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For more years than I care to remember I have been building a model of the Great Lakes Steamship Benjamin Noble. A couple of years ago, I started to plate the hull with brass sheet stock using 3M transfer tape. This tape is adhesive deposited on a waxed paper backing. The tape is applied to the brass plate, the paper is peeled off and the plate is now coated with adhesive. Plates are approximately 1in by 3in. After laying down one strake of plating, I let the hull sit for a week or so and found that the tape had failed to hold the corners of the plates. The model has been sitting while I work on another project.


I am now to the point to try again, this time using copper sheet secured with contact cement but the brands of cement that I have found all say don't use with copper or copper bearing alloys. Considering the number of copper sheathed hulls that have been made, someone must have discovered a contact cement that is compatible with copper.


Any advice?



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The original Model Shipways had a catalog with methods included.  One of them

was to attach copper plates to a hull using Weldwood contact cement.  They also

suggested heating the plates in a flame to give each plate a different shade and

remove the new penny look.  I did both to the hull of the schooner Eagle.

The look was attractive to me.  Then... after several years the plates began to fall

off.  The wood behind the copper was copper colored.

I do not know if it was the copper or the oxidized layer that caused the bond failure.

I will not do that again though.

If I were of a mind to try that again, I would use a clear thin epoxy - as much of a PITA -

doing that much epoxy would be.  It is definitely more involved than fixing eye bolts and such.


My current thinking is to use 100% rag bond dissertation paper, sealed and painted with actual copper

paint and attached with PVA.  Then do the verdigris reaction step.

The adhesive backed foil looks much easier, but I do not trust the long term bond and  it can't be heated

 because of the adhesive.

NRG member 45 years



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La Renommee 1744 Frigate - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


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Hello Roger, Les here. Solvent based contact is a good choice. Pre prime areas to be covered with a gloss coat of anything you like. That way the contact has a good bonding surface. Coat both sides with a thin covering of contact. Wait till dry to the touch then apply. Be aware however that grab will be  instantaneous, with no way to reposition. When doing compound curves, pre form the piece before bonding otherwise you may get a crease when trying to laminate it. This applies to coverings that aren't backed with an adhesive.

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Solvent based contact cement will work for copper plates but there are two disadvantages. First, the solvent is way bad for you and second the cement will ultimately oxidize and fail. I suggest using super glue. A small drop in the center will do. You should also make sure you have good ventilation with super glue. Modellers Shipyard (Australia) has a very good DVD on how to apply copper plates. Well worth the cost.

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  • 1 year later...

With my latest build S/S Maaninka I covered the hull with 0,05 mm thick aluminium plates. These were glued with long curing time epoxy made by Loctite. This gives you the possibility to fine tune the position of the plates, which contact cement doesn't. A messy work, but so far no disintegration has happened.

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