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US Brig Syren by hervie - Model Shipways - Scale 1: 64

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Look up this build log and go to page 24. Scroll down and you will see a picture of a modified binder clip used to clamp planking to bulkheads. I've also used these very effectively. Sorry, I can't get the picture to paste in.
Dunbrody Irish Famine Ship by Mahuna - 1:48 Sectional Model


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Jablackwell,  Elijah,  FriedClams,  thanks for your interest.


ca.shipwright thanks for your ongoing support, and thanks for your tip for securing planks.  I think I came up with a different method using push pin which works well for me and which is described in my next post.

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Bending and Gluing Planks


The first plank below the wales begins to get into the extreme curve of the stern.  Here I practiced a method for bending planks using two specialized tools I bought years ago.  These are shown in a photo below.


To practice, on a spare plank I produced several close notches using the first plank bending tool.  One side of the tool jaw is flat, the other has a dull blade.  Using this tool by itself would be sufficient to produce gentle curves.




The key for good results with this tool is to do close, evenly spaced and fairly deep notches.




In preparation before using the second tool, a hot iron, some drops of water were placed on the notched part.




Then the iron is used to produce the sharp curve..




The result.  Obviously I need more practice.

Now for the real thing..  


First, the filler blocks under the stern were reshaped to produce a smoother curve.




Previously a few planks were pre-formed in the plank bender jig used before.  That takes care of the plank's bow section.


A plank was temporarily attached to the hull, and the spot where the plank needs to be bent at the stern was marked.


Then the plank was removed to make the stern curve.


Here is the result.

Now the plank can be glued to the hull, first the bow section using CA glue, then the rest using PVA glue.
I decided to switch back to PVA glue.  The CA glue fumes are to obnoxious for me, whereas PVA produces no toxic fumes.


That means I had to get a method of securing the planks to the hull while the PVA glue is drying.


After trying a few methods, I settled on one using push pins.


The biggest problem when using push pins is that they need to be pinned to the bulkheads, and the bulkheads are too hard to penetrate.  Pre-drilling solves the problem.


First the spot for the push pin was marked using a sharp tool to facilitate placing the drill bit.

Then the hole was drilled.  (the plank is not glued at this point).
and  the push pin inserted.
Here are a few push pins in place.  I can see the next time around I’ll need to drill the holes closer to the plank.  But it will work.


I like this method because it can be used for all planks regardless of where they are.




Having settled on this method of planking will helps for the rest of the planking job.  However progress will be slow for a while due to some software projects I’m involved with.  Hopefully I’ll be back soon with more progress to report.

Edited by hervie

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Looks like you have found a method that works good for you and are off to a good start!


My word of caution to you would be to remember that your space will narrow at the bow and often at the stern as well. Make sure you are tapering your planks in those areas so they will all fit otherwise as you continue you will run out of space and will end up with short planks and planks that end in funny spots. 


Looking forward to your updates as your ship is shaping up nicely! :D

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EJ-L,  thanks for the word of caution.  I will be tapering, and the manual has a description on how to to that for this ship.  Sal’s log (_SalD_) applies Chucks' method to the letter, jet, even then, could not prevent some plank “creep” from happening.

Since the hull will be coppered below the water line, I’m not too concerned about this.  I am more interested in producing a smooth surface for coppering, so it’s OK if I end up with a few odd shaped planks here and there.  (This must sound as sacrilege to some builders, I know).

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I agree with Michael on taking the opportunity to learn the skill. The more practice you take the easier and quicker it becomes. One of the reasons I like double planked hulls. I try to build both layers as if they were the finish layer so that hopefully one day I can just single plank my hulls like they should be. I'm not that good yet. :P


Always give your planking your best and that will also aid in making  a nice smooth finish for you copper which if something becomes a whoops can cover right up. Something else to keep in mind with coppering is that glues do not always want to stick to wood fillers, plaster, sheet rock mud or many types of smoothing agents that are used when compared to raw wood. Having your hull with as minimal of filler on it is definitely a worth while goal to help out later.


In any event, I know you will make a great looking ship!

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Michael (ca.shipwright?), EJ_L,


I get it.  I'll be more careful with the tapering than I was planning to be. Good to know you two are watching over my shoulders :)

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I do not know whether the tapering should be:  1) symmetric — both edges of the plank converging to the tapered end --,   or 2)  just one edge of the plank leaving the other edge straight.  And if (2), which edge, the top or the bottom one?  Any ideas?  Thanks.

Edited by hervie

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I will taper both ends slightly, just enough to knock the lower edge back in under the upper edge. Any further tapering I do is on the edge of the new plank butting against the previous one. This can vary depending on the curve of the hull. The more curvature, the more tapering is needed.

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Planking Progress … sort of


It is definitely slow going.  Here are some pictures.


First the gardboard.




Then more top and bottom planks.  While there was no tapering of the planks, and more empty space between them,  I could work on 4 planks at a time.




Eventually it got slower.  Just two planks at a time.


To do two planks takes one hour (excluding drying time).  Each plank requires 10 steps


step 1:  taper the plank for the bow section.

step 2:  position the plank on the hull and insert the pins (see below) 

step 3:  mark the section of the plank for bending at the stern

step 4: remove the pins and the plank.

step 5: bend the plank at the stern

step 7: dry fit the bended part at the stern,  Trim the plank.

step 8:  remove the plank and pins one more time..

step 9:  put glue on the hull for the entire length of the plank.

step 10:  glue the plank and reinsert the pins to hold it in place while drying


fun fun fun

Positioning each pins starts by marking the spot on the hull with an awl.  Best way is to rest the awl on the dry fitted new plank and mark the spot a small distance from it in a way that most of the pin will cover the plank.


Then drill with a #58 bit and insert the pin.

Here is marking where to bend the plank at the stern making sure the final position of the plank will remain the same.
Bending with the method described in the previous post
Once the entire stern counter was covered, all planks were trimmed using a Dremel saw bit.
As more planks are inserted the torsion stress on the planks at the bow becomes more serious.  After pinning and dry fitting the planks they are moistened with a spray bottle and left to dry.
And that’s it for planking.  My next post will show the final result.
So much for the Syren.  But now it has some company in the form of a card model which I am about to start.


Thanks to Mirabell61's mention of card models in his log I discovered a whole new world of modeling i did not know existed!  Paper (or card) modeling.  So I’ve done some research last week and came upon this site in Germany.

Apparently countries in Eastern Europe have evolved paper modeling to a level unmatched in the west.


I’ve always wanted to build a mid century cargo ship.  So I couldn’t resist and ordered one of the last conventional or classical freight ships before the emergence of container ships,  the Sloman Alstertor. 






This kit has 1600 parts!  It will slow down the Syren, I know, but I need some faster action every so often :)


If it works, there is a whole world of card models to discover.

Edited by hervie

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Your planking is moving along nicely. It is one of the slower stages of ship building so I understand the desire to have something to break it up and that moves a little quicker. That card build looks interesting. Let us know when you start that as I would enjoy seeing her come together also! :)

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EJ_L,  Thomas, thanks.  And thanks for the likes.


I just received the kit for the paper model Alstertor.   Nice but way too complicated for a first paper model!  The instructions being mostly in German doesn't help, nor does the very small size of many parts.  So it goes to the back burner , and I'll be looking for a simpler one.


Till then it's back to the Syren with renewed enthusiasm!  :) 




Addendum.  Actually on closer inspection, the instructions are quite clear and the project now seems doable.  So it goes back to the front burner along with the Syren.


The key will be to practice complicated assemblies on separate paper first.

Edited by hervie

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End of Planking


Phew!  I’m done.


My patience and enthusiasm was severely tested with this planking job.  I’m not sure I passed.


Approaching the end of the job it became obvious I would have to fit a few odd shaped planks. 


Thank goodness for coppering to camouflage all this.

The stern was particularly troublesome.


Macro photos are very unforgiving, yet the reality was even worse!     :huh: 




The width of the planks at the bow became smaller and smaller.  Looks like my tapering skills are not up to par yet.




And the stern!  Well, no comment ...  :( 




Eventually, with lots of sanding and some filler it became this.


I wonder if the copper plates adhesive will bond to wood filler …






Back on the saddle.  View from the front.




and the back.




The moral of this story is that with enough elbow grease even ugly ducklings can turn into swans … or almost.



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Planking is one of the more trying aspects of model ship building especially the first couple of times around. Honestly you did fine and since you will have copper plating to cover the vast majority  a lot of those not so great parts won't be seen. Well done and even more so that you stuck it out. That is one of the main ways people lose interest in the hobby is when they begin to see just how hard and frustrating planking can be.


The main thing is that hopefully now after experiencing planking and how the shape of the hull acts on the alignment of each strake you will begin to understand the different techniques and methods that are used to make better planking jobs on future builds. To me this is one of those things that is easier to understand after you see it on a model than on paper diagrams and words.


Most wood glues and CA glues will bond to the wood filler without any problem. I have not yet had an issue with it and there is a considerable amount in between the planking layers on my build. ;)


Again, well done Hervie! You are now over one of the big hurdles so relax, regroup and keep on doing what you are doing and you will end up with a nice model to be proud of. :cheers:

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Hervie -


Just a reminder - it is VERY important that you sand the planks as smooth as possible before coppering.  What I mean is that there should be no change in the surface elevation from plank to plank, or this will show in the final result.  Chuck Passaro's coppering instructions worked very well for me, and I hope they will for you too.  By the way, the kit provides much more copper than you will need to cover the bottom of the hull, so you might want to do some experimenting with the copper tape before you start on the hull so you understand how it will perform.  Good luck.




p.s.  The copper tape seemed to adhere to the wood filler well enough.

pps The other SYREN build logs on this site provide valuable tips on coppering that may help you too.

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EJ_L, thanks for the comment and encouragement. I like to think of myself as a finisher, although sometimes with this model I have some doubts, not because of the monotony of particular tasks, but because I don't think I'm doing a very good job.  My goal is to finish the stern, internal planking, coppering and deck.  After that I'll reevaluate whether it's worth continuing, or just starting again from scratch.


Gary,  thanks for the heads up and advice, and for keeping an eye on my build.  I sort of figured up there could be no difference in plank elevation before coppering, and your advice confirms that.  Thanks also for letting me know there's sufficient copper in the kit to experiment. 
Edited by hervie

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A nice job on your planking.  Remember, each hull is easier to do.  Each model is a new lesson.  Do you plan on using plate or tape for you coppering?

David B

Edited by dgbot

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David,  Most likely tape, although i have a nice roll of thin copper I found in a scrap business around here.  I did use it on a larger scale model using contact cement for every plate, very time consuming.  Tape will be faster.

reklein,  thanks for the suggestion.  I did not see a reference to sealer in Chuck’s instructions but it is something to consider.

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The wales


Gluing the wales was routine.  Here are some pictures.

Temporary shutdown
The shipyard will be closed for the winter on account that it is located in an unheated garage.   Don't have much of a vocation for freezing my tush.  The shutdown will give me time to explore other projects I've been postponing for awhile, but in no way is an indication that I'm abandoning the Syren.  I'll be back.
To be continued ...

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Your Syren really looks good! It makes such a difference having the contrast between the black wales and the ocher color of the hull. Btw, I have the same problem. The bigger part of my workshop is located in the garage, which is a really cold place in winter  :(. So during the year I postpone tasks for which I do not need the equipment located in the garage. Rigging the carronades is the task for this winter  :).

Enjoy your "winter break".



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