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18th century New England Schooner by Jond - 1:48 - based on Mamoli Halifax

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Build Packet Schooner from Mamoli Halifax kit


Here we go again on another adventure.  After building  schooners of 1802, 1853, and downeast Schooners 1894, 1906 and 1921, I wanted to get back and learn about the design of the early schooners.   I shall put together a brief posting with some of the references I have been reading.  Today I just want to get the general introduction as to what I am building and why.


I live in Maine and shall remain most interested in the maritime history of this region.  I include all New England and maritime Canada as the region.   I shall leave it to the true authors to record all the real back ground, and shall simply summarize a few points…….again from what I have read and seen to date.  I always look forward to more research in this area and appreciate some tips already received through these logs.


It is well recorded in Boothbay, Maine that starting in early 19th century 'Pinky' and similar schooners were being built .   So, where I am going is to build a few known designs taking some liberties to improve my understanding of the evolution of the coasting schooners.   I would like then to build some representative schooners that were built here.   That starts with pre-Pinky and ends with the 10 four masters built in 1921. See my Charles Notman where I built it to be a prototype for sailing size models . It had a documented design I could use to learn.



I chose the kit Halifax as a first build in this adventure because she represents several things of interest to me:

·         She was built I believe in Nova Scotia as a Packet in 1768.…Harold Hahn's book on Colonial Schooners gives a great history of her.

·         She was taken over by the British navy in 1770, which means there are very accurate drawings.  I believe it should not be too difficult using common sense to reverse engineer and remove features that would only have been done for a navy vessel and I shall speak of that in the bashing process. Harold Hahn said if one goes to the actual admiralty drawings there are tick marks indicating what was to be changed in the lines. He then listed several items that he believes were added.

·         There is a fun Maine story that she sailed into Machias, Maine trying to recover stolen cannons .  Unsuccessful, she hired a pilot to get back to sea.  The naughty pilot reportedly steered her onto a reef and the ran away in the night…….She was lost to the US...wow score one for new England rebels.

·         She was a subject of the renown Harold Hahn.  I was able to get plans of her as well as Challeur, a sister ship in the small British group in late 1770’s. This gives us accurate drawings of another boat a little bigger.


Apparently there was a second Halifax commissioned by the British navy after the first one was lost in Machias, and some confusion that i plan to evade


So what am I building?


Each Christmas time I have fun on ebay as a flurry of models seem to come available and if you are diligent a good deal is in the offing.   A few years ago, I bought the Mamoli kit, and it has been sitting on a shelf. So, as I continue to work more sparingly on Bluenose, I have started this kit.   I am also bashing another kit of a plank on frame version of a similar schooner. i feel it is important to learn how to build the whole frame, so concurrent with this build, an unrecorded first attempt of plank on frame is also on the bench.   I plan to use that partially built model as a partial framed out hull in a dock yard diorama, so it shall not have a build log or name. Working on it in parallel does help explain though the slow pace this build might take on this kit. 


I must also say I plan to ignore what I call the navy embellishments. So I shall take images from a few Harold Hahn diorama views to confirm what I believe to be pretty straight forward.  Fishermen nor early 'packetmen' did not have great windows in the cabins, lions on the stem nor guns on the decks.  Also as  a yank and building a representative boat using the Halifax kit, I see no reason not to take liberty and declare I am in 1:48 scale.   The kit as being metric is 1:50. Yes I have metric rulers!!  I may change my mind later but what I am building is 53 feet on deck and not 55+.  Again I will also need to change the sailing rig to represent the commercial Canadian build and not the British Navy redrawn sail plan with top square sails etc..   That change could be challenging, but it is my goal.



lets start....Step one the frame


So first of all I opened the kit and found myself amused by the way they [ mamoli ] do things.  The drawings are exploded isometric views, the instructions are pretty basic and off you go.  I bought a set of Harold Hahn plans and I go there for questions.

  • 5a9f063d91cd3_h_001DSC_0561.jpg.0bbb6b80e7b31c36520c6622a580fd8d.jpg

I cleaned up the bulkheads and keelson assembly ready to put together.  This model is small compared to my usual work, so I made up mini blocks to use to square up the bulk heads.  Surprise.  The interlocking under deck ties everything together. So without too much trouble we get the bulkheads on in the first day.   I wonder how true they are?...we'll see



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Looks interesting Jon. I'm always terrified of starting anything new until I have finished the previous project. You are obviously better at multi tasking.



Current Build:-

Cangarda (Steam Yacht) - Scale 1:24


Previous Builds:-


Schooner Germania (Nova) - Scale 1:36


Schooner Altair by KeithAug - Scale 1:32 - 1931


J Class Endeavour by KeithAug - Amati - Scale 1:35 - 1989 after restoration.



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Nautical Adventures




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Thank you Keith.  yes I like to have several things burning at the same time.  It takes longer for each but we shall get there.    Today I had a tare in the Bluenose jib that I had to repair,  and then I did several ratlines as well as work on this one.  It is supposed to snow tonight, so tomorrow I can get a long a bit here and shall try to update.



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Step 2 get ready for outer planking


The first thing I did was to put together the under planking [ first planking].   The Kit provided 1x4 mm planks which makes sharp corners a bit tough

·        5aa2dd42c9e71_h_002DSC_0565.jpg.7912e300a362e507a298f7bc82057c1c.jpg Here we see the shear in place. It is pretty much a single bend, and a little ammonia water in a roasting pan is my only preparation

·        5aa2dd436d413_H_003DSC_0566.jpg.bf60337eadb733991f538db8f9f54f68.jpg Aha.   The first problem.  4 mm is too wide for the bow. I tried rolling it but to no avail. 

·       5aa2dd4400a01_h_004DSC_0567.jpg.56a18069ba2f0fbca020ac88b817ddd4.jpg  And yes both sides are suffering

·         5aa2dd449b5eb_H_005DSC_0568.jpg.f22912fe2482ebd960ae5d8445bd3600.jpgThe aft lines seem fine for these first few planks and I let them run full.

·        5aa2dd4545075_H_006DSC_0569.jpg.84719c24fa49092fa4563c3ef0f9223b.jpg My attempted fix at the bow was to take 1/16 x 1/16 bass wood and double up a bit.  They are just a hair thicker than 1mm so in the sanding filling we should be ok

·         5aa2dd45c8b72_H_007DSC_0571.jpg.94f59331de5bc76b21225d88d9527f0f.jpgI chose to build this area up with soft balsa and then to shape it for the roll up coming with the walnut planking to come in the next step. the curved four little blocks were interesting to get into place.  

·         5aa2dd46758f3_H_008BBB_1601.jpg.ecc3001ca9245f1f572a5aacf298e69e.jpgOk the first run under planking before sanding is fill with spiling fore and aft to make the curves.   See the bass wood is a bit thicker at the major curve.

·        5aa2dd470670e_H_009DSC_0572.jpg.41289d6e1094fc05f393638cfd0bcb3f.jpg Here we are filled and cleaned up ready for the over planking.  The aft section has a tight roll up to end with future cross planking on the curved area below the transom. 

·       5aa2dd47995df_H_010DSC_0573.jpg.5a4fa73a41683dee834860c80f8aae50.jpg  Looking from forward we hope we are Ok. As it turned out the tops of the bulkhead forward and far aft was too low. Following mamoli at this point the inner bulkhead on the lower main deck is also dropped a bit.....more on that later


All for now



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Step 3 outer planking topsides


Here my status of student comes out clearly.  My previous models were all painted hulls and most focused on actual radio sailing.   Thus, the perfect spline, bevel and twist were not that critical. I believe something would have been put on the outer finish of merchant [ packet Schooners]  and fishing boats, so nice walnut planking is for the model and not the history.   I need to learn anyway, so off we go on this adventure.    I have read in magazines and other blogs that many European boxed kits have wood that might be a bit dry.  Well I am out of my league so who knows.    There are  actually four pieces of pear for the topsides included, so I need to treat them well.


So here we go on the topsides.

·         5aa3f99726445_H_011BBB_1602.jpg.a3c7825e40911ec6d5770c0a72adb98f.jpgHere is the wood pile as the pieces come tied together.  With a little guessing I hopefully and choosing the right wood for each step. The wale and hull planking are listed to be walnut and the topsides yellowish pear. 

·        5aa3f997c2c82_H_012DSC_0574.jpg.2b11985d2eb911258d99a352aa3a4ef0.jpg OK the wales are in place drying.  They were very dry and although soaked for hours still split on me.  Hopefully the thinner walnut will have more flex.

  • ·         5aa3f9985d696_H_013DSC_0575.jpg.f66662c4edb189cba58dec03f6b842f2.jpgHere we are glued up

·         5aa3f998ede12_H_014DSC_0576.jpg.dffb3c46cb0ce68c234f779f20007c3b.jpgNow to the topsides.  It was interesting to figure out a way to clamp.  I chose not to use the thumb screws because they would penetrate above the deck line. This pear plank is drying to shape

·         5aa3f9997bccf_h_015DSC_0577.jpg.b29a8dbf7639d1f8fd847610b9ed3aaf.jpgHere is the glue up. The pear was a joy to work with compared to the dry walnut.

·         5aa3f99a20a1c_h_016DSC_0578.jpg.10edeac581a759faaeee615ba615cdfc.jpgHere I found I needed spacers to thicken the plank to match the wale to hold.  The long strip wedges I made for another project saved the day.

·         5aa3f99ac0fa8_h_017DSC_0579.jpg.23a1e678e420fcfb841d3f72a3edad33.jpgNow well into the second plank I was getting the hang of it.  Of course, it is easy if run full width for the two pear planks.

·         5aa3f99b5a4a0_h_018DSC_0580.jpg.d7533bf3b2c246f0d33e18946842206b.jpgNow we’re back to thin 3mm strips of walnut. They went reasonably well. You will see later the issues because I was doing a little guess work on height of the bulkhead, especially forward.


5aa3f99bda480_H_019DSC_0581.jpg.f90291c99b14a1a414dda3f80267cf93.jpgHere could reach the first 4mm wide plank going down the hull below the wale. I used the clamps for dry out and shaping

5aa3f99c6aa59_h_020DSC_0582.jpg.2aa6365c348b26999ea805662b53e474.jpgGluing this first plank i switched to thumb screws to try to twist and hold the shape. I made up some wood shoes just to try but as you shall see quickly went back to metal.


time to turn her over


All for now



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Lower hull planking


I have stated before on my other builds that I am more interested in learning the history of these boats; that's how they were made and how they sailed.   The  walnut veneer was OK but gap issues as it seemed to dry narrower than it laid up.  Also the bends we ok unless one wants a perfect surface as Mr Hahn used to do.  Real planks were thick enough to bevel and  for cleaning up and making smooth. The under layer is 1.5 mm thick same as our 1/16 and that gives much more to work with than 1 mm walnut.  also they use 3 mm wide [ easy] and 4mm wide a bit tough for twisting.  


Anyway here we go. We know if we don't like it, we can  sand and paint to look like paraffin. Mr Hahn's navy version was paraffin below, and the topside yellow as they would have been painted too. I do understand that for beautiful models walnut is nice.  I am researching more about colors of the time to see what merchants would be.  Chappell's book on overall history of sailing is my current source . 


so lets see if we can do walnut

  • 5aad36d4d9eb3_h_021DSC_0587.jpg.c1d76352428a69c440b2965edf3d8017.jpgfor the hull I am using thumb screws. every once and a while the planks was quite stubborn and a pin was needed.    
  • 5aad36d5c6f27_h_022DSC_0589.jpg.88a6f9f619164e5b687b454e7342f35a.jpgHere I have hard bent the first plank leading up to the transom
  • 5aad36d66c67b_h_023DSC_0590.jpg.a129a0363f7fcf6b0cf7b63a1412c0a2.jpgspiling begins immediately to both ends
  • 5aad36d71b1cb_h_024DSC_0591.jpg.d69464d2dad1a4e76bcbe64e5fd45748.jpghere the starboard side is glue up and the port side is shaping the wet plank.  again only ammonia water in a roasting pan.
  • 5aad36d7bd4b1_h_025BBB_1609.jpg.38c6a5e73ede7f4e3d3f85beef097bde.jpgif I can sand we are ok here, but it will get tougher as we approach the keel.
  • 5aad36d88691c_H_026DSC_0593.jpg.a5f30189b89a7a43462568024e70c588.jpgthere were several stubborn planks .
  • 5aad36d970e58_h_027DSC_0594.jpg.4d0a3347479d4eef0ca8a09a4fd28470.jpg another day a few more planks
  • 5aad36da243aa_h_028DSC_0596.jpg.9bb42da98fe026a7d539e7e84ff22548.jpgthe back end shaping up.5aad36dac99a0_h_029DSC_0603.jpg.9eac13ef8e0394632815ca9970b0d5aa.jpghere you see the splitting of the walnut in its final dry out. also the opening of some gaps.
  • 5aad36dc3e982_h_031DSC_0605.jpg.4776eb01cc1a27cfeb4d92004b6f9ea0.jpganother day and another plank. here the connection at the transom gets tight
  • 5aad36dd25496_h_032DSC_0607.jpg.8155fcf082a6a40ce577737b3916bfad.jpgwe are now cutting in the end. this gets trimmed out again for the stern post.
  • 5aad36ddc8321_h_033DSC_0609.jpg.4919557f91adb553533163490d6e6278.jpgalmost home.
  • 5aad36dfbb230_h_034DSC_0610.jpg.71500e709eaa8c318658d73ca6aee55b.jpglast plank starboard glue up.
  • 5aad36e0c32c9_h_035DSC_0612.jpg.496d4e817af16aafa783c34d39a7e866.jpgwe're done gluing...now to rescuing, and figuring our how to build out the stern. i shall not build the navy gallery modifications.  I also need to sort out the bulk head dimensions.

all for now



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Finish planking....first pass anyway


It’s time to complete my first pass of the upper planking, which includes figuring out what I am building for a gunnel. 

·        h_036DSC_0614.jpg.ec84a12444657f393739b45402ba8206.jpg Here we plank up the keel and dead rise. 

·         5ab02706db40d_h_037DSC_0615.jpg.c7abeea09535ac9348a137e8f22ecca4.jpgHere we clad the stem

·        5ab02707a9d64_h_037bmamolihallifaxbulkhead.jpg.221c4e86db9888f0299b92c1272079cf.jpg Now we look at the alternate plans.  Here the Mamoli plans show cutting the freeboard down a bit for placement of cannons on the main deck.

·         h_038DSC_0617.jpg.09529f99e7dc762d3cec2b6013f39df8.jpgIn this shot you see that I followed that  before completely researching what a packet schooner might have been.

·        5ab02709714eb_H_039DSC_0618.jpg.cafedd9222d73a6720ec730edd039b3a.jpg In this view one sees the upper poop deck raised.  In Harold Hanh review this raising of the poop deck might have been done by the navy to give more room below.  I am not sure have looking a few models and similar boats as to what would have been original.

·        h_040DSC_0619.jpg.99b7db3cb4a3393c4b5796bf8d690046.jpg This view show damage to the top plank that occurred while the boat was upside down getting its bottom planked.  Oh well…it won’t be the last repair

·        5ab0270adcfab_H_042DSC_0621.jpg.70562d32bef787d9307810363dcd50ee.jpg Next step is to get rid of the temporary bulkhead tops.    Now we have another question./  the photos of the models and the mamoli plan show an inner lining covering up the extended ribs.   Harold H shows them in his open version of the model but closes them in the competed version.   So   would a coasting packet schooner spend that money?    I don’t think so.  I am thinking about what to show….install dummy raised frames [ stanchions] and leave them like on a modern fishing schooner or make the insides smooth covering the theoretical stanchions like the navy ship.

·        5ab0270c4da73_h_043haroldhahnbulkheadandcabin.jpg.568212552a2b7526e5c0e29a247fe664.jpg This is a distorted photo of the Harold Hahn boat as included in his book.  The height of the gunnel clearly is not dropped like the Mamoli design.  

·         5ab027171383e_H_044haroldhahnchalleurbulkhead.jpg.3fd1d111074b9f1ff89066d88f4847b8.jpgThis is a distorted photo of the Harold Hahn plan of Challeur, a sister boat so to speak.   The sweeping shear line form the bow goes all the way aft to where the poop deck is located.   The fact that both of these boats have the raised poop deck, suggests to me that the original schooner was built that way.

·         5ab02717bf403_h_045haroldhahnnumberofribsandbulkhead.jpg.9f1272d9164493f355234fb23e660e74.jpgThis is another view on a distorted photo of HH’s plan. It confirms to me that he gunnels should be continuous from the bow aft and not dropped like Mamoli plans.

·        5ab02719691b1_h_046DSC_0629.jpg.1b64e7617f150034e41d13a178bb143e.jpg Here we are repairing by adding in the missing free board on the main deck.

·         h_047DSC_0633.jpg.0f7b2492efa5a3a736ed6472145c8088.jpgHere I am rebuilding the bow planking.

One can see many gaps in the planking.  I am off to the monthly Downeast shipmodeler's guild meeting and shall ask for advice.  If I choose to keep the wood look, I want the gaps filled with black.  If I choose to paint the paraffin and topsides I still need the lines to show. Wood filler is too hard and not black.  


All for now



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fix up planking gaps and work on the outside


I went to our monthly Downeast Shipmodelers Guild meeting and passed around the hull.  I expressed my concern that the thin walnut veneer had gaps.   I wanted the joints to show through finish if painted or be black if I choose to leave the wood natural.  After some discussion about the typical materials all being harder than the wood, two guys recommended the following.  

  • Coat the hull with about three coats of shellac.  It will fill in most of the gaps and without light look very dark... brown/black.   Then sand off the shellac.   Then use a rub on wax finish not poly varnish.   The varnish they say is also harder than the wood and not good for thin woods that move differently .   I asked about hand rub min-wax varnish and they thought it to be much better than the typical hard water base we often buy.


So …this is a learning process. If this shellac process does not work out, I can always paint the hull as Harold Hahn did his.  Paraffin waterline down yellow/ cream above and cream bulkheads. All rails and trim black.


·        5aba8f818bb5d_h_048DSC_0634.jpg.1ea4c0efb145692d060a69b3c369f94c.jpg Here we are with shellac coat number one

·        5aba8f826d581_H_048DSC_0641.jpg.4cde1b6c80d6af5cdbf4ee37436280b8.jpg Here on coats 2, 3 and 4 I used a smaller artist brush to try to pour the shellac into what seemed to be bottomless gaps. Then after four and even a little more I said enough

·         5aba8f83557d4_h_049aDSC_0642.jpg.16a8701c19f76630f5a4b2e1c169f16d.jpgOk another day passed, so let’s try to sand and scrape without doing damage.  First up is the pear sides.

·        5aba8f841eeeb_h_049bDSC_0643.jpg.d7f57976d17b1a29cbf62ad5166ce1fb.jpg Here is the tail end.  The gaps do indeed look black.  If this works out perhaps a few more coats of shellac in these big turns as a rework effort.  We’ll see


Let’s start shaping up the top of the hull.


  • ·         5aba8f8506609_h_050aDSC_0645.jpg.5b2adc6c644da90baa76d3b243eb11c8.jpgHere I need to figure out how the wale wraps.  I am working the Mamoli plan and chose for the moment not to use the metal rear wale and windows.  I may change my mind, but for now I am using wood
  • 5aba8f85c615f_h_050bDSC_0646.jpg.7d25d389660f71b12103bc24c6919dc1.jpgHere a wale does not reach far enough aft.  Thank goodness we can get scalpels for these tight cuts

·        5aba8f868f819_h_050cDSC_0648.jpg.ae2c7c85770c39742e23e17f4a495785.jpg Here we are replaced

·        5aba8f87656d0_h_050dDSC_0649.jpg.77035133d7e4db267cda0d0a1373e110.jpg Now the free board is also too short if I follow the sweep of the planks.  This gives a nice raise all the way back.   I will discuss more in the next post

·        5aba8f882478b_h_050fDSC_0650.jpg.5a57f5211fef347e8afbef1462207638.jpg Here is the structure cur and ready. [ see far side] I added a piece here under the planks.

·        5aba8f88de898_h_050gDSC_0652.jpg.1e473b12ed00f6448e474f600901476d.jpg Here is the new planking.   You can also see the plywood transom clamped in place. I have made it as I work on what to do back there.  I am not sure I want the metal pieces.

·        5aba8f89ad66b_h_051DSC_0653.jpg.76ea4b382b3cc70fd546ea8b8d80bf37.jpg Finally, here is the first shaping of the laminated forward rail. It will be 5 each 1mm x2mm planks with dummy stanchions on top.  In a plank on frame build, I believe this would be made around the stanchions and filled in like the real boat.


One of the things that hit me at this stage is the alignment of the wale at the transom.  Different drawings show differences…I need more study then will post what I figure out. 


All for now

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Jon, Your journey is nicely informative. It’s probably a bit late for this build but one good option for gap filling is to collect very fine sanding dust from the same wood as the hull planks. Mix this with PVA wood glue diluted 2 PVA to 1 water and then use the paste as a filler. Leave to dry and then sand the hull. The result is usually slightly darker than the parent wood but tones in well. Good progress by the way. 


I should add that others invented the sawdust trick well before I reinvented it.


Edited by KeithAug



Current Build:-

Cangarda (Steam Yacht) - Scale 1:24


Previous Builds:-


Schooner Germania (Nova) - Scale 1:36


Schooner Altair by KeithAug - Scale 1:32 - 1931


J Class Endeavour by KeithAug - Amati - Scale 1:35 - 1989 after restoration.



Other Topics

Nautical Adventures




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Thanks for the tip


I kept sanding remnents from anthrr model needing the Lazer cut clean up.  A darkened cherry.   I foolishly mixed it with Tite bond wood glue about 50:50.  Then put it in.  A bit of a mess near the bow.   I will try using the diluted CA for some of the isolated remaining gaps. I also wonder if putting the sawdust into the shellac does anything.  Any way I love the experiments



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Time for an update



I want to try to better understand some of the common items between schooners and what might separate them.  In the search I was amused to find that different companies provide plans that don’t necessarily agree.   For example, let’s take the transom and the tie into the wales. Please excuse my amateur vocabulary naming these parts

·         5ac3d46cea476_h_052aDSC_0654.jpg.5e963c4438f6b59f8bf36eec29eb6558.jpgHere we see the Mamoli elevation.  The kit is like this.  The lower wale comes aft  to meet the top of the rudder and the bottom of the horizontal beam under the windows

·        5ac3d46d76fb5_h_052bDSC_0655.jpg.f91f2937eacf3f34317e3dbd4504036f.jpg Here we see both transom and side view of the Harold Hahn drawing.  The wale clearly is lower. A curved trim board come sweeping up maybe 4 feet to meet the horizontal beam under the windows


So what is right if I am trying to make a typical 18th century new England packet schooner.   Both I suspect

·         5ac3d46de97fb_H_052cDSC_0656.jpg.627600c80eafd5a59cb7e5ab1a4528b8.jpgHere is the drawing from Harold Hahn of Chaleur.   He favored the sweeping approach

·        5ac3d46e66741_H_052dDSC_0657.jpg.2880f1adbc77f3f4c5a6ca9e2644a29f.jpg Here is a photo of the sultana kit plan by MSW.  It is the same period.   


I went through Chapelle's books again and he clearly shows both being used on different ships. he agrees with Hahn on Halifax.  He also offers plans showing before and after navy upgrades and arming.  More importantly in his research of Halifax none of the major exterior pieces are significantly changed when the navy took it over.  So I am on the right track.


Back to the hull and question ....do I try to keep artistic natural woods of go for trying to be more historical with the painted solution?

·         5ac3d46ee3c37_H_053aDSC_0658.jpg.c7e859920a4f80423631a1fe3894cd16.jpgBefore I go crazy and do too much sanding to get all the shellac I put on off [ or use some acetone] I want to see a few things.  Here I have taped the top of the waterline as if I were going to paint the bottom white

·        5ac3d46f5ed5e_h_053bDSC_0659.jpg.cf1a8b1b94f2b623abfe3e96b525a7d5.jpg I need to build up the transom.  Am I going to try to hand make all the windows or use the kit metal parts

·       5ac3d46fe5b60_H_054aDSC_0661.jpg.f731e3d1d20005d48cc5eb31c8fd9611.jpg  Just get an idea I tried to apply hand rub on poly, one coat.  Easy to remove if I want to go back to cleaning up the walnut.

·        5ac3d47074e08_h_054bDSC_0662.jpg.b7c10418bb13e63844beb916e376bef3.jpg Here we see better where I did remove the shellac, the wood looks good and the gaps are nice and dark

·         5ac3d47102b1f_H_054cDSC_0663.jpg.84744e90dac8aad36466895c543971ca.jpgStill undecided I plan to keep going and adding some more wood before committing to redo the hull finish, at the moment I am voting for paint


Time to add rails decks transom

·        5ac3d47183c08_h_055aDSC_0664.jpg.5bc197a4b8e5f2241725e26c82ecb6b2.jpg I added the interior bulk head. It is simple enough that if I choose to paint later I should be OK.  I learned a lesson before that when using decking as thin as .5 mm one should finish it first.  Using all the care in the world, I still get glue on top and wiping it off with wet paper towel does not get it out.  Therefore, I put hand rub poly on the decking first. Comically I put 2 coats on one side and one on the side to be the bottom.  Naturally I cannot tell.

·           5ac3d4720d043_h_055bDSC_0665.jpg.2016ac427d150dd90e07a6951c76ff86.jpgThe rails are walnut and needed to be shaped.  The forward rail was laminated. There was no good way to hold. I used about 6 pins

·         h_055c.jpg.0af9f017d8bc09dabdca2239868c540e.jpg  I added the small planks on the top to hold it flat

·        5ac3d47304e17_h_055eDSC_0677.jpg.acde8185fcc89533acb6991ee3cba99c.jpg Here we are a few days later gluing down the rails.  Also, you can see more deck is in place


Time to decide on the transom

·        5ac3d47388ff0_h_056aDSC_0680.jpg.b406c0c176487d4ed754971420adfe4f.jpg I went around and around and finally made the call.  I will cut in the windows and use the kit casting. It looks pretty good and let’s me move on into the rigging and operating issues that are more important to me

·         5ac3d47408a6f_h_056bDSC_0682.jpg.7812902023165885553a7b0ca99a20d8.jpgHere you can see one of the problems.  The upper part is just a bit too big.   See the day light coming through the right side. Also, there are no planking lines visible in the casting.



·         5ac3d4748ed54_h-056cDSC_0684.jpg.c002c8602c87dd867864026588cd115f.jpgHere I am installing the walnut deck beams

·        5ac3d4750bd81_h-056dDSC_0686.jpg.cc935f9e2c99f1e799a80f791746eeca.jpg Here I am working out the transom. I have added vertical walnut planks on the outside forward sides. I have added a rail on the transom and believe I should also plank out the inside of the casting.  That leaves only the filigree and hand rails . 

Another item in this view is the continued rise cause by the exterior planking.  The side rails are controlled by the sweep of the planks. If i cut them to coordinate with the lower transom rail that would be awful. If I raise the deck the slope would be unrealistic.   This is just the kit design.   I believe if the kit design had the wales going after to reach the curved trim board likes Hahn's design , this would all have worked out better.     


All for now

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This update includes a few miscellaneous items as I move along thinking about direction in making this packet schooner.


First of all another mistake.   A few postings ago I went through drawings and showed there was no dropped bulk head from fore deck to main deck on the Harold Hahn diorama shot of other schooners. I decided to add back in at the early stage as it is always easier to remove parts later……..I added in both structure and planking…oops.   Rereading Chapelle, I find before and after views of Halifax.   This dropping of the bulk head was not a change made by the navy on the original schooner.  They simply added the gun ports. [ I won't] Looking again through several images I also found for the most part the schooners did have a dropped rail at the main deck.

·         5acbd464435e9_H_058aDSC_0687.jpg.fe69422f82a6de253aed748d347ee9f1.jpgHere we are with nice long shear and rail…..the laminated rail on the foredeck is higher and it is just wrong.  See the two saw marks as I start the fix.

·         H_058b.jpg.13ddf29d11d64fb2fef28e11367506a3.jpgI have dropped the bulkhead one plank and am regluing the rail

·         5acbd46566f85_H_059aDSC_0696.jpg.19da13191aeb7877e028b9c44db3a6aa.jpgHere I am experimenting with the sculpy approach to making the nice little roses for the rail transition. I used a 3/16 brass tube with a 5/32 bar inside to extrude sculpy and razor off.  I will glue two back to back after cooking

·         5acbd465e569a_H_059bDSC_0697.jpg.a5a51e23a4a25e344c403e8bc2724540.jpgHere they are glued in place.

·        5acbd466ce7cb_H_059cDSC_0695.jpg.4157660bdb90348198bc4216335d166f.jpg Now lets make a mock up tiller and see how the rudder fits

·         5acbd467672be_H_060aDSC_0698.jpg.9cff3d30d83502f231f889fef952a503.jpgHere we see the mock up tiller and the build up of the transom with walnut to cover the metal.  FYI the tiller broke at a bend.  The pin was too sharp I guess and weakened the wood.

·         5acbd467f395b_h_060bDSC_0700.jpg.93077cf5b4a09ed55497bcb065fb9264.jpgNote the side rails are too high as discussed before as the lowest wale is mis designed [ too high]  in this kit.  This shall be the test. Setting a board in place I feel it is ok to continue.  Though I may rename the ship the mamoli . I think the bowling ball size bead is a bit big for our tiller. Also I need to leanr to make figures as this guy is definitely not 18th century


·         5acbd46876db7_H_060cDSC_0703.jpg.e03096dc8d7302ad75d2dad0fb269a61.jpgHere the transom is in place and the walnut planking around it.  I need to paint the windows out black and then think about mullions. I like to use pins [ wire] The kit gave me cute blue infills decals with red mullions….no thanks.   


Next I need to get off the shellac and decide on the hull finishes



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OK it’s time to decide …and I have


·         5acd08a144763_h_061aDSC_0671.jpg.a3f729b6f022a173677b5760934fdebc.jpgHere is a photo of a 1800 Virginia pilot schooner kit I made a few  years ago.  It was fun and a good kit to learn a few things.   The wood was good quality and despite my amateur errors looks good.  It could have been painted out, but I left it natural.   


back to Halifax pre HMS navy chnages..


I took off the shellac some more and felt there was little purpose.   Even the pear wood is not beautiful.  So……..

·         5acd08a1d80f6_h_061bDSC_0705.jpg.bced3cee7cf503abfac273cd2a3206e8.jpgI have put on about 5 coats of ivory.  I have taped one side of the wales and plan to paint them black

·         5acd08a25b4bc_h_061cDSC_0706.jpg.60fb94e3fe9553b29838b4e7328c643e.jpgLooking closer we seem to keep the planking look. The shellac did a nice job of filling the gaps not up flush as a paste filler would have done.

·        5acd08a2e0980_h_062aDSC_0707.jpg.2a95f46f5c865be8c5340ca5b9f6f989.jpg Our roses are in place so a little filler here is needed

·         5acd08a366d5d_h_062bDSC_0708.jpg.ffd5b0cc92d2f823ef61d80dd4c56602.jpgHere is the first coat of black. I did this for a look see and if I did not like it , the acrylic comes right off.    During this time, I used a scalpel to scrape all the shellac off the pear and walnut planking.

·        5acd08a3e554b_H_062d0DSC_071.jpg.76aa556f401de19d2be0a4dd46a30650.jpg I also started playing with the transom paint.

·        5acd08a4698b7_H_062fDSC_0711.jpg.667186c478ebd1a2d42535b4a577e74e.jpg Here one can see the result of patient scraping get off the shellac.  I must say I agree with e advice that using the shellac gave a good infill that looks brown/black for pitch.  Before finishing, the pear is nicely ‘yellow’ tinted so my decision is to keep going with natural topsides.

·         5acd08a4ed36b_h_063aDSC_0712.jpg.b56b0f280115da8ad6f74a8a2b2f9b3c.jpgHere I have applied glazing putty.  I also cleaned up the fore deck rail [ 5 laminated planks had some rough edges] and a few pin holes in the cap rail that sanding did not completely sand out.

·        5acd08a571428_H_064aDSC_0713.jpg.a6d9ec10c8beeadb8959356da5ba1fb4.jpg Here is coat one of rub on poly.  The pear and walnut become much closer but with the black wales I am OK with the look.  I imagine a lesson learned is that to get the better planking wood , we need to get our favorite suppliers to substitute what comes in the box. I don't complain too loudly as i my have contributed.   I believe the black markings in the wood came while planks soaked in ammonia water softening for bending. Kind of like getting those dark water spots out of a real Sitka mast or boom after years of ware.

·         5acd08a811f93_H_064bDSC_0715.jpg.f87c4b5235623ec0c2cbab23deb884e0.jpgWhen including the contrast of the top side inner bulkhead, a mystery wood I had in the shop, and the light decking, it is time to stop thinking and move forward.

·         5acd08a8d4556_H_065aDSC_0716.jpg.df68ece2d8ce6728122614619cd92c57.jpgHere I have gone back and repainted the black after another coat of poly. 

·        5acd08a9b8310_H_065bDSC_0717.jpg.14349e0a52a983860c0488b9c934a8c5.jpg With this view I am moving forward.   I am sure through the process another coat or two will be needed.


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  • 1 month later...

It has been some time since I have been able to sit down and write a little update.  for the record....As spring came we made our annual trip to Arizona and extended the trip to visit more family in Colorado.   Then we all know that spring fever hits and we were off to the garden store, checking on getting the boat ready etc.   Thus, modeling is not happening as it might.


I have decided that I shall use the Kit materials in the maximum as I am studying the boat and learning about the rigging and sailing. With a little care I think they are working out.

First let’s get out the lathe and sanding boards and make up the main spars.  I find the dowels provided are all MM dimensioned so the fractional inch chuck don’t always work.  Not a big deal

  • 5b06ccd236c92_h_066DSC_0034.jpg.a9fe821527ea78bafb4e9e810c4f5ec7.jpgHere is the bow sprit.  I followed with the two masts.

  • 5b06ccd0df573_h_066cDSC_0037.jpg.53348f620c5f937f313a17163309bbb0.jpgHere I dug out some spring tube benders and used them to rebend the wet tiller. You can see the first one with oversized ball was bent on pins and that does not work too well.


One of recent diversions was a fun interruption.   A ggod friend was cleaning out her home to move back to Vermont.  She found her grandfathers old schooner weather vane.  It was a wreck.  The twoo wood hull sections were apart and the long weathering had deteriorated the spruce pieces.  

  • 5b06cf689404f_H_067aDSC_0036.jpg.ad0ef77c17819cf18be2532f9a62e894.jpgFirst of all I removed all the paint. Then in this view I have epoxied the two haves together and put on the first coat of resin over the whole thing.  The resin was totally absorbed, and I ended up putting about four coats to get it secure.

  • 5b06ccd300f74_h_067dBBB_2030.jpg.77c3588dc9c12b7b7775e931c047c2df.jpgHere ware all done and outside for a first look in the sun.  I previously had nothing on the deck remaining of black paint, black topsides and white bottom.  With approval I made a more traditional color combination.  I hope it takes good Maine memories on its trip to Vermont.

Back to progress

Here I have set the spars loosely and built out the deck furniture

  • 5b06ccd3a97da_h_068aDSC_0093.jpg.4077bc0face53d7fea5f7fcf78570757.jpgI went around a few times on considering building the masts as they would have been before the Navy changed them. I decided that in my plans to scratch build some of these schooners I shall defer that to those boats, so I can have this one to display the different rigging.  Therefore, the mast is trimmed to the right height per the plans.   I must say it was the use of the fancy windows and the horse that convinced me to stay the course and build out the kit.......as of now no guns though.   we'll see  that would be rework on the bulkheads...something to think about

  • 5b06ccd45dcde_h_068bDSC_0094.jpg.a292d01f012d8375a83ec80c09dbf70e.jpgHere is view of the deck with almost all of the fittings in place. I used almost completely the kit material.   One of the little doors went missing so I made a new one.   Of course I found it as soon as the new one was in place.

  • 5b06ccd5000fd_h_068cDSC_0095.jpg.2054b0e24cc8f5ed521abaa7d003b116.jpgHere looking from the port quarter angle, we see the fancy windows

  • 5b06ccd5b2204_H_068dDSC_0097.jpg.311f5b35c85d11b809476013de4a49c5.jpgHere we see the windlass made up of kit parts.  Also note I simply have placed the cast boat on board.  Some day I may chose to replace that but for now it is a placeholder.

  • 5b06ccd673185_h_068fDSC_0098.jpg.690d2641ea6e211041b4a289d4f49ec0.jpgHere we see the pumps and I actually believe this kit part is quite good, so much better than castings.


  • All for now  



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  • 2 months later...

This update is just to record a little more work i was able to do before summer sailing and outside activities hit.  I decided to set up the dead eyes.

  • 5b588d2fe2d1a_H_069aDSC_0099.jpg.dfb9e826f9cf47c3fa49e33b9bc55dc1.jpgi found the kit came with reasonable parts..but
  • 5b588d42a60d1_h_069bDSC_0100.jpg.12802fbdba6f717b401dc8e3a03352e8.jpgHere i am assembling the set up.  i believe i shall paint out the wood work black bit want to see it first.
  • 5b588d43def9b_h_069cDSC_0102.jpg.7e249331b42f0a0ba67830b97cc13ede.jpgoops i broke two pieces.  fortunately some how i have this supply of miscellaneous stuff and was able to rescue.    i will need these when i get to scratch builds.
  • 5b588d44851f7_h_069dDSC_0103.jpg.351f227ddd0a0f25313d3ac550743019.jpgso the rescue made, simple pins added for strength and we are ready to install
  • lH_069g.jpg.c74685b808547e5185f0e8bb76b748be.jpgI definitely plan to paint all black.
  • 5b588d4602cb9_H_070bDSC_0109.jpg.da76acd4300208bd0b43b15833c9a424.jpgport side done
  • 5b588d49e599d_h_070cDSC_0110.jpg.f747c320f5b42bf16b3c6297083017e7.jpgstarboard done and resting until fall


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  • 3 years later...
  • 2 months later...

Hello all,


I just purchased the same kit. Unfortunately it is incomplete with missing plans and manual. I was wondering if any of you guys have the documentation scanned to pdf or if somebody is willing to sell the plans from already completed kit. 


Let me know


Thank you 

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dear Dupiop2


sorry I just saw this posting last night.  I had set this build aside 4 years ago so I do not check this log.  Anyway sorry not to have seen it.   I had to rummage around to find the old plans and find out your question...step 6 and the 3 parts.  Pure based on four year old memory...... I think your question related to the little challenge to set the counter section that may have been called the " transoms' in more modern 19th century.     take a look at my posting 4 above and you see that part 24 is made up of 4 pieces that fit against the bulkhead. 22 sits on top outer edges and defines the straight run of planks. 21 sits below and defines the bottom of the planks


I hope this helps.  the instruction I have are in Italian and I do not read it, so for me it was based on following the pictures only.  I am not sure when I may get back to working on this build.  


good luck.  

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dear K


I just saw this posting last night in a list of recent postings on the maine page.   I share that as I suspect i am not alone in not checking past building logs.  The emails notifications seen to go directly to spam.  


I looked on google and found a few sites that sell new plans for this kit.  they are quite extensive and if you need to know part number reference helpful.  they are quite informative regarding the rigging too


anyway.  good luck.  here is one of several sites. I suggest you compare and also look on ebay and similar sites


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  • 6 months later...

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