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This is the official start of my Mayflower build log though I have been posting pictures and comments for about a week on RichieG's log.  Thanks RG for loaning me the space.

 

I'll dispense with all of the photos of the box and its contents.  This is the Modelshipways kit with the great 52 page instruction booklet by Chuck Passaro.  Thank you Chuck for including this...its wonderful and actually was the deciding factor in my purchasing this kit.  The booklet can be viewed on-line before buying the kit for anyone interested.  http://www.historicships.com/TALLSHIPS/Model Shipways/Mayflower/MS2020-Mayflower-Instructions.pdf

 

The kit arrived in 2 days even though I paid for 7-10 day shipping.  Nice people at Model Shipways.

 

I did a complete inventory of the parts and wood supply and was amazed at what accuracy everything was supplied.  If there are supposed to be 80 pieces of planking, there are 80 pieces.  Not 79 or 81, but 80.  Same for stuff like cleats and rings and pins.  The only thing I didn't count was tacks.  I trust there will be enough.  Now it remains to be seen if MS has allowed for some breakage and loss overboard.  We shall see.

 

My only disappointment is in the metal platforms or "crows nests" that are supplied pre-cast.  They're a bit tacky.  But MS probably knows this and the instructions detail how to scratch build your own from wood.  Which I plan to do.  Same for a capstan.

 

Its going to be interesting working at 1:78 scale and in fractions.  My only previous build, Bounty, was 1:48 and measured in metrics which I got very used to and find so much easier to use at these small sizes.  Whatever happened to Jimmy Carter's plan to put the country on the metric system.  Was supposed to happen within a decade.  I guess we Americans don't give up our old ways easily.

 

There are 4 sheets of plans which, along with the booklet, seem detailed enough.  Without the booklet I would say they would be not quite sufficient. 

 

My only worry on receiving the kit was whether or not the profile former (used to be called the false keel), which from here on I am going to abbreviate as PF, would be warped.  My Bounty false keel was a bit warped and I stubbornly pushed on with the build without attempting to get a replacement from Artesiana Latina.  I think if I had waited I would still be waiting and that was 3 1/2 years ago.  I know RichieG needed to return his and today I learned its either arrived or on its way.  But mine is flat as a pancake if not quite as fluffy.  So overall, my satisfaction with the quality of this kit and the bang for the buck is A+.  I was looking for a model of historic importance that was not as large as Bounty (who has that kind of shelf space?), has some rigging but not nearly the degree of complex lines as Bounty had (and which in the end caused me to stop the build), and which I could have fun building with a lot less complications, research and questions.  I think this Mayflower is going to accomplish all that. 

 

 

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ha! brought to you by poplular demand indeed!

As you know, I'll be following along with this build, as I do my own in my newly private log. I feel like I just kicked out my roommate and I have the whole place to myself;)

I haven't received the new parts yet, but it should be within a few days now. I'll let you know.

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SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE 4-9-17

Nice time to sit quietly, sip a steaming latte and contemplate and report on what's been accomplished over the weekend.  I'm now in the process of gluing in the 14 bulkheads (completed 8 of them and hope to do the final 6 before going to bed tonight).  Here's a brief run down on how the process has gone....

 

To begin with, the first step is always popping the parts out of their templates.  To me this is the most onorous, boring, time consuming and even fatiguing process there is in kit building.  For the PF and bulkheads its always the thickest plywood (in this case 3/8ths) and I've always got the fear of snapping one of these off.  I use a #11 blade which I know to be quite sharp (just purchased 100 new ones from MicroMark for $21) but my handle is just an aluminium tube that I've had for 40 years.  Probably a good handle would reduce the fatigue.   So this step took quite a while but in the end, with new found patience, I broke nothing and got all the pieces removed.

 

Next was to remove the 'char.'  I noted to RichieG that all the pieces and the template itself looked like it had gone through the London Fire.  Seriously discolored.  Not just the cut edges but even the flat surfaces (not however the one good side of the plywood with reference marks).  So began the sanding off of char process.  Question then became how much to sand off?  I've learned from the past that I can get pretty aggressive and actually take off so much wood that I later have to compensate for it.  I wanted to be sure I left the shape and dimensions of these bulkheads exactly as cut.  Its important to visualize that the top edge of the bulkhead becomes the cross beams for each of the decks. 
So they have a slight concave shape that needs to be maintained.  I decided after consultation that removing char does nothing more than prep the wood for gluing (I'll stand corrected if this conclusion is wrong), so it only needs to rough up any "shine" or slick areas -- in other words, open up the pores so glue can adhere better.  No need to sand darkened areas down to new wood.  That would be far too much. 

 

TEST FITTINGS

 

So now my PF and bulkheads are ready for test fitting.  I've never thought it worthwhile to invest in one of those thingies that hold the PF (or false keel) in place and purport to guarantee that the bulkheads are squared up.  Instead I use the vise that I have from my full size Delta 15" drill press.  It can be seen in some of the pix I'll attach. 

 

 

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Continuing on where the last reply left off -- I've not yet learned how to insert a photo and then continue with the text.  All my pix seem to end up at the bottom of the reply.

 

I mentioned in my first comments that the PF was perfectly flat; no warpage.  So the test fitting did not have any issues with that sort of thing.  It was all a matter of sanding the notches a bit to get the pieces to slide into each other and still be snug.  I found that sometimes it also helps to sand the surface of the bulkhead on both sides.  This tiny bit of wood removal is usually enough to get the open notch to slide down the face of the bulkhead.  Nerve racking when in the process you can't get the bulkhead out.  Don't want to break that keel in half.  Finger pressure is the only answer.  Hands acting like one of those tools auto mechanics use to pull out gears and bearings.

 

Now my big question was:  Are you supposed to slide the two grooves together ALL THE WAY so the bottoms of the notches bang up against each other?  Because if you do, I was seeing that in some cases the tops of the bulkheads stood proud of the top edge of the PF, and sometimes the tops ended up lower than the PF.  I sensed that it is important that the tops all lie flush.  Here's a pic or two to illustrate.  Then I have to run to breakfast and get the day underway.  But, like McArthur, I shall return.  Note that photograph seems to magnify the problem.  In the first pic below it looks like the bulkhead is sitting a half inch below the PF.  In fact, the worst case was 1.5 mm.

 

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So as I was saying.  I wasn't sure exactly how the bulkheads should be positioned.  Should the tops be flush?  Should the bottoms of the two grooves butt up to each other?  Or should the lowest part of the bulkhead (where it narrows to just the width of the PF) just be on the bearding line?  There were reasons to think any of those might be the best, but in the end I decided to make the tops flush and I used shims to make that happen.  In one case where the bulkhead was higher than the PF I filed the notch a bit deeper (filed both the PF notch and the bulkhead notch).  Here's a shot of the shims.  I used some .6mm deck planking from my last build and for the deepest one I used a bit of a Starbuck's swizzle stick.  These just continue to come in handy.  I'm thinking of building a scratch build completely out of swizzle sticks.

 

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Still can't get the hang of how to insert pix where I really want them or to caption them.  Best I can do is do a write up and add the photos at the end.

 

With this issue out of the way there are two more operations to do before gluing the bulkheads in.  First the rabbet strip is to be glued to the bottom of the PF, and its to be placed precisely in the center of the PF along its entire length.  The rabbet has to curve up the bow and I didn't think it could be done without first soaking the wood and pre-bending it on a jig.  Cutting the jig from balsa on a Dremel scroll saw was a breeze.  I've found that a trick to making small curved drying jigs is to cut notches at 90 degrees from where you will want to clamp down the wet strip, allowing a clamp to close squared up to the jig and not slip.  I soaked the 3/16th rabbet strip for half hour in boiling water and put it on the jig.  Let it dry overnight.  Conformed perfectly to the bow's curve and glued on nicely.

 

 

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Well I kill two birds with one stone... I soften up the wood and I prepare my pasta dinner.  Seriously though, I told you before I tend to do things to excess just so later on I don't have to ask myself questions like: didn't I soak it long enough? or did I use enough glue?  When I was soaking planking strips for Bounty (3mm in thickness)

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Going on with the build.  After the rabbet strip was on it was time to taper the stern.  Instructions said to taper from the bearding line to the rabbet and to taper from the 3/16th inch nominal thickness of the PF to 3/32nds.  This meant take a bit off the rabbet that was just glued on.  A little math therefore indicated to taper the rabbet 1/64th on each side.  This is getting pretty tough to visualize so its important to just take small amounts of wood off each side of the stern in multiple passes, giving it the eye test frequently, and then dig into the rabbet just a little more on each of its sides to complete the job.  I used a flat file for most of the job and a 320 grit paper to finish it.  I think this is one area where perfection isn't required on this first pass cause later on when planking this area will be faired into the contour of the hull anyway.

 

The first pic below shows the area to be tapered.  Second is work in process.  Third is my method of double checking my eye test.

 

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And no, I didn't smash my thumb with a hammer.  Dog bit me 55 years ago and its never healed normally.

 

Now I'm ready to start gluing in the bulkheads.  As I type I have 2 of the 3 remaining bulkheads drying and I'll get the last one on later this afternoon.  Again, I'm in no rush so I leave the glue to dry at least 3 hours before messing around further with it.  This being Monday, I guess I've taken four or five days to glue in all 14 of the bulkheads.  What's the hurry when you're having a good time.  And, I will add, I am having a great time.  So far, the experience of working with bulkheads v. frames and accurately laser cut pieces v. rather inaccurate ones is like night and day.  Like getting a massage v. going to the dentist.  Its just very satisfying to watch the pieces go together like a tight puzzle without all the adjustments, major and minor, that my first build entailed.

 

There isn't a lot to describe as far as the process.  I think the one question that most neophytes (like me still) have here is how much glue to use and where to put it.  Maybe its just me??  I come from a general woodworking background so I continue to favor brushing on glue to cover the full surface of  both halves of mating parts -- as opposed to spot gluing.  In this case that means painting a very thin coat of Elmer's carpenters glue (yellow) into the edges of the notches and the little bottom of the notch, and in some places putting glue onto the flat surface of the bulkhead where the notch edges finally come to rest.  The only thing I found was that this glue is pretty thick to begin with and in one or two cases it made for pushing the bulkhead into place very hard indeed.  Even after the bulkhead had slid in easily but snugly on testing.  I've lightened up on the amount of glue put down and that has worked well for the last 8 bulkheads.  One thing is for sure: once the glue dries these are solid.

 

They were all very squred to the PF to begin with, but I used various types of square things to clamp into the corner joints to hold the bulkhead while it dried.  Again, overkill?  Probably.  But its a useful thing to do in building many other structures, so I like to be consistent in my process.  Tomorrow I'll be starting on phase 2 of this build.  So far I'm more than pleased with the results.

 

 

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Looks good, Al. As far as how much glue to use for the bulkheads, the answer it probably not too much. You can tell that they get pretty stuck even before the glue dries. And it you want to strengthen the joint after the fact, some people seem to brush diluted wood glue over the joint. It's all covered up eventually, so it doesn't have to look pretty. But, I think even that will prove unnecessary, as you have rock steady joints the way you've done it.

I will mention that, as I was reading some of the other build logs on here, that there was a comment from Chuck that it was a good idea to taper the stern to a bit less than 3/32", (maybe 1/16") but I don't know how critical that is. It sounds like after it's planked, you'll have to thin out the stern by sanding down the planking, and you'll have to do that more if you've left the PF on the thicker side, and less if you've thinned it more. But I'm sure it will work out in the end.

If you're looking for things to do while the glue is drying, (and I know this because I'm looking for things to do while I'm waiting on replacement parts) you might want to paint the inside edges of the little window on bulkhead 4B black (although there's enough laser char in mine to make that almost unnecessary.) That process is described on page 12, right hand column, full paragraph 2.

Soon, you'll be putting the filler pieces in place. I look forward to seeing it. Just a reminder: both fore mast fillers go on the port side! (all of the other ones go one on each side)

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Some of us add squared up blocking to the joint between bulkhead & center plate, to keep things aligned if it gets knocked about.

Don't forget to trim the heels of your bulkheads to match the bearding line.  That's part of fairing the frame, but you can do it now if you like.

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Thanks Richie and JB for the pointers.  After I finish up the last bulkhead this morning I will look to doing (or not yet) all those little chores.  Richie, I'm not positive of this but pretty sure that there are actually 3 fore mast fillers.  Two for the port side as you noted, and I think there is one for the starboard side.  Something for me to check on.

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My mistake, Al, you are right. There are 2 port foremast fillers (with notches on top), and 1 starboard foremast filler without a notch. They are distinct pieces, though, so make sure both with the notches go on the port side.

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And speaking of distinguishing little pieces from one another -- when you get to putting on the bow fillers, there are two other pieces that look exactly the same but there is a very very slight difference in shape.  These are the two bow false decks.  Mine were not labeled either on the pieces themselves or the template, so I had to do a bit of testing this way and that.  If you get them wrong there will be a bit of overhang beyond the BF that you might think just needs to be faired off.  But no, when the pieces are right there is not much overhang if any.  Note that the bow fillers go on vertically and the bow false decks are horizontal.  And the fillers are not placed flush to the top of the BF, but are the thickness of the false deck pieces (I guess they are all the 3/16th ply) below the level of the BF top edge.  So when you place the false decks on the bow fillers their top surface lies flush to the top edge of the BF and the deck will lay flat across the whole thing.

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All the bulkheads are now glued in and the fillers (bow, main, mizzen and foremast) as well.  All except for the two foremast fillers on port side which are a story in themselves.

Putting these in was pretty straightforward and easy.  Not much explanation needed other than to get them oriented correctly so the top edges match the slope of the bulkhead former.  There is a slant to the BF which will create the slope of the decks from the bow and stern towards the center.  Its not a huge angle but its possible to ignore it and think that the mismatch between the fillers' shape and the BF is just something that can be sanded down later.  I guess it could.  Probably wouldn't be any harm done; just alot of work and dust.  So here's my work for today, starting with the completed bulkheads and running through the several fillers.

 

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Before going into the story of the foremast filler and its eyebolt, I should point out what may or may not be an error in my placement of the bow's false decks.  Notice that in the pics (with bulkhead E) when I used the reference lines etched into the bulkhead to position the two false decks, I placed the reference line at the top of the bottom 3rd ply of the false deck piece.  I thought I was following the instruction pictures precisely.  This position put the top surface of the false decks right flush to the top edge of the BF.  Since there will be deck planks laid over this whole area, I thought (and still do) that it had to be smooth and flush across the surface.  So a couple hours later when its dried and I'm futzing around with other stuff and looking at the photos in the instruction book, I see where the instructions explicitly point to positioning the reference lines at the bottom of the top 3rd ply.  If I had done that the top of the BF would have stood proud of the false decks by a 1/16th of an inch.  A lot of sanding down.  On closer look at the instruction's photo I can tell that the decks and the BF are flush.  So what gives?  Did I make a mistake or what?  Once again, I think this is a no harm no foul kind of thing.  I have to believe that to plank the decks it needs to be flush and I can't believe the mfr would expect you to sand off 1/16th of an inch when there is no reason to.  So I move on and will sleep soundly tonight.

 

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The last of the fillers, for the foremast required some decision making as to whether to go with the ideas in the manual or to improvise.  There are three fillers.  One goes on the starboard side and the other two on port.  I decided I would glue the two port fillers together before gluing into the bulkheads.  Essentially there are two of them cause the mfr did not want to supply a 3/8 inch filler block when everything else was cut from 3/16ths ply.  So sandwich two together and you get the 3/8ths inch block. 

 

In the real world there was a 'ramshead block' just below deck level sitting on a cut out in this filler (in real life I don't think it was called a filler block).  The ramshead block was accessible from a hatch above it, and had some standing rigging lines rove through it and up to a block above deck.  The real Mayflower had a triple sheave ramshead block down there.  For whatever reason the kit mfr did not supply a part for this but suggests that it be simulated by putting an eyebolt into the center of this cutout and hooking a double block to the eyebolt.  We're asked to glue the wire hook to the bottom of the 1/8th inch double block.  Later when we're rigging we'll string the line from above to the double block and hook it to the eyebolt before putting tension on it.  Here's a pic of what it would look like -- admitedly ragged, but here I'm just experimenting.  Mine has the hook stropped to the block and not glued to the bottom.  Mine is also a slightly larger block (left over from previous build).

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I wanted to simplify the whole thing, make something more authentic (though it won't be seen much) and stronger (stronger than gluing the tip of a wire to a block with CA).  My stropped block would have been stronger but not as authentic.  So I wondered why a wooden ramshead block couldn't just be made and glued to the bottom of the cut out.  I did a mockup with a bit of 4mmx4mm walnut, drilling .5 mm holes to act as the sheaves.  I liked it so I made the decision to go with it.  Below is a pic of this block being glued onto the filler.  When its dry I'll glue the whole thing into place.  And that will just about finish up the framing of Mayflower.

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Hi Al, nice work so far.

 

Regarding your question about placing the pics where you want to in the post - too easy :D .

 

I usually upload all the pics for the post first, type in the first bit of the post, then when I want to add the 1st pic I click on the "+" button in the bottom-left of that pic. Type in the next paragraph or two until you want to add another pic and repeat the process for the next pic etc.

 

Cheers, Danny

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Al, those bow false decks are clearly meant to be exactly flush with the BF, and laser-etched line looks like it's right at the middle of the thickness of the false decks. I think the confusion is that we have 3-ply plywood, but the material he's using in the prototype looks like it has more plys (although it's still 3/16"). I don't think it'll matter too much, but look at the picture in the book: those bow false decks are perfectly flush with the bulkhead former. I think what you've done looks great. You might want to turn that wood block with holes in it 90 degrees to match the way the eye bolt was supposed to go, but I don't know if it will matter at all.

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