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Hello there:

 

This log will document my first attempt at a scratch built ship model. I've chosen to start with something more or less straightforward -- a 1:64 scale plank-on-bulkhead Bluenose based on Model Shipways' plans. 

 

I purchased the plans for the 1:64 MS Bluenose several years ago while I was working on the Amati 1:100 Bluenose. I wanted the plans as reference for the rigging, which on the smaller Amati kit had been quite radically simplified. Since then, the plans have been gathering dust in a drawer. But I always imagined that I might return to them once I felt ready to embark on a scratch build. 

 

The choice of Bluenose, then, was guided by the fact that I own the plans, which include reference drawings of all the laser cut parts, as well as by the fact that I've built the Bluenose before (though in a smaller scale). I also felt that, though clearly the principles are different, cutting my teeth on a p.o.b build would be a good way of getting into scratch building with an eye to a fully framed ship model. 

 

In any case, everyone knows the history of the Bluenose, so I won't repeat it here. This log will be more like a documentation of my clumsy entry into scratch building. Since I'm also working on the Mamoli America as a gift for a friend, the Bluenose build will no doubt be very slow. I also plan on continuing with kit builds alongside this project, which will also no doubt slow it down.

 

The need to acquire some tools (and save some money in order to get them) will also slow things down a bit - currently, I'm equipped with a bandsaw, which I'll use to cut the centre keel pieces and bulkheads, but I can already see the utility of a disc sander and mini drill press.....I think for this build I can wait on other things like a mini table saw, but I'm going to assume that the priority of tool acquisition will become clearer as I work through the build....

 

I know that there are a lot of Bluenose logs here on MSW, but I hope that this log will add something to the mix. For starters, here are a couple of photos - my tracings of the centre keel pieces and a practice-run at the bow piece using 1/4 basswood - it's pretty rough, as you can see. This was made to help me get a feel for the bandsaw and is out of scale thickness in addition to being kind of ratty. I'll be using 3/16 birch ply for centre keel, bulkheads, rudder, and sternpost. I bought some of this today at a local hobby shop, but it is not very good (lots of warping). I'll use this to do more bandsaw testing and try another source for the ply.

 

Well that is all for now....those who've looked in on my America (and perhaps other logs) will know that the frequency of my posting is quite idiosyncratic, so sorry about that....I'll try to be more diligent in the future!! 

hamilton

 

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Edited by hamilton
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Welcome John, Patrick and Elijah - thanks for the comments and likes! Of course I don't mind if you follow along - though you might mind at how slow I am.....The Bluenose is a beautiful subject - having built her at 1:100, I'm excited to see her come alive at a larger scale. I have a lot of learning to do through this process, especially around the fabrication of the structural elements. I'm not as accurate as a laser cutter, so I'm guessing there will be a lot of scrap ply generated through the early stages of this process.......bye for now!

hamilton

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Just a quick note on technique - for comment, if anyone has better ideas.

 

To make the templates for the centre keel and bulkhead pieces, I use relatively heavy A4 paper, carbon paper and the patterns provided on the MS Bluenose plan sheets. Placing the A4 paper on my work surface (the dining room table), I tape the carbon paper atop it carbon-side down. I then lay the plans on that and trace the patters with a sharp pencil.

 

An alternative would be simply to photocopy the patterns from the plans and use cut-outs of those - this might increase the accuracy as less would depend on the steadiness of my hand.....the issue is that, after so much earlier consultation of the plans and so much unfolding and refolding, I'm worried that it would be difficult to get an undistorted image....so my by-hand technique will do for now - at least for cutting some test parts.

 

I've managed to make patterns for the centre keel (as noted above), and bulkheads A-L. I'll finish up the other 3/16" pieces (bulkheads M-O, rudder, sternpost and one deck beam) tomorrow.....photos when they're done

hamiton

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If you can photocopy (and get exact copies -- sizewise) or scan and print out a copy, just cut out the part oversize on the paper and rubber cement it to the wood.  I hope that makes sense...    Seems that copiers and scanners sometimes distort things in one or sometimes both directions.

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Thanks Mark and Russ

 

Great suggestions! I guess I can always test the scanned/photocopied patterns against the plans (which, from my experience, are also likely to be "off" a bit, since they themselves are copies!) and check for distortion. At the same time, there is something meditative about doing things by hand. Since I'm really in an experimental/tool-learning phase I feel like I can try both approaches and see what happens.....I have a lot of scrap wood lying around to use for testing, so I'm really just messing around before getting serious about making the parts that will frame the model.....hopefully there will be some time this weekend for finishing the 3/16 patterns and doing some test cutting on the crappy maple ply I have....

hamilton

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Thanks Russ - we'll see if that ends up being the case!

 

Anyways, I've finished making initial test patterns for the 3/16" keel pieces, bulkheads, sternpost and rudder. I've laid them out on the maple ply I bought to make billets, trying to be as sparing as possible with the wood, despite the fact that these will not likely be the pieces I actually use. Maybe I'm being overly cautious......but I think a bit of practice will help.

 

Here are the patterns laid out on the billets. I'll use rubber cement to fix them on the plywood and then get to cutting! Not sure if I'll be able to do this anytime soon, but.....looking forward to a rough assembly.

hamilton

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello there:

 

The Bluenose is not exactly "progressing" but my experiments with the bandsaw in cutting the basic framework elements continue......

 

I've discovered several things:

 

1. My hand is not as steady as I thought....the patterns will benefit from the use of a straight edge - I find that the curved areas are much easier to get right free hand, but a straight line confounds me!

 

2. The band saw is great, but I need a thinner blade. I'm using a 1/4" blade (factory supplied) but the operator's manual tells me I can get 3/16 and 1/8" blades....I'm planning on investing in the 1/8" blade - some of the curves, particularly on the aft bulkheads, are too sharp for the blade I'm using combined with my lack of experience.

 

3. I need much more practice with the bandsaw in terms of just basic operations. As you'll see from the photos below, my hand at cutting is just as unsteady as my hand at drawing. I think I will need to try harder at cutting just outside the lines of my drawings and then refining the pieces with a (yet to be acquired) disc sander.

 

4. While the outside edges need to be cut outside the lines, the bulkhead slots on both the centre keel and the bulkheads themselves need to be cut right at the line, otherwise they are far too thin. I ended up cutting the slots a bit inside the lines and this resulted in a rough fit of the bulkheads that was, if not perfect, close enough that with practice I'm confident I can achieve good results.

 

Anyway, there's not much in the way of pictures. I realise that I'm going to have to spend a bit of time making a building board once my experiments with cutting the keel and bulkheads is over and I get serious about the project. For now, here are a few shots of the keel pieces, given you an exact indication of how sloppy the work is right now.....again - some more experience and a new tool will hopefully go towards better looking results!

hamilton

 

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Hamilton:

I agree that practice with tools makes a lot of difference. Also, the right tool for the right job. So, a few different blades and some practice will be a great idea. I have to do this a lot. It is par for the course.

 

The joint in the profile former is something that many of us deal with. It just needs some fine tuning. The key is to not remove too much material at once. Go slow, measure a lot.

 

Russ

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Thanks Russ, Alan and Frank:

 

Yes, going slow is definitely in the cards! I think the band saw will work fine for the purpose I'm putting it to, but I can't expect that the parts I cut using it will be fully dimensioned....as I mentioned before, I can see the value of a disc/belt sander already - though I never considered a jigsaw for fine trimming of the parts......I still have to invest in a smaller blade and I'll see what kind of effect that has as well - I just invested in a bit more ply to do more experimenting - hopefully I'll have a bit of time this weekend to give it a whirl....

hamilton

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Hi Hamilton

 

When you get the 1/8" bandsaw blade you'll have much better luck on the curves.  Any curves that are too tight for that blade can be cleaned up using a jewelers saw, or simply by sanding of filing.  I would recommend cutting everything slightly outside the lines and refining the shape by final sanding or filing.

 

I originally used rubber cement, but later switched to glue sticks (I use Elmer's school glue).  The paper can be removed by wetting it and then scraping it off with a razor blade.

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Hi Frank:

 

Yes I'm hoping for this result! Can I ask why you switched to a glue stick? I find the rubber cement very easy to work with - and particularly easy just to peel the paper off the wood - it comes off smoothly and any residue can be removed with a light sanding. I used rubber cement in a tube before and it was a nightmare - very finicky and it got everywhere! But Elmer's rubber cement in a jar works great. Anyway, interested to know about your preference. Thanks again for stopping by

hamilton

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I use rubber cement and remove it with an eraser.

At first I applied it incorrectly but was soon schooled in the proper use by Druxey.

 

1. Apply to both the wood and template sparingly. Or two pieces of wood (if one will be opposite hand) and one template much later.

2. Let dry until tacky

3. then apply the template to the wood and press them together (or wood to wood if there are two pieces then repeat for the template)

4. let dry completely

5. cut just outside the line

6. clean up to the line (checking mating fits regularly)

7. when satisfied separate the pieces and clean up

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks again for all these tips! And sorry for the late response - it's been a busy time at work and the I was out of town for a while. But now I'm back and at the front end of my summer "vacation" (meaning I'm just working from home on a more flexible schedule. In addition to some projects around the house and some work-related projects, I'm hoping to make some further progress on both my current builds - the Mamoli America and the scratch Bluenose.

 

It's clear to me now that I should just give up on trying to get super-accurate cuts on the bandsaw. So I've ordered a belt/disc sander from MicroMark (taking advantage of their summer sale) which hopefully will get to me here in the next 10 days or so. In writing this, I realised that I forgot to add to my order some of their birch ply sheets! That was dumb.....Finding 3/16" ply at the few hobby stores we have here is impossible - lots of 1/4" and 1/8"......but nothing in between. Anyways....I can see that scratching something even so "simple" as the BN is going to be a costly endeavour. Tools and wood are going to cost....and of course I'm not going to make my own rigging thread or blocks or cleats....the metalwork overall is an intimidating prospect - I wish some kind soul would post a detailed tutorial on soldering for those of us who only know how solder smells and nothing else.....

 

Anyway, the sun's going to be shining this coming week, the kids will be in school and I'll hopefully drag the saw out to continue with the messing around before the sander arrives and I get around to ordering wood. Bye for now

hamilton

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Hamilton,

 

See if you can find Ken Foran's book on "Modeling With Brass".  He's a member here (xken) and his book is most informative.  Probably tell you more than you ever wanted to know.  Otherwise, I know there's been some mini-tutorials in some build logs, but I'm drawing a blank on which ones.....  

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