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After a very long absence I'm back at the ship modeling workbench. I've retired since my last posts on my Bluenose (which is still waiting in the wings) and retirement presents its own happy challenges that kept me out of the shop. I'm now up to 4 grandchildren and thrilled that they keep me really busy. The oldest is 9 and the youngest is 8 months old. Competition trapshooting keeps me very busy and during the nice weather I'd rather be on a trap field that holed up in my windowless shop. During the spring and summer months I travel throughout the northeast US for competitions and as a consequence I'm no where near my shop. I have really missed ship modeling but the longer I was away from it the harder it seemed to get back into it. I'm still a member of the Ship Model Society of NJ so I keep in touch with modeling that way but it's not the same as sitting at the bench making something. My Bluenose is years behind schedule and the more I concentrated on trying to get that moving the more discouraged I became. Chuck is a very good friend of mine and he saw what I was struggling with and suggested I ease myself back into it via a group build of the Medway Longboat. That was the best idea I've heard in a long time so here I am. Mike (Stuntflyer) is also a friend and member of SMSNJ and I've been watching his progress closely both in person and by following his build log here on MSW. We were both at Chuck's house today and they convinced me that in addition to building the longboat, keeping a build log will keep me connected and, I know from past experience, motivated. So, here goes. Work started today and I'm taking photos as I go and will post the ones I think most beneficial to others. If you have questions about how I did something please don't hesitate to ask. To assemble the keel I'm using yellow Titebond wood glue. This will give me time to adjust pieces and things "just right" before the glue sets. I've not had problems with gluing on laser char in the past so I don't sand the char away, in most cases. This first photo shows how a piece looks when it comes out of the billet. The cream colored line is where the little tab was that connected the piece to the billet . The next photo shows the extent to which I sand the piece to remove what's left of the tab. As you can see I don't take off very much char or wood. It is only enough that when I run my finger over it I can't feel any sort of bump where the tab was. Once I reach this point I stop sanding. This third photo is how I assembled the 4 pieces of the stern. The wood is very slightly oversized in thickness so I sanded it until it was very close to .0938" (3/8"). If I didn't do this there would have been less that 1/32" rabbet. I used two pieces of 1/32" scrap, one on either side so that when I clamped it all together the gray clamp holds everything nicely centered. The blue clamp keeps the vertical pieces in contact while the glue dries and the red clamp does the same thing for the horizontal glue joints. The red arrows and thin red lines show the 1/32" alignment pieces. I used a lap joint to join the keel pieces but my photos of that process came out horribly which I didn't realize until after it was all assembled. I used a #11 scalpel blade to make a stop cut and then whittled away at it until the joints were only a few thousandths of an inch over size then used sanding sticks to clean it all up. It was easier than I thought it would be. My first inclination was to pull out the mill for this but I realized set up time would probably be longer than the process I used so I didn't go that route. Tomorrow I'll finish the keel and move on to making frames. It feels good to finally be building again and writing this log.