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About abelson

  • Birthday 01/14/1949

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    Rhode Island

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  1. Completed the head timbers - phew! The upper head timbers were more challenging than the lower head timbers. I made notches in the timbers to seat on the middle rail. This made it easier to set the timbers. I used white glue. I set each timber in-place with the ship upright and then turned the ship over so that I could align each timber with the lower timber before the glue dried. To secure them, I applied a little CA at the interface of the timber and the bottom of the head rail. Some sanding was required to thin/taper the underside of the timbers. I’m totally pleased with how the head timbers turned out. Except for installing the bumpkins, this completes Chapter 10. So far so good. Now, it’s on to Chapter 11.
  2. Moving on to the middle rails. I decided to holdoff on installing the upper rails until I complete the middle rails. I notched the overhang of the cap rail and the shear strake to make room for the middle rail. This would have been easier without the catheads in-place, but I didn’t want to do the notching beforehand for fear that the catheads would not be in the proper locations. The laser cut middle rail pieces have a lot of char that is difficult to remove and, in the process, a loss of material thickness occurs (see before and after photos). I shaped Piece #1 and Piece# 2 per the detail on Sheet 4. The detail only shows the starboard side middle rail pieces. The port side pieces are difficult to carve without a detail of the port side pieces. I don’t have a light table, so I placed the detail face down against a windowpane and traced the outline. This gave me a good guide for carving the port side Piece #1 and Piece #2. I was able to carve the decorative grooves in Piece #1 and Piece #2. Piece #2 was angled at the top to seat against the underside of the cathead. I decided the best way to install the middle rail was to glue the pieces together and to then glue the complete rail on the ship. I used white glue to join the two pieces. After the glue dried completely, I added CA glue to the joint on the underside and back of the middle rail. This allowed me to sand the joint to make a smooth transition between the pieces. I do think the rail is too thin, though. So, I decided to do them over. I made a template of Piece #1, glued it on the 1/8” sheet of basswood, and cut it out with a jeweler’s saw. The second go-around is slightly better (see before and after photos). The last part of the middle rail is the laser cut Piece #3, the hanging knee under the cathead. These pieces are very small, and slightly smaller than the same piece on the detail (see photos). Removing the char made them even smaller. Piece #3 was by far the most frustrating part of the head rails. It’s very difficult to shape Piece #3 to fit the width of Piece #2 and the angles formed between Piece #2 and the cathead. Between this and dropping the piece at least a dozen times (UGH!), I don’t know which was more frustrating. There not perfect, but I’m satisfied with how they look. I jumped head to Step 5 and fabricated the top rails and the stanchions as per the instructions. I did this because I was concerned with aligning the stanchions and drilling the holes in the middle rail with rail in-place. I thought it would be easier to do this with the middle rail off ship, and it was. I was able to fit the top rail to the middle rail after several iterations of cutting the stanchions to length. I test fit the assembly – it looks good (see photo). Next, I made the bumpkins. The instructions say to make the bumpkins from 1/16” dowel. The kit does not include a 1/16” dowel. I used the kit supplied 5/64” dowel. It’s a little larger than 1/16”, but not that significant to the naked eye. I drilled a hole in the hull for inserting the bumpkin. Moving on to the head timbers. I fit the head timbers between the cheek and the middle rail. They’re a little difficult to make because of the angles involved, but I managed to cut, trim, and position them to fit. I'm satisfied with the way it came out, but the timbers are not perpendicular to the keel as the drawing shows. Next up, the head timbers between the middle rail and the upper rail.
  3. Completed the upper rails. I managed to carve the grooves as per the instructions. On these, I marked the grooves lightly with a mechanical pencil first. This depressed the wood slightly and provided a guide for the knife blade – and my eyes - when I scored the groove. I then traced the groove with my awl. Slow and steady wins the race here. The tops of the rails were filed to create the timberhead. To get the length of the upper rails, I measured 3/8” from the bridle port along the cap rail and made a pencil mark. I trimmed the upper rail accordingly and tapered the end to 1/16”. I stained them Golden Oak. I’m holding off on gluing the upper rails in-place until I fabricate the catheads. The catheads scale slightly larger than 1/8” on Sheet 8. I used 3/16” x 3/16” basswood strip instead of 1/8” x 1/8”. This gave me a little more space for the sheaves and to sand down the cathead pieces. Made the catheads in two pieces. I marked the location of the catheads on the top rail with a strip of masking tape the same width as the cathead. Before cutting out the cap rail and the waterway, I test fit the upper rails. Satisfied with the fit, I cut out the cap rail and the waterway. For the sheaves, I drilled four holes with a #67 (.0320"/.831 mm ) drill bit. I created faux sheaves by scoring the wood between the holes a la the bulwarks sheaves. The sheave for the cathead stopper cable was made with a 1/64” x 3/32” brass strip that I had left over from my Fair American build. The length was approximated based on Sheet 1. I punched holes in the brass strip with an awl and then drilled out the hole with a pin vise. The small disc to simulate the sheave was made from a 1/16” dowel that was sanded down to a diameter slightly greater than 1/64”. I used brass pins to attach the sheave. I filed down the pin heads to make them smaller. Three 1/32” eye bolts were glued into pre-drilled holes along the forward edge of each cathead. I pinned the two cathead pieces together and inserted a pin in the bottom of the cathead where it attaches to the deck. I added a 5mm cast cleat to each cathead. Before gluing the catheads, I added the cleat on the inboard side of each cathead. The catheads look good but, unfortunately, some of the detail will be lost when they are painted black. As check, I test fit the upper rails again. Next up the middle rails.
  4. Thank you. The perfectionist in me says they could be cleaner.The volutes were difficult - such a small radius. I'm satisfied, though. The stain makes them stand out.
  5. Removed the laser cut cheeks from the 1/16” sheet of basswood (WP4638F) and sanded them to remove char. Test fit them on the stem knee. I was hesitant to carve the two grooves into the cheeks, but they came out fairly well. I scored each cheek with sharp x-acto blade. I needed 5X magnifier to see what I was doing. Per the instructions, using an awl, I traced each scored line several times. I ran the straight edge of #200 sandpaper along the groove to remove some of wood fiber. It’s very difficult to carve the grooves without wondering off when you trace the score, particularly where the cheeks thin out at the volute. It’s important to get a clean continuous cut when you first score the wood - not easy, slow and steady works well. This helps to prevent the awl from wandering off when you trace the score. There not perfect, but I'm happy with how they turned out. The photos tend to show the imperfections. On the model, to the naked eye, I the imperfections aren’t that noticeable. I did the port side cheeks first, stained them, and glued them in-place. I test fit the figure head (painted antique gold) and left it temporarily in-place while I glued the cheeks. This gave me a good guide for placing the cheeks. I think drilling the hawes pipes ahead of time made it easier to install the cheeks – I didn’t have to worry about damaging the them. The starboard side cheeks came out equally as well. Note, the lower cheek volutes are extended beyond the knee stem. The space between them was filled with a piece of toothpick that was stained. Next up, the upper rails.
  6. Chapter 10 - Head Rails and Figurehead. My last post was too long, so I decided to make this post short. OK, the location of the hawes pipes concerned me, so I wanted to hit it head on. This chapter is lacking in photos illustrating the inboard hawes pipes, and there is no detailed drawing on the plans. The plan on Sheet 8 shows the hawes pipes as dashed lines. They’re approximately 12” center-to-center at a 3/16” scale. I traced the location of the hawes pipes onto a photocopy of the deck plan that I used for the deck planking. I placed the photocopy on the deck and then marked the location of the hawes pipes on the bulwarks. I measured the distance from the deck to the center of the hawes pipes from the section view on Sheet 8, marked it on the bulwarks, and made a punch mark with my awl. To get the location of the hawes pipes on the outboard side, I made a photocopy of the bow from Sheet 1, cut it out and taped it onto the starboard side bulwarks. I marked the location of the cheeks with a pencil and punched a hole at the center of the hawes pipes with my awl. At the same time, I marked the location of the eye bolt on each side of the bow. I reversed the photocopy and did the same on the port side. This gave me an approximation of where the hawes pipes will be on the outboard and inboard sides. I measured the distance from the inboard punch marks to the top of the rail cap and the distance from the punch marks on the outboard side to the top of the rail cap. I found that there is approximately ¼” vertical separation between the inboard hawes pipe locations and the outboard hawes pipe locations. I’m not sure if this is correct- I may have marked the inboard holes too high. So, as the instructions say, the hawes pipes will have to be drilled at an angle -no easy fete. For starters, I drilled 0.55 mm pilot holes parallel to the keel and at an angle on the inboard side and the outboard side. The difficulty with drilling the holes was trying to get them lined up. I got them to match up, so I went out on a limb and drilled the holes completely through with a 1/16” bit - success. Drilling chewed up the bulwarks a bit -AGH! Note: The section view on Sheet 8 shows a decorative piece around the inboard hawes pipes (like an escutcheon), about which there is no discussion in the instructions. I have seen this on other build logs, so I added this feature. I decided to install the two layers of wood that are glued between the two cheeks prior to installing the cheeks. The layers were made from the 1/32” laser-cut basswood sheet WP4602-H. I like the way it turned out, although the port side is slightly higher than the starboard side. I won’t do it over. I think I can tweak the starboard side cheek slightly to give it an illusion of being level with the port side. Next up. the cheeks.
  7. I have completed Chapter 9 – Hull Details. I began by gluing the SYREN photo-etched letters onto the transom. As a guide, I made a copy of the stern elevation on Sheet One, cut out the portion showing the letters SYREN, taped it below the bottom stern molding strip, and then aligned the letters with the cutout. I used a small amount of white glue, which allowed me to position each letter without making a mess of glue. Next, the faux sheaves. I made a photocopy of the starboard side elevation view on Sheet One and cut out the bulwarks. I used this as a template to locate the sheaves. Using my push pin vise, I drilled 0.55 mm holes completely through the bulwarks at the sheave locations - I plan to run the rigging line through the aft holes. I scribed a line between the holes of each sheave and then, using a fine point file, created a groove between the holes. I ran a pencil along the groove to darken, as per the instructions. I may paint the grooves later. While I was at it, I marked the location of eye bolts. I plan to use the eye bolts and rings that came with the kit and to darken them with Brass Black. I ordered Birchwood Casey Brass Black and a stainless-steel tea strainer with mesh bottom from Walmart. While waiting for my Walmart order, I decided to make the sweep port lids. The instructions call for the sweep port lids to be made from a 1/16” x 1/8” basswood strips. I made the sweep ports 1/8” square as per the instruction. With the lip around the ports, they’re 3/16” square. So, I used a 3/16”x 1/16” basswood strip for the lids. I stained the strip with Minwax Golden Oak first. I cut each lid to fit. I didn’t chamfer the back edges of the lids as some other build logs have done because the lids fit tighter without a chamfer. I didn’t paint the back of the lids red because you can’t see the back of the lids when installed. The lids fit tightly without gluing. After installing the lids, I lightly sanded them then applied another coat of stain. I used the “U” shaped hinges provided with the kit. Like the _Sald_ build log, I cut the hinges from the photo etched sheet so that the tab that holds the hinge strap to the photo-etched sheet was in-place. I bent the tab down to use it to secure the hinge to the lid. I added the sweep port hinges to the lids. I didn’t find that leaving the tabs and using them as nails was helpful. So, I clipped them off. I’m not sure whether I want to add the 28 gauge wire to the hinges - they’re so small. For the bulwarks eyebolts I used the kit split rings and eye bolts. I assembled them using a pair of needle nose pliers – tedious work that requires magnifiers. I blackened the eye bolt/split ring assemblies. The split rings match the scale of the plan, but they look too small. The main course and main sheet rings shown in the picture on Page 36 of the instructions appear to be larger. The aft gun port lids and the forward bridle port lids where next. I fashioned the lids using four 1/16” x 1/8” wide basswood strips per lid. The starboard side bridle port is slightly larger, so I had to use one 3/16” x 1/16” and three 1/16” x 1/8” strips. I test fit the lids and left them in-place while I stained the outboard surfaces with Golden Oak stain. I removed the lids, placed them on the sticky side of masking tape, labeled them so I knew which was which, and then painted the inboard surfaces red. The lids have handles on the inboard and outboard sides that are made from eyebolts. Many build logs have added split rings to the eye bolts. The instructions do not call for split rings on the handles. The kit only supplies 20 split rings which isn’t enough if you are going to add rings to the lids. I like the look of the rings on the handles and decided to add them. I tried my hand at making some small split rings by winding some 28-gauge steel wire around the shank of a 1mm diameter drill bit, cutting off the individual rings from the coil, and attaching them to the eye bolts. After making a few, I wasn’t satisfied with the results. The rings weren’t round enough, and it was very tedious and time consuming. For me, it wasn’t worth the effort, so I decided to order some split rings from Model Shipways. I assembled the eye bolts and split rings and blackened them. I added the hinges and eyebolts to the bridle port lids and the aft gun port lids. The photo-etched bridle port hinges are shorter than those depicted on the plans, but I used them anyway. I decided to run the lid lifting rope through the bulwarks rather them over bulwarks, so I drilled a 0.55 mm hole through the bulwarks above the lid. The rope is belayed to a cleat along the inside of the bulwarks. I will add the rope and cleats later. With the gun and bridle port lids complete, I turned my attention to the gun port lids. In making these, I followed the advice of some other build logs and made the lids thicker using two plies of basswood: 1/8” x 1/16” and 3/16” x 1/16”. I, like Dubz build log, didn’t see the logic for a rabbet at the top of the half-lid. The most difficult part for me was making the circular cut out. I kept it simple and used a needle nose file to create the approximate 1/8” diameter half circle. Once I had one lid shaped, I used it as template for the others. I made the port side (PS) lids first. I set the lids in the gun ports and then stained the outboard surface. Note: Other than authenticity, there’s no need to finish the outboard surface of the lids because it won’t be seen when the lids are mounted in the open position. Later, I removed the lids and placed them on the sticky side of masking tape to hold them in-place while I painted the inboard surface red. I labeled the lids PS1, PS2, etc., so that they didn’t get mixed up. Note: I later realized that it’s not necessary to label the gun port lids because they’re all approximately the same width and they’re not going to be installed in the gun ports. I repeated the process for the starboard side lids. The lid eye bolts are not shown on the plans but are shown in the instructions. They appear to be placed at the center of the lids on each side of the half circle. I drilled holes in the port side lids for the eyebolts, and then glued on the hinges. I found that the blackened hinges don’t bond well with white glue on stain. When I bent the hinges, most of them broke off. I re-glued them with CA glue. The hinges look nice, but they won’t see the day of light after the lids are installed. I bent the hinge tabs over and then aligned each lid with the gun port opening and marked the location of the tabs on the bulwarks just below the gun port with a fine point awl. Then, I drilled a 0.55 mm hole at each tab location and test fit the lids. I used the full lid hinge extensions, bent them back and inserted them the holes. Note, I drilled holes for the eye bolts before mounting the lids. I made the gun port lids for the transom a la the other gun port lids, expect they don’t have a circular opening. I tried gluing the blackened hinges to the lids before painting them black to match the transom. The result was the same as the stained lids – the glue didn’t bound. So, I used CA – better results. I drilled a hole through the transom for the lid pull rope. I installed the lid handles and attach the lids. I added the pull rope for the top lid - I’ll add the cleat later. Before moving on from the lids, I was wondering about the bucklers. The instructions say the bucklers were only used during the roughest weather. I’m thinking that the bucklers must have been heavy and difficult to install, especially during rough seas, without dropping them into the ocean. I’m guessing that they must have been lashed to the lower lids before they were “buckled” into position and that the ropes were always in place for this purpose – just saying. On to the quarter badges. I didn’t want to match them to the color of the bulwarks as others have done. Rather, my personal preference was to paint them Antique Gold with Burnt Umber tops. I mixed a little gold with the burnt umber to tint the color. I glued them into position port and starboard – I like the look. Next up, boarding ladders, fenders, chess trees, and fore and main channels. I decided to add the fenders and chess trees first. These are easy to install. I notched-out the top of the fenders and chess trees to fit over the sheer strake. I painted the fenders and chess trees that show above the sheer strake black and stained the rest. I forgot to drill a hole in the chess trees for the fair lead. Fortunately, I was able remove the chess trees without damage, drill a 0.55 mm hole in each one, and re- glue each one in-place. The boarding ladder steps were made from 1/16” x 3/32” basswood strips. I cut the steps from the strip in a miter box. Using my x-acto knife, I made horizontal cut across the face of each step of the approximate width shown on the plan and then made a cut across the underside of the step. I removed the notch and squared iup the cut with a file. Next, a made perdendicular cut on the bottom at each end of the step, removed the notch, and squared it up. I sanded each step with fine sanding stick. To get the proper alignment of the steps on the bulwarks, I marked the spacing of the steps on a piece of masking tape and then placed the tape on the bulwarks. The steps were then glued to the hull at their corresponding mark on the tape. To finish them, I applied Golden Oak stain to the steps above the whale and painted the step on the whale black. The fenders and chess trees were also stained. Lastly, the channels. These are relatively easy to install. I removed the laser cut main and fore channels from the basswood sheet and sanded them to remove the char. To locate the holes in the channels for the eye bolts, I made photocopies of the portside channels from the plans Sheet One, cut them out, and placed them on the laser cut port side channels (for the starboard side channels, I flopped the photocopy over), marked the locations of the eyebolts with an awl first and then drilled a hole at each location. I drilled completely through the channel so that I didn’t have to make the eye bolt shanks so short, making them easier to glue in. The instructions say to make the eyebolts from 28-gauge wire. I used 1/16” eyebolts (MS0428) that I had from another build. I pinned the channels to the sheer strake with brass pins. I drilled three holes in the edge of each channel, snipped the pins and glued them in-place. I marked the locations of the pins on the sheer strake, drilled a hole at each location, and glued the channels in-place. I painted the channels on-ship and added the eye bolts. Oh, one more thing, I assembled the eye bolts and split rings, blackened them, and installed them on the lids. Now, it’s on to Chapter 10.
  8. Continuing with Chapter 8, I completed copper plating the rudder – I had previously shaped the rudder, so it was ready for copper plating. I fashioned the iron strap that the two rudder pendant eye bolts are secured to from copper tape. I doubled up the tape and cut an appropriately wide and long strip. I drilled a hole in the strip on each side of the rudder and glued the eye bolts. I used the small (0.75mm) brass eyebolts furnished with the kit. I fashioned the gudgeons and pintles from the 1/16” brass strips furnished with the kit. My approach was to follow the instructions and to "keep it simple stupid" (KISS). I'm not into soldering, so making working hinges was not an option. Besides, I think a lot of the detail isn't visible whence the gudgeons and pintels are assembled. To get the length of the gudgeons and pintles I scaled the length on the standing rigging plan, multiplied by two, and allowed for the width of the keel and the rudder. I cut the brass strip to the required lengths and then shaped them by bending them around the keel and the rudder. I cut the pintel pins from 22-gauge wire furnished with the kit. I cut the length a little longer then the width of two 1/16” brass strips. I found that a nail clipper makes a good clean cut. I’m not into soldering, so I glued the pins to the pintles with CA glue – not an easy task. I set the pintels aside while the glue dried and later applied a small amount of CA to further secure the pins. Next, I covered the brass strips with copper tape. I used the dressing belt stamp and trimmed it to the width of the brass stripe. I glued (CA) the pintles on the rudder, making sure they are perpendicular to the keel. To get the correct angle, I laid the rudder down on the plan sheet and applied a narrow strip of masking tape on the rudder to use as a guide. Next, I slid the gudgeons behind the pintle pins to test fit the rudder assembly on the hull. I painted the topmost gudgeon and pintle black. Attaching the gudgeons to the hull was a little tricky. I glued the topmost gudgeon to the hull stem first. Then, with the other gudgeons behind the pintle pins, I secured them a little CA glue at the gudgeon/pintel pin interface so that they wouldn’t flop around. I made sure the gudgeons were perpendicular to the stem and glued them in-place. The rudder copper has not yet been treated with vinegar and salt. You can see the difference in the patina of the copper. I'm need sure yet whether I like the patina of the hull, although it does have an aged look to it IMO. This concludes Chapter 8. At this point, I’m 13 weeks into the build.
  9. Thanks. It's fairly straight. Completing the plating is more a sigh of accomplishment than relief.
  10. Moving on to Chapter 8, I cut 17” strips of copper tape (22 plates per strip) and stamped out nearly 200 port side copper plates. The stamp sheared off several times – probably struck it too hard with the hammer. I was able to repair it with CA glue. To break the monotony of cutting plates, I cut the plates on several strips at a time, applied them to the hull, and repeated the process. The most difficult part for me was separating the backing from the plate. I used a pair of bent tweezers to help position the plates on the hull. Positioning the plates is all hand/eye coordination. My jewelers magnifying glasses came in handy here. I studied the standing rigging plan (Sheet 7) to see how the plates lined up at the bow. Beginning at the keel, the first three rows of plates line up with knee plates. Thereafter, the rows of plates work their way upward towards the waterline and they don't align with the knee plates. I completed the port side plates except for the dressing belt along the waterline. Like some other build logs, I made a stamp for the dressing belt plates (the "missing plate"). The port side stamping left an impression in the jig baseboard. So, before starting to stamp the starboard side plates, I moved the jig. This would have been easier to do had I screwed the jig to the baseboard. Completed the copper plating. It’s not perfect, but I’m satisfied with result considering that it’s my first copper plating experience. As some other build logs have done, I decided to copper between the keel and false keel, but primarily because I didn’t like the look of the first row of plates along the keel. I used the dressing belt stamp for these plates. I wiped the copper plates with acetone (nail polish remover) to remove fingerprints. I stained the false keel with Minwax Golden Oak, glued it and attached it with brass pins. I applied a mixture of vinegar and salt to the copper to remove the patina. Next up, the rudder.
  11. The laser cut margin planks did not fit well, so I decided to make them from the basswood sheet left over from the cap rails. I tried making the margin planks in one piece. I used a paper template to get the shape of the bulwarks and then traced it onto the wood sheet. After cutting the margin planks out with an x-acto knife, I test fit them. I didn’t like the way they fit at the bow. So, I made some tweaks to the template and re-cut the margin planks – this time from the bow to one bulkhead beyond bulkhead D. I placed the scarph joint at bulkhead D. After much sanding and refitting, the port side margin plank fit well. I cut the original port side one-piece margin plank to fit between the scraph joint the stern planking. I glued both margin planks and secured them with push pins. I repeated the process for the starboard side. Something that I’ve noticed in the instructions is that the margin plank has only one scraph joint. Like other build logs, I followed instructions and fashioned the margin plank with one scraph. Most likely, the margin plank was built with more than one joint - just saying. I spent a considerable amount of time studying build logs and reading Planking the Built-up Ship Model – the plank layout is confusing. Assuming a full-length plank of 20’+, I decided to use the “four step butt” arrangement. This meant the space between bulkheads was counted as a deck beam. Basically, with the four step butt, there is a joint in the same plank at every 5th beam, and the separation between joints on the same beam is 4 planks, i.e., there is a joint every 5th plank. I developed a joint pattern using the deck plan on plan sheet one. I used full width planks from bow to stern instead of tapering as other builders have done. Like some other builds, I laid in the first 4 planks on either side of the center line with no butts. I marked one edge of each plank with a #2 pencil to simulate the caulking between planks. Note: I forgot to pencil the first margin plank, so, when you start planking, remember to mark the planks before laying them - it's much easier. These planks were set flush with the margin plank. The remaining planks were “nibbed” or “joggled” at the margin plank. I rather crudely put some masking tape on the cap rail and sheer strake to protect it. I measured and cut the first 4 planks and test fit them on the deck and inserted push pins on the outside edge of the last plank and taped them. I also numbered the planks in case I had to realign them. The last plank on each side aligns with the edge of the companionway. I left the planks in-place while I removed, glued, and reinserted the 2 center planks (see photo). This way, I was sure that the first 2 planks would be aligned perfectly along the center of the deck. Before the glue dried, I removed the other planks, one side at a time, and pinned the edges of the two glued planks. Thereafter, I glued the rest of the planks, one at a time. The 5th plank is the first plank with butts. I laid down the plank, marked the butt locations using my pattern, and then cut and glued the planks. The 6th plank is the first joggled plank. I cut the joggle, traced the shape onto the margin plank, notched out the shape with an x-acto knife, and filed the notch to get a relatively clean edge. I used the first joggled plank as a template for planks 6, 7 and 8. Thereafter, the diagonal part of each joggle gets longer as you work aft along the margin plank. As I completed each plank, I highlighted it on the pattern so I could keep track of the butts. I some cases I created a faux butt by scoring the plank with a knife and marking the cut with a #2 pencil. I found it easier to notch out the margin plank if you leave a one or two plank space. I wish that I had put in filler blocks across the entire bulkheads to provide a solid surface to glue the planks to -at this stage, it would be too troublesome and time consuming to add blocks. Joggling went well – once you’ve done several you get the hang of it. Completed laying the deck planking. I’m not completely satisfied with it because some of the planks don’t butt against one another as closely as I’d like. It’s not perfect, but the original ship planking probably wasn’t perfect either. The most difficult part was the last plank port and starboard. The gap was slightly wider than 1/8” so I used a 3/16” x 1/16” basswood strip. To get the shape of the closure piece, I laid a piece of parchment paper on the deck and marked the outline using a fine point awl. I transferred the parchment paper onto the basswood strip and marked the outline on the strip with the awl. I traced the outline with a pencil and then cut it out. This gave me the rough outline. After some test fitting and filing, and more test fitting and filing, the strip fit fairly well – not perfectly though. The ends of the strip were nibbed. I sanded the deck smooth and set up for the treenails. Speaking of treenails, I notice that many builds do not treenail the margin plank. I’m sure that the margin plank was treenailed. I did notice in Dubz build that the margin plank was treenailed, so I treenailed my margin plank too. I also notice that some builds use the deck plan as a template to locate the hatches, gratings, and mast for treenailing purposes. I did likewise. I made a photocopy of the plan, cut out the hatches and gratings, carefully aligned the template with the center line of the deck, and traced the outline of the hatches and gratings onto the deck with a pencil. I punched a hole in the center of each mast on the template with the awl to check the alignment of the mast with the pilot holes that I drilled when I was assembling the bulkheads. The masts aligned perfectly with the pilot holes – phew. I drilled through the deck planks using a small bit first and then increasing the bit size until the 5/32” dia. mast dowels fit snuggly. Next, I sanded the planks and then made the treenails by first using the fine point awl to mark the treenails and then drilling each hole with a .55mm bit. I didn’t have a push pin vise small enough to fit a .55 mm bit, so I ordered one from eHobbyTools.com. In the meantime, I fashioned and installed the 1/16” waterway along the bulwarks. I used JesseLee’s idea of making a jig for sanding the waterway strip triangle shape – it worked well. I cut a V-groove in a piece of scrap pine using a triangular file. Then I laid the wood strip in the groove and removed the top half with a sanding block and file. I’m holding off on installing the waterway until I complete the treenails (see photos). While waiting for my eHobbyTools order, I decided to start reading Chapter 8 – Copper Plate/Rudder. I built the jig and the stamps following the instructions. I made a photocopy of the port and starboard nail patterns, cut the patterns out, and glued each one to a stamp. I used my push pin vise to drill a hole at each nail head – no drill press used here, KISS. I used the brass nails that came with the kit. I snipped the heads off the nails with a wire splitter – it made a nice clean cut. I filed the tips of each nail and then tapped it into the drilled hole with a hammer. The difficult part here is setting all the nails at the same height and making them plumb. Once I had the nail heads at approximately the same height, I turned the stamp upside down and placed the nail side on my work bench vise. I lightly tapped the stamp with a hammer to even out the height of the nails. Satisfied with the height and alignment of the nails, I applied CA to the top of the stamp to set the nails. I ran a file across the tips of the nails, rotating the stamp as I did so, to even them out. After some experimentation with stamping the nail patterns onto the tape, I’m satisfied with the nail patterns embossed on the copper tape. My pin vise arrived, so now it’s onto drilling the treenails- lots of treenails. It’s tedious work, but easy with a push pin vise. The .55 mm bits are very thin – I broke nearly a dozen of them. After drilling, I filled the treenails with Minwax Golden Oak putty. For filling the holes, I simply took a little putty in my hand, softened it, and pushed it into the holes. This was quick and easy – no special tools required, KISS. I wiped the deck clean with a paper towel to removed excess putty and then wiped the deck with alcohol. I applied a coat of Minwax pre-stain. At this stage, some build logs painted the locations of the gratings black so that the deck planking won’t be seen through the openings of the gratings. I decided to hold off doing this until I’m sure where the gratings will be located (Chapter 12). I decided to stain the waterway strips to match the deck, so I installed them in one piece (no easy task) before staining the deck and before lightly sanding the pre-stained deck. I decided to drill holes for the faux scuppers (Chapter 9). I used 1/16” drill bit – I like the look of them. With that done, I applied two coats of Minwax Golden Oak stain on the deck. The finish is too dark for my liking, but it matches the bulwarks. I’m satisfied with it though, considering all the work that went into it. I plan to apply a coat of Minwax polyurethane to the deck. This completes Chapter 7.
  12. On to Chapter 7. Before starting the inboard planking, I added filler strips along the bulwarks at the stern. I test fit the first inboard plank (3/16” wide) to make sure that there was a 3/16” space between the top of the bulkheads and the gun ports sill. I had to do some sanding of the bulkheads to achieve the 3/16”. I soaked two 3/16” x 1/16” strips and clamped them to the jig. I installed each strip in one piece on the port and starboard sides. It’s difficult to measure the exact length of one piece. I used a piece of dental floss extended along the bulwarks at the deck level from the bow to the board stern plank. The bow end of the strip was cut on an angle and chamfered to mate with the bulkhead former. I then stretched the dental floss on the strip and marked the aft end of the strip. The aft end is cut on an angle to conform to the stern planking. I test fit the strip, glued it, and clamped it to the bulwarks. While waiting for the starboard side plank to dry, I framed the companionway (off ship) with 1/8” x 1/8” strips. I used the framing guide as a template. I marked the center of frame along the bulkhead former and used it to position the frame between bulkheads 16 and 20. Back to the inboard planking. I continued the inboard planking using 1/8” pieces left over from the hull planking. I used a 1/8” spacer inserted in the sweep port to keep all the sweep openings consistent. Rather than plank over the gun ports and cut them out later, I decided to cut each plank. The fourth 1/8” wide plank was notched out at the top of the gun ports (see photo). I had to use a 3/16” wide strip above the gun ports to complete the planking. The top of the bulwark is a uniform 1/4”, so the cap rail with molding strip will be 1/16” wider than the plans call for. The instructions say to cut the cap rail from a 1/16” thick sheet. The kit doesn’t include a 1/16” sheet of basswood. I found this out ahead of time from another build log. I ordered two 1/16" x 6" x 24" basswood sheets from Hobby Lobby. BTY, I avoid ordering from Model Expo because they charge a flat rate of $9.95 for shipping. Hobby Lobby charged $6.95 for shipping my basswood order. I made the cap rail in one piece by laying the ship on top of the boxwood sheet and then tracing the outline of the outboard bulwarks profile onto the sheet. I drew a parallel line ¼” inside the traced line. Then, I carefully cut the pattern out slightly outside of the traced lines with an x-acto knife. As it turned out, the port side cap rail was a little shorter than the starboard side, so I had to add a small piece at the stern. The mistake I made is that I set the basswood sheet against the stern planking. In hindsight, I should have allowed a ¼” or so from the end of the sheet. All-and-all, I’m happy with the way it turned out; and the small piece that I had to put in will be covered by the stern davit (Chapter 14). I made the 1/16” square molding strips that go along the outboard edge of the cap rail in same manner as the stern molding strips. To avoid breaking the molding strips, I soaked them and set them in the jig. Because the wood swells when wetted, I had to file out the grove again. With this done, I glued the strips in-place and secured them with clamps. I should have left a little space between the top of the rail cap and the top of the molding strip - the instructions don’t say to do this. I tried to align the top of the molding strip with the top of the cap rail. In some areas the molding strip ended up being slightly higher than the cap rail. The ramification of this is, when you sand the rail cap to even out the molding strip some of the molding strip profile is lost. I decided that the treenails that I made with a sharp pointed awl were fine and, therefore, did not need to be drilled. I did try to even each one out with the awl. Filled the treenails with Minwax Golden Oak wood putty. After applying the putty, I wiped the bulwarks with a paper towel to remove excess putty – I’m satisfied with the result. On to painting. Applied Minwax Pre-stain wood conditioner to the outboard bulwarks planking, waited two hours, and applied the first coat of Minwax Golden Oak stain. After five minutes or so I wiped the surface with a cloth to even out the stain. I repeated the process for the second coat. I’m satisfied with the finish. Before painting the cap rail, wales and sheer strake, and the hull to the water line, I applied a coat of polyurethane over the stain. I did this because I was concerned that the masking tape might remove the stain finish. I like the result. I will apply another coat later. Taking a break from painting, I pinned and glued the stern post to the hull. Cut the keel to length. Decide to jump ahead to Chapter 8 and work on the rudder. I added a length of 3/16” x 1/16” wood strip along the bottom of the rudder and then filed the rudder down to establish the 1/8” taper on the aft-most edge. Beveled the forward side of the rudder on both sides – I think some of the detail will be lost when the rudder is covered with copper. While studying Plan Sheet One, I discovered that rudder opening profile has a flat edge, so I refined it by filing it to match the plan. I test fit the rudder - everything fits fine. Back to painting, I masked the bulwarks and the hull with Frog tape (the contrast with the red paint looks like a Christmas theme color) and applied three coats of Model Expo MS 4830 Hull Spar Black to the cap rail, wales and sheer strake, and the hull to the water line, light sanding between each application. Overall, so far, so good. Next up, deck planking.
  13. Thanks. Each build is a learning process. I review other build logs for ideas and comparisons.
  14. I’m at the painting stage now. I’ll post when I finish that stage. Then, on to deck planking. I’m enjoying this build.

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