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Bob Cleek

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  1. I have my doubts about it being Spanish Cedar. Spanish Cedar is getting close to being on the "no-no list" due to deforestation. It's traditionally been used for wooden cigar boxes due to its aromatic qualities. A lot of amateur modelers in "the dark ages" used recycled wooden cigar boxes for ship modeling. Wooden cigar boxes were plentiful in the days when many smoked cigars but you'd be hard-pressed to find one today. It's closer to a mahogany than a cedar. I find it hard to believe Lowe's is importing Spanish Cedar fence boards. I bought three fence boards at Lowes about a year ago to repair a fence. They were your basic domestic crap cedar fence material. Suitable for the use intended, as they say, but nothing I'd waste time trying to use for modeling. Making a silk purse out of a sow's ear may be possible, but in this instance, I'd not think it would be worth the trouble. We use so little wood in modeling, it's a false economy to work with really cheap construction grade lumber. Your time and skill are worth more than that.
  2. Good one! I've never heard that one before and I've heard a lot of them.
  3. You really can't ever have too many books! I really don't think there is an "essential" book for modelers. There have been many published over the years, many, if not most, repeating information written in their predecessors' books. Some are better than others, of course, but none are "essential." Reading any or all of them will provide a "tip" here and a "trick" there, none "essential," but together all helpful. A lot depends on the type of modeling you want to do. There's no point in buying a bunch of books on masting and rigging sailing ships if you want to build modern warship models. If you are like most and want to do sailing ships, I'd say you could probably do well picking up any of the better "how-to's" written in the last twenty years and you'd probably have the "basics." Then I'd suggest one haunt the used bookstores and online for good-condition used books at bargain prices.... The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships by Longridge (which has a lot of methods and techniques information in it,) anything by Charles Davis, anything by Howard I. Chapelle, and anything by Harold Underhill. Pick up copies or paperback reprints of Darcy Lever on seamanship and rigging, The Art of Rigging by Biddlecomb, Masting and Rigging in the Days of the Spritsail Topmast (? this from memory.) Once you had most of those, you'd have a basic collection of the "classics."
  4. Poplar is a very good "secondary" or "utility" wood but it is not a 'finish" wood and isn't known for it's "looks," stained or otherwise. It's often soft and "fuzzy." Notwithstanding its many good uses, trying to make poplar look good with a bright finish is pretty much like trying to polish a turd. It also darkens quite a bit over time when exposed to UV light.
  5. If you can find some clear, tight ringed pine or cedar, that can work. Your sweet gum trees should produce good modeling wood. There is also some holly growing south of the Piney Woods, I hear, Do you have cherry or apple around? How about Osage Orange (Bois d'arc) or acacias and locust? Modeling wood often grows on small trees and there is a limited market for it, so it won't be found in general lumberyards. I'm not sure if you are set up to mill your own modeling wood or not. The tools for that are becoming increasingly necessary, certainly for any sort of scratch or semi-scratch building. The online sources for milled modeling wood are drying up. It's just not available much of anywhere "off the shelf." That doesn't have anything to do with what wood is "available" nearby anywhere, but the economics of selling to a specialty market and the amount of work milling it just isn't a viable business model anymore. Living in a small town has its pluses and minuses. On the minus side, you'll have to travel a bit to source specialty woods other than construction lumber, or order pieces of stock from online suppliers (at what, IMHO, are premium prices.) Either way, you'll probably have to mill your own planking strips.
  6. There's nothing magical about hardwoods as compared with softwoods. The difference between a "hardwood" and a "softwood" isn't that the wood is harder or softer. Hardwoods are "angiosperms," trees that reproduce from seeds that are covered by a shell, a pod, some sort of husk, or in a fruit, like maples, balsa, oak, elm, mahogany, red gum, apple, cherry, olive, and so on. Softwoods are "gymnosperms," trees whose seeds have no covering and just fall to the ground, like pine, cedar, redwoods, and larches. Another rough, but not absolute distinction is that hardwoods usually drop their leaves annually, while softwoods keep their leaves year round. Hardwoods do tend to grow more slowly and therefore are often denser and heavier than softwoods, but that's not an absolute distinction. In picking modeling wood, pick your wood for it's qualities without regard to whether it's a hardwood or a softwood. I don't know where you are located, but it's hard to believe you wouldn't be able to find some suitable planking wood just about anywhere other than areas where there simply isn't any vegetation. Research any wood that you have available that looks like it might be suitable. Use The Wood Database, which should be on every modeler's "favorites" list: https://www.wood-database.com/ This invaluable site will allow you to identify wood and then look up its appearance, grain structure, hardness, bending qualities, resistance to decay, and so on. If you are intending to finish the wood "bright," (oiled, shellacked, or varnished to show its natural color and figuring,) you can check pictures in the database that will show what the wood looks like bare and when sealed. There's no reason to use expensive exotic figured woods if they are to be painted nor to use expensive exotic very hard wood (e.g. box, ebony, persimmon) unless it is to be carved or worked in very small pieces. Remember, too, that lots of the wood seen in kits is chosen for it's commercial availability and lower cost and isn't always the best choice anyway. A lot of very good modeling wood is available in smaller amounts not favored for large scale commercial production and marketing. Tree services throw that stuff in their chippers. I once rescued a nice piece of holly from a chipper. I asked for it and they said, "Sure, take it!" Another often overlooked source of good modeling wood is recycled wood. I've used old paneling, wooden Venetian blind slats, broken walnut and mahogany furniture (solid tabletops!), and even some maple bowling alley flooring all scrounged while "dumpster diving." Old wood like that is always dry and fully seasoned and sometimes very tight-ringed "old growth" quality that is virtually unobtainable on the market today. Creative use of the wood available is a good way to make your model stand out as uniquely yours. You aren't limited to what's on the hobby shop shelves at all. I suggest you post the woods you do have available. I'm sure somebody in the MSW forum will have first hand knowledge of how suitable just about any wood is for any particular modeling use.
  7. Sorry to hear of your troubles. Been there, done that, got the tee shirt. This, too, will pass. Life will get better. We move on and grow. Rely on your therapist and your friends. You'll be okay, but it does take time to grieve a bit and heal. Be good to yourself. Remember, "Boats get you through times of no love better than love gets you through times of no boats! " You are not alone. If you're wondering "How the hell does he know?" Well... I've been a divorce attorney for forty years.
  8. Sorry, I just noticed that you're located in Stockholm. Your access to some of the tools (e.g. Byrnes Model Machines, Foredom flex-shaft rotary tools, and Dremel rotary tools) may be limited, or the shipping and import duties prohibitively high. You do have Proxxon in Europe, of course and I expect there are plenty of European companies offering high quality tools outside of the modeling market. Like the language, I guess we have to "translate" our tool recommendations, too!
  9. Proxxon appears to be a relatively decent mid-range-quality product line designed for and marketed to amateur modelers. If they serve your needs at your price point, go for it. However, there is always the tendency to "over buy" when it comes to tools. Sometimes fewer of the better, but higher priced, tools is the wiser way to go. You have to get your priorities clear. If you are going to only be building kit models and plan to use the materials in the kits you buy, you don't have to buy power tools that are essential for milling your own scale strip wood. If you expect to be planking with higher quality wood than what is found in most kits, or even building the new "semi-scratch" "modular" kits (see Syren's new kit business plan post in here,) you will need a mini-table saw and there's really only one that's so far above the others that the small additional cost is well worth it, so you'll want a Byrnes. If you are going to be doing a lot of shaping small parts, you'll probably want a good disk sander. (See the recent thread on disk sanders.) If you will be doing any sort of metal work, there's a whole other category of tools, lathes, mills, jeweler's torches, and so on, that will tempt you. Everybody needs a small rotary tool. Personally, I consider the Dremel moto-tool to be the minimum of what's worth spending money on, but most eventually graduate to a Foredom flex-shaft rotary tool or a "dental engine" eventually. If you are going to be cutting your own frames and bulkheads, you'll want a decent scroll saw. A small drill press is always worthwhile. The list can go on and on. The best advice I was ever given is to never buy a tool until you actually need (not just want) one and then only buy the absolutely best one you can afford. In this way, you can eventually build a good collection of what you need that will last a lifetime and once you've got them, if they are high quality, you won't be buying the same tool over and over again as the cheap ones wear out. In the modeling game, remember that many of the best and highest quality tools are adapted from other trades and professions, notably jewelry making, electronics assembly, dentistry, surgery, and the like. Often such tools can be purchased used in good condition for much less than the "hobby grade" tools marketed to modelers. (Micro-Mark and Model Expo catalogues, while seductive, are the worst offenders in this regard.) Search this forum and read through the "tools" section and you will see the same machines mentioned time and again. You can rely on the store of experience of MSW members.
  10. Perfect solution! If you have a serving jig, the job would be a piece of cake. Fine thread, as sold for fly tying, should work fine at that scale, as well. Apply shellac to the serving and it should hold quite well.
  11. Somebody's selling this "vertical lathe" drill press attachment on eBay for arouind $65.00. No comment on it. Just passing it along for those who may be interested. Looks like it could be easily shop-built for less than the $65.00 they're asking. My concern would be the far (unsecured) end of the round rod "rest" getting a bit whippy when you got out towards the end. Model spars are a bit too thin to turn with regular lathe tools without a back rest, or so it's always seemed to me. It might be handy for resting a sanding block on. "Shopfox" branded: so it's probably not total junk. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vertical-Wood-Lathe-Tool-for-your-Drill-Press-Woodworking-Pen-Lathe-BUY-NOW-SALE/333261986036?hash=item4d97f658f4:g:0HoAAOSwmvpcV1qY (For some reason, my firewall won't permit me to post a copy of a photo of it from the eBay page.)
  12. Bluejacket Shipcrafters has two very nice, highly detailed, America kits, one in 1/8" scale and the other in 1/4" scale. These are plank on frame kits with all the interior framing and may be built "Admiralty Board style" with exposed frames, or not, as the builder wishes. http://www.bluejacketinc.com/kits/america.htm If memory serves, one or both of these models was designed by the late Portia Takakjian from whom one can expect a very high degree of accuracy and detail.
  13. It was also common practice in the 1800's for the word "cut" in "cut splice" to contain the additional letter "n." "Cut splice" is a fairly recent Bowdlerism that was certainly never used by seamen in the age of sail. I know of only two common uses for this splice. One was, as you note, to keep a breeching line over the ball of the cascabel, and the other was on a lifeline with the splice being pierced by the outer ends of weather deck capstan bars. This kept the crew manning the capstan in heavy seas from being washed overboard. I don't know what scale you're working in, and hence the size of the line you have there. In the photo it appears white, which wouldn't be the actual color of hemp cordage, which was the standard in use and is fairly dark brown. From the photo and your description of its gluing characteristics, it's likely a synthetic and that's the cause of the problems you're having. If and when you find something that will stick to it, I suggest you splice the ends, each into its opposite's standing part, using any of the customary techniques for "faux" splices. Without some "weave" of the strands into the standing parts, you'll find little success trying to glue the end of one line to the side of another and getting a sufficiently strong bond to do much of anything for you.
  14. Why remove her engines and steam plant. There's lots of room on her for engines and everything else you've contemplated. The "steamboat casinos" of the Prohibition Era had to have operating engines to travel on the interstate waterways and stay exempt from local gambling regulations. (Alcohol prohibition was federal, of course, so that applied everywhere except "out side the three-mile limit.")
  15. That's the only way to fly when it comes to mast hoops. I wrap a sheet of paper, and then a sheet of "Saran wrap" (plastic kitchen wrap) around a dowel of suitable diameter to make a mandrel. The plastic wrap keeps the glued shavings from sticking to the mandrel. When the laminated shavings wrapped around the mandrel are dry, I mount the mandrel on my Unimat lathe and sand the laminated shaving rings to a uniform thickness and then part them to the desired width on the lathe. When done, I slide the wrapped paper off the mandrel and slide the individual rings off the paper sleeve. Voila! Perfectly uniform laminated wooden mast hoops.

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