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US Brig Niagara by 6ohiocav - FINISHED - Model Shipways - Scale 1:64

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I had some dry application decals from Amazon. Coincidentally, almost the exact font and size on the current boat. They were a little difficult to apply - I found out how much rough woodgrain I actually left on the hull. The decals prefer smooth surfaces. But a lot of burnishing got it done. I was pretty pleased with the outcome.





The trick is finding a way to get a nice straight line to lay them on. Masking tape worked OK. Then you have to cut the letters out of the sheet right at the bottom of the letters. Then hold the letters in place while you burnish the back. Do some practice tries first. And don't do those spelling out Niagara or else you'll run out of A's.  Voice of experience.

Edited by mikiek
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I installed the hammock rails over the weekend. The canvas looks pretty good and adds to the visual effect.

I also rigged the sheet and tack lines for the foremast. When I went to work on the main mast, I realized that I had run out of .018 rigging line so I placed an order to Syren.






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Looks fantastic Darrell - I like that you did the 2 "rope rails" on your hammock units. I only did 1 and now I see 2 would have been the better choice.


I hate running out of stuff. That's why I probably have enough Syren materials on hand to do 2 more builds. A whole tackle box full of every size & color. If I get down to 3 packages of anything it's time to reorder. Yes, I am a hoarder  and proud of it.

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The crew may now board their ship.

I finished the ladders with a coat of paint and attached them to the deck.  I had to move some rope coils.  It is pretty tight in there. I cut the sea steps out of some boxwood strips I had around. I applied some yellow and flat black paint and glued them to the hull.




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The punch list is getting small.

I worked on the boat davits over the weekend.  As I have done for most of the build, I discarded the laser cut parts and made the davits out of cherry.  I traced the pattern on to a strip of cherry and cut them out with my band saw. I mounted a small drum sanding bit in the Dremel for initial shaping and used a series of files and sanding sticks to finish them up. It is a long and tedious procedure, but the end product, with sharp edges and perfect finish is well worth the effort.

I applied the yellow and flat black paint with the airbrush and installed the pieces to the ship.  I used card stock blackened with a Sharpie for the metal bands. I am very pleased with the look of the card stock. It is easier to work with than brass, takes the color perfectly, and wraps around the davits very well.






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For wood working tools, supplies and of course the Exotic Wood Room, I would not know what to do without having Keim's 30 minutes away! And that drive through Ohio Amish Country is first rate. Except for the weather (which has really been bad this spring), we are quite spoiled here in North East Ohio.


If you need anything special from Keims, let me know. I am always looking for an excuse to go there.

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  • 3 weeks later...


Got my order of .18 Rope from Syren so that I could finish rigging the Sheet and Tack lines for the Main Mast. I had to strop three blocks together, following suggestions from Petersson’s Rigging book.

I then attached the lines to eyebolts and rigged them through the blocks and then through the sheaves in the bulwarks.


Here are some final photos.

I need to come up with a method of attaching the painted name on the stern. Following Mike’s suggestion, I am searching out a decal that I can print on. I also need to work on flags.

But up next…. Ships Boats.



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I decided to scrap the sliced bread boat frames provided by the kit. Instead, I downloaded a plan for building a jig that allowed me to scratch build the boats.

I copied the jig frames and glued them to some birch plywood and cut them out on the bandsaw. I then assembled the jig and attached cherry veneer strips on the outer edge of the frames and inserted the ends in the bottom slit in the jig frames which held them in place.

I then cut a series of thin holly (very white) strip wood to use as planks. Using CA, I started to glue the stripwood to the cherry lined frames, being careful not to spill any glue onto the cherry strips that would affix them to the frames, since you have to remove the entire assembly from the jig after it is done. I also decided to overlap the holly stripwood to give it a realistic look. This eliminated the need to taper any of the strips.

Here are some photos of my first proto-type. Not bad for my first time, but I discovered some problems. As stated, I used cherry veneer for the frame wood, because it was easier to bend around the sharp corners of the jig frames. However, it was not stiff enough to hold the shape of the boat when I removed it from the jig. The vertical lines of the frames drifted outward quite a bit since the cherry veneer was not strong enough to hold it in place.

So back to the drawing board.  I need to use a stiffer material, and that means that I need to decide whether I can bent it around the jig frames, some of which are sharper than 90 degrees, or whether I can cut them out of solid wood in the proper shape, and still make them thin enough and strong enough to meet my needs





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Those ribs were a bear, even with the sandwich style approach. I could not get anything to bend that sharp at the keel. Of course one option is to make each rib from several pieces, letting the ends butt into the keel.


Another thing to think about is how much stuff are you going to put in the boat? If you are going to make floor boards then the ribs don't really have to extend all the way to the keel. The floor boards will cover that part up. Then you have the thwarts, benches and rail which will cover even more.


You can hold your nose while you make them and go with a sheet of styrene cut into proper sized strips. The sheets come in many thicknesses, bend great, they cut & file nicely and they take paint well. Some people just don't want a non-wood product on their build.


I used styrene and have no regrets. There's some pix somewhere in the first 1/3 of my log.



Rigging came out well. On that 3 way block thing - were those on every yard or just the course?  That's a cool looking piece wired into your hull sheaves.

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I started with thin (1mm) holly strips, and I soaked them in boiling water and glued them on while they were still wet. I left the boat in the jig until it dried, and when I separated it from the jig, the gunnels flared out.


Steve, Very good observation. That was my first thought as well to pull the sides back into shape with the seats. As I squeeze the gunnels together back into shape however, there is enough resistance to cause me worry that I may break the planks.  I may have to steam the entire structure and give that a try.



I might try your method for printing the name on black matte and see how it works.



Good suggestion, but I am going to stick with wooden frames for now. The plan is holly for the planking and cherry for the rest. According to Petersson, that three block configuration is only used on the Course Yards and only on the Main Mast. The foremast course yard is rigged with a two block configuration.  Please forgive me if I am not using the proper terminology. 


In the end, a firmer framing material is still the proper remedy for the boats, and my next attempts will focus on that.

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That should have worked, Darrell.   You might try pre-bending using a curling iron after soaking.  I'm using the curling iron method and it usually takes two sessions of soak and heat to get the curve I need for the frames to not want to spring back out. But I'm using boxwood for the framing.  Might need to do a combination of things as others have suggested.



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  • 1 year later...

Well…… It has been nearly 2 years since I last posted to my build log. A home remodeling project (still at it) and a family illness has kept me away from my Niagara. But now, I find myself sheltering at home, like a lot of my fellow Americans, and some time to finally FINISH this project.

It has been so long that I posted, I had a hard time finding my log. I note that I was working on my ship’s boats, and now have finally just about finished them.  Here are some photos of the two launches.  I still have to add the rails and oar locks. I built these from scratch using a jig. The planks are holly, and the remainder is cherry.

I am now working on building the small skiff. I have to build the jig, cut planks, etc…. I will be posting pictures of the process.

I am also in the process of building the display case, with LED lighting. That has been quite a challenge.

I AM BACK. And I will finish.









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Now that I have built three of these ship’s boats from a jig, and learned a little,, I thought I might share some of the hard lessons.

I wanted the boats to be white, so I choose holly for the keel and planks. Anytime I can avoid using paint is a good thing. I used cherry for the ribs, floor boards, thwarts, transoms and railing.

I obtained the jig plans from Hubert Sicard’s website.

I am attaching a series of photos to show how I did the small yawl boat. By the way, smaller is harder.















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I cut out the railings, stern sheet and thwarts. I finished the cherry with tung oil and touched up everything.


I ended up cutting off the Keel/rudder combo and re-worked the entire system to look better.  it also gave me the opportunity to plank the stern.


Here are the photos.


up next...... 20 teeny tiny oars. ugh.





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I knocked out 20 oars on Sunday. I traced them onto Holly, cut them on the jig saw, mounted them into a cordless drill, rounded the handles with sand paper, and shaped the paddle with files.

This is a delicate and mundane process with about a 30% failure rate. It takes 30 to come up with 20.

I gathered them up and lashed them to the boats.

Next up, oar locks and rigging the boats to the davits.



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Great progress Darrell.  Glad to see that you are back in the shop.  Those ‘small’ boats are really nice.  Eventually once this hooha all subsides would love to see em in person at one of our meetings.

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I was excited and ready to go to the March Meeting.... and then of course......

I think the April meeting may also be in jeopardy. Do you think the guys would be amenable to a virtual meeting of some sort. My firm has a dedicated conference call service.

I am hoping to finally finish the Niagara by then.

Stay safe.


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