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Pride of Baltimore 2 by jdbondy -FINISHED- Model Shipways - 1:64 scale


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Ladies and gentlemen, there is no more postponing it. Time to start my building log. About 20 years late, but hey, better late than never. I am taking great pains to make sure I properly title this log, ccoyle, and I hope to do you proud.

 

In 1995, when I was beginning my residency training, I invested about $130 in the Model Shipways kit for the Pride of Baltimore 2. I had built some simpler models and would complete at least one other before cracking open the Pride 2 box. But it was exciting to know that it was there waiting for me to wrap up my other projects. It would be the first serious fully rigged model I would build.

 

Looking at the 6 sheets of plans really got the imagination going. Exciting, yes, but also terrifying for a young model builder to look at. The details are overwhelming. Just the bowsprit netting seemed to suggest that I would never be able to complete it!

 

It is now 2017. My wife and I now have two boys who are 15 and 17 years old. Since 1995, the internet has come into existence and so has Model Ship World. So this building log will involve a lot of “retrospective” posts. At the current time, the foremast is installed and rigging of the foremast and bowsprit is proceeding. But I figured it is never too late to begin a builders log even if it is retrospective. I am doing pretty good photo documentation as of a couple of years ago; the documentation of the early phases of building the model is more scant.

 

I actually started building the hull in 1997, and worked on it feverishly leading up to the arrival of our first son in 2000. Once he arrived, the hull got put away, relegated to the top shelf of a closet. There was just no time. But fortunately, I did think to take some pictures of the hull as it was being built. I recently uncovered these prints, and had to scan them into the computer in order to be able to attach them. How far we have come…

 

These pictures date from about 1998-1999, when we were still living in an apartment during my training.

 

In retrospect, I am amazed by how intuitive the planking process was. About 8 years later, when I went to my first model building symposium, I listened to a talk about planking technique and remember thinking, “Hey, that’s the way I did it!”. I wish I could remember how many weeks it took me to plank the hull. But I wasn’t keeping track of the time I spent on the model.  I don’t remember what source I used to learn about nibbing planks and stealer planks. I think they were described in the kit’s instruction manual. This wasn’t my first planked hull, but it was the first time I applied those techniques.

 

There is a gap in photo documentation between finishing the planking and painting the hull. The bulwarks planking and rail also get added during that time. The transom was also planked, but that would get pulled off later in favor of a sheet of basswood with the ship's name engraved in it.

 

I built a cradle out of scrap wood to stabilize the hull for the process of planking the deck. I have no picture documentation of that process, but it proceeded very logically, even more easily than the hull planking. The coamings for the cabintops and hatches were installed prior to planking. Better hurry, that baby’s coming! No more modeling for a while after he gets here…

 

But before it got put away, I was fortunately able to install the foc’s’le hatch and the aft cabintop. I also installed the deck hatch aft of the cabintop.

 

The last of the attached images is how things looked once the model got placed in cryogenic storage on the top shelf of the closet in the house we moved into when I finished training. Hey, I got a lot done, in retrospect!

 

Next post: the model gets resurrected after a long hibernation...

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DSC_0049.thumb.jpg.f4fbbf1dc2a7e4d5fb206e805d468742.jpgIn 2008, when my older son was about 8 years old, the model finally came off the shelf. The hull and deck were fully planked, and it was for the most part completely painted. Coamings for the deck furniture were also in place and painted. The mast steps were also already in place. I think our story will start with the (mostly) assembled hull and proceed with bringing it up to date, installing deck furniture, creation of a base and ways, and finally getting to what I am now working on, the rigging.

 

This first picture is how she looked after emerging from cryogenic storage. As mentioned, the deck has been planked up, and the bulwarks and rail are in place. I will always just have to accept that the curve of the rail is abnormally bumpy, and does not have a smooth flow to it. This is especially true in the area of the foremast pin rails.

 

Other things worth noting about the model: the interior surfaces of the bulwark planking is painted a relatively bright yellow and not a cream color. This would be redone. Within the coaming for the midships cabintop, pieces of wood protrude that were used for clamping the hull in a vise back when it was being planked. These would of course be removed. I made the temporary cradle out of scrap and out of some of the wood sheet that defined one of the bulkheads. The fancy pieces of the transom have not yet been installed.

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This showed the strip planking of the transom, which would be removed and replaced with a sheet of basswood. The stern knees would also be removed since I had painted them, while in real life the stern knees are not painted.

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Back before the model went into hiding, I spent a lot of time building the aft cabintop, and was very proud of it. Even so, I know I could do a better job if I were building it today. I could have elected to rebuild it and make it more accurate given what I learned about the ship from photographing her in Boston in July 2009 (more below), but I felt that I would leave it as a testimony to my modeling skills as they were in the late 1990s.

This is how things stood in the spring of 2008. I was very excited to be able to get back to work on the model. Our boys were old enough that we felt we were not constantly under water looking after them, and in addition, my wife had agreed to let me take over the guest room and set it up as my workshop!

During this same time, I also found Bob Hunt’s Lauck Street Shipyard, and was happy to see that one of his courses had to do with building the Pride of Baltimore 2. I sent off for the practicum, and I still refer to it from time to time.

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Fast forward to April 2010. In that span of time, relevant things that happened including getting to see the actual Pride of Baltimore 2 in Boston. I thoroughly bored my wife and kids as I wandered all around the ship, taking pictures of anything I thought might be important. Captain Jan Miles was not there but the crew was very helpful. At this time, my older son was 9 years old (now 17!).

 

During that time I also went to my first NRG convention, in Annapolis, MD. Being at the meeting and being around other people who were passionate about model ship building really galvanized my motivation to get working on the model more consistently.

I also filled this time by building the ships boat. This was made a lot easier by going through the practicum about how to build ships boats. It was a nice, small project that enabled me to get back into the swing of things. I will cover that in a later post.

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Back to the big boat: this image shows that I have repainted the starboard bulwarks using a cream color that has far less yellow. Matching the color was greatly helped by having photos of the actual boat. There are pieces of cardstock that are protecting the planking while the repainting is done. I do remember being very happy how clean the repainting turned out.

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This is an inboard view of the port bulwarks where they meet the taffrail. I have stripped the planking from the taffrail and removed the stern knees. There is a strip of bulwarks planking under the stained rail that is unpainted; it was a shim that was put in to fill the gap created by the rail as it rises to meet the taffrail.

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This is an outboard view of the same area. I don’t know why it felt so intimidating, but that fancy piece caused me a lot of worry as to how I would go about creating that piece. Plus it had to be beveled on its inboard surface to accept the transom planking. Fortunately, the piece of wood used was quite thin, and it was easy to get it to bend to conform to the planking.

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While at the NRG meeting in Annapolis, I got the idea of putting my model through one of our CT scanners at work. This would lead to publication of an article about using CT scanning to study historical ship models, including 4 of the historic models in the Rogers collection at the USNA museum. Maybe that explains the big time gap in my photo documentation! But I digress…

 

I think my next post will be about the ship's boat.

 

 


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Let’s talk about ship’s boats. In particular, Chasseur, the lapstrake planked ship’s boat on board the Pride of Baltimore 2. This is what she looks like in real life. Before I was ready to jump back into the pool of working on the big hull of Pride 2, I decided to re-examine what I thought I would do with the ship’s boat. When I started the model, I had been thinking that I would never be able to outfit such a small model boat (less than 2 inches long) with all the details she was worthy of, like a false keel, ribs, stringers, thwarts, etc., and so I pictured building the bread-and-butter hull out of the parts provided by the model, sanding it smooth, painting it, and covering it with a tied-down cloth cover so that no one would see that it was an unfinished interior.

 

2 things changed my mind. One was seeing the interior of the actual boat when we visited Pride 2 in July 2009, and seeing how beautiful all that detail was. The second was realizing that on the practicum I had bought for the Pride 2 from Lauck Street, there was a particular segment devoted to the building of ship’s boats, in particular ones fashioned from bread-and-butter technique (as opposed to building the hull up around a plug, a more accurate and cerebral technique). It made me realize that I was probably capable of adding more detail than I thought.

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I don’t have any pictures of the boat before this image, which shows that the false keel and ribs have been added, and part of the flooring is installed. Of course, what had to be done to get to this point was to use the drum sander attachment of my Dremel to grind off all the interior ridges of wood left behind by the bread-and-butter technique, then use sanding paper or files to reach all the nooks and crannies in the bow and stern of the model. I never reached the degree of sharpness in those areas that I desired, but at some point I decided to just move along. The interior surface was then stained. I did not put on a topcoat because I knew I had to glue the ribs in place, and any coatings would interfere with that.

 

The ribs were an interesting step. At this time in my re-emerging modeling career, I did not think about using anything other than basswood. And I didn’t have any fancy table saws or thickness sanders. So the strips of wood were all hand-cut and hand-sanded down to a thickness that just seemed like it was right. They were probably between 1/32” and 1/64” in thickness and about 1/16” in width. They were super-pliable without running the risk of creasing them. Gluing them in place was purely a rack-of-eye kind of thing, making sure to install them vertically and perpendicular to the keel. The first ribs were placed in the midships, and all subsequent ribs were set parallel to those. The ribs were put in so that they bridged the boat completely from gunwale to gunwale, and then later the central portions were cut out to accommodate the false keel.

 

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This picture shows that the floorboards have been finished. The sheer has been cut to its proper profile, and two internal strakes have been added as well as a toprail. The oarlocks were very carefully cut out and reinforced with a thin veneer of wood surrounding each one. A lock for the tiller has also been cut into the stern rail.

 

I think that if I had found my source of boxwood and pearwood by this time, I would have done these details with those woods. But I think things turned out well, and the grain of the basswood is not distracting.

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You can faintly see the layers of the bread-and-butter buildup technique in the transom.

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The interior is now all stained out. A breasthook has been added.

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You can tell on these images how tough it was to get into the corners of the bow and stern. But I was very pleased with the overall effect. The roughness shown in the images disappears at scale, and when viewed in close up I think it gives the interior a rustic, Wooden Boat School-type appearance. I think it was about this time that I purchased a macro lens for my camera (Nikon D80). That thing gets plenty of use!!

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Staining out the area of the gunwales and rubrails. A second rubrail would be applied. Again evident is the horizontal lines of the bread-and-butter buildup technique.

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Those hull lines disappear once the hull is fully primed and painted. The white paint on the hull was airbrushed on. The seats and thwarts are made from styrene sheets.

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Finally, I constructed 4 oars as well as a rudder and a tiller. The blades of the oars are admittedly oversized. I could not bring myself to hand-paint or otherwise apply the ship’s name to the transom. Call me a coward!

 

Next time, back to the big boat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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Time to get back to the big boat. 

 

According to the pictures I have taken and saved, the next thing to get my attention was the display base for the model. A long time ago I had purchased pedestals to mount the model on, while the kit shows the model mounted on building ways. I purchased a piece of red oak from the local Rockler, with a plan to “ebonize” it according to an article I had seen in the Nautical Research Journal.

 

The piece of wood had to be heavily sanded to eliminate cut marks on it from a thickness planer. I also borrowed a router from a friend to cut out the molding on the edge. Good practice for my general wood working techniques. After sanding, the base was filled with Wunderfil, re-sanded, re-filled, and…you get the idea.

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Be sure to wear gloves when putting on black Transtint dye! The stand I am working on bears permanent black marks on it from this process.

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The grain really pops out while the wood is wet from the stain. Fortunately that becomes less conspicuous once the wood dries.

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It was by this time that I had found a source for boxwood and pearwood. The pieces above are straight grain pearwood that were cut from a piece I obtained from the Gilmer wood company in the Pacific Northwest. I believe others on this forum have mentioned this source before. These pictures of such nicely cut strips of pear also remind me that it was at this time that I obtained a Byrnes table saw, and a thickness planer too! Wow, not even Christmas.

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The pearwood strips were attached to the base with small pegs embedded in the pearwood, with corresponding holes drilled in the base board. Pure trial and error was involved in shimming the top surface of each piece so that the keel would sit squarely on each support. Pegs were put in the top of two of the pearwood pieces to provide attachment points for the hull.

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Work on the hull itself includes placement of the chain wales, crafted according to the plan sheet. Notches are cut out of the edge for the chainplates, and a strip of wood will be put in place over them once the chainplates are in place. Pin rails have been placed on the port and starboard sides, and a pin rail is also in place at the bow (at the very edge of the picture).

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I know, this red lettering looks terrible. It’s made of transfer letters obtained at a model railroad store. Fortunately, they sanded off very easily and I simply repainted the surface with another coat of yellow after doing so. The lettering above it is carved into the piece of basswood that replaced the planked portion that I stripped off. The carving was done at my dentist’s office; he kindly offered me the use of one of his high speed drills with appropriate cutters. The carved out areas were filled with gold paint and the excess was sanded off, then glaze painted over the whole thing.

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This is what the real thing looks like. Lucky for me, there is a black strip of wood separating the wood varnished area from the yellow strip, so I used that to cover up the gaps at the edges of my transom.

I wish I had felt confident enough about my carving to have added the pointy bits at the edge of the letters. Hey, at least I was able to learn what those pointy bits are called: serifs.  Now it makes sense when I use that “sans serif” font in Microsoft Word!

The Baltimore Maryland lettering was redone using decals that I printed myself. I was able to figure out how to type text along a curved line in MS Word, to get the arc I needed. Then I had to learn how to use a color printer and decal printing paper to generate the decals I needed. That is not a terribly reliable process when one is using a bottom-of-the-line color printer. And I found that if you go to a print shop and try to print to decal paper, they generally don’t like it because decal paper can gum up their printers. Now, this is a few years back, so things may have changed since then.

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So here is the hull, awaiting reinstallation of the re-done transom and its associated knees. The model is on a wood workers bench that I bought from Grizzly. And faintly in the background is the other big toy that arrived in this time frame: a height-adjustable work bench. We use these a lot at my various places of work, to take the load off our backs and keep us from sitting the entire day. Truly a luxury, because generally they aren’t cheap. More recently, I think I have seen that some members of the forum have been able to find less expensive versions through Ikea. I hope that’s true, because this hobby isn’t forgiving on our backs and necks. Anything we can do to help those matters is worth the effort. Especially when it comes time for doing rigging!DSC_0004.thumb.jpg.2702670dc20ae2dd0410b897eeb0ea00.jpg

I have been working on the model for about 4 hours today, and it’s time to take a break before I break something. Figured I would come back to my retrospective build log. The photographic record indicates that it was time to make propeller shafts and brackets. The prop shafts were easy; it was the fabrication of the brackets that was difficult just to think about. I could easily picture how long the legs of the brackets would need to be, but it was difficult to get a sense of where they would sit on the hull, and how in the world to make the ends of the brackets rest flush against the hull, where there was a huge amount of hull curvature going on. And how to get the brackets into symmetric positions on opposite sides of the hull? A lot of time was spent just thinking about how I was going to do all this.

Others that have built this model have omitted the propeller assemblies, for the reason that they wanted the model to resemble a schooner of its time, and propellers would detract from that. I was building my model to accurately resemble the contemporary ship, in particular as we saw it in Boston in 2009, so the props needed to be there.

This first picture above shows some experimentation with attaching a bracket arm to a skid plate that will rest on the hull, and with a small nail soldered to it that would anchor the skid in the hull. The problem is that the skid is nice and perpendicular to the bracket, and that wouldn’t allow the bracket to sit perpendicular to the hull centerline. The other problem was the close proximity of the two solder joints, so that creating one would cause the other to melt.

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This picture shows the bracket arms soldered to brass tubing that accommodates the prop shaft. From here it was simply a matter of trial and error in cutting the tips of the bracket arms at various angles to accommodate the angle of the skid plates, then trying it against the surface of the hull to see if the bracket would sit perpendicular to the hull centerline.

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This picture nicely illustrates the problem of the angling of the skid plates. These were my successful pair.

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As I said earlier, making the prop shafts was simple in comparison. The only problem was that if I followed the plans and put the brackets where they were supposed to be, then the base of the prop shafts where they were supposed to be, the length of the prop shafts caused the shafts to not be parallel to the centerline. So I gradually shortened the prop shafts until each sat relatively parallel to the centerline.

This might have been one of the toughest jobs of the model. I am happy with how it came out, but I wish my metalworking skills were better.

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  • 2 months later...

The article is actually about the use of CT scanning for evaluating ship models. (An MRI would rip a historic ship model apart!) It's in the Nautical Research Journal, Volume 56 (2011), issue 4. Hope you enjoy!

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This one image from 2011 is worth some commentary.

 

I reached the point when it is time to assemble the chainplates with their deadeyes. By this time I knew what these looked like in real life. So I was kind of disappointed in the instructions for the model, which said to strop the deadeye with wire, then twist the tails together, then solder them to a flat strip of brass that would form the chainplate. Really? We can’t do better than that?

 

I wish I had pictures of all the trial and error steps I went through in attempting to fashion a chainplate that actually resembled the real thing. I can’t seem to find any. But looking at my photos of the real ship, I could tell that the chainplate itself is wrapped around a pin that is longer than the chainplate is wide. Then wire is stropped around the deadeye and around the ends of the pins that protrude from the chainplate. Fortunately, it was possible to use a certain thickness of brass strip that was pliable enough that it could be wrapped around a short length of small brass rod. The ends of the rod were flared with taps of a hammer so they would more securely hold the stropping wire. Then the wire had to be wrapped around one end of the rod and brought together securely before it was then wrapped around the deadeye and then wrapped around the other end of the rod. I learned that I could force the stropping wire to conform to the rod by wrapping a smaller wire around the stropping wire, then twisting it so that it forced the stropping wire to conform to the pin. I cannot even remember how I then did the other end, as the “bitter ends” of the stropping wire had to be brought together in the same way on the other side of the chainplate. I guess I wasn’t documenting things as thoroughly back then.

 

Oh, and when I had all that figured out, the chainplate had to be bent to the proper shape to fit the chain wales, and holes had to be drilled in the bottom most tip of each chainplate so they could be pinned to the hull. In order to pin the plate to the hull, I had to figure out how to take a segment of wire of the right diameter and peen its end so it could be used as a sort of nail. Lots of trial and error, as I said.

 

But the most memorable thing was that I was visiting with friends from the NRG about this moment of discovery. I was a pretty new member of the NRG at that point. His comment:  “This is what we at the NRG are here for. At a certain point in a modeler’s career, he says, ‘I know I can do better than that.’” It seemed I had reached that point.

The blue tape was put on the wale planking to keep from scuffing the yellow paint while I manipulated the chain wales.

 

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So here is what things look like as I put on one set of the chainplates and deadeyes. Other chainplates are on deck, waiting for their turn for installation.

 

Next up: more deck furniture.

 

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Bob, I think (opinion) it would be difficult to finish the interior of this particular kit model since it is a plank on bulkhead model. I think if I had wanted to build out the interior, I would be doing a scratch build using plank on frame technique, building the hull up from a keel and frames. I suppose one could cut out portions of the bulkheads to create space for interior detail, but that could weaken the structure of the hull. Interesting idea, though...

 

Jersey City Frankie, the CT article is not really online or available by link. But let me know if you would like me to message you a pdf of it. Better yet, become a subscriber to the Nautical Research Journal!

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

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Time to make the deck look pretty with some furniture. The kit includes pre-cut basswood brackets to hold the windlass. These were lightly stained and coated with flat topcoat to give an appearance that nicely matched the thin wood strips that made up the “feet” of the windlass. Those I made out of thin pearwood that was also coated with topcoat.

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The windlass provided with the kit required extensive cleanup using files and sandpaper to get rid of ridges and to make the teeth more regular in appearance. Strips of metal wire also had to be applied to the drum of the windlass in order to simulate the whelps. The windlass was painted oxide red, with careful painting of the whelps and gears.

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The Samson post was built using strips of pearwood cut on the table saw, and the remainder of the windlass was attached to the Samson post. This black component came with the kit as a Britannia casting, and it also required extensive clean-up followed by fine sanding with sandpaper to smooth its surfaces. Then it was primed and painted black.

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Four U-shaped brackets and two linking rods had to be created to complete the connections of the windlass. For the U-shaped brackets, I created a jig involving a stiff brass wire taped to some clamps. The U was held in the clamps while the ends of the wire were bent around the stiff wire and trimmed to length. The U brackets were secured to the parts of the windlass around thick wire posts that were installed in the appropriate points.

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I remain very pleased with how this assembly has turned out.

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Next it was on to the catheads. Not exactly deck furniture but I figure I am going to try to keep things in the actual order that I did them. The cathead and its supporting bracket were cut from pearwood, primed, and painted. The assembly included notching the end of the cathead to accommodate the anchor’s restraining line (I’m sure there is a name for it…anchor painter?), and drilling a hole in the side of the cathead to accept a supporting rod that is also drilled into the bulwarks.

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This rod was of course painted black.

 

 

 

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So here’s the problem with this after-the-fact blogging. I created replacement life rings to replace these horrible looking Britannia rings using pearwood, but since this was done in September 2012 and now it’s July 2017, I can’t really remember how I even got to this point! I don’t remember if I had purchased the Sherline lathe already, or if I just improvised with the Dremel. The inner edges of the donuts are clearly not concentric with the central holes. Obviously, the pieces had to be pared down in thickness as well as having the inner and outer edges beveled off. However I did it, here’s what it came to look like:

 

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The pieces are being primed and then painted with CN orange. They turned out very clean!

 

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The white bands were cut from index card stock, and enough of a space was left for white thread to be run within the white bands. A much better look than painting the Britannia fittings.

Next problem: A long time ago, I fabricated the deck furniture associated with the hatch just aft of the foremast. I had built coamings into the deck to accommodate this piece of furniture. Problem was, as I examined the dimensions of the furniture on the plans, I realized that I had built the furniture piece to accommodate the shape and size of the coamings I had installed. And I had installed the coamings so that their OUTER edges corresponded to the size that the furniture needed to be. So when I built the furniture, it was significantly too small. That meant that not only did I need to build a new hatch, I needed to remove the old coamings and make them larger.

 

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The new furniture is taking shape on the left, and the old furniture is to the right of the coamings.

 

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The old coamings have been removed.

 

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Fortunately, this redo meant that I could use pearwood instead of stained basswood, improving the look of the grain of the stained surfaces of the hatch. Using flat topcoat, the pearwood surfaces are made to look very similar to the other stained surfaces of the adjacent lockers and hatch, but with much tighter grain that gives it a much more in-scale appearance.

 

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I have noticed that on other peoples’ build logs for the Pride 2, there has been discussion about what to do for hinges for the fire lockers. My solution was to essentially grave a line that simulates the seam between the hatch and the rest of the locker lid. For the hinges, I printed areas of black onto decal sheets, then cut very small triangles from the black decal sheet. These were then soaked and applied to give the impression of dark hinges.

 

That's a good stopping point for now, I think...

 

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  • 2 months later...

The next pictures in my archive of photos mainly has to do with bowsprit related items, but I will cover some other details in this segment too.

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The bowsprit has two iron bands, to which are fitted hearts. These serve as attachment points for the bobstay. I regret cheating on the hearts, which I created by cutting out the central wood from a deadeye, then filing the edge of the hole that was left behind. Not terribly pretty.

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My soldering skills are not great; I just don’t get enough practice. I was able to strop the hearts and solder the loops closed while also attaching the stropped hearts. Although not shown here, the metalwork was then painted black.

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The bowsprit cap came with the model kit already cut. It has an iron strap around it which was simulated with styrene strip. The dolphin striker was hand tapered, and an endhole was bored so an eyebolt could be inserted. An eyebolt was also inserted into the bowsprit cap, and the two were mated to brass rod and soldered in place. Small brass brackets had to be installed on the side of the dolphin striker to accommodate various rigging lines, as well as cleats near the tip of the striker that would also accommodate rigging lines. Finally, a tiny hole had to be drilled through the tip of the dolphin striker to accommodate a stay.

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These little pieces would become the brackets that retain the bars used for the windlasses at the base of the foremast and mainmast. I spent a few hours working on them and glued them into place. Then I told my father-in-law that I had just finished a major step on my model, and would he come appreciate it with me? He looked closely at the model as I used a fine pointer to point out these two small pieces of wood, then looked back at me as if to say I must be crazy…

 

I needed to make various portholes on the deck furniture look more realistic. As you can see above, a hole drilled out of the wood with nothing around it does not look very convincing. Unfortunately, no one makes brass rings for portholes that are small enough for this model.

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So how to go about making my own small, thin brass rings that are essentially very thin washers with a large central hole? This is when it helps to have a friend who is a machinist. He showed me how I could take multiple thin sheets of brass that are rounded to roughly the outer diameter of the rings I wanted, and solder them in a stack to a solid brass rod. Then use a lathe to drill a central hole corresponding to the size of the porthole. Then turn the outside surface of the stack to the desired outer diameter. Then hit the stack with heat to free up the individual rings from the solid brass rod. That gives you a collection of very rough washers, which can be applied to double sided sticky tape.

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Then touch that to your finger and sand them smooth.

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Now that looks like a porthole! About 5 of them are evident on these two pieces of deck furniture. (Hey, didn't I show this image in the last post?)

 

I had to remove the portion of the deck furniture where the portholes let into an open space where you can see the underlying decking, apply a thin sheet of wood that had been painted black, then reattach the furniture.

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The ship’s wheel that came with the kit was cleaned up with multiple grades of sandpaper. It was primed and painted entirely brown. Then it was attached to its cabinet, and this was in turn installed on the deck.

 

Onward! More deck furniture will be installed in the next post.

 

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  • 2 months later...

OK, back to work folks:

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Next step (ha ha) was the stepladders. These were built with pearwood sheets that were 1/32” thick. The first step was to fabricate symmetric pieces for the side rails. Two pieces were sandwiched with rubber cement and the shape was created. I found that by lining up these side rails on the bench top with their bottom edges aligned, I could mark off consistent positions for the joints for the steps:

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Grooves were very carefully sanded using a file in the area of the marks, to create landing points for the steps.

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Notches were then cut in the top part of the side rails to create a joint where the stepladders reached the rail. I love working with the fine-grained pearwood!

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Next detail are the deck prisms. The kit provides little gemstones and bushings for them to sit in. However, in looking at the real deal, the provided gemstones were too big. My local jeweler and I have a good relationship, though, and he gave me little rhinestones that sat perfectly within the bushings.

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Better choose the spot for drilling these holes carefully, because there’s no turning back if I position one wrong…

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This is how things look if I simply drop the bushing and jewel into the drilled hole. They sit proud of the deck, and they look a lot brassier than the real thing.

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So here I took a larger drill bit and did a countersunk hole that is of the diameter of the large flange of the bushing.

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That looks better. I also painted the brass rings a shade of green-gray that gave it a patina look.

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This picture shows the decklights in place, and also the fabricated pin rails, which I have no documentation of making. On the far right, I am starting to position one of the anchors and the port-side anchor chain. Also, I am starting to think about rigging cannon.

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Speaking of which, here is one of the anchors. After fabricating the shackles associated with the windlass, fabricating ones for the anchor were comparatively easier due to their larger size.

 

When I was cleaning up the anchors provided with the kit, I was unhappy with how the stocks looked. As I recall, I was cleaning one, and I broke the stock while keeping the shank intact. So, I took some wood and fabricated a new one that could pass through a hole drilled in the head. The curved end of the stock was created by carefully attaching a spare piece of wood and (very) carefully carving the curved part of the stock out of it. The end balls were also carefully carved and attached. They are not quite spherical but I think they turned out ok.

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The chain was blackened and attached to the shackles, which were painted black.

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The starboard anchor is on rope; the port side anchor is on chain. Rail pads for the anchors were made out of painted styrene sheet. The anchor is secured by a line at the end of the cathead, and another is wrapped around the inboard fluke.

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Next up are the various pin rails that are set up around the base of each mast. These are the pin rails just forward of the foremast, which handle the fore topsail control lines. This is more pearwood. The pins themselves are segments of 0.014” wire.

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I was playing with various finishes that I had handy at the time; sadly, all my Floquil glazes and flat finishes have now congealed and are no longer useable. I am back to using Testors Dullcote lacquer for jobs like this.

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This apparatus surrounds the base of the main mast and is made of pearwood.

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Here it is all assembled, and the chamfers have been added. Small bits of brass sheet have been applied to the top of each post.

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There is a small windlass along the forward edge of the mainmast pin rail. It was painted white with a touch of rust to emulate the appearance of the real thing:

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These are parts of the rail that sits just aft of the foremast.

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It also has a mini-windlass attached to it.DSC_0003a.thumb.jpg.09f21c03fe9f44c2ffc332b1ec569420.jpg

Here is the area of the foremast with its pinrails installed.

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And the pinrail at the base of the mainmast.

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Time to work on the four cannon. The sleds are made with pre-cut parts from the kit. The cannon were also provided and required cleanup prior to blackening them. The quoins are the wedges under the back end of the cannon that adjust its tilt. Those were handmade and stained up.

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An image of the real thing gives you an idea of the rigging used to secure the cannon. A very large line runs from the cascabel at the butt of the cannon to rings at the bulwarks. A smaller line is used to rig the blocks on either side of the cannon sled.

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This took some trial and error. How do I take a pretty thick line and get it attached to these small eyebolts on the bulwarks? I suppose a purist would undo the weave of the line and create an eye for a hook.

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Too much work for me. I applied some CA to the end of the line, then created an S-hook that could be stuck through the strands where the CA began to peter out. Where to do that on the opposite end of the line, though?

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After inserting one hook, I assembled the rig with the one hook attached to its eyebolt, tied it to the cascabel, and ran the other end up to the area of the eyebolt. I marked that spot with marker and inserted a hook there, then applied CA beyond that point to solidify the line. The excess was then trimmed.

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This is an image taken before the excess is trimmed away (left side of the cannon). Double sided tape is being used to temporarily secure the cannon to make rigging easier.DSC_0034.thumb.jpg.7154e7bd4892b58fd2570cc72df501b7.jpg

Now things are trimmed up.

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These are 2 mm blocks that have been secured with 0.004” line. One set of blocks is rigged to the ring on the side of the sled. The other set of blocks will be rigged to eyebolts on the bulwarks. I don’t remember anywhere else on the model where I used such small line.

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The line is rigged through the blocks and then tied off at the back wheels of the sled.

 

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Now I just have to do that 3 more times. After doing this, small amounts of glue were used to secure the back wheels to the surface of the deck.

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Through Billing, I was able to find a bell of reasonable scale to install on the aft cabintop. My soldering is getting better!

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The fore topgallant sail is stowed under the port rail. I wrapped a portion of “sailcloth” (a fine Egyptian cotton fabric) around the spar and wrapped it with ties. The spar is then secured using small hooks installed on the rail and on the bulwarks.

I am slowly getting caught up to real time! These steps were done in 2013, and it is now January 2018.

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A long time earlier, I am not sure when, I tapered the dowels I would use for all the spars to their proper dimensions. This was done by hand, well before I ever had a lathe, using coarse sandpaper and elbow grease. Now, though, it’s time to work on the base of the masts where they take on an octagonal configuration, and the mast tops where they take on a square configuration. I used the pieces of wood above to serve as a groove to hold the mast steady while making shallow cuts into the base, then I used a file to create four flat faces.

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I did the same for the mast tops.

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These areas at the bases of the masts were then built up with pieces of flat wood to increase the cross sectional size of the flat faces.

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The protruding corners were then carefully shaved off with a razor blade to yield an octagonal cross section. Do I have a picture of the finished product? Of course not! The octagonal portion was painted a cream color that matched the color of the inside of the bulwarks, and the rest of the mast was stained and coated with topcoat.

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A picture of all the various spars on their places in the plans.

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The bowsprit was painted cream for the inboard portion, then the outboard portion was painted black. The metal rings to which the hearts are attached are already installed.

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Tenons were cut in the mast tops as well as the tip of the bowsprit.

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The bowsprit is now in place, with its base inserting into the Samson post.

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This is a picture of the deadeyes that are installed on the outboard surface of the bow. They rig to the standing rigging such as the forestays for the foremast and the bowsprit guys. Trial and error was again involved in figuring out how long of a segment of wire I needed to properly strop each deadeye. But it’s pretty satisfying work. A segment of thick wire is threaded through the loops of the stropping, and the end is peened to keep it in place.

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How to start the bowsprit gammoning? Here is how I did it.

 

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These are flat strips of brass that will be used for the gammoning irons. Holes have been drilled for wires that will pin the two lower plates to the stem. Harder to see are the holes that have been drilled to accommodate very small bolts that will join the lower plates to the single upper plate.

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Thanks to Scale Hardware for manufacturing such exquisite small bolts and nuts that were a perfect fit! They even had a little wrench to hold the incredibly small nut as you thread it onto the bolt.

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The yards have been stained, and the central part and the tips have been painted black. Metal bands have been placed on each; they currently have a coating of primer on them but will also be painted black.

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This picture reminds me that I didn’t do a good job of documenting the process of building the trestletrees for the foremast or mainmast.

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This part has turned out ok; the lanyard is threaded around several times and then is seized to itself with the smallest thread I had prior to discovering fly-tying line.

 

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I was unhappy with how this turned out. The bobstay is composed of a line that threads through the stem and is doubled up on itself as it travels from the stem to the bowsprit. This doubled line is shown on the plans as having seizings along its length. These seizings look very rough and stubbly. I will come up with a better plan for this area on a subsequent post.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So it's currently April 2018. The following pictures show the status of the deck as of October 2015.

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The hinges on the deck boxes are small pieces of black decal cut into the shape of hinges. They bridge a little linear divot that was essentially scraped out of the wood using a graver-type tool.

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The anchor rope and chain have been installed.

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The ship's wheel was a part provided by the kit. I wasn't about to try to build my own.

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The cannon are rigged in place.

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Oh, and those white cowlings were hand carved from pearwood, because the cast cowlings that came with the model looked horrible!

 

I had some downtime at work and was working on carving them when one of the techs walked in and asked what I was doing. So I explained and showed him. He said, "Wow, that looks tedious!" I explained that it wasn't tedious if it was enjoyable!

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This is a side topic to the builder’s log. In fact, I may have posted this series already to the forum. When working on the bowsprit rigging, I found myself looking for a better way to seize a deadeye within standing rigging such as the bowsprit guys. For the guys, I used 0.010” Morope served with fly-tying line, which gives a very smooth look to the final product.

Initially, I simply wrapped the served line around a deadeye and then applied a long seizing, then cut off the stub of the served line. This gives a very shelf-like appearance to the seizing. I felt that kind of appearance might be ok for the shrouds, but for the bowsprit guys I wanted a more tapered appearance.

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Usually, when I do a seizing, it is the kind that involves 6-8 wraps around a loop, then thread the line through the loop, then pull the loop closed, etc. etc. However, I found that when I tried to apply that kind of seizing to line that has been served, there is too much friction between the seizing and the serving to allow you to slide the seizing along the line.

So instead, I simply created a long seizing that would not have to be moved, by using multiple consecutive overhand knots on alternating sides of the served line. I learned later that this is called a “West Country Whipping”. That is what is depicted in the photo above. The photo also shows that the seizing (whipping) covers the area where the shroud stub is cut off, with an abrupt change in the caliber of the whipped segment.

In order to give a more tapered look, here is what I did:

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Start whipping around both ends of the served line.

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Cut the end of the served line that will be discarded, allowing the serving to unravel and allowing the underlying Morope to separate into its 3 separate strands.

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Let the Morope unravel all the way up to the last wrap of the seizing.

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Snip one of the 3 strands, then continue the seizing.

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Snip another of the strands, then continue seizing until you nearly reach the desired length of the seizing. Then a few more wraps to finish it off.

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A nice, tapered deadeye seizing that makes the bowsprit standing rigging look a lot cleaner.

Like I said, I don’t plan on using this technique for the mast shrouds.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi JD -

 

Just read through your log.  She is coming along very nicely.  It was enlightening to see how your skills, techniques, and attention to detail grew and progressed as you worked through the multitude of problems that building a top level ship model entails.

 

Congratulations!  I will be following along from now on.

 

Dan

 

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OK, I need to get rolling along. I am posting this in May 2018, and I am only up to mid 2016 in my descriptions. Plus the model is almost entirely finished, and I am anxious to get up to speed on how things actually look.

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Next topic is to start assembling the fore topmast to the foremast. I decided not to permanently glue the topmast to the foremast, in case for some reason it ever needed to be disassembled. Like in a restoration. God I hope I never have to do that. Anyway, shrouds with deadeyes were installed on the topmast, and deadeyes stropped with wire had to be installed in the trestletrees. The wire installation was a tricky assembly because the stropping had to run through the wood of the trestletrees, then come down and form a loop for another wire to attach to. Then that wire extended down to the mast, where a black band representing an iron hoop had eyebolts sticking out of it. And with all this, a sense of scale had to be preserved. No painting of the wire was needed since I had a supply of black wire in various sizes.

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Sitting in front of the trestletrees and wires is one of the shrouds, which is Morope line that has been served with fine fly-tying thread.

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The deadeyes were then threaded, and the ends of the lanyards were seized to one of the other strands of the lanyards using a “West country whipping”.

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This is one of the 10 (paired) blocks installed on the fore topmast that are used for the control lines of the fore topsail yard. Each pair of blocks were attached to eyebolts, with pendants of increasing length depending on how high they were attached to the topmast.

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They kind of look like bugs.

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And here are the blocks attached to the fore topmast. The pair of blocks further up are seized directly to the mast and are not attached via eyebolts.

In the course of rigging the foremast and fore topmast, I suddenly realized I had installed the topmast shrouds so that they ended too high on the topmast, extending nearly to the very top of the topmast. In the photo below, they should end at the level of the highest pair of blocks seized to the topmast.

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I was concerned that this meant I would have to completely cut the shrouds and start over again. However, it was possible to physically loosen the seizings holding the shrouds near the top of the topmast, then cut the seizings away. The shrouds were then slid down below the top pair of blocks.

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New seizings were applied using 6/0 Unithread fly tying thread, and secured using Flexament.

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Now it was just a matter of taking up the slack at the level of the four deadeyes by the trestletrees. I took advantage of the opportunity to re-do how the lanyards were rigged. They previously were tied off using a West country whipping that joined the end of the lanyard to one of the other strands.

 

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The picture above shows one deadeye pair (the lower pair) with the older rigging arrangement, and the upper deadeye pair with the lanyard wrapped twice around the shroud where it is seized to the deadeye. The lanyard then comes back down and is seized in parallel with one of the other lanyard strands. This more accurately reflects the reality on the actual ship:

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I was left with two deadeye pairs that were spaced wider than the other two. This was because I prematurely cut two of the shrouds before making sure I was happy with the overall length. To fix that would require re-doing the shroud completely. I figure that this model is going to serve as a living example of how to gradually improve on how you are doing things.

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There, that’s better. Both lanyards are now rigged more accurately.

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I also realized at this point that the 5 pairs of blocks I had so carefully attached to the topmast using eyebolts needed to be moved off the topmast and attached to the shrouds. Here, the top pair of blocks has been detached and stropped to the shroud. To give each block a shelf to attach to, I first tied an overhand knot onto the shroud that would keep the block from sliding downward. I then seized a pendant to the shroud with several loops of fly tying line that was run through the loop left behind after the pendant was separated from its eyebolt. In this way, there wasn’t a need to redo each of the pendants that the blocks were attached to.

I don’t have close-up photos of the final product after all the shrouds had been re-reeved and the blocks stropped to the shrouds.

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Putting ratlines on the shrouds seems like a simple enough idea before you start. Of course, which size line to use? Morope vs Syren line? How to secure it to the shroud? Actually, the biggest problem was how to take line that wants to do what it wants to do, and convince it to drape downward like ratlines should do. Especially when dealing in fine line like 0.004” or 0.006” Morope. Then there is the matter of making the clove hitches behave. They want to spring back open no matter how tightly you pull them closed.

A lot of these problems were overcome with beeswax. Beeswax helped to stiffen the line so that it would take the desired draping shape. It also helped to close up the clove hitch knots and get them to stay closed. But it also gives black line a visible coat of thick grainy buildup that is unattractive. The solution there was to take a chunk of beeswax and dye it black with Transtint dye. Doing this actually made the shrouds to look thicker and more realistic. The best ratline in the picture above is the middle one, appropriate looking scale while the line looks smoother than the ratlines on the left that look more bumpy in appearance. The ratlines on the right were done with thicker line, and with less care to make sure that excess wax had been removed from the line.

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This is a look at the finished topmast shrouds. The foresail and fore gaff have been temporarily attached to the foremast. In the upper left hand corner of the picture you can very faintly see the pendants and 5 paired blocks now attached to the shrouds.

 

Next up: Sailmaking and bending sails to yards!

 

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Time to move on to the fore topmast yard and get the sail bent on to it. I decided I wanted to rig the model with furled sails, trying to duplicate the look of the vessel at dock, as we saw it in Boston.

But first, installing the studding sail booms required manufacturing of this metal bracket on both ends of the yard. I cut very narrow strips of brass and bent them around small dowels to create this piece. It was painted black after installation.

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The inboard end of the studdingsail boom is notched and has a small hole in it.

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This was my first attempt to install a sail on the yard. The fabric is a light cotton cloth called Belvedere cotton. I don’t remember how much I paid for the piece of cloth I got from the specialty fabric shop, but I remember thinking that it would cost a lot to buy enough fabric to make a shirt out of it. It felt very light with good texture. This piece is unhemmed, but the edge has been treated with an anti-fraying treatment. It colors the sail edge a little bit.

The color of the sail is achieved with treatment with dilute coffee, like 2 ounces of coffee diluted to a volume of 1 cup.  About 5-10 minutes of soaking the fabric in the coffee did the trick. Ironing it caused things to dry rapidly. The dyeing of the sail had to happen before treatment with the anti-fraying compound.

The shape of this cloth was cut so that I could achieve a nice folding effect as the sail was gathered onto the yard, plus it would have two “corners” sticking out down low to simulate the clew points that would show when the sail is furled.

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The sail was carefully sewed on with a running stitch. I couldn’t pull too tightly without tearing the edge of the fabric, even with the treated edge.

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Then the sail was furled and temporarily secured with black thread. The clothespin would hold the fabric while I tied on the temporary furling lines.

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Looking ok so far…

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Hmm. Now the unhemmed edge of the sail is beginning to show where the tack of the sail is tied off. Looks a little rough.

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And I couldn’t hide the unhemmed edge of the sail in the center of the yard, as it kept showing itself as I attempted to tuck it under the rest of the sail. The black stitch was an attempt to pull it back under the rest of the furled sail.

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So at this point I gave up on the idea of a sail with an unhemmed edge. Fortunately we have a sewing machine around the house, so it was time for me to learn sewing skills. My wife and my mother in law were able to give me guidance on its use.

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Regular sewing thread stood out way too much against the fabric of the sail. I ended up using fly-tying thread for the hemming. I had to re-cut the fabric piece for the sail, of course, and allow extra fabric at the edge where a hem would be created. The hem was sewn as close to the folded edge as I could get it (not 1/16” away but certainly less than 1/8” away, so we’ll call it 3/32” wide), then I had to go back and carefully cut away the excess fabric without cutting into the stitch line.

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A lot of time and effort spent on learning how to sew tiny hems like this, but the look of the sail is much cleaner now.

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Here I have tied on a couple of rigging blocks in the center of the yard.

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Some of these required multiple tries because the block’s seizing sometimes didn’t hold when put under strain.

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This is how the furling lines came to look. The texture of the fabric looks very coarse on close-up imaging like this, but when you back away it looks very clean.

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The sail is fully installed. Footropes are now being installed on both the upper and lower yards.

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I spent time trying to coax the footropes to hang down as if under the influence of gravity. I learned that there wasn’t much point trying to work on that at this time; it would have to be addressed once the yard was installed.

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The footropes attach to the yard in a complex little arrangement as shown above. Those loops would be tightened up so they are much smaller in the final arrangement.

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This is one of the pendants holding the footrope in place.

 

As of June 28, 2018, the model is officially finished! Here is a preview:

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Now I just have to fill in all the details between 2016 and 2018!

 

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