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  1. July 30, 2021- Herreshoff 12 1/2, the Buzzard's Bay Boys Boat - BlueJacket, cont'd. NOTE: This as kit started during a vacation to Maine. We had three weeks but there were gaps due to mini-brakes during the build. So, everything above the deck (sails, mast, boom, gaff and jib cub, plus the fore stay, and including the tiller) were completed before I left to go back to California. Hence, the gaps in building progress and updates. As of 7/30/21, these are the notes: Log organization: I’ve organized this log based on the organization of the instructions. This means that for each section of the instructions, I’ve reflected on or commented about our build. These are my opinions and experiences. The Kit Instructions: There are some challenges with this particular kit's instructions. The audience I’m targeting for this log would be the newish modeler who would like to expand their skill sets around planking and sail making using the current instructions, but with expanded commentary to the instruction set. The instructions rightly assume nautical knowledge. So, if you're weak in this area (which I readily admit I am) have ready any book on sailing (or use your smart phone or pad) and use them to locate the parts of the sailboat. I've learned to respect every kit as an adventure in learning, so this was both fun and a challenge. To help the newer builder; these are my ideas about the instructions or suggestions for the build. I strongly suggest referencing the kit's instructions all the time and read them carefully. They're not wrong, but there are assumed understandings that can lead to unintended misinterpretation. Additional support: At a flea market, in Freyburg, ME, I happened upon an incomplete Herreshoff 12 ½ - Buzzard’s Bay Boy's Boat (BBBB) produced by The Laughing Whale, A Division of Bluejacket, Inc. There was no boat, sails or hardware; there was only extra mahogany and basswood planking and a set of additional instructions. I've pulled some of those instructions and added them here; they made more sense, I thought. We were fortunate enough to have visited the BlueJacket company, in Searsport Maine. Well worth the trip up and out to the coast to see this operation. From the wood working to the foundry and to the real examples it was worth the effort to see. I learned from Nick (the owner) that The Laughing Whale was bought out by Bluejacket and Midwest models. These older instructions helped expand some of the weaker areas of the current set of instructions that came with our kit. The older instructions proved to be a boon for comparison and confirmation. Context: My goal for this log is to record our efforts. Consider them enhancements with the goal of helping to clarify or fill-out the instructions in the current kit. I take no responsibly for your choice in following them and the results. Some specifics: The footers on the pages alternate between January 9, 2007 (odd pages) and January 9, 2006 (even). Not a big deal, but it calls into question the attention to details. In general, they seemed to have been written in haste. There was no page 15 in our instructions (I added a copy I found online below.) Page 15 provides a detailed list of the parts of the kit. Minor issue until it matters. And then it really matters such as the parts numbers to identify the Eyepins vs the Eyebolts. I include it here for your reference. On page 8, the distinction between an Eyepin and Eyepolt is spelled out, hidden under the Rudder and Tiller instructions. On the plans (which the instructions often point to as a generic answer and solution) it’s not really clear where there’s a pin or a bolt. This really becomes difficult during the Mast and Boom Construction where the word “eye” is used indiscriminately. I started to read and re-read the instructions and finally decided to use “pins” for standing rigging and “bolts” for the running rigging. On page 10 there was a reference to "Chart C.” it is actually page 3 of 3 of the charts. Under Sails (Page 11), under the 7, there’s a reference to Photo 26, but it’s really to Photo 27. Here begins our added notes to the instructions. About the Herreshoff 12 ½ My friend Jim, whose grandfather and uncle both worked at the Herreshoff Shipbuilding Company, had no experience with model ship building. This would be his first model. The “About the Herreshoff 12 ½” is a bit understated. The Herreshoff ship builders were world-renowned for their skills at creating the winning ships for the America’s Cup races. The 12 ½ was one of their more popular “common” boats and was meant to teach kids how to sail. For more information about them, visit the www.Herreshoff.org website. Preliminaries I have built two other wood boat kits. They were Lightnings (https://www.dumasproducts.com) and I was working on the Nautical Model builders “half” boat planking kit (https://thenrgstore.org/products/half-hull-planking-project). BTW: This half hull planking kit is a great way to learn the basics of planking. It's worth it. I have not completed mine; but as far as I've gotten, I know now what I didn't know then. Our division of labor came about organically: Jim took the hull and I took the sails, spars and rigging. While he had no prior experience, I was able to discuss with him the challenges he was facing while allowing him to solve issues on his own. What follows is a log of our experience based on the sections of the current BlueJacket Herreshoff 12 ½ instruction set. Plans and Instructions As all builders come to know, each has their techniques for solving detailing any kit. This kit does a great job of not dictating any specific way, but I’ve found it helpful if there is some specificity. For example: If you are fairly new to this, I suggest you start labeling pieces on the charts (plan pages 2 and 3): I wrote “Mast” on the mast, “Boom” on the boom. Sounds silly, but getting to the foot of the “gaff” and locating the “gooseneck” on the boom ahead of time and you learn the names and their functions. It helps. (see blow) Mark the areas on the spars (boom, mast, jib cub and gaff) where the white paint is applied. The pictures help visually. The written instructions are vague. When making the sails, indicate on the plans/charts the foot, the luff, the leech, etc. Identify when a “eyepin” vs an “eyebolt” is used and on which Spar (see b.) I ended up using more “pins” than bolts. I purchased 25 more and on my next one, I'll only use the pins. Tools and Additional Supplies I would add: Small Snub-Nosed pliers. Small flat-sided wire cutters. OPTIONAL: Sewing machine. I’m comfortable with using a sewing machine. While it’s not necessary, it does give the sails a finished look. Sewing thread - a color that contrasts just enough with the sail color so that you can see them, but not enough to distract from the overall effect. I chose an Ecru color. Sewing needles; oddly missing from the list. Oddly, because in the instructions, you do (or can, if you chose) sew rings to the main and the jib sails. Cutting Shears. Cutting the sails is very specific. It helps to have a very sharp kniferoller or shears. Wood filler. Again, oddly missing since its use is mentioned in the instructions and can be helpful to fill in any natural occurring (or unintended) gaps in the planking or for repairing erroneously drilled holes. Iron. Again, oddly missing since it’s mentioned in the instructions that you need to iron the sails. Small container for soaking the sails in the glue/water mixture. Becomes obvious when you add size to the sails. Foam craft brushes (2) Flat Toothpicks (box) Finger nail emery boards (package of 10 or at least 2 boards) 3 sponge sanding blocks (80, 100, and 120, 220 and 240 grits). Sand paper is mentioned, but specificity is lacking. 3 sheets of the same grit in paper OPTIONAL: Dremel or any hand-held sander/grinder and various grit sanding disks that match your paper or blocks Paint, Stain and Varnish We used water-based paint and varnishes. We were never going to actually sail this (and the kit isn’t really made for actual sailing - there is no lead keel, for example) so the advantages of water-based can not be overstated. The clean up is simple and toxicity is nil. There is an emphasis on not using glossy paints but there is a reference to the Seats etc. being “bright,” which means glossy, which the real boat would have. I think the instructions mean, don’t use a high gloss paint or varnish on the hull (as they indicate, it can make the model look more like a toy) but we used a satin finish (or eggshell finish) over flat paint finish and for the wood. Regarding the color of the hull. A hull color paint (the instructions indicate a “antifouling” red or a green, but those are historical colors. Search the net for potential options. (1 bottle.) We chose to not stain the mahogany. Its color was beautiful when it was varnished. Here are colors that not specifically listed in the suggested additional materials, but they are buried in the instructions: Silver paint (1 bottle) Light Brown (to color the blocks (ie, pulleys) to appear as wood) (1 bottle) Minwax water-based varnish, in clear satin. (1, 6 oz can) Building the Hull The Basic Structure Prep: this is stated in the instructions, but on a par with discussing the unusual weather during a thunderstorm. It seems obvious, but I'll put a fine point on this: sand, varnish and paint everything a head of time. All the planking should be sanded smooth, sealed and painted on one side the color you want the inside, visible portions, to be. In our case, it was white. All the mahogany planking, the mount, the tiller and rudder were sanded and varnished. As the instructions casually state, you can screw up a painted piece and touch it up later with ease rather than build the kit and try and paint it afterwards. Again, seems really obvious after the fact. We took a day and a half of work (6 hour days) sanding and prepping the wood. We sanded and sealed the basswood transoms. The sealer (flat varnish, so seal up the wood and make the painting cleaner) caused the wood to warp until I added the sealer to the othe side. Once they were all painted, I put them under a couple of bricks layered with toweling to prevent damage over night. Carefully sand out the cut-outs where they attach to the keel. The transoms are cut on the grain, and being small, can snap. I used a finger-nail file and widened them until they slid down on the keel. Hull Planking This was my friend's area of production. We consulted as we went a long, but I took a mini-vacation for three days, and when I got back, the planking had begun. He earned a couple of things: Ensure there are smooth transitions from transom to transom. He suggested later that he would have worked a little more diligently to understand the "what and why." This attention to detail affected the second reality; Getting the planks to line up to each other requires, and is greatly impacted by, the transitions from transom to transom. There were gaps in the sample at the shop, but they were minor and easily fixed with the wood filler and sanding. (see below) He suggests: Study planking. Study planking online. Be patient with yourself, if you're new to this. Everything can be repaired. These pictures are from the sample model at BlueJacket. We found them very helpful. It's encouraging to see a real live one. These pictures show our progress. The hull planking portion is still in progress as of 7/31/21. I've received these photos as of that date. As we complete the hull, I'll complete this log. Deck and Seating Planking We noticed this about bending any planking... it's not easy. The suggested "microwave" version in the instructions never seemed to work. The wood would split eventually with the grain, but not on edge, but more like 'sheets.' I soaked the basswood all night to try and get it playable enough, but any wrapping around anything still caused the wood would to peel apart. This is an area where I need more understanding and experience. Trim [work in progress.] Rubbing Strake and Toe-Rail [work in progress] Rudder and Tiller The tiller instructions are rather non-specific but the pictures (and seeing the sample up at BlueJacket helped.) I researched the real ones and finally created this. The trailing edge (outside - the end, I guess, edge) should taper back. So I sanded the outside edge of the tiller to a fine edge, like you'd find on the trailing edge of a real rudder. The rudder is scored where you cut the opening for the tiller. Carefully cut the two scores, retaining the top. Then, using spare mahogany from the kit, cut two side pieces as close to shape as the top of the rudder. Then, assemble the pieces (the tiller, the cut top of the rudder, the two sides) and glue. I used CA glue. Once it was dry, I filled the spaces with wood filler using a flat tooth pick. Once that was dry, I used the Dremel sander and shaped the tiller/rudder connection (see below.) Once that was done, I varnished, let it dried, sanded (220 grit, lightly) and re-varnished. I did that varnishing sequence three times. Mounting Simple enough. Although, the completed boat may have a unique mount such as a trough of blue, white and green sea glass in which the boat could rest. The owners are having a 5 inch sill attached to one of their windows in their Maine-base home in honor of this project. Mast and Boom Mast and Boom Construction (which is really about the Mast, boom gaff and jib cub) requires tapering of the ends of the mast, boom and gaff are tapered. The written instructions make little sense since they state “Mark the diameter you want to reduce them to on the end of each spar….” What’s not clear is what the diameter is of your reduction. I found this in the older set of instructions: There are many ways of doing this, but having this specific way spelled out was more helpful than what came in the kit. Having done this reduction in diameter (tapering) for other kits, I knew what to do without measurement. The plans helped. I compared the diameter to the charts and eye-balled the tapering as I went. MAST HOOPS I attempted to make the wooden hoops based on the instructions. Nothing worked. I've subsequently ordered them from BlueJacket for my next kit build. Re painting the metal ones from the kit. I painted the metal hoop resulting in a mixed effort. But, from a distance, I think they will look fine. Rigging All the Blocks, Turnbuckles and Mast Eye-band (basically, anything of the small metal parts which have holes) I drilled out using the #70 drill bit. I took my time. It was worth it. Sketch D. The "Stropping of the Blocks is left to one picture. It's simple, but it really is helpful to have the holes enlarged. Keep the tails long. To make the closed loop on one end: Take about 3 inches of black wire, 2. Place it around the brass rod and twist it twice. These are not load bearing blocks, so this is more esthetic than practical. 3.Remove the rod. Take the block (with it's holes opened up using the #70 drill bit) and lay the black wire on either side and twist the block. Again no more than 2 times to make the wire tight around the block. Standing Rigging [in progress - to be completed in full when the hull construction is complete] But, I did create the fore stay in order to sew on the brass rings to the jib that attach the it to the stay. Doing this helped me to figure out how to cut out the crimps from the aluminum tube. I took the brass wire and threaded it thorough the 1/16th aluminum tube. I measured out the length of the crimp, and then slowly and lightly began cutting the aluminum tube as I turned the tube. I felt the aluminum begin to cut. When it's cut, It simply falls off and was ready to use (page 11) Sails Admittedly, if you follow the instructions, you'll get sails. And they'll look fine. I was interested in more realisitc sails and enjoying the journey to create them. So I sewed them using a sewing machine. The outline of the sails were not clear enough to be seen through the material of the sails. At least not for me. The running and standing rigging along with the outline of the mast, plus edges of the sails and implied hems got way too confusing to parse out through the veil of the material. So I took a green Sharpie and made the edges of the sails bolder. This helped clarify the boundaries between them all. The details for sizing and sewing are identical for each sail. I also shaded the mast with pencil so that it was very clear what size the mast was in relation to the hem of the sail or the line of rigging. I used a No.2 pencil, sharp, to indicate the finished sail size on the material, the additional hem and the lines that indicated the pieces of the sail which would have indicated the pieces of canvas that made up the sail. [While we visited BlueJacket, I purchased a back up set of sail material. I wasn't THAT confident I'd get it all correct and figured I could use it with another kit. It's great material and looks very realistic.] This is a detail of the shaded mast to help determine the edges of the main sail, the running and standing rigging and notes. Sizing the sails I followed the instructions for sizing the sails the most part, but having done this before, this is how I did it. The instructions call for a mixture of white glue (i.e., Elmer’s or like) and water. After some quick research and experience, I decided it was at least a 50/50 mixture, and of very small quantity. Say, 4 tablespoons of glue and 4 of water. I traced, double checked, re-traced, added the necessary width increase for the hem, and then cut out the sails. Measure twice, cut once... I did this process for the main and jib both: Get the sails wet first, then soak them in the mixture for no more than 5 minutes. I went to lunch and left them for 30 minutes with no side effects. I laid a rag towel down on our bench, then the wet sail and covered the sheet of wax paper and then another thin towel. Then, I ironed it using dry heat. Once it started to dry... I took the wax paper away and used the thin towel, and ironed them again but now with steam. Once the sail was flat and smooth, I let it really air drive for about 30 minutes. They were stiff and workable: Using the iron with no thin layer of the protective rag, but backed on the bench with the thicker towel below, I ironed the hems down by curling them over and pressing with the hot, dry - and occasional pump of steam - iron. This eliminated wrestling with the narrow hem and the machine. They were flat and ready for sewing. Once everything was dry and stiff, II then carefully sewed the hems down, cutting the corners at an angle so that they fold in smoothly when sewn. I sewed the outer, real seams first, then sewed the fake “seams” angered seams of the panels, per the sail chart diagram and my light pencil markings. NOTE: The instructions on page 12, number “6” of the list about constructing the sails says to “lay the bolt robe (of .025” white line) in place along the foot, luff… stitch it down (or use fabric glue).” Had I read/thought about this with more patience, I would have sewn the .025 rope right into the hemming of the sail. For this kit, I made a work-around for attaching the rope to the sails. See "The .025 Work Around" below. NOTE: We changed out the line provided in the kit for what seems to be a cotton/linen thread hybrid. I found it at a flea market. It's a "tea-tan" beige and looks great. We haven't gotten to creating faux coiled mooring line and jib sheet, yet, but when we do, I put the here. When I do my next one (it's been ordered), I'm going incorporate all of the running rigging into the sail from the get-go, rather than glue/sew it on afterwards. I think it'll look more realistic and sold. The .025 Work Around: Rather than sewing the lines right into the hem, at the start: I took extra sail material, cut ½ inch wide pieces, sized them, ironed them in half. I sewed them down the foot, luff and head of the main sail, the head and foot of the jib with enough slack or gap to take a needle and thread of the .025 rope. After the "false" hem was sewn (again, leaving enough slack to handle a darning needle (the thicker typeof needle) I took the needle threaded with line and worked it through the hem, thus adding the rope to the sail. When it came time to attach the mast rings to the Main sail and sew the sail to the eyebolts on the boom, it was easy to incorporate the sewn-in, hidden .-025 rope into the stitching. [Research note: on a real 12 1/2, I'd like to see how the sails were really attached to the boom. I suspect some sort of clasp was used instead of permanently afixing the sail to a "bolt" on the boom.] When it comes time to rig all of the running lines, I'll have to figure out how make it work. I suspect I'll have to knot a new line near the ends of each sail and tailor it so that it appears as if it's one running rigging line. [Running] Rigging I followed the instructions, but made some modifications by using a different type rope (as noted above) than what was supplied with the kit. All the instructions in the kit for the staging of the running rigging, using this hybrid rope will apply to the final kit build. Final Touches [To be continued.... ] Parts List As I've stated, this log is in progress. Stay tuned for more.
  2. Beautiful. Inspiration for my next effort!
  3. The Herreshoff 12 1/2 The Context A friend, whoes grandfather and uncle both worked at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company for 30+ years until its closing, thought it would be fun to build a Herreshoff 12 1/2 model. He learned to sail on one. His grandfather specialized in planking, which, in our devision of labor, he's taken the lead - in the spirit of his late grandfather. Totem of Fred Hodgdon and Bill Liscomb We found references to them both in the collection of newsletters at https://linksharing.samsungcloud.com/i2lnDKIII7YB. After a search for the appropriate model, we located the Blue Jacket Herreshoff 12 1/2, kit number KLW134. And since we're building it at my friend's summer home on the coast at Granite Point, ME, we are going to drive up to Searsport, ME to check out the shop as well. The Build Using his brothers-in-law's old dining room table and a sheet of 4x6, 3/4 inch particle board, we set up shop. After a dillegent read and analysis of the instructions and an inventory check, we began sanding and preparing the planks, seats, flooring, transom, keel, et. al. Planking has begun. Some challenges with how the sheer stake meets the transom. I can't tell if the instructions are intentionally obtuse or if it's our challenge to figure it out. In either case, we're learning a lot.
  4. Tom, I grew up in Fergus Falls, MN and started sailing on Ottertail lake. Zorbas as at the end of the lake, there. Great beer. Di don't trust the food, but who goes to zorbas for a culinary tour? Small world. California is not on fire, sliding off the coast and is a balmy 70... so pretty good. Was in ND in September. Your state capital is amazing. I love your prairie and the sky.
  5. Hi all... I started sailing in Northern Minnesota and, due to the long winters, took up modeling my dreams. Hand crafted from 2x4s or any flotsam to float by, I got hooked. Back then, without the internet, I literally had no idea there were kits let alone experts or "hobbyists." Years later, living in Coronado, CA allowed me to sail nearly year round; it was then, 20+ years ago, that I built my first Dumas Lightning. My real-world sailing was done on Chrysler O'Days, Hobie Cats and Wayfarers. The Wayfarer is what I consider the British equivalent of an American Lightning. Hence, I had a model that looked like my Wayfarer. With retirement around the corner and the pandemic, I thought I'd try again... I built my second one just this last month and I got hooked all over again. Goals: 1- become more competent about rigging, 2 - Learn the craft/art of planking, 3 - Study color/varnish/finishes. I've read all 21 O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin books in the series and would love to actually sail on a "brigantine" (or equivalent), but my interests lie in the direction of Vikings (long family of Norwegians, here) and Yachts. Looking forward to engaging, documenting and assisting as needed. Jon
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