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Dr PR

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  1. Jeff, Duh! I knew that. Thanks for pointing out the mistake! I'll correct my earlier post (and check to see if I made the same mistake elsewhere).
  2. Keith, I have been following your build for some time and it is beautiful. I especially appreciate your attention to the fine details. The subject of trunnels/trenails came up with the deck planking. You remarked that they didn't show in photos. I served on three ships with wooden decks in the 1960-70s. Two were wooden minesweepers and one a metal hulled cruiser. The wooden plugs over the bolts holding the deck down were not apparent unless you got down on your hands and knees and looked for them. The decks were holy stoned and bleached so all the wood was the same color. One fellow commented that the wood the plugs must have been installed with the grain matching the grain of the planks. That is exactly the way the blueprints for the Cleveland class cruisers call for laying the deck planking! The metal deck was sealed and tested for water tightness before the planks were laid. Threaded studs were welded to the deck and holes were drilled in the planking to fit over the studs. The holes were a loose fit over the studs at the bottom, and drilled wider above to accommodate a nut. The planks were laid in a thick film of rust preventative compound. After the nut was tightened the hole was filled with white lead and the wooden plug was driven in to fit securely. The wood plugs were of the same material as the planking, with the grain running the same direction as that of the planking. Then the plugs were sanded flush with the planking. In addition to the ships I have served on, I have visited several historic ships and looked at photos of many more. The trenails aren't visible on any of them unless you look very closely. For this reason I don't bother putting them on ship models. Horrors! Did I just speak ship modeling blasphemy!? Note: there are exceptions. The deck on the USS Little Rock CG-5 (the last Cleveland class cruiser) museum ship was in very poor shape in the early 2000s. With no crew to maintain and occasionally holy stone the deck many of the wood plugs had risen above the planks, probably due to leaks and expansion of water in the holes as it froze in the winter. Since then the deck has been replaced - with artificial wood. I haven't seen it so I don't know if the original requirements for installing the plugs were followed. So with a very poorly maintained ship the trenails might be visible. But on your beautifully maintained Germania you can be forgiven for not installing the studs, drilling the planks, bolting them down and inserting plugs with aligned grain. None of it would be visible, not even to rivet counters.
  3. I have never built a double planked hull, so I do not speak from experience. But it is pretty obvious that the purpose of the inner planking is to create a smooth curved surface to serve as a base for the outer planking. It doesn't matter what material you use (it doesn't have to be wood) or how neat the inner planking is, and you can use as much putty as necessary to fill low spots to get a smooth curved hull surface. You can accomplish the same thing by filling between bulkheads with balsa or foam and then sanding it to smooth curves. Then the outer planking can be very thin material that is easy to cut and will twist and bend easily to fit the curves of the hull. I have built kits that had bulkheads too far apart. If the bulkheads are two inches (4 centimeters) or more apart the planks will make flats between the bulkheads and the hull will not look good! But I have added additional bulkheads - cut from model aircraft plywood - to fill the gaps. I like the bulkheads to be about an inch, or two centimeters, apart or less. The natural "springiness" of the wood will produce smooth curves between the bulkheads. **** Someday I may build a model with a double planked hull - a wooden minesweeper. These were built double planked. But the inner planks were placed at a 45 degree angle to the frames. The inner planks started at the keel and angled up to the bulwarks. Then the outer planking was added parallel (more or less) to the waterline. This produced a much stronger hull structure, and that was good for a small ship that might be in close proximity to a detonated mine that was large enough to sink a battleship!
  4. One of the problems you may have is cutting the opening the right size but in the wrong place. If you mark the outline on the hull first and then start cutting, as you get the opening about the right size you will cut away the outline. After it is gone you might end up trimming it a bit too much to one side or the other. Using a jig with a centering mark will help avoid this problem. I carved a tool from a wooden stick, trimming it to the dimensions of the gun port. Wider shoulders on the tool fit against the outside of the planking to limit the extent the tool penetrated into the port. I extended the usefulness of the tool by trimming it further beyond where it penetrated through the hull siding to be used as a guide for positioning the gun port frames and the upper and lower cills to create the rebate for port lids. To help clarify the description, notice that the actual opening in the planking is wider than the opening inside the hull. The rebate that the port lid closes against is formed by frames on either side of the opening and cills at the bottom and top of the opening - but in this case there is no upper cill beneath the top rail. Unfortunately I can't find the tool that I used and I don't have a photo of it. The tool was widest at the shoulders that fit against the outside of the hull planking, then narrower at the dimensions of the port opening in the hull planking, and narrower still at the dimensions of the inside of the port opening between frames and cills. I put a reference mark at the top center of the tool to help position it correctly horizontally. If your gun ports are all positioned vertically the same distance relative to a wale or top rail you can carve the tool to have an edge or shoulder to ride on the wale or rail in order to get the correct height each time. I drew a vertical line on the hull side (the top rail in this case) where the center of the gun port should be, extending above the port. Then I placed the end of the tool against the hull where the port should be and traced the outline on the wood for a guide. This outline was actually smaller than the desired port opening, about the size of the port opening after the frames and cills were added. This left some margin for error. Then I drilled out the center of the port and used files to open the hole and shape it until it was about the size of the outline on the hull. When the opening was about the right size I used the tool to see if it would fit into the opening. Working slowly with files I removed the wood until the stick fit into the opening with a tight slip fit. The center mark on the tool and the vertical line on the hull allowed me to determine which side of the opening to trim. This allowed me to make all of the port openings exactly the same size - the openings in the hull planking and the openings between the frames and cills. You could also use the same tool to help position port hinges by placing reference marks on the shoulder that fits on the outside of the hull planking to be used for marking the positions of the hinges, or even using it as a drilling template.
  5. Here is a table of gun rigging data from "The Sea-gunner's Vade-mecum: Being a New Introduction to Practical Gunnery" by Robert Simmons, published in 1812 in England:
  6. Breeching ropes were three times the bore length of the cannon, and ranged from about 1 to 2 inches diameter, depending upon the size of the gun. You can find a great deal of information about guns and tackle (and a lot more) in this book: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=aztFAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false This is a table from the book: Note: the "size" is the circumference, not the diameter of the rope. (Thanks to zodaR461 - Jeff - for pointing this out. If you know the scale of the model (1:64, etc.) and the size of the guns (24 pounder, 6 pounder, etc.) you can calculate the appropriate diameter for the breeching ropes. A 12 pounder at 1:48 scale would have breeching ropes 5 inches circumference, or 5/3.14 = 1.6 inches diameter. At 1:48 scale = 0.033 inch (0.85 mm) diameter. Another rule of thumb for breeching rope diameter is about 1/3 the gun bore/shot diameter, and this gives dimensions pretty close to those in the table. Gun carriages were generally of a standard design with actual dimensions based upon the shot diameter. Here are some good discussions of cannon rigging:
  7. Here are some thoughts on glues: I'm a bit old fashioned - I used Testors "wood glue" for balsa projects when I was a kid. It contained acetone and "smelled like glue." Today I use Duco Cement for wood - it also smells like glue. What I like about it is that it cures in less than a minute when used in small amounts. Usually I can hold parts together for about 20 seconds and they are fastened. But you should allow it to cure for several hours or overnight to get a full bond. It does release acetone so you should use it in a ventilated area, but the amount released is small and I rarely notice it. For bonding wood planking on hulls the best thing I have found is epoxy paints. These are very thin two part epoxy. Airplane modelers use it to cover wooden engine mounts to prevent fuel from soaking into the wood. After the planking is in place (using some other adhesive for a temporary bond to the frames) just paint the inside surface of the hull with the epoxy paint. It will soak into the wood and frames, filling any gaps. I have wooden planked hulls 30 years old and there are no visible cracks between the planks. I like two part epoxies and there are many variations with different cure times. I especially like epoxy putties - some can even be mixed and used under water! When they harden they can be carved and machined like plastics, and they are a great gap filler. Of course the shortcoming is that they must be mixed carefully in the correct proportions (or they will never harden) and you have to mix them just before use. I avoid "super glue" or cyanoacrylate like the plague! I have never had good results, and the stuff usually hardens to a solid before I use it. Back in the '70s the automobile industry started using it to glue rear view mirrors onto the inside if windshields. I had the mirror fall off in a new Camaro. It was reattached with cyanoacrylate several times, and fell off every time. I finally mixed up some epoxy and glued it on myself. That bond lasted for at least 13 years until I sold the car. I later learned why the cyanoacrylate failed on the windshield - dashboard temperatures reached about 90C on very hot days. Cyanoacrylate melts below 100C (boiling temperature of water at atmospheric pressure). We used it to glue together machined parts in specialized microscopes. When we needed to disassemble them we wrapped a heating blanket around the parts and they came apart when the glue melted. CAUTION: cyanoacrylate releases heat (exothermic) as it cures. The greater the amount of glue the hotter it gets. I learned this the hard way many years ago. I used some super glue to glue the frayed ends of pull strings on a sleeping bag, letting it soak into the 1/8 inch diameter cords. Shortly afterwards the cords became very hot and started smoking! I dipped the cords into cold water to prevent a fire. Contrary to what some have said on this forum, cyanoacrylate was not invented to treat wounds in Vietnam! I first saw this stuff in the 1950s, long before Vietnam. But the original stuff was deemed to be too hazardous for the general public because it glued fingers together permanently! So the commercial brands are "watered down" (not actually with water, of course) to make it easier to get glued fingers apart. As others have said there are numerous formulations on the market with numerous variations in properties, so no general statement really applies to all. Ordinary while glue (PVA, polyvinyl acetate, wood glue, Elmers glue, school glue, etc.) is useful with any porous material (wood, cloth, paper, etc.). It is especially useful for bonding knots and ends of ropes and threads. It dries clear and washes off with water. You can soak the material in water to release the bond.
  8. Here is another image showing a way to stow the gun tackle falls when it is not in use. Thanks to archjofo's La Creole post #1386 (an excellent build!): The falls were coiled, bound with small stuff to keep them together, and tied to the gun carriage or placed on the deck beside/below the carriage. One strange thing about this drawing it that it is supposed to be for a French ship, but the breech rope passes through a loop at the cascobel instead of passing through a hole in the carriage as described for Continental ships in several publications. I wonder what period this drawing represents? In my current build I chose to attach the ends of the falls to cleats on the bulwarks. This not only secures the loose ends of the falls, but it also prevents the gun from moving as the ship rolls. Note: THIS IS NOT A FIRING CONFIGURATION. As described earlier, when the gun is hauled out to the firing position the gun tackle falls would be pulled back taut so when the gun recoils the line runs smoothly through the blocks. This would just be a temporary arrangement used after the gun was released from the stowed position but before it was manned for firing. It would be a simple and quick task to release the falls from the cleats. Other than the one drawing (post #1 above) I have seen showing the falls secured to belaying pins on the bulwarks I have no reference for this. It is just a possible solution to securing the gun and the loose ends of the falls. Any thoughts about this?
  9. It has been a while since I posted. Most of the delay was spent researching how cannons were rigged in the early to mid 1800s. There are plenty of drawings showing how the gun tackle was rigged when the gun was being fired, and several texts telling how to handle the tackle when firing the guns. There were some drawings and texts telling how to stow the guns - in several different configurations. One text did say that the length of the gun tackle rope should be six times the length of the cannon bore. This would leave several feet of gun tackle falls for the crew to handle when the gun is hauled in until the breech line stops it. But none of these texts or drawings tells what to do with the loose ends of the gun tackle rope when it is not being fired. Many modelers flake these ropes in neat (Flemish) coils on the deck, and some just make loose coils. But this would have never been done at sea - the loose ends would be scattered all over the place and that would be very poor seamanship! Some use the falls to wrap around the tackle as a type of serving. But I could find no text saying this was actually done, at least for a ship at sea. I did find a drawing showing the falls looped around belaying pins (or cleats) on the bulwarks, and another showed the falls looped and tied to prevent the rope from spreading out on the deck. This is what I decided to do - with a US one cent coin for size reference. I placed cleats (Syren Ship Models 3.5 mm boxwood cleats) on the bulwarks to either side of the gun ports. The gun tackle falls were looped around the cleats tightly and then the remainder was draped in a loose coil. I intended to take a turn around the loop with the loose end to create a figure eight (8) coil, but that has turned out to be a test of my dexterity. Maybe I'll do that later, but just accomplishing what you see was a lengthy process! I also intended to wrap the line around the cleat properly, but the cleats are a bit small and the rope would not cooperate. THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A FIRING CONFIGURATION! When the gun was ready for firing the port and starboard tackle crews would pull the gun out to firing position with the gun tackle and then they would stretch the falls out straight so the line would run free. When the gun was fired the falls would run through the tackle, acting as a brake for the rearward recoil. This is described in some of the period gun handling texts. But sometime between when the guns were taken from stowage configuration and when they would be fired the guns would be run out and placed in a standby configuration, perhaps as shown here. Because the tall sails could be seen when the ship was far over the horizon, 20 miles or more away (in clear weather), and the ships actually moved slowly at less than 10 knots, it would be hours after a ship was first seen and the guns unstowed until firing commenced. In the mean time some method was needed to restrain the cannons, and tying the gun tackle falls to cleats or belaying pins would provide a means to restrain the guns that could be released quickly. At least that's my theory, and the way it is done on Captain Phil's ship! The gun port lids/covers posed a bit of a problem. As I explained earlier the bulwark height was too low to allow the cannon barrels to run under the cap rail. Even after I designed and scratch built new gun carriages there was little clearance above the barrels. I installed the port hinges in the cap rail edge. Even so, the lids must be raised at a fairly steep angle to allow the cannons to fit under them (as shown above). Raised at such an angle they would provide the gun crew with some protection from musket shot. After studying books and drawings, and some pictures of actual ships, I came up with this method of raising and securing the lids in position. On larger ships, with heavier lids, the line to the ring bolt on the lid was fed through a two block tackle and then secured to a cleat on the gun port frame or on the bulwark nearby. On this small ship I just used a line without tackle. I led the line through a ring bolt in the cap rail and then to a 3.5 mm cleat beside the gun port. This keeps the line high and clear of the gun. And the thin silk thread could be wrapped properly around the cleat! But, since I made the lids and hinges and installed them I have been thinking that some other arrangement would have been used. Perhaps two lid halves that were hinged vertically to swing to either side would have been more practical. Or the lids might not have been hinged, but were latched in place over the port and removed entirely and stowed when the guns were run out. Maybe the ships didn't have gun port lids! Some of the revenue cutters didn't even have bulwarks. Given the sparsity of information about early 1800s revenue cutters we may never know.
  10. I would definitely avoid the image editor (pixel) type programs like Photoshop, Paint, etc! Select a cheap/free vector image program. This will allow you to adjust line widths and colors, and scale the drawing easily. They all will output images for printing/plotting at any scale. There are basically two types of vector drawing programs. There are programs designed to make pretty pictures, with a minimum of precision drawing functions. Then there are true CAD (computer aided drafting/design) with a full set of precision drafting tools. If you intend to build a historically accurate model use a CAD program. If you just want to throw something together that "looks like" a ship use a drawing program.
  11. I recently came across a discussion of gun sizes, and one consideration not mentioned so far in this thread was the weight of the guns. The total weight of the guns carried by a ship was limited. In some cases guns were made with short barrels in order to reduce the overall weight of the gun. This allowed more guns to be placed on the ships. This idea eventually led to the invention of the carronade. For a given shot size there was more or less a standard diameter necessary for safe operation of the gun, so weight was reduced by shortening the barrel, not the barrel diameter. Of course, shortening the barrel reduced the effective range, so it was a trade off between effective range and the total throw weight of the broadside. Some ships carried a mixture of short guns and long guns, depending upon what was available, the whim of the Captain, and ship size. I suspect just about any combination you can imagine was afloat somewhere at some time.
  12. We are all ignorant of almost everything there is to know - we were born that way. To me "stupid" is the inability to learn, and "dumb" is the refusal to learn. Your are learning so you are neither. I have been building ship models for decades, and I was in the Navy. Even so, I still have problems with a lot of the older terminology - but I am learning!
  13. You said you had "Chapelle's book." He has four that discuss revenue cutters and Baltimore clippers, but only the "History of American Sailing Ships" has many plans for revenue cutters. The Bluejacket kit seems to be for the 31 ton design by William Doughty. The "History of the American Sailing Navy" (1985) has drawings of this ship on pages 184, 191 and 196. The drawing on page 191 has the sail plan and spar dimensions. This is the largest drawing of this type I have seen. I suspect the Bluejacket plans are larger than this. Take these sail plans with a grain of salt. There were significant variations from ship to ship, and no one is really sure if any ships were built to Doughty's 31 ton design. Chapelle's "The Baltimore Clipper" is a wealth of information about the general design of the schooners and revenue cutters, but it is a small book with small drawings (and lots of them). It has detailed descriptions of the spars for many of these ships. Note: the original editions of some of Chapelle's books have larger drawings, including many fold out double page size plans. The more recent reprints reduce these plans to a single page. You can find the older editions on Amazon.
  14. For English speaking persons who are actually familiar with building and operating sailing vessels (as opposed to those who write dictionaries) the noun "rigging" means the standing and running ropes, cable and chains. The verb "rigging" refers to installing and adjusting the standing and running ropes, cables and chains to make the vessel sea worthy. George Biddlecombe's "The Art of Rigging," published in the England in 1848 and reprinted in the USA in 1925, deals exclusively with the standing and running rigging, and mentions masts, spars and sails only in reference to how the rigging attaches and is used to control them. His work is based upon David Steele's "The Elements and Practice of Rigging and Seamanship," published in England in 1794. It also uses "rigging" to refer to the ropes, cables and chains in the standing and running rigging. In Darcy Lever's "The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor," published in 1808 in England and reprinted in the USA with additions by George Blunt in 1858, rigging refers to the standing and running rigging. Harold Underhill's "Masting and Rigging the Clipper Ship and Ocean Carrier," published in Scotland in 1946, has separate chapters on "masting," "sails" and "rigging," and also uses "rigging" to refer to the standing and running rigging. Every ship modeling book written in English that I have seen uses "rigging" to refer only to the standing and running rigging. In most works "rigging" may also refer to the cables, chains and ropes used to haul in and fish the anchor, tackle used with guns and boats, and tackle used to handle cargo.
  15. Johann, Excellent work! I just discovered this thread this morning, and I have sat here for about 10 hours reading it from start to finish! I have learned a great deal from your work - it is like watching the construction of the real ship. I really appreciate the research you have put into your work! One thing I have been puzzling over is what to do with the loose ends of the gun tackle. I have seen other methods but they didn't seem practical for me, except perhaps when the ship was open for visiting in port and to put on a show. Your method of looping the rope and securing it with small stuff makes sense. This keeps it out of the way but readily available. Another similar method was to loop it over a belaying pin or cleat on the bulwark. I will continue reading your build log with great interest.

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