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Henry Grace a Dieu (Great Harry) by Louie da fly - Scale 1:200 - Repaired after over 50 yrs of neglect

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Painted Henry VIII's offsider:




Cut gunports in the stern - seeing as the square gunports are closed, rather than make openings and add the portlids I just carved grooves around them.



Cut semicircular gunports for the upper deck.




And finished the longboat


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Thanks for all the likes and the nice comments.


I thought I'd finished the boat, then realised I'd forgotten to add the gunwales. So here they are. I cut a sliver of wood for each gunwale, about 1/2 mm thick and just wide enough to cover the top of the planking and the frames. Then I bent it to shape gradually with a small pair of pliers - it would have been easier to bend it along the narrow dimension, but I needed to do it along the wider face of the sliver (if that makes sense), against the way it wanted to go. No heat or steaming used.




Then glued it in place at one end and waited for the glue to dry.




And then glued it, bit by bit, following the line of the gunwale. I had to hold it between finger and thumb till the glue dried.




And did the same to fix the ends to the sternpost.


I discovered that the "catheads" stuck out too far so the gunwale wouldn't connect with the stempost. So I moved them away a bit (PVA glue is nicely flexible) and tried again.






I also realised one of the thwarts was not parallel to the others (see top views above) , so I tried straightening it - unfortunately it was too short now, so I had to make a new one and put it in place.


And I've been experimenting with shoe polish (a mix of Dark Tan and Black) to darken the timber below the water line, as shown in the Anthony Roll. I don't want it jet black, just the colour a coating of pitch would be likely to produce. Not totally happy with it, but not bad.




Note that the Anthony Roll also shows bottom of the Great Harry as black, so I'll be blackening that as well. But I need to do more experimenting with it, to make sure I have it right before I start.


Equally, there's a sliver of wood I used to repair a gap in the upper works which really jumps out at you because it's so much lighter in colour than the surrounding timbers (just under the arched gunports) , so I'm hoping I can make it more in keeping with a bit of polish.







Edited by Louie da fly
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Very interesting J11.


I can't answer for the kit or its historical accuracy - I just don't know anything about it, but it looks like quite an old kit, probably from before the Mary Rose (Great Harry's little sister) was recovered. If you were as interested in converting this to as accurate as possible a model (given the current state of knowledge) as you've been doing with the Alabama it would take a fair bit of bashing. I've got a lot of information on ships of this period which could be of value to you in this regard.


On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for just building it as it comes out of the box.  




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A word of warning - building a mid-16th century vessel at 1:200 scale means that your biggest deadeyes are triangles 2mm on each side. 



This is not easy to do. The corner of a triangle splits off far more easily than would happen if the deadeyes were circular. Holes big enough for the lanyards to pass through are likely to split the wood the deadeyes are made from, no matter how tight the grain. I tried various ways to make them, preferably mass-produced (the main shrouds alone need 48 deadeyes). I tried making them from the walnut sheet I already had - immediate splitting.




Then I tried carving multiples from pear wood, which has a much finer grain. After several failed attempts I found the best way is to have a rectangular strip of pear wood a fair bit wider than the deadeye, so there's extra wood either side of the holes. Put the three holes in with a dressmaker's pin, but not too deep, to avoid splitting.


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Then I thinned the pear wood a fair bit.




Then individually carve triangles, one at a time, and split each one off from the base piece.




They still split pretty easily. I glued the split ones back together before moving forward.


I discovered that I had the deadeyes too close together in the base piece and I wasn't able to make a good-looking triangle - had to cut the bottom apex off so it didn't interfere with the next deadeye. So the final configuration has the triangles just a bit further apart (there are two in this picture - the top one split so I had to glue it back together - which is why one of the holes is gummed up; the bottom one worked well).




And here's the best one (the bottom one in the picture above).




Then glue the bottom of the shroud around the deadeye. This holds the deadeye together so it won't split when you push the pin all the way through to complete the holes for the lanyard. 




Note that there are already two pairs of deadeyes in place - I made these when I was 17 years old. I have no idea how I did it back then . . .


Once I've made all the 2mm deadeyes (and now I'm fairly confident I can do them in large numbers) I have to work out how I'm going to do the small ones for the topmasts and mizzens . . .



Edited by Louie da fly
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Thanks for all the likes and comments.


Keith and Jeff, I think card is as likely to tear as wood is to split. But I'm amazed they make triangular card deadeyes that small.


Druxey, I considered plastic, and even got some plastic to try out (just the lid off a coffee jar), but haven't got round to it. Now that I seem to have a workable technique I think I'll keep on with it (and anyway I'd prefer to use wood if I can - traditional material and all that).


Once I've made all the 2mm deadeyes I have to work out how to make smaller ones - wood just won't do the job. But I have some ideas, probably involving thread and glue to make a composite "blob" that will act as a deadeye.





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49 minutes ago, Louie da fly said:

involving thread and glue to make a composite "blob" that will act as a deadeye

  A single hole triangle shape made from card? Once CA is applied to card stock it looks and feels like plastic and it can be shaped with a file. Card (heavy paper) is made from wood, it's kinda traditional. That's what I tell myself with I have to resort to using card. :huh: 


 Or you could consider using a bead.

Edited by Keith Black
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Would have thought that making them that small wouldn't have worked. Especially from wood, impressive creativity!!  :imNotWorthy: Wondering also what kit maker made the kit your working on?


That model I had shown on a earlier post went for way over my budget for a kit, with shipping about $550.00. Hopefully a MSW  member bought it and we'll see a build blog on it.


Your information you offered still might come in handy for someone else if a MSW member bought it. I appreciate the offer, I'll be looking in the future also, never know what comes across ebay.




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Thanks so much for the pics on making triangles ... just the thing I need for the Wasa.  I have apple wood and other stock, and will try using a wire drill to do the holes.  Then the strip of stock looks like a 'short timers' stick in Vietnam.  One would make a stick notched all around for how many days days left in the tour, then cut off one segment each day until only the nub was left.  (I wasn't there but read about it in a book written by a Vet.)

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Thanks, people.


J11 - it's not a kit. I scratch built it after drawing up the plans, based on a copy of the Anthony Roll picture, the coloured reconstruction picture on the first page of this log, and a reconstruction cross-section, all from Björn Landström's book The Ship. I must have been pretty keen when I was seventeen. Unfortunately my plans went the way of all flesh in the 50 years between building it and restoring it - I've no idea what happened to them. It'd be nice to have kept them as a record.


Snug Harbor Johnny - just be aware I've changed my technique a bit - now instead of making the strip thick enough to get several deadeyes from one "triangle", I make it the final thickness of a single deadeye, and only try for one. Otherwise the extra ones just split.


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And I put the three holes near the top (not too close!) of a rectangular piece of wood with enough wood either side of the holes - and at the top - to avoid splitting, and I only do one deadeye at a time. 






And don't shape the triangle until the holes are in place.




I expect your Vasa is a larger scale than mine anyway, so you probably won't have as much of a problem.



Edited by Louie da fly
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I can see the splitting challenge, Louie.  However, I will try an experiment that I think will have a good chance of success.  i have a supply of thin black walnut veneer ( .020 thick x 4.5" wide x 4' long - from Woodworkers Supply, I think a national chain) that I will cut into 4.5" squares.  I'll brush on a little thinned aliphatic resin carpenters glue (or PVA glue that I use for bookbinding - yes, that's another hobby of mine.  See, I wrote this book and thought, "Why not take self-publishing 'literally',"  then I learned how to make book 'signatures' by splitting the text and printing them as two-sided 'booklets.  Each is sewn to book cords on a home-made sewing rig, and PVA is used for the remaining steps to make the spine, attach the cord ends to hardboard, glue a leather back and add home marbled paper - yet another craft - to cover the hardboard.) ,  where was I ... oh yes, put glue on the top side of three pieces of veneer - making SURE to rotate each 90 degrees to alternate the way the grain runs - , then plop a fourth on top, then either clamp between two boards to cure or simply weigh them down with books - using waxed paper below and above the stack in case of 'squeeze out'.  Shazaam!  I will have made hardwood plywood of material (when oiled) that will resemble lignum vitae.  Then I'll cut strips as wide a the triangles I want to make on my mini table saw - or just cut through with multiple X-acto cuts to save on material and prevent sawdust, mark the strips for multiples like in your picture, drill the holes using wire drills and a special mini chuck on a drill press to hold the bits, cut much of the waste away with a scroll saw, then free the triangles with a model train track cutting saw (Atlas or comparable make).  I could use a variable speed Dremel (actually the Chicago Tool variable speed flex-shaft tool I got from Harbor Freight is a dream to use, since the speed is controlled by a foot pedal - leaving both hand free to use) to cut a groove around the freed triangles for the scale rope to pass around - with the corners filed or sanded to round them.

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I think Snug Harbor Johnny is onto a good suggestion. I've seen some amazing woodwork done with homemade plywood, made using very thin hardwood veneers glued together with two-part epoxy.  If the veneer is thin enough (i.e. about paper thin) the epoxy soaks it right through. The result is a material that is amazingly stable in all dimensions. You can make a four layer veneer with the two inner layers at 90 degrees to each other, and the two outer layers parallel to each other and at 45 degrees to the inner layers.

Edited by Tony Hunt
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Johnny, sounds like a very good idea. The only thing I'd recommend is make one strip first, and see how it goes. It would be a tragedy if you made a whole lot of them and they all turned out to be too narrow, so there wasn't enough deadwood next to the holes, causing them to split.


Bookbinding sounds fascinating. The only thing I've ever done in the field is glue back together some of my old valued paperbacks in which the glue has deteriorated with age, causing the pages to come adrift - not very successfully, I might add :default_wallbash:



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Some years ago i had to make a batch of triangular deadeyes. Admittedly they were larger than yours, but I made them from end-grain hardwood stock, first making  a kind of Toblerone bar shape, but without the gullies. After drilling them I sliced them off the bar like pieces of bread. They held together well.

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Thanks Roger and Druxey for the suggestions.


Druxey, I don't have the equipment for the accuracy needed to use your technique; no drill press - not yet at any rate. It's in its box, waiting for electricity to be connected to the shed.


Roger, if all else fails I may look at resin, but I'm trying to avoid modern materials as much as possible. I'd probably lean more toward card impregnated with glue - at least card's made out of wood :P


I'll keep these options in mind if needed, but so far I seem to be having success with the technique I'm using.


Here are the mainmast starboard upper deadeyes attached to the shrouds. 




I'm still getting a bit of splitting when I enlarge the holes, but the thread is keeping the deadeyes in one piece. I think I can get this to work, as once the lanyards are threaded through I'll add a dab of glue to each where needed to keep everything together.



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They look good enough for me.  In this life you only need to be 'good enough' ... I remember the movie 'Cool Runnings' (about the Jamaica Olympic bobsled team), and the coach told them, "Winning a medal is a wonderful thing, but if you're not good enough without the medal - you won't be good enough with it."  I've tried a lot of craft-related hobbies - like making a piecework quilt (my wife has made many) ... just one to show I can do it, but I might try another in future.  I 'kit busted' the Ugears (laser-cut wood model company) Hurdy-Gurdy kit (which makes a 'scratchy' toy if built as-supplied).  It took a lot of doing, but I ended up with a limited range mini-instrument that does play 'half-good' compared to the real thing.  My ultimate kit (half-busted) was the Hubbard, English bent side spinet kit (harpsichord), that took three years, but I ended up with a keyboard instrument that not only looked like a museum piece, but it sounds beautiful ... and I've appeared occasionally in historic houses to play for special tours as a musician (yes, in costume). The book thing I was able to do after taking a couple of classes from a former bookbinder from Historic Williamsburg Virginia (he was attending William and Mary Law School at the time, and he now lives not far from me by chance), and pouring over a book on the subject I'd been hanging onto for 25 years.  Life's funny that way (if you live long enough), you can actually 'get to' a lot of things you've meant to do by and by.

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It just 'hit' me how challenging a 1:200 scale warship can be (e.g. the small size of the deadeyes) !  Many have noted the challenges with the Mantua/Sergal 1:124 Thermopylae having a lot of tiny details, which explains the popularity of busting a 1:96 Revell kit or making one of the better wood kits of slightly larger size.  I have a book obtained in 1971 (when printed) titled 'The World of Model Ships and Boats' that I'm re-reading as a valuable resource.  More 'Aha' moments, since they show a contemporary model of a 'Wasa' built in 1787 (60 gun) that Billings must have seen to 'fill in some blanks' (thought not correctly e.g. the foredeck and some other details) in their ORIGINAL issue of their kit (which I have half built, and now need to do some 'surgery' on - given the happy state of correct information available today on the original ship). There is also a model of the Norwegian Lion (Norske Loewe - the model was built of ivory with silver guns and ropes in 1654, and the ship was a near contemporary of the 1628 Wasa), and that model is VERY much like how the first Wasa was built.  I've made careful measurements of my 1970 issue hull, and it appears to be just about 1:105 scale - the plans do not have a scale printed on them.  This inspires me to choose about that scale (say 1:100) for a future clipper build.  I also have another idea for making triangular deadeyes - inspired by the post that used a triangular shaped stick where the triangles are merely 'cut off' from the end of the stick (clever).  First make a triangular stick as noted (rounding the corners by sanding while it is convenient to do so), but cut off triangles that are a little bit more than 2/3 the thickness of the deadeyes desired. Then make a similar triangular (as seen from the end) stick, with the size of the triangle (end view) a little smaller than the first stick made.  Cut off triangles from the smaller sized stick that are 1/3 the thickness of the deadeyes desired.  (The plot thickens.)  Now glue these triangles back together to make-up a new 'stick' of stock, being sure to alternate thick and thin triangles, and also use short lengths of thin metal rod to space the smaller triangles so that they are recessed equidistantly inside the larger triangles.  Do this on a piece of waxed paper to prevent sticking to the work surface, be sparing on the wood glue, and pull out the bits of metal once the glue has 'tacked' sufficiently - but not cured.  Once cured, drill the holes in the deadeye stock from the end a little way, then cut off a deadeye from the stock.  Cutting through a thicker triangle will accomplish this because the thicker sub-triangles are slightly more than 2/3 the deadeye thickness (allowing for saw kerf).  You end up with a nice triangular deadeye that has the channel for the rope or fastening wire all around nice and neat, without having to fuss with a Dremel to grind it (and holding a tiny piece to do that is tricky).  OMGosh, I just realized I've simplified the above scheme.  Just make the triangle stock (with sanded corners) and grind a series of spaced rope channels around the stock with a Dremel  or even just use a triangular file !  One can hold on the the stick stock to do this - how easy.  Then after the rope holes are drilled a little in to the end of the stock, saw the deadeyes off.  'Sorry for the length of this post, but it represents how I think things through 'on the fly'.

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Thanks for the input, Snug Harbor Johnny. In fact I've been making the groove with a scalpel. Much easier than with a power tool, though a little laborious.


However, I'm still having trouble with the wood splitting, so I'm going to experiment with card impregnated with glue. I'll be using CA for one trial and PVA for the other and see how they compare. In the meantime here's my first new pair of deadeyes since about 1970.




I've been aware that the paintwork needs some touching up. I'd like to keep it all as it was but the paintwork has deteriorated and been damaged over the years, as well as getting grubby despite my best efforts to clean it. Though some of the paintwork will stay, in a lot of places I've decided to re-paint properly. The patina of age is one thing, but grubbiness is another, and with the original intention of restoring her to her original glory as much as feasible I think the paintwork really has to be re-done in a lot of places.


I put an initial coat of paint in various places, and it brought to light quite a few faults and breaks in the woodwork, particularly the arched ports for the handguns.






So, out with the wood filler - a mix of PVA glue and "sawdust" from hand sanding the hull with fine sandpaper. I closed up all the gaps I could see . . .







Then decided also to remedy the fact that the arched gunports for handguns were as big as those for the heavy guns.




Filler dried




Rough bits trimmed and arches cut to shape, plus another coat of paint.




Next job is to fix up the fiddly painted decoration. If I were to use the much simpler decoration shown in the picture of the Great Harry in the Anthony Roll, my job would be easier. But as I'd committed myself to copying the Landström reconstruction which has decoration much more appropriate to Elizabethan galleons than Henrician great carracks, I've got quite a job of work ahead of me.


Oh, and new channels for the mizzen shrouds to replace the missing and broken ones.




The bonaventure mizzzen won't have channels, as that was how she was in Landström's reconstruction picture and in the model as I originally made her.



Edited by Louie da fly
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