror them to get the other half. You can examine the hull surface in a shaded view by rotating the view point and lighting to show up any irregularities (high or low areas). But after you discover these (and you will probably have a few in your first hull surface) it can be frustrating trying to adjust the frames/stations to eliminate the problems. Here is an example: The hull appears to be pretty smooth, but you can see a bit of irregularity in the highlights. So how do you fix this? One trick I use to get a smooth surface is to create contour/waterlines at regular elevations on the hull surface. Your CAD program may have a function to do this. Or you can create a horizontal plane, position it at a desired elevation and generate the intersect line between the plane and hull surface. Create these intersection/contour lines on a separate layer and hide the hull surface. Then rotate the view to look down the length of the hull. If there are any irregularities in the hull surface they will show up as wavy contour lines. Even the slightest irregularity will be pretty obvious. You can clearly see this in the lowest waterline in the image above. The fifth and seventh frames are too low where the lowest waterline crosses them, creating "waves" or "wiggles" in the water line (frames are blue and waterlines are red). To correct these problems I draw a separate curve/spline along the contour/waterline by snapping to the line at the frames where the curve is correct, and allow the curve to shape itself over the irregularities. Then I reposition points on the relevant station/frames to snap to the new curve. After the station/frame curves have been corrected I delete the old hull surface, the contour/waterlines and temporary curve. Then I generate a hew hull surface and repeat the process, over and over until the contour/waterlines all come out to smooth curves. In the image above you can see the frames have been corrected so the lowest waterline comes out smooth. Still a bit of work needed on the 3rd and 4th waterlines farther aft. With all of this in mind you can see why it is much easier to just work on a half hull until you have a good hull surface. Phil
  11. Back in the mid 20th century many (most, all?) kits supplied sheets of wood with the part outlines printed on them. You had to cut out the pieces one by one. Looks like someone started cutting out the center/keel part.
  12. I'll be following this to see what tools you use and how they work.
  13. Mike, The kit I am working from is #771, but I bought it in the early 1980s. There is no scale given on the plans or "instructions" (such as they are). As you can see, I am not following the instructions or the plans that came with the ship - although I am using them for reference for some things. After looking through a number of books I have decided the deck plan in the kit is pretty good for a Baltimore clipper privateer of the Revolutionary War or War of 1812 period. It is similar to the American Lynx, which was captured by the British and renamed Mosquidobit. But I wanted to build the model as a revenue cutter. The hull shape is good for just about any Baltimore clipper of the late 1700s to mid 1800s, so I decided to build it at 1:48 scale where 1 foot = 0.25". O scale trains are also 1:48 and I thought this might make it easier to find some parts. At 1:40 scale 1 foot = 0.3 inch, as you have determined. And yes, you are right that some of the dimensions in the kit are pretty strange. I suspect many of the parts are just stock items that they put into many different kits, regardless of whatever scale the kit was supposed to be. On the plans I have the length between perpendiculars (the waterline length) is about 17" and the length on deck is 15.3". This gives the following hull lengths and deck lengths at the various scales, and the length of a scale foot: Scale Hull length Deck length Scale foot 1:40 56.7' 51' 0.3" 1:48 68' 61.2' 0.25" 1:64 90.67' 81.6' 0.1875" 1:72 102' 91.8' 0.1667" 1:96 136' 122.4' 0.125" As it happens a French fellow (Marestier) visited the US in the early 1800s and was interested in the Baltimore clippers. He recorded the dimensions of many of them. Howard Chapelle's "The Baltimore Clipper" published dimensions for 18 vessels Mariester recorded (page 112), along with many more. The length of these ships ranged from 54' to 115' length. The smaller vessels were pilot schooners or revenue cutters. For comparison the Lynx/Mosquidobit was 95' length on deck. It had a deck plan similar to the kit and carried six cannons like the small ones in the kit. It was common for privateers to carry an extra long gun, like the kit. At 1:40 scale the model would make a very small ship, more like a pilot schooner or small revenue cutter. These ships did not have bulwarks like the kit. The small cannons supplied with the kit would be 3 pounders, or smaller! 6 pounders were about the smallest guns the Baltimore clippers carried, and 12 pounders were common on the larger vessels. Even at 1:48 it is small for a privateer or cargo ship. To me it makes more sense for the kit to be 1:64 or 1:72 scale. At 1:64 the tiller handle would be 22" above deck, the distance between tiller and binnacle would be 2.7 feet and the capstan bars would be about 3 feet above the deck. The important thing to remember is that the dimensions of these ships was pretty much determined by formula, based upon the length between perpendiculars. So all Baltimore clippers had about the same relative dimensions, regardless of the actual size of the ship. The British and French copied the original American design because they made fast ships (but that may have been influenced by an earlier French design). There were variations, especially in the more radical sail plans of the later American vessels. But all in all, a Baltimore clipper looked like a Baltimore clipper no matter when or where it was built. So I suggest you do what I did. Ignore the scale suggested in the kit plans, and build it to whatever scale you think best. It will come out looking about the same no matter what scale you choose.
  14. Drill presses are intended for vertical motion of the tool. As mentioned above, the bearings are designed for this. You can do simple milling with a drill press if you have a moveable X-Y table, but only for very light work. Horizontal movement of the work piece will stress the bearings, and eventually they will wear and the centering of the tool will become sloppy. A milling machine is just a more sophisticated drill press that is designed for cutting in the horizontal and vertical directions. But milling machines have much higher precision than drill presses. Some mills have motorized tables to achieve a very constant rate of movement for fine finishes. They have variable speed motors to allow matching tool speed with the type of material being machined. The tables usually have provision for lubricant collection. They have more precise horizontal controls, often with digital readouts for very precise cutting. And there are accessories that allow an amazing variety of operations - often at an amazing additional cost! So what do you want to do? Drilling, or drilling and milling? Select the proper tool for the job.
  15. I have used Pacific madrone (Arbutus menziesii) and it is very nice for carving. No pores, polishes very smooth, and finishes with True Oil (purified linseed oil) in a beautiful color that looks like honey you could dip your finger into. It does have annual growth rings that are quite apparent. It doesn't chip or fuzz when carving it. It has been compared to European pear, and is possibly superior. However, as said above, it is very difficult to dry. Large pieces split radially along the grain the full length. I have never tried working with long thin strips so I don't know if it is brittle and prone to splitting. It has a few distinctive features. The bark is very smooth and thin, like deep red paper, and it peels off every year, leaving pale green limbs and trunks that start a new growth of bark every spring. It produces many pale whitish-green flowers at the very top - you usually can't see them from the ground, but from a distance a hillside with many madrones may look white as if it was covered with snow. It also produces a lot of bright red seed pods. I got my pieces out of clearcuts in nearby forests. Foresters/loggers try to eliminate the madrone because it is a non-commercial "weed" species. Some of it is cut for firewood but most is burned on site or left to rot. Fortunately, the US Forest Service has a practice of trying to maintain a viable population of all native species so it probably won't become extinct. There are a few giant madrones (5 feet/1.5 meters diameter) in some natural reserves near my home, but most of what we have now is 1 foot/0.3 meters or less diameter. Consequently, there aren't many commercial sources and it is relatively expensive - $30 to $40 per board foot (12x12x1 inch/30.48x30.48x2.54 cm).

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