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Question on MS Constitution kit - Channels


usedtosail
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I have a question for all you builders of the MS Constitution kit. I am making the channels but I looked through all the plans last night and none of them show what the width of the channels should be - ie the distance from the hull to the outside edge of the channel. There is a side view that shows the length and what looks like a taper from about 1/8" at the hull to 1/16" at the outer edge for the thickness, but I could not find any view that shows the channels from above. The AOS book does show them from above, so I may just take the width off of those plans, but I was wondering if this is something that the MS kit lacks, and what other builders of the kit have done.

 

While I am asking, does anyone know if there should be supports or knees either above or below the channels? If i go with the width in the AOS book, there are very wide and seem very flimsy without any supports. I imagine the taper helps some with more contact area at the hull, and I will certainly use pins between the channels and the hull. Again the plans don't show any supports that I could see.

 

Thanks in advance for the help.

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Hello Tom,

With regard to the channels and supports or knees (or lack thereof), there really isn't a need for them. The main force exerted on them is neither upward nor downward, but actually inward perpendicular to the sides of the ship. Thik of a bridge on a stringed instrument such as a violin, cello, or even a guitar. The bridge is not secured to the instrument in any way, but relies on the pressure of the strings downward to keep the bridge in place. The upward pressure on the shroud is mostly borne by the chain plates which secure the chains and deadeyes/lanyards at the bottoms of the shrouds underneath the channels to the hull. 

Cheers,

Jose

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Hi Tom,

I believe the channels should be 1/2" deep. I used 3/32" x 1/2" stock and tapered it to 1/16" at the outer edge, leaving it at 3/32" against the hull. It's very hard to find, but there is a little illustration showing it on page 7 of the plans. It's just up and to the right of the centre of the page. I had to shape a slight contour on the inside edge of the fore channels to get them to sit tightly against the hull, and I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find that the two contours were not perfect matches for each other - close, but not identical. They certainly seem to be secure enough without supports once the chain plates are added.

 

Hope that's of some help.

David

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Fire engines.  Think of a wash tub with pump handles.  There was one in each of the fore and main channels, inboard of the deadeyes.  They were filled by buckets lowered from the channel and could pump through hoses.  They were made by Ephraim Thayer, one of whose pumps is in the Boston Fire Museum, apparently quite similar, though that one has wheels.  Cmdr. Martin has several references to them.

 

Here is another Thayer engine.  Just remove the wheels.

 

post-17589-0-75695200-1465078386.jpg

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Navy leadership took the ever-present threat of fire seriously, and from the beginning wished to provide fire-fighting equipment for each of the frigates.  As early as November 1794, Commissioner of the Revenue Tench Coxe began to pester Secretary of War James McHenry for fire engine specifications.  It took two months before McHenry addressed the issue by requesting Naval Constructor Joshua Humphreys to transmit the ideal dimensions for the engines to Coxe.

 

At the beginning of February 1795 Humphreys obliged.  He proposed that the boxes or cisterns of the engine be five feet long, two feet wide, and 18 or 20 inches deep.  The chamber would be six inches in diameter with pistons of composition metal.  They would come complete with 50 feet of leather hose and a 30 foot long suction pipe for drawing seawater from alongside the ship.  The common land-based fire engines used in towns of the time were too bulky for ship board use, so Humphreys suggested a few modifications.  “The levers of these Engines should be so constructed as to open in such a manner as to admit a number of men to work the engine & to fold up into a small compass when she is to be stowed away.  Every fastening of the box and every other part of the Engine should be of copper or other metal that will not corrode with the sea water."

 

Here the matter rested until 1797.  As the first three frigates neared completion, Tench Francis, Purveyor of Public Supplies, let contracts for the fire engines to manufacturers in Philadelphia, but not one of them was able to deliver on time.  Captain Samuel Nicholson, superintending Constitution’s construction in Boston, suggested that the engines for his frigate be procured from a Mr. Thayer in Boston.  As an endorsement, he claimed Thayer made “the best Fire Engines in America, and on the simplest principles.”

 

Excerpted from USS Constitution Museum Log lines.

 

Regards,

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Thanks so much for that, Henry.  It fills some gaps for me.

Mark, the elm tree pumps could certainly move water, but you need the tank or reservoir for extended use.  Placed on the channels, just lower buckets ten feet or so and fill the tanks.

Tom, I'm just sort of busting your chops, but wouldn't it be a conversation starter to have on a model?

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Thanks Joel and Henry. I was getting scared that I was going to have to make two of those engines. It would be a conversation starter though. That is really fascinating information (at least to me).

If you were going to do pumps, it would be four.  One each fore and main channels, port & starboard.  Well-documented but seldom modeled.  However, it does give a hint on the width of the channels, to be able to have pumps there behind the deadeyes.

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Yes, I was thinking that the width shown on the plans (thanks to David for showing me where) would not be wide enough for an engine too, unless maybe they were longer and narrower than what Joel showed above. But then again the plans are for the ship as she is today so perhaps the channels were wider in the past to account for them.

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