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Sharpie Schooner by VTHokiEE - FINISHED - Midwest - 1:32

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I choose the Sharpie Schooner by Midwest for my second build (their Chesapeake Bay Flattie was my first build). I've seen several beautiful builds on here, especially the log from hopeful: Sharpie Schooner by hopeful, and I'm hoping to add some of their flair to my build. Upon opening the box I sadly noticed that almost all of the blocks and cleats were plastic so I ordered new ones (along with some deadeyes and rope) from the Syren Ship Model Company (I really wasn't pleased with the thread on my Flattie). This build will probably be very slow (two young kids keep me pretty occupied outside of work) but keeping a build log should force me to do at least a little every week.


At the moment I'm in the process of cutting out the keel and bulkheads. Already I know I'm going to have questions about coloring the anchor and chain as well as improving upon my rigging and potential color schemes, but we can save those for when I get to them. 


Edited by VTHokiEE
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Thanks Chris, I'm looking forward to it and hopefully I'll learn my fair share in the process.


I had a few hours tonight so I attached the bulkheads and cut out the deck. I penciled in the planking lines and unfortunately at least one line went astray, is there any easy way to remove pencil from the wood to redo that one? I've noticed that sanding doesn't seem to work well.


I also feel like I should add the horizontal lines and potentially nail dots to finish the realistic look of the deck. Does anyone have a suggestion for what lengths I should make the planks and what the layout should be?



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This is where a build can get interesting.  The actual plank length depended upon the supply of timber when the ship was built. If the trees were tall the planks could be very long.


About the only thing you can say for sure about deck plank lengths is that it will be multiples of the spacing of the deck beams. But what is the deck beam spacing? Is it shown on the kit plans? If not you have some research to do. Deck beam spacing is typically the same as or a multiple of the hull frame spacing (not the model bulkhead spacing).


How long is the model supposed to be in scale feet (the kit description says 30 to 36 feet)? You can look for other models or drawings of schooners of about the same length and see what was used on them.


The scale is 3/8 inch per foot, or 1:32. Overall length of the model is 17 inches, or 45.3 scale feet. So look for plans or drawings for a schooner with a hull of about 36 feet and overall length of about 45 feet.

Edited by Dr PR
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Thanks for the advice Dr. PR. I did some research and I unfortunately was unable to turn up anything conclusive. I decided against going down a rabbit hole and after looking at many of the other built kits I plan on sticking to the plans here since they don’t have any plank lengths specified. For now I’ll look forward to prepping the deck.


A white eraser removed the pencil lines for me (a pink one left behind pink residue, good thing I tried scrap wood first).

Edited by VTHokiEE
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23 hours ago, VTHokiEE said:

easy way to remove pencil from the wood to redo that one? I've noticed that sanding doesn't seem to work well.

May depend on how soft the pencil lead used was (a 2B is going to leave a lot of waxy graphite i nthe pores and fibers. 

You might just need a lightly mor eaggressive sandpaper.

Alternately, if you can find a suitable office-supply joint that has the two-colored erasers, the non-pink side is often a harder rubber composition which can get stubborn lines out.  Barring thar, see if the store has an "art" section that has what is known as an "art gum" eraser.  This is a soft and maleable product that will lift charcoal and well as grahite lines.  You knead it back to gray to keep using it.


My preferred lead for layout is 6H, as it holds a sharp, precise, point, and makes a crisp faint line (and, also, because I have a lot of those to spare having converted over to CAD decades ago :) ).


Note that you probably want to lay out the deck furniture as well, as the planks were only laid up to the combings for those structures. 


As to plank length, 24 foot lumber was available for a long time to American boat builders (still is, somehat, if not in the exuberant widths of old).  That's 9" long, to scale.  But, that is likely only going to be found in the planks outboard of the deckhouses, and that with a sizeable stagger (around 4 frames worth) and butt joints not aligning but 3:1 or 4:1 (either three planks staggered be for another land on the same frame as the first, or four).


1:32 scale (3/8" = 1'-0") can be unforgiving.  That's because it's 1/32" (0.03125" [0.79mm]) = 1", so you can "see" things to as fine as 1/2" out of scale (more or less).

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Wow that is great info. Of course I used too heavy of a pencil... I expected to make mistakes an learn through them, but I assumed that I would make it through a few more steps. At least I’ll have better pencils for next time :-). Right now I’m letting the stained deck dry and coating it with some semi-gloss poly. Hopefully there will be a picture or two in the near future.

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I finished prepping the deck by applying a Golden Oak stain and then coating it with some polyurethane before dry fitting to the bulkheads. I needed to do a little sanding for a nice fit before gluing and clamping. I might pick up a few small clamps for my next build.


Also, I'm excited to report that my new rope, cleats and deadeyes came in from Syren Ship Model Company today. I need to pick up a block tumber for the deadeyes at some point, but I have a little while before I get to the rigging at this pace.



Next up - the transom.

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I finally attached the transom (on my second try). I used a spare balsa block to get a better hold for my clamp and as you can see I did a poor job of beveling the transom to 45 degrees (my first sanding was more like 60-75 degrees). I'm starting to strongly consider a small disc sand to help with angles.





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A minor update - Placed the keel strips and chines (thankfully I had some rubber bands on hand because I couldn't get a good grip with my clamps).


Then I added the cabin walls. I see that benches are going to be placed later, but it doesn't look like the opening below the benches is ever covered and I'm not certain how I feel about leaving it open (or really certain how I would go about closing it either).



I (think) I prefer how the cabin walls went all the way down on the Chesapeake Flattie, there was a lot more wood to secure them in place (but that probably would have impacted adding benches later). I'm currently painting the cabin roof (I think I may go for a bluish-gray) and some scrap pieces of wood black to go behind the cabin windows.

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I was able to get a little bit of work done over the past week.


Installed the cabin and cargo roofs and started on the side planks. After installing on of the side planks I realized that I didn't fair the chine strips by the bow as well as I should have so I make have some work adding filler and smoothing that out in my future. I'll have to see how it looks when both sides are in place, trimmed and sanded.



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I attached the side planks and after finishing sanding them down I dry fitted the bottom planks on and ran into a few small questions to address. The planks have a notch cut out to go around the keep, but this notch is higher than the keel strips:


Next, I have a gap past the keel:


That the instructions seem to indicate isn't there (looking at the picture associated with step 61 I'm not certain how that could be achieved given the cutout of the planks):


My intention (based around what makes sense to me and this post, photos 32 and 36, in a build log) is to sand the offending raised area in front of the keel down and to fit a plank in the gap shown. Hopefully my next post will have that done successfully and the bottom planks installed.

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@thibaultron - Thanks, after a long consideration I realed that the current notch perfectly splits the keel and if I altered it I don't think I could replicate that effect well. In the end I decided to get as close as possible and use some filler for the gaps (and a wood plank in the rear).


@Azzoun - Thanks!


Not much work today but I was given some basswood and decided to try to make some mast hoops from it as I really wasn't looking forward to using the wire that I used on my Chesapeake Flattie. This evening I may pop a few out, sand them down and see how they look stained.



Edit - I quickly realized that I’m going to need at least one more attempt at the mast hoops. They are too thin, after very careful sanding they are a too fragile. 

Edited by VTHokiEE
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While i carved and sanded down the bottom planks I decided to take a second shot at the mast hoops. Here they are with the proper dimensions (I accidentally confused my diameter with my radius last time, whoops!).


After sanding I had a reasonable hoop (there still is some laser burn that was too deep to sand off, but I think it's okay for now (it is too much to ask of my friend to tinker with his laser to figure out the cause of the burn). Also pardon my cellphone pictures in the dim of my garage (I should stop being lazy and take out my better camera and set up some lights).



I should have left well enough alone, but I decided to see what a "light" stain would do. Unfortunately it went splotchy and maybe too dark. 



The hoops are cut from basswood so I'll probably try to rub some stain on for the next attempt and in the worst case I will leave them alone. Overall, I'm happy with the pieces and will have to decide on the stain later. It is time to get back to sanding those bottom planks.

Edited by VTHokiEE
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Another small update (I need to find a way to have some longer stretches of work).


I finished filling the holes on the hull and sanding it down.


Next I built, painted and attached the hatches.



I noticed that one of the hatches was not fully glued down in the shot so I corrected that after the picture was taken.


Now I'm slowly building the booms and spars.


Forgive my lack of nautical terminology, but on some builds I notices some rounded beads attached by string (or wire?) behind the booms and maybe the spars as well (seen here and here). Are there any suggestions of what I should use for the "beads?"  



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  • 2 weeks later...

Waterline taped off:


Painting in progress:


And completed (it isn't perfect, but overall I was pretty happy with it):


The supplied door hatch wasn't the correct size (as the kit was opened and purchased off eBay, I assume it had broken, but I didn't see the missing part). I had some 1/16" Walnut around (the original hatch was 1/32", but I didn't have anyway to plane the walnut to match) and I fashioned a new hatch:



Finally, I fashioned a gammon iron and attached the deck cleats (using replacements from Syren since the kit provided cleats were plastic):


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