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La Chaloupe Armée / 42ft Armed Longboat of 1834 by tkay11 – scale 1:36 - plans by M. Delacroix - FINISHED


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INTRODUCTION AND OTHER BUILDS

In June 2017 I was considering what to build next. The main criterion was to keep learning but with a different type of boat and a different type of construction. I tinkered with the idea of La Jacinthe, Le Rochefort, and even thought of embarking on Ed Tosti’s plans for the Naiad. However I thought a logical next step would be to go for a longboat using a mould as construction type. So I started on Gérard Delacroix’ plans for the French armed longboat of 1834. The plans for this are available in several languages from Ancre at https://ancre.fr/en/monograph/31-monographie-de-la-chaloupe-armee-en-guerre-1834.html.

 

As stated in the English translation of the introductory manual, the model is “based on a draught in the 1834 Atlas du Génie Maritime (Folio of the Corps of Naval Engineers). The longboat, at 42’8” long, is of imposing dimensions, being large even for a ship’s boat: a man standing on the bottom boards would have the thwarts at chest height.”

 

This type of boat was used for the transport of the heavier loads required by warships and diverse tasks including carrying of anchors, shore duties, watering parties and carrying stores when the ship was in service. They could also participate in harbour defence and sometimes were armed with a single gun as well as several small cannon.

 

There are several excellent builds that can be seen on the internet. The place to start, of course, is with the forum devoted to this model on Marine & Modélisme d’Arsenal at http://5500.forumactif.org/f83-la-chaloupe-armee-en-guerre-1834-plans-gerard-delacroix. There you can find a general discussion about points of interest that people come across while building the model as well as several builds. Very few of the builds go into the details of how they overcome problems as they come across them.

 

However one in particular has gone to great lengths to detail each step of the construction. This is the build by Jean-Jacques Herault, which you can find starting with an index to the build at http://modelisme-arsenal.hlt34.fr/journal_de_la_chaloupe_armee_007.htm. All these builds are in French only.

For builds in English, though, there are several on this forum:

 

·         Jeronimo’s build at https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/497-chaloupe-arm%C3%A9e-en-guerre-by-jeronimo-1834/#comment-5561. (Just pictures, no discussion of techniques).

 

·         Aykut Anşin’s at https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/5550-chaloupe-armee-by-aykut-an%C5%9Fin-small/#comment-159523. Only shown as far as the mould, last post in Feb 2015.

 

·         Decoyman’s (Rob) at https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/4218-chaloupe-armee-en-guerre-by-decoyman-from-the-delacroix-plans/#comment-120001. Fairly full discussion but last post was in July 2015, and only as far as frames made on the mould.

 

·         Smac’s gallery of the completed build at https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/gallery/album/109-chaloupe-armee-en-guerre-1834/.

·         Blockplane’s (Chris) at https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/14743-1834-42ft-longboat-armed-for-war-by-blockplane-scale-136-first-time-wooden-boat-build/&. Complete, last post in May 2017.

 

There is in addition a very useful series of 11 videos of a complete build (called Chalupa Armada) by Nacho Gomez starting at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlUJabWYFTY.  Each of these is over an hour long and is a useful reminder of how to use basic hand tools. All are spoken in Spanish, but even if you don’t speak Spanish the videos are almost self-explanatory.

 

No doubt there are excellent builds as well in the Russian, Polish, East European and Japanese forums, but as I don’t speak any of those languages I simply have not researched them. If anyone does know of such other builds I’d be grateful to add them to the list.

MY AIMS WITH THIS BUILD LOG

Clearly, with so many builds of such high quality, you’re not going to get anything classy in this build log. It is a very basic build by a novice with poor finishing and lots of mistakes and ugliness. However, as with my previous builds, these are presented as they came, with the idea that there are lots of other builders with the same lack of expertise who come across similar problems and would like to see how I might have coped with them. I also know that along the way those who are more experienced might well chip in and give words of caution, advice and rebuke. All are welcome!

FIRST STEPS

As usual, the first steps are to study the plans and trace them into a CAD programme so that I can make accurate copies for cutting out and for planning. I use TurboCAD, which is very low cost and which I am now used to.

 

The next thing is to make the mould. The plans are based on making a mould from 5mm thick plywood sheets (the waterlines are space at 4.5mm). Since that size is impossible to find in the UK, I had to work out how to make it from 5.5mm sheets. That meant making the waterlines spaced at 5.5mm, and so I set about doing just that using the time-honoured method of calculating the points of each waterline from the body plans of the station lines and the station lines set at right angles.

 

In order to do so, however, although you only need the body plan from Plan 2 for the mould to create the water lines, I thought it would be a good idea to draw the frames completely as I’d have to be doing that anyway. The way to do this is to combine the body plans from Plan 1 (which shows the station lines to the edge of the frames but without planks) with those from Plan 2 (which shows just the body plan for the mould itself, without frames or planks).

1306837020_01Drawingtheframes.thumb.jpg.5bf98b458df7667c1ff91c0447edbee2.jpg

The result can be seen in the following diagram of one of the frames, Frame 4F (F for Front or 4Av in the plans, for 4 Avant). This shows that the frame starts at 3mm at the keel and taper upwards to 2.2mm at its tops – but this is an issue to which I will return later when I try to correlate the suggestions in the book to use 2mm square stock for the floors and futtocks against the 3mm floors derived from the Plan. For the moment all that matters is the trace of the inner aspect of the frame to create the mould.

1078319865_02Frame4FCADdesign.jpg.fbf3770c5c79ad996c482c49e6ee65f1.jpg

The following is the creation of the new waterlines to space at 5.5mm, which is the thickness of the plywood I was able to buy here in the UK. You will also note the various measurements I also inserted to help with the placing of the wales and the stern timbers.

782577289_03Re-drawofwaterlines.thumb.jpg.613d0c56f0254da85d2d315815034f05.jpg

With the drawing of both the waterlines and the frames completed, I could then move on to drawing the outlines of each of the waterlines for the 5.5mm plywood. The method follows the classical way of doing this, so no surprises here.

 

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A final question that I faced for the creation of the mould was how to do that from Plan 2 because the stern shown in the drawing on that Plan has a very troubling empty space. At the time I decided to just follow the sweep of the hull, but it later dawned on me that a more exact way would be to superimpose the tracing of the outline from Plan 1 onto Plan 2. That way both the line of the hull and the cut for the sternpost and deadwood would be clarified. Should I ever have to rebuild the mould I’ll be doing it that way in future. The following diagram should explain it better.

1699260843_05Makingthemould(1).thumb.jpg.79b3399afe366feb0b280de07fd5d8ac.jpg

Now that all the drawings were ready, I set to cutting the waterlines from the plywood and, for the keel, cutting the 1.6mm groove for the keel using a 3mm milling bit on my Proxxon drill. I’ll be showing how I made the modifications for using the drill as a mill later on in this build log.

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I cut the outline for the sheer view with a scroll saw and a sander on my drill.

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The individual stations were printed to thick card and the cards then glued to a 2mm plywood frame for strength.

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And at last we get to the assembly of the waterlines.

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The above picture was taken on the 27th July 2017, just before sanding. After sanding it down I had to put aside all modelling as we were packing up the house to prepare it for sale and spending time searching for a smaller place to move into.

 

I’ll therefore leave this log for the moment and the next part will take it from 29th September this year when I finally was able to start work on the model again.

 

Tony

 

Edited by tkay11
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2 hours ago, tkay11 said:

Clearly, with so many builds of such high quality, you’re not going to get anything classy in this build log. It is a very basic build by a novice with poor finishing and lots of mistakes and ugliness.

A man has got to know his limitations -- but based on your previous work, I'm inclined to believe that it will be at least slightly classier than you envision!

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6 minutes ago, ccoyle said:

A man has got to know his limitations -- but based on your previous work, I'm inclined to believe that it will be at least slightly classier than you envision!

Ha ha, Chris! Just you wait to see! All the same, thanks for the hopeful encouragement! At the very least I do much enjoy the whole process, and that's the main thing.

 

Tony

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48 minutes ago, druxey said:

Ouch! That was a little self-harsh, wasn't it?

Thanks, Druxey, but self harsh? Not really. I see it as objective assessment and as a stimulus to further improvement. It's not false modesty either. I just want to be clear to others what my objectives are at my stage of the game -- the good things they might expect as well as what not to expect. When I look at my performance I give myself good marks for thinking, learning, explaining, risking and experimenting, but low marks for finishing to give the beauty that others achieve. I especially enjoy finding ways to fix the mistakes that I make -- even though the fixes are then quite visible. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the work, just that it's in comparison. I know that as I continue I'll get better at the finishing. As with my response to Chris, I do appreciate all the encouragement and advice that you and others give so generously. I'm certainly going for it, as always!

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I very much enjoy seeing the processes that builders go through.  I like learning from the problems and issues they have to overcome.  While it is wonderful we have so many elite builders here I think I learn more seeing the "regular" people like me progressing.  Looking forward to your build

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Great words everyone! Especially 'fun'. Michael: definitely for the builders sharing our early experience, but always looking for guidance from the more experienced! Thanks!

 

And now on with the build to bring it up to date.

Finishing the mould

The final, but important aspect of finishing the mould was to cover it with wax or silicon to prevent frames being stuck to it when gluing floors and futtocks. I used the belt and braces approach by first spraying the whole mould with a silicon spray and then covering it with car wax. This gave me no problems when removing the shell from the mould. The only word of warning is that some modellers, having put a wax on the mould, found that, when they were heating frames to help bend them whilst on the mould, the wax would fix the frames to the mould. I didn’t experience that either as all my heating was done before putting on the frames and wales. However I did find that on several of the frames there was a residue of wax which was hard to remove except with a knife – so there may be a problem when I come to gluing the internal planks to the frames. In future I’ll just stick to the silicone spray.

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Calculating the amount of wood needed

To calculate the amount of wood I made up a spreadsheet (based on measurement from the plans) which was sorted by plank thickness for clarity in ordering. You will note that I ordered 2x2mm sticks for the frames. This was because at the time I hadn’t given thought to the question of the floor size and assumed I’d be ok with the advice from the guide to use 2x2.

I don’t yet know how accurate this spreadsheet will prove to be, but I can say immediately that I had also not thought about the question of spiling in relation to the planking which would mean thinking of strips 11 or 12mm wide. This is an issue (along with the issue of the floor size) that I will return to later in the log.


 

Item

 

thickness

 

width

 

length

 

number

 

total length

 

gunwales

1

4.4

380

2

760

internal planks bow

1

4.6

54

16

864

transom planks

1

5

80

6

480

cubbies

1

5

20

8

160

cubbies

1

5

90

8

720

External planks

1

6

380

26

9880

Rear decking

1

6

75

11

825

floor planks

1

7

230

11

2530

washboards

1.5

3

350

2

700

internal stringers

1.5

4.6

320

2

640

planks behind swivels

1.5

5

30

4

120

taffrail

1.5

7

85

1

85

frames

2

2

250

30

7500

footrests

2

4

100

9

900

rubbing strakes

2

7

380

2

760

thwarts

2

7

100

9

900

transom

2

8.7

82

1

82

rear bench seats

2

10

50

4

200

cannon rails

3

7

180

2

360

rudder

3

7

70

1

70

rudder

3

7

40

1

40

bench rests

3

9

230

2

460

side knees

3

9

36

10

360

anchor davits

3

18

22

2

44

cannon rails

4

4

180

2

360

swivel supports

5

5

24

4

96

hoisting beams

5.35

5.35

85

2

170

I had chosen pear wood for the model, and some of this I had left over from the Triton cross-section build. The rest I ordered from Arkowood in Germany. It is difficult to get pre-cut sheets of pear of varying thicknesses in the UK because the good pear wood here is taken mostly for making veneer and the lengths of pear wood left are of variable quality. It certainly is convenient to have much of the wood pre-cut. Arkowood are able to supply strips of up to 100mm wide by 1000mm long with thicknesses that range from 0.5mm to 10mm. They also are cheaper in shipping (€16.50 to the UK) than the other big wood supplier (Massiv-Holz) which charges €26 minimum.

Stem, Stern and Keel

I did not take pictures of how I made the stem, stern and keel, but just need to remark that I made the lap joint between stem and keel by a straightforward milling out of the recess between both pieces and some very careful filing.

 

I made the rabbet before adding the apron to the stem, although the guide suggested cutting the rabbet afterwards. This I did in three stages.

 

I first used the mill to form most of the 1mm rabbet from where the rabbet joins the keel from the stern to the base of the stem. This is shown in the following picture, which also shows the further adaptations I made to my proxxon drill for use as a milling machine. You'll see all the mods in my Sherbourne build and other posts.

 

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I then cut the rabbet into the knee of the stern with a 1mm chisel I made from an ExActo chisel blade. You can see this and some other miniature chisels I made from an old hexagonal key (3mm) and some HSS lathe bits (2mm and 1.5mm). The handles are from an old broom handle, turned on a lathe.406810277_011makingrabbet.thumb.jpg.62416f43c3ed957d85b17c9aa60e0f0b.jpg

 

 

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Finally, I made a scraper from a hacksaw blade to cut the rabbet that runs between the stem and the apron. I also used this scraper to tidy up the rabbet I had cut with the mill. If I was to do this again, I’d just do it with the scraper template.

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Keelson

There is not much to remark about cutting the keelson. I had to remember: (1) the upward curve towards the stern, (2) to mark the positions of the mast step and the thwart supports. I used a combination of Plans 3 and 4 to establish the markings (I drilled 0.5mm holes right through so they can be seen from the top), and milled out the 0.8mm deep grooves for the floors.

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Frames

I then started work on the floors. On the French forum there was much discussion about the fact that the plans indicate that the floors are 3mm in thickness whilst the booklet suggests making the floors and frames from 2mm square sticks. Most people seem to build the model with 2mm square sticks without much of a problem (or so it seems) but I couldn’t see how the frames would be faired with the last four frames and the first three frames which have to be made from plywood cuts derived from the original plans. For those such as myself who are anxious about this, the suggestion was to add filler blocks, but I decided it would be easier to make the floors from 2x3mm stock following the dimensions implicit in the Plans.

750961374_14Floorplans.thumb.jpg.6f07c825eee5363ffb415b73c455d587.jpg

The 2x3 stock clearly had to be shaped so that it narrows from 3mm at the middle to a 2mm thickness at the ends in order to merge with the 2mm futtocks. To mark the ends of the floors I used 1mm feeler gauges clamped together in a vice and a micro saw as follows.

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This method had an added advantage that I could use the 0.05mm strips planed off to make micro-adjustments to the height of the floors later on.

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Once this was done, I could bend them to shape using a jig.

 

The next question was how to construct the first three and the last four floors. Because these would be difficult to make from 2mm strips, the guide suggests they be constructed from 2mm plywood sheet. M.Delacroix wisely suggests that 7-ply aircraft plywood be used. Since these would be invisible in the completed model, it will not matter in terms of appearance.

 

In ignorance I bought 2mm ply thinking that was the same thing. It isn’t. It was 3-ply and crumbled quite a bit when I made the floors. The rear four floors were at least manageable in terms of providing a base for the planking. The first three floors were quite a different proposition. I tried making them from the ply I had bought and even from some pear stock, but all my efforts failed. The problem was cutting the first three floors to the rake of the stem on both inner and outer surfaces. This leaves a thin base to the floors which is very easily snapped. I eventually was able to buy 7-ply aircraft plywood, and this did the trick.

 

You will see from two illustrations below some of the difficulties with the first two floors and futtocks. The plans show that the futtocks also cut into the apron, but although I cut out the grooves for them my attempts failed at cutting and bending into these grooves the 2mm square pieces for the futtocks. They all broke. In fact I have not seen any models that have done this, but I thought in the interests of learning I’d have a go.

 

Instead I filled the spaces I had created for the futtocks with Milliput super-fine white epoxy putty (which is great as a filler, especially when it can’t be seen in the completed model) and ended the futtocks away from the apron – as is shown on the photos in the guide and on the other models I have seen.

 

The other thing to note is that the guide suggests using a bevel to align the floors with the apron and the stem. I found that the only way of doing it was through a bit of trial and error, mostly error and breaking 3 floors to end up with one. I used a riffler file to align the uppermost surface with the apron. Another way to do this might be with a rounded bit on a rotary tool.

1147208954_019Frames5-7Fsheercoloured.thumb.jpg.5138b9a8997b516ef6fee5cc0d717f72.jpg

To illustrate what I mean, the following shows frame 7F, the foremost frame, with the outline that covers both floor and futtocks. Ideally I would draw the frame from both its forward and rear sides (the plans don’t have any frame outlines as you have to devise them yourself), but the illustration should be sufficient to give you the idea. It took a lot of thinking on my own part to interpret the plans, so I hope that this explanation will shorten the thinking time for others who may find the same difficulties.

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The transom

I positioned the 2mm ply base for the transom. It was cut deliberately oversize around the base to allow for adjustment when fairing the frames. This was done before adding the futtocks.

 

I then glued the floors to the keelson, and the keel assembly to the floors. Then pinned the ply base for the transom to the mould.

1492849468_034TransomPlan6.thumb.jpg.6f9e272218a45c182303450e8f8e5664.jpg

1995032062_035Positioningthetransom.thumb.jpg.73ac526ff9485992db61dc2f35b55d7e.jpg

Bending the futtocks

After reading Chuck’s posts on planking and his proposition that dry heat is sufficient, initially I tried just using dry heat for the frames with a hair dryer, bending the sticks over copper plumbing pipe and over a soldering iron. I found this impossible. No matter how slowly I bent the sticks, they all broke.

 

So I went to heat with steam. I made three jigs. (1) for the frames between 7.5R and 5F, all of which were based on Frame 0; (2) for the frames from 5.5F and 6; (3) for the frames 6F to 7F. The one for Frame 0 is shown in the following photo: 617215656_021Jigforframebending.thumb.jpg.4333623f34c886c56e0315ac275f3349.jpg

I then soaked lengths of 2x2 pear wood in boiling water for 20 minutes and bent them using a soldering iron along the sides and edges of the wood. I covered not just the immediate area to be bent, but also further along the wood on either side to ensure even distant wood fibres would stretch. I held the iron to the wood until steam could be heard sizzling from the wood.

 

719663077_022Bendingwithsolderingiron(1).thumb.jpg.8f3630660716612ecbb16fd90be14b03.jpg

I then held the iron along the side in the same way, moving it back and forth until the sizzling started.

363272589_023Bendingwithsolderingiron(2).thumb.jpg.5f365cc0e7019a1e1b8989759d5dd319.jpg

I only moved the frame gently until resistance was felt, then I applied water again with a brush and repeated the whole process until the frame was the correct shape. I then moved the iron along its complete length until fully dry.

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Frame assembly

I glued the keel assembly to the floors on the mould with epoxy and ensured it was vertical by pinning stern and stem with two pins. I then added futtocks 7.5R to the stern deadwood, and pinned them into place with 0.5mm styrene rod.

1049390758_026Frameassembly(1).thumb.jpg.9ceded3b45bf6cbf2d745867836f5686.jpg

1177743380_027Fixing7.5Rtostern.thumb.jpg.7a0d3c25c5983e59f0c51798817b6b23.jpg

Then I made the knights or bollard timbers and glued them to the sides of the apron, and then locked the foremost frame with styrene dowel as well.

147870965_028KnightsorBollardtimbers.jpg.2dbe02ec60f165666409c744853404a9.jpg

1546437730_029Knighttimbersphoto.thumb.jpg.ad5d72d073924927234157acfc3ae0be.jpg

 

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The extra intermediate front frame was then added and fixed with the styrene rod as well.

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I completed the assembly round the stem by filling all the spaces with the epoxy putty to ensure the strength of the area and a good base for the external planks. The following picture was taken after I had installed the wales.

 

2095685031_033Strengtheningforeframes.thumb.jpg.654f44879d925f4e36350f2bbad5eae8.jpg

 

Wing Transom

The wing transom was cut from 2mm stock and a rebate of 1mm milled to accommodate the top plank of the transom. I remembered to drill the holes for the future installation of the rings and the upper gudgeon for the rudder.

643882490_036Wingtransom.thumb.jpg.ca65cdb4a56af3385f9f3cda7469cf3c.jpg

1583183428_037Transomplanked.thumb.jpg.f2311b4dbbcdc3b316f06684466636b2.jpg

You’ll see a white blob on the last frame in the picture above. Just as with the foremost timbers the joint at that position was not strong, despite the pin I had put in. So I surrounded it with epoxy putty just to make it really secure in readiness for the sanding.

1538239049_038Reinforcinglastframe.thumb.jpg.a57ab33ec39b64e39766ac282b0058a2.jpg

Wales

You’ll already have seen the wales in the preceding photos. I cut these using from 7x3mm stock which I cut down to width with a table saw and the correct thickness with a Proxxon thicknesser. I then used a scraper made from a hacksaw blade to give them their shape before bending to the hull.

343050653_039scraperforwales.thumb.jpg.dcd7e1e6908f025f978a7076fdbdeaa5.jpg

I marked out the position of the wales on the frames, placed transparent tape over the marks, copied the marks to the tape, then transferred the tape to a plywood board. I made small stops for the holding pins in order to avoid marks on the wales as they were bent.

30256876_040Walebending.thumb.jpg.a210acc9bfca1798a33ad382a7ed5184.jpg

I then bent the wales to shape very simply in two stages by spraying with water and heating with a hair dryer: (1) in the vertical direction; (2) in the horizontal direction after they had dried. Although there was some spring back in the vertical direction, when it came to gluing the wales to the futtocks they went into position without a fuss.

 

As before, I used slow-acting epoxy (Araldite regular) for fitting the wales as this gave me all the time necessary.

Finishing the rabbet

I finished the rabbet by cutting it below the transom and bevelling it to align with the floor directions using a small burr on my drill.

154082389_041Anglingtherabbet.thumb.jpg.50b502fda47a0bb0227c8aaa1a0cce1d.jpg

Taking the hull from the mould

After sanding the exterior of the frames, I then took the hull off the mould and sanded the interior. I found I had over-sanded the last four floors on the port side, so used the epoxy putty to make them good. They won’t be seen in the finished model, so no great harm done.

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So this brings me up to date and future logs will be shorter. Next up will be the external planking, so it may be a while before the next post!

 

Tony

Edited by tkay11
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Thanks, Nils, for the kind words. I'm not sure it's a tutorial, though. More just a detailed explanation of what I have chosen to do so that others can assess when building their own models or comment if they feel there are better ways. I'll admit, though, to that little gasp of pleasure people experience when they take the hull off the mould and see it all stick together as a skeleton. Skeletons have their own attraction. Now to see if I can breathe some life into it!

 

Tony

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Thanks, Dirk. I was just about to comment on your great build of the Maria -- the pictures of which just came up in my MSW digest. As usual I am in awe of your skills. And I'm delighted that you can still spend time to keep a friendly eye on my builds!

 

Tony

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Thanks a lot, Moab and Michael. You've reinforced the value of build logs to preserve the spirit of this forum. They help the builder as well as others. Even if I don't finish it, it's the steps along the way that are meaningful. After all, without those there would be no model!

 

Tony

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  • 1 month later...

External Planking

You will remember from an earlier post that I had raised the question of how long the external planks would have been. A number of sources have shown that originally there would have been about three planks of 12ft for each strake, with normal butt sequencing. I could have tried to do this, but with the frames at only 2mm wide it would have been tricky to get the butts and fixing done well. Also I could have simply scribed where the butt joints would have been. I might try to do this at some time, but for the moment I am following what others have done with this model and just lined the hull with full length planks. This itself has implications for the preparation of the planks.

 

We can now get back to the fact that I had not ordered wide sheets of 1mm pear wood for the planking, but instead had bought strips 6.2mm wide. This meant that I could not practice spiling, as I was not going to waste all that wood and pay another £15 for delivery. And so I had to experiment a lot in order to find the best method of shaping and fitting the planks.

 

Of course, whether I would spile or not, I had to get the marking out correct. I used the time-honoured method with paper tick strips 5mm wide, along with the Chuck’s planking fan diagram that is available on the forum at http://modelshipworldforum.com/ship-model-framing-and-planking-articles.php for lining off the hull. The tick strips were used for all those frames that reached the keel after the stem, notably frames 6.5 backwards. To find the forward edges where the planks meet the stem I first used 1mm finger nail striping that you can find for about £1 on eBay. However, I found quickly that the more traditional method of using sewing cotton worked even better. 51019078_001FirstexperimentP1000858.thumb.jpg.e0926f366e446df9bc50cffb4a06aa53.jpg

Each plank was then shaped before bending using a miniature plane and filing sticks.

1416493414_002TickstripsbeforebendingP1000870.thumb.jpg.0d28ef48655b4295b129afe834ab55fc.jpg The garboard planks were laid first, with their tapered edges at the top (to meet the untapered edges of subsequent planks). This is as shown in the file SIMPLE HULL PLANKING TECHNIQUES FOR BEGINNERS also available in the downloads section on planking in this site.

 

1376357700_003SimpleHullPlankingforBeginners-33.thumb.jpg.f9fa26fe228cd3e3d8bc9ff7b827529d.jpg

Finding the shape of the planks

I used Chuck’s idea of low-tack transparent tape to find the shape of the planks. This worked better than standard tape because it takes pencil marks far better.

1862160937_004LowtacktapeP1000881.thumb.jpg.0b86e3d6f15f6e9b08876f6901906aac.jpg

Dry heat versus soaking

I tried very hard to bend the planks just using a hair dryer and a variety of jigs. However, the planks are very long (340mm) and the complexity of the curvatures made it very tricky to do this. In the end I decided (as many others have done, and as is recommended in the booklet for this model) to use a combination of soaking and heating with the hair dryer.

 

First, the soaking. For these long planks, I followed the example of others in using a section of 35mm diameter PVC waste pipe, using a milk bottle top sealed at the bottom end with an epoxy adhesive (JBWeld).

1975156552_005PVCpipeP1010006.thumb.jpg.e79c6dc36683d3fa86f031c3371b7ef1.jpg 

I then soaked the planks overnight, and laid each one flat over the shape of the plank on low tack tape on some particle board using panel pins to follow the shape. I helped them to dry with the hair dryer, but waited a while until they had fully dried out.

To bend the planks horizontally, I then used dry heat.

1343857369_006FirstplankshapingP1000871.thumb.jpg.5134ffdb4aec36b0be6fb1285fad6088.jpg

After laying three planks in this fashion, I thought I’d experiment with soaking the planks and then fixing them straight to the frames, letting them dry fully to ensure they shrank back to their dry sizes, and then gluing the dried planks to the frames. This worked very well indeed, and much better than going through the palaver of trying to shape them before fixing to the frames.

Fixing the planks to the frames

I had thought to use ordinary mapping pins to fix the planks to the frames and the mould underneath, but found that the pins were too short for the combined thickness of planks and frames. For a while I looked at the possibility of making framing clamps with screw threads, but in the end opted for making my own panel pins with 8mm dowel and standard metal panel pins with the heads taken off using a cutting disk.

723251035_007MakingpanelpinsP1000864.thumb.jpg.5cba39abcf0bca2f12543a8921432bfa.jpg

I then added strips of wood to ensure the even spread of pressure on the planks across their width and to prevent indentation of the planks (which was only partially successful, as will be seen).

583400248_008ModifiedpanelpinsP1010005.thumb.jpg.2242b3af58ca4c7dd60797c663dc9583.jpg

Inevitably there were some hairline gaps in some areas between the planks. Initially I used a syringe to fill these with woodworkers glue (the white, not the yellow variety) followed by a sprinkling of pear wood sanding dust to make a similarly coloured filler. However I found that it was just as effective to add the glue by itself for the very finest of gaps.

750969215_009SyringefillerP1010008.thumb.jpg.af77f75fb4b39bc6744510a1c789282e.jpg

With all the planks in place I then sanded with a combination of sanding blocks, sanding sticks, and a Proxxon pen sander. This was followed by scraping using a Stanley blade, and finally steel wool.

 

As you will see, there were still a few blemishes and indentations, and certainly not up to the standard of others who have built this model, but as I’m using this model to learn I am not going to start all over again.

 

As the walnut inadvertently crept into the picture, I might as well explain it. I had made a small gaff-rigged cutter for the grandchildren with half a walnut shell providing the hull. It had sails that could be raised and lowered, but no rudder. This proved very successful, especially as it floated, so I am about to build a few more of these miniature cutters for them.

1319380428_010BeforevarnishP1010015.thumb.jpg.f7ec23db4d68878ff8d2f880b3b8a579.jpg

Varnishing

As with my previous build, I made my own Danish oil from a mixture of linseed oil, white spirit and polyurethane varnish mixed in proportions of one third for each.

278379609_011HomemadeDanishOilP1020481.thumb.jpg.7f1d6ca3c868a340fc7c045cf5ada49e.jpg

The results with the varnish are:

1490324104_012Aftervarnishing1P1010017.thumb.jpg.cbf94bafd6f89a498c5ce74bb4ff5e8d.jpg

2024536405_013Aftervarnishing2P1010018.thumb.jpg.56d3ebe572ca51283e56f6c5b2653439.jpg

966400849_014Aftervarnishing3P1010019.thumb.jpg.1ab282715bd3228404def552599fc399.jpg

255850000_015Aftervarnishing4P1010022.thumb.jpg.4bf95750ce12b64d294dc56bd9001bfe.jpg

Some of the imperfections you see are due to irregularities in the framing which are entirely due to my failing to align them correctly. I put this down to learning for future builds.

 

Next I’ll be going to the inside and working my way deeper into the dark side.

 

Tony

 

 

 

 

Edited by tkay11
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Thanks Dirk, G.L. and Moab. Much appreciated. I'm beginning to like this model more and more. I certainly see the advantages as well as the different difficulties of taking on not only this method of construction but also of a large scale longboat. The details are going to be quite challenging, although challenging in a new way because each part is that more obvious. One of the challenges I'm looking at right now is the construction of the stern sheets and getting them at the right height and angle. I'm also thinking of the ironwork to come, as well as (if I dare take it on) the rigging and masting for which I have the supplementary plans. Definitely a model to recommend as something that's elegant as well as setting new types of problem for the novice builder.

 

Tony

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Mainmast step

There was no difficulty pulling the hull off the mould (because of the over-liberal coating of wax and silicone spray), and the ends of the futtocks were removed flush with a cutting disk and sanding stick.

 

The mainmast step was fashioned from a small piece of scrap pear, and holes drilled for the mainmast as well as the hole for the thwart pillar. The mainmast hole was cut square with a 2mm chisel.

2146651390_001Maststep.thumb.jpg.eaadbf08c3a8f98ee7083fe019fbefb0.jpg

Stern sheets

The key to the process of installing the stern sheets is getting the correct height for the support beams. The booklet suggests starting with the beam at the fore end, but I found it easier to make the small bulkhead that lies at the fore end of the sheets and which supports them. I reckoned it would then be very easy to stick the fore beam to the bulkhead and to the floors at either side.

 

Plan 4 includes a cross section of the hull at rear frame 4, the site of the bulkhead, so it was easy to determine its outline from the plan.

1498032211_002TemplateforaftcuddybulwarkP1010028.thumb.jpg.30c2881790b9ee0ed4568dec83f2edfe.jpg

1587783854_003SterncuddybulwarkP1010031.thumb.jpg.3bd7bf11efbc3cd756370ce950804b18.jpg

820641939_004ForebeamsterncuddyP1010033.thumb.jpg.adfb6ef5d7a5ac013ba593987b698f47.jpg

The next thing is to determine the height of the rear beam for the cuddy. This can be done quite easily from Plan 3

1327301001_005RearbeamcuddyCAD.thumb.jpg.75a1a028b0b91c65e3e64a9592d770af.jpg

I then took a strip of paper to mark the height of the beam and then adjusted the rear beam until the correct height was obtained. The following picture shows the beam as too high, so it was re-adjusted until the height was correct.

 

119712612_006RearcuddybeamtickstripP1010034.thumb.jpg.db9982b284846e0315fe935fd6bd8a5f.jpg

Then the intervening beams were laid using the fore and aft beams as reference points.

 

1557190846_007InterveningrearcuddybeamsP1010036.thumb.jpg.b9001ea40fb96439bd143e2fa9a20766.jpg

Cutting the stern sheet boards was then straightforward, cutting notches for the futtocks and mimicking the caulking with a pencil rubbed at an angle along  one edge of each plank. It’s important to angle the pencil because that gives a slight bevel to the plank.

1910989082_008CaulkingwithapencilP1010039.thumb.jpg.d077b8ca27dfc076f1910121594a5faa.jpg

The following picture shows the rear cuddy planked, without varnish.

164040360_009SternsheetsP1010054.thumb.jpg.a60f5c5a976d60f8db94db5b2dafac3e.jpg

Fore cuddy

 

The apron internal timber was fixed to the apron after simple bending using dry heat.

 

The height of the fore cuddy planking was determined by its width at front frame 5. I had tried to use just the measurement of the height shown in plan 3, but came up with the following discrepancy:

 

509996745_010LowforecuddybeamP1010043.thumb.jpg.0c68a3c6a47b5a3d5321cb2588dca9e8.jpg

So I unglued all the beams with isopropyl alcohol, and started again. This time I determined the height using the rear edge of the card template I had made.

549349118_011DeterminingforecuddyheightP1010051.thumb.jpg.31c109a26a52178f85c9fdc35b454ebc.jpg

I then used a tick strip to determine the height of the first beam and cut a bulkhead using the cross section at front frame 5 shown on Plan 4, which gave me the bottom outline.

363504041_012HeightofforecuddyP1010052.thumb.jpg.4a79c97517cc493b3b0f1ca9f1ab4bcb.jpg

For the planking I opted to use wider planks along the sides as to have used 5 mm planking would have resulted in difficulties in cutting round the futtocks. The planks were also cut around the internal timber fixed to the stem (seen in the picture below).

1022535168_013ForecuddyplankedP1010053.thumb.jpg.e1d1537aeb52fb684b9fa37bf10500c2.jpg

Bottom boards

 

The bottom boards were cut using templates cut from the plan. Luckily these were very accurate, and even more luckily (since I had no pear sheets wider than 10mm) they all could be cut to the correct shape and width with 10mm wide strips.

 

The planks were glued to the floors and separated using some 0.7mm thick strips I had in my scrap box.

1605821143_014StripsseparatingbottomboardsP1010059.thumb.jpg.dc3a2ce1c16499b084dd66ef26780b24.jpg

1919005517_015P1010060.thumb.jpg.6778172f5afdb71c2fae4c339948ef3f.jpg

104164725_016P1010061.thumb.jpg.2e0eaf31bf5f4a2b3aa1fbe3dedd2618.jpg

Finally holes were drilled for the foremast and the thwart pillar.

 

177152852_017CuddyholesP1010062.thumb.jpg.9e7813fe913ea0a1d53c6644ef848ede.jpg

Turnbuckles

 

These were used to hold down the planks adjacent to the false keel (and to remove them to access the keel) and are nailed into the relevant floors. So I made a template for a strip of 1mm square wood. This helped me cut the turnbuckles to the correct size and place the holes accurately.

643922618_018TurnbuckletemplateP1010064.thumb.jpg.20f67e6c7b772c5e6831b8777707d014.jpg

713580485_019TurnbucklepreparationP1010066.thumb.jpg.ca0ab3002a6ec362e778dcf8c13a4c97.jpg

1006853062_020TurnbucklesinplaceP1010067.thumb.jpg.57ac1b88e35fc2e7ddf69f41e20fc18f.jpg

Next up will be the cuddy side planks.

 

Tony

Edited by tkay11
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  • 2 weeks later...

Fore cuddy and hoisting beams

 

I used the 3M low-stick tape to determine the shaping of the planks of the fore-cuddy. These go right up to the bottom of the thwart stringer.

 

As you’ll see, my planking here was a bit messy. Partly this was a result of my not being careful enough with ensuring the planks were bevelled  to the very edges of the frames – leaving a hole between the frame and the plank. Also when it came to placing the thwart stringer, I found I had to file away the bottom of the stringer a bit in order to fit the top of the planking. I could have avoided  this if I had done what I saw in Jeronimo’s build (https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/497-chaloupe-arm%C3%A9e-en-guerre-1834-by-jeronimo-finished/#comment-5561) where he built just the first three lower strakes and completed only after the stringer was in place. This would have made a neater job for me – although others seem to have managed it quite nicely without doing this.

1968112466_0013MtapeuseP1010068.thumb.jpg.c3cd0d078142357324e91f1d58e56640.jpg

1212231525_002TapeonplankP1010072.thumb.jpg.fa246835b4beb1cf05f457b818cd511c.jpg

The next thing to do was to place the hoisting beams which are used for lifting  the boat in and out of the water and also for handling the ship’s anchors and cables. These require careful shaping to fit the curve of the planks on either side. I determined the width first, using a piece of card which also gave me an idea of the bevelling needed.

 

455351994_003CardforhoistingbeamP1010075.thumb.jpg.9a99c22f95f6f92ea84a108eefd829d6.jpg

455097413_004FronthoistbeambevelledP1010077.thumb.jpg.bb145411db3ee1b53ce04f78d2b37598.jpg

When it came to the rear hoist beam, I discovered that the last frame on the port side (the one sticking to the keel without an accompanying floor) had come out of vertical and so I had to cut a notch from the beam to keep it parallel with the stern. This brought home the need to double check the verticality of all the frames before planking. Still, this is a learning exercise!

193939641_005RearhoistbeampositionedP1010079.thumb.jpg.c113a26324b438e5c19c9d1e9fc771a6.jpg

I then cut out the central rounded portion of the beams using a combination of scalpel (for marking), saw, chisel and sanding stick as follows:

758558519_0061ststagecuttingoutbeamP1010081.thumb.jpg.e95f54e883e90435dd1047bcbf8b6692.jpg

1082685871_007CentreofbeamchiselledP1010082.thumb.jpg.cb740c83837becd163e13571549f29d1.jpg

197914043_008SandingcentreofbeamP1010084.thumb.jpg.6008c817922c3e197c6b322155156daf.jpg

112553397_009CentrebeamfinishedP1010086.thumb.jpg.5a909804de02a55e2148cf41dc631bf7.jpg

Thwarts

 

I then made a template for positioning the thwarts, and used it on the positioned (but as yet unglued) stringer.

384358212_010ThwarttemplateP1010087.thumb.jpg.30a9851d7fce2ec90f70d38ef4c4153b.jpg

I used a 1mm feeler gauge to determine the depths of the cut-outs on the stringer for the thwarts (which are 2mm high and stand proud of the stringer).

680891897_011FeelergaugeforthwartsP1010094.thumb.jpg.55adf6d57d63533c1efc12519d530ee4.jpg

This depth was checked using a small offcut of the correct dimensions.

1045941884_012CheckthwartcutP1010102.thumb.jpg.88ec1d14192e278f0fdaae437ec7e126.jpg

I glued the thwart stringers into place. Unfortunately I rounded the entire bottom length of the starboard stringer (as advised in the instructions) which made an awkward/ugly fit on top of the fore cuddy planks. I was too lazy to unglue it all and shape another long piece and decided to live with it as a constant reminder of the need to think ahead!

1513062036_012aGluingstringerP1010107.thumb.jpg.4780c17814e5d90c9b7751f9011ab8c2.jpg

Foot stretchers

 

I used a template to cut the slots for the foot stretcher cleats.

 

2092833482_013CuttingfootstretchercleatsP1010106.thumb.jpg.780da9ef84625e68ebbd8ae2c8ef7670.jpg

I then checked the dimensions of the slots with a foot stretcher. You’ll see a tempered glass cutting mat in the next photo. I’ve been trying it out in preparedness for some paper modelling I’ll be doing while recovering from surgery over the coming three months as I’ll not be allowed to lift or strain chest muscles.

 

1912151072_014CheckingfootstretchercutsP1010105.thumb.jpg.94b6174143062aa46aed6fe858e925ac.jpg

I then used another template to position the cleats for the foot stretchers. The plans, of course, are drawn in the expectation that the frame positions end up precisely as portrayed . Unfortunately it seems my skills in ensuring the same positions were not quite up to the mark and so I had to change the dimensions of the cleats in order to fit exactly over their respective frames. I have to admit I quite enjoy trying to compensate for my various mistakes. Again it’s all part of learning!

 

297142030_016DeterminecleatpositionP1010108.thumb.jpg.c4eb7a890b2865afd929b7e37f3ef139.jpg

The same template was then used to position the cut cleats.

 

1293091470_017StretchercleatsbeingplacedP1010111.thumb.jpg.ee6e00d65663bbccafee0bcbd1060286.jpg

375233983_018OverviewofplacedcleatsP1010113.thumb.jpg.f696c031f9649880d59e874bf141d203.jpg

You’ll note that the foremost cleat lies on the edge of the fore cuddy. In order to fit it nicely, I therefore milled out its inside edge.

 

882198033_019InsideedgecleatmilledP1010120.thumb.jpg.26cd4e4ce71b0d1913995ab014b0ad3f.jpg

The width of each stretcher was then determined using the old method of sliding sticks.

 

1696971280_020EstablishingfootstretcherwidthP1010123.thumb.jpg.8ce4bf139cba73837949fe26639b19e5.jpg

Finally I checked the orientation with regard to the stern by measuring and placing card thwarts and a stretcher.

 

621336254_021checkingorientationP1010124.thumb.jpg.714dad57f84953b6efb694acecacf048.jpg

So I am now deliberating whether I will arm the longboat with its cannon and swivel guns. I am not interested in building ships of war, more in developing skills in modelling and working on coastal boats. Also I am thinking about masting and rigging the boat. I can’t see how the sails would work with the huge cannon in the middle of the boat. So I am studying the sail plans and will make up my mind over the next week or so.

 

In the meantime I also have to think how to make the thwart supports and some of the wood attachments and ironwork that goes onto the hull and thwarts (mast holders, cleats, rings etc.).

 

All in all, it may therefore be some time before I can continue this log.

 

Tony

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