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I am currently building the Rattlesnake by MSW. The instructions recommends to use a 3/32" thick batten to check for fairness. Obviously this thickness is harder to bend than 1/16" thick. The standard plank thickness of the lower hull for this model is 1/16". Is there a reason to use a thick batten to check for fairness?

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Not sure why 3/32 would be preferred to 1/16.  For checking fairness you generally want something thick enough that it will bend to a smooth curve, but not so thick that you need to do a lot of work (heat, soaking, etc) to have it bend without breaking.


Rattlesnake is a great kit and beautiful ship - enjoy.



Current builds:

Wingnut Wings AMC DH9

Model Shipways 1/48 Longboat

Model Shipways 1/24 Grand Banks Dory


Soon to start:

Fully framed Echo


Completed builds:

East Coast Oyster Sharpie

Echo Cross Section

1/48 Scratchbuilt Hannah from Hahn plans

1/64 Kitbashed Rattlesnake from Bob Hunt practicum

1/64 Brig Supply

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If it's any help, I gave up using battens years ago. They are excellent for full-size ship-building, but not for model work. Instead, I use heavy black thread. A small dab of white glue at each frame or bulkhead does it. To adjust, moisten your fingertip and roll the thread up or down as needed.

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I believe that is a misprint, most of the build logs on this ship use a 1/32" thick strip for the batten, the kit includes 1/32" x 3/32" strips for the upper planks and ceiling, perhaps this is where the mistake happened using the width instead of the thickness, they are what I used to check for fairing.

The Rattlesnake makes a great build and when completed you are ready for just about any model. Good Luck with it



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  • 2 weeks later...

All you need to do is use a thinner batten. The whole point of a fairing batten is to have a stick sufficiently stiff that it will bend in a fair curve when laid against the frames and/or planking. If there isn't a perfect faying surface between the stick and the hull, then there's a divot or a lump somewhere that needs to be built up or taken down. You can take a batten and rub carpenter's chalk on it and then rub it on the frame edges or planking. Where the chalk transfers to the frames or the planking surface is the "highs" and where it isn't are the "lows." Alternately, you can even glue sandpaper on your batten and then bend it across the frames or planking at various angles and lightly sand and you will end up with a fair hull with no lumps or bumps in the surface. There's no reason to soak a batten to get it to bend! Fairing battens are used dry. You don't want them to bend and stay put, by to bend and spring back.

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