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USS Constitution Cross Section by stevenmh (Steve Herzberg) - Mamoli - Scale 1:93


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I've finally decided to take the plunge and start my first wooden model.  I don't have much experience working with wood (although a friend and I did recently complete a wooden truss-tube telescope - his 3rd, my 1st - but that involved mostly square cuts at a much larger scale), so I thought this cross section would be a good way to get my feet wet, so to speak.  With this kit I think I can learn some of the basic skills I will need without getting too caught up right away with learning to bend planks, learn how to strop and rig blocks (3mm blocks!  How do you work with those?) and enjoy seeing how the rigging comes together.

 

I've already figured out things I would have done differently, but I think for the most part they will not affect the final look. You will see in some of the pictures below that the planking seems to be at an angle, and not perpendicular to the frames - in reality the spacers are not parallel to the keel but the planking is - should have scribed a line on the frames where the spacers go.

 

I've decided to follow one suggestion I came across in one of the really excellent build logs I've come across and plank the hold up to the point where the deck beams attach and use the planking to keep the support level.

 

One question on bending the deck beams - the plans call for gluing 2 strips of lathe together and putting it in a jig to get the right curve - I am assuming I can just smother the wood in glue and bend and place it in the jig (with wax paper to keep it from sticking to anything else) and it would keep its shape when dry (that is what we did to create the one curved piece on the telescope).  Is that correct, or do I need to wet the wood, soak it, putting it in vinegar or rubbing alcohol?

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

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Steve, good decision on the cross section. They give you just enough to experience a little bit of everything without becoming overwhelming.

 

As for your planking running slantwise across the frames, I would recommend trying to straighten them out before you get too far. The easiest way would be to cut an angle across one plank that will bring the others back into place. Try to do it somewhere that won't be noticed and no one will know. It is more of a cosmetic issue than function but as it is an easy fix to something that may continue to bug you later I would do it. Also, make sure you pay out the exterior planks so this doesn't happen there. The interior isn't as visible once all the furniture and accessories are in place but the exterior will always be seen. A little extra time measuring will pay off huge later on. 

 

I'll pull up a chair and follow along. You have made a good start on her and I'm looking forward to seeing more as you progress.

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The more I look at your pictures the more I think you may be right. With the spacers crooked it is throwing of my perspective of what is square. If I cover them up then it looks much better! :)

 

I don't see much out of place with your frames fairing either as all the planks seem to be laying down flush across the frames and I don't see any frame in or out more than the others. Always double check but I think you may be good to go! Have fun!

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While waiting to see if any of my experiments with bending the wood for the deck beams actually works (smother in wood glue; soak in water for a couple of hours, let dry pinned in the curve overnight and then glue and put back in the pins) I started looking ahead.  In one respect the kit seems a bit inaccurate - while there are five beams per deck, the kit comes with only 4 knees (2 per side) per deck, and those knees attach to the side of the beams, not underneath them.  The knees provided are hanging knees, there are no lodge knees nor any diagonal knees.  I've seen may pictures of this ship with diagonal knees, and I have a page of the plans from 1926 that show all three types of knees.  Am I missing something here, or is the kit? 

 

If I wanted to make diagonal knees, does anyone know a trick to getting the curve for the side against the hull - I expect it will not be exactly the same as the curve for the hanging knees.

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First deck beam dry-fit in place.  Seems drowning in glue and putting the beams in a form does not really work, so I soaked the parts, let dry a bit, glued and held the curve in place with pins for several days.  Now on to the rest.

 

I was looking at a log by Tuffants (seems to have ended in mid stream quite a while ago, unfortunately) who was doing some interesting things I am going to try to emulate.  I may be biting off more than I can chew with my limited woodworking experience, but what the heck.  He put in more of the deck framing and left some of it exposed by not planking a portion of the deck.  I thought that was part of the point of doing a cross section, so would like to try my hand.  He also added some structures to the hold that added interest, and may not actually be that difficult.  Hopefully the kit, or a nearby hobby store, has the extra wood I might need.

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While waiting to see if any of my experiments with bending the wood for the deck beams actually works (smother in wood glue; soak in water for a couple of hours, let dry pinned in the curve overnight and then glue and put back in the pins) I started looking ahead.  In one respect the kit seems a bit inaccurate - while there are five beams per deck, the kit comes with only 4 knees (2 per side) per deck, and those knees attach to the side of the beams, not underneath them.  The knees provided are hanging knees, there are no lodge knees nor any diagonal knees.  I've seen may pictures of this ship with diagonal knees, and I have a page of the plans from 1926 that show all three types of knees.  Am I missing something here, or is the kit? 

 

If I wanted to make diagonal knees, does anyone know a trick to getting the curve for the side against the hull - I expect it will not be exactly the same as the curve for the hanging knees.

 

Steve. Have you seen the cross section being built by Modeler12 ?? He is doing his from scratch and I know that he has done extensive work on the knees.

(See his log from about page 7 and onwards)

Edited by CaptainSteve
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Hey folks,

 

Steve, I'm interested in your log as well as in the model itself which I was considering to do in my break period from Corsair :)

 

May I use this opportunity and ask you what do you think about the model quality? The instructions? Since eventually I'll pretty much just follow them and use what's inside the box and will be more than happy to get some feedback :cheers:

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Thanks Captain - I had the Modeler 12 log on my list of ones to go through, but hadn't yet.  Now I will - incredible work.

 

Rainbow - as this is my first wooden kit I don't have anything to compare it with from the point of view of materials.  My kit is also of somewhat strange provenance; I got it off ebay from someone selling things out of his father's estate so am not sure how old it is or if all the pieces will end up being present (I know there is supposed to be more than the one size of tan rigging line that came in the box).  I can tell you that the instructions are a bit skimpy - the parts list is in Italian, the English instructions are poorly translated, so I am really depending on the logs of others, particularly Tuffarts and AndyMech, both of whom have done amazing stuff.

 

Below are today's experiments with coloring barrel hoops - I was having a hard time imagining that I could paint the hoops and not go outside the lines.  So I used drawing pencils instead (hardness F & #2 for these) and I think there is some promise in this method - just got to keep from rubbing it off before I get them in place.  I may try a matt poly on one.

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Just some woodworking experiments for the hold storage rack, additional knees and notching the Keelson to accommodate the foot for the mast if I decide to make a bit more prominent keelson, as shown in the PDF (if it actually attaches).  The PDF also shows a different arrangement of posts supporting the deck beams from what is in the kit plans - will likely go with those also.

 

 

 

p mid-ship sec.pdf

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Not much progress in the last week.  I noticed, when test fitting some exterior planks, that one frame is a bit wider measuring across the cross section than 3 others and the 5th one (which sits next to the wide one and is an end frame) is significantly narrower - planking as is would leave a gap between the plank and frame right on the forward end of the model.  

 

Soooo - when Thanksgiving is over and the guests leave and the guest room reverts to my winter workshop (my summer workshop is in the unheated garage) I will take some weights and/or clamps and try to bend the narrow frame outboard a bit.  

 

I also had a design question (and I've also posted this question in the Plans and Project Research forum), since I am doing a  cross section I figured I would also try to expose some of the guts, in particular I wanted to leave some of the deck planking off and show the structure of the framing.  Most of the plans I have seen, including those in the Anatomy of the Ship volume, show the carlings (joists) perpendicular to the deck beams/parallel to the keel.  However, drawings I've seen from 1926 before the refit show them running diagonally.  There are also photos in the Boston Public Library's digital photo collection that show the same thing - I'm just not sure if these are before or after refit photos.

 

My question is which is "correct."  Are the diagonal or the perpendicular carlings as she should be or is one an artifact of a non-historic refit?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Slow progress still, but progress.  I have some concerns that the outer hull planking is, in fact, slanted so I decided to start from the top rail and work my way down and see how bad it is, or is not.  Whatever corrections I would have to make would be hidden under the copper plates, so not fatal.  But, as you can see, between my beginner's workmanship and the quality of the wood - especially the 3mm strips, the Conny looks like it is already in need of a refit, and lots of wood filler.

 

I have also started on the platform I want to add - this experiment is being done with an exacto knife to cut out the joints, rather than trying to hold my rotary tool steady.  Router, what router???

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Nice work on your cross-section, Steve.

 

I can see what you mean about the wood quality. Fortunately, Connie is mostly painted (on the exterior, anyway), so you should be able to cover that up quite successfully. If it were me, I'd think about applying a thin coat of PVA on that planking and then sanding it back with a fine grit sandpaper. The sawdust will go into the rough parts of the planking, helping to even it out. You may need to change your sand-paper, as it will become clogged.

 

Once completely dry, a coat of sanding sealer, followed by Connie's trade-mark black and white colours should help to fix things.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday; now back to work.

 

I didn't like the way the platform looked - too big taking up too much of the hold, so I cut it down a bit, leaving more room for ballast, casks and whatever else I can stuff in there.  Now on to planking the rest of the exterior and fabricating the knees so I can start putting together the berth deck framing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Took a bit of a break for the holidays, and to set up my new winter quarters in the basement - much darker and dingier than the garage, but a heck of a lot warmer.

 

Platform frame is done, all the legs in place (although they still need to be sanded/chamfered - if that is even a word).  Note the cleat holding up the back of the platform.

 

I am also starting to make the knees I will need.  The brownish one is the original, the lighter ones are the ones I am making in various stages of fabrication.  Almost impossible to contemplate doing dozens of these without power tools (I've been cutting these out with exacto knives, tiny chisels and a jeweler's saw), so I am going to mount a jig saw under a board to use as a scroll/band saw of sorts.  I am using 3/32" basswood, but have had a problem with it splitting across the "tail" of the knees while sanding.  I think I might need to use a different wood - any suggestions?  

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Steve:

Your model is coming along well. Nice work.

 

Basswood is soft enough that it is liable to split. Any wood might split because you are making a piece in which some part of it will be have to shaped/sanded across the grain. That is what you having trouble with. A harder wood like cherry or boxwood will be less likely to split. Mahogany and walnut will most likely not work well as they are rather open grained. Beech would work, as will most other close and fine grained nut woods.

 

Years ago I made a scratch built cross section model and used crooks from smaller tree limbs to make my knees. It worked out very well and looked much more realistic. Without a table saw to slab off the thickness you need, it might not work for you.

 

Russ

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Been quietly following you from afar.

 

Your work bench looks familiar, hmmm, seems like I've seen it before. I know, I have one exactly like it! I got mine from Harbor Freight last year. It not a bad deal for the price.

 

I've always been told that to do a job right, you need the right tool and it this case I think you're going to have to bite the bullet and get a scroll saw. It will make your model building a whole lot more pleasant and more productive.

 

As for the wood, I try to avoid Basswood altogether if I can, it doesn't sand smooth (gets "fuzzys") and it doesn't hold an edge well. I prefer boxwood. Its a nice hard wood and a pleasure to work with.

 

Jon

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