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Bluenose by CPDDET - Model Shipways - Scale 1:64 - First ship build

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This will be my first build and I welcome any comments, suggestions and questions.


Living in a duplex that’s built on a slab we don’t have a basement and the garage isn’t heated, so I’m using a desk the spare bedroom. I’ve done what I can to protect the desktop and the carpet below the desk.




Since we will be spending the next week enjoying our last camping trip of the season I won’t be able to start my build until the weekend of October 20th. But I do have my work area set up and spent 1 ½ hours doing the kit inventory.




My plan is to explain my next step as I go along and then wait for feedback from more experienced model shipwrights before actually doing the work.


When I return next week I will be cutting loose the 3 sections of the false keel, marking the reference line and bulkhead stations on both sides and assembling the false keel.


Any suggestions on cutting loose the false keel sections without breaking / damaging anything?

Any suggestions on the best way to transfer the reference line and bulkhead stations from the plan to the wood?


Looking forward to starting my first build,



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I've found that photocopying or scanning/printing the plans and then cutting out the profiles as a guide is pretty easy.  As for cutting out the cut parts, you don't mention how thick it is or the material, but anything from a larger Exacto blade to a fret saw could work.  Even thick walnut tends to cut easily with a sharp blade and patience, plywood or MDF likely needs a toothed blade.    Take it easy as you can trim off any excess once its free with a sanding stick.  Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today marks the first day of my build. I cut out the 3 sections of false keel and marked the reference line on each piece before putting them together. I DID NOT glue these sections together as I have a few questions before I do that.



TOOLS: Exacto knife, dividers, 6 inch and 12 inch metal ruler, mechanical pencil.


Reading through the many build logs on this site I noticed that one issue mentioned quite often was the breaking of the aft section while removing it from the laser cut board. Using an Exacto knife I carefully and lightly scored through the laser cuts and cut the “tabs” from both sides until the sections literally fell off without any resistance.


I then transferred the reference lines from the drawings to each section individually using dividers and also laying the sections on the drawing, sliding them slightly to expose the reference line on the drawing.


Once I had the reference lines drawn, and double checked, on both sides of each section I dry fit them on a mounting board that will be used to glue and clamp them (using small pieces of 1/32 plywood over the joints to reinforce them).


But before I glue these sections together I have a few questions. I have posted 2 photos below to help clarify what I’m asking.


This photo shows the joint of the midships section to the aft section. As shown the top of the sections are perfectly level but the "reference line" is slightly off. At the bottom, the aft section is noticeably longer than the midships section. 


Will these be an issue in the future?

Do they need to be corrected?

How / when to correct this? 




This photo shows the joint between the midships section and the forward section. Again the top of the sections are perfectly level. However the "reference line" is off. The bottom of the photo show the forward section just slightly longer than the midships section.


Will these be an issue in the future?

Do they need to be corrected?

How / when to correct this? 




One further question. I noticed in many of the build logs people are sanding off the laser char (and sometimes breaking parts in doing do). Is this really necessary? I realize that some char will be removed while faring the hull, but does all char need to be removed?


Holding off gluing the false keel until I get some guidance,



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Work time: (I should state this is actual work time, not including research, obtaining tools / material, set up / clean up, taking photos, log posts)


Total work time:


Tools used:

Small square, metal ruler, Xacto knife, mechanical pencil, compass, emery board and clamps. (I changed over from dividers to a compass with a center wheel screw adjustment and found it easier to get precise measurements).

Material used:

2 small pieces of 1/16th inch basswood to reinforce tab joints, wood glue


I went back and re-checked my measurements for the “reference line” and found a small error which corrected the alignment of this line across all three sections. Now the top edges of the sections are even, the “reference line” lines up and the bottom of the bulkhead slots lineup as well.




As it turns out the aft section isn’t too long, the amidships section is too short, by about 1/32 – 1/16 of an inch where it meets the aft section at the bottom. I checked vertical measurement of the aft section (where the stern post attaches) against the plans and against the stern post itself and found it to be correct. It looks to me like the bottom laser cut of the amidships section was cut at a slight angle because it mates perfectly to the bottom of the forward section but comes up short where it mates to the bottom of the aft section.





I decided to transfer the bearding and rabbet lines to each section before joining them. After fooling around for about 45 minutes trying to transfer the lines with a compass I decided to follow the advice of others and cut the plans, lay them on the false keel section and trace them. Using this method, as well as a method passed along by Russ was much easier; seems like one needs a few different methods of taking measurements when doing these builds. I really need a large French curve so I can clean up these lines before I do any cutting.




After using an emery board to smooth out the “nubs” left from cutting through the laser skipped tabs, I felt secure enough to glue the 3 sections of the false keel together and then deal with the bottom edge issue after the glue dries. This photo was taken before clamps were applied.





I think the best way to fix the uneven bottom edge is to add a thin piece of wood to the bottom of the amidships section to make it even with the aft section and taper the forward edge to match the bottom edge of the forward section.


Perhaps I’m being too precise with building the false keel, but I want to feel I did my best with it. And, to be truthful, I’m enjoying the precise work!


Glue will need to dry for 24 hours so no work tomorrow. Saturday I plan to build my keel clamp and will post some pictures.




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I'm posting this here as well as in another forum, asking for some help / advice.


I have just finished gluing the sections of the false keel together. The beardline and rabbet line have been transferred from the plans to the false keel and I will next began cutting out and dry fitting the bulkheads before cutting the rabbet.


I have spent time looking through the build logs, instructions and reference books but found little devoted to cutting the rabbet. I would think this procedure is critical to fitting the hull planks correctly. While I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, I do realize that each step taken will affect the next step


Question 1:

Should the stern post be fitted before cutting? This isn't clear to me.


Question 2:

I notice in various logs that on more than a few occasions the bottom edge of some bulkheads either do not reach the drawn bearding line or extend past it. My question is; Should the bulkheads be modified to match this line or should the line be altered to follow the bottom edge of the bulkheads?


Thanks in advance for any information or advice passed along.



Edited by CPDDET
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Took some time today to build a keel clamp. I had an old table top camera tripod with a swivel ball mount that could be put to good use.



With the help of my nephew, who has a drill press, cut 2 - 12 inch pieces of 1 X 2 and installed a 1/4 X 20 threaded insert (the screw on the tripod is also 1/4 X 20). Drilled a hole at each end and inserted a bolt, secured with a wing nut.






Then threaded the wood clamp onto the tripod




Seems it will work well for fitting the bulkheads and planking. I'll modify it later so the hull can be clamped upside down.




Tomorrow is Sunday and it's football season, so I wont start cutting the rabbet until Monday. 



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Cut the rabbet

Work Time: 3:50 hours

Total work time: 7:50 hours

Tools used: Xacto blade #11, #17, #18, #19. Metal ruler, masking tape

Supplies: Rubbing alcohol, masking tape, piece of 3/16 inch basswood for practice.


I finally got the rabbet cut, too many days of fretting about it and putting it off.


My biggest fear was cutting the rabbet too deep. After all, the false keel is only 3/16 inch thick and each rabbet needs to be 1/16 inch deep. That doesn’t leave much room for error.  


So I placed a piece of tape across the tip of a Xacto #19 blade, leaving 1/16 of the blade exposed. As for the angle, I decided to wing it. I figured if I cut the rabbet at a steeper angle than what was necessary I had a better chance of not cutting through the false keel. And I could always open up the angle after tapering down from the beardline if needed. If your using a brand new blade out of the package you will need to clean as they come lightly oiled. Of course the tape wont stick to the blade with that iol coating.




After taking about an hour to practice on the piece of 3/16 X 4 X 24 inch basswood I picked up at the local hobby shop, I took a deep breath and went at it.The first side took me 2:15 hours, the second side was much quicker at 1:10. I found out that it was easier for me to cut the rabbet and then push a Xacto #17 small chisel from about ¼ inch above the rabbet cut to the rabbet cut.




I then completed the taper from the beardline to the rabbet cut with a wider Xacto #18  (when possible). In many places the distance from the beardling to the rabbet line is just too small for the wider chisel, then I used the smaller chisel. I also found out it was much easier for me to cut the taper going with the grain rather than against it.




As for the rabbet line at the stern I used a wheel marking gauge to draw a line 1/16 inch from the edge of the keel on both sides of the keel. I then used a Xacto #11 to trim the keel at a sharp angle so it was flush with line I had drawn. I then tapered down from the beardline to the 1/16 on the back of the keel.


In the photo below the right side taper has been finished




In the photo below (badly out of focus) the left hand side has been rough cut to the 1/16th line.




If I had to do it again I might do the cutting before gluing the false keel together. The smaller pieces might be easier to handle. But I have a good amount of space on my work desk so it wasn’t a big deal.


I still have to glue a thin strip of wood to the bottom of the keel to even out the joint between the amidships and the stern piece. Hope to get that done tonight.


I’ll have to think about faring the bow and stern post now or later in the build. Also when to attach the stern post.



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Hey Dave, thanks for posting your build log.  I just started my MS Bluenose as well and its great to compare notes.  This is my first model ship too. 


Currently I'm halfway through the cutting off the rabbets. Like you I agonized over starting this step but am pleased with the results so far. Yours looks great. 


My inventory of the kit took nearly two hours. In the end I have several Britannia parts I can't identify in the plans but the total part count adds up so I called it good. 


Just curious if the plywood sheets in your kit have some kind of sticky coating on one side?  Mine do. It's not a big deal but it was harder than I expected cutting the bulkheads free. I've never seen plywood quite like this. 


My keel joints required some light alterations to result in a clean edge both top and bottom. I also reinforced them with some scrap pieces glued to the sides, overlapping the joints. This isn't in the instructions but I felt it necessary. 


I'm also using Bob Hunt's practicum from Lauck Street Shipyard. It's been helpful and it actually calls for the keel joint reinforcement so I felt better about doing that. 


Once I finish the rabbets I'll get another thread going and share some photos. You can read my log and see what not to do :)


Looking forward to following your build! 

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Thanks for the kind words and support, I need all I can get! 


I haven't yet started the bulkheads but just ran upstairs to check out the sheets. The plywood in my kit seems to be smooth and dry. I'm assuming your building a Model Shipways kit?


My plan is to finish the false keel as much as possible before starting the bulkheads. I have the rabbet cut but only about 1/2 the required depth (need 1/16 and I'm at a bit more that 1/32). The advice I'm getting from another builder is that I could install the plank at this depth and sand off the excess as long as I don't have to sand the plank too thin.


Right now I'm tapering the stem and finding there are times when I should be sanding instead of carefully planing with an Xacto blade. The false keel is basswood, very soft and easy to shape. Still have to do the stern post and even out the bottom of the false keel which is off a bit (see above posts)


Let me know when you start your build log so I can follow along.


As for reference material I'm using the same practicum, Frank Mastini's book, the build logs on this site and the following site by genericDave who is a member here as well.






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Thought I would pass along a few other I have received from members and another resource I found.



"One word of advice. It is easier to remove more wood than it is to replace it. Good luck."


"If you want to do a really good job, expect to replace the kit-provided blocks and deadeyes, the rigging line, and sailcloth with higher end after-market ones. (Syren Ship Models is your friend here. They won't break the bank.)"



"For a wood model such as Bluenose, get a small bottle of yellow carpenter's glue.  That small bottle will last for several kits.  One of it's advantages is that it is dissolved with isopropyl alcohol.  There are a lot of builders who swear by CA but I rarely use it.  For those times that you need to bond dissimilar materials, two part epoxy is your best option"



"PVA glue will be the main glue you ll use. Aliphatic has quick set and dries yellow, normal PVA has more opening time and dries more clear. Epoxy can be useful for laminating and gap filling or for gluing dissimilar material, is messy and temperamental and has somewhat of a learning curve. I use it a lot though, usually thickened with talk powder as it is brittle on its own. CA glue for specific tasks. My personal opinion, all PVA glues are created more or less equal, epoxy and CA most definitely are not. For scratch building, glue sticks (pratt etc) are useful for gluing paper patterns to wood."


Another resource I found is Gary Brinker who has done a 40 part Youtube video on building the Bluenose. While Gary is not an experienced ship builder (Bluenose is his first ship build), he is an experienced builder of other type models. Cant say I agree with everything he does but he does have some good tips and tricks.




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Work time: 4 hours

Total work time: 11.5

Tools: #11 Xacto, dividers, emery boards, round file

Supplies: glue, tape, pins


Spent time yesterday and today tapering the stem and stern post and gluing in the stern post. I also glued in a thin piece of wood on the bottom of the false keel to even out the transition from the aft section to the amidships section.




I found the stem to be the more difficult of the two as it’s a very long gradual taper. And getting it symmetrical on both sides can be a bit of an issue. I’m not overly pleased with the results but will take another look at it tomorrow. Sometimes it’s best to leave good enough alone, but that’s tough for me to do.




The stern post is a bit weird as it tapers fore to aft and top to bottom. But for some strange reason I found this not too difficult, once I was able to wrap my head around the plan drawings.  



Also spent time flattening the taper from the beardline to the rabbet at the stern. I found that, after cutting the rabbet, the taper wasn’t very flat. It took a sharp dive about ¼ inch from the rabbet where I had made the first taper cut. Took a bit of time to get that area to a smooth, gradual taper.


I’m learning that often it’s better to use an emery board, sand paper and a block or a small file than it is trying to shave the wood with a Xacto knife. It may take a bit longer but it sure saves on mistakes. And as soft as the basswood is, the sanding can go quite quickly.



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Work time: 4:00 hours

Total work time: 15.5 hours

Tools used: Xacto blades #11, #17, #18, #19, Ultra Fine Saw Blade from MicroMart

Material used: Elmer’s Wood Filler, emery boards, 400 grit sand paper


I really didn’t like the way I shaped the stem. It was supposed to have this taper but mine sure didn’t.





So on goes the wood filler and I’ll try again.





I double checked the rabbet at the stern post and found it wasn’t as deep as needed, so I touched that up. I also decided to be daring and to deepen the rabbet all along the false keel. I know it was close and probably could have sanded down the hull planks after they were glued in, but I figured I should push myself a little and try to get it as close as possible by cutting.




This is why I can’t have nice things with a cat in the house. Luckily a bit of wood filler will repair the damage from the hell cat. Looks like I had better keep my work room door closed when I’m not in there. I had to wood putty the extra piece of wood I added to the bottom of the keel, the bottom of the stern post and the seams where the 3 piece false keel joins as well. So got hat done and let it dry.







Then reshaped the stem and sanded all other areas. I feel I now have the false keel where I want it.





So it’s on to the bulkheads. These laser cut plywood pieces are a totally different animal than the basswood false keel. Trying to cut them loose with a Xacto blade just wasn’t working. So I turned to the “Ultra Fine Saw Blade” (purchased from MicroMart). This made the process much easier as the blade is thin enough to fit in the laser cut and cuts the plywood fairly easily. Cut from both sides and the bulkhead pieces fell right out.






Tomorrow I will go about checking the symmetry of the bulkheads and fitting them to the keel.

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Just to sum up the work on the false keel: 


Work time: Around 10 hours


Tools used:

Xacto blades #11, #17, #18, #19

Mechanical pencil - .05

Jewelers round file

Small metal square

6 inch metal ruler

12 inch metal ruler

Compass with center wheel screw adjustment


Ultra Fine Saw Blade from MicroMart (used to cut out bulkheads, not used on false keel)




2 small pieces of 1/16th inch basswood

Wood glue

Emery boards

Masking tape

Rubbing alcohol

Wood filler

400 grit sandpaper

Edited by CPDDET
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You are making good progress. I did not have much trouble with the bulkheads. I recommend you clean the laser char from the edges that will be glued to the keel. I sanded them lightly and made sure to make the edges square. Laser cutting creates a sloght v-groove in the wood. This will make for stronger joints. 

BTW look through this forum for Bluenose builds, you will,find many tips and see how builders worked through some of the common pitfalls with this kit. I recommend Bob Hermann’s log, he helped me quite a bit.



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I call mine Xena the Destroyer.....


Yes, I'm doing my research before actually doing each step. I check 14 build logs I've bookmarked on this site, read over the instructions that came with kit, read Frank Mastini's book, read Bob Hunts practicum and view Youtube videos  by Gary Brinker.


I'll be doing that this morning before sanding the char off all the bulkheads. That will give me a chance to "chew" on what I learned during the research and address anything I don't fully understand.

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Would you have a link to Bob Hermanns build log or his username? Tried searching his name on the site but came up blank, probably because his username is completely different.  And there doesn't seem to be a member lookup function.





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Work time: 1 hour

Total time: 16.5 hours

Tools used: none

Material used: 150 grit paper which I glued to craft sticks.


Got the char sanded off the bulkheads and dry fitted them. I found 150 grit paper worked well for this so I made up a few 150 grit sticks and got it done.


Now the issues:


About half of the bulkheads meet the beardline nicely:




The other half are too long, although they are level at the deck with the false keel:




So lets start with "A". I'm assuming I will need to shorten it, but do I also angle it to follow the curving beardline? (red line drawn on photo in photoshop, NOT on the actual ship)



So its back to research and asking questions.


Deborgens: I found Bob's profile and sent him a message. Thanks for the tip!

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Ok. A bit of reading and viewing pictures answered my questions. I wasn't sure exactly when to fair the bottom edge of the bulkheads but now understand this is done after the bulkheads are glued in place.


And of course the bottom edge of the bulkheads need to follow the edge of the beard line. DOH!


I'll double check my steps, but it looks like bulkheads alignment and gluing will be next.

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I found Bob Hunt’s practicum very helpful, especially about thinking ahead. When you start gluing the bulkheads, be sure to keep them square (I clamped Lego blocks to the bulkdead and the false keel). I also reinforced the bulkheads with diagonal braces made from scrap basswood. This makes a good, solid frame for planking. You can see then in a picture in my log.  Keep making progress.


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Thanks Bob, it's great to have experienced people like yourself available for us newbies.


I'm enjoying Bob Hunt practicum but I see the bulkheads in his course was made from basswood, much easier to fair than the plywood ones I have to deal with. I plan on heavily reinforcing the bulkheads to help when fairing the tough plywood.


Have a great evening and thanks again.



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Hey Dave, I'm a little late asking this question as you've moved on to the bulkheads, but maybe you can clear something up for me.


I'm still obsessing over the rabbet and have probably cut it a little too deep, but oh well.  Before I move on to the bulkheads I'm going to taper the stem.  My practicum doesn't talk about this step, or if so it must come in a later chapter.  The kit plans are unclear to me.  I see the general shape of the taper, but how far down the keel does it go?  There's one diagram in the plans that could indicate a fairly short section of taper, not even going down to the "bottom" of the keel.  How far did you continue your taper from the foremost point on the stem?

Edited by W4LKR
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Hey W4LKR!


I attempted to follow the taper instruction on sheet #2 as best I could:



Here is a close up of the taper instructions:




so the taper goes from 3/16th to 3/32nds, stopping short of the forward end of the stem. About halfway the stem tapers to 9/64th:



And then finally to 3/32nds:



Near the top (forward edge of the stem) the taper ends and the thickness goes back to the full 3/16th. This pic of  the plan is looking straight at the top of the stem.




I used a compass with 2 metal points (removed the lead point and replaced it with a metal one) to take  measurements from the plans and transfer them to the false keel. You might want to take extra care when you get close to the top of the stem. I tapered it too far forward and had to use wood filler to reshape it. I found it a bit difficult to get the symmetry  on the right and left sides shown in the last pic. First my right side taper went too far and when corrected my left side taper went too far. That's when the wood filler came in.


My taper ended up a bit more rounded off that the plan shows. On the plan the bottom of the taper stays flat as it narrows.


Hope this helps!



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Work time: 2.0 hours

Total work time: 18.5 hours

Tools used: 12 inch steel ruler, steel square, .05 mechanical pencil, scissors, T-pins

Material used: Tack cloth, glue, copy paper, 1/16 inch thick basswood strips



Finished up work on the bulkheads today and did a few things that probably weren’t necessary. But I figure this is my first build and it wouldn’t hurt to gain some experience in things that may come up in future builds. Or the process may expose a mistake I missed.


I couldn’t find mention of it in Bob Hunt’s practicum or in Frank Mastini’s book but the kit instructions say to transfer the reference line form the plans to the bulkheads. Once inserted into the false keel they should line up with the reference line on the false keel.




Looks like things line up pretty well.




The second thing I did was follow Mastini’s book on checking the symmetry of the bulkheads. This involved tracing each bulkhead onto paper.




Then cutting out the traced drawing and folding the cutout  outside edge to outside edge and seeing if the centerline is correct. Since this kit has laser cut bulkheads I wasn’t expecting and problem and didn’t find any.






The sanding of the char left lots of black residue all over the bulkheads and false keel, so I cleaned things off with a tack cloth in preparation for gluing the bulkheads.


My research has shown a few ways to glue in the bulkheads and get them square to the false keel. I decided to go with the method described in Mastini’s book. This required gluing in only the amidships bulkhead, letting it dry overnight and then proceeding with the other bulkheads.




I will post more photos of this process next.

Edited by CPDDET
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