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18th Century Pinnace by Delf - FINISHED - Model Shipways - 1:24 scale - SMALL

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Pinnace.thumb.jpg.718c7ee1e170931f1f185fb4050e3482.jpgThis kit wasn’t planned. I was struggling to find a suitable ship’s boat for my Royal Caroline when I came across Blue Ensign’s excellent Pegasus build log.  B.E. based his boat on Model Shipway’s Pinnace, scaling down the plans to his smaller scale.  I decided to do the same.

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RC1.thumb.jpg.23beded4861e04a474ba4ed7bbbe6666.jpgRC2.thumb.jpg.78edfaca82892110c8b73100c976aebd.jpgI was pleased with the result, and am looking forward to completing the kit as intended. I debated whether or not to start a log – there are already several very good Pinnace logs on the forum and I wasn’t sure I would be able to add anything useful.  However I decided that logs aren’t just about showcasing advanced skills, they’re also about those of us with more modest abilities learning as we go, and especially learning from our mistakes and sharing those experiences.

 

I scratch built the small version from boxwood, but for this model I plan to use the supplied timber for the frames, keel, stem and stern post then mill my own planks and internal fittings. The other decision I've made in advance is to leave out the rather strange extension piece at the stern. As the original model and plans were by Chuck Passaro I'm sure this extension is historically accurate, however I just find it odd. I'm sure a practically-minded captain would have drawn the line at such a fragile and seemingly useless piece of decoration! I left it out on the Caroline build and I liked the result so I'll do the same here. Anyway, I'm looking forward to a comparatively short project and my first build log.

 

 

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Thanks Meddo.

 

As I start this build, I must say what a pleasure it is to see such clear, comprehensive and well-illustrated instructions, courtesy of Chuck Passaro. Having just completed two models by Panart and Corel I was struck by the contrast.

 

I started by drawing the bearding line on the false keel. I laid a photocopy of the plan on the basswood sheet and used a pin to prick through the bearding line every few millimetres.

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I inverted the photocopy so I could use it on both sides of the keel.

The next step was to taper the false keel below the bearding line. I followed the advice in the instruction manual and used a strip of 1/16" tape to act as a guide.

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This worked well, although I got a bit over-enthusiastic with the file in places! Hopefully this won't adversely impact the planking.

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The next step was gluing the stem and keel, both fairly straightforward operations provided you keep everything flat and in line. This is especially important as the edge of the false keel that you are gluing has been reduced to half its previous width.

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Next, I dry fitted the frames. To my surprise these were quite loose. Based on the instructions and other pinnace logs I had expected them to be tight. I hadn't sanded the slots and when I miked them they were slightly wider than the components meant to fit into them.  I can only assume the manufacturer has slightly altered the slots in recent times. Just means I'll have to be extra careful in fitting the frames.

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When i dry fitted the frames some were loose and some too tight.  just a but fitting out got them all into good enough shape.  

 

(if you like the quality of the Pinnace instructions which are excellent the ones for Chuck's Queen Anne Barge are even better)

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Thanks again Meddo. I hadn't realised you'd finished the pinnace - it's not marked 'finished' in the Quick-find Index - so I've only just now looked through your log. I'm very impressed - I especially like your deeper shade of red.

 

Fitting the frames went quite smoothly. I think the fact that they were loose in the false keel wasn't a bad thing, as it made me take extra care to make sure everything was square as the glue dried. I'd read how fragile the frames can be during the fairing process so I decided to cut some spacers to fit between the frames - this also helped to keep everything square. I just glued one end of each spacer to make it easier to remove the central parts of each frame in due course. My thanks to MikeB4 for this tip.

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I've just spotted the smaller building board in the background of this shot - the one I used for the 1:48 version of the pinnace I mentioned in the first post.

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The last frames in place...

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...and the lines are starting to look good.

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The last job today is gluing the filler pieces on either side at the bow. Four pieces are supplied in the kit but you only need two.IMG_0715.thumb.JPG.eeb90d509da70b199b940466ec177e32.JPG

Before I start fairing I'm going to sort out supports for the final model. If I have to drill into the keel I'd rather do it at this stage. That'll be tomorrow's job.

 

Derek

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I want to sort out how I'm going to mount the model before I go too far - a mistake I've made in the past. I don't think a cradle would be best suited to a small model like this, but as the keel is so thin (about 1/8"/3.2mm) any fixing will have to be correspondingly thin. As the pinnace will be very light, this shouldn't be a problem, so I intend to use 1/16" brass tube (should be more rigid than rod). I'm not sure yet whether to fix the tube though a brass pedestal, or simply insert the tubes straight into holes drilled in the stand.

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The pedestals look a bit clunky to my eye, so I may go for the bare tubes. Either way, I need holes in the keel:

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I used tubes on a model I made nearly 20 years ago and its stood the test of time, so I may go down that route:

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Derek

 

 

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Steve, your model looks very elegant on the long thin tubes - I think you've convinced me to ditch the pedestals. Btw, how did you do the label - that adds a very fine touch?

 

Derek

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Although the spacers I've put between the frames have made the model fairly stiff, the fact that only one end of each spacer is glued (to aid eventual removal) means there is still some movement. So to help fairing I've added strengthening strips in line with other people's advice. I've stuck a block on top so that I can clamp the model upside down when needed.

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Next, I started ripping some castello boxwood strips - a doddle on my new Byrnes saw.

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I think this is what the psychologists call displacement behaviour - I'm looking for any job to do rather than getting to grips with fairing and planking!

 

Derek

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Those strips will definitely help with the strength as the frames are very delicate and that block on top will make things a whole bunch easier.

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Started on the fairing. The miniature chisels from Veritas are ideal for getting into tight places. The one shown is 1/8".

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Before going much further I decided to try to harden the keel a bit with some coats of shellac. I just need to look at the basswood and I get dints in it.

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I'm glad I decided to go for boxwood for the planking and fittings. Not easy to see in the photo, but straight off the saw the boxwood has an almost mirror sheen compared to the timber supplied in the kit. Don't get me wrong, the kit timber is very good quality as far as it goes - straight, consistent colour and dimensions and no faults - but it is basswood. I know some people get great results with it 'cos I've seen their logs, but boxwood is more forgiving for someone at my skill level.

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Dry fitting to see how the fairing's going.

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Not bad so far, but shortly after this a 6mm section broke off the side of one of the frames. I was just holding the boat in one hand whilst fairing the other side, and applying very little pressure. Gluing it back in position was easy, but the breakage demonstrated just how fragile the frames are and what soft hands you need.

 

I'll leave the dockyard now - enough excitement for one day!

 

Derek

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Thanks for the likes and comments - they're appreciated.

 

I'm still faffing about with fairing and preparing for planking. I debated whether or not to fair the transom on the bench or after fitting on the boat. In the end I decided on the latter; although I knew it would be very delicate, I thought it would probably be more difficult getting the bevel right if it wasn't on the boat. So I glued and pinned it:

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I'm in two (or three) minds how to go about the planking. Having seen Chuck's videos I was raring to go - he makes it look positively easy! The first issue I came across was the width of the planks. The kit supplied wood is 3/16" wide, which equates to almost exactly 10 strakes midships. My timber is slightly narrower, simply because of the board I milled my strips from was 4.25mm thick. This equates to about 11.5 strakes midships. So I either include one or two wider planks or I trim a few thou off my strips and go for 12 strakes per side. I went for the second option.

 

Next, I'm undecided on marking of the frames with the tick strip method. I've had a go but found it very fiddly given the small size of the frames and the sheer number of them. I'm reluctant to go to the effort of marking out all the frames if it's not worth it on such a small boat. My other main concern is around fitting the final planks on each side. From other people's logs and the kit instructions its clear that if you plank from the sheer down and from the garboard up, you're going to end up having to cut and fit a weird shaped final plank. Thinking about this, I wondered if it would make sense to work solely from the keel up, leaving a final plank at the sheer with hopefully just one awkward side to shape. Presumably any horribleness would be covered by the frieze and by internal planking. 

 

I'm probably over-thinking all this, and should probably just get on with it. After all I've already done the small version (although that was painted which covers a multitude of sins). Before I start though, I'd welcome any comments or advice on the points I've raised.

 

Derek

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I am glad that I went through the trouble of marking out all the frames.  It really helped me shape the planks especially toward the bow area.  I fitted the top planks first to give additional stability and then the garboard and then filled in from there.  The last plank was pretty funny shaped but it fell right on the most angles section and is not really viable to the eye when viewed from the side.  overall the planking I think went well for me because I took the time to mark it all out first.

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I think I had about 10 as well. Marking the frames will help keep your symmetry and the cap rail will finish it off nicely. I planked from the keel up and ended up redoing the top two strakes. 
Steve

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Thanks OC. 

Not much progress over the last few days - more time spent in the garden preparing for Winter than in the dockyard. I tried marking the frames but with mixed success. I'm sure I understand the principle, and I printed off a fan and prepared tick strips as per instructions:

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I don't know if it is because the frames are very narrow or I'm too cack-handed, but I found it very difficult to hold the tick strip against the frame edge and mark it. I just couldn't mark the frames accurately enough. For example, if I marked two frames that I knew were the same size (when measured from the rabbet to the sheer), the marks didn't line up exactly. In the end I decided that, because the frames were all of a very similar dimension apart from the last 3 or 4 from the bow and stern, I could safely fit the first couple of strakes on each side, and possibly the garboard strakes, then have another go at marking off the remaining gaps. 

Taking another tip from Chuck Passaro, I got hold of a cheap travel iron to help with edge bending - works a treat! 

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To bend strips in the flat dimension I clamped them to a variety of curved surfaces and used a hot air blower to set the shape. I got the first strake on but clearly hadn't curved it enough at the stern:

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I wanted to see if I could increase the curve by heating the plank in situ, but wasn't sure which side of the wood it would be best to apply the water and heat to. So I did a couple of quick tests with a scrap piece of strip on the bench.

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It didn't seem to matter which side I went, the curve stayed in either way. 

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I ended up hedging my bets and applying water and hot air to both sides whilst holding the strip tight against the transom. When released there was a marked improvement which should glue up much better.P8.thumb.jpg.f454028b9b1217e2844ec80a407fa436.jpg

Meanwhile, back to the garden and my new favourite tool (next to my Byres saw that is) - a petrol shredder that takes branches up to 4".

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On with the planking. Slowly!

 

I've got the garboard strakes on both sides. 

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I've taken this strake a lot further forward than in Chuck's instructions - I just didn't like the way the next strake above the garboard had to be bent to get it to sit alongside. I tried it with some test planks and I just couldn't get it right. So I decided to avoid this by keeping the top edge of the garboard as straight as possible into the bows. I realise this means the remaining planks will need to be narrower in the bow area as there will be less space for them, but I've measured the gap and the tapering will not be too severe. 

 

Looking at the picture above, I can see that the first two planks I fitted on the starboard side don't fit together as well as I might wish. I hope they'll look better after sanding, and after the decorative frieze is fitted. Either way, I'll be looking to improve my techniques as I tackle the more visible strakes. 

On that point, I've stopped using my Amati plank bender (the one that looks like a converted soldering iron). I find I get better results wetting planks, clamping them to suitable curved items and drying them with a hot air gun.

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I 'borrowed' the hot air gun from my wife, who uses it in her card making hobby. It has two settings - the cooler one is ideal for the shrink wrap tube I use to simulate iron bands on, for example, anchor stocks and masts; the hotter works well for plank bending. The boxwood I'm using seems totally unfazed by the treatment. None of the raised grain wetting usually causes.

 

I'm sure her hair dryer would work equally well, but borrowing that would push my luck too far!

 

Derek

 

 

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Slow progress on the planking, and gappier than I would like. The problem (apart from my skill level) seems to be the boxwood. Although it's a lovely wood and cuts beautifully, it is harder than woods such as basswood and correspondingly harder to bend and shape. 

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I'll persevere.

 

Derek

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Nearing the final stretch on the planking - just the last awkward-shaped strake to go. Still looking more uneven and gappy than I'd like - I'm hoping sanding will improve the final appearance. On the positive side, I'm amazed how solid and robust the model has felt since I got the first couple of planks on each side. 

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Tomorrow I'm going to try tracing the gaps I need to fill. I'll probably try a card template first before transferring the shape to wood. I'm looking forward to the next stages - I've not enjoyed the planking much. However I must say Chuck's edge bending technique seems the way to go, and I suspect it would work even better on hulls with less severe curves to contend with.

 

Derek

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I got distracted by non-ship related business for a few days but managed to get back to the dockyard yesterday afternoon and again this morning for an hour. I've made some progress with the final planks. Starting on the starboard strake, I traced the shape using some low-tack tape. It wasn't wide enough to cover the gap without bending, so I had to use an extra piece of tape at the stern.

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I ran the edge of a pencil lead against the top corners of the two planks framing the gap.

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I stuck the tape to a sheet of paper and cut it out. In the photo the pencil line looks very thick. In reality there is a fine black line where the edge of the pencil lead touched the corner of the planks - the smudgy grey line is just where the rest of the lead rubbed against the tape. I was able to follow the thin black line when cutting out the shape.

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The next job was to bend a boxwood strip to the approximate shape of the template. I used the travel-iron-edge-bending technique. The curves don't need to be exact, so long as the strip covers the template.

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The strip was cut roughly to size, offered up to the gap and final adjustments made with files and sandpaper.

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Starboard finished. I must say, although this was a lengthy process I'm happy with the result and glad I made the effort.

 

Port next.

 

Derek

 

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Thanks. Port and starboard final planks finished bar some final bending.

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I've found the miniature Veritas tools such as the plane and spokeshave invaluable in shaping these awkward planks.

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Christmas will now get in the way of further work for a while. Hopefully I'll find HMS Speedy by Vanguard Models under the Christmas tree, so my main problem in the New Year will be keeping my hands off the new model long enough to finish this one! And I'm feeling a bit guilty that I've not done much to the Winchelsea for a while. Too much to do and too little time - and I'm retired!

 

Best wishes to everyone for the holidays.

 

Derek

 

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Well, Santa came up with the goods and I'm itching to get on with the Speedy. I've reported elsewhere on just how chuffed I am with the new kit (Chris Watton & Vanguard News). However I'm determined to finish this little kit before I get engrossed in the new one, so now that the main festivities are over I've been able to get back to the dockyard for a couple of brief visits. I'm relieved that the external planking is finished, the first post-Christmas task being to remove the middle of the frames:

 

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In the build manual Chuck recommends using a file to make the short cuts required to remove the frame centres.  I found this too tricky and time consuming. I read in Blue Ensign's log that he'd used a saw-toothed scalpel blade. I remembered I've had a photo etched sheet of these lying around for donkeys years, thinking they'd be too wobbly to be of any use. To my surprise the 45 tpi blade shown above was perfect for the job and made short work of the frames. I'm glad I only glued one end of each of the round spacers I'd used for stiffening as it made removing the frames a doddle. Thanks again to MikeB4 for this tip.

 

Next I started cleaning up the frames, the aim being to reduce their thickness to about 1/32" (0.8mm) at the sheer gradually thickening towards the bottom. This is as far as I've got.

 

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First pass down the starboard side went quite well although I'll do at least one more pass to get all the frames to the required profile before moving to the port side. Chuck recommends using sandpaper, but again I found I was getting nowhere fast using hand sanding so I (nervously) resorted to a power tool. After a couple of tests I decided to use a small sanding drum in a flexible shaft attached to my Proxxon drill (I'll post a photo next time). I settled on this as the flexible shaft attachment is much smaller than the drill which makes it much easier to get the sanding drum into the frames.

 

This is the stage when I really start to enjoy the build - when you can see the fine lines of the boat start to emerge once all the temporary material is out of the way.

 

Derek

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