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HM Cutter Sherbourne by robdurant - FINISHED - Caldercraft - 1:64

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Well, I'm a little late starting this building log, but it's been an interesting model to build, so I thought I'd share my experiences. Hope it's helpful, anyway.


I'm hoping this will be an opportunity to try out some new skills and improve my planking skills before attempting something a bit larger!


First off, a quick look at the kit itself. It comes in a small, but really nice and sturdy box, with everything packed in very neatly.






The instructions are much more simple than the instructions for Pickle (a more recent kit, I believe), and reading them through I was glad I'd built Pickle first. Nevertheless, having build Pickle, these are perfectly adequate. The plans are excellent, and give lots of detail, including step by step illustrations for the construction of the hull.


Looking closely you'll see the the walnut ply used for the cannon carriages and capping rails has been cut out right to the edge... on the other side this has led to a slight split going through the capping rail itself, but nothing too major, and it should be simple enough to put right (I'll mount it good side up!)


So far I've found that all the materials are provided with plenty to spare, just as with Pickle.


[edited to restore photos, 11, 13 July 2017]

Edited by robdurant
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So - to the build.


I started about a month ago, and unpacked the kit eagerly... having checked the parts I got the ply keel out and checked to see if it was flat... sadly it wasn't. It was about 5mm out lengthwise, and two or three from top to bottom, giving a shape rather like a bowl.


Attempted remedies of making one side damp and weighting it down for 48 hours seemed to work at first, but minutes after the weights were taken off, the ply sprung back.


Rather than give up, I decided to be brave, and use the keel as a template to make a new one from a sheet of walnut I had.


Several hours later, I'd made this (and included an extra frame to help with the planking).






It was only later on in the build that I'd realise that bulkhead 9, which forms the base of the transom was wonky because the back of the deck was not square... That's my fault for being in too much of a hurry! We'll get to that later, though.


I roughly faired the bulkheads to take off the worst of the excess material at the bow and stern, sanded a rabbet into the keel former, and then I used the deck to square up the bulkheads and glued the bulkheads into position, using lego blocks to square them up. Here you can see the results with the walnut stem and keel added.



[edited to restore photos, 11, 13 July 2017]

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The next task was to fill the gaps between bulkheads 1-3 and 7-9 with balsa to help me find a smooth flow as I finished fairing the bulkheads. You may notice in these photos that I clean forgot to add the bow formers that sit up against the keel former at this point, and had to cut into the balsa to add these retrospectively. Again - too much haste, and so less speed!




You can see in this photo how bulkhead 9 is at a slight angle - with the starboard side (on the left of this photo because it's keel up) slightly further forward... across its width, this adds up to ~6mm!


Eventually, it started to look like I was hoping it would... I added a strip of lime to the bottom of the keel former to help the rabbet.




[edited to restore photos, 11 July 2017]

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The next task was the gunport patterns.


These were placed for 30 seconds in water straight out of the kettle, and then clamped round a coffee mug that was roughly the same radius as the bow of Sherbourne. A couple of hours later, they'd dried, and held their shape beautifully... In fact, I'd bent them slightly too far round, and putting them back into the hot water for a few seconds loosened them up and allowed them to be glued and clamped in place while the glue set...






This job's a little bit fiddly, but well worth taking time over, because it affects whether the guns will look right in their places later on, and has a big impact on the symmetry of the boat.


After drying overnight I took off all the clamps, and I was really pleased with how they'd turned out... perhaps .5mm down on one side, but not so much it'll be noticeable.


For those of you wondering how she sizes up against Pickle... here you go (apologies for the reflections / quality of the pic - I was in a hurry):



[edited to restore photos, 11, 13 July 2017]

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Next up was planking...


I wanted to try spiling, but I didn't want to splash out on lots of extra wood at the time, so I thought I'd try edge bending the wood to see how well I could get it to fit. I was fairly pleased with the results, but even using the tick strips, it became evident just how much edge bending was required to get a nice run of wood without lots of stealers and drop planks... Next time I hope I'll be able to get the wider planks and spile instead. Nevertheless, not too bad for a first planking.






Again, you can see bulkhead 9 waiting to jump out and get me!


Next it was time to put the transom on - and this was where I had to deal with bulkhead 9. I tried just gluing the transom on and leaving a gap, but it looked really messy. I would have had to double-plank the bulkhead so that I could fill the gap between it and the transom, so I took the transom off again, and sanded down the bulkhead so it was even.


Now it plays nicer!




That meant I was ready for the second planking.


[edited to restore photos, 11, 13 July 2017]

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Now we're up to date... I've been using the same strategy with the second planking to try and get really neat runs of planking without lots of drop planks and stealers... time will tell whether I end up getting bitten, but so far I'm pleased with it. I have a thermos flask with freshly boiled water in it, and then here's what I do for each plank:


  1. Use paper to take a map of the curve of the plank (as though spiling)
  2. Mark out the width of the plank to fit and trim with a craft knife and sandpaper.
  3. Bevel the edge of the plank (I have good intentions, but I'm not very good at this yet!)
  4. Soak the plank in the _hot_ water for 30 seconds
  5. Edge bend the plank according to the paper prepared above. (with 1x4mm walnut, it'll hold it's shape fairly easily)
  6. Use plank nippers to bend the plank in for the bow and stern.
  7. Test, re-test, and glue in place with pins (or near the top, clamps to avoid pin marks)


And here are the results so far...




There are gaps in between several of the planks, which I suspect may be shrinkage... I'm hoping next time I can spile, to avoid the soaking process, and that way avoid those gaps... Of course, it may not be shrinkage at all, but simply that my skills aren't quite up there yet :)


Anyway - I'm pretty pleased with how it's going, and the rest of the planks will be under the waterline and painting dull white, so it's not looking too bad now!


In amidst the planking I decided to start on something completely different to freshen up a little... I've begun the gratings. And I found a sailor left over from Pickle to keep eyes on proceedings too ;)




Once the edging is on, I'll sand these to have curved tops...


But that's for next time.


Happy building




[edited to restore photos, 11, 13 July 2017]

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Thanks for the likes and the helpful comments. It's the first time I've soaked planks so I'm on the learning curve.


It is encouraging to have other builds going on at the same time. Bit more time today so I'll try letting the planks dry before I fit them finally. Might make a start on some other bits while I'm waiting for that to happen.

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Hi Frank,


There are no characters included in the kit, but I bought them separately from here:




They're amati figures (I think the 25mm figures, which works out at around 5' 3" in 1:64 scale - the next size up i 35mm which comes out as around 7' 4" - so giant!). They come in white metal, and I painted them using Vallejo Acrylics. They do look quite good.


Thanks for the compliments



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  • 1 month later...

Time for an update... I didn't really see the benefit of posting every time another plank went on, but here's the result...






And another comparison with Pickle...




Also - while waiting for glue to dry... (and trying to build my patience!), I began the cannon... these were a little rough as they came out of the cnc cut walnut ply, but by pinning them all together, I was able to tidy them up enough that I'm happy with them (at least without a milling machine, I think I'd struggle to make better from scratch)...











And one with them on the deck to see how the ports line up... (although they're not on their wheels yet, and the deck is yet to be planked...)




Finally, the bulkhead stubs were removed and the deck marked up for three-shift planking (I think?!?). I used some veneer I had left from Royal Yacht Caroline for the waterways. The gaps at the edge should get covered up by the planking that will go on the inside of the gunport pattern (he said, hopefully!).






Starting to take shape :)


Happy building




[edited to restore photos, 11, 13 July 2017]



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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi again,


A little more progress.


The deck's down. I marked out the shift pattern and then I put the deck down using a pencil to simulate the caulking:






I've also planked the inside of the bulkheads, and opened up the gunports and oar ports again. Then I put the capping rails on. (The second picture below has some of the deck furniture roughly in place, but not fixed, just to see how it looks... I couldn't resist :rolleyes: )






Once the capping rails were in place, I trimmed them back, and added the stern.

The stern fascia was first put in boiling water, then clamped round the cutlery holder from the kitchen sink to give it a curve. Once dry, it was fitted in place. This left a small gap at the bottom (so that the top was level with the tops of the capping rail, which I remedied by adding a small strip of walnut)








I added the lettering on to the stern - you'll notice I dropped the "U" from the name to match my wife's old school (brownie points for free!), and then it was on to the wales...








Think that's it for now. Managing to stick to the plan of not painting anything... the only things with any paint on so far are the remaining photo-etch, anchor, cannon. Quite pleased with the effect at the moment.


Next job is to tidy up the ends of the wales, and put the rudder on.


Happy building.




[edited to restore photos, 11, 13 July 2017]

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Thanks again to all for the likes and encouragement :)


Yes, it really does spur you on when the pile of wood starts to look more ship-like...


Lots of progress today...


The rudder's on. Made up the anchors. Also put the channels on along with the peg boards inboard. I made replacements of these parts from beech to contrast the hull, rather than use the walnut ply, as I wanted them to look a little bit less flaky... Also made all the frame heads and swivel gun mounts out of beech to continue the theme...


Long story short, here's the progress so far...










Really pleased with how it's coming along.


Take care




[edited to restore photos, 11, 13 July 2017]

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Nice progress, Rob. It might be worth thinking about how much rigging you'll be doing. If you're going to go for more than the kit plans, then now might be a good time to think about belaying points. Quite a few of the Sherbourne builders add more belaying points here and there.


Of course this won't be an issue if you're sticking with the kit plans.



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Aah, I'm glad you mentioned that, Tony, as I hadn't spotted it... I've been focusing just on the hull, but I am hoping to try out some sails (and even add them if they turn out well enough), so I'll have another look at the logs on this site, and perhaps add some more belaying points on.


Thanks so much for the heads up!



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I don't know if you've seen Lennarth Petersson's book on Rigging Period Fore-and-Aft Craft, but it provides and excellent guide to a cutter's rigging with very simple drawings. It was invaluable for me as I had no understanding at all about rigging and it seemed a totally mysterious and complex art before I started. If you're good with search engines you might even find it as a downloadable pdf. Otherwise it's not expensive to buy -- especially if you buy a used copy.


You can even buy a Kindle edition from Amazon at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rigging-Period-Fore-Aft-Craft/dp/1848322186.


It has a couple of very small errors, but these are pointed out in the build logs.


If you do go for more complex rigging, there are some interesting discussions about where to place the belaying points around the bowsprit.


Be wary also of whether you're going to position the top mast fore or aft of the main mast. The kit and a lot of people have it going aft, but there are good arguments for it going forward.  I went with Petersson and had it forward as it fitted with a lot (not all) contemporary models and it gives good strength to the support of the gaff. In the end it's a matter of opinion, and if you go aft the kit does provide the parts to do that -- going fore means you have to make your own parts.


It's a good idea whilst you're looking at the other logs to keep these points in mind and see how others have approached the issues.



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  • 1 month later...

Hi Tony,
Thanks so much for those pointers. I've been somewhat lax in posting over the past few weeks, but I have made considerable progress. I decided to keep pretty much to the kit, but to add an approximation of sails. Your log has been extremely helpful in this process, and although the results I have aren't nearly so neat, and the rigging isn't so authentic, I'm pleased with the results I've got.
So... to the pictures...
A lot's happened since 9th December. I decided the 'just wood' look wasn't really working for me, so it's had a bit of paint now...
I've turned the masts, booms, yards on my lathe. I replaced the wood for this task with larger walnut dowel, which helps in three regards.
1. It allows me to centre the wood carefully to get a more even round.
2. It allows me to put a square end on the bowsprit.
3. It doesn't need staining or painting - it just looks nice out of the tin (cardboard tube!)
I also rigged the cannon (with breaching ropes, but not aiming tackle). I unwound the rope to create an eye to put the rear of the cannon through (cascabel?). This looks more effective than tying it round, which is the method I've used before, and also means I don't have to do clever tying which seems somewhat too bulky when I've attempted it.
Then I launched into sailmaking using modelspan tissue...
At this point I paused, because I remembered a comment that I read in another log (possibly Tony's - tkay ? ) that sails attract dust like nothing else... So I finally got round to doing something I've been meaning to for a long time, and built a boat-box from wooden display box section stained with ebony stain and perspex. It's just large enough to fit Pickle and Sherbourne (as long as I have the square sail on Sherbourne trained round as though the wind's coming over the starboard quarter... That was the aim, anyway...
Then it was back to building... The mainsail was next...
Then the doorbell rang... And it was my next model :)
Just as a comparison... here's the centre-former of the next model, which is also 1:64 - HMS Diana, which I intend to build as Ethalion (1797), one of her sister ships...
Yep... those Frigates may not have been the biggest ships out there, but you wouldn't have wanted to take one on with a cutter! I stopped long enough to build a board to keep the straight keel straight.
Then it was time for Ratlines, swivel guns, anchors, lifts, braces, etc... The finishing touches...
And here it is, finished today:










It isn't perfect, but as a first attempt at sails, I'm really pleased... Not sure I'd attempt all the sails on a frigate, though!


Thanks so much for all the encouragement and advice along the way.


Happy building




[edited to restore photos, 11, 13 July 2017]

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