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US Brig Niagara by mikiek - FINISHED - Model Shipways - Scale 1:64 - First wooden ship build

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I have debated starting a build log for some time. Mainly because I fear I won’t keep it up. Also, there seems to be a rash of Niagara  builders out there right now – many with great detailed logs. I’ve been at it for  about 6 weeks so I’m also wondering why start a log now? Add to all that, I’m terrible with pics in posts.


Goodness knows I could use the help. I haven’t assembled a model in 45 years. I’ve never tried a wooden one or one this detailed. I also have no real woodworking experience. It was just a wild hair that got me started. I saw a few models on display and decided I wanted to try.


So why Niagara and not something a little more simple? After browsing model kits for several weeks I realized that all the ones that caught my attention were the 2 masted Brig/Schooner kits. They had enough complexity but still had a simple, clean look about them. They just seemed to grab me. Research seemed to indicate that Model Shipways instructions/plans were better than most so that seemed like a plus. In hindsight I am debating that fact now.



Sooo, I began this ordeal on 10/05/15.  I’ve assembled the hull & bulkhead frames – got them reinforced, squared & faired. Sadly, I did not take any pics during that process. I added the filler blocks and really struggled with the stern ones for a couple of weeks. The plans were absolutely no help. I came across a website that actually had a practicum for Niagara (for $$$). This builder took a different approach that seemed to make sense (1 piece per side rather than inner and corner  fillers), but I felt like I was still missing something. Getting tired of fretting over it, I went that route. But it turns out I missed some of his details - there was a bit of a language barrier.


Then, I went back to the 2 piece approach. I actually had a nicely shaped inner block(s) but couldn’t figure out the corner block. What I was gleaning from the plans just made no sense. Of course that was probably my ineptitude.


Then I found this site and was excited to see several Niagara build logs, however the first few I came across on this site seemed to gloss over the topic. Then I came across lb0190’s (Larry) log - http://www.modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/313-niagara-by-lb0190-model-shipways-wood-pob-164th-lb0190/ - and that got the wheels turning (posts 7-12). Finally – the corner block shape should take on the profile of the outer horn timber. That was the missing link for me – easy enough to carve out, but weeks wasted getting to that point.


Like Larry admits, I busted up the horn timbers more times than I will admit (bulwark timberheads as well). Also, I did not realize the notches in the horn timbers for the Arch Board were at different offsets so I ended up with the outer horns on the inside. I further mangled those up by chipping them out, so I ended up cutting an entire new set. My new scroll saw proved invaluable (and fun) there. I have a question about those notches which I’ll ask at the end of my speech.


About the same time, I began my indecision with placement of the stern Quarter Stanchions. I came across lots of pics but most all had the stanchions partially covered with other parts, so there was no clear view. The plans could/should have given some measurement of the spacing from the outer horn timber – no help again. I have seen some pics where the bottom edge ran parallel to the stern and others where the edge was parallel to the side of the ship.  I finally came across a statement saying that the external bulwark planking was supposed to lay on the outside edge of the stanchion and terminate at the stern edge. So clamping some planks to the outer side of the timberheads and seeing where they ended up (at the stern) gave me the clue I needed to place the stanchions. That was another week long inquisition. Still not sure if I got that right, but it seems to make sense.


So that’s about where I am right now. The transom is framed but not yet planked. It was truly a relief to have that part of the assembly behind me!


I apologize for the length of this post. I will attempt to be less verbose as things progress. I do have a few general observations:


1. I finally found a use for a Dremel tool. I have owned one for 15 years but never used it for anything other than grinding/sharpening my lawn mower blade. In a lot of cases I now find myself using the Dremel to cut (grind) pieces and also to do a lot of the rough filing. I do have to wonder if this is sacrilege to the long time modeler/woodworker.


2. I had hoped this was going to be a relaxing thing to do. To the contrary, I have found myself really stressing over many aspects of the build so far. There was a real sense of relief when I finished the transom framing last week!


3. I have a much steadier hand than I thought I would working with small detailed parts.



1. The notches for the Arch Board on the underside of the horn timbers are in different places. The inner 4 all line up the same but the 2 outer horns have the notch slightly closer to the stern. What is the point with this? Is the Arch Board supposed to arc (arch) a little to fit in all the notches? I can say a straight piece will not fit in all the notches. I did go ahead and spile a slight arch into the arch board so it fits the notches. But it also causes some grief – see question 2.


2. Still at the stern, the exterior transom planks look like they are stacked up on top of the Arch Board. Most pics also show them and the arch board slightly arcedupwards. My arch board did not do this. I ended up cutting a "filler" plank very thin, arching the top and glueing that to the top of the arch board. When I go to add the rest of the transom planks, they will follow the arc - at least that's the plan.


3. In placing the Planksheer pieces, I have noticed the notches that fit around the timberheads are way off in some places. A few by as much as ¼” - 3/8” off. I realize this can be adjusted, but is this much deviation normal? I cam across a few statements saying not to make adjustments to the planksheer. Instead do it all to the timberheads - even if that means they come out very thin.


4. I need to get the chocks for the mast feet glued to the keel before I forget. The plans show an octagonal foot although most pics I see the foot is rectangular. Any thoughts there?  How in the world do you cut a cylindrical shape (the mast) into an octagonal one?



5. During the gun port framing process (my next step) several of you have stated do not add the upper & lower strip to the framing as suggested by the plans. Instead run a 3/32 square strip along the top of the timberheads. I'm headed down that path but I'm wondering where the square starts and terminates. At the stern does it go all the way to the transom - I saw 1 log where it stopped at bulkhead Q. At the bow, does it start at bulkhead A or all the way at the timberhead we added into the bow filler block?


This site has really been a blessing so far. I wonder how many total years of modeling knowledge we have at our fingertips.  I look forward to hearing from you and even getting to a point where I can contribute.



Sail on….







Edited by mikiek
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Would sure like to start my log. I typed it up in Word. Now trying to paste the text into here but it absolutely refuses to paste. Any help would be appreciated.


Try clicking on "More Reply Options" at the bottom of the text area, this brings up the full text editor.  If that doesn't work, copy/paste into Notepad, and try pasting from there to see if it's a copy/paste issue, or something else.  If you are using IE10, it has issues and sometimes doesn't work with this forum, try using Chrome as your browser and see if that fixes it.

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I am still debating question #5 - adding a 3/32 square strip to the top of the timberheads. With all the fairing and getting the plankshare to fit, my frame timberheads are much thinner than they started out. The inward/outward as well as the bow/stern dimensions. So when I put the square on top it is wider than the timberheads and overhangs somewhat.


I can't decide whether to :


A. Make the square flush to the outward side of the timberhead and leave all the overhang on the inward side.


B. Just the opposite, allow the overhang on the outward side of the timberheads (I doubt if this option is correct)


C. Center the square strip on the timberheads so there is the same amount of overhang inwards and outwards.


D. Install the square strip and then sand so that there is no overhang anywhere. Going this route it would make more sense to use a 1/16 x 3/32 strip instead of a square so there is less to sand.


If I am reading the plans correctly, there should be a 5/32 width platform for supporting the rail. On the plans that is achieved by adding an inner and outer stiffener to the timberhead.  All of my options will still require at least 1 additional strip (1/16?)  to get the width stated on the plans.


Somehow I am getting the feeling I am overthinking this....

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Well I did not hear back from anyone so I made the decision to mount the 3/32 square strip with the outside being flush with the outside of the timberheads. I cut the strip into 5 smaller pieces so they were easier to work with. Same concept as the hull planks - there really wasn't a 123' piece of lumber to use for the real build.


It came out OK. There is some overhang on the inward side of the timberheads (measurements are a little inconsistent)  but I'm just going to substitute that for the 1/16 inward stringer called for in the plans. I will still add the outward 3/64 stringer. In retrospect, instead of a square I would have used something like a 1/16x3/32 strip laid edgewise. With a little sanding this would have eliminated the overhang and I could then add the inward and outward stringers called for in the plans.


I also added the 2 strakes under the gun ports, again using multiple pieces of strip instead of 1 long one. I did some beveling on the edges first and was really pleased with how well the 2  strakes snugged up against each other. I will definitely follow that process when It's time to plank the rest of the hull. I would like to find a better way to do the beveling. I could not get a consistent bevel from one end of the plank to the other. Also, I found I removed a lot of material from the plank. This could make it tough when I draw up the plank bands as the calculated width of the bands (based on 8 planks) may not match up with reality after I bevel the plank edges.





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Been working on the starboard gun/oar ports. As a matter of fact the ports are finished on that side. They don't look as good as what I have seen from some of you but I am happy with them. Besides most of it will end up under the bulwark planking any way.


I did learn one lesson, most of you experienced modelers would say duh. I got so engrossed with constructing the ports from the outward side that I didn't look at them from the inward side until I was done. Everything is nice and flush on the outside, but the inside will require some sanding to get that all flush.


Moving on to the inward bulwark planking. I decided not to do anything with the rail until the bulwark planking is complete. That leaves me a little more room to work.



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Seems like it took forever, but I finally have the starboard inward bulwark planking finished. The pix show I still have a few gaps to fill at the bottom and under the rail.


The planking at the bow was a lot easier than I expected. I just bent some planking before installing. One plank at the top had to be shaped to fill an arc shaped gap but that was not a big deal.


I have been using Tamiya putty (grey) to fill and smooth some other places. I apply it with a small tool, then wipe it smooth with a paper towel and some laquer thinner. This makes for a thin layer that is easily sanded.  I would appreciate hearing from any of you that can compare the Tamiya putty with other fillers.


Getting worried that I may have built myself into a corner with regards to painting. Like many, I did paint the waterway & plankshear before installing them, but they got messed up with primer and putty along the way. So I have those to paint red along with the edges of the ports and the planking to be green. I would like to use an airbrush so I guess I need to mask and spray the red and then mask the painted part and spray green?


I've been playing around with frisket and rubber cement a little bit to see if I can use that to mask some of the areas that would be tough to mask with tape. My first attempt was on some raw wood. That didn't work well as the wood seemed to soak it up and made it difficult to get off. Then I tried it on some primed wood and it worked much better - pretty easy to remove it. So I may use that in some places.


The outward bulwark planking is about 1/3 finished. Although it is very repetitive, I am enjoying this part of the build. It's nice to get some of the frame covered up. Niagara is beginning to look a little bit like a boat!




Edited by mikiek
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Looking pretty good.    I've not done this kit, so I'm just sort of following along.   I saw your questions in the other area and thought I'd drop in.  MSW is a great resource.   If there's specific questions about something... do like you did with your deck question.   Ask it in the appropriate area where more eyes will see it.  


BTW, power tools are not sacrilege.  Just about everyone uses them.  ;)

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A lot has happened since my last entry. The outward bulwark planking is complete. I've done some filling and began the masking/painting of the bulwark planking.


The outward planking went quicker than the inner where I was a adding a few of the plank end cover strips and then doing the planking for those areas. On the outside I did all the cover strips and then went back and laid all the planking. I seem to have a bad habbit of completely finishing out a small section of an area then moving to the adjacent area and completely finishing that out. I'm finding that to be very inefficient.


I did learn an interesting technique when going about filling the gaps and uneven planks. I am using Tamiya grey putty as my filler. Rather than just dabbing the bad spots, I appplied a thin layer to an entire section. Before the putty has completely dried I wiped it down with a paper towel with some lacquer thinner. I wiped until I could just begin to see the wood coming back. The last few strokes were made following the grain in the planks - left to right in this case. Interestingly, the papar towel has enough roughness in it to leave a faux woodgrain. I thought it looked fairly realistic, and with more practice could get even better. There's a pic of this below.


After all the filling it was time to get around to some painting. I was excited to get started with this - new airbrush rig. With all the ports and different colors Niagara requires a lot of masking. I was hoping to be able to use frisket in some places because it is applied quickly. However, I was never able to get a good straight edge so I ended up doing the obligatory masking tape (Tamiya) and trimming. As was noted in a post in another forum, it was 90 minutes of masking for a 5 minute paint job!


I'm really pleased with the airbrush system. I got an Iwata Power Jet Pro compressor (very quiet!) and an Iwata Eclipse and Badger 200NH airbrush. I've still got a lot to learn, but man, the smoothness of the paint layer is wonderful!


The Tamiya the paints that were included with the kit needed some mixing. The J.H. Green was darker that I wanted so I ended lightening that up with some yellow and white. It's still dark but better. The Yellow was almost a lemon yellow so it needed some adjusting. Adding fairly large proportions of White and Buff got me close to what I was looking for. All those colors are the flat finish.


So I've painted the inner bulwark and today am masking the outer. I hope to get some paint on that this afternoon. The pix show quite a mess on the strip I used for the port ceiling. I have not yet added any part of the railing yet, so I still need to add an inner and outer side cap strip (Black) and then the actual railing (Buff). I went the route of leaving the railing off during all the bulwark planking and painting. This left a bit more room for fat fingers and I also didn't have to worry about masking it. It was a good move.









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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow - it's been a while since a post. I have been working on the build but mostly a lot of little odds & ends with not too much new to show for it.


The starboard bulwark is finished, but I am still struggling with my paint job. I'm finding it really hard to get a good solid edge between the yellow and black on the outward side. The 2 colors are such a contrast that any little spot or bleeding really sticks out. I'm also seeing that what doesn't look too bad to the naked eye can look pretty rough in close up pix. I thought painting would cover up some of my mistakes (which it does) but it has it's own set of gotcha's.


I've ordered some timbers from Crown Timberyard so I am not doing any wood work at the moment. So I moved off to the guns to try my hand at some metalwork.  That has been really fun. First thing I did was go out and buy some reading glasses :(  This stuff is pretty small and I haven't even tried rigging yet.


I had to cut and shape some parts from the brass strip (1/16") in the kit. It's funny how the first attempt kind of sucks and then each subsequent try gets better. I had the hand files and Dremel grinder out for this one.


Also, it's the first time to use the pin vise and micro bits. They worked better than I thought. I need a tiny center punch to make a starting point on the strip. Got one on order.


The parts were blackened using Blue Jacket products (Blue Jacket has a product for pewter and one for brass). It took a while to get the Brittania pieces done . I had a tough time with the barrels. They didn't turn black at first so I kept adding more product. Finally I just left them for a few hours, but when I came back they were discolored - some kind of rusty looking, a few almost pink. However they did have a very nice surface finish - almost crusty.  I ended up painting those with some Tamiya black which came out a little glossy so I hit them with some matte varnish hoping to dull them down a bit. The result was actually pretty good I think.  The brass blackener worked very well and quickly.


I want to work on the straps for the cannonades, to get some sort of rivet/fastener to show up. It's a little tough since I am blackening and not painting. The usual dab of paint didn't look good and ended up flattening out on the strap too much. Glue doesn't work because it doesn't blacken. I believe next I'll try a punch. Another suggestion was RP Toolz punch & die set. They have one they call rivets - the result looks sort of like the head of a carriage bolt. I think that would look good but the set is a little pricey.


I also ordered from Crown, square strips for the masts. I am going to try to carve them myself rather than use the dowels that came with the kit. Yet another adventure.


Below are a few pix of my progress. I would sure appreciate hearing from ya'll. Critiques are welcome - no feelings to hurt here.









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Don, jct - thanks for the encouragement and welcome aboard.


Don - that pitting was my overindulgence with the blackening juice, but I also like that look.


jct - I realized a few weeks back that while working on the starboard bulwark, I have broken every timberhead on the port side. Some more than once. All fixed with the runny CA glue. I'm not looking forward to sanding those!

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Time to check in. A lot has been going on. As I may have mentioned before, I am taking a break from the big boat and trying my hand at some of the other parts & pieces.


I have started the yawl. The layers are glued and the hull has been shaped inside and out. I want to really detail this guy (and the other 2) so I'm looking at the frame pieces, floor boards, etc. I'm struggling with bending the frame pieces to fit inside the hull. Here is the discussion so far. Not sure where I will end up.


A previous post shows a little of the work on the carronades. Those are fun to make, but just a few at a time.


I got to thinking about the mast last week. I am afraid I will forget to add some bracing to the mast slots on the keel and end up decking her out. So the brought up a lot of questions regarding the mast foot, shaping the mast, etc. This discussion has set my off in the right direction. Another suggestion was to start with a square strip rather then the kit supplied dowel. Working off that, I cut a strip from some scrap birch, tapered that down then began carving and sanding. I've been using Tamiya sanding sponge for the last bit of rounding. I really like that product! It has come out pretty well (see pix below) but I am stuck on one thing. The base of the mast is octagonal, then round and finally square. I can't figure out the transition from round to square. The flat sides of the square are flush with the round surface but the corners of the square extend beyond the round surface. There's a couple of pix showing that.


One of the things I have been itching to start is the deck. Following a Niagara practicum, I am going to build it separately and then drop it in once completed. The bulwarks on Niagara leave plenty of room to do this.  I have to say after working the bulwarks I have not been overly impressed with the basswood planking from the kit.  So I ended up ordering replacement planking and mast stock (boxwood) from Crown Timber. That all arrived today, so I can get to thinking about the deck now. I will say it is very nice stuff. I may get Jason to replace the entire stock of my next build.






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Hi Mike, things are looking good. Not sure how you are rounding off your stock, but if you were to mark where the transition is to begin make a shallow cut along this line, then taking your knife and starting on the side is going to be rounded carefully cut back towards your scribed line. Use short shallow cuts gradually increasing depth and length as required, this will produce nice square edges. If my explanation is not too clear let me know and I can send some pictures if you want.

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Don - I'll take all the help I can get. Any pix would be great


What I did for the mast:


Tapered a square strip to meet dimensions on plan.

Marked off the top section (square)

Carved the rest of the strip to an octagon shape (still tapered)

Marked off the bottom section (octagon)

Sanded everything in between to round


Where I'm stuck is:


If you look at the mast from the top down and follow a flat side of the square, it looks great all the way to the bottom. The centerline of the square transitions flush into the round and even into the octagon.

Now give the mast a 1/8 turn so you are looking down a corner of the square. Draw a line down that corner and when it gets to the round section you'll see that the corner is raised slightly above the round section. This is the same on each corner - at least I'm consistent.


Maybe that's how it is supposed to be, but it looks odd to me.

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Each line has been marked then cut, the arrows are showing the direction I'll be cutting.




 In the fourth picture you can see the sloped edges forming, like what you have and I think look ok




Forgive the unfinished look this is for demonstration only :) . I left the shoulders a little extreme just for better visual. This just to show how a square shoulder is done and how it looks versus the beveled edge.

 Myself I prefer the sloped or beveled edge but I suppose if the plans ask for it.....or what is historically correct.....ultimately it's your choice.

  Hope this helps, delete the pictures from your log when you are done if you wish.

 Now I have to clean up my floor :cheers:



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I think I'll keep the pix for posterity. So shoulder is the term for the sharp edges of the square section? That's what I was calling the corner.


I see how those edges extend out over the octagon. That's what I'm getting as well, except my square section is next to the round.


For curiosities sake, if the taper went the other way and the square was the thinnest section instead of the fattest, would those edges still overhang? 


Thanks for taking the time Don. Sorry about the mess :(

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A few days ago I began putting together the decking. I may have mentioned before that I am building the deck as a separate unit and drop it in on top of the bulkheads when complete. From another post, it was mentioned to be sure there is clearance to do this - tumblehome I believe it is called. Niagara is very generous in this regard, there is plenty of room for the deck to be laid in.


I really like this method, especially being my first build. As you will see from the pix, I made a full size copy of the deck plan. The problem is the plan only shows 1/2 of the planking. To get around this I had the copier also make a mirror copy which essentially reverses the image, so I get copies of the starboard half and the port half. After that I taped them together right at the centerline, and then trimmed around the edge of the image. When completed, I had a complete copy of the planked deck.


From there I marked where the bulkheads were and then glued some strips across the image about 1/16" behind the bulkhead lines. I glued some more strips about 1/8" in from the edge of the deck. So the strips give me a frame to lay the planking on.


My deck image also shows all the deck structures. I have not yet decided if I am going to cut out areas on the deck to insert the structures or just glue the structures on top. In the event I decide to cut out, I laid more strips around the edges of the structures so the planking would have some support.


Then I got around to some planking. To be honest, and this is just a personal preference, I don't care for the models I have seen where the builder uses a single long strip for a deck strake and then scribes the butt joints. Please don't take that personal if that's how you do your decks, like I said it's just a preference on my part. At any rate, I am cutting 3 3/4" strips (20 footers) and laying those individually. I am running a MarksALot down 1 long edge and 1 short edge of the plank for the caulking look. Using the guide on plank spacing in the MSW library, I am laying planks in a 1-3-5-2-4 pattern. So far I am really pleased with the outcome. The planks are not laid down perfectly and lengths may vary by 1/16" - 1/32", but frankly I think that adds to the realism. None of that stuff would have been CNC cut back then :D


There has only been 1 foul up so far. I am using some boxwood strips, replacing the basswood in the kit. I kind of assumed that these would be perfectly planed and cut with near zero variance, so I just went on happily laying planks and not really checking closely how things were coming out. By about the 5th or 6th strake I realized that the planks were beginning to not lay perfectly. I few were slightly crooked. Checking around I finally discovered some of the strips were a tad wider than others. Of course this would make planks not lay completely straight as I put down a new strake. So lesson learned, even when using premium timber I still need to check every plank before it is laid.  I suppose this would not have been a problem if I was laying a single long strip instead of the 20 footers. To save time I had taken 15 strips and cut them all to length and then threw them in a pile so it was quite likely I was not laying all the planks from the same strip in one strake.


I do have a question regarding gluing the deck planks. On a suggestion in another post, I am using TiteBond  Trim & Molding glue. I really like the stuff - it sets very quickly so I don't have to leave planks clamped for very long. I am putting a spot on the cross beams I mentioned earlier and also along one long edge. This edge will be pushed against the previous strake - any glue that squishes out I wipe off.  Impatient son of a gun that I am, I wanted to see my deck work cleaned up and sanded down so every 3 or 4 strakes I do just that. What I am noticing, is I am seeing spots of dried glue - not in top but in between planks as I sand off the top. In my eye it is noticeable, so I am wondering if there is any way to clean that up??


Well, I started on the centerline and am working outwards. The first 10 strakes were pretty easy, full width no trimming or shaping. I am now about 1/3 of the way out and am having to narrow the ends quite a bit so progress has slowed. Every  strake is it's own adventure. Here's how it is shaping up:






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  • 2 weeks later...

Gee - time sure flies by. I have been at it (the build) every day but slacking on logging my progress.


Well, I am still decking, but that gets old and error prone after putting down too many strakes in one sitting. I will say I believe I have enough side tasks (maybe too many) to keep things rolling along.


The ships boat - the yawl - is about ready for assembly. I decided to go with Carvel planking rather than lapstrakes. This was my first stab at any sort of planking so I decided not to get too complicated.  What to use for the inner frames (or even to add frames) was a deliberation. I could not get wood strips to bend well so I ended up making some styrene strips that laid down pretty well. Since I had decided to paint the inside rather than stain this worked out pretty well.


I recently picked up a punch & die set for making rivet heads. Have been doing some playing around with that. Actually I needed some pins to attach the carronades to the planksheer so I thought this might be an opportunity to get creative. I glued some of the rivet heads to some thin brass rods - no easy task. They came out looking pretty good. By chance yesterday I came across a post with a link to all the fittings on AgesOfSail.com . More pins there than you can shake a stick at. I feel a little foolish now. But it was fun anyway.


As mentioned gluing the rivets to a rod was pretty tough. Setting them down perpendicular took some work. I used medium CA for glue. That ended up fouling up the blackening - it won't blacken where glue is on the material. Guess I'll end up painting those. You can see in the pix.


That also got me wondering - how crazy is all this? I spent probably 2 hours to make 18 pins that NO ONE will see. Hmmm.


Also in the works is the fore top mast. It's pretty well shaped. I am debating whether  to sand it to round by hand or try my lathe. I just received a 4 jaw chuck so I am anxious to use it for something. I'll try to size that up tonite. If my hand work has made the mast too crooked I'll have to wait for the next mast.


Below are a few pix.....









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Hello folks - I hope everyone made it thru the holidays OK. Been hard at work on my kit - and I FINALLY have something completed. I have so many tasks going on right now, decking, building cannons, building masts (from squares), planking the other bulwark. Also several new tools were recently delivered  - lathe, rivet head punch kit, drill press - so I have been trying to learn those as well.


It's probably too much to be doing at one time, but it's the way I am. But I am excited to say I have actually completed a piece of work - the yawl. I have a few pix below. A few highlights:


I did the inner frame pieces with styrene strips. I could never get wood strips to set flush to the bottom. I tried soaking them, heating them, using 2 pieces instead of one. Nothing worked for me. The styrene worked great and since I elected to paint the inside I think they look pretty good.


I added a few metal parts that were not called for in the plans. I was dying to do something with the rivet heads so I added some metalwork to the transom & tiller. I like the overall appearance but I'm thinking they may be slightly out of scale - a bit too large. I do think the rivet heads have a lot of potential for other metal pieces. Let me know what you think.


I have been struggling with getting small metal (brass) pieces colored. I love the blackening effect. I learned early on that the stuff rubs off so I began adding a coat of matte varnish on top. Still for small pieces it's tough. Any glue of the surface prevents blacking - you can see in my previous post. I finally broke down and painted them. Yesterday, some Tamiya acrylic paints were delivered, one called Dark Iron gives the brass a nice color.


I have some updates on the masts I have made but no pix yet so I will hold off for now. Let me know what you think on the yawl - positive or negative.





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  • 2 weeks later...

Once again, I procrastinate with my log. I HAVE been working on Niagara every night. I'm just getting frustrated and end up making it a short night. Decking is taking forever. I feel like I'm hitting a wall there. Hard to stay motivated. I am working on other items - masts, the port bulwark - just to stay busy.


It's hard to judge whether I need a good kick in the rear to get moving again or I need to take a break for a while.......


Man was that depressing or what? :(

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Drum roll please!  After beginning nearly 2 months ago planking the deck is complete!!! I knew something big was about to happen when the 4" clamps would not reach from a newly laid plank to the other side of the deck. Kinda like when you see a seagull after days on the open water.


Overall I am pleased - or maybe that's relieved.  There's still some sanding to do but I think it looks good. Next I'll have to start working on the stain. I made a sample deck and tried some Golden Oak stain on it. That seems to be what a lot of folks use. I'm not crazy about it. On the boxwood it makes the planks look dirty - at least in my eye. I think the look I liked best was when I wiped the deck down with a damp rag. The boxwood darkened slightly but not as much as with the stain. I may play around with just using a matte or satin lacquer with no stain.


All in all I am very happy with the approach I took - doing the decking separate from the boat. In full disclosure, this was not my idea. It came from the Niagara practicum on the shipmodeling.ca site. As a newbie, it just made me feel more comfortable doing it that way. I'm a lot more confident now and could go either way on the next build. Fortunately the Niagara design allows for this.


I described the early steps in previous posts, but essentially you copy the deck plan (full size) and then glue a frame on it, including cross beams right behind where each bulkhead would be. Then you just start gluing planks to the frame. One nice thing about this method is you glue a plank right on top of the plan, so you can see exactly what shaping you have to do for each strake. You can see this in a few of the pix below. Somewhere along the way I picked up a Veritas miniature block planer and it was pure joy using that.


Of course the frame and cross beams would sit on top of the bulkhead edges. Not really what you want as that would elevate the entire deck. So you make an indentation in the keel right behind each bulkhead. There's a pic of that.


I used the 13524 butt-shift pattern - thank you Ulises for the great database article. As mentioned before I don't care for the butt scribing, so all planks were cut to scale 20' when possible. I marked the long and one short edge with a MarksAlot for the caulking. I didn't have any issues with the ink running.


You can see on some of the pix, I nibbed the bow planks. I plan on trying to make a nibbing strake around the deck edge. So I suppose actually I'm not completely through with the deck. The practicum shows a way to do this. It looks like a lot of work, but I like the result. We'll see how that goes.


Looking back, there were some trying times. Just the sheer monotony of it all. I am really glad to get this one over with!


(Sorry, for some reason the Attach Files thing put the pix in reverse order)












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