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How to make pintles and braces from brass

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What did you use for a punch?


“You’ve just got to know your limitations”  Dirty Harry

Current Builds:  Modified MS 1/8” scale Phantom, and modified plastic/wood hybrid of Aurora 1:87 scale whaling bark Wanderer.

Past Builds: (Done & sold) 1/8” scale A.J. Fisher 2 mast schooner Challenge, 1/6” scale scratch built whaler Wanderer w/ plans & fittings from A.J. Fisher, and numerous plastic kits including 1/8” scale Revell U.S.S. Constitution (twice), Cutty Sark, and Mayflower.

                  (Done & in dry dock) Modified 1/8” scale Revell U.S.S. Constitution w/ wooden deck and masting [too close encounter w/conc. floor in move]

Hope to get to builds: MS 3/16” scale Pride of Baltimore II,  MS 1/2” scale pinky schooner Glad Tidings,  a scratch build 3/16” scale  Phantom, and a scratch build 3/16" scale Denis Sullivan.

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  • 2 months later...

I have made many thousands of tree nails with the needle method in various sizes, my current 1:10 boat is held together almost exclusively by tree nails. I was using mostly cherry but recently the whole process start failing as the needle was burning the wood. Only by touching the needle with soap I could get it to work but this slowed down things. No problem with softwoods.


What wood are you using?




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Thanks for sharing Woodeater; a couple of very useful techniques.  I am a little ways of trying them yet but I have noted them :)





If at first you do not suceed, try, and then try again!
Current build: HMCSS Victoria (Scratch)

Next build: HMAS Vampire (3D printed resin, scratch 1:350)

Built:          Battle Station (Scratch) and HM Bark Endeavour 1768 (kit 1:64)

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On ‎3‎/‎29‎/‎2019 at 11:13 PM, woodeater said:

Anybody tried to do like me?


Sort of. I set the depth of the plug cutter on the drill press so that it is slightly short of punching through the block of wood. When the quill is raised after a cut, the plug stays attached to the bottom of the block, preventing clogging the cutter bore. When I'm through cutting the plugs, I cut or sand off the bottom of the block through to the depth of the plugs I've cut and poke the plugs out of the holes.


With large plugs (full-size) I lay the plug bores in straight lines on a grid pattern, overlapping the cuts at the edges of the adjacent plugs, I then saw the rows of plugs apart, leaving them attached to the resulting strips of wood beneath the bores. These strips make it easy to handle the plugs. They can be broken off the strip individually and driven into their counterbores, leaving  the unbored strip at the bottom attached. The plug is then cut fair to the surface of the work. This saves time and energy.


Plugs for counterbores are cut so that the grain runs parallel to the grain of the counterbore and the grain is aligned to match the direction of the counterbored piece. (Drilled across the grain.)  Plugs are always cut from  the same species as the counterbored piece, and from offcuts of the same stock, where possible. This prevents the plug from coming loose from differing rates and directions of wood movement between the plug and the counterbored wood.


When cutting trunnels, the grain direction is parallel to the length of the trunnel. (Cut with the grain.) A trunnel cut across the grain won't hold diddly squat. It will break at the grain segments. (Full-sized trunnels are turned on a lathe or got out of billets driven through dies.) Trunnels are often cut of different species (e.g. locust) for strength and dried as much as possible (often stored next to the shop stove) to promote a tighter fit when they swell up after being driven. I mention this in the modeling context because a plug over a metal fastener is always nearly invisible in real life and certainly so at scale, while trunnels may be darker (e.g. locust trunnels in oak or larch planks.) Where planking was fastened with spikes and nails, the plugs aren't going to be a different color in real life. This is particularly so with decks,  where harder trunnels would wear less that the surrounding softer plank and result in a "bumpy" deck surface. Some modelers use contrasting colored wood or plastic line for plugs and trunnels to show where the fastenings are in their unpainted models, which can produce a nice effect in a model built to show the various members of the hull in their original construction configuration. Real ships don't always look like that, though.

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