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which Copper plating

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44 minutes ago, Beef Wellington said:

I'm pretty sure that copper plates would look exactly like the photo when first mounted (although I do agree these seem to perhaps be a little more slapdash, but who knows).  The copper sheets are simply too thin to mechanically maintain a flat profile when a nail is driven through.  Simple water pressure and forces when afloat would very quickly flatten the plates to be absolutely flush with the hull given coppers great malleability.

Nails weren't driven through the copper plates. The holes were pre-drilled. Copper nails weren't much good at piercing the copper plate. The plate was too thick for that.The copper had no problem maintaining a flat profile because it was backed by solid wood. The thin Irish felt underlayment is relatively hard as well and essentially is what we would recognize as roofing tar paper material. (It's not soft "felt" like felt cloth. The term "felt" here refers to the method of making it by compressed matrix, rather than by weaving.) 

 

"Simple water pressure and forces when afloat would very quickly flatten the plates to be absolutely flush with the hull given coppers great malleability." And you know this how? :D The copper plating used by the Royal Navy weighed between 20 and 32 ounces per square foot, depending on the size of the vessel. That's two pounds a square foot for a large ship. This isn't the copper roofing flashing they are putting on Constitution.

 

Here's another photo of Constitution's 2015 coppering job. (Note that the shipyard worker here may be using a proper coppering hammer.)

 

 

img_7670

 

And here's a photo of Cutty Sark's newly coppered bottom in her new below-the-waterline-enclosed exhibition building without weathering exposure. (It has since darkened to a copper penny brown.)

 

400px-Cutty_Sark_stern.jpg
 
Cutty Sark has apparently been properly "coppered" with "yellow metal," one of the alloys that quickly replaced pure copper (which apparently was used on Constitution) as it had greater longevity and anti-fouling properties.
 
Neither bottom had seen a drop of water when these pictures were taken. Notice any differences between the surfaces of the two?
 
In defense of the U.S.Navy, though, given the cost of copper today and the fact that Constitution will not be doing any extended sailing at this point in her long life, their apparent use of roofing flashing is understandable. 

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Having worked with both thick and thin copper I would be very surprised to find any professional driving a nail through a plate of that material. You drill a hole first, to a clearance that allows the fastener to just enter without binding: the head of the nail/rivet/screw does the work of holding things in place. I doubt if the dockyards of 19th century thought differently but would be interested if anyone knows better?

 

EDIT: Bob posted his comprehensive comment above while I was writing mine.

 

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Copper plated bottom looks terrible. Is not it?  Imagine this is how your model would look like if following "do as history tells" rule. Grandchildren would think it got bad and threw it away? :D

 

image.png.78600be49e298f531ebb7d9d19fbe2fd.png

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Just because that is what happens to copper plates on a floating ship, it doesn't seem to me that it is a good reason to try to model it..

I don't think I have seen any model ships with barnacles on them, and if they exist it wouldn't be something I would find appealing.. 

 

Here is a thread I came across:

 

The Best Copper Plates?

 

Has some impressive examples..

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On 8/29/2019 at 4:47 PM, bruce d said:

Having worked with both thick and thin copper I would be very surprised to find any professional driving a nail through a plate of that material. You drill a hole first, to a clearance that allows the fastener to just enter without binding: the head of the nail/rivet/screw does the work of holding things in place. I doubt if the dockyards of 19th century thought differently but would be interested if anyone knows better?

There's a video of the machine they use to punch holes in the copper for the Constitution. 

 

Some one needs to build one of these but a bit smaller (say 1/48th).

 

2 hours ago, Y.T. said:

Copper plated bottom looks terrible. Is not it?  Imagine this is how your model would look like if following "do as history tells" rule. Grandchildren would think it got bad and threw it away?

For the coppering on my cutter, I've pretended that it's just been done and hasn't been in the water yet 😀. This also matches the "new" look of the rest of the ship.

 

Richard.

 

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Since this discussion has gone wildly off-track, I thought I'd answer the OP's original question about whether the bottoms of Latham or Smuggler were copper plated. The answer is no. They were painted with anti-fouling paint (which sometimes contained copper). If you plan on building either of these models, get yourself a copy of Howard Chapelle's book, The American Fishing Schooners. There are a couple of pages in the book about the paint schemes of the Gloucester fishing schooners.

 

Cheers -

John

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