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  1. Thanks, druxey, that idea helped me re-think how to do this repair and move forward. I pared down the offending wood, and made a veneer. But I realized that the lower edge of the veneer wants to fay very closely to the lower cheek. And so I decided to make the lower cheek first. Then I can fit the veneer to it. The lower cheek is a seriously complex and subtle piece of wood. It looks so simple in the Bellona model. But it 1) fays to the face of the wales at the bow, which are both curving and changing angle to the horizontal as they sweep around; 2) fays to the tapered side of the knee of the head, with an angled notch for the stem; 3) curves to match the upper top of the wale; 4) tapers in vertical height from the aft most edge to the foremost edge; 5) curves up in the foremost segment to match the geometry of the head rails. Goodwin describes this as compass wood. It would have been an amazing find in the forest, I can now see. This was an entire day of filing, checking high points with graphite paper, filing, checking, filing, checking.... I got a good fit to the wales and the knee of the head, and started thinning in the sided dimension. After 6 hours of fitting, I decided to leave the final shaping of the lower and fore edges for tomorrow, when I can see it fresh and not screw up. I can also check the size of the bolster for the anchor cables, to confirm how thick the veneer needs to be when finished. So I guess my mistake on the wood was a blessing in disguise. This is going to be a much better fit of the hawse area than I had previously achieved. Mark
  2. Thanks, Greg, Marc and druxey, Good moral and practical support in times of trouble is one of the many great things about this website. I am reviewing this again in the cold light of morning. It really does stand out as different wood now I look at it again, and in a prominent place. So it will have to be fixed. The first step is to review again just how thick this piece should be, when it is all said and done. Now that I am potentially building it as it would have been built, the thickness becomes more interesting to explore. Peter Goodwin's The Construction and Fittings of the English Man of War shows on page 179 how the lining at the hawse hole fays onto the face of the planking beneath: And in the 2nd model of the Bellona, we see that this lining is thicker than the black strake, because it sits over it, but it looks to me no thicker than, or just a little thicker than, the wale below. If it were exactly the thickness of the wale, this would make the lining 2" thick where it fays onto the black strake, 4 ½" where it fays onto the 4" planking above. 2" seems rather thin at this exposed position; perhaps it is an inch or so thicker than the wale? It is hard for me to see in this photo. It can't be too much thicker, because the bolster has to sit on its face and still be just thinner than the cheek below. Right now, I have made it flush with the wale: If I increase its thickness by just one inch, I only have to thin down the existing piece by 1/64" (1" in my scale), and add a veneer that is 1/32" (2" in my scale). Seems possible with a fine file! And as Greg pointed out, the veneer does not have to fit perfectly to the underlying surface, because we can never see the edges that will be hidden under the cheeks. So, out comes the file... Mark
  3. I started on the first row of 4" planking above the black strake, a moment long time in the coming. I also figured out a way to get more even pressure on the planking clamp at the bow, where it will really show if this gets twisted. I abandoned the soft metal jaw, and substituted a piece of wood bearing against a piece of wood above that is the same thickness as the plank. Perfectly even pressure. And while I was working in this area, I discovered a big and embarrassing mistake. In the spirit of full disclosure to all of you who have followed me through all my trials and tribulations with lots of support, I was looking through my magnifying lens at the clamp job, and suddenly noticed that the wood at the hawse holes was not boxwood. I accidentally fashioned these out of hard maple! I confess for just a moment I thought maybe I could ignore this, but then realized that it will not darken along with the surrounding boxwood over time. You can see the difference between the wales, which are recently sanded, and the frames below, which have been exposed to the air for many years. Busted! So, I will have to pare down the face of the hawse piece, and glue on a thin veneer of boxwood. The edges will be covered by the cheeks above and below, so it should be invisible. Indeed, if I had built this as in the original, I would have had a thin veneer like this over the tops of the planking anyway. This will teach me for getting too clever. Indeed, I can assume that the shipwright gods are getting vengeance for me taking a shortcut earlier. The funny thing is, I always had a vague feeling of something not quite right when I made these, like the feeling you get when you are about to do something stupid and dangerous at at table saw. Not as threatening to my physical well-being, but in the end humbling to my mental well-being. Always pay attention to those birdies on your shoulder, talking to you about your intended actions! Mark
  4. Thanks, Navydoc, that is a better price at Lee Valley. And Mark, I entirely agree with your observation. I was shocked to see how expensive they are now. I just don't remember paying anywhere near that much a few years ago. Maybe the secret of their true value to modelers has been discovered, driving up demand!🙂 Mark
  5. Hi Paul, Isn't it interesting, how we pick up tools on the idea that we might use them someday, even though we don't actually have a need for them now! I am afraid there are more that I never do use, and fewer that I eventually see a need for. You would think I would learn.... Mark
  6. Hi Michael, Yes, mine are about 3" long, perfect size for this; any longer and they would not clear inboard. I will pay you that cup of coffee when I am in your neck of the woods! Best wishes, Mark
  7. MIchael, Nice clamps! You are a genius, as usual, in thinking about and making tools. I still use the fence setting gauge I made based on your ideas. What is the dimple in the top of the fixed jaw for? Was it part of the machining process? druxy may have put you onto a business opportunity. I just saw that they sell for $24.95 for 2 on MicroMark... Mark
  8. Thanks, Noel, I am glad you enjoy watching this. It is a long, winding road! And thanks, druxey, that drawing is very helpful. They are shallower than I somehow guessed they would be. But it makes sense to keeps angled cuts as shallow as possible for less stress on the wood. Mark
  9. Mike, I picked up one of those benders you are showing a number of years ago, and didn't have much luck with it. But I didn't really know what I was doing back then. I soaked the planks, then tried bending around the aluminum former. They mostly burned or broke. You have inspired me to try it again, if I can find it in the bottom of my stored-away-because I never thought I would use them again-tool box. So are you sliding the aluminum head back and forth along the whole length of the desired curved section, before finally hooking it and bending it? Mark
  10. Hi druxey, As I look forward to finally planking the 4" strakes around the gun ports, I am looking at your adjustments at the port heads and cills. Was there a rule about the angle at which the easing up or down came into the port corner? It looks more like a function of length than angle... And thanks, Mark, I'll look into the Micromark catalog. I have had those brass clamps for years, and this is the first time I ever used them. They are very well made, a joy to use! I did file off the flairs at the ends, which are meant to keep the sliding jaw from sliding off altogether. But sliding them off allows me to insert the bare bar from outboard, and then sliding up the jaw from inboard. Otherwise, can't make them fit through the ports! Mark
  11. A quick update this morning. I realized that I was making life too complicated, using those screw-on planking clamps. They are fiddly, getting the right spacer behind them to create even clamping pressure on the face of the black strake. And they are soft metal, and began bending when I tightened things up. So I turned instead to some small brass clamps I bought years ago and never used. They go right through the ports and give nice, even clamping pressure. I don't remember where I got those, should probably get some more if I can remember. I may be able to use these for much of the planking, since everything is within reach of a port, one way or another. Mark
  12. Hi Mike, The wood blocks are great for working on the edges, because they don't allow any rounding over of the edge. But sanding the surfaces where there are multiple planks to level would probably benefit from cork. I have some old flat sanding blocks I might be able to re-purpose and see how this works. Thanks for the idea! Mark
  13. Hi Mike, I look forward to hearing more about your plank bending experiments. My efforts with a soldering iron bender were entirely failures! Mark
  14. While waiting for glue to dry on the black strake on the port side, I thought a little more about working more efficiently as I embark on a lot of planking at this point. I have found the curved sanding blocks to be essential for obtaining smoothly faired edges for planks. And the radius reduces as I go higher on the ship's side, so I need multiple radius blocks. I finally filled out a few missing radiuses and then organized the group so I can find a desired radius easily. The little crescent on the side indicates concave or convex, not so clear at the larger radius sizes. I have accidentally started sanding with the wrong one on occasion, so now these are clearly indicated. These are made, by the way, by drawing the desired curve on the wood with an old, almost antique, set of drafting curves (although the curve can also be drawn by other usual drafting methods). I then bandsaw down the curve, and put sandpaper on one side. This is used to level the other side, and then the sandpaper is switched to the finished block and used to level down the mating block. Sliding well along relative to each other ensures a perfectly radiused arc. I was also taking a long time to rough in the planks with files, and I realized that I was often using too fine a file even though I have coarser files in my collection. It was too hard to sort through the files drawer to find the next one in the sequence. So I organized them in a little box at the desk from coarse to fine. Now I can move very quickly along, not searching for the next finest file. I also rediscovered one of the first tools I ever bought many years ago, a hand clamp with leather pads, and a wedge to tighten (see previous photo in background). My fingertips were being sanded down by holding the planks in my fingers against the curved sanding blocks. This hand clamp will firmly hold even the narrowest plank, and it sure saves on the fingers. It is also easier to see the angle at which I am sanding, when I need to bevel. All for now. The glue is dry. Mark

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