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About Charter33

  • Birthday 01/21/1956

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Berkshire, UK
  • Interests
    Model ships -especially HMS Victory (Caldercraft)
    Live steam locomotives
    R/C Aircraft
    Classic motorcycles

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  1. Oh that was a battle I also had to get through, the boss was not a 'happy bunny' at the prospect of me getting back on two wheels. But, as has been quoted on this site before, it's often easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, and now she's now bemoaning the fact that I treated myself to a single seat from Corbin in California and replaced the old double seat. Sometimes you just can't win ....
  2. Love that Triumph, Chuck! My route to the Commando started with learning to ride in a field on a Norton 500T trials bike at the age of 13. My first 'proper' bike on the road was an early Norton ES2 500cc single (plunger frame) and I went to college on a Norton 19S 600cc single complete with Swallow side-car. Three years later I returned from Teacher training on a Norton Dominator 88 with a Steib side-car which quickly became a solo machine. After a brief fling with a Honda 400/4 the big 850 came into my life. Sadly all the previous bikes had to be sold on to meet the needs of a growing family - it makes me wince when I see how much they sell for now! Eldest son has his eye on the beast now - but he'll have a long wait. And yes, the Commando is now being regularly ridden.... happy days.
  3. Today I took my bike out for our first run together in about 16 years having just completed a long and protracted restoration. It’s a 1975 Norton Commando 850 Mk 3 that I bought back in 1992 and used for pleasure and the daily commute to work (school) including three years with my oldest son on the back when he was a student at the school. When my second son also joined us in 2003 it was time to reluctantly buy a car and the bike, now in need of a bit of significant TLC and with funds being tight, was consigned to the back of the garage with intention of probably using it as an eventual retirement project. The Admiral suggested selling it – no chance! Fast forward to December 2015. ‘Christmas’ isn’t the only C word in the house. Won’t go into details but for several months I had the dubious pleasure of driving to St Luke’s in Guildford every week for treatment. On this journey I was often passed by various classic bikes heading in the opposite direction. The majority were heading over to ‘Jack’s Place’, a café in Bagshot popular with many groups of bikers who regularly meet up in the car park on a Wednesday. Wearing little more than a hospital gown and lying on a table while the hospital equipment did its ‘thing’ I made the decision not to wait for retirement but to get my bike back on the road and, among other things, to get myself over to Jacks and join in the fun. The restoration required the bike to be striped right down and then repaired, fettled and re-assembled as funds permitted. It’s taken nearly four years, two long periods in hospital and a change from full time to part time employment. Mechanically the bike is now as good as ever if not better. There’s still some cosmetic work to do and she remains a work in progress. But today, grinning from ear to ear … ……. we made it to Jacks.
  4. Another stunning picture - and just a hint of Turners 'Fighting Temeraire' in the sunset and juxtoposition of sail and steam? Love it. Thank you.
  5. Superb! Thanks for sharing. Great detail plus some new ideas for bases for displaying models too. Graham
  6. Just a quick note - there are grades of ply that are produced specifically for laser cutting - we use them with the students at school. They char much less than birch ply of similar thickness. Another tip - when cutting wood with the laser cutter I often set the machine up to run at a lower power / faster speed setting and repeat the cut several times until full penetration is achieved. I developed this technique when teaching myself how to use the machine and software by drawing and cutting components for an R/C model aircraft from balsa wood. This reduces burning and is very useful for those small or delicate parts. I have successfully used this on lime (basswood), mahogany, yew and cherry - although not necessarily all for model ship building. I also fully agree with the previous post about using MDF... Best way to learn is to dive in and 'play'. Good luck! Graham.
  7. I'm just grateful we have such a variety of modern alternatives to chose from. 40 'coats' might sound extreme but 'bodying up' the surface, especially on an open grained timber quickly accounts for many, and several can be applied in one session before the rubber starts to grab. I share the preference for a less glassy finish, but watching a skilled polisher achieve one using a clean rubber soaked in meths, hovering just above the surface of the polish with just the fumes producing the final finish is a inspiration.
  8. I use both pumice powder and rottenstone to refine french polish, reducing a 'glassy / gloss' finish to a satin or more matt finish. I usually use a soft lint free cloth dipped in a little linseed oil to pick up the powder and, as Druxey says, use a circular motion to apply it to the french polished surface. To achieve a good finish can take up to 40 coats of french polish, but the biggest difference between shellac polish and other varnishes is the way each layer dissolves into the previously applied layers rather than lying on top. It's this that produces such a beautiful effect. Not sure I'd use this on a model ship itself, but probably on a stand or display cabinet. Hope this is of some interest. Graham.
  9. Hi and welcome to this highly informative and supportive site! It's been my experience that there is little difference in working with wood that has been kiln dried or air dried as long as it has been done sufficiently in the case of air dried. As a rule of thumb it takes about a year per inch of thickness. Poorly seasoned wood will very likely warp, twist or split. Kiln dried tends to be more expensive because of the higher energy costs involved (plus all the possible associated environmental impacts). There is more control over the final moisture content however, and the process is much quicker - months rather than years. Producers often use a combination of the two forms of seasoning to balance cost against time. Just one other point to consider - kiln dried timber can have a different appearance to air dried. Beech in particular can take on a 'pinker' colour when kiln dried compared to a 'creamier' finish of air dried. This has something to do with the steam that is pumped into the kiln initially to deal with any insect or fungal issues prior to the main heating to reduce the moisture content I think. Hope this helps. Graham.
  10. Thanks for the comments you added to my build log Patrick - your comments are much appreciated. I've just been reading your build log (can't understand how I managed to miss it before!). Lots of good advice and I gained some important insights into the challenges that lie ahead. Thank you - your log will be a regular port of call and I look forward to following it in the future. Progress with my own model has also been adversely effected similar health issues over the last couple of years, both my own and the Admiral's, so I think I know where you're coming from.... Keep up the good work. Graham
  11. Hi, I've managed to make a bit more progress...... I did a dry run with the skid beam assembly fitted to the quarter deck to check the height the supports needed to be trimmed to. This turned out to be a couple of mm shorter than the drawing on the plan. I came up with this aid to help remove the correct amount from each end and then sand the ends square. The companionway guard rails could now be completed. I opened out the holes in the end stanchions so two threads could pass through, using one to 'serve' the other. With the steam trunk fitted, plus the galley chimney (shown on the plan but not mentioned in the instructions!!!) it was time to fit the quarter deck. The rear third of the deck glued in place, the weights used to hold things together while the glue dried giving the appearance of an 18th Century container ship......... The skid beam assembly has been painted as have the various brace bitts. The front of the deck, including these, was then glued onto place. Next task - assembling the beakhead bulkhead prior to fitting.... Cheers, Graham
  12. Hi, The only time I've come across this problem was when the varnish hadn't been stirred enough before use. Sometimes, if the varnish has been in storage for some time (and even recently purchased tins can have been on the shop shelf for quite a while) the additive the manufacturer uses to achieve the different levels of finish settles in the bottom of the tin rather than staying in suspension in the varnish. ...... just a thought... Cheers, Graham
  13. Kindred spirits - so it's not just me!!! Forced into semi-retirement from a career in teaching by health issues, I had great plans for all that wonderful time I would gain - model ship building in daylight hours (Victory and Triton), re-building my Norton etc.. Fat chance!!! The Boss (Admiral) had other ideas including not only renovating the bathroom but also the sitting room and then the kitchen, and all on top of the usual daily tasks essential to achieve that secret to married bliss ie. anything for a quiet life. I now work in the classroom three days a week 'for a rest'. Naps, naps? no time for such luxuries. So much wood to shape ..... so little time .... Excellent work, Gabek. I'll be following your progress with interest. Graham
  14. Hi, Fitting the upper deck screen bulkhead proved a little more challenging than the simple instruction in the manual. To get it to fit accurately around the beam shelves, stringers and waterways numerous card templates were made before finally trimming and adjusting the screen. To square off the ends of the support pillars and staircase balusters I designed and made these..... ... a pair of sanding aids for each. The '2nd' of each pair has the depth of the recess reduced by 0.4 mm to compensate for the initial reduction in thickness. All done ..... ... and taken back to the original colour with walnut wood stain. Bases of supports and balusters were drilled and fitted with thin brass rod, CA glued in place, before being finally located into matching sized holes drilled into the coamings or deck as required. The elm tree pump was fitted in a similar way. Cheers, Graham.
  15. Hi, Made a bit more progress, slower than hoped for admittedly, but things should speed up in the new year! Production of the tackles begins.......... I gave up with the modified wooden pegs to hold the blocks while the hooks and ropes were being attached. Instead I made use of the left-over brass frames that held the eyelets (480). Pressed into a block of hard foam half a dozen blocks could be mounted with the hooks supported with lace making brass pins. A slit made in the edge of the foam with a scalpel secured the rope until the knot was tied and then given a coat of clear matt lacquer. The thin aluminium tube has the head of a pin crimped in one end - an inexpensive but effective tool to get small drops of glue into awkward places. The final batch of tackles gets assembled............ I'm guessing that time spent practicing tying tiny knots with tweezers is going to be a useful skill when I eventually get to the rigging........ After several sessions the gun carriages have now all been mounted. A Merry Christmas to one and all! Cheers, Graham

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