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Falls of Clyde 1878 by GAW - scale 1: 96 - iron 40 frame hull centre section

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Substitute brass for iron where ever you see it, as the model is built in brass, but the original is in iron, as also the look of the model will be when finished.

To build in iron is very simple, unlike timber, as the materials are already of the correct basic dimensions, thickness and shape, and there are only 3 of them, angle iron, plate, and bulb iron.  The complications come in the working of them - with timber it is an adze, saw and boring tool for basics, and each piece is worked on in every dimension.  With iron it is a blacksmiths shop and a wealth of heavy machinery to bend and form the 3 basic materials.


On my web site at < http://www.wworkshop.net/Falls_of_Clyde/Menu.html > is/will be - the complete ‘Build’ of this model project, but from the viewpoint of the tool making.  Here I will create a ‘Build Log’ of the actual building of the model’s - two down and one to go, the last being a fully rigged waterline model of the FofC, still yet to be made.  I will aim to do this with 4 photos a month and a brief description of what is going on. At the end of the month I will answer any questions and move to the next stage.  In this way I would hope that ‘we’ can cover more fully what you as model makers wish to know to follow in these footsteps, with out repeating what has gone before on my web site.


The subject - The Falls of Clyde, is a 4 masted sailing ship of 1807 tons gross, built by Russells & Co., Port Glasgow in 1878.  After 324 voyages under sail, with a first class reputation as a fast and friendly ship, (later rigged as a barque), now lying forlorn and neglected in Honolulu awaiting a fate, that has already being spoken of, as being sunk as a divers wreck, if money is not very soon forthcoming to get her into dry-dock as a start to a new full restoration.  The other option that I have been promoting for the last 10 years, is to get her back on the Clyde in Scotland, where the Clyde Maritime Trust have the crew and knowhow to bring the old girl back to life, to spend her days along side the Glenlee, a 3 masted barque of the same period, that they have just recently restored in all her glory.  Anyone wishing to contribute to this please drop a note to Frank Brown <Frank.Brown@thetallship.com>


Plans -  There are no fully detailed plans of the ship that I know of being available.  There are a couple of people working on producing a set but as yet there is still much work to be done.  There is/or was, available a copy of the original side view of the hull, together with a centre cross section, plus a several smaller detailed drawings of the loading ports, 4 in the stem and two others on each side towards the midships and some other odds and ends.  These were copies from the original Russell & Co. 1878 ships plans, I obtained mine 30 years ago, from I cannot remember where.  These I digitised and expanded adding data from the actual ship, that I have visited 4 time, the first in 1970, shortly after her last full restoration, the last in 2005, when I created eruptions with those responsible who had let her get to the sorry state that I found her in.  However some of my developed cross sections seems to have been some way out as to the hull shape, for just as I was about to start the half model I was provided with copy of cross section of the hull made at the time she was converted into a tanker, in 1907.  It was these that I then used for my final shape.  For those wishing to take this further, unless you wish to undertake a lot of research or await the coming of a set of plane,  how-long-is-a-piece-of-string, then better to take a look at something like the Balclutha, still with us in San Francisco, in excellent condition, with a full - very full, set of plans on line at:

< https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Balclutha_Deck_Plans-_Poop_Deck,_Forecastle_Deck,_Main_Deck,_Main_Deck_Structural,_Tween_Deck,_Tween_Deck_Structural_-_Ship_BALCLUTHA,_2905_Hyde_Street_Pier,_HAER_CAL,38-SANFRA,200-_(sheet_4_of_69).png#filehistory


I will have more to say about this anon - Now to the start and the photos.


 Fig-01,  - Here we see the Falls of Clyde heading for Cape Town on a voyage from Dundee to Rangoon in February 1881 in all of her original glory and depicting the period of my models of her.  The painting, an original commission of mine, is by David C. Bell B.A.hon. - for those interested in wooden walls, here you have a friend indeed, an authority on Nelsons ships - check out: < http://www.themarineandwildlifestudio.com/maritime.php >


Fig-02, - Showing the inspiration for the iron hull centre section model, the main subject of this Build Log.


Fig-03, - The half model - In starting out I had hoped to avoid making a half model, being only interested in recreating the centre 40 frames.  My ideas was to work directly from the plans that I had created, taking the lines directly from those.  The hull of the FofC are almost those of a late clipper, with not a straight line on them, meaning that no two frames are the same, also meaning that the difference between the size and shape of the centre dozen or so is so minute on a scale to 1/96th that we are down to less than the thickness of a pencil line between them. 


So to make a half model - To carve a solid model, as is the standard practice, full size and for miniatures, meant having to mark out the individual frames, then transfer this information to the ‘loft floor’ from which the frames could then be formed to match - but then we are back to the thickness of a pencil line and I do not trust my judgement to that fineness.  The frames are 2 feet apart - scale size .25” - so I figured that by making the half  model with plates of 1/4 thick MDF board, I would have one plate for each frame.  By bolting together as many as I could, with a block of wood at each end, and carving this to exactly match the hull drawings, using card templates to double check, would solve all of the problems.  Why not use the card templates for the frame shapes? - because one only needs a half dozen side templates, together with several longitudinal ones to create a full half model - it is joining up dots to a free flowing line from a  given point to a given point. When looked at, at 1/4” intervals, they look like straight lines, but as a set formed together, they each have a flow.


The MDF plates were cut square and accurately and provided with a datum point common to them all. Each plate was then given a copy of it’s cross section from the original drawings with as much information on it as possible and matched to the datum point.  These were then placed in a simple drill jig and provided with two hole, with a centre section plates being provided with 3, all to take long threaded rods.  The position, as with the width of the two end blocks being determined by the size of the washers & nuts necessary to hold them all together.  As the frame plates reduce in size fore and aft, so the space available to hide a nut and washer inside becomes less and less.  Each plate was  then jig sawed to shape leaving about an 1/8th inch clear from the paper pattern, to take care of any inaccuracy in the drawings.  The final shape being determined by a pleasing line of sight, as was the practice full size.


This assembly was then wood screwed to a back board of 3/4” melamine  covered chip board, cut out to match the side profile of the hull.  The whole then carved to shape, with chisels, gouges, sanding discs, files, with fine paper to finish.


Fig-04  The basic half model, also showing  in the background 6 of the hull cross section drawings, drafted at the time the FofC was converted into a bulk oil tanker in 1907.  These were used to correct my original drawings.  

Note that there are three white lines showing between the plates, that are in fact very thin plates of aluminium.  They indicate the extent of my 40 frames, together with the centre frames - more about this as we proceed.






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  • 1 month later...


Fig-05  This is the aft end of the half model with the stern end block removed to show the ends of the two screwed rods that hold it all together.


Fig-06  Showing the forward end of the half model, with the stem block removed to show the threaded rods.


Fig-07  Showing the third rod in the centre of the half model.


Fig-08  Showing the half model with the centre 40 frame patterns removed,  these are the patterns to be used for making this particular model of the centre section of the Falls of Clyde.


On plans and data for iron and steel ships - One of the advantages of building models of iron and steel ships, is that they are all built in the same way to the minutest detail and to the same rules, those built in the UK, to the rules set out by Lloyds of London who insured the ships.  I have been given to understand that there were similar rules and standards set in the USA and other countries.  The owner would set out the capacity of the ship to be built together with certain other details, after which the builder would consult Lloyds specifications as to how to proceed with the construction.  For an iron ship of a given tonnage, the distance between the frames, the thickness of the metal for those frames and the thickness of the shell plating for any given place, will all be specified by the insurer.  As also the diameter of all the rivets and the spacing there-of for every part.  If the mast is of this hight, then the diameter at a given place and the thickness of the plating at that place will all be listed in the insurers specification.  Every detail of the construction has to comply with the insurers specification, to obtain a certificate upon which the rates of insurance can be calculated before the ship can put to sea.


For the model maker this can make life easy, for if you can locate the specification for the country in questions, you have all your questions answered as to how the ship was built.  This will include such things as how the shell plating was applied, not as I have seen on some models, with a butt joint at every alternate strake of plating up the side of the ship, but at every 5th strake of shell plating.  To make the plating like a tiled floor or a brick wall would weaken the structure, for it is the shell plating of an iron or steel ship, that is it’s strength.  As also the deck planking, where I have seen on many models with alternative planks butt jointed across a deck.  It might look pretty but check photos of a real deck, and you will see at least 5 or 6 planks between each butt joint.


This is very basic information that can be gleaned from old photos, however there are books available with a lot of this information in.  The first one of these that I came across with Harold Underhill’s ‘Masting and Rigging’ - as with the hull of a ship, so with the rigging.  A hull of a given tonnage will have masts and yards of a given length and the rigging from any part of these  will be of a stated size, whether it be hemp or wire, scale this down and there is no excuse for having running rigging with a scale thickness of 6 inches in diameter, it never was so.


For the iron and steel hull I can recommend ‘The Modern Practice of Shipbuilding in iron and steel’ by Samuel J.P. Thearle, in two Volumes, one of text the other of detailed drawings. Also ‘Ship Construction and Calculations’ by George Nicol, with many illustrations.  Both of these date from the last period of sail and the start of the period of the steam ship.  It may be difficult to find copies to purchase, but central libraries, such as the British Library in London, have copies, that may be borrowed through local town hall libraries, which is how I got access to them.





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Gerald thank you for linking your site to this thread. I have enjoyed following your work for the past 30 odd years or so I think I started with the tulip wood bodied Hispano Suiza in your book the "Complete Car Modeller"

I spent  quite some time studying your tools for doing the manufacturing of the parts for this hull section model. I can see that to work at the level of precision at this scale is akin to watchmaking and your tools have a style reminiscent to me of the instruments of the 19th century and watchmaking all rolled into one.


Your approach and skill are very inspirational and I am sure that "retirement" will continue to keep you busy with similar projects.


Regards Michaell

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  • 5 weeks later...

February 2016


Fig-09 - The half model painted and mounted, with the the centre 40 frame patterns removed.  - At this stage I could have dumped the fore and aft ends of the hull half pattern, as they were only required to give me the centre sections true shape.  However, I liked the look of it, as it started to give me inspiration for what I was about with the centre section of the ship, here she was in all her glory.  So I decided to paint it up, mount it on a stand and keep it in view while working up the actual model.  One can build dead-pan, like building by numbers, when all about you are pieces of wood and metal, until the project is completed, when you finally see what you have built, which is usually a dead-pan model.  


For me I have to have the subject in my head at all times, constantly being reminded by drawings & photos of the complete subject, so that I am substituting an imaginary part with a real part every time I complete a section however small.  In this way I hope to make a miniature of the subject, rather than a model, in that it captures the character of the original, as seen through the wrong end of a telescope.  Some models will always appear as models however you photograph them, others can trick the mind, in that you ask yourself when you view the photo, is this a model, or the real thing, that is when you had captured the character of the subject. This for me is only possible when I have fully researched the subject, and I constantly keep in view my research material.


The figure at the break of the foc'sl is Jock the riveter, carved in nickel silver to the same scale as the model - always useful to have a scale figure around to double check what you are about - we will see him again from time to time.


Fig-10 - The centre  40 frame patterns bolted together, with a thin plate of aluminium between each.  - The MDF quarter inch thick frame patterns are of no use as they are, as each side of each plate will have a different shape, very minute in the centre, but more pronounced as one moves out fore and aft. For them to serve their purpose, I needed a very thin copy of each, so slipped in a drilled sheet of thin aluminium between each, bolted the pack together again and filed each to match the MDF shapes.  The reason for this is that each half pattern has to  provide a right and left side for each frame. the quarter inch thick MDF plate cannot do this.


Fig-11 - The 40 MDF frame patterns with the 40 aluminium patterns removed.   - Thus I now had a pack of thin half patterns for the 40 frames, that  can be used to give two half frame shapes that will be identical, one for each side of the ships hull.


Fig-12 - The frame making jig.  (FMJ) - I knew nothing about iron ship building when I started the project, so read up every book that I could lay hands on on the subject.  Then knowing every stage for building a full size ship, imagined each of those stages for a miniature, and the tools required to accomplish that end - then made the tools.  The complete tool kit was designed and made from scratch over a 9 week period of brain storming, before starting the model. Details of the construction of each tool can be found on my web site. With some minor modifications that I will mention when we get to those stages, all of the tools worked out as planed.


FMJ - The first requirement is to be able to precisely hold 4 sections of brass angle and a brass plate in one place, such that they can be soft soldered together to form a ships frame, then to exactly locate and solder in place the two deck beams.  The third requirement is to be able to do that 40 times, with a slightly different shape for each frames. And should I wish to build a complete hull, to accommodate all 129 frames.


My solution was a set of infinitely adjustable fingers, the tips of which are provided with a small flat and a slot to accommodate angled brass section, these being made from aluminium, to facilitate soft soldering. 


The basic ships frame, for the Falls of Clyde, is made up of 5 parts, 4 of which are angle iron. Two of these are bent to shape, such that a flat is on the out side, one for each side.  A second pair, called reverse frames, are bent to match these, but with the flat on the inside and both are riveted together for most of their length. The fifth element is a flat plate at the bottom, riveted between the frame and reverse frame and is called the ‘Floor’





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Gerald, what a wonderful project. As a machinist/tool maker for almost 40 years, I can attest to the hard work and dedication involved in just preparing all of the tools and jigs involved. A  lot of forethought obviously went into this project. Your work is truly amazing. I will follow this closely.



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Gerald, the tooling for this project has already given me a few ideas, one of the great yacht designers of the 19th century and early 20th was Francis Herreshoff, His break through yacht Gloriana built in 1891 this yacht used steel frames with a layer of double planking. your tools for making the frames of of the Falls of Clyde look like the sort of tool that would be perfect to make the Herreshoff frames.  I might just have to copy this idea.


Again such a pleasure to follow your project both here and on your own site.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you Michael - passing on ideas is what it is all about - a thought for you to go with your new proposed project. Use a larger scale, maybe 1/4" to the foot so that the brass angle has some strength in it, annealed brass plating can be bent to shape and has no memory, wood planking, although it can be steamed, and may be the yacht hull will be of much finer lines, but wood still has a memory, that might give problems to the fine brass frames that I have made.  You could also steam the wood and match it to the curves of the wood half model, before finally attaching it to the brass frames. Happy modelling - Gerald

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A further thought for you Michael - no need to make the elaborate tooling at all for your ships frames. The vital part is the thin half pattern plate  - one for each frame - around which is bent the brass angle, frame and reverse frame.

Copy the full set of frame cross section onto a piece of card, stick this on a slab or cork, cut this in half at the centre line, then stick it back together again with a thin strip of plate between, so that the half frames patterns can be placed against it.  Use holes in the plates, with pins in the block - as I have, to exactly locate the half patterns to the same point.

Now anneal the brass angle and bend it around the half pattern, place it on the cork board and press in pins around the edge - remove the half pattern and put pins around the inside - do the same for the other half.  Bend the reverse frames to match and soft solder in place. Why did I not think of that in the first place - I am very basic, I need to see something before I can improve it.  Good luck - Gerald

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  • 2 weeks later...

March 2016

Fig-13 - Setting plate - Two plates were made to fit the FMJ - the setting plate, made from brass with 6 studs, 3 on each side of the centre line, precisely placed to match the 3 holes in each of the aluminium frames patterns. The second plate is made from aluminium as a soldering table, but more on that later.  Both plates slide under the fingers of the FMJ and are held in place with 2 knurled screws at the top corners.


Fig-14 - Rivet Head Maker - (RHM) - The requirement was to produce something resembling a rivet head of an exact size and precisely placed on the inside of angle brass section of 1.5mm X 1.5mm.  The tool consists of two wheels, one with a series of spikes around it’s out side edge, the second with a matching set of fine holes, one for each spike.  These are provided with a table and stop, to allow the brass angle to be precisely placed and pass between the 2 wheels, which are set so that each spike will depress a dimple of brass into it’s respective hole as the wheels are rotated.  The tool will produce more than 600 dimples - rivet heads - a minute.  Several sets of wheels were made to match the different spacing of the rivet heads, to accommodate both the wide spacing for the angled brass - Frame - and the finer spacing for the ships shell plating. A further set of wheels - rollers - were also made for the production of Bulb Iron, but more on that later. All parts were made micro adjustable.


The difficult part was to find a way of powering both wheels that also allowed them to be fully adjustable, to control the depth of the pin in the hole - the hight of the rivet head.  This was not possible with a geared drive connecting the two wheels, as that is only possible when the gears are fully engaged, otherwise the backlash when not fully engaged - in adjusting the depth - will not mesh the pins with the holes.  I overcame this by using rubber ‘O’ rings as the drive between the two wheels, because of the softness of the rubber.  This allows for infinite adjustment of the depth of the pin/size of rivet head, while the pin and hole, once set will always be correct relative to each other, no matter how much adjustment is made between the two.  The different thickness of the brass between the wheels is a factor in having them adjustable.


Fig-15 - The angle brass is first run through the RHM so that both inside faces are provided with a full set of rivet heads.  These are then annealed before being bent to exactly match the out side edge of a frame pattern.


Fig-16 - The frame and pattern is then placed on one side of the setting plate in the FMJ, and the fingers moved in so that the brass angle sits in the slot provided on each of the finger, that are then locked in place with the knurled locking screws.  The pattern is then removed, turned over and provided with the second brass angle frame around it’s out side edge, so that the other side of the frames can also be set and the fingers locked in place.


More details showing the construction of these machines can be found on my website:

< http://www.wworkshop.net/Falls_of_Clyde/Menu.html >






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  • 1 month later...

April 2016


Fig-17 - FMJ with Setting plate in place, complete with 2 half frames of angle  brass set in the fingers.  The top assembly is for setting the deck beams in place, to be covered that later.


Fig-18 - Thin brass sheet cut and shaped for the ‘Floor’s, together with steel patterns.  At full size, the Floors were cut out of sheet iron with straight edges, then bent to match the particular frames.  I first made a pair of gauge plate Floor shapes  - patterns - for the widest frame, and used the 3 drain holes to locate with pins, a dozen roughed out brass plates between them.  Then machined the brass to match the patterns.  I used ‘licence’ here to ease assembly, first by including a small pip at the bottom of each Floor plate, and secondly by providing a small slot to assist in locating the Keelson, Side Keelson, & Bilge Keelsons .  When finished none of these are visible.


Fig-19 - The RHM being used to proved the Floor with rivet heads, the top row on one side for the reverse frame, the bottom row on the other side for the actual frame angles.


Fig-20 - FMJ with a frame master pattern, both angled brass frames in place together with the Floor,  bent to match the frames.  After the Floor is provided with it’s rivet heads, it is heated and annealed to soften it for bending.


Some words on ‘Licence’ - Licence is when you deviate from the original - Ones hears it said that this is an exact replica or the original - in truth one uses ‘Licence’ to create the complete replica, as on a scale of less than a quarter, the very thickness of the materials cannot be scaled.  For me I start on the premise that what I create is my artistic representation of the original.  I try where possible to follow the practices that produced the original, but in the end if it looks right then, for me, it is right.  However I will note from time to time, where gross licence has been used so solve a particular problem - the biggest of course being that the assembly is not held together by rivets, but by soft solder.  However if there is an art in this at all, it is to always conceal the licence used, so that the eye is convinced it is looking at what the mind thinks it should be.





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Roughed out with snips, then drilled with the aid of the master patterns for the three drain holes, then assembled with pins through these together with the two patterns and the surplus brass removed on the milling machine.  This is an example of the ease of building an iron ship rather than a wooden one.  Here 10 floors can be cut as one, then the ends turned - heated and bent - to match each frame. In the wooden world, each would need to be worked individually.

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Gerald, like others following this thread I have been in awe of your body of work over many years both in the nautical and auto domains. Your rendition of  Bucklers Hard as it looked in the 18th century is inspiring stuff.


Your auto builds and accompanying books are also a font of knowledge and wonder. 


Have been following your present build on your own site but am grateful you are sharing it with a wider audience here.



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I am in complete awe at your work.  The tooling alone is on a different plane relative to what most of us are doing.  This is masterful work.


I wanted to comment on your application of the "license concept.  I have been thinking a lot about similar ideas in my own work.  My choice of term for this is "interpretation" - but semantics are not important.  If "license" is applied to accomodate the differences that scale imposes on model construction, I see it perhaps as a subset of an overall model interpretation that embraces both the  accomodation to scale in construction and also the design decisions that must be made in the absence of precise detail of the original subject.  These decisions can range from the shape of the hull to the choice of iron or rope strapped blocks.  All modelers must deal with the structural accomodation to scale - glue vs. bolts, solder vs. rivets - but if one takes a set of prepared detailed plans and builds from them, one may not necessarily have to deal with the broader interpretive issues.  One can "merely" build - a task not to be diminished by any means. However, if one is providing plans and even construction methods that others will rely on, there is a burden of responsibility for setting the degree of historical authenticity that must be shouldered.  In theory the  degree of this can range from broad artistic license to rigorous historical accuracy.  In practice the reality is somewhere in between - and the right level may and perhaps should fit the modeler's goals.  I sense that although the example you used in discussing "license" focused on construction, that you, too, may be thinking of this broader issue.  If so, you are not alone.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you all for your comments - discussion is what it is all about, it is only when we can get a perspective from another, that we have an opportunity to see where we may improve ourselves.


May - 2016


Fig-21 - The FMJ set up to solder a complete frame together.  - The brass setting table was used to set all the fingers in their correct place with the aid of the aluminium half pattern.  The fingers were then firmly locked, the brass table was then slid out and the aluminium soldering table slid under the fingers to replace it and locked in place with the two thumb screws at the top.  This is provided with a series of holes to take bent wire arms, called Dogs.  This is from full size practice, the iron frames are heated to red hot, then bent to a set of pins, and held in place with iron Dogs, it is a very simple and convenient way to hold parts together for soldering. The aluminium plate is needed to replace the brass one for the soft soldering, to avoid any chance of the soft solder fixing parts to the jig. For those not familiar with metal work, soft solder will not stick to aluminium, but will to brass.


The angle of the bent frame is first clipped into the small groove on each of the finger tips, the floor is placed on this and the reverse frame placed on that. When all is set fare, the parts are removed and the contact surfaces are tinned with soft solder.  As solder will only run on a clean surface, so we make it dirty where we do not want it, (on no account do you want solder on the surface with the rivet heads) and the easiest way of doing that is to run a marker pen along the parts not to be tinned. This with care will prevent the soft solder getting where it is not required.  When all the soldering is completed the marker pen ink can be removed with cellulose thinners or similar.  


Fig-22 - The FMG is made as a live unit, being wired into a resistance soldering unit.  When all the contact surfaces of the parts to be assemble have been tinned and fluxed, they are clipped back in place, then it is a simple matter to run around the edge with the carbon tip to heat the solder and complete the joints.  The carbon rod has to be in contact with the parts before switching the unit on, and not removed until it is switched off, or sparking will occur that can damage the parts.


Fig-23 - Bulb Iron - This illustration shows the Frame, Reverse Frame and Floor in place and Bulb Iron.  I mentioned at the start that the hull of an iron ship is built from just three elements, Angle Iron, Flat Plate & Bulb Iron.  The first two can be brought off the shelf for a model, as brass angle, and sheet brass, but to reproduce Bulb Iron for a miniature in brass means a little practice in the art of silver soldering.


The requirement is a thin strip of brass sheet with a brass wire silver soldered along one edge.  Silver solder because the Bulb Iron will be soft soldered to other parts for the deck beams in the model, so the joint has to be good and permanent.  Along the edge and not on the edge, as in the finished Bulb Iron, the wire - Bulb -  has to be moved from the side to the centre edge of the plate


Fig-24 - Silver soldering the wire in place along the edge of the brass plate, Note the use of the wire Dogs to hold the parts in place while being heated with the gas flame and the silver solder run along the joint. The perforated plate is made from ceramic material and is called a 'platinum block' and can be obtained from the jewellery trade suppliers.  As can be seen, when used with the wire Dogs, it can be extremely useful in holding parts together under a flame.





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  • 4 weeks later...

June 2016


Fig-25 - The RHM tool has been modified to produce Bulb Iron, by replacing the spike and hole wheels with a pair of rollers with matching grooves.


Fig-26 - The RHM in action - The rollers are brought together with a slight pressure between them so that when the brass strip with the brass wire silver soldered along one edge, is passed between the rollers, they move the wire from one side of the plate to the centre edge of the plate - we now have in brass the Bulb Iron form.  This is used for deck beams, Bilge Keelsons and Stringers, more on these when we get to them.


Fig-27 - Deck Beams are made from Bulb Iron with an angled bracket at each end, called a Knee. In full size practice the  Bulb Iron is cut to length, then split at each end , and the bottom half bent down, as shown and a plate of wrought iron is hammer welded in place to complete the knee. As each frame has slightly different dimensions and angles, it goes with out saying that no two beams are the same.  

Deck beams are fitted to alternate frames.  For the centre section, two beams, one for the main deck, and one for the tween deck.  For the model these had to be cut to the correct length, then the knees marked, clipped and bent to the correct angle before silver soldering the additional plate in place at each end.


Fig-28 - Introducing the Beam Maker Tool (BMT) - Showing a beam end with a small half round section removed (clipped) with a rat tail file.  To design and build a tool that would accommodate beams of different lengths, then cut and bend an identical knee at each end, but to a different angle for each beam - not much in the centre of the hull, but very pronounced as you progress forward and aft with the beams - was a challenge.  Another challenge was how to cut (clip) the beam ends for bending. Attempting to clip it as per full size practice was a non starter, as wrought iron is much more malleable than brass.  Making a cut in the brass plate and then bending it to form the knee, even after annealing the brass,  the brass plate would always split back to the wire.   After much trial and a lot of error, I found that a half round section removed with a small round file at the bend point of the knee, for half the depth of the plate, after annealing, would allow the plate to be bent with out splitting.  When fully bent in the BMT the half round stretched out to an almost straight line with a slight point at each end.  I will give further details of the BMT next month - for those wishing to see more details of the mechanism in the Beam Making Tool, they can be found at

< http://www.wworkshop.net/Falls_of_Clyde/Gallery-10.html >





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This may be a naive question, but as you have in effect made a rolling mil, could you have simply formed the bulb iron of brass or copper strip between rollers of suitable profile?


You've made a beautiful double-cam action jig there, Gerald.

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Thank you for your generous comments, these things grow like topsy, one starts with a problem, one solves it, either this way or that way, which ever is the most economical in time and materials, it is only when I have the final answer, that I see what I have made, some more complicated than others, but all great fun.  If you are only into working wood, your vocabulary of possibilities can be limited, even if you have the ideas.  In metal, with a couple of machines - lathe & milling machine - some scraps of assorted metals and a little imagination, almost anything is possible.


Thank you for your question druxey - The operative word above is 'economical' - the bulb iron - (brass) is made from .008" flat brass plate  with a .020" diameter brass wire silver soldered along one edge - in profile like a golf club -  my simple rolling mill moves the bulb from the side to the centre of the plate edge.  I have no idea of the mathematics involved, but I would think it could be that several ton in pressure would be needed to compress a .020" thick piece of brass plate down to .008" in thickness - which is an answer to the problem, but I considered my answer to be the more economical.

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