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HMS Bellona 1760 by SJSoane - Scale 1:64 - English 74 gun, as designed

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Hi Nicolas,

 

Welcome to ship modelling, and to Model Ship World. As you have seen in my build log and all the others, there are many dedicated and skilled people on this web site who can help with everything from research to skills and materials. I am quite sure I would not have gotten this far without the help of this group.

 

Working on a project is a great way to learn. The Bellona is only my second ship model, started long after building my first, a Bluejacket wood schooner kit when I was 16. I learned everything while actually working on the Bellona. It does mean that you have to be willing to try some things, and throw away the results if they are not good enough.

 

You might find interesting a little essay I wrote a while ago about craftsmanship in ship modeling. You can see it at:

 

 

Be sure to start a build log for your project right away. As soon as you get your plans, you will have lots of questions for us all!

 

Best wishes,

 

Mark

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Posted (edited)

Hi Mark,

 

I am with Gaetan on this one.  I use walnut dye/stain as well, in the form of Vandyke crystals dissolved in water.  Here is a link, but I am sure there are other sources:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Liberon-Van-Dyck-Crystals-500g/dp/B001GU6GVU/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=van+dyke+crystals&qid=1559390082&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spell

 

Natural walnut , as well as other vegetable dyes/stains are non-fading, a key factor.  Rit, Tintex or other aniline based dyes will certainly fade, really fade, over time when exposed to light.  The dye may be diluted to give the desired shade.  It is very close in color to natural hemp.

 

There is no need to dye all the line at once.  I dye it in usable lengths of about 6-8 feet on an as-needed basis, by dragging it through a jar of stain as Gaetan suggests.  I use a simple wood strip with a wide V-notch to hold the line down when passing through the jar - I use plastic wide-mouth food containers kept covered when not in use.  I then wipe the line with paper towel and hang it up between binder clips to dry - about an hour or two is usually enough.  I do this with made rope or thread for the small sizes - cotton or linen.  Its an easy step.  I leave the set up in one corner of the shop.  It is somewhat messy.

 

For black, I substitute diluted India Ink.

 

For most of the lines on Young America I then treated the rope by passing it through a diluted emulsion to reduce fuzz and perhaps help with moisture absorption.  I used pH neutral pva white glue, but I am sure acrylic emulsion ( matte medium) would work as well.  I used one tbsp of glue in a cup of water, but did not test other concentrations.  The rope was no stiffened noticeably by this and the fuzz reduction was evident.

 

After all this I pass the line through the flame of an alcohol lamp to burn off any fuzz or fibers lifted by the process - then wrap it on cardboard spools - I should say tubes.

 

Ed

 

 

Edited by EdT

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Thank you Mark for the essay, an excellent document with tips for the challenges I will be facing in the near future.

 

Although I don’t have the Triton plans yet, I started my build log with a collection of tips, pictures and other important info related to modeling.

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Nicolas, I look forward to when you start!

 

Ed, thanks for your advice about the dye. From your books and postings, I have been cognizant of the fading problem with certain stains, and I assumed that would also apply to dyes. But I could not find information about which are fugitive. So it sounds like RIT will fade.

 

I am still concerned about my ropes made up of Gutermann 50 cotton thread becoming stretchy after soaking in hot water, and then losing their twist. I assume this has to do with hot water, although it could be the RIT dye itself. If they don't stretch with the walnut dye, then it is the RIT dye for sure, and not just the hot water.

 

Meanwhile, I have picked up two other possible sources of dye: 1) Minwax oil based stains, and 2) Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay India Ink. The ink is advertised as lightfast and archival. I have a brown, sepia, and black, and will see if I can approximate a tan with appropriate thinning and mixing.

 

Do you have any advice about these two other possible dyeing solutions?

 

Best wishes,

 

Mark

 

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All this dye discussion, while interesting, is way beyond my pay grade! I'm sorry that you invested heavily into thread that wasn't already dyed.

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Hi Mark,

 

Oil based stains sound really messy to me for this.  Also, I believe Minwax stains have an oil based resin resin binder, but that may not stiffen rope if used diluted.  I guess this would make the rope waterproof, making any glue sealing a problem.  Add to that the environmental issues with solvents.   I would not recommend.

 

I do not use hot water to dye rope.  Probably would soften cotton rope fibers.  Also, no soaking.  Residence time in dye is about 1 second as it is pulled through. I suppose low initial torgue in the rope strands could also be at work.  I have had no problem with water softening rope - cotton or linen - thread or made rope.  

 

India ink is a suspension of carbon black in water with some shellac binder to make it waterproof.  Will not fade.  I do not know about sepia ink, but suspect the same.  Most ink is not a solution, but a suspension of fine particles (i.e. pigment), in this case in water.

 

Soluble, chemical aniline based dyes were invented over a century ago and largely replaced vegetable dyes that were dominant to that time.  Vegetable or natural dyes are fadeproof.  It is the reason oriental carpets retain the color over centuries.  I believe the problem with aniline is that ultra violet light gradually breaks down the large complex molecules, thus weakening the color over time.  Fortunately, our clothes spend most of their life in dark closets.  Colorfast usually refers the resistance to washing, not to light.

 

On my Victory model I used diluted acrylic gouache to color both hemp and black rope.  This too is a pigment, suspension, and has shown no fading in a sunny window for 10 years.  Also, acrylic bunder caused no stiffening of rope.  Also no softening. Mostly linen rope on that model.  I switched to walnut based on Bernard Frolich's process in his book The Art of ship Modeling.  He also uses cotton crochet thread.

 

By concentrating in the crevices between strands, dye highlights the rope turns - an advantage of dyeing rope perhaps.

 

Good luck.  I wouldn't work this issue too hard.  There are good, easy solutions, sorry, suspensions.

 

Ed

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks, Ed, this is exceedingly helpful. I somehow managed to get through my entire education without a class in chemistry, so this world of particles, suspensions, etc. is largely a mystery to me. I appreciate your continuing guidance.

 

The further irony is that I took physics instead of chemistry, and now what I learned all those many years ago is shockingly out of date...

 

Best wishes,

 

Mark

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Visitors kept me out of the shop for a while, but back to work.

 

I managed to obtain some Van Dyke walnut crystals, and they work best of all the stain possibilities. Thanks, Gaetan and Ed, for the suggestion. They dissolve easily in hot water, continue to work when cold, and require only a momentary soak. The color is just right for hemp, and the color will be permanent.

 

I initially tried soaking a finished rope for a few minutes, and had the same problem of the rope stretching and coming unraveled. So I tried first soaking individual strands, by running them through the glass jar of stain and onto a spool on the back of the Jim Byrnes ropewalk, as seen below. But this proved to be too inconsistent in the stain; the rope had different densities of color in different strands, which looked a little like a barber pole, as seen in the tan rope on the deck below (the white rope is unstained in this photo). And I had no idea of how much thread to spool up for a rope. This did not work very well.

 

So then I hit on the idea that does work well. Chuck suggests wetting the line after turning it, and then pulling it tighter, to help harden it. I thought, why not use the stain itself as the wetting agent for hardening? I brushed on the stain, and used a rag to work it it to the rope. I then had to pull the tailstock further away to take up the sudden slack, proving that the water is lengthening the threads somehow. And now the rope is tight, stained evenly, and ready to go. I was even able to wax the line while in the ropewalk, since the color was not already applied.

 

And best of all, since I need to wet the rope to harden anyway, staining is not an additional, laborious step.

 

So, rope staining problem solved.

 

Best wishes,

 

Mark

 

 

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Looks like you are finally winning, Mark!

 

As a note, to 'harden' my own line, after it is spun I stretch it, then wet it. The line slackens considerably , as you have observed. I then re-stretch it while in this state and allow to dry on the stretch. It then shows no tendency to unravel when cut.

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Thanks, druxey, that confirms what I just discovered on the ropewalk, that wetting expands the cotton fibers quite a lot. After stretching as you described, my rope came off with no unraveling at all--and now a lovely hemp color.

 

Mark

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At last, on to cutting wood again. I will begin work on the spirketting on the gun deck, and in preparation I have been elaborating my drawings to include the strake locations, and also the knees and standards. 

 

I drew for the first time the location of the hanging knees, including the compass knees that need to bend around gunports. I have discovered a few locations where the hanging knee has to bend all the way across the gunport, making a very large knee indeed (see left-most curved knee in drawing below).

 

Does this look right, or would they have reversed the lodging knee and the handing knee at these locations, to leave less of a distance to curve around? I just don't recall seeing any examples of knees bending quite this far. I imagine this would have been very expensive.

 

Best wishes,

 

Mark

Screen Shot 2019-06-10 at 12.06.40 PM.png

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Posted (edited)

Hi Mark. Good to see you back to making sawdust. Has far as the knee's go I have a drawing from the NMM of the Berwick that shows how every thing was laid out which when it  comes to Alfred will be a big help. There is one hanging knee close to what you show but not quite that bad. As far as swaping it to the other side, if you look at the photos, they stuck to the side they were meant to go on. Should be a lot of fun making them. Gary

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Edited by garyshipwright

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Thanks, Gary, those are very helpful drawings. It looks like they do bend that far when needed. I can hardly imagine what part of a tree gives that kind of a compass timber with a wide sweep in one direction, and a 3'-9" athwartship arm at right angles to it--they must have been rare and therefore very expensive.

 

Yes, those look like they will take a little ingenuity in laying out and forming, and also very wasteful of wood! Some large piece of those is going to be short grain and therefore a little fragile.

 

Your Alfred quarter galleries are looking great.

 

Best wishes,

 

Mark

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Have fun with those cast knees! Gary's posted images will help you a lot. As you can see, they usually crank around to end (or start!) against the side of the beam.

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Hello Mark,

 

these knees at the gun deck where the worst knees ever! Because they are so deep down in the hull. I'm still not sure, if I build them in the Tiger.

If you wont to see the plan of the Berwick as a whole: https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/370801.html

That plan helped me a lot. And here some impressions when they are ready installed. 

IMG_0514.thumb.jpg.94c9991f1d3037432a18ab503f639031.jpg

IMG_0434.thumb.jpg.4fa842652cf2008217e74eeab214a61a.jpg

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It will be a while before I start constructing these knees, but while drawing them I realized just how complex they will have to be. Gary, your drawing really helped me see that the transverse arm has to bend straight down at the side in order to clear the end of the lodging knee, and then the hanging arm can curve back to avoid the port.

 

This rough sketch shows how the hanging knee needs to bend twice--an S curve-- in the fore and aft direction.

 

Mark

hanging compass knee_20190611_0001.jpg

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Hi Siggi and druxey, I didn't see your posts before I posted my drawing. You both confirm what I now see is an S curve in the fore and aft direction, at least on the upper surface of the hanging knee where it has to clear the lodging knee. This may take some modeling in clay to visualize when I get to building them.

 

I am also thinking that I may build these with a hidden joint between the transverse and hanging arms, so the grain runs along each arm. Carving this out of a solid blank would leave short grain in one arm or the other.

 

I still have to finish the gun deck and then frame the upper deck before I begin to tackle this, so I am some way out. But it is always nice to see what is coming down the road later on!

 

Mark

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Because of the short grain issue and the difficulty of finding enough natural growth stock to satisfy the sheer number of knees, with these compound curves, it only seems logical to me that they would have scarfed these things together, in full size.

 

Does anyone know what was done in actual practice?

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Hi Marc,

 

Good point. I wonder what the joint would look like. The usual hooked scarph is resisting tension loads parallel to the axis of the wood, which is accomplished by hooks working in compression to resist the load.

 

But this has to resist bending at the elbow of the construction. And since bending has to resist both compression and tension, perhaps it includes a bolt on the tension side? Or a mortise and long tenon might do it?

 

I hope someone has seen a joint that works here!

 

Mark

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Hi Mark and Marc  and all - 

 

I understand that the oaks of England were specially raised for their curved pieces, especially where the trunk would split or where limbs came off at right angles to the trunk.  That is one reason they were marked with the King's broad arrow and cutting them down was treason, punishable by death.    

 

Here is a drawing from Dodds & Moore, Building the Wooden Fighting Ship,, a book that I highly recommend.    I hope it helps.

 

Dan

1367491807_compasstimbers.jpg.a716a9e2f952a4c4983f4a2bcc408525.jpg

 

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Knees were always made of 'compass timber' for strength. I suspect some of the more exotic shapes came from the trunk/main root junctions. When compass timber became scarce during the Napoleonic Wars, iron was substituted for the wooden knees.

 

If you run the grain diagonally, you should be OK. Also, by 'cranking' the upper end of the knee, not only did it clear the lodging knees, the bolts could be shorter and more easily driven through the knee and beam.

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Before I get to play with compass timber knees, I need to install the spirketting and quickwork on the gundeck. Having read in other posts about the challenges of planking inboard, I decided to approach this deliberately and systematically, at least to make it fun. So, I made a paper pattern of the space between the gundeck waterway and the lower edge of the upper deck clamp. When this fit well, I taped the pattern down on a drawing board to calculate the offsets for the various curves. I then input this into Turbocad, to obtain a digital image of the spirketting and quickwork, fully expanded.

 

Next, I can make patterns for the individual planks, ready to start cutting out.

 

It was interesting to see, when the side was expanded, that the long horizontal lines were not parallel. The tumblehome on the gundeck varies, more sloped at midships and more vertical at the bow, while at the stern the surface slopes outward because of the rising of the lower hull coming up. Since the gunports height dimensions were measured at  true vertical elevation, it means that the gunports fully expanded are taller at midships. Very interesting!

 

Mark

 

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Posted (edited)

Mark on that plan with the knees there is another lay out of the spirketting and quickwork of the Berwick which is what I used on Alfred.  Gives you another  choice which is allways a good thing. Look forward in to seeing your planking good sir. Gary 

Edited by garyshipwright

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Gary, thanks for pointing that out. I didn't notice it first time, and had not seen that before. Very interesting idea, I am surprised it did not catch on more, since the construction layout is more logical.

 

I will probably stay with the hooked scarphs, because I got the process down pretty well while making the main wales. I used the drawing from the Arrogant 1761 as guidance (in Lavery's Bellona book).

 

Best wishes,

 

Mark

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I have been working on converting more of my original drafted drawings to CAD, because it is so useful for making accurate patterns for parts.

 

I have come across an interesting detail that I had never noticed, where the transverse beakhead bulkhead hits the hull frame at the outboard edge. My photo of the original Bellona model shows the bulkhead and all of its mouldings dying into the side of the frame (the vertical dogleg piece below). In most photos, it is impossible to see this detail, because the headwork obscures this junction. Can this be right, that the bulkhead trim does not wrap around the frame end, to mitre into the trim running down the side of the hull?

 

Does anyone have a photo of a more complete ship model, showing whether or not the bulkhead overlaps the frame at this point?

 

Mark

 

 

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Good morning Mark,

 

may be these pictures will help you. It's the Centurion 1732, 60 guns

10557680_Bildschirmfoto2019-06-23um10_24_05.thumb.jpg.053c7e9ac8117b4eeac3dff328d8784f.jpg

631656047_Bildschirmfoto2019-06-23um10_35_06.jpg.da772ecff89baef92991aaf7260f4799.jpg

The same picture as above,

but here I marked where the outer planking meet the bulkhead. Also seen at the picture below.

1957913491_Bildschirmfoto2019-06-23um10_24_49.thumb.jpg.c83d92f24ae193d2f65abe26cf16bfa8.jpg

The other Bellona

2100603501_Bildschirmfoto2019-06-23um10_29_57.thumb.jpg.f8176047ce90875e75d76f1903092d50.jpg

and the Superb. I hope that these pictures will help you.

962052553_Bildschirmfoto2019-06-23um10_32_45.thumb.jpg.16dcc30ef7f0b8de4cedb5c563039a97.jpg

 

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Thanks, Siggi, that answers the question well. It looks like the Bellona first model is consistent with these other hulls. The bulkhead bulwark does sit inside the outer hull framing.  The paint helps obscure the joint.

 

I am so grateful for your extensive collection of photos, and knowledge!

 

Best wishes,

 

Mark

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My own take is that any trim ( I assume you mean molding) is interrupted by the head of the main rail. The latter bolts against the vertical part of the dogleg toptimber. Siggi's photos show all this, as well as the outer plank overlapping the bulkhead planking. 

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Thanks, druxey, I see what you mean. I will try drawing a sketch in a while to study how all of this comes together. A fiendish corner, methinks!

 

Mark

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