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USS Syren 1803 by Overworked724 – Model Shipways – Scale 1:64

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Working on transom cap rail. Before I start painting, wanted to figure out how I’ll mount the name plate. 

Decided for a simple option. Cut some really thin 0.4mm birch plywood into a strip slightly wider then the brass letter height. Paint it black. Then mounted the letters on the plywood strip. 



I’ll mount the top trim piece, then the name plate section, followed by the final trim piece. 

Although the center section is bowed outward somewhat in the pic below, the letters will not sit proud beyond the width of the boxwood trim pieces. It should look something like below...




Nice thing here...once the transom is painted, mounting the trim pieces and wood strip with the name will be infinitely easier than trying to stick those tiny letters directly on the transom. 👍🏽

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I really had a tough time getting 1/16” cap rail to fit snugly around the transom. Finally decided to trim it a bit...think my cap rail was about 3/64” thick but it still looked like a good dimension for the rail.  Again, using the cedar makes bending those sharper corners a bit easier. Not certain if I’ll use the same thickness for the bulkhead cap rails...we shall see. 


I did a single piece. Chuck’s suggestion to do the transom cap rail in sections (2 parts) seemed more difficult to me somehow as I have no background on how that is done. So I used pins in predrilled holes to center the single rail around the transom and had no major issues. 





I touched up the uneven edges after gluing in...then a touch of wood filler around the edges where there were some gaps, and then sanding again. 






And....moving on!! 


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@Matt D Thank you!  I was very happy with the end result. 

Four key things I learned on the transom cap rail adventure.


1. Using a ‘bending block’ to shape the cap made the job much less stressful. After I got the shape (those sharp bends are troublesome), I let it sit on my ‘transom shaping block’ for a day. Then rewet the entire strip in hot water before putting on the transom for final shaping...This step was cake as it molded to the transom shape easily, then let it dry there for a couple days. 

2.  1/16” strip was just too thick. I think thinning down is almost a must (3/64” was a pretty good fit...)


3.  Pins...gotta use em. Trying to align and glue the cap rail on your transom (especially a single piece cap) is simply impossible without a guide which the pins provide!  A touch of filler in the tiny holes is all that’s needed after setting it in place. Pins for the win. 

4. Basswood for the transom cap rail is really difficult. I tried 4x using basswood strips and each one snapped. I then switched to cedar and made 4x caps of varying thicknesses and not one snapped. Take that at face value as it’s only my experience. 😆


Notice that I’ve not painted anything yet. I figure I would attack it all at once after the inner bulkheads are finished. I’ll probably make but not install my cap rails until after I’ve put in the deck...jury is out on that decision. 

Moving on to inner bulkheads.....😎

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  • 2 weeks later...

No...I’m not dead. Just busy. Work hitting me from all sides. Glad to be busy...wish I could afford to retire. The Admiral would love to throw me in the ‘Shipyard Brig’ and feed me under the door like the Count of Monte Christo!  🤣


But she’s happy knowing I’m in the shipyard...where all worldly stress melts away to be replaced by stresses of a different kind....


Where time stops in the shipyard as it proceeds at its normal pace outside the door. My personal little universe of impossible problems followed by brilliant solutions...of horrible failures followed by miraculous recoveries...of stupid ideas born out as ingenious discoveries...


...This royal throne of an armchair nautical historian, this sceptered workbench, this studio of majesty, this seat of Poseidon’s memory, this other Eden, this demi-paradise, this galleon built by History just for me, a bulwark against infection and the hand of worldly concerns, this little heaven, this precious bay set in the silver sea of troubles, and serves as a defensive moat for this beloved house against the envy of less happier people...


My blessed plot...

My earth...

My realm...



(compliments to Shakespeare’s Henry II)

Edited by Overworked724
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Patrick you are a poet for sure. She's looking really nice I like the bare wood look to see the construction time and patience you put into your building. Im retired so keep in mind that during these times of pandemic you still have chums to talk to at work. I go into the shipyard and only come out to have lunch with the wife. So being slow is a benefit when I see the wonderful work you're doing.


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1 hour ago, RichardG said:

Can I ask where from?

A shipmate from my ship model club was liquidating some of his stock. I jumped at it...but I was on a waitlist for good unfigured Swiss Pear from Gilmer Woods. It’s rare but they are pretty good. I get boxwood from them. 

Edited by Overworked724
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Still pecking away at the interior bulkhead planking. Work has been distracting these past few weeks but thought I would send a couple pics. 

The fixed sheave blocks actually look fairly decent when viewed from the exterior of the ship. 




The trick is getting good clean interior planking around them after they have been set in with glue. You can see (red circles) that I’ll still need to sand down the bulkheads about 0.5mm or so after I’ve completed the planking. This will also ensure the sheave blocks are flush on both sides. 





Sigh....more sanding in my future. 

Moving on!




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Glacial pace...good grief, I hate work but love my paychaeck.  =-/  


Got done with rough planking the interior port side. Realized I’d needed a slightly wider plank along top edge to cover the upward swish on stern and bow...used 7/32” plank along top edge. But still needed a shim on the bow portion. Basically I wanted to ensure that the interior wall was a bit higher that the outboard side so I can fair top of the bulkheads to level without eating into the wood of the shear strake.  I am trying to ensure I get a nice level cap rail...so I'm trying to make it less difficult for when time comes to prep and lay down to cap rails.



You can see the very slight dip on the interior edge nearest the stem after I put in the last plank along the interior top edge.






(Can you see the 'surprise'?  I didn't notice until later!)




Added a shim along the front top edge....






Then I sanded down with a dremel barrel sander and ensured the inner bulkhead was slightly elevated than the outer.







Stern...(hey...the double block looks pretty nice)





Midships...fixed blocks are slightly depressed...sanding in my future!




Port side done...Overall - the rough interior planking looks ok.  With some final sanding and some touch up filler, she'll be ready to paint....Good Lord willing.



Plus one surprise!!!  A truly WTF moment....


Sometime recently, a port side filler block near the bow 'sunk'!!!  Well....s**t.  =-(  Just threw on some glue and continued on...the filler blocks are not my concern and I won't need them for deck planking.  😃 


Moving on to the starboard side!!



Edited by Overworked724
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It’s not an issue really. I just glued it along to top edge to lock it in place (even though I didn’t really need to...).


I plan to put in a thin support deck to make it easier to do the deck planking. So I had set the fillers slightly lower than the tops of the frames initially anyway. 👍🏽

Edited by Overworked724
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