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

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Happy New Year everyone!


Thanks Meddo. Here's a picture of the flexible shaft attached to my Proxxon drill, which I use to get into tight places. The sanding drum shown here is the largest I'm using on this job - there's a range of smaller ones you can get for different tasks. A handy tool. The only downside is the shaft which tends to get in the way - ideally I'd like a cordless tool of a similar size. Does such a thing exist?



I don't think I'll be getting much time in the dockyard for a few days. I stepped on the scales today :omg: and I think I'll be spending the next week or so in the gym, digging in the garden, walking the dog, and every other thing I can think of to get the excess pounds off. 



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Thanks Steve. The drum works quite well on the midships area but is more awkward nearer the bow and stern. I’ll try a disc in those areas.


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Digging the garden to shed the extra Christmas pounds didn't go so well as my knee is now in a brace, so it's back to the model! Actually, I've also started work on HMS Speedy from Vanguard Models (Speedy log), and have really enjoyed swapping between the two projects as glue dries and so forth.


I eventually got the frames down to what I hope are reasonable dimensions - any thinner and I'm worried they'll break. They're still waiting for final sanding in this photo.


Next step, fitting the floor boards...



...and the rear platform. Both went relatively smoothly, although I'm not satisfied with the spacing of the floorboards in the bow area. I found it awkward to twist the planks to match the changing levels in the bottom of the model, and if this are isn't hidden later on I'll redo them.




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I've continued to use boxwood for the internal timbers (apart from the frames, which are the kit-supplied basswood). However I decided to use basswood for painted components such as the risers, seat back and the front platform.


For the risers, I found it difficult to get the supplied strip of 1/32" X 3/16" basswood to follow the curve of the sheer, especially up in to the bow area. I ended up cheating by using two narrower planks on each side, which were much easier to bend. Chuck recommends following the line of the third external plank to ensure that the risers are the correct distance down each frame, and level on both sides, because so much else depends on this measurement. For example to ensure the seats sit level, and that there is sufficient space for the decorative frames fitted later on.  However I had used my own, narrower boxwood strip for the external planking so rather than follow the third plank down, I had to measure the equivalent distance on the inside of the pinnace and put a pencil mark on the frames. 



However I decided to keep the rowers' benches unpainted, as I'd done with the 1:48 pinnace for the Caroline, and when I dry fitted these they just didn't look right against the red front platform...


...so it had to go. I used Chuck's method in the pinnace instructions to scribe a shallow groove near the edges of the bench seats, using a blunt-pointed scriber just to give a bit of added definition. 


I'll get the stern seats shaped and in place before I fix the rowers' benches, to make sure I get the spacing right. Meanwhile, my Speedy build has reached an interesting stage - I've just finished the first planking (it's great not having to worry too much about super-accuracy and triangular stealers!) - so the pinnace might have to take a back seat for a day or two.



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You’re making a fine job of your pinnace Derek, it’s a great little kit, and I think your mini version is excellent, well done.



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Thanks Steve and Blue Ensign. Having seen your work, compliments from you two are much appreciated.


A little more work on the cockpit area, fitting the front of the trunk, cockpit seats and the trunk lid.


I made these components from some small spare pieces of 1.5mm boxwood which fortunately were a reasonable match for the timber I used for the thwarts and other unpainted planks. I used the kit-supplied seats as templates, just tweaking them slightly to get a snug fit. For trunk front, the lid and the piece between it and the rear seat back I followed Chuck's suggestion and fiddled with pieces of card until I got the right shapes which I then transferred to the wood sheets. I scribed a line on the lid to give the impression of two planks joined together. The hinges will follow later.


I've given all the unpainted surfaces a coat of french polish. I started using this on my Royal Caroline, and think it gives a more subtle sheen than polyurethane, although it will require several more coats to give proper coverage. This is the one I use (I just brush it on - no messing about with special french polishing pads):



Next job (in between the Speedy) will be fixing the thwarts in place and planking above the riser. The latter will cover the tops of the frames where I didn't bother sanding off the 'fur'.



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To fix the thwarts I read that some builders used spacers to get them evenly spaced and square. Similar idea, but I used the filler strips that I knew I was going to have to cut anyway. I just measured the total gap between the thwarts, divided by four and cut eight strips of basswood. I'm using the kit-supplied wood as the planking above the thwarts will be painted.


I dry-fitted to make sure I'd got the measurements right, and the whole lot went together well.


Next I had a go at turning some stanchions to support the thwarts. Nothing fancy - I just chucked strips of 1/16" square boxwood in the lathe and turned the middles down with a file.


I'm happy with the stanchions, but looking at closeups of photos is often a chastening experience. I can see from these pictures that the frames showing beneath the risers could do with a fair bit of tidying up, which of course I should have done before fitting the thwarts and stanchions. Blast.


Next job (apart from trying to sort the frames), will be completing the internal planking above the thwarts.



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Thanks for the 'likes', they're much appreciated.


I've done a bit of work since the last post, but just realised that I've not photographed all the relevant stages so this entry will be a bit scrappy. 


I continued building up the internal planking above the thwarts, and did this in thin strips as recommended in the instruction manual. Although this makes the strips easier to bend into shape it inevitably leads to unevenness and gaps that require filler. Not a major problem as the wood will be painted; just a chore to avoid marking the thwarts and other unpainted surfaces.


Fitting the cap rail was easier than I expected, with the soft basswood simple to cut out and glue into place. I wasn't sure whether the cap rail was meant to go under the seat back (where it overlaps the hull at each side) or butt up against it. In the end I decided it was easier to trim the seat back so the cap rail could slip under it, which meant I only needed to cut and fit one piece for each side rather than two. I left the glue overnight with weights in place to hold the cap rail in place against the curve of the hull, then trimmed and sanded the rail flush with the hull both inside and out. I'd already tried scraping a nice profile on a test piece and decided there was no way I could get a decent result with basswood. So I decide to make the profile in boxwood strip glued to the edge of the cap rail. This worked fine. The first picture below shows the scraper in action. The second shows the basswood cap rail and the boxwood profile fitted, and a prodigious amount of filling still going on!



The scraper was simplicity itself to make - a piece of thin scrap brass with the profile filed on the edge.


After more filling, sanding and painting the result was fairly neat, and I turned to the decorative frames. These are made from the same boxwood profile. As several would be more or less identical I used my trusty Preac saw to cut the mitres. Although I love my new Byrnes saw, I still like the Preac for tiny, delicate pieces like this. 



Here I'm using the thinnest blade (0.010"/0.25 mm) which produces very fine cuts, especially in boxwood. The mitre bar can be set quite easily with a protractor ( I use a surprisingly accurate digital protractor - surprising as it was only £6 from Aldi), and the horizontal black bar visible on the fence on the right can be set up as a stop to allow repeatable cuts.


This approach worked well until I got to the cockpit area where the frames become less like regular rectangles. At first I tried to judge the necessary mitre angle by eye, with mixed (ie poor!) results. In the end measuring the angles properly and setting the saw up didn't take much longer than trying to bodge it. 



Next step will be finishing the decorative moulding in the bow area. I must say the pinnace is providing welcome light relief from Speedy, where I'm taking the second planking very slowly and carefully. Consequently I'm finding it rather nerve wracking and I need frequent breaks. I'll try to remember to take more pics in future.






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Many thanks for the likes.


On 2/10/2020 at 12:28 PM, Chuck said:

Very nice progress.  That is some neat and tidy craftsmanship.  Those parts can get tricky to make and install.

Thanks Chuck. I'm trying to be more precise in my work - measuring angles properly and tweaking templates 'til they fit, for example, rather than just eyeballing things. 


Bit more progress on inboard details, completing the decorative frames, making the little step in the cockpit for lazy officers, and fashioning the various knees.


As before, I made the unpainted items from spare boxwood, using the kit-supplied pieces as templates. I cut out the shapes roughly on the scroll saw and finished with swiss files and sandpaper. The trickiest piece to fit was the larger knee in the bows - due to the curves in that area the back edge needed considerable chamfering to get it to sit neat and square. I pre-drilled the hole for the ring that sits on the knee as I felt it would be more awkward once it was fitted.


As before, the pinnace continues to provide welcome relief from second planking on Speedy!



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Thanks LS, much appreciated. However, carpentry at 1:24 scale is surely much easier than the 1:200 you have to work with on your Victory model.



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A few more internal and external details added. First, some ironwork:


Ringbolts and front bumper:


I thought the kit-supplied rings and bolts were over scale, so I made mine from brass wire that I blackened. I cut the bumper from black card, stuck it to the stem, drilled holes, and inserted short lengths of wire to simulate bolts. All as per the kit instructions.


I also followed the kit instructions and used the same techniques for the hinges on the cockpit seat:



The next job was the decorative frieze. The kit supplies two colourways for the frieze - red and blue. I chose blue as I felt the need for a bit of contrast with the red interior. Again, I followed Chuck's suggestions in the instruction manual and used hairspray as a fixative before cutting the friezes from the paper sheet they were printed on and using a glue stick to fix them to the hull. I finished them off with more strips of the moulding I made previously. 

IMG_1454.thumb.JPG.4b0e9e6a690204a3cd61afcf72c90d4c.JPG IMG_1456.thumb.JPG.fa9a96530cdf423e2f8ec705b302c851.JPG

I've got the starboard frieze slightly wonky in the bows. Fortunately there are spare so I'll replace that one before the model's finished.


Next job was the rowlocks. The kit suggests each half of each rowlock  should be made in two parts - a stepped 'body' and a narrower pin. I didn't like the look of that and decided to make each half  in one piece. I started with a strip of boxwood milled to the right height and width, then cut the steps on the Proxxon micro-mill. I also ran the cutter down either side of the high front step to create the narrower pin:



I finished with swiss files to round off the pin and base. In place, I quite like the bare wood and may just varnish them rather than go with the kit which paints them red.


I'd also fitted the rear seats by this stage - another job for cardboard templates and a lot of tweaking before I cut the final three shapes from thin boxwood.


The final job this morning was the transom. I'd intended to leave this all red, but managed to damage the top slightly when fixing the rear seats. I had to cover the damage with another length of boxwood moulding. To follow the top curve of the transom I put an over-length piece in boiling water for one minute then held it to the transom with my fingers whilst blasting it with a hot air gun.  Not comfortable, but it worked! I used ca to fix the moulding and trimmed it to length when set. I quite like the end result, so I guess the damage was a blessing in disguise. 



Back to Speedy!




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Thanks LS, and thanks everyone for the likes.


Just a very quick note on the pinnace today as I'm keen to finish the second planking on Speedy.  I'm currently in a dilemma over the splashguards. I started out with the best of intentions, gluing together the two components that make up each guard and making a little sanding jig to reduce them to about 0.8mm - half their original thickness:


The jig was just some scrap brass of the right thickness, glued to a piece of ply. As the photo shows, I was able to sand both guards at the same time to a uniform thickness.


My dilemma is I'm not sure I want to fit them! It should be clear by now that on this build I'm more concerned about appearance than historical accuracy - or the comfort of the cockpit passengers! So for example I left out the extended transom which I felt looked strange. Similarly, I'm not sure I like the look of the splashguards. To fit them I'd have to trim the sides of the seatback, but I like the way the seatback currently sits on top of the caprail. I also think the splashguard might detract from the clean lines of the caprail. 


Other modellers have taken both approaches - for example Blue Ensign went with the guards whilst Tigersteve left them off. Both models look great so that doesn't really help me decide. I think I'll leave the decision until later in the model. I should add that I left them off on the 1:48 version I built for the Royal Caroline, but that was because there were no guards shown on the latter's boat.


Oh well, back to Speedy.





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I've been concentrating on Speedy for a while, with just a little work on the rudder to report on.


I started with a spare piece of boxwood which I milled to the right thickness:


I traced the shape of the kit rudder on the sheet, cut it out on the bandsaw and shaped it with swiss files and sandpaper:



The rudder tapers to around half its width towards the aft end. I used pinstripe tape along the edge as a guide when filing and sanding the profile:



Strips of black paper and short lengths of wire for the pintles completed the rudder:


I used the rest of the boxwood sheet to make the tiller. This was a new skill for me, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to make anything half-decent. I started by gluing a photocopy of the tiller to the boxwood sheet and cutting out the rough shape on the bandsaw:



After that it was just a lot of care and perseverance with files and sandpaper. Again, the Vallorbe files proved their worth. As I said recently in my Speedy log, I'm glad I got a set of decent Swiss files a couple of years ago. I'd got by for years with a set of 12 files for £5 from a DIY supermarket, and it wasn't until I got the good set that I found just what a difference they make - beautifully crisp and precise.


Leaving a large piece of sheet attached made the part much easier to handle. Once I was satisfied with the shape I separated the tiller and drilled the end for a 0.5mm pin to attach it to the rudder:


The rudder fitted. Aaaargh! I realised as soon as I'd taken the photo that I'd fitted the tiller upside down. 



Fortunately the glue hadn't dried and I was able to retrieve the situation:


Phew. Quite happy with the result, although looking at the two pictures above I think I might prefer the first!  Indecisive? Me? 


I feel like I'm on the home straight now, although the oars may be tricky. 



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Many thanks for the likes. I hope everyone is well in these difficult times.


I've been thinking about the oars. In his instructions Chuck suggests employing a Dremel or similar rotary tool as a 'poor man's lathe', using files and sandpaper to turn the handle and the round part of the shaft. I used my slightly less poor man's Proxxon lathe for my 1:48 scale scratch built version but doubted my ability to produce anything that would pass muster at the larger scale. Funnily enough I have no problems turning spars, but I think that's because they are tapered and I probably get away with results that don't match the 'proper' taper exactly, whereas an oar that is meant to be perfectly cylindrical along its whole length will show up any unevenness. 


Anyway, I decided to try a drawplate instead. I think its worth describing this method in some detail. I'm sure it's not original, and many forum members won't need to be told how to use a drawplate, but until fairly recently I was a novice at this and hopefully my description will help others new to the technique. Perhaps some more experienced people will also find this way of using a drawplate useful.


Some time ago I wanted to buy Jim Byrne's drawplate  until I saw that shipping and import duty would triple the cost, so I decided to make my own. I was surprised how easy this was. If you've got a piece of scrap steel and the necessary drill bits it will cost nothing. I made mine from a small square of 2mm steel off an old machine, but a steel ruler would work equally well. The DIY approach gives you total flexibility as you can just drill the holes you need for the job in hand. Using the drawplate I was able to produce treenails and to trim down commercial belaying pins to acceptable dimensions.


For this job I started with a 6mm/1/4" hole drilled almost through the sheet...


...followed by a hole of the required size all the way through:



When starting a new job you obviously need to decide what size stock you need to start with and what holes you need in the drawplate and how many. I start by looking at the final diameter I want to arrive at, and then get square stock whose sides are the same as that diameter or very slightly more - you don't want to remove more material than you need to. In effect, the drawplate will knock the corners off your square stock so it ends up round:


However you won't be able to knock all this wood off in one go. In fact, as you get closer and closer to the final diameter, the drawplate is having to cut through wider and wider corners, making it progressively harder to get the wood through. In my case, the round part of the oars needed to be 2.4 mm - about 3/32". So if you start with 2.4 mm square stock Pythagoras tells you that the starting diagonal dimension of the wood is about 3.4mm - this will be the largest diameter hole the wood could pass through without cutting. With a little trial and effort I found the smallest hole the stock would pass through easily was 3.0 mm. Thereafter each pass needs to take off more wood, so to make them manageable I decreased the steps between successive holes. I ended up using four:


3.0 mm - removing 0.4 mm

2.7 mm -        "        0.3 mm

2.5 mm -        "        0.2 mm

2.4 mm -        "        0.1 mm


Most times a drawplate is used by pulling the wood through the plate, often with pliers to get sufficient grip. I've used this method successfully for treenails but it doesn't work for me at these larger diameters. Also the draw method works best if you are pulling the whole length of stock through the plate. It is harder if you have to work to a line as with these oars, where the round shaft connects to a square section which becomes a round handle. That's why I prefer the lathe for this sort of job, where I push the drawplate against the spinning stock, as I shall describe.


I started by cutting 2.4 mm square stock from a castello boxwood sheet, and marked off the critical dimensions from the plan:



As you can see, I left plenty of spare to give the lathe something to grip. I used my Proxxon wood lathe, which has the advantage of a hollow headstock to accommodate long work. Although I have a proper metal chuck for the lathe, I found the basic plastic collets more than adequate for this task. Here, I've set up the oar blank to prepare the handle. I've made sure the collet clamps on the part of the oar that will end up round, so marks on it at this stage will be removed. The  section between the pencil marks will remain square and needs to be protected:


I've tipped the drawplate slightly in the next photo to make it visible. In practice you keep it vertical to the lathe bed and square to the work. Note also that the work enters from the flat face of the hole, not the countersunk side. In drilling the holes you've created a cutting edge on the flat face of the steel. I've tried it the other way and it does work, but I find it harder to achieve a good finish. Of course the downside of starting without a countersink is that it is harder to get the drawplate started on the work. Normal practice for jobs like treenail making is to sharpen one end of the stock so you can get it started through the hole. I didn't want to do that here, but I found that pushing the plate gently against the end of the spinning stock was enough to get it started. I use the lathe at it's lowest revs, and (with due care and attention) find I can safely hold the end of the stock to guide it against the plate hole to get it started. Once going you just need to hold the plate firmly and push it gently towards the headstock, being careful to stop it exactly on the pencil mark. It only takes a couple of seconds to cover this short distance.


As you progress down the holes you'll probably find wood shavings building up in front of the drawplate and obscuring the pencil mark. It just takes a moment to remove and restart:


Once down to the required diameter it's on to files and sandpaper to achieve the final shape:


My trusty Vallorbe barrette file which I've mentioned elsewhere was ideal for filing right next to the square section without straying on to it. However I chose to file the corners off the square section as I think that looks better than a straight transition from round to square.


Next came the tricky bit - how to get the shaft round, given that I couldn't clamp the handle end of the oar without damaging it? Equally, I couldn't clamp the other end of the oar because then I wouldn't be able to pass the drawplate over the handle end.  I decided the only option was to start the lathe with the drawplate already in position on the oar. To make this possible I started by rounding off the end opposite the handle. Again, it doesn't really matter where you clamp the oar at this stage as most of the remaining square section will be rounded. I've just made sure I've rounded enough of a length to fit in the collet for the nextstep:


Once this end was drawn down to 2.4 mm I took the oar out of the lathe and passed the round end through the largest (3.0 mm) hole on the drawplate before remounting the round end in the collet. This end is excess so marking the surface does not matter. This is where three hands would be ideal!


This time, the idea is to move the drawplate towards the tailstock, stopping at the pencil mark at the beginning of the section that will remain square. The obvious kink in the plan is that you have to dismount the work and remount it for each successive hole. However it doesn't take that long - I doubt if each oar took me more than three minutes to do all four holes on this section.  Also, because revs are low and the work is small, you can support the handle end of the oar with your fingers with no discomfort at all:



Incidentally, that isn't another drawplate in the photo above. It's a drill gauge which actually does work as a drawplate, but the hole sizes are too far apart and too large for most of my work.


Here's the end result of a few minutes work - the oar trimmed to length and waiting for the blade to be fitted. It hasn't even been sanded at this stage.


I hope folks found this helpful, and that it didn't come across as teaching granny to suck eggs. 


It's taken 10 times longer to write up the log than to make the oars so I'm going to have to knock off now and leave the blades 'til tomorrow.







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Finished the oars today. Not much else to do as all pubs, cafes, restaurants etc are being obliged to close from tonight. 


Here's the steps I took in making the blades and attaching them to the shafts:


From the left:


- sticking a photocopy of the blade (from the plan) on a strip of boxwood


- filing the blade to shape


- thinning the blade towards the tip - I also slightly bent the blade with a plank bender


- filing a flat onto the end of the shaft


- shaping the shaft end


- gluing the two parts together


Here's the final result:




I haven't decided yet whether or not I'm going to paint the blades red as suggested by the kit instructions. I'm always reluctant to cover up boxwood.


Feels like the home straight now.







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Very clean and crisp work.  That is a fine looking model.  

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Much appreciated Chuck. Thank you for designing such a cracking model. You really do excel at these smaller boats (and the big stuff as well, of course 😀!).


Just a couple more little jobs to finish off. The anchor was provided in the kit but the soft metal casting required a lot of fettling to make it presentable - not just flashing from the mould but the shaft was quite badly pitted. Fortunately there was enough meat in it to remove the pits and leave a decent result. I added a ring which I think would have been standard, and used some  spare rope I made for Royal Caroline on my rope rocket. For authenticity I used a fisherman's bend with two half hitches and the end seized. All knots I'd done before but it's surprising how quickly I forget the techniques. As usual I fell back on the Ashley Book of Knots to remind me of the delights of riding turns and frapping.


I had a barrel left over from my recent Victory cross-section so that was stowed down near the tiller, no doubt on it's way to top up the officers' supplies.


I had previously drilled the keel for 1/16" brass tube supports, but I'm not sure what to do for the base. As an interim measure I've taken the kit base and shaped the edge with my Proxxon router table (a tool I ought to use more). Here's the result:


And a few more views...







As I've mentioned before, I only got this kit so I could scale it down to 1:48 for the Royal Caroline, and I started it for no better reason than it was there on my shelf. It turned out to be a most enjoyable build, taking just over four months which is Usain Bolt territory for me. I'm pleased with the result, and I may well be tempted to try more of the smaller vessels Chuck has designed. I particularly enjoyed the fact that I could work on the pinnace alongside HMS Speedy, with each providing a break from the other. I also enjoyed and appreciated the very good pinnace logs already on the forum, and the kind words and advice from several of the top builders. 


I'll ponder the base and whether or not I want a case, but for now I'll call this finished.  I would highly recommend this kit to anyone looking for a relatively quick project with pleasing results. So long as you're prepared to have a go at single planking!



24 March 2020

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