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USS Constitution by JSGerson - Model Shipways Kit No. MS2040


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Ship’s Stove (Camboose)

This ship’s stove is totally scratch built without any solid plans to go by. The Camboose is more than likely a variant of a Brody Stove of which I have found some plans but none matched exactly what is on the ship today. As most of us do, I follow numerous other builders to see how they handled certain problems and challenges. In doing so, I discovered that BlueJacket’s model of the Constitution is supplied with photo etched parts to construct a stove albeit at 1:96 scale. Fortunately, I found a particularly good image online of these parts.

 

I scaled the image of the photo etched parts to match the US Navy arrangement plans of the gun deck at 76.8. Now I could measure the photo etched parts directly for my dimensions. I constructed the BlueJacket stove using card stock to get a feel of what I needed to do when I designed my stove out of wood. Stock and plywood.

BlueJacket Stove Parts.jpg

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In addition, I found a computer-generated image of that stove based on those parts. I now had a simplified image from which I could work from.

 

Using my highly sophisticated CAD program, MS PowerPoint (that’s a joke), I worked out how I was going to construct my stove. At the core, would be a solid block with 1/64” plywood side panels. This would provide the basic shape. All the other parts would be added to it.

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The edge of the tray was formed using card stock. It was initially glued on with CA glue and then lightly covered with addition CA glue to solidify it. BTW, most of the gluing was with PVC glue as it gives me a chance to make final adjustments before it sets. I also added some posts as a gluing surface.

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The last section to be completed was the forward-facing stove top. This was made from a piece of 1/64” plywood with beveled edges sitting on top of a piece of 1/32” plywood. Shown on the Navy plans and seen in the photographs, there are three oval and circular plates with handles. These things are exceedingly small and difficult to hold and shape. I tried slicing a thin dowel, but tiny pieces kept breaking off because the grain of the wood was perpendicular to the sliced flat surface. After numerous attempts only one survived. I ended up using 1/64” plywood filed to shape. The results were a bit ragged.

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Once the plates were formed, I had to think a bit as to how to make their handles. I elected to use thread. It’s strong and easily handled. With a No. 80 drill, two holes were carefully drilled into the plates and then threaded to form a loop. CA glue was applied on the underside which was drawn up through the hoes. The thread became solid when the glue set. The excess thread below was cut off and the bottom surface was sanded smooth. Finally, the stove top was glued into place.

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I might add some other details such as eye bolts and rings. However, considering that the whole stove is going to be painted black and place in a dark area below the spar deck, the effort to add more handles, a rod railing on the stove top, rivets which just can’t be seen, among other doodads is not worth the effort.

Camboose.jpg

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The stove tray dimensions were eyeballed and guesstimated from photos of the stove. The construction was simple enough. I used 1/64” plywood as the base and 1/8” x 1/8” basswood stock for the sides. I finally got to try out my clamp for making square frames for the first time after having purchased it so many years ago. All my other attempts to use it were failures because as small as it is, it was too big for most of my constructs I was attempting.

 

I got a nice result but trimmed off 1/32” from all four sides because the walls just looked too wide to my eyes. Based on the photos, I first painted the tray black, then used copper tape I got at a crafts store, to plate to top of the tray walls and partially down the sides. This copper tape is much thinner than the copper tape supplied by the kit for the hull plating.

Stove Tray.png

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At this point I said to myself, “awe what the hell” and added a couple pieces of 1/64” plywood to each side of the stove to simulate side door panels and some eye bolts and rings. I also added a thin whitewash to the surface of the tray as well as to the surface of the tray inside the stove. This again is to reflect what I saw in the photos. Unless there is a strong light on the stove, most of these minimal details will be lost to the viewer in the completed model. Final mounting of the stove to the gun deck will after I have constructed and positioned the chain bitts and their associated accouterments

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JJT - The reason the kit does not provide a stove is that the kit was not designed to have a viewable gun deck. All the kit has is the stove's Charlie Noble (stack) protruding on the spar deck. I chose to add the gun deck which means everything on it has to be scratch built if it's going to be seen or partially viewable.

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If you look at my original PowerPoint layout and the computer drawing, you will notice the stove hood is shaped like a trapezoid with a somewhat square box on top. The BlueJacket stove parts just had the trapezoid which made their stove’s height correct. When I converted my original design to match BlueJacket’s configuration, I incorporated the box’s height which I shouldn’t of. So, either I can somehow slice off the stove’s hood and rebuild a proper one or I must start over.

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Well, I got lucky. I was able to slice off the excess portion of the stove hood as disassemble the back plate from the remaining portion of the stove. The stove was held together with PVC glue because it gave me a chance to make final adjustments before the glue set. I had used just enough glue to hold everything together but not super bonded that I could pry it apart.

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Nikolay - If you are referring to the tapering at the bow and stern, I bent the planks first, then tapered them to fit.  I knew how wide the planks had to be at each bulkhead and sanded them down by hand till they matched what I had calculated prior. The planks were tapered no more than half the original width. Because I had already formed the plank curve prior to tapering, I did not induce much stress to break the wood. 

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Gun Deck Chain Bitts

Working from the stove position, fabricating the chain bitts logically follows. The bitts are somewhat shaped like a small oil drum on top of a bigger oil drum. Using US Navy Plan 22167, I got most of the basic dimensions.

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The lower portion of the bitt worked out to be ½” diameter while the upper portion came out to be approximately 3/8” diameter. What makes the construct a bit more complex is the top surface of the lower wider portion has a tilted surface, a difference in height of 1/8” scale between one side and the other. My solution to this fabrication puzzle was to first drill a hole 3/8” in diameter straight through the ½” dowel on a lathe enough for 4 bitts using progressively larger drills. Next, I sliced 4 pieces off making 4 tall wooden donuts. Then, using my disc sander, I tilted the sanding plate 9° and sanded one surface to create the bitt’s tilted surface. Then I sliced a 3/8” dowel into four 5/8” pieces. Each of the pieces were then inserted into the donuts and voila…I have the basis of chain bitts.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The next component is what I call the chain bitt rails, the swooping rail forward of each bitt. Scaling down from the Navy plans, I worked out the basic block dimensions I need to cut these rails from. The long pair was 3/8” H x 5/32” W x 1 7/8” L and the shorter pair was 7/8” L. Because the rail was bare wood, I chose to use boxwood, but as it turned out, I only had 3/16” x 5/32” stock. Thus, I glued two pieces together to get the required height.

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With the use of a French Curve, I guesstimated the curve shape and end points and drew them onto the rail blanks. Then with my scroll saw I cut them out. You will notice in the photos below, there seems to be a discrepancy with the before and after cut of the short rails. When the “before” photo was taken I had drawn the wrong curve length. This was caught before I made any cuts but didn’t retake the photo.

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The rails had three coats of wipe-on poly applied and then I added the eye bolts and rings. The bitts were a bit more complicated. I had to guesstimate where exactly metal cladding started and stopped because I couldn’t find anything on the Navy plans and none of my reference library photos were shot with the purpose of showing the cladding details as their subjects.

 

The navy plans do show the L-shaped bitt “guide” (?) so I was able fabricate those out of stock .016” copper plate which just happens to be almost the exact required thickness scale. The rods just above the guide were not in the Navy plans, so those were just eyeballed.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gun Deck Capstan

This capstan will be my first scratch capstan construct. I have the US Navy plan No. 29621 “Capstans” with a lot of the detail. It indicates only the major dimensions. If I had the full-size plan, then the scales on the plan would have been useful, but I don’t. Obviously, mine are printed on my home printer so the marked scales are useless. However, the dimensions for various lengths of items shown on the plan can be used to determine the 1:76.8 scale required.

 

1.       Measure the longest indicated dimension (for accuracy) shown on the plan with a ruler.

           e.g. 5 27/64” measured = 11’ 9 ½” indicated on plan

 

2.       Calculate what 1” or 1/32” would represent on the drawing

          1” calculated = 26.1” on plan

          1/32” calculated = .816” (~13/16”) on plan

 

3.       Measure a length from the plans with no indicated dimensions and multiple it by the appropriate conversion multiplier then divide by 76.8

          e.g. measured 7/32” from the plan:

·          7 x .816 = 5.712

·         5.712/76.8 = 0.074” or about 5/64” (0.0781”) scale

29621001_2 - Capstans.jpg

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I did this for all the dimensions I thought necessary. And yes, I did get lost and confused in the computations and had to constantly check and recheck my math. Once I had my dimensions, I could then figure out what size stock wood I would need. In this case, because there are a lot of small intricate parts, I chose boxwood for its ability to hold a crisp edge which was essential for all the small intricate parts. Normally if the wood were to be painted, I would have chosen basswood. No point in using the good stuff if its going to be covered in paint. In some cases, I used 1/64” plywood for its ability not to split.

 

In the image below, the first four disc parts on the left will become the capstan base The remaining disc pieces will support the six whelps when attached to the shaft. They were all cut from sheet stock and sanded and filed to shape. The shaft is a 5/16” dia. dowel.

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