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Albatros by BrianD2112 - Constructo - scale 1:55 - 1840 Baltimore Schooner - 2nd First Build


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Ok I am posting my First Build Log on my 2nd 1st build. its the Constructo Albatros. So for the instructions are so much better than my first kit.I will (hopefully) post pictures of the kit and Frames on false Keel.

I am looking for input and much encouragement on this first build.

 

BRIAN DELLISpost-26357-0-16543200-1475881368_thumb.jpgpost-26357-0-59250200-1475881370_thumb.jpg 

 

 

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Alright! I see you are off and running with your build. I've got my drink in hand with plenty more to share. I'll pull up a chair and follow along. :D

 

Your kit looks like it has nice clean parts in it so hopefully that holds true. I will offer a few words of caution at the start. With those frames, make sure they get installed square to the false keel. This is very important as if they are not then your hull could build out of shape. Double check them with a square and don't rely on laser cut pieces to be accurate. Also take you time and fair the frames properly so that all your planking will lay flat and true. This is not a race so those extra hours that you take now will pay off in a huge way later. I know that excitement of wanting to build quickly and I can tell you first hand about the pain that comes from rushing. My current build suffers from not taking a few extra steps in that my false keel was warped. I made effort to straighten it up but I reached "good enough" earlier than I should have so I could move on and now the bow of my ship is slightly twisted. I have had to make a lot of adjustments ever since to make it look good. Lesson, do it right from the start. 

 

I'm looking forward to watching you move along in your build!

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Clamps of various types are often needed to help pull everything together.

 

I would recommend looking through the planking section under building tips. There are many good threads there to read and links to some videos as well. Fairing the frames is a crucial first step. To do that you will lay a plank across the edges of the frames. The plank should lay flat and flush with no gaps between the plank and the frame. Where the gaps exists, sand the high sides until the plank lays completely on the frame.

 

You also may want to practice bending the wood supplied. All wood bends a little differently so a practice piece is recommended so you can get familiar with it.

 

Learning to lay out your planking so you get the strakes correct in both number and widths is another thing to learn. To do this you need to first determine the width of the planks you are going to use. Once you have the width of the plank you need to measure the most center frame from keel to the wales. The center frame is the bigges frame and so it sets the maximum number of planks. That dimension divided by the width of the plank will give you the number of strakes needed. Now measure each frame in the same manner. As you get closer to the bow and stern the dimemsions will get smaller. Take the dimension of each frame and divide that by the number of strakes that you established earlier. This will give you the width of each strake at each frame. Again, the strakes should get narrower at the bow and stern.

 

I know this is a lot to take in and framing is one of the most complicated parts of building. Again, read through some of the tutorials and check out some build logs for help. Practice and take your time and it will come together.

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Thanks EJ ! As usual, a wealth of helpful information. I seeing why patience is needed especially for the beginner. My urge is grab some coffee and start planking, but I know that is exactly what I do not need to do. SO I will reread EJ's post a few more times. I have also found several articles and tutorials here to read and watch. I also have to 2 books on model ship building to help also. I will keep the post going as prepare to plank later today.

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I have four questions about laying the first plank. Is the 1st plank the one just below the false deck ? 2nd if so  is it flush or just below the false deck and if not is it flush or just below false deck when i get to that point and where is the first plank laid ?  3rd do i leave a small bit of plank past the bow to sand flush. 4th instructions show leaving a bit of plank past the stern and cutting or trimming excess plank off true ??

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One thing I will highly suggest doing before you plank would be to add filler blocks to the bow and stern areas. With the curvature of the hull in those areas the fillers will help you by giving more places to anchor planks to. Check out the start of almost any build log, mine included and you will see them for reference. 

 

As for letting the planking run long, my question is, does your kit provide a stem, keel and stern pieces to attach to the false keel? If so then yes, leaving them long to trim back later is a good idea as you can easily cut and sand them to allow the stem and stern pieces to go into place. If not, then You will need to cut a rabbit into the false keel to allow the planks to tuck into the wood and you will need to cut them to fit.

 

As to the numbering and order of planking, this is all personal preference. After I have my layout and know where my lowermost wale will be, I flip her over and plank from the keel upward. I have found that this allows me more forgiveness in hiding mistakes as I can always adjust as I go up and hide things easier under the wales than if I go down as there is no forgiveness at the keel. Again, this is personal preference only.

 

As to deck alignment, yes, planks would typically be aligned with the deck. This is often used if a person chooses to plank from top down to the keel as the deck provides a good reference point. Also this allow for one full plank to lay under the gun ports and form a base point in measuring those openings. 

 

See how your layout looks with your planking. More than likely it will work out the way it is supposed to if you measure right. I would concentrate more on making sure all your planks are going to lay right and and run without having to add stealers and drop planks at this point. How the planks align to the deck is far less of an issue especially on your first build.

Edited by EJ_L
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Looks like EJ has taken on the role of mentor and can not thank him enough. I did some more reading and digging on this site and found out a lot to affirm what EJ has stated above. I did read about fillers. The bow has what seem to be adequate fillers but the stern seem to be lacking. I have cut out a stern filler and need to shave and sand b4 installing. The kit does have stem, keel & stern pieces. After reading and going back to instructions, it looks like I need to leave a gap of 1/2 plank below false deck for attaching bulwarks. I found a video that had good part on tapering planks. I feel pretty good about bow taper which looks should start at the 2nd frame from bow forward. However the stern does not seem to be as tight as bow, so needs more thought. I found putting rubber bands around hull with test strips helps with contact with frames and will use this to finish out the frames after I make another strake for the other side.

I am unsure if I should lay the whole strake or cut into smaller parts. If I cut what best way to insure proper contact and stability. I will check out you build logs today EJ and thanks for your guidance.

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I have a question besides if strakes should be one length as on the instructions or cut into several pieces. I have one strake on each side rubber banded to frames for testing and to help finish frames and that gave me an idea.Would it be a good idea to bend and taper all strakes and rubber band all of them to frames to get a good idea on how to precisely lay them before gluing and nailing to frames. figuring i could number them as i remove them and modify them before attaching to the frames.I know lots a questions but seems like a lot of thought is needed before attaching anything especially if you are a  noob like me.

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Don't ever worry about asking to many questions. We all had them at the start of our building and we found our answers by asking too. As with most answers on here there is rarely one way only to do things. On a real ship a strake would not be a single piece of wood running the entire length of the ship. You would not find trees big enough nor straight enough to do that. So all strakes were made up of smaller planks. Now, in model building, you have the advantege of having wood stips long enough to run each strake in a single piece. This is an acceptable way to plank a hull and many people will do this and then simple cut the individual planks into the wood later. Some advantages to this method is that the planking gets done faster and it is easier to bend a long board than a short board.

 

Personally, I prefer to cut my boards into the individual planks and assemble them that way. An advantage to this is I only have to fit a small piece at a time and if something screws up I only have to remove a couple smaller boards. Measuring is more crucial though as you need accurate guidelines to make sure you stay on track and in alignment. 

 

As to dry fitting all the strakes in place before gluing, that is a good idea if you can make it work. Due to the curvature of the hull, I am not sure they would stay in proper place long enough or without a lot of frustration. However, just because I do not know does not mean it can't be done! :) Your hull is much smaller than the one I am building and so you may be able to get them to stay easier as you have far less strakes than I. If you have marked out on the edges of your frames each strake and they are the same number of strakes on each frame and you follow your marks when installing, you will be fine. Just take your time and make sure each piece fits properly before gluing.

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Ok thanks EJ. I put all the planks on one side without cutting or tapering with rubber bands just to get a feel of how they will fit. That helped a lot in getting a plan together. I will most likely bend and taper 4 strakes, two on each side, tonight or more likely after work tomorrow. I will post Picts when I do.

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In response to nailing I will first ask are you single or double planking the hull? The reason this matters is for the final appearance of the wood. When you use nails to secure the planks you are left with holes in your planks that then need to be filled. On a double planked hull, the first layer gets covered up so no problems with nail holes. On a single and on the second planking of a double, you do not want to drive nails through the boards as then you are left with oversized nail holes.

 

Options to prevent this are many so I will tell you what I do. Again, look through build logs at various other methods also and decide what works best for you. What I use are modified paper clamps that will clamp onto the frames and hold down the plank to the frame. (See build log for pictures) When extra pressure is needed I will sometimes drive a nail above the plank so that it puts downward pressure on the edge of the plank not in the plank itself. I also use a mixture of glues. I will lay a thin bit of wood glue and use CA glue provide a fast, hard bond while the wood glue sets up. This also helps eliminate the need to nail the boards down as I only need a temporary hold for just a few minutes.

 

Now to answer your question about nailing without a nailer, one methos that I use is first predrill the hole for the nail as this helps to prevent the wood from splitting. To actually place the nail I will use either tweezers or needle nose pliers to hold the nail and then use a finish or jewelers hammer to actually drive the nail.

 

Hope this helps! :)

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It is single planked hull and I used the last to nail in my first plank as shown in instructions. I have only done one and is slow going. The instructions say to put I small drop of water in nail hole to cause wood to swell and hides the the nail hole . I see the paper clips but not sure how they are modified.

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On the paper clips, all I do is remove the handles off of one clip then insert one of those handles into the jaws of another so that it lays flat on the base of the jaw. This allows the rounded head to stick out of the jaws to the side. Now when I clamp them to the frame, the clips have a ledge that can be place on top of the plank to provide downward pressure. If you are still unsure I can post a pictire tonight when I get home.

 

I have not used water to close up nail holes myself. It sounds good other than I wonder what happens when the wood dries out. Doest it open back up? That may be worth testing for future knowledge.

 

Small amounts of wood filler can also be used to fill in the holes. The thing to keep in mind with fillers is what kind of finish are you planning? A painted or coppered hull hides things very well and therefore the type and amount of filler is less important. A stained or just varnished hull allows the natural wood colors to come through however, using a minimum of filler and one that matches the wood color is a must so that it isn't as noticable.

 

Both are great choices as ships usually were painted to help protect the wood as well as display a countries colors. Using natural wood coloring takes a bit more planning as you have to think about how different woods look with each other and it is less forgiving but when cleaned up and varnished provides a unique beauty in itself. Personnaly I like natural wood but I have done both and again, no right or wrong to this. It is all the builders preference but ot is something to think about to know what your options are for planking mistakes and repairs.

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Off to a great start! The pictures are nice and definitely help us to give you advice. Plus we all enjoy seeing updates of the progress even if it is only part way done. When you get to the last few planks and clamps will not hold, that is when you are forced to rely more on nails and pins to hold the boards down or you can just use CA glue and hold hem in place with your fingers for the minute it takes the glue to set up. That is what I usually do as it takes longer to set nails or other clamping devices then it does for the glue to set.

 

As you come around the curve in the hull, make sure to taper the edges of the planks so that the top edges meet nice and flush with no gaps. That will make sanding easier later as you will not need any filler between them.

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Time for small update and question. I am moving along nicely almost 1/2 way to planking the hull. The paper clip clamps and predrilling holes for nails at bow and stern making it so much better. It's not perfect by long shot but for my first attempt, I am very pleased. Which is mostly due to great advice I have received.I liked my plank jig so much that I changed to bigger nails the flaw is that I got bands on my strakes liked mentioned on the article about paper clip camps. Any ideas on how to cover them up. There are only 4 strakes so far with bands. I wrapped scotch tape around each nail so I do not think it will be a further issue. I will post Picts later when I get close to finishing planking the hull.

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Take your time...easy does it (that they keep telling me also).

 

Inevitable trial and error will happen, but when you spot an issue early, it won't be much of an issue, because you can find a solution (here or common sense).

 

The right side of my build looks better than the left side, because I always start on the left side.

When I do the same thing on the right side...I already figured out how to do it better!  :rolleyes:

So with my first wooden ship...left is the "experimental" side and right is the "I learned something" side.  :P

 

You're eager to learn...your future is bright!

 

Robin :)

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Something I would suggest doing is to switch out the nails for wooden dowels. With the dowels being of a softer material that should prevent those bands and any indentations that the nails make. With bending remember that heat is your friend. With it, most of the wood used in ship kits will bend quite easily and so only a a few points are needed to physically bend the wood around.

 

Check out this thread. It contains a video of planking by Chuck that is worth watching for a few tips on bending planks.

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I will check it out E.J. I use very hot water and then heat from my plank bender while my strakes are on the jig to help the bend take. I will find out if the tape on the nails does the job tomorrow after setting over night. BTW E.J. I checked the rest of you build log. That is a VERY impressive ship. If I even get close to that quality, I will be a happy man.

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