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Armed Virginia Sloop by gsprings - Model Shipways - Scale 1:48


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So the Muscongus Bay Lobster Smack is done and I am taking on a new challenge. Really looking forward to working on the AVS and my first planked hull build. Given how the smack went, you can count on this one taking a while and on lots of basic questions. If my experience to date is any indication you won't let me down! (I know I'll be leaning heavily on GuntherMT's comprehensive build log, which is fantastic, if you haven't checked it out.)

I haven't started inventory-ing and organizing all the parts, but wanted to get a few "unboxing" pics up. I've got replacement rope and blocks on the way from Chuck and am looking to get some holly from Crown or the Lumberyard for the deck. Here's what the good folks at ModelExpo sent:

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  • 1 month later...

So I started removing the keel and bulkhead parts for laser burn cleanup. It took me less than five minutes to duplicate a mistake I made on the lobster smack.

 

I was sanding char off the top of the false keel and broke off a piece that separates the F and G bulkheads. This might have been the worst place for a break, as it happens to be where the mast mortise box gets created.

 

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Unlike last time, however, I have learned (from reading many build logs on MSW) that CA and side braces are not the best way to take care of the problem. (On the lobster smack, the side braces got in the way of later construction.) Instead, I got some brass rod, drilled a couple of holes and made some pins to reattached the piece.

 

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From there, it was an easy process of drilling holes in the broken piece and reattaching (with CA).

 

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You could also contact Model Shipways and let them know you broke it and they'll send you a replacement for free if you'd rather go that route.  Usually takes 7-10 days to get a replacement in my experience and what others have posted.

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it's a nice fix......but I don't think you'd have to have worried about it that much.   when that particular bulkhead was cemented in place,  the broken piece could have simply been cemented in place at that time.  it would turn out just as strong.   it's good your taking the time to insure a good fit......it will serve you well on the long road ahead  ;)

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Hi Greg,

Welcome to the AVS club. I loved building this model. In many places I had read that the AVS is like a gateway drug that leads to nothing but hardcore modeling in the future. I think it's true. In my case I can clearly blame it all on the AVS! I'll be following your "downward spiral" (just kidding) with interest.

 

 

David

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Thanks for the comments.

 

Brian, I saw in your build that you had ordered a replacement from Model Shipways for a warped keel, but it's good to be reminded of Model Shipway's great customer service for when I break the next part!

 

Popeye, I am actually further along in the build (it turns out I'm not good at keeping my build log up with my build!), so I have learned that I could have used the mast mortise pieces that create the box for the mast to anchor that broken piece. I need to do more "reading ahead" in the instructions.

 

David, did you do a build log or post pics of your AVS? I'm trying to build a list of all the previous builds to use as reference and haven't seen yours.

 

I should note here that I have bought and am using Lauck Street Shipyard's practicum, along with John Earl's practicum from modelboatyard.com and all of the previous MSW bulids that I can find for reference.

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As I noted in my previous post, I'm a bit further ahead in my build that I am in my build log! (I'll try to be better!)

 

Here are some more pics to show more of my progress -- these won't bring us fully up to date, but closer ...

A look at my clean(ish) bulkheads after removing the laser char:

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Like many others who've done this build, the bottom piece of my keel was too long, which resulted in the slot for the stern post being in the wrong place. So I widened the slot to align with the sternpost tab thencut the top half of the bottom keel horizontally and slid it over to close the gap created by what was now a slot that was too wide. It looks a little rough in this picture, but I've since cleaned it up and will use some sawdust filler to hides the new seam created where I made the cut.

 

(Having just read this description of what I did, I am sure to have thoroughly confused any reader. Maybe this pic will help.)

 

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I must admit that I was really very apprehensive heading into the process of cutting the rabbet along the keel. But now, having completed it, it wasn't nearly so hard as I thought it would be. Don't know that it's the best job ever (I simplified the task by just using the keel itself as the bottom cut of the rabbet, rather than try the more accurate, and difficult, methods out there). Here are the results:

 

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Hi Greg,

I didn't make a build log on this site, but I did on Lauck Street forum. I believe it's still accessible (although that can change at any moment.) if you're a client, you should be able to register to access the forum. I'm not going to that forum any longer for reasons that have been well discussed elsewhere on this site.

 

While there seem to be two schools of thought on Bob's practicums, I for one think they're invaluable. I simply couldn't have completed the AVS with any kind of success without it. I'm now building the Constitution with his practicum and again it's very helpful. In time though, after I have two or three models completed, I think I should be able to handle a build without a practicum.

 

There are one or two typos in the practicum with respect to measurements, but if I recall correctly they were all obvious to me with the exception of one. When it comes time to drill the holes for the hawse ports, in chapter 5 I think, there is a glaring error there. The practicum says to drill a 3/16" hole which I did and it is simply too big. It needs to be closer to 3/32". Otherwise, I don't think you'll find any problems.

 

David

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Hi Greg!  Good to see another AVS starting up!  I'll be following along.

 

  Just a tip:  The part you broke is the part of the center keel that separates a bulkhead from the mast mortise.  When it's time to step the mast, you'll be asked to shape the foot of the mast to fit that mortise.  You won't be able to see it, because the planking covers the mortise completely.  You can rely on the plans, but I didn't trust them.  What I did was trace the profile of the mortise onto cardstock BEFORE I covered over the mortise (now would be a good time), and I used that to lay out the tenon on the bottom of the real mast when the time came.  You can make a little mockup of the mast foot out of dowel to test the fit also.

 

PS:  I used the Lauck Street practicum for my AVS build also.

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David, thanks for the "watch-outs" in the practicum. I will definitely be posting for guidance when I see instructions that don't seem to make sense.

 

Dave and Zoltan: welcome aboard, glad to have some seasoned AVS builders watching over my progress.

 

Dave, I've been following your work on the POF AVS closely, Impressive job. Your suggestion about doing a tracing to prepare for shaping the mast tenon is a great one. Unfortunately, I boxed the mortise already. But I think I'll use the acetone to unglue the box and make the tracing. Serves me right for not keeping my build log up to date.

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Greg:  What type of glue are you using for the bulkheads and center keel?  I used Weldbond which can be debonded with denatured alcohol fairly easily by dabbing at the joints with a moistened paintbrush.

 

Thanks for the kind words about my POF AVS.  More posts coming soon.

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Dave: I, too, am using Weldbond, on Bob Hunt's recommendation. I hadn't used it before, but it seems to be working really well. I had a bulkhead that I installed with Weldbond that I decided to reinstall, so I used acetone (nail polish remover) to free up the glue. Worked like a charm. Think I'll try the alcohol idea to free up the sides of the mast mortise to get the tracing.

 

Thanks for the tip.

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Greg:  There's an ongoing controversy about PVA glues vs. cyano ("super") glue for model work.  Bob Hunt likes cyano a lot.  I use it,  but in select applications only.  For structural stuff, Weldbond is really good because it has a little "flex" to it, so when humidity causes wood movement, you don't break a brittle glue bond (cyano is brittle).  One trick is to combine the two glues.  Lets say your gluing planking to bulkheads. You could use Weldbond and then clamp the plank at each bulkhead location and wait at least an hour for the Weldbond to set before moving on.  What I do is put some Weldbond on each bulkhead, but also add a tiny drop of CA glue to each one.  Lightly moisten the back of the plank with water to help activate the CA when the plank touches the glue and put the plank in place.  Work quickly.  The CA will grab instantly and act as a "liquid clamp",  holding the plank in place until the Weldbond cures.  You can move on to the next plank immediately.  Even if there is some wood movement, if the CA fails, the Weldbond at each bulkhead will hold.

Edited by DocBlake
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With the rabbet cut, 'twas time to fit the bulkheads. Like many other AVS builders, I found that some of the bulkheads did not completely reach the bearding line when seated so that the tops of the bulkheads aligned with the top of the center keel:

 

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So I used some basswood strip to add material to the bulkheads and faired the upper end of the shims into the bulkheads:

 

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And then went to work on installing the bulkheads:

 

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Installing the bulkheads revealed that I did not do the best job at fixing the angles created in the center keel bulkhead slots by the laser cutting of the parts. The result of these angles not being 90 degrees is that a couple of bulkheads might be off a millimeter here or there. (Once I realized what was happening, I corrected on later bulkheads.) I will correct for this when I install strengthening blocks between the bulkheads. Anyway, I was pretty happy with how the bulkheads turned out:

 

Then I created a building board and installed the pieces to complete the mast mortise. (Installing these pieces would get very difficult once I put in the strengthening blocks between the bulkheads. I'll be removing the mortise pieces to get a tracing of the mast box to better shape the mast tenon later:

 

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This brings the log up to date.

Edited by Greg Springs
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Looks like a really solid start.  Can tell you've read through others work and done a bit of studying on how to handle various issues.

 

On the glue front, I avoid CA now, unless I need to join dissimilar materials (like brass to wood).  I have tried Weldbond on Bob's recommendation, but I find that I really prefer the way Titebond works for me.  Either PVA should work just fine though, and I did not use a single speck of CA on any of the wood to wood joints on the AVS, and never had any problems getting things to stay put (other than stuff I managed to knock off later, where CA wouldn't have made a difference anyway!).

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More progress to report!

 

Given how clumsy I am and anticipating the high likelihood that I might somehow break the model, I decided to add reinforcing blocks between all the bulkheads, including full shaped blocks between the A, B and C bulkheads (thanks, Brian, for the inspiration!). So I measured all the gaps between bulkheads to size the blocks and cut up a long 1/2" x 1/2" square piece of basswood. I used my Byrnes table saw to do the cross cut, but as you can see, the blocks turned out very ragged and I had a lot of cleanup to do. Any suggestions for how to get clean cross cuts is appreciated.

 

These blocks are very handy not just to provide a lot of strength and stability, but also to let one correct any bulkhead distances that might be a millimeter here or there.

 

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As I noted, I decided to do full shaped blocks to help with plank layout between bulkheads A-B and B-C. Unfortunately, I got a bit careless with the Dremel drum sander and put some fairly deep cuts into my keel. Not thrilled, as there a tad too deep to completely sand out without getting the keel too thin.

 

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Now much chastened, I moved onto the false decks. I put a centering line on all the decks and proceeded to glue on the cabin deck. Like others, I found the deck to be a tad short, so I cut a this strip to cover the foremost bulkhead. You'll see that in later photos.

 

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Then I went on to install the horizontal deck beams, which provide support to the quarter and main decks. 

 

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That process led me to discover that I had installed the reinforcing blocks too high on the bulkheads, and they now interfered with the main deck beam. I took the lazy way out and just cut some material out of the bottom of the beam to allow for the blocks. (I could have unglued the blocks and reinstalled, but I thought this would work fine.)

 

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I also found some time, between all of this stuff, to cut holes in the top of a paint bucket lid to create a "wood bucket."

 

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Hi Greg,

You're going right along beautifully. Everything looks pretty good to me.

 

I don't see any reason why cutting the two notches in the deck beam won't work.

 

I put support blocks between my bulkheads as well, though I didn't go so far as to completely fill the spaces near the bow. Are you going to paint your model or leave it natural. If you're painting it, you can just fill any nicks etc with filler; if you're leaving it natural it's a bit trickier to handle of course. (This is one of the reasons I like to paint.)

 

A word of warning - you are almost guaranteed to break off at least one the bulkhead extensions before you have the planking done. Don't worry about it too much, just glue it back on. If it's a ragged break, sometimes the piece will fit back in quite snugly and with a bit of glue work just fine. If the break is a little cleaner, it can be hard to get the piece to stay back in place, so just cut the head off a small brad and use it along with some glue to secure the piece in place.

 

One mistake I made on mine was the sanding of the insides of the bulkhead extensions. I didn't sand them thin enough at the deck level; they were fine at the top, but I left them too thick at the deck level. As a result my gunports seem too deep.

 

I'm glad to see you've organized your wood. I think it's essential. It's also important to return your wood strips to their proper place once you've finished with a certain job and not leave them lying around; otherwise you'll spend most of your time measuring and re-measuring them. I used a series of 8 1/2 x 11 envelops with the flaps cut off. One envelop for each size and placed them all upright in a cardboard box and it works great. 

 

David

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Thanks for the kind words, David. I have been blatantly ripping off ideas from Brian's (GuntherMT) AVS build. Stolen ideas include:

 

1) Planks and rubber bands to hold down the decks while glue dries

2) Full filler blocks between A-B and B-C to better anchor the planks fore

3) Beveling angle into transom frames #1. (Plans show the angle, Hunt practicum ignore them. Brian caught it in his build.)

 

Already have broken one bulkhead extension. I got lucky -- the break gave me a fair bit of surface area to glue. I plan to wait to thin the inboard sides of the extensions until after I've got at least some planking on the provide some stability.

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The past few days have been highly productive ones in the basement workshop. (I've been shirking the work I get paid for.)

 

I wanted to go ahead and install the bow filler blocks before I got to work on the fairing. I saw a scroll saw technique (used for making very nice 3D Christmas ornaments) that I thought I might deploy on the blocks to reduce the amount of carving / sanding. The technique involves using the scroll saw to make cuts in all three dimensions. This is enabled by using packing tape to hold the pieces together as the separate cuts are made. The sequence goes like this:

 

1) Trace the rabbet line onto the wood block and make the cut. I then used the disc sander to sand the deck angle into the top of the block.

 

2) Draw the line of the larger of the two adjacent bulkhead lines onto the piece of the block that will ultimately become the filler piece. (See first photo.) Put the two pieces back together and wrap with clear packing tape. Cut the bulkhead line with the scroll saw.

 

3) Take the piece that will become the filler piece (there should be four pieces now, after two cuts) and trace the deck outline onto the top. Then put all four pieces back together, tape it up and make the final cut. The piece you end up with is on the left in the second photo below. It is much easier to carve and / or sand to final shape (see third photo).

 

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After I got the bow blocks in place, I went about fairing the hull, testing at various point along the bulkheads with a plank. Think I got it to a pretty good point. This is the first time that I have faired a hull, so I fully anticipate downstream issues, though I tried to be thorough.

 

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With the fairing complete, I moved to the transom. As I mentioned in my last post, I have paid much attention to the issues that Brian identified with frame #1. As he ably illustrated, the plans (and the kit instruction book) are very clear that frame #1 is to be beveled to create the necessary angle to get the neighboring window installed correctly. However, the practicum that he and I used seems to have missed this detail.

 

So I measured to find that the upper width of the frame is about half of the bottom of the piece. I drew a line along the midline one the top of the frame and sanded to give the frame a good approximate of the angle need. Frame there, I held the inboard window in place to located frame #2 and the outboard window to locate frame #3.

 

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Looking great!  Glad some of my documented issues are being used to make it easier for people coming along behind me.  Beveling those dumb transom pieces 'in place' was a pain in the butt!

 

On the false deck for the poop deck - you actually want it to only cover the back half of the front bulkhead - this gives you a natural 'step' for the piece of wood that goes in front of your decking here, rather than having to cut one in.

 

I'm bad at explaining, so just look at these two pictures, one just before setting the trim piece, and one with it in place:

 

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As you can see, since the trim piece is almost exactly the same thickness as the false deck + the deck planking, leaving the step is very beneficial when you get to this point later!

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Thanks for the comments and encouragement.

 

Brian, thanks for the visuals of the cabin deck trim piece. Looks like I'll have to remove the filler piece that I put in to ensure the deck covered the full width of the bulkhead. I need to do more reading ahead!

 

With the stern frames installed, I cut and roughly shaped the wing transom and filler piece and then glued them into place below the stern frames ...

 

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Then sanded to continue the curve of the lower stern frames all the way into bulkhead R ...

 

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Then came the hard part -- the installation of the lower window sills for the stern lights (or windows). I sanded the top edge of the curved part of the stern frames to make sure that I had a straight line across all four spaces where the stern lights would go, I then cut the 3/32" square basswood strip to fit. I held the stern lights in place and adjusted the bottom window sill pieces until I was happy with the alignment of the windows, checking against the flow of the alignment across all four windows. Then I glued them into place.

 

This process requires aligning the windows to create a curved flow of lines across the six frames. It also requires tilting the windows forward at the top to align with the lines of the frames. For me, getting all this alignment right resulted in the lower outboard corners of the outboard windows protruding from the frames. To address this, I will sand the windows flat. They should be wide enough to handle the removal of the extra material at the bottom outside corners of the windows. Here are some pics:  

 

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So now I am wondering how to best size and shape the tops of the window sills. Could I temporarily "tack" 3/32" square strip to the tops of the windows (maybe with rubber cement?) and then try to put them in place, using trial and error to shape the top sill? I could then detach them from the windows once shaped and glue them in place.

 

Any better ideas?

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