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Bob Cleek

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  1. Interesting point. And if you buy through Amazon Prime, you get free shipping. That pretty much prices out all the competition and everybody who doesn't sell through Amazon. I suppose it's time to start looking at Amazon a bit differently. Can you say, "anti-trust?"
  2. I strongly suspect that the British Admiralty dockyard models were shellacked, not varnished. Shellac will outlast varnish by orders of magnitude. "Orange" shellac (natural colored,) will darken, and its gloss increase, with each successive coat. It's easily thinned with denatured alcohol. It's also easily removed with denatured alcohol. The darkening and gloss rate of increase will depend on how thick it is. This is referred to as the "cut," expressed in pounds, e.g. "two pound cut," which would be two pounds of shellac flakes to a gallon of alcohol. Most prepared canned shellac ("Bullseye" is a good brand found nearly everywhere) is sold in "two pound cut." Thinning it 50-50 yields "one pound cut," and so on. Multiple thinned coats are the best approach. Applied to thickly will fill in detail, as might paint. It dries quickly, about as fast as the alcohol evaporates. Shellac on ship models has lasted for somewhere around 5,500 years, so far, if models found in the Egyptian tombs are any indication. Some top end woodworking catalogs sell shellac in "flake" form, which is the crushed excretions of the female lac bug. You have to add your own alcohol. Mixed shellac supposedly has a "shelf life," and hence the sale of the crushed flakes alone. I've never had any problem with the premixed canned shellac going bad on the shelf over a period of years, though. Other's mileage may vary, but I've never found the higher price, shipping cost, and hassle of ordering flakes by mail and mixing my own worth the trouble and I've used a lot of it over the years. It's a stock item in my paint locker. Varnish is more difficult to work with, primarily because of extended drying time and the need to resort to chemical strippers, heat guns, or scrapers and sandpaper to remove "goofs." Thinned shellac has the consistency of water and will penetrate bare wood easily. Not so much so varnish. If too much shellac is applied, it won't have brush strokes, runs, and sags ("curtains" in the trade). it tends to soak into the wood and dries quickly. Too much varnish and you end up with brush strokes, runs and sags, much like enamel paint. This is less of a problem with thinned varnish for "model scales," but varnish is finicky. Sometimes the gloss is dulled when it's thinned too much, especially if mineral spirits are mistakenly used instead of pure spirits of gum turpentine, and other times, it can refuse to dry and remains sticky. A capful of Flood's "Penetrol" in a quart of varnish will improve its ability to "lay down" and a teaspoon of Japan drier will improve drying ability. Like oil paint, varnish does require something of a "learning curve" to master the art of conditioning it as required to get a perfect "Steinway piano" finish. (Steinways are actually French polished, I believe... with shellac!) Most quality marine varnishes are adequate, Z-Spar brand "Captain's" varnish is a good one, as is the European and pricier Epiphanes brand (which requires the use of their proprietary thinner.)
  3. Yes, it seems they ban carrying onto a plane anything a creative mind can possibly imagine could be used as a deadly weapon. For some strange reason, though, since those restrictions went into effect, I've never had any problem at all boarding a flight with my Dearly Beloved . If they only knew!
  4. I certainly wouldn't advise "smuggling," or anything illegal, but I wonder if a passenger flying in brought a Byrnes saw over as his "carry-on" or passenger luggage on a trip they were taking anyway, could one get around the exorbitant shipping expenses? People are always shipping cars, too. You could get a lot of Byrnes Model Machines inside a car that was being shipped as container cargo. Somebody could develop a profitable little sideline importing them.
  5. I recall somewhere somebody mentioning a Byrnes saw with an extended table. I'm not sure if the extended table was a one-off "Jim Special," he did for somebody, or not. NO extended table is available as an option at present., AFAIK.
  6. You betcha! "Raising the load line," is simply "overloading the ship" and painting a new load line that hides the fact. There are no free lunches at sea. Overloading a ship places excess stress on the entire hull structure. Something's always got to give. :
  7. Everybody picks their own poison. I prefer Interlux "surfacing compound," also called "glazing compound." Interlux is a brand of quality marine paint. This is a material with the consistency of thin, creamy peanut butter that is thinned with acetone. The acetone evaporates quickly, leaving a plaster-like hardened material which sands "like butter." It can also be worked, as with dried plaster. It is not highly porus, like drywall paste, so it can be painted without problem. Tools clean up with acetone easily. A pint can lasts forever when modeling. A tablespoon of acetone added to the can and left to sit overnight will return it to its consistence if it thickens some. (Do not leave the top off the can while working with it. That will cause surface drying in the can.) For large fairing jobs, I also find epoxy resin thinned with microballoons or fairing additive works very well, although curing takes longer than fairing compound. My go-to epoxy flavor is WEST Systems products. I'm not a fan of mixing sawdust into epoxy or PVA. Some are. I've found PVA is "rubbery" and sands poorly, gumming up abrasive sheets. Your mileage may differ.
  8. Well, the blade can bite you once it passes through the cut in any event! I don't see any reason not to, other than the possibility of a minor difference ruining the cut. I've done it often on full-size table saws where the piece was too large to cut in one pass, or to reduce the resistance in thicker pieces. Keeping the blade just a bit higher than the piece is thick is proper and in that instance, there's very little of the blade exposed, during the cut, at least. Always, always use push sticks and, where necessary, featherboards. Never, ever, reach over the blade for any reason. Keep your hands behind where the blade is exposed. Always use a sled or miter gauge when making cross-cuts. Always use an outfeed table if the piece needs support to prevent it from dropping over the back edge of the saw table. Never stand in line with the blade. Sometimes that takes a bit of extra time to set up and can be a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time, but it's the easiest way to keep all your fingers.
  9. Surprising. I've never ever seen such a decoration on a similar boat, although I suppose they have antecedents in the elaborate extended bow decorations of ancient Roman vessels.
  10. That and the fact that you'll want to kill any person who spills an alcoholic drink on it!
  11. Fantastic work at that scale! Can you tell us what the purpose of the painted post above the stem ... or an extension of the stem... might be?
  12. Pumice and rottenstone powder is readily available in paint and hardware stores in the US, at least. (Or used to be. We never know when a tried and true traditional product will be outlawed for some environmental safety reason!) It's not expensive. It really does produce a wonderful finish. It's best applied with some sort of vibrating pad, if one's available. Doing it by hand, while very effective, is a lot of work on a less than perfectly coated surface, as it removes material very slowly because it is so fine.
  13. It' helps! Thanks for taking the time to explain it. It was as I thought. They probably used what they had whenever a block was replaced.
  14. Thanks for the reference! Open boats are always such a challenge in smaller scales. They are a detail that often first catches the viewer's eye and so require a lot of care and attention.

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