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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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Thwart lodging knees


Thanks again for all the kind comments and likes. I’ve managed to squeeze in one last log before my enforced absence.


As usual, I predict in advance that I’ll have difficulties by preparing several copies of the tracings I need: in this case of the thwart lodging knees. I use these templates to fix first to card, and then, once it all seems ok in terms of fitting, would use them for the final wood knees. I really used them up this time!


In order to take account of the possible variation from the plans in the shape of the bulwarks and frame positions, I cut out the templates leaving plenty of extra space on the bulkhead sides.


I knew I’d have a bit more trouble with the foremost lodging knees because of shaping round the octagon of the swivel gun stocks. At first I just used the card template and cut out all the notches for the stock and frames at the same time. But the cut for the octagon just turned into a mess as I tried to fit the card to the bulwarks.


Second time around I realised that the primary cut would have to be for the octagon as this would determine the position for the remaining cuts. So I cut out an undersized notch for the octagon and, from a position above the bulwark, gradually shaped it to fit using a small chisel. Having got that right, I then shaped the outline to fit the bulwark while keeping the orientation of the octagon, and and only then marked the cutouts for the frames.


Accurate placement of the knees also required bevelling the sides against the bulwarks – including the sides of the notches.




Finally, because the thwarts sit proud of the stringer by 1mm, it is important to mill out a 1mm cut in the bottom of the knees so that they fit flat over the thwarts.


It was only after fitting the fore lodging knees that I remembered that their edges had to be moulded.


Earlier in the guide, when talking of the moulded timber along the axis of the apron, it says ‘The moulding is nothing more complex than a quarter-round worked on each side. A miniature moulding plane should be made up for the purpose, with a circular hole at the edge of the blade of the same diameter as the cutting disc. Put it aside when you have finished, because we will need it again for several other timbers’.


I wasn’t sure how to interpret this, so I made the moulding plane with the following shape:


It then said with respect to the thwarts that ‘the upper edges are worked to a quarter-round’. I assumed that the same scraper would be used but, as you will have seen in the photos of the thwarts, the outcome was quite patchy. All the same I persevered, and when it came to the mouldings for the lodging knees I again used the same scraper hoping that by now my technique would have improved.


The following picture shows how the mouldings SHOULD have turned out (the photos are from the guide):


I tried holding the scraper at right angles and then at a diagonal to the knee, but unfortunately the roughness and variability turned out much the same.




So I assume both my scraper template and technique are wrong. I’ll experiment a bit before I go on to the cabinets at the rear. That will be when I’m out of hospital. In the meantime my first proposal for a template is as follows. I think that one of the problems was that although the shape was roughly correct, there was no way of centring it to the thwart or knees. Any comments or advice are welcome in the interim!


Thanks again




Edited by tkay11
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Scrape gently and repeatedly. If you apply too much pressure the cutter will chatter. Also, scrape with the grain. On a rounded corner you need to attack the curve from both directions. I hold my scraper at a slight angle rather than at 90 degrees to the workpiece. See if that solves your problem. Of course, different wood species will give different results, depending on grain structure.

Edited by druxey
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Thanks, Dirk and druxey. Good advice. I agree about the pressure, and have been wondering about the effect of the grain. I'll be much more careful on the rear cabinets and always bear in mind the need not to rush. I might even re-do the knees if I have enough wood as the look when it's done nicely really does make a difference.



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Ah, Gérard, that explains it perfectly. I feel a bit of a fool for not thinking of that as it now seems so obvious. Thank you so much! This will allow me to continue with a bit more confidence. And thanks for taking a look at my log! I really hope other modellers will take it up as it's such a nice model.



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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, tkay11 said:

I agree it's a beautiful model,  G.L.,

but it's by Helmuht, who's just showing me the possibilities and offering help should I need it.



Oops, thought you finished your model already😁. I am sure that it will be a masterpiece as well.

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Thanks for posting your model of the Chaloupe, Hellmuht. It's a pity you don't have a build log for it. But I've been admiring your build of the Bounty, and your post led me to your log of the build of the Spanish Longboat.


While I'm recovering from surgery (which has prevented me from working on the Chaloupe for the moment), I've been looking at a card kit from Russia for an 18th Century French longboat at a scale of 1:48. I'm still working through translating it, but it has a very interesting construction method -- similar to Chuck's longboat and to your Spanish one -- and it's entirely card.


Dane, who developed the kit, posted his completed build on this forum in 2013 at




It has particular interest in that it also gives plans for all the extras (buckets, barrels, anchors, hooks) and very full rigging plans. It was also very cheap (about €25 including tracked postage).


The instructions are incredibly detailed (far more than most card kits), and as a result it is well worth the effort in translating them.


You can see the creation of the kit from its inception and its subsequent build in Dane's log at http://only-paper.ru/forum/85-12867-1


The cover of the kit (which you have to order from Dane directly) is:




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  • 3 months later...

The last part of my build was posted in February. Since then, and while recovering from surgery, I used the time to experiment with the card model of the 18th Century French longboat that I mentioned. (I wasn’t allowed to cart around anything heavy like table saws for a couple of months). I’ll do a separate log for that, just to show how nice a model it might turn out to be for someone more experienced than I am with card. For the moment though, I can show the stage to which I had arrived in comparison with the Chaloupe:



Rear Lockers


A recurring theme in this (and my other builds) is damage limitation. Mistakes or inaccuracy early on lead to recurrent problems later in the build. The major problem in this build that I continue to face is the asymmetry resulting from slight inaccuracies in the original mould and not ensuring the true verticality of the frames. This has meant that I cannot simply make pieces according to the plans but have to make my own measurements and templates so that the pieces can fit together. Fortunately, this is something I really enjoy and see as an essential part of model building (or else it could mean that I’m too lazy to rebuild the model from scratch)!


A good example of this lies in the making of the rear lockers and the gunwale. I finalised the measurements for the rear lockers using 0.3mm card templates. You’ll note that the floor of the cuddy is not straight and there’s a sub-millimetre difference in the length of the locker sides.



In order to make the doors at the end of the cuddy, I used two layers of planking, with the rearmost layer glued to card.











The side lockers were built in a similar way, using card as a base. The picture frame moulding was made from strips from an old boxwood ruler.





I added extra support for the locker covers.



I faced a small problem with the thickness of the covers. The foremost cover has to be flush with the thwart knee and lie on top of its thwart. However plan sheet 4 shows that the cover thickness at the level of the swivel gun support has to lie also level with the top of the thwart knee while resting on the thwart stringer below. To satisfy both requirements I added a small batten under the foremost cover to rest on the locker side.





You can get an idea of the completed lockers in the following photo, which shows the davit timbers in place. The hinges are again non-functioning, made of 0.5 x 5mm brass rod.



Finalising internal planking


The next stage was to make the final strakes of the internal planking above the thwart stringer. These required multiple notches for the thwarts and thwart knees, so I used cardboard strips to define the cut outs first.





Once the planking was in place, it was important to ensure it was level with the external rubbing strake. I used a flat board wider than the hull, partially covered with sandpaper.



I then laid the end without sandpaper on one side and sanded the internal planking on the other side until it was level with the external planking.



I then checked the level with a metal rule.







Clearly, the outline of the hull on the plans would not match the plans because of the small variations I have already mentioned. In order to find the shape, I used a card template as suggested in the monograph.



The monograph also suggests to make the gunwale in one piece, although it also says it would have been made in several sections. I decided to make it in several sections – not only for the sake of accuracy, but mainly because I predicted to myself that I would make mistakes and thereby waste a lot of wood in the process. So in my tracing in the CAD programme I inserted a number of scarf joints.


I started with the bow and the saddle joining the two sides.




Before fitting these pieces, I glued the saddle to one side, glued that assembly to the bow, then added the final section around it.







Transom lodging knees


The transom lodging knees require careful cutting out.








The picture above shows one piece for the last two sections of the gunwale. This was just for measurement purposes. The two sections were cut separately.















Next up will be finalising the transom with its roller, putting bands on the davit timbers, making the washboards.






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Thanks, Carl, G.L. and Dirk as well as for all the 'likes'. Yes, I am indeed walking, talking, joking as before. Surgery has advanced dramatically over the past decades, and procedures are more and more like a change of tyres in the pits with great team work between the specialities, then off and out again. The NHS (for urgent cases anyway) is a wonderful institution.


Glad you like the model, too!



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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello Tony, I think you are doing a super job on this build.  I am impressed by your workmanship and techniques.  Your log is great. 


You know, there are so many tricks of the trade for achieving sometimes very difficult results on a particular step that I wished someone could put together a compendium of all these techniques. Oh well!


Keep up the very good work. 😎



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Thanks very much, Paul and Karl. I'm beginning to feel improvement in being accurate in my cutting. I just wish I'd been more careful with the start of the build, but then that's how we sometimes have to learn. I especially love the feel and look of the wood and the boat itself.


Paul, I very much liked the pictures of your earlier Cutty Sark. That's a model I made from the Revell plastic kit when I was a teenager, and the memory of that stimulated me to think of taking up wooden ship modelling in my retirement. Your longboat, too, is beautifully finished.


Karl. you'll see that I've posted a link to your absolutely superb build of the Chaloupe at the beginning of this log, and I am simply amazed at the level of craftmanship and precision you bring to all your builds, so I'm even more grateful that you give me a kindly nod in my early and novice attempts. Builds of such beautiful workmanship serve as great ideals towards which I can strive.



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Thanks, Moab. That's a nice compliment. I do like these longboats and inshore craft too.


I use TurboCAD DeLuxe 21. It was about £30 when I bought it. I can't really give an opinion on the learning curve. I did spend time looking at the tutorials on the web and asking questions on the TurboCad forum. My approach was to define the problem I needed to solve (e.g. loading a jpg, or tracing, or drawing a curve) and looking up how to do it. As a result, I found the process painless and cumulative. That way you don't have to set about learning everything at once. There's a wonderful set of tutorials on YouTube by Paul Tracey at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbIC1X9V7KK9ayIcOfzdYm0h1AQOOTSKa, which I strongly recommend.


I've tried quite a few CAD programmes, but the one I keep coming back to is TurboCAD. Other programmes might suit you better. You can do quite a lot with a photo-editing programme such as Photoshop, or an illustration package. If you work in Linux, there's Gimp and FreeCAD.


I hope this helps, but if you want to know more, don't hesitate to ask.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Rear Roller

This was relatively easy to do. I cut a 3mm square length to a 2.6mm rod on the lathe, then tapered the central area with a file


It should be noted that the roller is not fitted in line with the transom top timber, but between that and the transom. Ideally, a little axle would be fitted, but I just cut the roller to size and glued it in the appropriate position since the axle would be impossible to see and I wouldn’t want people to start rolling it just to prove a point.







I had a nice load of offcuts from the 2x2mm frames which could be used for the washboard supports.





The washboards at the bow needed bending, so I laid the wet cuts on a jig.





I then had to build the blocks for the oarlocks. This proved to be a little tricky. I started doing it by hand, but this was hard on the fingers and didn’t produce a straight line easily. I soon found the answer with a vice. This turned the process into something very rapid indeed.









Next up will be the bow roller, followed (I hope) with a whole load of the hull fittings for the rigging. This may take a while as I am involved in other work for the moment which is very time consuming. All the same, keep watching this space!



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Thanks for the nice comments, druxey and G.L., and to all who posted 'likes'. That's the nice thing about logs. Every time I read someone else's log I, too, learn new things. Above all, they make me think, as well as wonder often at the ingenuity displayed. And thinking's the main pleasure of this game for me. It demonstrates that there can never be a simple guide to how it's done for any model, as so many variables will always intervene. Skill seems to me separate, and comes with practice and experience.



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  • 2 weeks later...


While I’ve been involved in other work, I’ve been pondering how to make the cleats. I read several other articles on this site and elsewhere, but wanted to do this in as labour-saving a way as possible.


I eventually figured that the easiest way would be to start from the rear of the cleats by milling away the underneath of the two arms. I used my TurboCAD programme to draw up the outline for the strip to be milled, using the dimensions of the cleats shown on the plans. This was placed on a strip of pear wood 7x2mm in section, this being the overall face dimensions of the cleat. I left 0.4mm spaces between the cleats on the strip to allow for the width of my razor saw (0.3mm) -- you'll see this a few photos further down.


After clamping the strip to the compound table I drilled the holes for the supporting pins at the back of the cleats.




The backs of the cleats were then milled to a depth of 1mm on the 2mm thick strip.






I then took the strip, and, holding it in a vice, sanded the underneath of the arms to a curve with a sanding stick.






I then sanded the front faces of the cleats to a curve on an old bit of brass tube.






I then inserted and glued brass rod into the holes on the backs of the cleats on the strip.






As this was my very first attempt, it is all a bit rough. However, now I have the idea of how to do it, I’ll be able to perfect the technique for future belaying pins. I only need 14 of them for the chaloupe, so it’s no big deal.



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@mjh410: The machine I use for milling is a straightforward adaptation of a 50W Proxxon Micromot drill, which I made in 2013 for my earlier builds and is discussed with photos at the beginning of this build log. The only essential adaptations are (1) a clamp for the drill stand made of wood which has an old tuner knob glued to a 6mm bolt to act as a height adjuster, and (2) a dial gauge on its own stand. You can see this in the section on Stem, Stern and Keel on the first page of this build log, and the link to the post is:


You'll find my instructions on making the clamp on this site at:


Many people have said that these small Proxxon drills are not made for milling as the bearings are not designed for lateral thrust. However I have not had any problems so far as I keep my cuts shallow and I only use it on wood. The advantage of these Proxxon drills is their high speed (up to 20,000 rpm) which is ideal for using small diameter milling bits (1-3mm) in wood.


A key problem is ensuring that the drill clamp on the drill stand holds the drill truly vertically. I had to insert a strip of wood between the drill clamp and the stand as the stand I have is the cheapest possible and not build to such good tolerances as the Proxxon MF70 mill (the standby for a vast number of modellers working with model ships).




If you want to know more, please do ask.

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