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captainkangaroo

San Francisco II by Jim Bassett - Artesansia Latina - 1/90

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Here we go, yet another San Francisco II build log.  I'm lazy so I'm always looking for an easier way to do things which sometimes means that I don't follow the directions to the letter.  I do this with great caution as I know it can be problematic if I don't pay attention.  I decided to plank the decks prior to the false keel/frame assembly.  I plank them and then score the edges with a pencil, stain them and because they are basswood I accent the planks with a colored pencil.  When they are all done I will spray them with a clear flat finish to seal them so they won't dry out over time.

 

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Jim,

 

Welcome to the fleet, you are correct...there are a lot of SF 2 builds happening right now.

 

I wondered the same thing as you when I did my decks, it occurred to me afterwards that it would be a lot easier to plank them before they got installed.

 

-Aaron

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Welcome to the SF club.

I just found a SF 1 on ebay, hopefully it arrives today.

 

Your decking looks good.

Do you have any more details on the coloured pencil technique, it a very nice detail.

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A little about me.  I built car models when I was a teenager and did them in great detail.  Back then (I'm 62) we had a couple of hobby stores that put on model contests which made it more fun.  After I retired (I worked as a mechanical designer/drafter) I busied myself with volunteer work but needed something more and started thinking about modeling again-ships this time-much more interesting.  Built a few plastic models and really got into it.  Then I built my first wooden model (Spirit of Missippi which is posted on the gallery) and really fell in love.  During most of my adult life my hobby was woodworking which helps with the wood ships.  The only problem with the wood ship kits is that they are soooo expensive.  While I'm working on SF II I will be designing a scratch build-seems like a very big undertaking.  I'm single and live in a small town just outside of Atlanta (Gainesville).  Well now that your comatose with bordem I'll sign off.

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In response to using a colored pencil.  I get the point pretty sharp but not pinpoint sharp and then with very light pressure I let the pencil 'skip' along in the direction of the grain starting from each end and working toward the other end.  If your hands shake a little like mine it actually helps because wood grain is never straight.  Experiment with some spare planks and go easy as you can always add more until it looks the way you want-make sure the stain is dry.  You can do it without staining to.

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The only history I could find on a shipped named San Francisco is as follows:

 

SAN FRANCISCO JAVIER

 

Nuestra Señora del Rosario San Francisco Javier y San Antonio de Padua, also called San Francisco de Asis or simply San Francisco, was built in England with a cargo capacity of 264 2/3 tons. Her owner was Don Cristóbal de Urquijo, who also owned another ship in the 1733 fleet, San Ignacio. Both ships were wrecked and Urquijo, sailing onboard San Ignacio, was drowned. Sailing at the rear of the fleet, San Francisco wrecked near Almiranta off Cayo de Vibora (Long Key). Although grounded in shallow water, documents indicate that her people were saved. Salvage divers recovered most of her registered silver, but other general cargo such as indigo and cochineal was lost.

Today the wreck of San Francisco is one of the most beautiful of the 1733s, due to its location in shallow water and the undisturbed nature of the ballast mound and its attending tropical ecosystem. The ballast mound is largely intact and is in nine feet of water on a sand bottom, with only six feet of water at the top of the ballast. The reef habitat supports species such as lobsters, triggerfish, tangs, surgeonfish, wrasses, grunts, damselfish, jellyfish, blennies, scorpionfish, groupers, sergeant-majors, hermit crabs, moray eels, conchs, and fire coral. A few sections of timbers are exposed, including part of the keelson. Because San Francisco is in shallow water, even novice snorkelers can enjoy the myriad of sea life that thrives on this large wrecksite.

Location: 24° 49.185'N 80° 45.425'W

 

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Also here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ships_of_the_Spanish_Armada

 

this show 2 the São Francisco (Florencia or Galleon of Florence). (52 guns) under the 12 ship Squadron of Portugal

and San Francisco (21 guns) under the Squadron of Andalusia

 

The AL kit is a representation of a galleon circa 1588, all other resemblances are probably coincidence. Basically history only gives us so much, so we make up the rest.

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I finished planking all the decks and built and installed the grates and helmsman's cabin.  The grating planks were very poorly cut and I had to sort thru all of them to find some that lined up.  I built the helmsman's deck up a little for line of sight over the grate.  Decks and bulkheads not glued yet.  It struck me that the doors going into/under the aft deck look really small beside the ladders.  I think I know why this is but regardless I decided to build my own doors and make them more in proportion with the ladders.  Didn't care for the metal doors supplied the doors and possibly the hinges to, would have been wood.  The door you see in the picture is a prototype.  I made the hinges out of wood also and they may or may not reflect what was done back then.  I made the wall at the aft deck taller to accomodate 13/16" tall doors and had to add a sliver of material to the bulwarks to compensate.  I also added a second door at the bowsprit.

 

Is there a way to contact AL?  I tried email with no response.  I was shorted some parts and some were damaged.  When I built my last ship OcCre was very responsive and sent me anything I wanted.  Has anbody tried soaking planks in ammonia before bending?  The furniture companies use anhydrous ammonia-not the same as household ammonia but I may give it a try.  I'm uncomfortable with the upcoming hull planking event since I've never done it before.  My only other wood model was a river boat and of course had very little hull to plank-but even it was a little painful.

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Jim,

 

What parts are missing?  I have never heard of anyone contacting them.  You may be the first :)  As far as the planking goes, I would get a plank bender (Model Expo has one) and use it with soaking.  You can try ammonia versus water.  The mahogany planks are very brittle and break easy.  If you leave them in too long they will become very brittle, if you don't soak them enough they will break. 

 

Planking:

 

I decided to dump the kit supplied mahogany and double plank the hull as opposed to single plank and use cherry instead of the mahogany.  Single planking is harder, but double planking cost more and you have to make modifications to the ship to make it work.  If you are going to single plank, checkout DesertWolf's build log, his planking is one of the best I have seen.  I would also get the planking instructions from this site, read over them and use them as instructions.  They aren't the most logical instructions I have seen but they work, if you have trouble with them let me know and I will point you to some others.  You will notice in them they talk about a technique called "spilling" which is when you cut a piece of wood with a curved end, you need to have sheets to do that and your kit came with pre-cut planks.  I think desertwolf has some instructions in his log to get around that.  Have you installed balsa filler blocks in the bow and stern?  They will make a huge difference, also you should dry fit planks and taper each bulkhead to maximize the amount of the plank that rests on each bulkhead.  If you have questions let me know and I will try to help!

 

-Aaron

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Thanks for the replies.  The ammonia didn't fly.  I am short some of the 'bowling pins' for the hand rail and don't think I have enough usable grating strips for the bow.  I clearly see what you are saying about how brittle the mahogany is.  The stuff I have seems extremely dry and brittle and I wonder if it is doable.  I think the root of the problem is how dry the wood is and that will very with how long it's been around.  I tried to get blocks of balsa locally but nothing-just strips.  I don't want to pay shipping on a small block of balsa ordered online.  I was thinking I could add more bulkheads instead.  Now I'm thinking of buying thinner planking strips (2mm) possibly of some other type of wood and if I do that I will order balsa also.  Could get expensive.  Also thinking about this as a possibility with the existing planking: http://www.amazon.com/Clearmax-Lightweight-Pressurized-Cleaner-Sanitizer/dp/B000OP3ABM/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

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Jim,

 

Do you have a Micheals craft store around? They carry blocks of balsa and strips of basswood. You will also find these at HobbyLobby. How many "bowling pins" are you short?

 

Aaron

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Aaron,

 

Neither Michaels or Hobby lobby here carry blocks.  I'm short 2 'bowling pins' and 2 are broken (maybe I could fix those).  I've decided to work with the kit planking or bust-not going to pay 70.00 plus shipping for thinner planks.  I'm experimenting with boiling them now-we'll see.

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Good day Captain... I too am a San Fran AL'er and i feel your pain.... :)

 

I single planked and I think it worked out. To bend the mahogany planks I did several things:

First, I didn't really like the single plank from stern to stem so I cut and lap jointed throughout to give a staggered appearance. I soaked the planks for anywhere from 15 minutes to not over an hour and used a heat iron to bend to the shape of the hull. It worked great... slow but great.

 

As to bowling pins... I had some that were huge and others that were skinny and anemic... I just spaced them as I thought they looked good and called it a day. Still have some left over but they are the oddballs... and thereby useless.

 

She's a nice ship and it's been a good first build... and from what I see you're off to a good start... I look forward to seeing how you approach her as another single planker... :)

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I used almost all of them. I think there were 60? and with cutting and lap joints there was little left... oh and the occasional complete destruction of a few too... I did have enough left to do the rails... I switched things up a bit based on looks but also availability... so, allowing for screw-ups they did not give a lot too many...

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Welcome to the SF2 club! It is a really nice build, but the cryptic instructions makes my life as a beginner rather difficult sometimes. I had 72 planking strakes. I broke one and ended with just 3 to spare.

 

Good luck with the build. Looking forward to seeing your progress!

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I finished all the doors and installed them.  I then sprayed the whole assembly with 10 coats of clear flat sealer.  I added support posts to the overhang on the forward deck.  I decided to put the inside planks on the bulwarks before installing the the bulwarks.  I temporarily installed the bulwarks using pins and carefully marked the outline of the decks and walls, then I installed two large pins as dowels so that when I removed them to do the planking they would reinstall in exactly the same place.  When I finished the interior planking I applied 10 clear coats and later installed the bulwarks using glue and short straight pins which had very small heads so I could sink them and leave them in for added strength.  I modified my needle nose pliers by filing two notches, one that you can see in the picture and one centered and perpendicular to it from the notch you see to the end of the nose.  This allowed me to place the pins securely in the pliers with the notch you see as clearance for the pin head and the shaft of the pin in the other notch.  The pins pushed in easily and I used a fine nail sink to set them.

Now I will proceed to sanding and planking.  I didn't order balsa online.  How critical is the balsa?  If I don't use it will I screw things up or is it more of a convenience?  I noticed they didn't include it in the instructions.  If you think I would be making a big mistake please say so.  I can put the planking on hold and do other things while I wait for the balsa.

 

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Very nice work, and welcome to the SF club. Interesting way of assembling this model....so many thing I would have done differently as well if I knew then what I know now!!! Way to look ahead!!!

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Great job sir! Pencil for caulking ? It looks great, I'm with Robbin had I know then what I know now what a difference it would have made. Keep up the great work I will follow your build.

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Thanks for the replies and compliments.  Planking is next - e gad!  Need input, never planked a ship before (well, one riverboat but nothing like this.)  First of all because I can't find any decent size balsa blocks locally at HL or Michaels I am considering doing without or I could order online, I'm cheap and I didn't want to pay shipping for just the balsa.  How important is it?  I see that AL put theirs together without.  I've read everything I could find on planking and some of it seemed so complicated.  My plan now is to use a steamer http://www.walmart.com/ip/Bissell-Homecare-Steam-Shot-Steamer-39N71/14320774#rr.  I plan on soaking the planks for about 15 minutes and then clamping a plank onto the hull at one end (the straightest area) and then use the steamer to bend it to the curve, then trim it as needed and clamp it in place.  When dry I will glue it in place.  Please feel free to critique this and tell me if you think I'm headed in the wrong or right direction. 

Thanks to all.

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First off, love those doors!! :) I'm with all the other SF builders.... if I knew then what I know now...

 

Planking... you're on the right track although this was my first planking too and my advise is based on only my one experience...

 

1- take your time... I rarely did more than 2 or 3 planks in a setting... I would soak for 15 to 45 minutes and if I had some soaking but knew it was not to be that day i let them dry out and soaked again when ready

2- some planks will bend easy and some won't.... test for flexibility if it is a sharp bend before giving it too much curve... I snapped a few...

3- most planks will require an angle or bevel to mate nicely with the previous plank...

 

So... soak, bend, clamp, let dry, tweak, dry fit again, glue and clamp... and repeat... :) it really was kind of fun.... once I got past the initial fear of screw-ups.

 

As for the balsa... I chose not to use it at first but with the staggered lap joints I wanted more to clamp to... I did it in the first 3 of the bow and the last of the stern... if you can find it I would advise it... - my two cents...

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Thanks Randy.  I was thinking that if I split one I could possibly glue it and clamp it with Elmers craft glue which based on my tests is very strong when clamped and remains flexible enough to still use in an area with a lesser bend.  Guess I'll find out soon enough.  Any body know how to size a picture to fit on my profile?  I tried just downloading a picture of myself but it was to large.  I kind of enjoy seeing the face of someone I'm communicating with.

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I started planking.  I soaked some planks and while waiting for them I clamped a dry plank to the hull to see how I wanted the first one positioned and to see if I had the right clamps.  I clamped it on, based on the instructions, at the bottom of the bulwark.  My Bissell steamer (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Bissell-Homecare-Steam-Shot-Steamer-39N71/14320774#rr) was on and ready so I started playing with using it to bend the dry plank around the bow.  After going across the area to bend with the steamer for about 20 seconds the plank was bending easily so I continued to steam it and bend it more and more until it completely wrapped around the bow.  It went very well so I think the steamer is going to make a big difference and I may not do any soaking. The plank dries faster also. I know they won't all go so well but I have a better feeling about the process now.  I'm thinking about using the pins I used on the bulwarks instead of clamping.  That way I can apply numerous planks at one sitting.  I'm not a real patient guy and I don't want the planking to take any longer than necessary.

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I get what you mean about impatience...but a word of warning...what you do now will have lasting effects down the road, so be sure.

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