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DocBlake

Hannah by DocBlake - 1:32 Scale - Scratch Built, Plank-on-Frame, Admiralty Style

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This will be my build log for a scratch-built, 1:32 scale,  plank-on-frame,  admiralty style model of "Hannah", purportedly the first armed ship recruited into Washington's navy during the Revolutionary War.
I've wanted to do a full hull scratch build at this larger scale, but what ship?  The choice was not completely arbitrary. Even a 5th or 6th rate frigate in the Royal Navy would be 4-1/2  feet long at this scale, not including the bowsprit!  Obviously I had to look elsewhere.  I settled on Hannah because it is significantly smaller (this model will be 24" long with a 6" beam) and there was a lot of documentation out there regarding the model.  I have Hahn's book as well as his plans for "Hannah" to use as a reference. The actual building plans were drawn by Bob Hunt, based on Hahn's original drawings, and were done in 1:48 scale. I had them resized to 1:32.   The drawings show each individual futtock and include detailed drawings of each frame, including bevel lines.  The model will be built in an upright jig, as was my 1;32 Armed Virginia Sloop and my 1:32 "Blandford" cross section.  The frames, stem, keel and stern will be boxwood.  I'll decide on other woods as I move along with the build.


Thanks for looking in!  Here are some shots of the plans and Bob Hunt's "Hannah" model along with a link to his website.         https://www.lauckstreetshipyard.com/       
 

 

 

 

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Thanks for looking in, guys!

 

I started working on the model by milling my wood.  The frames are double frames, sistered together.  each half-thickness frame is 9/64" thick, with a finished frame thickness of 9/32".   almost all the billets are 9/64" thick.  The stem and keel are supposed to be constructed of two thicknesses also, but I simply made them 9/32".  The photos show some of the milled wood, my keel blank with the false keel attached , the stem and the template for the keel scarf rubber cemented to the keel blank.
 

han-boxwood.jpg

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han-keelscarf.jpg

han-stem.jpg

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I question making the stem out of a single timber.  Both Harold Hahn and Bob Hunt left the stem as a single timber.  It's a large piece of wood with a pretty serious curve in it.  I doubt that a large enough tree could be found with the natural curve in it to serve as the stem.  If the stem were cut from a single straight timber , that piece of wood would have to be almost 6 feet wide!  I doubt there were many trees that were more than 6 feet in diameter while being suitable for shipbuilding!   My conclusion is that the stem would almost certainly be scarfed together.  Here is a proposed scarf for the stem.  I have no real plans that show this...it just makes sense to me.  Thoughts?

stemscarf.jpg

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Getting ready to make a little more sawdust.  Templates for various parts rubber cemented to their boxwood blanks.  Shown are the rudder, wing transom, 2 part rising wood, 4 part keelson, stem and stern deadwood and the sternpost.  I'm trying to align edges where straightness is critical to the straight edge of the blanks.

keelpieces.jpg

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These plans were originally drawn in 1:48 scale, and we enlarged them to 1:32.  The result was some thickening of the part outlines, and the problem will be "tolerance creep" unless I'm very careful.  I've already had to remake the stern post!  Oh well, these are the challenges of scratch building.

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Great start!

 

Hahn simplifies a lot of details in his drawings, you will find plenty of "giant pieces" that were built out of multiple pieces in reality. Just use more detailed sources if you want to build it in a more realistic way. For example, the stem is likely made out of more pieces, etc etc. They are quite visible on a model, and actually look way nicer in a detailed form, to my taste...

 

On my model, Hahn version looks like this:

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Looks too crude, so I scrapped it and re-made in a bit more detailed way, based on other drawings and books. Note that this is not a full level of details, for example that triangle in the middle should have been broken down as well, etc etc. But still looks a bit better.

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Lots going on, so I'm not posting as often.  I started building the frames.  They are "sistered" and made of boxwood.  The little tabs on the floors of the frames help to strengthen the frame and prevent breakage while handling, finishing and installing them.  They are trimmed off after all the frames are installed so the frames flow smoothly into the rabbet,  This is a Bob Hunt idea, and it works very well.  The frames have not yet been sanded, bevel or finished in any way.  Just glued together after cutting from their billets.

frames1.jpg

frames2.jpg

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Finally completed all the frames. They are not sanded, beveled nor treenailed. There are over 300 parts making up the futtocks of the frames: 23 full frames, and 11 pair of half-frames and cant frames. All of boxwood. I wore out a dozen scroll saw blades cutting through that stuff. Fortunately the blades are cheap: about $0.50 a piece. The last photo shows a closeup of one of the full frames. I didn't use the Hahn method of cutting them out. All frames were constructed using individual futtocks assembled over a drawing of the frames. It IS possible to get tight joints between the individual timbers using that method.

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Hey Dave,  Just discovered this log so I’ll be following along.  I also have a thing for colonial ships.

Your work looks excellent.  I don't think I could ever do a plank-on-frame, but yours looks outstanding.

So, keep up the outstanding work.

Cheers.

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Thanks, guys!

 

Rather that hand cut the building jig, My good friend Mike agreed to laser cut it for me out of some very nice 3/8" Baltic Birch plywood. The base of the jig has a pair of "clamps" that hold the keel straight. The stem and the sternpost fit into notches in the top , as do the arms of the frames. The principle is the same as my Blandford build jig. Thanks, Mike!!

Jig1.jpg

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I finished the building jig. The last photo shows the keel blank with the scarf cut into the forward end held in place by the wooden "clamps". Once the keel is placed in the jig, I'll hold it down to the base by drilling some holes on either side of the keel at a couple of locations and fixing it in place with a couple of nylon cable ties.

jig2.jpg

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Dave, I’ll pull up a chair and follow along. Very nice work so far. I’m interested in a future scratch POF and this may fit the bill. Have you bought many of Bob Hunt’s books? They are very expensive for the lot. 
 

Dave B

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Hi Dave!  I haven't purchased any of his books, but I did buy his College of Model ship Building CD's a a special discounted price a number of years ago. Lots of good info there.

 

I began work on assembling the keel. The most important part is getting the stem glued to the keel, and setting the sternpost and the deadwood. I fiddled with the sternpost angle for about an hour before I was satisfied. The first photo shows the relationship between the keel blank, the stern post and the stern deadwood.

Before I do any gluing, I need to decide what to do with the deadwood. Both Bob Hunt's plans and Hahn's plans call for this to be one single piece. Given the size and shape I'm sure in real life it was made up of component parts. Any thoughts on a design? I enclosed a photo of the part outline as well as what the deadwood looks like with the stern half frames in place.
 

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I taped a copy of the plans to a piece of melamine shelving, then put down some double sided tape.  After blackening the edges of the scarf joint, I taped the stem to the plans.  I put some glue in the scarf, the glued the stem to the scarf, holding it with an office clip and weighing the keel assembly down with weights.  Next is the sternpost and the fore and aft deadwood.

SCARFKEEL.jpg

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On 4/5/2020 at 2:13 PM, DocBlake said:

Given the size and shape I'm sure in real life it was made up of component parts. Any thoughts on a design?

Here is a an image from Mondfeld:

image.png.dee675baa15e4dcfa6e8bd2e3f510a00.png

 

He says it is an 18th century warship.  The Hanna might not be as robust, but you could extrapolate down to fewer parts.

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I finally assembled the keel and the deadwood fore and aft. I simulated a build up stern deadwood by cutting grooves into the wood and highlighting them in pencil. Next up is to bevel the top edges of the keel to form the rabbet and then glue on the rising wood.

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Thanks for the "likes" guys!

 

 I cut the notches for the frames into the rising wood blanks using the Byrnes saw and a I-292 .030 kerf blade.  They need to be cut to length.  Because the plans were scaled up to 1;32 scale, the lines on the plans have some thickness to them.  It's a matter of sneaking up on the final width of the notches so the frames fit snugly.  Not easy to do!  I have a few that will need shimming.  Since I plan to epoxy the frames to the rising wood and then pin them to the keel with braass rod, that may be overkill.
 

rising wood.jpg

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I'm getting close to finishing the keel.  The rising wood comes in two pieces.  After cutting the notches for the frames, I cut the rising wood to fit, making sure the notches lined up with the frame locations on the plans.  The rabbet is next.  At the stem, the rabbet is created by the stem and the fore deadwood. There is no rabbet aft.  The planking would sit directly on the deadwood aft of the bearding line.  The main rabbet along the hull is created by beveling the top edges of the keel and the bottom edges of the rising wood.  When glued together, they form a nice rabbet.  In the photo the rising  not yet been glued in place.  Once that's done, the keel is finished.

rise1.jpg

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rise4.jpg

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On 3/31/2020 at 11:52 AM, DocBlake said:

Thanks, guys!

 

Rather that hand cut the building jig, My good friend Mike agreed to laser cut it. Thanks, Mike!!

Jig1.jpg

Nice to have good friends in high places! Looking good Doc! 

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  I glued the rising wood to the keel and then smoothed the transition of the rabbet to the stem and stern.  At the stem the rabbet changes from "V" shaped to perpendicular to the dead wood.  Same at the stern.  I also trimmed the keel to length.

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Still at it!  Working on frames.  I've beveled the cant frames and i'm fitting them to the fore deadwood.  Only rough sanded.  No bolts or poly.  In fact, the futtock template drawings with  the bevel lines are still cemented to the frames!

cants1.jpg

cants2.jpg

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Great job on those trick rabbet transitions, Dave. Seeing her on the table shows how much she dwarfs my 1:48 scale version.

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Thanks, everyone!

 

This model is based on Hahn's plans, but uses an upright jig, unlike Hahn's method.  As drawn, the plans leave little extra length in the top timbers to ensure that they can be trimmed to the right height.  After fitting the feet of the cant frames to the deadwood, the first three frames came out dangerously close to too short.  I weighed my options and decided to remake frames #32, #33, and #34, leaving the top timbers 1/4" longer than the plans.

cant33.jpg

cant34.jpg

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I've been busy prepping the frames, filing the seating surfaces for the keel and keelson flat.  I also remade the first three cant frames, which are no longer too short!  I also placed the treenails.  Not counting the nails that will go into the fore and aft cant frames, there are 800 treenails in the full frames alone!


As you can see from the photos, the frame lofting was pretty well done on the plans, so fairing will be easier.Before I glue the frames in place I will give them all a couple of coats of poly on the for and aft surfaces, which will be hard to reach once they're glued in place.


I did make one unfortunate discovery.  The keelson plans show the entire keelson to be dead horizontal, but the model tells me that the keelson begins to rise at full frame #18 and continues rising until the cant frame begin at frame #24.  I'm going to have to design a custom keelson for the model.  This will slow things down a bit!
 

framed1.jpg

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framed3.jpg

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Well, it's all conjecture anyway, Dave. Nobody really knows what the keelson looked like here. If you lightly affix a strip of 120 garnet paper to the flat and curved keel surface you can very quickly determine the bottom of the keelson shape by using a scrap piece of wood rubbed over the sandpaper until it glides.

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