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Michael -The maple is harder than most traditional ship woods making it a little tougher to sand and it scorches easily when using a high speed sander such as a Dremel tool (mine is not variable speed). If you take care not to let it heat up too much the scorching can be sanded away quite easily. It holds detail very well, the grain is very tight and not very noticeable without staining it - I used Formsby's Tung oil on the bow piece. It is brittle along the grain which is not too big a deal building doubled frames as you can plan for the grains to cross each other. For something with single frames this could be an issue. Overall for framing it seems to be working well it just requires a little more patients to work with. I do plan on planking with another wood though I haven't decided what exactly yet just for some contrast.

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Beautiful work Jerry, glad you are sharing your build. Will you build the internal details of the hull?

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Hello Everyone,

Wow, it's a little over 2 years since I've posted anything. So, here's a little update. One of my other life long hobbies is R/C aircraft - large R/C aircraft. Back in April of 2013 my dad approached me with the question of whether I could build a replica of the TBM Avenger torpedo bomber in which my grandfather was a turret gunner aboard during WWII. I informed him that it was indeed possible and that yes I could do it. My Grandfather just turned 90 years old last Dec. Due to his age such a project required immediate attention as I wanted to get it finished before he passed on - we just don't know how long we have. So, that meant putting the Richard on the shelf and shifting focus to the Avenger. I am happy to report that last summer we fired the engine up and taxied the plane around my Granddads backyard. There is still a lot of work to do on it yet, painting for one - which due to the size of the model (little over 9 foot wingspan) must be done outside. Basically, I need to wait until spring when it stops raining here in Washington State. So, I am taking a little break from the Avenger for a couple months.

 

More importantly, I started the Bonhomme Richard as a long term project. Back when I started it I really had no place to put the model once it started reaching finished dimensions. My home was too small to house a  4 or 5 foot long model ship. So, I am happy to report that as of November of last year I purchased a house large enough to house the Bonhomme Richard in its yet to be built case once completed. A fringe benefit to the larger house is that I now have a larger shop. I went from a small table in a single car garage to an entire two car garage. This has allowed me to expand my collection of shop tools. Things like a new 48" lathe, 14" bandsaw, planer, and one heck of a nice delta table saw. I had one of those little Craftsman table saws and one day I was trying to rip a full size sheet of plywood for some storage cabinets in the garage. I got tired of chasing the table saw across the shop floor and down the driveway. Plus the thing is insanely loud. Since I was on a mission to improve my tool inventory I also took the opportunity to improve my wood carving tools. I years ago I had looked into quality woodcarving tools and choked at the cost of them, as a result I turned to low quality Chinese wood carving tools from Harbor Freight - I hated them. They took hours of work to put and edge on them only to have it lost 5 minutes into carving. Advice DON"T BUY THAT JUNK. I finally bit the bullet and started buying Pfeil gouges and I now have about 30 different ones. I am still simply in disbelief at the quality of these gouges They take a razor sharp edge and they hold for a long time cutting through oak, maple and cherry. When they do dull all they really require is a couple passes on a strope to bring back that razor edge. I'm not kidding about how sharp these are either, they are like scalpel sharp. So do yourself a favor and don't skimp on tools.

Now for a bit of bad news - well good news then bad news, and then good news. Last weekend I finally located the box in which I had packed away the Monography for the Bonhomme Richard. Finding it got me eager to jump back in a work on her some more. The hull had been sitting on a shelf in my office in the state I left it in two years ago. I brought it in to shop and laid out some of the plans to figure out where I left off and that's when I noticed problems. Alignments where off due to certain parts getting cut wrong. I began to realize that when I started this project I was making little errors here and there and trying to compensate for them as I continued one. I spent the better part of last Saturday going over the hull rechecking everything thinking that I could pull the bad parts off and remake them and drive on. Honestly, I could have done that but sometime last Sunday I decided to scrap the entire hull and start over only this time instead of using maple I would switch to cherry. In addition to the stock of maple I have in my shop I acquired roughly 500 board feet of cherry that I used to make some cabinets inside the house. I really like the figure and character of the cherry wood and decided it would look nicer than the maple on the model. So, I am in the process of rebuilding the model in Cherry at this time. I'm not going to post pictures just yet because it would really be just a rehash of the ones I've already posted just with a different wood. Once I get caught up to where I was I start posting pics again.

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I still would ask that you give some progress shots.  New year, new wood, new skills.  Glad to see you hadn't dropped off the Earth and the drive is still there.

 

Great story on your grandpa.  I am sure his reaction was fantastic.  Say thank you for his service (especially in torpedo bombers!).

 

Mark

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What you had started already looked amazing that I'm sure the second time around will be even better. I'm looking forward to seeing your pictures as this ship comes along.

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Jerry,

 

   A restart?  Oh brother!  Starting over is no fun, but sometimes it's just necessary.  I know because I'm in the process starting over after an accident that ruined a bread and butter construction model of a 20 gun ship I was working on.  It's difficult, but you have to do it.  Like you I'm not posting any pictures until I have something new  to show.  I look forward to following your build of Bonhomme Richard.  Yes it's the same subject; but with different wood, a much larger shop, and a bunch of new tools it's got to feel like a brand new project.  With that goes the hope of a smooth trouble free build.  Good Luck!

 

Tom

Edited by wyzwyk

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Ok I'll post a few teaser pics. So the first one doesn't involve shipbuilding at all. It is a carving that I did late last year. The carving is done in cherry. In doing this carving I found I really liked how it carved and really liked the figure and finish of the wood. The carving is on the lid of a humidor that is sitting on my workbench. It's pretty much what convinced me that I'd rather have such a fine model in Cherry rather than Maple.

 

The rest of the pictures are of the stern. I am doing some rough shaping and contouring on these pieces. I have included a couple pictures with the original maple stern alongside the version 2 Cherry stern. Hopefully you can get an idea of the difference in wood figure from these. I'll have to work better lighting for photos in the future.

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Jerry,

 

     It would be interesting to see what you can do with a challenging figurehead and elaborate stern carvings in European boxwood.  Something tells me they would come out pretty darn nice.  I like your change to cherry.  Have you ever worked with pear wood?  As you apparently like the reddish hue of cherry you might want to consider trying Swiss pear wood for your next model.

 

Tom

Edited by wyzwyk

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Cherry and pear wood are similar in some aspects to work with. Pear has a very straight wood grain and in this field cherry has a much wider range. Pear wood can be work from every side, cherry is easier to work with wood grain.

 

Jerry,

 

I like your change from maple to cherry. Cherry is a much more stable wood than maple. Cherry is very easy to sand in comparison with maple. The wood grain of maple is not interesting as a ''scale''  wood grain. I have never seen a complete model  made of maple but I have seen a complete model made from cherry.

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wyzwyk - A large part of the reason why I choose to undertake my humidor project is because I am really not that good at carving. So realizing that at a certain point in the future I would need those skills to finish the ornamentation on the Richard. I took up that project in order to start building those skills. As far as whether I ever use Swiss pear. I would have to answer that unless I stumble across a considerable amount of Swiss pearwood I seriously doubt I'd ever use it. Not because it is in any way inferior to anything else. On the contrary it is because Cherry and Pear have very similar work characteristics. It has to do with the availability of the wood in my area. Aside from the normal spruce, fir's, and pines here in Washington state. We have considerable amounts of Maple, Cherry, and Apple trees. My reason for initially doing the model in Maple was purely an economic one. I can get 2" x 6" by 72" planks of Maple for around $20 a board. Well, I also found a lumber store that stocks Cherry lumber for not much more than the Maple. To get Apple wood I need to go over the mountains a bit to the apple growing region here in Washington as it is not stocked as a lumber here in the Seattle area. With Pear I would have to mail order it and it would cost a lot more than cherry for the same amount. I can't see spending the extra money for a wood that is so similar nature to what I can get locally at half the price. But who knows, that's how I see it now. That might change in the future.

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Interesting comparisons, Jerry. But here's a counter-argument to consider: Say you build your model from maple and the outlay is $40.00 (I figure that there will be quite a few 'makeover' bits, so two boards). Pear might cost twice as much. A Bonnehomme Richard model will probably take you 2000 hours to build. Amortize this in cents/hour. That's about 2c for the maple and 4c for pear. Pear or another specie of wood isn't such a huge investment when looked at that way, especially when you invest so much of your time and skill.

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druxey - That's a great argument. But change over to cherry instead of maple and call it 2c for the cherry. Pear seems to be more like 6c to 8c plus shipping cost. Considering how similar pear and cherry are I would probably lean to the cherry because I get it right down the street. That's all I'm saying. We're aren't really talking a huge sum of money either way....LOL I don't have another project in mind anyway at this point, but that's what I said after the last one.

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By comparison, here in Quebec it is easy to get cherry and the last lot I bought I paid $2 pmp.

The last time I bought pear more than 5 years ago, I paid over $10 pmp.

 

The most difficult with cherry is to choose the dark planks because we do not always see the color of the wood especially when it did not pass to the planer

I bought 3 lots of cherry; the first  group had dark planks up to 12 inches wide 1 inch thick.

second time pale wood milled 1X 5 inches 

and the last lot nice dark planks  up to 2 X 15 inches to make a lot of projects.

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Cherry boards - resawn and planed down to roughly 1/4" thick. My first build went awry when I scanned my drawings and then printed them out to use as templates. I did spend some time checking for scanner distortion and initially everything checked out. However, going back over the maple version I could see where things were slightly over size. So, in Version 2 I transferred the required profiles directly to the wood using drafting vellum and spray adhesive. I cut out each piece on my scroll saw leaving a slightly over size edge for later fairing.

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Progress,

The stern is coming along nicely. It's pretty close to the stage from version 1. I've started cutting the sternpost and keel. I also cut the rabbit into the sternpost as detailed in the pictures. This was done using a Pfiel 3mm V-chisel. You can see the small cuts I made working the rabbit down to it's final dimension. I have not as of yet cut the rabbit in the keel itself, that will be done once I have all the pieces cut out and glue together.

 

Another word of note for those of us living in the U.S. Upon my return to this project I was pleased to find that ANCRE has redone their website, It is much friendlier as they now have shipping options for the U.S. listed directly in the order process. So, we don't have to email them and wait weeks to hear back. Also, You may or may not know the Ancre publishes a 4 volume set pertaining to the build of the 74 gun ship. This is kinda THEEE authority on French shipbuilding.As with most Ancre products it has been a little difficult to get here in the States. I think I've seen volume 2 priced between $150 and $300 on the used book market. Well, good news!!!!!! Because the dollar is strong against the Euro at the moment and with the new an improved website. I jumped at the opportunity to purchase Vol. 2 of the 74-gun ship series directly from Ancre. It is priced at 103 Euros or about $120 US, Shipping was another 5 Euros. I received my copy this morning 11 days after ordering it. I'm so jazzed right now because I've been wanting this book for 3 years now and beating myself up over the cost of buying it used. Now I have a new copy hot off the press. I will be adding the rest of the volumes shortly to round out the collection.

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Jerry,

 

Nice job!  I'm enjoying following the progress on your build.  Also, I've recently ordered from Ancre, and have had it go as easily as your experience.

 

Erik

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Update. Keel is mostly done, it still needs bolts. I wanted to wait on installing bolts until I got Vol. 1 of the 74 gun ship series. I mistakenly ordered the second volume first. No big deal as I intend to get all four volumes anyway. I did move onto the framing since there aren't many visible bolts there. Ever since I laid eyes on Ed Tosti's Naiad build I have wanted to build those tools, his Ship Ways is superb. So, I ordered his first book on the Naiad build. I have been reading through it for a few days now. Gleaming Ed's little pearls of wisdom from it's pages. Unfortunately, Ed the pages of your book is now covered with sawdust as I spent the day building an Ed Tosti style Ways for the Bonhomme Richard. I sourced my T-track from Rockler woodworking supply. They sell a universal T-track kit that comes with one 4 foot track and a bag of knobs and T-bolts for $31.99, the track alone is $25.00 for a 4 foot section.  If I were to buy just the track I would get it from Woodcraft Supply. So, I bought 2 universal kits giving me plenty of bolts and knobs. I still have to build the gantry and probably another height gauge. Each of those will be fabricated from maple since I have a good stock of that in the shop. I also added a Unimat Lathe to the shop. I purchased it on eBay. The first of two boxes came today, luckily it was the lathe itself. I powered it up and played with it a bit. Its used obviously but is still pretty tight throughout. Overall, I am impressed with the quality of this little machine.

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