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US Brig Niagara by Joseph Osborne (Mainstay) - Model Shipways 1:64


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My current project and my first POB model.  Previous builds include Sea Witch by Scientific, built in 1975 and recently restored. Also Constitution by Revell (plastic), built c. 1965, which ended its life as a wreck at the bottom of a fish tank. Also Yacht America, Plastic by Monogram?, which sat on our mantle for 20 years before being replaced, tentatively, by Sea Witch.

 

Other things I have built include 7 clavichords, 3 harpsichords, a rebec, a mountain dulcimer, three treehouses, a bunch of kinetic sculptures, flying model gliders, static plastic models of many descriptions. Also mobile robots and a robot arm capable of feeding paralyzed people.

 

So I am not new to design or building but am very new to POB wooden ship models.

 

I became very frustrated while restoring Sea Witch that I could not do scale details.  [i calculate the scale to be 1:76 but it seems much smaller than that].  I am looking forward to comparing photos of the actual ship with my model.  I know I may come to regret that anticipation. But I have seen such beautiful results from members of the Niagara Club  that I think I have some hope of building a nice scale model.

 

post-2870-0-65806300-1365471829_thumb.jpg

 

The Build Begins

Edited by mainstay
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But I have run into trouble. On the first step.  I punched out the center keel which is not in three pieces but one (what a great idea. They must have bought a larger laser cutter at MSW).  It is 1/8" (8 scale inches) longer than the plan.

 

Is this a problem?  Has anyone else encountered it?  Do I have the wrong plans?

 

Or can I just fudge out the difference as I go?

 

post-2870-0-84717500-1365472054_thumb.jpg

 

post-2870-0-89714100-1365472055_thumb.jpg

 

If I align the stern (better than in this picture)...

 

post-2870-0-08697900-1365472057_thumb.jpg

 

The bow and the forward bulkhead slots are too far forward.

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Hello Joseph,

 

I (and i am sure soon many more) would like to say a warm welcome to you. I will greatly enjoy looking in on your log. I my self am beginning the Niagara kit and look forward to sharing tips and tricks. As for your concern about the keel, I think that you may find that more then one of the laser cut parts does not match up to the plan 100%. I know already I have had a few of my parts vary from the plan in one way or another. First thing I might advise is to consider that the laser cut parts are cut a fraction of a hair larger then what you need. This is done so that you can sand off all of the burnt edges due to the lasers cut. Also you should sand square the lasers cut. When the part is being cut out of the billet the laser bends through the wood like light refracting when it passes through water. So consider that you want to sand out these blemishes. When it comes to the centre bulkhead, you may want to assemble the three parts to the keel and see how those parts fit in relationship to your plans and to the centre bulkhead piece. And decide where you would like to go from there. As for my build I have tried to keep to the plans but there have been a few instances where my boat has not matched the blue prints perfectly.

 

Brian

Edited by bgarden
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I seem to be hung up on the first step.

 

My plan is to use a jig like the one in this picture from Wolfram zu Mondfeld's wonderful book Historic Ship Models

 

post-2870-0-27660900-1365788196_thumb.png

 

So I guess I need to lay the center keel down on blank paper and mark the lines of the bulkhead openings, then put it in the jig and use the lines for alignment. Maybe tonight I can get back to it.

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Hi Joseph,

 

Sorry I saw your post earlier this week and had made a point that when things slowed down for me that I would reply... So here is my thoughts, for what they are worth.  I don't know where you are at at the moment but if you are going to choose to use a jig to hold the keel while you build I might suggest that you do a few things first before mounting the centre keel.  First I would suggest that you assemble the 3 laser cut keel pieces (2 keel pc, 1 stem pc) leaving off the sternpost piece for the moment.  When you assemble them make sure to sand the burnt edges off and to glue then against a flat surface with a piece of wax paper between the parts and the flat surface.  Next I would suggest that you mark your bearding line and cut your rabbet joint.  Next I would glue the 3 keel pieces to the centre keel on a flat surface waiting 24 hours for the glue to cure.  Next attach the stern post.  And it would be at this point that I would suggest to mount the keel to  he jig you wish to use.  Drawing lines along the keel and the jig sounds like a great idea to help installing the bulkheads.  

 

Brian 

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Hi Brian, Hi Patrick,

 

Thank you for the suggestions.  I am finally getting back to work on it. Hope to begin on the rabbet tonight.  Time to sharpen my carving tools and perhaps my Dremel.  I love the precision and speed of the power tool. But I am afraid I will need to spend hours making the setup if I am not to make an awful mess in a fraction of a second.  So I may just draw the lines and use gouges.

 

Basswood is completely new to me. Have carved balsa and boxwood and beech among other woods.  I like working with it so far.

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Hi Joseph

 

I don't have any carving experience like you but bass wood seems to be easy enough to work with I am sure you may not enjoy it as much as boxwood or beech but I am sure it will come out fantastic once you jump into your build.

 

And just remember these 5 important points

 

1.) Have Fun no matter what

2.) Wood can readily be fix if something goes wrong.

3.) Mistakes are going to happen no matter what you do

4.) Learn from you mistakes they are the best teachers of life

5.) Have Fun!!!

 

When you start carving out your rabbet stop short from where you wish the rabbit joint to be and slowly sand the rabbet into perfection using a hard sanding block and emery board.

 

Good luck to you sir

 

Brian 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Why I'm not making as rapid progress as I would like.

 

I could say it's because I operate two businesses and play in a band besides building this model.  I could say that Margaret and I are busy maintaining the house when I'm not involved in the other activities.

 

But the real reason is that I can't get a look at the plans when I need to.  Hull Planking Layout?  Where's that?

post-2870-0-64913600-1367681907_thumb.jpg

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Progress Report.

 

The rabbet is done. The bulkheads are glued in.  It would be nice to start over now that I know how to do both these jobs.

 

The rear half of the ship is nicely aligned.  I started rechecking my reference lines about bulkhead G.  And I stopped over sanding the slots in the keel and stopped sanding the slots in the bulkheads at all.  Bulkhead E is badly catawumpus.  Others are too high or too low.

 

Looks like time for the Dremel and some patience before I begin planking.

 

post-2870-0-86382100-1367682232_thumb.jpg

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Joseph- looking good there!  I found the fairing and aligning to be a bit of a pain since I was trying to be "overly cautious"  (which probably can't exist in this hobby!).  It is true that the plans are off a bit here and there, but if you stick to some logic and common sense, you won't notice it. 

 

Another thing to watch out for (once you get there pretty soon), is the beveling of the forward bulkheads, since they all taper and slant in the forward section of the hull.  Check this with a short strip of wood plank, since this will also affect how the waterway and plank shear fit into place.  Mine was off a hair, which is why there is a slight difference between my port and starboard sides (might be able to see it in the pictures in my build).

 

Another tip:  In addition to the filler/support blocks you have, try to get some strips/block that are flush with the top of the forward bulkheads just inside of where the plank shear goes, since these will help with the installation of the deck planks and nibbing strake (keeps the ends from sagging down).  ;)

 

And watch the cat- they LOVE to chew bulkheads, horn timbers, and planks!!!  (Had to replace a few, and fix a gun carriage from my Main coon!  He also loves to shred paper, which luckily he hasn't touched my plans and paperwork....  yet...). LOL!!!! 

 

She's looking great so far- keep it up, take your time, and always have FUN!!  :)

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  • 1 month later...

Finally. Some progress to report.

 

It's not that I haven't been working, although progress is sporadic.  I can get a few hours in some weeknights and then go a week without.

 

I will stare at the next step for a day or two, then my plan evolves in the back of my mind, then I go to work.  I love getting into a groove on a job.

 

Flow.  The state of Flow.  That's what I like about this.  Time slows down, problems drop away. I am in the present.

 

Cutting and fitting and gluing (and occasionally swearing of course).

 

Joseph

 

Pictures follow.

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My Rail Dilemma.

 

I am not too concerned about this. It just makes a little extra work filling and sanding.

 

I just wonder how it happened.  My stern is definitely not to plan and that could account for it.

 

I seem to have made the model about 1/4" longer than the plan.  :)

 

post-2870-0-61129700-1371298116_thumb.jpg

Edited by mainstay
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Adding gun ports and sweep ports, larboard side. 

 

This took a surprising amount of time to find an acceptable approach.

 

The problem was cutting  accurate 3/16" pieces and making accurate 3/16" openings.

 

I finally started using a piece of 3/16" stock as a gauge.

 

Joseph

 

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Joseph,

 

Your build is coming along very well. I suspect the toprail problem is a kit issue, but should be an easy fix. I'll have to do a trial fit to see if I have a similar problem.

Adding the toprail really gives your ship a more finished and defined look. I agree with you on the gun/ sweep port framing being a challenge, but it looks like your doing a great job!

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Nice progress!!!  Definitely coming along there!  :)

 

I agree with Larry- the toprail issue might be intrinsic to the kit (I had to slightly shim around that joint as well).  The gun/sweep ports were fun/tedious to do, but your approach is sound (use a 3/16 block to gauge the hole when assembling).  I had to redo mine, since I just installed the framing, then sanded/filed them square, only to find that I over-sized them (which is why you see the 1/32 strips as framing on my sweep ports).  lol!

 

Still, slow and easy is the best way.  ;)

 

As an idea, it might be easier to go ahead and paint the waterway and plankshear before doing the inboard planking- masking will be a pain!! (know this from experience)

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I like your photos of the model saddled on the keel clamp, a number of them look like the ship is heeled over in the wind and I can see the planks and mast and booms that are soon to come as you move along in your build.  Great to see the rail on with all the detail of the gun and sweep ports.  I must agree that I found the installation of the ports took a surprising amount of time to accomplish.  When ever I got a little weighted down with the completion of the ports I would just take a minute and look a the Santisima Trinidad logs.  I also must agree with Rich it might be worth a bit of your time to pre paint the planksthear.

 

Great to see your work!!!

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Thanks guys,  I plan to paint waterway and planksheer once the ports are framed in but before I start the ceilings.

 

Brian- I see what you mean about the clamp orienting the model.  It does allow for some nice angles.  Right now I am glad I did not bolt the clamp to a workbench.  Works much better loose.

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Larry, Joseph, Brian and Rich..........hello to all, just joined the forum yesterday but started working on two Niagaras about a month ago.  One for me and one for a friend of mine.  He doesn't know it yet.  We like going to the Houston Maritime Museum and seeing all the models there.   Only ship build was a plastic Constitution back in 1971.  Joseph, I see you also build musical instruments.  Building a harpsichord is one on my to do list, though time is running out.  Have built a Celtic harp and a mountain dulcimer (for my wife) as well.  It will be fun to watch the progress of all of you as well as learn.  It's my first POB project as well.  My REAL summer project was to have crewed on the real Niagara when she sails the Great Lakes this year.  But that was all down the drain when my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago.  May never get to do it.  I'm 64 and not getting stronger.  Rich, I saw on your profile that you like Astronomy and live in Tyler.  I'm only about 170 miles away.  Perhaps one day I can introduce you to my 17.5" Dobsonian that I built about 15 years ago.  Of course if you get new employment and have to move away.....well, we'll see.  Sorry to stray off topic.    Enjoy your builds, all of you and if any of you are down this way, perhaps I can get you aboard the Elissa in Galveston.  A fine steel hulled square rigger she is. 

 

Bill Broussard

Iola, Texas   (about 100 miles northwest of Houston, in the Bryan/College Station area)

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Welcome Bill.  I am glad to see another Niagara builder here in the forum.  I look forward to seeing your builds of the Niagara.  Make sure to start your own log so all of us can tag along.  I always thought that it would be interesting to build two of the same model, by the time you get to the second one you have perfected what you need to do and sorted out any areas of confusion that you might have had one the first one.  It is too bad that you never got to sail on the Niagara, and I hope that your wife's breast cancer has been caught at an early enough stage for treatment to be sift and easy (as treatment goes).  Look forward to seeing you around the forum.

 

Brian

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 Hi Bill
Welcome to the Niagara Club :)

We are an informal group of builders within MSW who provide support , help and encouragement to each other 

I am building the Niagara for the second time because my completed build was smashed in a house move

Look forward to seeing your build logs

 

Regards

Ken

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Hi Bill,

 

Welcome to the 'club'.  I am very glad to see a new member here.  Now I have one notch of seniority.

 

And you're building two!  At least you will know how to do each job by the second one. I keep wishing I could do each task over again and you have the chance.

 

I am happy not to own the first clavichord or the first harpsichord I built. I do live in the first house I designed and have some regrets.

 

As to building a harpsichord, you could save time by looking for a project started by someone else and finishing it (assuming they did decent work).

 

And I hope they have caught your wife's cancer in time.

 

Joseph Osborne

Carlisle, PA USA

Edited by mainstay
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