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HM Schooner Ballahoo by Cornish_K - Caldercraft - scale 1:64 - First wooden ship build


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Hi,

 

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NOTE: I actually started this years ago on the old forum, but had a long hiatus (3 or 4 years) from the hobby for various reasons, and it coincided with the great forum implosion. Luckily I still had some of the photos, so I'll simply re-submit those photos again in the opening posts.

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To sum up, I chose the Ballahoo since I just wanted a relatively gentle introduction to plank on bulkhead wooden ship building. I didn't know at the time whether it was something I would take to or not. In fact, I'm still not 100% sure if I'm really a mad ship-builder yet, but that's something which will show itself by the end of this build.

 

I feel I made the right decision in choosing this model first, instead of something like HMS Pegasus by Victory Models (which I'm very drawn towards). The hiatus itself shows it was a wise move not to throw too much money at a ship for a first attempt. But something drew me back, and here I am continuing my first planking!

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A word on the instructions. They are my only real reservation with the kit to be honest, so might as well quickly get it out of the way.

 

If you go to the Jotika website, there's a download link for the HMS Granado PDF instructions for comparison. Quite simply, they are a 100 times better than the very basic Ballahoo instructions - and for a kit aimed explicitly at beginners, it did feel like it was a missed opportunity to introduce new wooden ship builders in the best possible way.

 

In particular, the bulkhead preparation and first planking instructions are basically one paragraph and are very vague - whereas the Granado instructions go into much detail. Fortunately I took advantage of this website to help me to learn how to do it.

 

It's possible I'm just a bit of a slow starter - and others who tried it for a first build were perfectly happy with the instructions - but I can only say how I see it personally.

 

Anyway, that criticism to one side, the plans themselves were generally good, if perhaps lacking a little in the bulkhead measurements. But they showed everything clearly and were nice and big.

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Here's some photos of the bulkhead fairing and gluing of the keel. I also carved out a rabbet of sorts, although I later found it wasn't deep enough and had to do some more.

 

I also made some mast supports inside the model, plus some strengthening supports for the bulkheads - having seen others do the same.

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Next up, I added some balsa wood filler blocks fore and aft. I later discovered I faired my stern bulkheads a bit too much and had to fill it back out again, which also messed up the balsa blocks. But it was a useful learning process (at least that's what I told myself).

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The gunport pattens were fiddly. Very fiddly. I soaked them in hot water for a while before shaping them.

 

I've seen them mentioned elsewhere as being a difficult part of this build, due to the slightly odd bow on the Ballahoo. I managed it in the end, but it was a bit of a struggle at first. I'm not totally convinced bulkhead number 2 is correct on this model, but we'll discuss that more later.

 

Started to lay some planks along the hull to get an idea on the shape.

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Planking on the top half of the hull was easier than the bottom half, due to the more straightforward curve (towards the keel the hull does all sorts of funny things!). The planks were going on nicely, with a little tapering at the bow. I superglued the very ends to keep a strong hold, but it was mostly all PVA.

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And that was basically where I'd got to 3 or 4 years ago.

 

This last week I've been finishing the planking on the port side. I know the recommendation is to do a few planks each side as you go, but I just wanted to get one side done. And then approach the other side as a brand new attempt. Besides, my bulkhead supports will prevent the model from warping anyway.

 

I'll post a photo in a few days hopefully of the completed planking.

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Well, I've completed my first ever attempt at planking (on the port side..). :D

 

Overall, I'm really happy with how it turned out; there's one or two minor flat spots which will need to be filled and sanded again to get a perfectly smooth curve, plus a few of the planks dipped slightly between a couple of bulkheads (one of them in particular I probably should have ripped out and thrown away) and will need to be sorted. But that's relatively minor. The main shape is there and it's very pleasing to see the model starting to look like a ship.

 

I got almost all the bulkheads faired at the right angles. Some very minor clinkering near the bow, which can be easily sanded down. The bow on the Ballahoo does require a tiny amount of lateral bending in some of the planks I think. I'll take a bit more time doing the starboard side and see if I can get every plank down perfectly next time.

 

There really is no substitute for simply getting on with it and seeing how it turns out on a cheap model, and adapting your methods as you go.

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I need to look into getting a dremel. Does anyone have any recommendations?

 

I've already got a part I need to make from scratch, after I snapped the stern taffarel in half. I could really do with a precise way of cutting a replica piece from the leftover walnut ply.

 

I may invest in some bigger, more durable files also. The little files I'm using just don't remove enough when shaping the bulkheads, takes an age - even for a small model like this.

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For a first model, that's really nice work!  Very well done!

 

For files, I had the same problem when doing my Badger.  I ended up buying larger carbide files which make bigger jobs like fairing bulkheads a lot easier:

 

http://www.micromark.com/5-piece-carbide-needle-file-set-coarse-80-grit,7526.html

 

 

I have an older variable speed Dremel.  I rarely use it, as it takes material off very quickly.  I tried it on my Pegasus bulkheads which were MDF, and I found you have to be very careful.  I also used it to drill holes in my Badger for pedestal supports, but that's been about it.  I do plan to try it out for carving more decorative items on my build.

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Thanks for the compliment Mike. I've actually been looking through your Pegasus build before today - it's a potential next model for me after I've finished this one (assuming it's a commitment I want to make!). I'll check out your Badger build later on.

 

I've looked around and found a similar tungsten carbide set to yours from a UK site. I'll certainly need them before I start the next model, which will have much thicker bulkheads. I guess the heavy filing is mostly already finished on this one now, although my little cheap steel files are almost ruined as a result.

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Same happened with me on my files.  They took a beating on the Caldercraft plywood.  The carbide set works much better.

 

The Pegasus is a really nice kit.  I give it an A+ all around in terms of quality of parts, fit, and plans.  If I had to quibble about anything, it's that the walnut used is all over the place in terms of color, from a very dark brown to almost a blonde color.  I will ultimately replace or stain the walnut which is fine, but I really wish kit manufacturers thought more about stocking kits with wood of a more consistent color.

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Just some close ups of the tricky stern section.

 

I had to use a few stealers (or dropper planks?) to keep a nice smooth run on the planking. I basically terminated the original plank around bulkhead 8 with an inverted triangle - and shaped 2 new planks to carry on to the stern.

 

The second photo shows some of the sanding I've done by the keel to allow for the second planking to lay properly. I should have prepared it more before I began the planking, but it'll work out in the end.

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I've spent more time fairing the starboard bulkheads than I did with the port side. Bulkhead 2 is in my opinion too narrow in this kit, so I widened it a bit. I also think BH6 is a smidgen too wide (regardless of the fairing), so I took a millimetre off it, so the batten can run smoothly with no flat spots.

 

Fingers crossed the planking will be fine once it's on, the batten is looking smooth all the way up and down. The natural run of the planks at the bow is a bit unusual on this schooner due to the sharp rise, compared to some bigger ships, so some thought has to go into the best way to lay them.

 

Dare I say, a bigger ship may in fact turn out to be more straightforward in terms of plank positioning. We shall see.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update time!

 

I have made good progress on the starboard side first planking, starting near the bulwarks. Note how I terminate the planks on the underside of the gunport pattens towards the bow, not at the actual front of the bow itself. From this point onwards, all the planks will be tapered from bow to stern.

 

It's a slight departure from the instructions, but the instructions also tell you to let the planks lie naturally (which they are currently doing). But if I were to attempt to run the first plank all the way along the underside of the pattens, the clinkering would be extreme to the point of being impractical.

 

It's possible with *massive* amounts of lateral bending I could do that, but this does seem a more straightforward method to me. It's such a sharp upwards curve on this model compared to some, I think it needs a slightly different planking solutions. Anyway, some photos:

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Edited by Cornish_K
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I've also taken this opportunity, before the hull is completely enclosed, to do a final check fitting of my improvised 'mast holders'. I've drawn a circle in pencil on the masts just above the false deck, so when the time comes I'll know when they've made a snug fit all the way down.

 

Also, the model is really starting to look better and better with the masts in. :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Keith .. Some seriously nice planking going on here.. and this is just the 1st Planking .. can't wait to see the amazing job you do with the 2nd !!

I love the wee Mast Holders .. this is very clever, especially where you made the mark to show later that they are seated properly !

Regards Equipment .. Files/Sanding Stuff were my biggest use bits of kit at the stage you are at too, if you choose to go further with the hobby you will naturally build up quiet a selection of tools  :P

 

Keep the Updates Coming Mate !

 

All The best

 

Eamonn

 

PS have to say it again .. Seriously Nice Planking !  :D

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Thanks for the compliment Eamonn, :)

 

I'm finding the planking quite an interesting process - it's almost like trying to crack a puzzle. The 4mm strips in the kit can only be tapered so much, and solutions need to be found to avoid clinkering on the underside of each plank.

 

I'm still not sure if my technique of letting the top few rise up to the gunport patten is strictly the correct way of doing it, but I'm happy enough with it so I'll just keep doing it that way! :D

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Where are you Keith - I am in Bodmin - we can compare notes maybe ?

 

The planks rising to the top is often frowned  upon and I dont do it myself - but mainly because " holding the plank ends " is easier against the stem.

But a couple of months back I found an article on Dhow building and blow me there they were doing exactly that  - for real !

 

Steve

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Hi Steve, I'm on the lizard, quite a way further down than yourself!

 

 

The planking directly under the gunport patten is certainly an interesting one on the Ballahoo. In theory, I'd like to be able to lay the plank all the way along, but the extreme lateral bending with the sharp rising bow produces an impossible amount of clinkering for me. Tapering the top of the plank at the bow (to half its width) is still nowhere near enough to allow a natural laying position.

 

If I had much wider strips to work with I could cut some pre-curved planks which would obviously solve the problem. Since the plank would only be bending in one direction instead of two.

 

I've read about some people pre-bending laterally with heat, then bending forwards again (while hot/wet) to shape the plank smoothly. Although I worry about the stresses on the plank doing all of that.

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Look at Chucks video on planking -  you can bend strip sideways though lots of purists object - but I dont think they have tried it !

 

Chuck just heats it with a hair drier - I prefer to soak , prebend off vessel to get the base side curve in and then soak again and clamp on the hull to acheive the final shape.

 

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This is an upper strip from my Pegasus build done like that - twists and turns in ALL directions but you can see the upewards curve on the right as it rises to the stem

 

Edited by SpyGlass
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Well it seems were all near each other, I am in Hayle between you both.

 

Have found the soaking is good for most planks, that is 1mm thick, not tried on thicker wood planking.
 
I use a bender, but not sure if its necessary to purchase one of these.

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I do soak the wood first.

But found it usefull.

Frank  :piratebo5:

Edited by foxy
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Thanks guys. That's given me something to think about. I'll just finish off this first planking as it is for now, fill and sand it down. Then have a think about approaching the walnut 2nd planking a little differently.

 

When the time comes, I'll practice the lateral bending on some of the leftover limewood first, before trying the walnut.

 

I don't have any plank bending tools as such. I might knock up my own plank bending board, with hole's drilled for dowels, and weight the planks down when soaked.

 

Actually, I could do with a plank bending board regardless. It gets a bit time consuming trying to shape each plank individually and get it to dry on the model itself. Very fiddly at times.

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Oh, fiddly is fine. :)

 

But it's when the fiddliness is unneeded and there is actually an easier method to simply get through something a little quicker, it helps the overall process I think.

 

The truly fiddly stuff will come later with the rigging!

Edited by Cornish_K
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  • 3 years later...

Ahoy there! After some time away from the hobby I've decided to have another crack at it. Some lower back problems have interfered with hobbying for me in general, but I'm starting to put some real effort into tackling it - to be honest I've rather neglected my upper body strength over the years, so it's my own fault.

 

 

Anyway, I was finding the process of soaking the planks and pinning each one in position to dry overnight rather longwinded, so I purchased myself a heated plank bender - I've already tested it and it's clear it's going to allow me to work much quicker in this regard. Although I do have patience, I don't have unlimited reserves, so this will suit me more I think.

 

Once I've finished planking the other side of the hull, I'll fill & sand to get the right surface shape for the 2nd planking. I'm also going to laterally bend the planks correctly this time.

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