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Best tool for Cutting Windows for gunports

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Y.T thank you for replying ,

the problem with the x acto knife is that you cant really cut a a clean line when the planks are glue to the ship ....

i saw long time ago a micro saw (looks like a blade of x acto ) 

after searching in micro mark i have found it :)

the question is if someone has use it before for that method ... ?

also i saw in a very old build log some Chinese micro saw but i cant found it At the moment ..

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13 hours ago, mtaylor said:

What a lot of do is drill small holes well inside the line for the port opening.  Then use either an X-acto knife or the micro saw. Finish it up with files or sanding sticks.

This is the method that I use too.


As a quick lesson learned, I’m going to frame in the gunports next time and plank around them.

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One of the problems you may have is cutting the opening the right size but in the wrong place. If you mark the outline on the hull first and then start cutting, as you get the opening about the right size you will cut away the outline. After it is gone you might end up trimming it a bit too much to one side or the other. Using a jig with a centering mark will help avoid this problem.


I carved a tool from a wooden stick, trimming it to the dimensions of the gun port. Wider shoulders on the tool fit against the outside of the planking to limit the extent the tool penetrated into the port. I extended the usefulness of the tool by trimming it further beyond where it penetrated through the hull siding to be used as a guide for positioning the gun port frames and the upper and lower cills to create the rebate for port lids.



To help clarify the description, notice that the actual opening in the planking is wider than the opening inside the hull. The rebate that the port lid closes against is formed by frames on either side of the opening and cills at the bottom and top of the opening - but in this case there is no upper cill beneath the top rail. Unfortunately I can't find the tool that I used and I don't have a photo of it.


The tool was widest at the shoulders that fit against the outside of the hull planking, then narrower at the dimensions of the port opening in the hull planking, and narrower still at the dimensions of the inside of the port opening between frames and cills.


I put a reference mark at the top center of the tool to help position it correctly horizontally. If your gun ports are all positioned vertically the same distance relative to a wale or top rail you can carve the tool to have an edge or shoulder to ride on the wale or rail in order to get the correct height each time.


I drew a vertical line on the hull side (the top rail in this case) where the center of the gun port should be, extending above the port. Then I placed the end of the tool against the hull where the port should be and traced the outline on the wood for a guide. This outline was actually smaller than the desired port opening, about the size of the port opening after the frames and cills were added. This left some margin for error.


Then I drilled out the center of the port and used files to open the hole and shape it until it was about the size of the outline on the hull.


When the opening was about the right size I used the tool to see if it would fit into the opening. Working slowly with files I removed the wood until the stick fit into the opening with a tight slip fit. The center mark on the tool and the vertical line on the hull allowed me to determine which side of the opening to trim.


This allowed me to make all of the port openings exactly the same size - the openings in the hull planking and the openings between the frames and cills.


You could also use the same tool to help position port hinges by placing reference marks on the shoulder that fits on the outside of the hull planking to be used for marking the positions of the hinges, or even using it as a drilling template.

Edited by Dr PR
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