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Enterprise 1799 by mikiek - FINISHED - Constructo - 1:51

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No, that wasn't a typo. The scale is 1:51 - says so right on the box. How they figured that I'll never know.


Welcome to my build! Hope you'll stay along for the ride. The name Enterprise has had several incarnations as a boat, some better documented than others. This one had a fairly productive history as well as a refit or two. So how accurate is this kit? Don't know and I'm not going to worry about it. When I am browsing kits on websites, I have always found Enterprise to be an attractive build just as it is shown. So that's where I'm headed. I see several other boat kits that are similar in appearance - Independence, Lexington, just to name a few. I imagine I'll be researching as the project progresses, but just for knowledge's sake. I have no plans to alter the design, save for maybe ropes, blocks from Syren.


I started this project quite some time back - I believe over a year ago and towards the end of my Niagara build. Enterprise has a rounder bow than does Niagara and that did me in. This is a double plank hull and the first sticks - sapelli I think - were IMO way too thick. Extremely hard to bend - and they did need bending, both laterally and edgewise. I got frustrated and Enterprise ended up back on a shelf. I tried several times to get up some interest to start again but it didn't happen. Fortunately I did take a few photos back then so I can start this log close to the beginning.


So after a couple of recent projects completed I pulled her down again. This time (with a few more tricks up my sleeve) I was able to get planks shaped to fit the frame. So I have decided to continue on. The beginning of this log will be memories of what happened quite some time back so I can't provide too many details. Nothing really earth shattering anyways.


So I will go update my signature and get on with the show. Thanks for reading!

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I've never been crazy about 30-40 photos of the kit parts so I will spare you and me from that effort. I'll just say so far everything looks to be in order.


Bulkhead frames to keel was the first order of business. Everything popped out from the laser sheets OK. The fit was a little on the loose side. Not bad, but I decided it could use a little help. I cut brace blocks from a 1"x1" and used them kind of like a square. After positioning the block to get a frame at 90 degrees, the block was glued to the frame and keel. This is something I usually do anyway. It got rid of all the slop very well.








Next was the deck substrate, one of the first big frustrations. The frames have a lot of slope from the centerline to the bulwark. Of course the plywood base for the deck did not. Getting that glued well was a struggle. The slope was obvious right away so I figured the best plan would be to glue down one side then the other. Got the first side down without incident - tacked with CA then white glue at the joints. I let that set overnight.


Things looked good the next morning so I was ready to work the other side. I put down some CA on the top edge of the frames and tried to bend the plywood down from the centerline to make contact. Not enough fingers :angry: . Just to mess with me a little more, the base popped up and off several of the frames on the first side :angry: :angry: And I still didn't have the second side glued down yet :angry: :angry: :angry:


There really is no clamp that I am aware of to use in situations like this, so I did a lot of manual holding down of the edge. Finally got that side down except for two frames - I decided I should shim those rather than distort the base getting it to glue down. So back to the first side for some repairs. Holding the base down on that side caused one on the other side to pop. And so it went. Close to two hours of holding pieces together.








The deck was planked next. I followed the plank pattern from the plans. Don't care for it that much. I also screwed up and stopped all the butts at one spot near the bow. I guess the brain was parked somewhere else.




I've already passed on a brief description of the hull planking debacle. More of a bluff bow than my previous build and I fought with it. The double planked hull had some overly thick sticks that had a mind of their own. Enterprise wound up gathering dust & bugs waiting for me to try again. A few weeks back, armed with some better bending techniques, I was able to get a few sticks in place. Did a few more and decided that it was possible. So that pretty much brings me up to now. I'm continuing with the same sticks - a long soak in hot water, edge bending in a jig I made, then lateral bending with the electric style plank bender. It still isn't easy to lay a strake but it's manageable.


As usual, I am using the proportional dividers to help taper the sticks and as usual they are providing me with a pretty accurate pattern. To shave off the material I am using a thumb planer. This is a miniature version of the hand planers used in wood working. I have found this tool to be very useful. One caveat - I tried a couple of the $5 versions first. I quickly decided this was one of those times where I was going to have to spend some $$ and get something on the higher end. In the end the Veritas planer has proven to be worth every penny.








As I mentioned the sticks are extremely thick. Holding them down while the glue sets was getting old. Couldn't find any clamp that really helped beyond the second or third strake so I thought I would try these. Did not like them at first but a retry a few days later showed them to be helpful. I would recommend them if you don't have a problem with stabbing things in your bulkhead frames.




I think I have hosed up the filler blocks at the stern. The instructions & plans were very vague. Several other logs show the blocks shaped more squarely. I rounded the back end. I imagine this can be overcome.




So there you have it for the moment.  Thanks for reading!

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Hello Elijah - dude you are starting to sound like an engineer. They call that laminating, a lot of people do it. Welcome aboard.


Auger - yours looks great. Every time I'm in a online store looking at kits, this one always catches my eye. Very attractive. I think I just like the 2 masted boats - brigs, schooners, etc.  Thanks for checking out the log and welcome. I will try to carry a good pace  with this build.

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Somewhere out there in MSW Land I had commented about the new strapped blocks available from Syren. Contrary to the 'ready to rope' idea behind the original blocks, these have to be built. The blocks come as layers - outside, sheave, outside for a single - and the layers need to be glued together, sanded and most likely stained. If you are familiar with the Syren deadeye construction, this is the same idea. They come in a few sizes, but not as many choices as the originals. The 3/16" blocks are the smallest. I told a few folks I would check them out.


I have mixed feelings on these guys. I think the biggest problem is just that. They are pretty big. Syren's page on these blocks says it might be best to use them in a few choice locations where they are obvious and would stand out. Not a bad idea - however in the 3/16" scale of a lot kits these things are just too big. I'm thinking a 1/4" build might be more practical.


Secondly, these blocks do take time to make, maybe a total of a minute per block. When you have a hundred or more blocks in your build this is some serious time. Back to the Syren statement - use sparingly at strategic locations.


Part of the assembly process is putting the blocks into a block tumbler to smooth down the edges. Other than home made the Model Expo tumbler is the only one I have found. I do own one and have found it to be problematic at best. Even when it works, it has a tendancy to beat the poop out of whatever you put in it. My experience with the deadeyes was out of 10 dropped into the tumbler only about 7 would come out unscathed. The others were usually broken.


Not that this is a bad thing but the blocks will most likely need to be stained. There is a lot of laser char on the parts and some of it is impossible to sand off. Stain could darken up the wood to somewhat match the char. The pix below show the blocks stained with Minwax Golden Oak.


The blocks do look very nice. Can't argue with that.


left to right - 3/16" ready to rope;  3/16" internal strapped, 1/8" ready to rope





I think I will be sticking with the ready to rope blocks. The majority of the kits I have are 3/16" (1:64) and I don't think these blocks fit the scale. I'm guessing the 3/16" block is about as small as you could manufacture given the detail required. Rest assured I am not out to sink the product or Syren. I use tons of Syren products in my builds and will continue to do so. They may work well for some of you and I suggest buying a package or two and checking them out for yourself.

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I've been preaching garboards to some folks here and realized it's about time to take care of mine. This would be interesting as there is no rabbet to slide a stick into. Instead the idea seems to be gluing one down along the edge of the keel. Then another keel strip is glued on to the first and I assume it will partially cover the garboard stick. Kinda cheesy, but I have seen other kits do something similar.


There is still a ton of twist required to get the stick to lay in place. Not easy with these thick sapelli planks. Soaking them did help somewhat. Although laying the board is different than with a rabbet, the result should be the same. You want to lay a board and keep the upper edge as flat as possible so that the next stick has a solid place to lay.


The bottom edge of the GB is parallel with the keel amid ship but as the keel transitions to the stem it begins to run upwards. I will be carving the GB lower edge to match this curve so that this edge can be glued to the keel.DSC02869.thumb.JPG.528b7701a05026ade5470ece07c84047.JPG








And now with the GB leading edge shaped and glued.












Now if I can just duplicate this on the other side :)



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Darrell - I suppose I could have cheated and glued the false keel on before doing the garboard. I could have cut a rabbet into that. 


I think the potential problem with the kit method is getting the bottom edge of the garboard flush to the false keel. You have to lay the GB leaving a slot at the bottom to fit the false keel into.


Of course a lot of the nastiness there will be covered by the second layer of planks. I'll have to check to see if that layer requires a GB also. I'm hoping it's just a "skin" for the first layer. Did I say I don't like double planking?

Edited by mikiek
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Second verse, same as the first. The other garboard is done.





It's funny how a little bend or twist can trick your eyes. Here the leading edge appears to curve upwards. However laying another stick edge to edge shows the GB upper edge to be as flat as it can be, just like it should be. The next stick fits like a glove.


You can see bottom strake at frame 2 is a repair job. The sapelli broke as I was bending it. Too dang thick!


I kinda lost track of planks and bands. The GB is in band C. The sticks you see coming down are bands A and a few of B. I think I'm going to recalculate it all to make 1 band from the remaining space. The dividers will make that a simple effort. I'll post a few pix & notes on how I do that. Stay tuned.


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I'm getting closer to finishing layer one. It's time to reassess my planking pattern. I started with 3 bands, finished band A, started B and then went for the garboard which is in C. My plan now is to consider the remaining open space as 1 band. Of course this calls for some recalculation.


Most of the space over the frames would be typical planking. This is easy enough to handle.




The space between the planks is 35mm. That measurement is consistent for 8 of the frames. The sticks I am using are 6mm. So it will take 6 sticks (tapered slightly) to cover that area. Using the dividers, this will be a piece of cake.


There is also a much wider area towards the stern - a lot of deadwood that must be covered. And there is another consideration.



As planks are laid over the aftmost frame they must be tapered so that the edge of one lays right at the joint of the frame and the deadwood (hope that made sense). As you can see the area to cover on the last frame is 26mm. So with a 6mm wide plank it will take 5 sticks (tapered of course) to cover that frame. Once again the dividers should help with this.


The pic below kinda shows how this should be. Bare in mind what is drawn over the pic is not scale. It is just to show the general idea of what has to happen.




So with 6 sticks to cover mid ship minus 5 sticks to cover that frame, that leaves 1 stick to cover all that deawood.  NOT!!!  There's definitely going to be a stealer or two back there. I think it would be impossible to cover all that deawood with one stick and a few stealers. They just won't fit together. So I think using a stealer to cover part of that 26mm will help, and should allow me to cover the area with 4 sticks plus a stealer instead of 5 sticks. That will give me 2 sticks for the deadwood area. The more I think about it maybe 2 stealers in the 26mm area. And I could end up with 3 sticks and a couple more stealers in the deadwood area.


This is going to get interestingB) The tangled webs we weave...


Hope that makes sense. If anyone has some suggestions here I am all ears.




Edited by mikiek
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I'm still contemplating these planks. Something doesn't seem right. I was going to work from the lower planks upwards. Now I'm thinking top down. Sheesh :huh:


Edit: Got that backwards. I've been looking at the boat upside down for too long. Was going to go top down to first get that plank correctly into the joint. Now I think bottom up may work better. I can go ahead and do the stealers to cover the deadwood first. Turn 1 plank into 2 at the stern.

Edited by mikiek
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I think I am following you, and I agree. Your plan to lay steelers near the deadwood should bring your stern planking back into pattern. And, since this is a double planked ship, what you learn here should give you great input for the final walnut veneer. Is the walnut as wide as the 6MM planks? That is pretty hefty stuff.


Looking great.

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Started laying some stealers last nite. Pix will be forthcoming. Doing the deadwood first is the right approach.


Darrell - I wish they could have found a balance between the sapelli first layer (2mm thick) and the walnut outer layer (0,5mm thick). The sapelli is a bear to bend although I'm finding it's better when totally saturated with water (read - soak overnite). And you are right, with what I am doing now I will either learn how to do it or how not to do it for the 2nd layer.

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I believe you are correct Sam. It looked like walnut under the dim lighting, but it is a little redder and grainier than walnut. I stand corrected.


And yes, sapelli has some shortcomings, but it's final look isn't one of them. With a good finish it is very attractive.

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First two stealers came off pretty good. Regular planks are 6mm wide stealer plank was 7mm. So about 14mm at the sternpost narrowing down to 6mm at the 2nd frame where it meets the normal strake. Pix may show a little more clearly.







As you can see I narrowed that gap some but not enough. It's going to take a second set of stealers, probably very close to the size & shape of the first. One huge problem, I can't find that 7mm stick - anywhere. That happened to be the only one I had. I found a 10mm stick in the kit - I could have shaved that down. But I imagine it has another purpose. I checked another kit I'm building, there were some 7mm sticks there but limewood. Who cares I guess? It's all going to be hidden anyway. So I'm shaping the next 2 from that.


Laying those down on the deadwood it appears that I may even need 1 more after that. The could get problematic because doing some math:


Space for 6 total strakes amid ship. 2 strakes used to fit the stealers leaves 4. One more stealer with a strake leaves 3 and I needed 4 to cover the last frame and hit that frame/deadwood joint. That doesn't work out. So now we're talking about a stealer up in the frame area. That was the one good thing with the 10mm stick. Two of those as stealers closed up that space perfectly. Everything would have fallen ito place.


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Thanks to all for the likes - I appreciate your interest in this project. As always feel free to jump in with any sort of comments you may have. No egos here, so if you see something you're not crazy about let me know. We can discuss out back ;)    Seriously all your opinions are welcome here.


I finished the second set of stealers. As I mentioned I had to use lime wood rather than sapelli. I still haven't found that 7mm stick I was using at first. As the pix will show I need one more stealer to even out the spacing between the top strakes and the bottom. That doesn't sound like a big deal except that there is only room for 4 more strakes total and there is still a lot of frame to cover from the top down. With that in mind I am doing alternate strakes to finish out - one strake for the top band then one strake (plus stealer) for the bottom band. It's going to be very close.


I suppose all this is happening due to the elevated deck at the stern. Frames & transom are farther from the keel than other builds I have done? I believe there was only a single stealer per side on my Niagara build, but it has no rear deck. Unfortunately there is no plank plan so I don't know how the "experts" at Constructo would have done it.


All in all I think they're coming out OK. Probably even OK if this had been the only planking layer.







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Today & yesterday was a mad rush to finish the hull. Just getting tired of it I guess. Ready to move on. And of course that opens the door to complacency. One of those "I coulda done it better if..."  situations. At the end of the day, it's all going to be covered up right? I think the looks of the lime wood I had to use for wider planks (stealers) really steals from the aesthetics. It's all going to be covered right? There were quite a few sticks that cracked on me. I hit them with some runny CA and used them anyway. It's all going to be covered right?


I haven't read the instructions far enough to know what will be done with the bow & stern. I imagine a stem will be added, probably a stern post. So as you will see those areas are still in need of some trimming.












I have a big concern regarding the second layer. The sticks are 6mm wide, just like the first layer. As I have griped about in the past, they are pretty thin. I used 7mm sticks for the stealers (10mm would have been better). So I have nothing but 6mm sticks for the entire hull, stealers and all. If it was some other wood than the sapelli I could cut my own.



I began using 2 new tools during the planking process. I don't want to sound like I discovered them - I didn't. I was just in need of a solution and these worked out pretty well. The first are those straight pin "clamps". After an initial struggle they turned out to be a real help as I tend to bend sticks around the frames, sometimes more than they want to go so something needs to hold them down while the glue sets. I had no problems sticking them into the frames - a complaint I hear about them some times. They were easy to insert and stay in place well. And they seem to be the only thing to hold a stick down in the middle of a frame.




The second thing is your basic sanding block. I know for many a piece of 2x4 is good enough, but I never liked that. Never cared for the clamp on type readily available at the hardware store. This one is kind of a hybrid of the two. It's pretty big - I like that because it has some weight to it. For my size hand, it's very comfortable to hold. It has a good long flat surface as well as a few curved ones. It holds the paper very well. It even has some foam mounted to the block to keep the paper from sliding around. The one downside is it works best with their proprietary paper strips. While this could be a problem, I have found the supplied paper to be very long lasting. I'm still using the original strip and it's been maybe 5 weeks. I liked them so much I bought 2 more so I came have one for each of the grits I use. They came from MicroMark.








I would recommend them but as always, your mileage may vary.


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