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SJSoane

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

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Aren't those pieces of plank an interesting challenge, Mark? Makes a nice change from boring, parallel pieces! Lovely job you're doing.

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Thanks, Beckmann, Marc and druxey for your kind comments.

 

I thought a lot about darkening the joints in the planking, and tried a few experiments with different techniques.  In the end decided that I liked best the look of the original Admiralty models, which did not seem to have blackening other than the slightly darker line of the glue. For me, this helps with the atmospheric effect of scale. That is, if you imagine standing far enough away from the real ship to see it like you see the model, you would not see joints in the planking. I know I am going against the grain of current model making practices, but I like the look.

 

You can see here how the joints in the main wales are showing, due only to the variations in wood color, and the glue line. Although the wales will be painted black, the planking above will receive only the clear finish and will look like the wales do right now. You can also see how my wood darkens quite a bit over time, which tends to show more wood variation. The final color will be like the hull frames below the wales, which have darkened over many years, and are also finished with the clear polyurethane.

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I mentioned that I needed a little project to take my mind off the test and fit, test and fit tedium of a complex plank. My project was building Chuck's Syren Serv-o-Matic. I haven't had a chance to put it to the test yet, but it sure looks pretty! Thanks, Chuck. Goes well with the ropewalk.

 

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The holiday season sure takes a toll on getting ship work done!

 

Back in the shop, I have finished the 2nd strake of 4" planking above the black strake. I did not realize that the planking hollows in just forward of the side galley doors, and then straightens out a bit right at the stern edge. It forms a slight S curve. In hindsight this makes sense, because the curved tumblehome further forward eventually needs to fair into a flat side counter. I never could visualize this when studying the drawings, now it is very clear when the planking highlights to shape in a horizontal direction. These ships are endlessly fascinating!

 

On to the third strake...

 

Mark

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It's surprising how many 'ah ha' moments occur as one works on the actual model. "Oh, so that's why they did it this way!"  Lovely work, as always, Mark. Happy New Year to you.

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Hi druxey, Johann and Paul, thanks so much for your kind comments. New Year's Eve is a good time to reflect on the year past and the year yet to come. I am reminded just how special this website community really is.

 

Starting on the next strake at the bow, I rethought some construction issues. I decided to steam the plank before cutting to shape, since I have found that my card patterns just never seems to match the reality once the plank is curved onto a twisting, bending surface. So bend first, then trim to fit. But that then creates some issues. How to draw the curving upper edge, which is an S curve on a curved surface? After plotting the various points, I used the artist's tape to construct a fair edge, then drew a pencil along the upper edge of the tape. Way better than fiddling with a flexible curve, or cutting a card template.

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Next, how to cut the piece to width, when the piece cannot be easily clamped or held onto a flat surface for sawing? I found that the Knew Concepts saw and sawing plate worked perfectly for this, by fitting the curved piece down into the wide slot at the front. As long as I carefully pulled down for a cut and feathered the pressure when pulling the saw back up, it cut very nicely the full length of the piece without binding or vibrating.

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Hi druxey,

 

The challenge I haven't figured out is how to clamp this curved piece with its edge available to a plane. After I saw close to the line, I clamp the piece on the diagonal at the corner of a small vise, and work the edge with a riffler. But the further away from where it is clamped, the more the piece slips within the vise. I need a curved face vise!

 

Mark

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11 hours ago, SJSoane said:

I need a curved face vise!

You could make a clamping caul - cut a block of wood down the middle to the shape of your curve, then sandwich the plank between the two pieces. You now have two square, parallel edges to place in an ordinary vice. Admittedly, a lot of work if one has to make a caul for each curved plank, but in theory it works....

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Posted (edited)

I've had success by placing the plank, finished edge down, on the workbench. One end is against a bench stop. While I operate the miniature plane with one hand, I stabilize the plank with the other. The final surface is finessed using a sanding stick.

Edited by druxey

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hmm, interesting challenge.

 

Grant, you are right, for a major piece needing accurate shaping, a custom made caul would do the trick. I hate to have to do that for every individual plank, if there is a simpler method.

 

Gaetan, I don't have a sanding belt, but I do an oscillating drum. Although this would require me drawing the edge on the concave side, so I could put the plank on the sanding table convex side down. I will try that.

 

druxey, you did get me thinking, about those small planes I bought many years ago but never really used. I sharpened them up today, and I was able to freehand hold the piece while using the planes. I have them set very fine for final cleanup, and it is fiddly to keep adjusting them; so I will probably still want to saw down to a manageable planing distance.

 

 

 

 

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Actually Mark, if you have a bandsaw and some scrap 3/4” pine boards, it really wouldn’t take much to make individualised cauls. A quick trace of the outline of your curved plank, whip it through the bandsaw and you’re done - about 30 seconds work in total I reckon. Might be worth giving it a trial anyway. It could more than make up for the time taken later on. Think of the time and effort it would save you to have a clamped up plank ready to plane/sand for the sake of 30 seconds and a bit of scrap wood.

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Well Just because I like using the jewelers saw, I would think that a curved bench pin one that is like the normal pin but fixed to the end of the bench with a couple of hold down screws like the one I have used for the brass stuff but on a curve. This is getting to complex to explain I will make one because I will no doubt need one sometime in the next little while. having said all that i do like using the littel planes and chisels for odd curved bits. Your planking does look superb Mark. and Happy New Year to you and your family.

 

Michael 

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Marc, it is almost as much fun to work out an elegant fabricating method as it is to make the piece. This helps me guard against my natural tendency to "bodge" my way through.

 

Grant, you are right, and I also realized that my curves are pretty constant at the bow above the wales. Indeed, I am steaming all these pieces on the same caul. So I tried clamping the piece to the steaming caul itself, as below. If I could figure out a way to get the clamp out of the way, this does afford a pretty stable base for filing, planing etc. Or, just make a two sided caul. I will play around with this.

 

Michael, I think I understand your curved bench pin idea, but I look forward to seeing one you make. That could indeed be very handy. Especially if there were a way to clamp the piece. Holding firmly onto a thin edge when sawing gets pretty tiring, and fingers are always in the way of the saw.

 

Mark

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Mark,

 

Sometimes the simple solutions are the best. If you use your current caul as a template, just trace the curve onto a board wide enough to cut the curve down the middle on the bandsaw. And voila - instant two-sided clamping caul ready to go in the bench vice. No need for other clamps that would get in the way.

 

Saw this idea in use in some full size furniture making. Curved cauls were made and used to form a bent lamination. Once the lamination had been formed, anytime further work (eg joinery) was to be done on the laminated piece, it went back in the caul in the vice for holding.

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Just a silly observation. I have those Lie-Nielsen squirrel tail planes.I've been clamping the plane upside down (blade up) in a soft jawed vice and pull my plank over the blade.

It seems to work well for me . . .

Harvey

 

 

 

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Thanks, Michael, Grant, Harvey and druxey for continuing good advice on this challenging fabrication issue.

In the end, clamping them in the existing steaming caul worked all right for the pieces I had already started on. They are now glued in place.

 

For the next strakes, particularly the thicker ones above my lower black line, I will make a caul as Grant has suggested. It really helps to have them firmly gripped while working the edges, whether with rifflers and files, or planes. And then, except for the spirketting inboard, I am done with curves at the bow!

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Moving on to the next 4" strake, I see that I have a particularly wide plank towards the stern, due to the drop down to the two ports. this one should be fun! I found it was very important ahead of time to plot out the planks on the ship itself, because the drawing did not exactly match where the planks hit the ports, and so drop downs and plank runs had to be looked at individually on the actual ship.

 

Mark

 

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A little slow in the shop this week. Here is the complex plank installed. This required a great deal of finding high spots by holding artist transfer paper between the joints at various places, then filing down with a very fine flat Swiss file, then checking again. When I felt my patience disappearing, I would leave it and go do something else. So it took me a while.

 

Mark

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Lovely work, Mark. Those tabbed planks are tricky to do, but fun none the less. It looks like your not simulating the tar between the planks??

 

Mike

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Lovely result, Mark. Aren't those planks fun? Folk think that topside planking is just straight parallel strips of wood. You know better. Well done.

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Thanks so much Mike and druxey. I confess, when I started I thought this was going to be fairly straightforward, made complex only by having to bevel the edges for tight joints. Maybe I got that idea from Longridge's book on the Victory, or maybe from reading about modelers cutting long strips to a set dimension.

 

But you both knew better, and now do I!

 

This is much more complex, requiring spiled edges and precise fitting. The planks are not even the same width at the stern as they are at the bow, even though the lines of planking on the sheer drawing are parallel segments of circles. I believe it is the varying degree of tumblehome that stretches and contracts the space between the parallel segments in the third dimension, making the planks between vary their widths.

 

And I thought I was about to start sprinting on this project!😊

 

Mike, I decided not to highlight the seams between the planks, partly because I could not obtain consistent results in my tests, and mainly because I like the look of the 18th century models like the second Bellona model, where the seams are not highlighted but variations in wood color hint at the planks. I think this is what a viewer would see standing far enough from a real ship to be the same as looking at the entire model in our cone of vision. Of course, this also means that my painstaking craftsmanship doesn't show up except in extremely close observation!

 

Mark

 

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