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US Brig Syren by niwotwill - Model Shipways - scale 1:64 - 2nd wooden kit build & 1st build log


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I decide to build the Syren after reading Chuck Passaro's instructions and Gahm, dubz and augie's build logs. The work done on these build is truly amazing and I'll be using them to guide me with my build. It has taken me a year to get up the nerve to enter a build log, so here goes please bear with me. 😁 on June 28th I received the kit so as seems to be a convention here's a photo of the box.

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Thanks Edward and we'll start the journey together. Thanks Frank see you tuesday

I've got to say that I'm building this kit while finishing the rigging of my first kit the Charles W. Morgan and this will give me a nice break from the tedious and eye testing rigging so you'll see lapses in time when I'm back on the Morgan.

Well I've opened the box and checked all the parts and everything appears to be here. I looked at the metal work and think it leaves me to believe that i'll be doing a lot of dressing/cleaning/making my own. I dry fit the frames to bulkhead former (BF) the frames are very tight and slip on with little of any play. Using some spares the the frames are nicely square to the BF. 

Also any and all comments, suggestions or advice requested and appreciated.

 

 

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Well spent the day starting the bulkhead installation on the BF. After the glue had dried I started the filler blocks. Once the glue dries I plank the lower deck visible thru the companionway. Made a couple of ribbands out of plank stock from the kit, using Chucks method of dry bending, I guess I was in a hurry to see how the bulkheads faired. But anyway pretending the ribbands was a great idea I read somewhere in a log on the site.

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22 minutes ago, niwotwill said:

Thanks Erik. I have to keep reminding myself to slow down and measure, examine, and let the glue dry tomorrow I'll do ???? again thank for looking at my work and log.

 

Will

a have bin there my self😲 am still working on my syren as well, now working on the mast etc

and also started on the cheerful.

i wil follow your log😊

 

svein-erik

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Went to  my local big box and bought some 3/4" by 1-1/2" poplar to use for filler blocks. I took 2 days to carefully measure and cut the blocks. The hard part was to make sure the block did not move the frame from true square to the BF. I had to sand them so the side that touches the BF was angled to maintain the deck camber. Doing this will make a strong false deck for the planking. The other thing was to make the blocks so a very slight friction would hold them in place while the glue set. Had to go get more poplar as this lent itself too many pieces being too short or the wrong angle for the camber. Even with camber angle I still had to fair the surface but not by very much. Next I'll plank the lower deck that will be visible through the companionway door.

 

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Hi all, thanks for the likes and comments.

It's been a few days and now I faired the filler blocks to create a false deck. I followed the instructions and placed the below deck planking that will be visible through the companionway door. Sanded the deck planking and stained them with wipe on poly golden oak over the bare wood. Boy does the basswood soak up stain in the most blotchy way possible. No other way to describe it but UGLY, UGLY, and more UGLY. Of the reading of how other people has staining success with basswood. In the mean time I made a sanding stick by glueing sandpaper on both sides and started sanding off the UGLY's. All the while I kept singing to myself "a sanding I will go a sanding I will go". Making a sample of planking to test staining methods. Just a sample of my staining experience before sanding.

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Thanks Jim

 

You're right about the decking, but my mistake was type of wood I used.  I went to the local big box store and bought Popular and it was the devil to sand.  Looks like you used balsa a better choice I think.

 

Will

 

 

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Well with the filler blocks in place and faired along with the deck planking sanded. To get the lower deck planking sanded I made a stick our of boxwood 1/8" by 1/2" and glued sand paper to both sides this allowed me to sand flush up to the bulkheads. Still working on staining. Now its up to fairing the bulkheads outside and inside down to the sizes given in the manual. Oh yeh, only broke three of them. What pain this soft wood is. I thought that with the bulkheads being plywood they'd be stronger, but when sanding the length of the ship the bulkhead do wobble enough to break. So to fix them I felt that just glueing them in place again would not be sufficient so another method was developed. I took some boxwood and planed it down to .02" and glued it on both sides of the fractured bulkhead. I'll make up for the extra thickness by reducing the gunport sides where necessary. To keep the bulkheads in alignment I used the bent strip i used to check alignment seen in a previous post. This kept everything true. Also used another spacer so I could clamp the whole thing together.

On to gunport sills

Will

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been to long between posts, as said I'm rigging my Morgan, so I've completed the bulkhead reconstruction. I hate reconstruction almost as much a deconstruction. Spent a day putting the gunport sills in on the starboard side until I realized that I'd read the instructions incorrectly. I'd placed the 1/4" side in the vertical position and the 3/16" side in the horizontal position. Breakout the acetone and soak each glue joint another day spent doing deconstruction. Cleaned up the bulkheads from glue residue and then realized that I might not have enough 3/16 x 1/4 material so I measured and measured and read ahead to see where else I'd need the 3/16 x 1/4. I think I'll have enough. WHEW

On to putting the sills in. No more problems. First time a learning lesson. Faired the sills to the bulkheads very carefully, no more broken bulkheads. On to the lintels with no issues. Faired the lintels to the bulkheads with no more breaks. The bulkheads are now quite strong.

 

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More time spent rigging Oh due my finger ache so onto gunport sides. To place the sides I used the plans to mark the location and my jig to insure they'd be 15/32" wide. Fairing the outside and inside took almost a day of carful sanding. I do like this soft wood it's so easy to sand, but also so easy to go to far.

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Yesterday spent placing sweep ports and fairing the sides. I used the same method to get the sweep ports 1/8" square. Ripped a 1/8" strip from a 1/8" boxwood sheet and placed it across the breadth of the ship to align the sweep ports. Next step is on the section 4 of the plans. I still have to test staining and then stain the lower deck. 

 

It'll be a couple weeks before I post again as I'll be traveling.

 

Will

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Got stern gunports installed using the same 15/32" square tool used on the port and starboard gunports. Counter filler blocks installed without incident. Marked the bulwark fairing on the outside counter as described in the manual using a wood strip. Faired the counter to the bulkwarks and the counter frames, what was amazing was that I did this without breaking one of the frames. Man are they fragile.

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Getting ready to start hull planking as described in chapter 5. First thing is to paint the gunport and sweep port frame linings vermillion red. Sanding them out to prepare for painting I remembered something I read somewhere "PHOTOGRAPHS SEE AND REVEAL EVERYTHING" so I took closeup photos of gunport and sweep ports and boy what a mess. I then spent the rest of the day filing out each port using small swiss cut files. Take a photo, file more, photo, file more until satisfied. 

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After all completed I'll paint with sanding sealer and check again tomorrow. Thing to remember is PHOTOS REVEAL EVERYTHING.

 

Will

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Painted the gunport and sweep ports with sanding sealer and then used 400 girt wet and dry to smooth the insides of the ports prior to painting. Spent a fair amount of time cleaning the surfaces to be painted by vacuuming and then wiping with new tack rags to get all the dust and debris off before painting. I'm painting with acrylic paint and am using Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic on my models. For the red color I'll use vermillion straight from the tube and thinned very little. I really like the color with the contrast with golden oak stain and black trim, pops nicely but not too bright. I'm going to use english holly on the deck with a diluted golden oak stain to give a golden bleached look. Can't wait to see, but first things first.

 

 

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Paints dry and now onto first wale. I used a 1/8" strip that i'd bent to fit the shape of the deck plan to determine if my construction matched up with the laser marks on the frames. With the battens on I looked at the line from all directions, felt it looked good and went to lunch and a swim. Came back in much refreshed and the battens didn't look as good as I first thought, so I took the pins out and moved the middle up until the run looked good from all angles. Checked the the batten to the laser marks and sure enough the marks on frames 6, 7, 8 & 9 were approximately 1/32" lower than my batten top. Question, question, and question where was the difference. I took 7 pieces of 1/8" strip and glued the together like the planking will be, using the jig of strips I started moving down the sides to see if the jig aligns with the top of the wale and the top of the bulwark. It aligned perfectly along the entire length of the batten, so!!!!!! I guess its correct. Went back and checked everything again with the same result. Being a retired engineer (I know an electrical one but still and engineer) as the saying goes "there comes a time to shoot the engineer and go to production". I put the wales on.

 

Wale photos to follow

 

Will

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Been awhile since last post but I have been working of the first wale and then starting the bulwark planking. Pictures to follow. When I needed to start cutting the plank around the gunports and sweeps I ran into problems. I have tried and tried to cut the gunport lid sills as described in the manual but can get the cuts as clean and straight as I'd like. No matter what I use if I put too much pressure while cutting the wood starts to crush and not make a clean crisp cut. I use a new #11 blade for each cut and it still is not as I'd like. What I've found is that the basswood does not carve like a hardwood and carving is really what needs to be done on the bottom and top edges so you have a clean crisp straight cut for the sill. The fore and aft edges are much easier since the cut is against the wood grain so the cuts are fine BUT the end grain is problematic since it is so coarse that you can see and and I can't imagine what a stain would do with the open grain. ugh! And then trying to keep the sill less that 1/32" perimeter is very trying. So I took everything off and will start again with harder wood. Chuck has been really talking up yellow alaskan cedar so what the heck I tried some I had around and found it to be much superior to basswood and have ordered enough to plank the bulkheads. I hope it works as well as the little I had to try in my experiment. Let you know when I get my delivery and get it ripped and milled to the correct size next week.

Bye for now

Will

 

and thanks to everyone for my thanks.

 

PS I forgot to mention the wood in its many shades of yellow, tan, or grey. I realized the I'd have to sort the kit wood for each area that was going to be stained and not painted. Look at the pictures and you'll see the different colors of the basswood.

 

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Thanks for the comment Jonathan and everyone else for the likes

 

Well another day spent de-constructing a model. I got all the bulwark strakes and the first wale off with not problems, just time to soak with water. The PVA glue became a rubbery layer of somewhat sticky goo which enabled me to just gently pry up the pieces and the slowly lifted off in one piece. Just took time to soak. I worked on my Morgan rigging while waiting for the soaking still a good day of modeling. I did find one good attribute of basswood during this process and that is it is so soft and porous that it soaks up the water and holds it in place while the PVA softens other than this I don't like the stuff and will never use it again.

 

Now I just need to wait for my Alaskan Yellow Cedar to arrive and I can start ripping and milling to 5/32" x 1/16" and 1/8" x 1/16" strips. Waiting is the hardest part as the song says.

 

Will

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Yahoo! I got my wood late yesterday and inspected and measured each piece for imperfections, grain, color, size and flatness. I am very happy with the quality of the wood the grain is very tight and straight and the color is very uniform so after ripping and milling the sorting for planking uniformity will be very easy. I only milled enough for the wales, bulwark, and deck planking so now I started installing the first wale layer and next will be the acid test as I start the bulwark planking and fitting/trimming the sills around the gunports and sweeps. Once the wale glue is dry I'll start the bulwarks. Now I'd better get back to rigging the Morgan. Its getting close so I need to stay after it. 

 

Oh yeh, I've posted of the alaskan yellow cedar and basswood strips for you comparison.  The cedar is on top 

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Still more glue left from removing the planking done earlier. Just a lot of fine sanding but the old glue comes off fairly easily and leaves the surface ready for the new pieces. I really had no problems getting the surface ready for the wales hoping the rest goes as easily.

Till next post

Will

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  • 5 months later...

Well I'm back after a long break. Finished rigging my Morgan. Moved to a new house and now during the quarantine I've been able to get some work done on Syren. Finished up the ports and planking along with the transom and counter. I followed Gahms transom planking to give a more detailed look. Thanks Thomas for your posts.IMG_0752.thumb.jpeg.475eaa5a77e578df388edc50db798e9b.jpeg

I used a darker vermillion as I wanted a different contrast between the planking stain and the red vermillion. Now I'm off to starting hull planking and trying to make real sheaves for the back stay to pull through.

 

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