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Hi Meredith, I'll eagerly wait forward to your deck planking.


I'm waiting for my ship to arrive from the US. They said it will take between 2 and 4 weeks!


Sounds like a long time considering it's via a courier and I paid over $130 aus


I've ordered heavier items from the UK via UPS that arrived in 3 days and cost 40 pounds



I'm now on annual leave for 3 weeks, getting married in a week, so with luck it arrives soon !

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Be warned - this ship building lark is VERY addictive :)


I ended up using myus.com and got my kits from Model expo sent to them (about a day) and then sent via DHL and arrived to me in a very remote part of NT in 3 days for cheaper than direct from Model expo.


Is it a Syren you are getting?


And hope you have a great day for your wedding.

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Ok here are some photos of the trouble spot...


This is just a piece of timber the size suggested in the instructions - just sticky-taped on - obviously not shaped etc.. its just to show the depth.






And then the instruction book....

Note the hang over of the transom - the planks are 1/8" wide - and its definitely just more than 1/2 the width of the planks (closer to the same size) - the filler piece is 1/16" thick - so the transom must get sanded back.




Now to the timbers for the wales.... definitely run out of the sizes in the instruction - or didn't have them in the first place as I have definitely not used the thin ones that are supposed to be for the upper wales......but that's all ok. I will just replace.


Tried cutting with the Jim saw.... but it wasn't overly successful. I think I am much more suited to hand tools. I KNOW things like that take practice.. practice etc.... But I am seriously thinking of selling it and just getting my wood from Hobby Mills pre cut.


So basically I got out my little Japanese saws and was able to cut some planks for the wales...in fact the first one I cut was a wee bit too thin.. but all in all fairly successful.




The piece of timber in the front was just the piece I was cutting the planks from.. getting a little narrow for ease of measuring/cutting now...




Bad photo.. the right hand side looks like its getting thicker - but its just the angle of the camera and the bit of timber trying to fall over :) The thickness was pretty consistent all the way along. So I just made 6 new wales and two planks for the strake out of boxwood and pear. Pity its going to be painted.





Guess I can at least say I am happy with the new little Japanese saws - as I haven't had a lot of luck this morning. I went to set some new tools up in the shed - and cut with the jim table saw... all seemed a failure and dead loss... also decided to try the new frame saw... blade was reversed for transport - so I undid it - to flip it over. You think I could get it back together again!!! damned thing wouldn't line up. I THOUGHT I had slackened off the blade tension thing.. but noooooooooooo - that would be too easy. The shed is sweltering hot - even though I had the doors open and it was barely 7.30am. very lady like but the sweat was pouring off me, put the old reading glasses on.. but they fog up and covered in sweat (isn't it supposed to be "horses sweat, men perspire and women glow".. fat chance here in the sub-equatorial build up to the wet season) and the cat would NOT stop talking. I almost yelled at him :) :) He always picks the time when frustration levels are high to be the most annoying and persistent.

Of course now - when things are starting to go ok.. he is sound asleep - and quiet.


I also got a cheap drill press just to use with some sanding drums - had it for weeks but had not put it together...I guess it went together ok - but took longer than I thought.


Okk.. the frame saw.. yeah the blade was turn inward for transport... of course AFTER I undid the blade then found I couldn't get it back together.. I discovered the blade would have turned the right way round just by rotating the handles. It did NOT need to be undone...GRRRR...


But I guess I am mostly disappointed in my lack of ability to use the Jim saw.....

Edited by Meredith
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I'm a little stuck on this, Meridith.  You should probably hold off a bit until you hear from another Syren builder.


As I recall, my transom was just slightly wider than the filler pieces once they were fit in the notches that are cut to let them sit properly.  It took only very little sanding to get everything in line.  The cap rail which is bent over the transom will sit on top of those filler pieces and additional (a second layer) of fashion pieces will go on the bottom to complete everything.  If your transom is thick due to the planking, the piece supplied for the cap rail (1/4 x 1/16) may not be wide enough to give you the required overhang inboard and outboard.

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Thanks Augie...

My transom is a wee bit thicker than measurements - due to the fact I have already attached the top shaped piece to the transom. Without this attached the thickness is right.. even a tad under. But I do have another piece of timber I am going to use for the cap rail (some flexible beech) - and its quite a bit too wide - I had planned to sand it to fit


I have attached the strake and about to attach the top of the 3 wale planks and have fitted the filler pieces and it actually took very little shaping to have them flush with the transom - so it looks fine (from both sides).. whew!!

I think I sometimes over analyse - I should just "do it"... and fix the problems when I make em :)

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Be warned - this ship building lark is VERY addictive :)


I ended up using myus.com and got my kits from Model expo sent to them (about a day) and then sent via DHL and arrived to me in a very remote part of NT in 3 days for cheaper than direct from Model expo.


Is it a Syren you are getting?


And hope you have a great day for your wedding.

Hi Meredith,

Yes I ordered the Syren from model expo. Next time I might try as you suggest, as I am not very patient when it comes to ordering things online !



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Hi Meredith,


Sorry to hear you are having trouble using your Byrnes saw, but I suggest you stick with it as it is a lovely piece of kit. Jeff Hayes (Hobby Mill) has written some tips and hints for using the saw. He is also very willing to give further advice via email, noting that you are already a customer of his. If you describe your particular issue to him, I'm sure he'll have some suggestions for you.

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Whew-  happy to hear that.  You can't go wrong with the bendable beech.  I know Dirk used that and it came out beautifully.  I just went with the basswood and used the old soaking/brute force technique and it came out well ....... after 3 tries :)

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  • 2 months later...

I have actually been working on Syren - but not really happy with results - so many things I have re-done - and more than once :) I guess I have learnt a lot of what NOT to do again. I SHOULD write it down as I will probably forget and make the same mistakes next time.


Just a few photos:

Hull planked and the wales being added (I also found the kit short of the right timbers - so I cut my own from pear)






Copper plating almost finished - had heaps of trouble with the waterline.. but that's another story





I ran out of metal black paint by Admiralty paints.. so used their dull black... its too shiny for my liking - so waiting for more paint to come in the post.




holes drilled in my replacement canons - purchased from JB models




Did my deck with boxwood... made a mess of it. I tapered the planks to the rear.. but I should have just joggled them all the way.... disappointed - but I have no more wood to rip it up and replace. I have already ripped up and done one side twice. Might just have to live with it.






caulking the deck with ebony wood filler








scraping the deck after filling






Drilled holes for some of the treenails... I will do the rest later when I transfer markings/placement  all the deck fittings






So that's about me all up to date....

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That's a LOT of progress.  Treenails look good, copper looks good, caulking is fantastic!


By all means, write things down.....even just little notes as a reminder for similar operations 3 years down the road.


Nice work, Meredith.

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On my test piece the filler looked much better. But I know what I would do next time to make the gaps more even. I will scribe some of these out a bit more ( some times glue gets between them and I did it roughly once - but now the filler is in its easier to see where I need to adjust a little. Also I sealed the deck with some sanding sealer before I filled - trying to prevent ant staining on the light timber - the sanding sealer of course filled the gaps - although I did scrape it out - I did miss some as its clear and not so easy to see where you have been if you are disturbed while doing the task :)

On the last couple of rows I used a very thin piece of plastic (bit like X-ray film) to wipe out the joints as I was laying the planks. I think I would do this to every row. The sealing I would just do with proof seal and not sanding sealer too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Started on a bit of deck treenailling...


Drilled some holes.. using a size 78 drill bit


Deck is boxwood






Tools used...




The holes




Cut round toothpicks/cocktail sticks in half and used a drawplate to just take the ends down - bit like sharpening a pencil

The one on the left is made by just twisting in the drilled hole in the deck - its actually simpler and quicker than the drawplate method and the holes need smoothing off anyway. So serves two purposes.

Size shown in relation to a dressmakers sewing pin




More holes..




Tried the hypodermic needle as a drill bit and used some huon pine..




A few sanded back a little bit - sanding dust all over the deck and caulking




Using toothpicks cut in half give you plenty of grip room - unlike the hypodermic needle style ones. Need to use tweezers for those






Snip back most of the excess with end nips








Then trim back with nail clippers (half toothpick is a bit long and makes cutting first with nail clippers a bit more awkward - so I used the nips to get rid the majority



Lightly sanded back... still needs a bit more - but I will do it after the whole deck is nailed.



Edited by Meredith
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I haven't got a sharp enough chisel - just a tiny hobby type  Its on my list of shopping when I take a trip sometime


Yes Floyd I prefer the timber treenails - but I have done putty ones too - I quite like them.. You don't get any bleeding in real close-up photos with the timber

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The tree nailing looks first rate Meridith. Lots of patience required but the end result is beautiful. Personally I hate the tree nailing, just so dang monotonous, not looking forward to it, so don't know which route I will take. Your toothpick method looks outstanding.

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Few more photos.. few more mistakes :)

I am actually thinking I should get my next kit out and get up to the decking and fix all the mistakes I made on the siren :) that way I shouldn't forget.


The waterways are too close to the gun ports - I THOUGHT I made enough allowances when I added the deck - I didn't use the kit supplied timber - but I didn't make enough allowance. I am going to have to notch out the waterway under each port so they little supports that are strewn around the deck can be attached at sill level.


The deck - I tried a few things but ended up staining the edge strip as it was basswood and the deck boxwood. Instead of trying to make them match and not getting it - I went the other way and did the contrast thing. The alternative was waiting ages and ages for some boxwood wide enough to cut to shape. I was impatient :)


The black paint... way too glossy - and its called "dull black" - I actually went to the site and re-read the description - and it says its satin to match Victory (Admiralty Paints) - I am STILL waiting on my flat black paint - ordered in on 12th December... I might have to go the flat/mat varnish and order it from another supplier.  So all the black will be FLAT.. not this gloss....



















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I think the contrast looks interesting.  Sorry on the black ---- a lot of us run into that problem.  Having that flat lacquer around can save a lot of aggravation.


She's looking great.

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Thanks Augie, the black is an easy fix. I decided to keep painting - get a good coverage and then when the flat finally comes - it will only need a couple of coats. Admiralty metal black is a nice flat black - but I ran out :)

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Hey Meredith- thanks for the info on your waterway problem. I had to read ahead to fully understand. This is something I will keep an eye on when I get to that  point. I have been making notes on my instructions where I see other's deal with specific problems. Nice- not having to always "reinvent the wheel" you know? Thanks for posting this. Your Syren looks outstanding.



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