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Bob Cleek

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  1. While we are on the subject of scrapers, let's not forget glass. It can be something of a hazard to the fingers, but when used carefully, the edge of a broken piece of glass serves as a razor-sharp wood finishing scraper. Pieces of broken bottles and jars of various shapes are very handy for scraping concave and convex shapes, too. It's hard to beat the price, as broken glass costs nothing, although what you save in blades you'll possibly spend in band aids!
  2. I'd have to rank that one right up there at the top of the "useless scale," just below the infamous, but amazingly still sold, "Loom-a-line." (Full disclosure: I bought one forty-plus years ago. Still have it. Tried to use it once. Never touched it again.) For whatever it cost, if you need a bending jig, it's easy enough to take a block of scrap wood and a few finishing nails and save a whole lot of money. If you have a decent plank-bending iron, you really shouldn't need anything more than that for bending planks. My first rule for tool buying, admittedly sometimes broken, is to never buy a tool until you need it and then only buy the best you can possibly afford. It's very tempting to buy the latest gizmo on impulse, but a fool and his money are soon parted, as they say. There are very, very few "ship modeling specific" tools. Most come from other crafts and trades and purchasing tools from non-modeling sources often will get you much better quality tools at much lower prices than the stuff in the modeling catalogs. If you are serious about the hobby and the sort of person who sticks with their interests, I'd urge you to start a "piggy bank." Whenever you have any "spare change," set a buck or ten aside for the day when you really have a use for a good tool that will cost you a few bucks. It's surprising how fast it adds up, even if you just throw your pocket change in a jar when you take off your pants every night before bed. Do that for a few months and when the day comes you realize how much money you are spending on pre-cut wood at the hobby shop, you'll have enough on hand to join the "Model Machines Club" and buy a Byrnes saw, a decent micro-lathe, a mini drill press, a scroll saw, and cool stuff like that which can really pay for itself over time and will always hold a lot of its value if and when you ever no longer need it. If the money you've got is irresistably burning a hole in your pocket, you might consider buying a small machinist's vise and a jeweler's vise. Those are a couple of tools I find I'm always using. They are simple things, but very handy to have. The same goes for a "third hand" device of some kind, although I have never found one that was a well-built as I would wish (alligator clips and loose ball joints don't cut it.) Sometimes making your own is not only less expensive, but also much better. A draw plate for making variously sized micro-dowels is an excellent investment. Jim Byrnes makes a very fine one and at $25, it's a good "gateway drug" that will get you hooked on his other really fine tools. http://www.byrnesmodelmachines.com/index5.html Finally, don't limit yourself to tools. One essential for any serious modeler is a reference library. The internet has made a huge amount of information easily available, but there's still a lot of data that isn't on line. A lot of the old timers here started building their modeling libraries before there ever was an internet or an Amazon to make used books readily available. We'd have to pore through used bookstores or subscribe to antiquarian booksellers' monthly or quarterly catalogs in the hope of snagging a treasured out-of-print title before one of our modeling colleagues did. If one buys a used book or two a month, often for less than $25 a piece, they can build a very useful, and valuable, modeling library. Only buy the good books. (There are lots of mediocre ones aimed at the beginners.) Look for the "classics" and the books that are full of good reference materials. These books will hold their value reasonably well and always be useful. If you watch for them on eBay or look for them on Amazon and similar sites, you can find the works of Davis, Underhill, Longridge, Chappelle, and other "essentials" fairly reasonably priced. Building a reference library can, and likely will, become a collecting hobby in and of itself. Besides, if you fill your house with books, people will think you're smart.
  3. I doubt anybody has taken the time (and expense) of producing a "translation" spread-sheet for these two brands. The last one I saw was for Floquil and another popular brand, which became available when Floquil (great stuff) went out of production. That one was obviously produced because the remaining brand wanted folks who couldn't get Floquil anymore to buy their product as an equivalent replacement. I doubt that has occurred with Model Shipways paints which aren't exactly everybody's favorite brand. It's often difficult to get exact paint matches. Different brands are rarely exactly alike, save for pure white and black. I'm not aware if "chip sheets" are available for model paints. (A "chip" is a piece of cardstock with the actual paint applied to it. These are commonly available in paint stores.) Most model paint companies only provide printed color cards. These are not entirely accurate, given that the colors are produced by printer's inks, rather than the actual paint itself, as with "chips." Even worse, colors on a computer screen are almost never accurate when compared with the original color. There's no guarantee that a "kit set" of colors is at all accurate. They only insure that your model will be the same color as everybody else's model whose paint came from the same batch, which may not be the same as the prototype's color, if that is even truly known. The best one can do is experiment and judge by eye. Even then, one person's ability to judge color will differ from another's depending upon their own physiology. (Many people are "color blind" to one degree or another.) Keeping in mind that most all paints will appear darker after drying, the best one can do is to get as close to where you want to get and live with that. "If it looks right, it is right." Volumes have been written on "what looks right," and I'd recommend reading the fine article in the NRG's Shopnotes Volume II on selecting paint colors for ship models. That's the most scientific treatment of the subject of ship modeling colors I've ever seen.
  4. I love it! This one is a "save" for sure. I only wish such places still existed. (Davey and Co., London, and Toplicht, Hamburg, come close, but they're the last of the breed.) If only the prices were the same today. Actually, though, adjusted for inflation, the stuff in this catalog would be as pricey as anything sold today. Boats are a hole in the water into which you pour money, as they say. Thanks for sharing this!
  5. Everybody agrees that there is no historically accurate data on what these vessels looked like, specifically. At best, we might have some idea of the type they were, but that's about it. Nevertheless, they just keep on putting out books and model kits of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. The demand just never lets up.
  6. At the risk of being accused of "thread drifting," the plans for the "Higgins boat," ("LCVP") are widely available online. There are plans freely available not only for modeling, but also the original official plans for the full-sized vessel. Knock yourself out! https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=lcvp+plans&FORM=HDRSC2 See: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2643126/D-day-goes-virtual-Normany-landings-recreated-painstaking-original-blueprints.html
  7. I've had the same "disappearing thumbs up icon" problem on my IE hardware. I brought up MSW on Google Chrome and the thumb is back. The "like" icon doesn't appear when accessed from Bing, either. Still and all, there's no reason the "like" icon should not still appear when MSW is accessed via IE. It was doing just fine before the recent "glitch." I wouldn't be surprised if a toggle needs to be switched or something. It would be nice not to have to go through Chrome to access MSW now. For any number of reasons, I'm just not a big fan of Google. I suppose there are as many opinions on that as there are people, but Google, while once a very useful search engine, is now so littered with advertising, it takes three or four times as much time to find what you're looking for. Particularly with product searches, it's a royal pain to have to scroll through eight or twelve advertisements, many of which have nothing to do with what you are looking for (Amazon is the worst offender, followed by any number of imitators) before you ever find the manufacturer's website. And, of course, they are "data mining" you every time you look for anything to target pop-up ads aimed at you. I get it that it's their business model and it's like commercials on TV, but they ought to wise up. Broadcast TV lost a huge market share to cable subscription media for the same reason. Okay... Rant over.
  8. There is an excellent epoxy product specifically formulated for sealing wood. It penetrates the wood surface and when it cures the wood is fully sealed and hardened by the flexible epoxy that has soaked into it. I would use it on any model hull I intended to put into the water. It's extensively used by the professional wooden boat trade. It was originally invented for use in restoring rotted and damaged architectural details on old Victorian "gingerbread" buildings and later as a wood preservative for use in the tropics. From there, it found its way into the wooden boat trade. It's been around now going on 50 years. It can be painted over without further preparation, unlike many other resin coatings which develop an "amine blush" that must be removed before further painting. Smith's "Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (tm)" or just "CPES(tm)." http://www.smithandcompany.org/
  9. While I expect it won't make any difference to the question at hand, i.e. how well cedar of Lebanon holds with glue, Alaska Yellow Cedar is actually a cypress, not a cedar. (I know, ... picky, picky, picky. :D
  10. The Wood Database is your friend. It should be on every modeler's "favorites" list: https://www.wood-database.com/?s=cedar+of+lebanon
  11. Yes, that's so with ship kits, too. While I've never built one, I've followed a number of build logs on the Model Shipways laser-cut models designed by ChucK Passaro and they are as good as I've ever seen in terms of quality and they do produce very fine results. I built my first wooden ship model kit about forty years ago when a "kit" was a couple of sheets of plans, a handful of sticks and dowels, a roughed-out block of wood, some string and wire, and a pile of really rough cast lead and tin parts. They all had to be practically "scratch-built" by today's standards. The kit really just cost you enough to motivate you to start building the thing, but my guess is that probably no more than one out of ten was ever finished. It only took two or three of those kits before the people that stayed with the hobby figured out that they were spending a lot more on kits than they needed to. Today, most all kits have come a long way from the days of a cardboard box with a label pasted on the end with a small photo of the boat one could supposedly build out of what was in the box. In many instances, though, the materials and parts aren't any better than they ever were. The big leap with models today, though, is the laser-cutting technology. That really takes a kit from something you have to build to something you only have to assemble... although I'll admit that's painting it with a rather broad brush. My point is, if you get into kits today, especially the laser-cut ones, they really have to be top end kits to ensure the laser-cut pieces are accurately done so the thing fits together properly. There are a lot more crappy kits out there than there are good ones. There are some quality foreign-made kits, but a newcomer is probably best off sticking with kits from US kit makers so as to be on the safe side. As for stringed instruments, I probably shouldn't have used the guitar as an example. Those bowed-string instruments like violins and cellos get their special sound not only from properly selected tone-woods, but also from the contoured carving of their shaped bodies and the shape and placement of their "F"-holes. That's way above my pay grade! (Mmmm.... Good thing those holes are shaped like the letter "F" and not the letter "A," huh?)
  12. Well, I did say I didn't know anything about making musical instruments.
  13. MicroMark sells wire gauge numbered drill bits in all sizes in tubes of six. I've bought them in the past in tubes of a dozen. They are sometimes a sale item. When they are on sale, I stock up. They break easily and from a hobby shop at six bits or a buck apiece, that can add up fast! https://www.micromark.com/search?keywords=Drill bits
  14. The biggest difference between building stringed instruments and ship models is that the luthier with any competence has a far better chance of selling what they build. My neighbor is an internationally known master violin and cello maker. It takes him as long to make one of his instruments as it does the master ship modelers to make one of their masterpieces. His instruments start at $25,000 and go up in price exponentially from there. He's quit taking commissions for new instruments because his repair and maintenance work is so much more lucrative. I have a friend fifteen miles up the road who is a master guitar maker whose work is in the collection of the Smithsonian and whose clients include a number of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. You'd need a rock star's money to buy one of his guitars. He's not taking new commissions, either, and now passes new work over to the apprentices in his shop. I have most all of the tools both of these luthiers have, except for the very specialized musical instrument making tools, and I have a fair amount of skill working in wood and metal, but I'd never begin to attempt to build a musical instrument because I know nothing about playing them. So also it is with ship model building, which can be a lot more complicated than might be expected. One can buy a kit, or even plans and instructions for a model to be built from scratch, and produce something credible if it be a simple model and the instructions good ones, but beyond the rote following of instructions, a ship model builder won't get too terribly far unless they have an extensive knowledge of ships and boats, particularly in the period of the ship they are modeling, and a working familiarity with full-sized boat and ship building procedures, again specifically those of the period in which the ship they are modeling was built. As I'm sure you'd agree, if I were to buy a guitar-building kit and followed the instructions to the letter, no matter how much care I took in building it, I could never hope to match the quality of a Martin guitar, let alone a custom built instrument from one of the masters. That takes decades of apprenticeship, mentoring, and dedicated, full-time, journeyman's experience. I could probably build a violin if I had a good kit, but it would never sound like a good violin, that's for sure. The kits mentioned above are the best around for a competent woodworker to start with. It's "buyer beware" in the ship model kit world, for sure. There are a lot of very mediocre, if not flat out crappy, kits out there selling for hundreds of dollars. Just remember that in most every instance, the picture of the finished kit model in the advertisements and on the cover of the box is never possible to be built from the materials and instructions in the kit. The "finished" models in those pictures were usually built by professional master modelers who went far beyond the instructions and materials supplied to produce the model in the photographs. It's sort of like putting a photo of the real Mona Lisa on the cover of a paint-by-numbers kit box. Fortunately, the models mentioned above are among the few for which this warning doesn't apply. At the same time, you'd do well to read up on the craft of ship modeling and learn all you can. (Use the search engine in this forum to find lists of the best of them. Lots ship modeling books have been written, some good and a lot not.) Many find simply learning the nomenclature of ship construction a daunting task and, like all languages, it takes a lot of "immersion" to learn to speak it as if it were one's mother tongue. Ship modeling is a fascinating hobby, or profession, but the amount of learning that is involved, and indeed the amount of historical research, while most enjoyable to many of us, isn't always everybody's cup of tea. I encourage you to try it and see if you like it, but don't discourage yourself by biting off more than you can chew with a learning curve that's way too steep. If, on the other hand, you are seeking a source of retirement income that involves woodworking in miniature, you'll probably make a whole lot more money building collectors' dollhouse miniatures like miniature reproductions of Chippendale dining room sets at 1:12 scale, than you ever could building ship models! I offer these thoughts not in an effort to scare you off, but in the hope that you'll get off to the right start. Finding your way to this forum community is the right first step. You'll find all the help you'll ever need along the way from fellow forumities in MSW.

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If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

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