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Launch Baby Bootlegger by WoodButcher - small - popsicle sticks

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I thought this time I'd try something which had a chance of perfection.


From the plans BB looks fairly straightforward (I'm using Garry Findlay's plans) and my previous project has taught me some patience and the fact that redoing work can pay off.

I needed to stock up on my stick collection, so I went to my usual site, grabbed the page with large sticks and ordered 500. They seemed a bit expensive this time  and I was taken aback when they arrived to see they were larger than the previous bunch - real tongue depressors. So now I have 3 sizes.


However this turned out to be an unexpected benefit as they are just large enough to build the bulkheads. Since my reason for using Popsicle sticks is to increase difficulty, I'm happy to abandon plywood bulkheads for this project.


BB is nearly 3' long and the width of the large sticks also makes it reasonable to build deck shear, chine and keel with some chance of getting a good result.


There is one complexity to this model which is going to give me grief - the deck edge is curved and obviously a double-curve of varying degrees stem to stern. I've noted previously that Popsicle sticks don't like curves and double curves especially. (In fact I have no idea how real model makers do double curves, apart from carving them from solid blocks. Maybe balsa wood is more forgiving with double-bending - anyone care to advise?) The brief assembly instruction are not helpful - they assume the modeller knows what he is doing. After numerous failed experiments and cracked sticks I've begun mass-producing (well, two at a time because that's all the pipes I have lying around) curves for the fore-part where the hull curve is fairly straight and I've kicked the problem of the tighter curves near the cockpit into touch at the moment.


But I've run into a problem and I'd like advice.

Garry's plan appears to show that, although the positions of the bulkheads are marked on the keel, there are no positioning slots cut in it. All the slots are only cut into the bulkheads and the depth of cut in most (C - E etc) appears to cut the bulkhead in half (at the bottom anyway). This seems to me to weaken the frame and possibly introduce distortions. I have enough trouble with self-induced distortion without planned ones. The instructions are silent. Can anyone suggestion why someone as obviously competent as Garry would do this, and should I follow?

notch plans.jpg

It is more of an intellectual problem because I know how to solve it - cut half-depth slots in both the keel and bulkheads. Unless someone can tell me why I should follow the plans.


Measure once, cut twice.

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  • 3 months later...

So I cut half-depth slots on the keel and bulkheads and the result seems OK. Certainly the bottom of the hull went on without much in the way of unevenness. The double curves (bow and stern) of the hull bottom gave me less trouble than I thought - the trick seemed to be "glue one end onto place and then - once dry - glue and clamp the other".Hull 1.JPG

The real problem was always the curved pieces on the edge of the deck. It took me numerous trials and broken sticks before I got something that looked reasonable. I tried soaking the sticks and rubber-banding them into place to dry but they often wound up cracked or not having sufficient curves (couldn't get the rubber bands tight enough) or curves that matched their neighbors.pre-curve.jpg I finally settled for mass-producing curved sticks (as in "wrapped around a pipe") and using those that survived and touched where they fitted.Final curve.jpg

The hardest part was the edges of the bow, which had acute angles. It took me three months and dozens of cracked sticks to get the effect I wanted. Even so I had to sand the angles of the top of the A bulkhead a bit to reduce the angle. But in the end I achieved something that might do the job.Bow curve.jpg Hopefully with a bit of sanding it'll look creditable.


final curve 2.jpg

Edited by WoodButcher

Measure once, cut twice.

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  • 2 months later...



17 hours ago, WoodButcher said:

Anyone know of an online shop (that ships overseas) that sells (non-functional) model steering wheels?

Im fairly sure that Cornwall Model Boats ships worldwide. I have used them in the past and always been pleased with the service.




lovely model .






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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You might as well wait the week for the steering wheel. Postage will probably more expensive than the part itself. Nice build though. There is an RC version being built on the forum


"Desperate affairs require desperate measures." Lord Nelson
Search and you might find a log ...


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