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Justin P.

18th Century Armed Longboat by Justin P. - FINISHED - Model Shipways - Scale 1:24

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Well its taken me a few days to look through my kit backlog to decide where I wanted to go next and ultimately decided on the MS 18th C. Armed Longboat.   Hoping that with the continued "shelter at home" order in place I might get another one of these smaller projects finished, or at least make some decent headway.  Ive enjoyed reading the other build logs, but especially appreciated the two by Dr PS and Arthur Wayne (the only two completed logs that I know of).    Im also grateful to Ken Foran in advance, should he decide to weigh-in as he has elsewhere.  

 

I won't belabor the details of the kit, as I think those are well covered in the great review by Dubz, here.

 

For my own copy of the kit, I found all the required parts accounted for and the plans printed at the right scale.  Others found the plans printed a few percentage points off, but after measuring the 1" reference, my copies were spot-on.  

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A pet-peeve of mine has always been creases in paper, all paper.  I typically take my fresh plans into my lab for proper flattening, but given the situation Im stuck without this luxury.   I tried a few ways to deal with this at home but none worked quite right, and I'd rather wait and do it the right way then muck about doing it a less right way.   So creases and all, they hang at the ready.  

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I'll just jump right in at this point as many of the preliminaries are well covered in the previously mentioned logs.   Ill note one thing I do miss though, after reading through the instructions I didn't really find any sort of mention of source material or bibliography (did I miss this?).   Usually found is some sort of history or contextual bit.  Part of the joy in building for me has been the background pleasure reading that can go along with the modeling subject.   I would have liked a short list of books or other materials that might capture the period or use of these vessels to better paint the picture as I turn my focus to them.   If anyone has anything in particular to recommend, Id be very thankful.   

 

The build commenced with the all-to familiar assembly of the keel and false keel components.  I almost always get this wrong, though it is probably - or should be, the easiest step.   I generally sand too much or not enough or round things off so with this build I was extra careful and slow.  I never seem to be that successful getting these things as well as some of more accomplished builders out there.  I feel Im always chasing the air-tight joint and never able to get there.   Some one doing a short tutorial on their edge prep methods would likely earn a LOT of kudos for the time spent - *hint, hint*  Not having a good example of how this is done is maddening, as learning how to sand off the scorch marks, while not taking too much off and keeping everything square shouldn't be this hard!  

 

I marked everything out with pencil first, including guidelines for carving the rabbet along the narrow edge and the opposing side of the deadwood.   

 

Anyway, Ive done what I could..   As I said before, I went extremely slowly here, as Ive learned its very easy to remove too much material.   

 

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One peculiar thing in my kit were these curious stains in the wood which I can only guess are drops of oil or something that may have fallen off the laser machine?   Im not sure how much they bother me at this point as Im not sure how much they'll really show once the whole thing is together.   I may follow Arthur Wayne's approach and only tack-glue the keel to the false-keel just in case it becomes something I can't live with and needs replacing.  

 

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Ill whittle out the deadwood tomorrow as I wanted rest and a good cup of coffee before tackling that bit.   Its likely not as big of a deal as Ive made it, but as Ive said Im always shooting for the kind of tolerances I see on some the builds around here so I planning to be as deliberate with each thing here as I can.   

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Osmosis said:

Count me in. I'm sure you know this already but Model Expo will replace those parts at no charge.

I do know that, and have taken advantage of it in the past.   Thankfully, Im not there yet! 

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Started this morning on the deadwood as well as doing a final scrape along the rabbet with an exacto blade.   Scraping really finished the edge and allowed me to dial it just right on both sides of the keel assembly.   I *may* have removed too much material, not sure.   Im never sure.   I never know exactly how its supposed to look, and its difficult to tell what the right way is from photos.  I suspect there isn't supposed to be a hard edge following off the rabbet up the deadwood, but so far as I can tell I don't think it will show.   I also started separating the bulkheads from the stock sheet.   The instructions say to go ahead and remove the char, but I never do this.   I find the char a nice way to gauge fairing equity as I begin.   

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I also went ahead and pulled out my building slip from HobbyZone.   Its probably overkill for a build this size, in fact this build is probably about as small as one should go for this building slip to be practicable.   That said, I do like presence it adds on the bench, and feel it gives me a bit more confidence when dry fitting bulkheads and moving about.  It has adjustable vertical supports which provide a sturdy grip without getting in the way.   The presence helps keep me mindful not to knock things about and prevent my arms from sweeping across the stem in the wrong way!

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This process also went fairly well with everything only needing minor adjustments here and there to sit properly aligned and along the rabbet.   

 

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I also took a page out of Arthur Wayne's build and placed dowels through the transom into the sternpost.  After knocking enough of these transoms off in the past, I found this a clever and very strong reinforcement well worth the 15 minutes or so to work out.

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I ended the day adding the strong back, though I chose to forgo the straight single spine piece as stipulated in the instructions as I just couldn't see how a single piece could provide the necessary lateral support the bulkheads would require during fairing.   Its not very rigid and ready to start fairing, which is a seriously anxiety provoking step for me.  I deal somewhere in a thread on fairing where Mike Y stated fairing should and could take up to 20 hours!   Gulp!   Ive never taken it that slowly, or been that careful....   that should be my clue!   

 

Please, if anyone see's something alarming or that looks off please let me know.   Im thinking right now that where my aft most bulkheads are running towards the rabbet there might be some error in how they should be blending and to hitting my possibly over-carved deadwood.  

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Great looking start.

 

Heck I used my building slip for my San Francisco Cross Section and it only has 4 frames. I will take all the extra hands I can get every time. Especially when it is just sitting there leaning up against the wall.

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1 hour ago, Justin P. said:

I read somewhere in a thread on fairing where Mike Y stated fairing should and could take up to 20 hours!

I looked at that and he said maybe even 30! Holy moly, if I spent 20-30 hours fairing a medium sized model, I'd have nothing but a pile of sawdust left!

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You're off to a terrific start, and wise to make sure your bulkheads are perfect before moving on. When you start laying planks from the keel to the transom you're sure to see that you removed the right amount of deadwood! 

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Fairing started a bit yesterday and today.  Everything was going very well, with me feeling quite happy that I hadn't managed to break any bulkheads until - snap!  I had to laugh a bit as not things transpired at almost the same moment.   Luckily it was a small break and easily fixed.  I was so close!  Ha!

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Another few hours finishing here and there, and then fitting the bow filler/reinforcements and I called it done.   Nothing close to aforementioned 20 hour point, but at least a good 8-10.    I then fit some battens to check the lines and was happy to find only a single high spot, which took at least 2 hours more to get right.   Honestly at this working very conservatively to get it right without breaking something.  I have to say it is a real pleasure/curse to work with proper wood sheet for bulkheads rather than ply, especially during things stages. 

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I then started shaping and fitting the garboard and subsequent planks.  The garboard went relatively well and after smoking in boiling water for about 10 minutes, I found the plank material malleable and easily to shape.  I used the garboard to make a jig for edge bending the second strake which Im happy to say went well. 

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...  and this is where things went sideways.   While I found the planks malleable enough to edge bend without collapsing or otherwise being damaged I did have significant trouble working out in what sequence I should be trying to work out the right angle required to end cut the bent plank to register cleanly in the rabbet.   I first tried to bend an uncut plank and then sort of eyeball the angle which left me with the wrong angle completely and thus a plank now much to short at the bow end for the edge bend to align comfortably.   I then tried working out the right fit prior to bending and then bending at the point the lower edge meets the tip of the garboard.  This left me with a bend that I just couldn't really control as it was a bit to sharp and I had no leverage typically had when bending a longer plank.   Im sort at a loss now.   I have two more planks on the bending jig now and Im thinking I may try to cut the plank on the jig using a right angle aligned with the curve of the garboard tip (as pictured below).   I did a rough version of this using something stuff from the new boneyard and it seemed reasonably successful and gave me enough confidence to move forward with a new plank...    which Im quickly running short on.

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Ill happily listen and consider any tips anyone has out there in figuring this cut out.   It seems a detail often left out or taken for granted in the various planking tutorials and for whatever reason Ive always struggled with this, particularly the sequence for when to make this cut.   

 

 

 

 

 

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So last night, after writing my last post, I went back out to the shipyard to evaluate things.   I do this often just before turning-in for the night to wrap my head around next steps and make a list of topics to read up on in the interim.   After playing around a bit with planks and testing fit I decided my garboard just wasn't as great as I previously thought and ripped them both off.   I instantly felt better.   There is so much nuance and subtle complexity in planking, I think I simultaneously love it and hate it.   While the planks themselves fit the rabbet nicely and were made well, I think I ultimately was too strict in their twist, particularly where the plank begins the twist into the deadwood.   The twist was just too severe to make a nice transition to the next plank, which abutted at almost a right angle.  It would take a great deal of sanding to get to a smooth transition.     

 

While this is a result of attempting to get the plank to make contact in all areas, I think the better compromise is too accept that it might only be adhered into the rabbet and may float over that frame a bit.   Im pretty sure I over-clamped in this area causing it be overly flat against the keel. 

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In other nightly pondering, Im also questioning my method for bending.   Ive tried using plank benders in the past and it wasn't as precise a method for me.   Soaking in boiling water works pretty well, but the planks end up taking forever to fully dry and Ive noted discoloring and dimensional shifts due to uneven expansion and over-saturation with water.   I think at this point Ill experiment a bit more with steaming and plan to build a steam tank which seems to work to great success for others.     My initial experiments with a handheld clothing steamer worked well, but I do not relish the idea of steaming on the hull, or the imperfect steam delivery process that those devices use.  They do work very well for others, but I require a bit more control even if the result is absolutely the same.

 

For now I wait for my Wagner system to arrive, which Ill build out with PVC tube as Jack Panzeca described (post #10) (though my plan is at a much smaller scale).  This is a similar setup to what others use around MSW with garment steamers, but the Wagner is designed to integrate into all manners of steam boxes and is purpose built, which I like.  The price point is roughly the same.  Ive also gone ahead and stocked-up in the event I decide to go ahead and spile planks from sheet wood, something I was hoping to avoid only because I wanted to see if I could get on as the instructions seem to think I should.    Till next time...  

 

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Justin,

 

Your progress is looking great!  You might want to try making a paper or card pattern for the garboard plank.  Then you could work out the tricky shape and cuts without experimenting on precious wood!

 

Ron

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3 hours ago, rlb said:

Justin,

 

Your progress is looking great!  You might want to try making a paper or card pattern for the garboard plank.  Then you could work out the tricky shape and cuts without experimenting on precious wood!

 

Ron


this is exactly what I was going to suggest.  Especially for the second plank to be that edge bend and then have the end fit nicely into the rabbit.  Easy to make card template and then fit on top of your plank to trace profile.

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6 hours ago, rlb said:

Justin,

 

Your progress is looking great!  You might want to try making a paper or card pattern for the garboard plank.  Then you could work out the tricky shape and cuts without experimenting on precious wood!

 

Ron

Ron, 

 

Yes.  I think your simple and elegant solution reveals that I may be over-complicating this!   I think that is the perfect strategy.   I think I had the garboard down pretty well as the cuts there arent all that complicated, but figuring out that angle cut on the second plank is muddling my brain.  

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Right well, back at it.   I spent a few honest days doing my actual job and gave myself permission to return to the shipyard.   First thing was to remake the garboard planks, steam and fit them.   These, again, went fairly well.   Thankfully I had previously used glue sparingly so there wasn't too much clean-up to worry about.   As I wait for the steamer parts to come in, Im still getting by with the war department's portable garment steamer.  The little thing works pretty well but steams for about 45 seconds before needing to pause, and can only steam for about 2 mins before needing a refill - so, annoying.  

 

I decided to forget trying to edge bend those foremost planks as earlier mentioned and decided to spile them in a similar fashion to Arthur Wayne in his A+ build log.  Using the scotch-tape method, I took the shape off the garboard and marked them out on 1/16" basswood sheet.   With a scroll saw, standing belt sander and some files I was able to make quick work of them.   I carried on using the supplied stock for the remaining run of each strake.   

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Overall this method proved MUCH easier even if it did take more time.  Far less fussing around and far less frustration with ugly bent planks that just didn't fit right.   Ill admit that the shape and arrangement does strike a bit odd if youre used to staring at beautifully and properly shaped hulls, however my hope is that as the strakes move up the keel at the bow the foremost planks will begin to take on a more traditional appearance and shape.  In this way the somewhat odd looking lower planks may go largely unnoticed.  

 

In the course of a day I was able to complete the three lower strakes  as the kit instructions suggest.   Tomorrow Ill start work on the sheer planks and then plan to use the tick-method to fit out the rest of the planks.  

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And for those with a keen eye, yes I did manage to snap of the damn transom despite the clever reinforcement.   One poorly placed hand while clamping, the wrong squeeze and it popped right off just below the mounting area.   Installing the sheer planks should shore this thing up once installed.  Until then, some glue and clamp and all is right again in the world. 

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I also began construction of my steamer tank that will be the companion to the Wagner I have coming in the mail.   I use 3" PVC cut to 12" and drilled 1/16" holes every half-inch along the lower half of the pipe.   I used 1/16" brass rod to create a nice rack for planks or other bits to lay and be evenly steamed.   Ive got two end caps for the steam input and drain hose.   I'll update as this comes together, but Im excited for the prospect of it and should it work look forward to building a few different length tanks for assorted sized projects.  So far, Im about $60 into it.   

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Some more progress on planking.   I can tell Ill need to spend some significant time sanding when all is said and done, but am happy with my progress.  Really frustrated - as usual - by my variety of clamps and the near constant need for some type of clamp that I don't seem to have, ha.  

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I also added a few components to the steam tank, which may end up being completed shortly after the time when I need it, the implication of which Im not ready to discuss ;).  I added a cradle to provide a slight angle for the condensation to drain easily and a drain port to the lower cap.   There will be a second port added to this cap for the steam input just as soon as my Wagner arrives. 

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Planking is coming along, and so far Im still learning a lot.  I think I learn a lot every time I go through this.   One big thing Im thinking about now to remembering every step...  I find I get going along only to realize I forgot to pencil in a caulking line, or taper an edge or this or that.   I should remember to make a checklist...    the first step of which is to remember to make a checklist.   I also had a minor (I think) slip with my butt-joints.   I went one strake too far and got off pattern a bit, so instead of 4 strake pattern, Ive got 5 from the garboard, then 3, then 4 again...  oh well, no one will know but me - and you guys.

 

Im also having a hell of time with clamps.  Nothing is more frustrating than having ten types of clamp and none of them being quite right.   If someone has the perfect clamp secret, Im all ears.

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I also got my Wagner steam bending kit.  Its awesome.  It comes with plans for building your own box/tank for larger wood work but I used a small tank and boy does it work.  The most important aspect is probably temp, the planks come out mildly moist but the steam is very hot so the basswood comes out feeling like a wet noodle.   So much easier to bend and work with then my previous methods.   It takes a bit more time, but the result are well worth it, and if Im timing things right I can be doing something else as planks steam. 

 

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On 4/22/2020 at 4:13 PM, Justin P. said:

 

Im also having a hell of time with clamps.  Nothing is more frustrating than having ten types of clamp and none of them being quite right.

First of all, fantastic work and build log as usual, Justin. 

 

What kind of glue are you using for your planking? I followed Chucks advice of using medium viscosity CA when planking my Medway Longboat. He advocates for working with each plank until it lays practically perfect in its place on the hull before using just a spot of CA on each frame as you go along from the stem to the stern gluing down the plank. That way you don't have to find various ways to clamp the plank down or use excessive amounts of pressure to try and force the plank into place. That worked well for me if I had done a good job shaping and pre-fitting the plank. You seem to be doing such a precise job with shaping and bending of your planks that using CA like that would probably work very well for you and it would eliminate the problem of not having the right clamp. Just a thought...

 

Oh, and by the way, I'm envious of your workshop. It looks like you have a very nice and spacious workshop.

 

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18 hours ago, BobG said:

First of all, fantastic work and build log as usual, Justin. 

Thanks Bob, kind words.  

 

I am using wood glue for the most part.   The CA/PVA debate rages on, and I have been burned by CA many times.  I have found that the overwhelming recommendations out there tend to be with wood glue, particularly if you are a modeler of middling ability like myself ;).    I have studied the Chuck method in his tutorials and videos many, many times and the one thing he often leaves out is the experience quotient.   I have no doubt the CA method works, but does rely rather heavily on the correct execution of all the other steps - something I am still working on!   Even when I think I could not go any slower or more methodically, I find I'm still moving too quickly or not checking one last aspect or discovering some overlooked detail which is now rearing its ugly consequence.  Im just not confident enough for CA as I tend to rip off planks more than I tend to accept them.   

 

As I reflect on my progress on this build, I can already list 10 things I would do differently.   Its the journey not the destination right?  ha. 

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18 hours ago, BobG said:

Oh, and by the way, I'm envious of your workshop. It looks like you have a very nice and spacious workshop.

Thanks for this too!   I have made a pretty significant investment in workspace in the last year, something that was outlined a bit here: 

 

 

Im realizing now that I never did go back and update this with the finished build photos.   Which I should do soon.   Im still growing into it and figuring out tool placement and layout of essential functions.   

 

 

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11 hours ago, Justin P. said:

Even when I think I could not go any slower or more methodically, I find I'm still moving too quickly or not checking one last aspect or discovering some overlooked detail which is now rearing its ugly consequence.

Your work is consistently excellent but, I get it, since I'm always seeing things I wish I had done better also. I often point out the little details I'm not pleased with to my wife and she's just rolls her eyes and says, "You're the only one who would ever notice that." Perfectionism can aid us in pursing excellence but it can also take the shine off the apple if we aren't careful also. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Justin P. said:

I have made a pretty significant investment in workspace in the last year

I currently have a small desk in the corner of our second bedroom that is my workspace but, as I continue to accumulate more tools and materials, I'm cluttering up the room much to my wife's dismay. Our house is small so there really isn't any other place for me to work. We have a relatively small garage that we don't use for the car and I'm looking at revamping half of it for a better workspace since I want to acquire some Byrnes model machines and eventually a mill and a lathe. Climate control will be a problem though especially during the scorching summers here in Sacramento and I'm not sure how I will solve that...probably with a couple of fans and working earlier in the day. I look forward to seeing what your workspace solutions end up being. 

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4 hours ago, BobG said:

Climate control will be a problem though especially during the scorching summers here in Sacramento and I'm not sure how I will solve that...

Indeed.  I know about those summers!   I used to live in an non-air conditioned farmhouse up in Auburn and those summer months were just awful.   Up here in the PNW we have the opposite problem.   Mild and nice summers, with cold winters.   My new space replaces a smaller hodge-podge space I had built into the garage.   With kids and the wife, building in the house was never going to work.   My "investment" did not include any sort of environmental upgrades, so Ill continue to get through the winters with a parabolic heater which works well enough.  We have a two-car garage which makes heating it with anything other than this style laughably inefficient and ineffective.   

 

My wife takes the kids in the morning so in the winter we like to keep her car in the garage so it doesn't freeze, so my space options were limited and I had power tools and so forth to accommodate.   I also needed it be sort of all-inclusive and to segregate access to the saws and stuff from the kids so its a sort of room in a room.   I wired all the tools through a powered master switch so they can't accidentally be turned on.  Overall I gained a great deal of extra space with minimal investment, I think I spent under $600 on materials and designed it up on an iPad app that output a cut-list.  

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It takes up just a corner of the garage and still has lots of growth potential.  Probably the single best detail is the blue self-healing mat top that I installed.   It took about ten sheets of the stuff to cover all the surfaces, but bought in bulk they were quite cheap.   

 

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25 minutes ago, Justin P. said:

 Overall I gained a great deal of extra space with minimal investment, I think I spent under $600 on materials and designed it up on an iPad app that output a cut-list.

Really nicely done, Justin. I going to play around with various ideas for a while. I bought a self-healing mat for my workplace desk but it had a terrible chemical smell so I put it outside for a couple of weeks and it was still off gassing. I could still smell it 3 months later so in the trash it went. Did your your mats have any noticeable odor to them? I'd like to get try another one if it doesn't stink. 

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20 hours ago, BobG said:

Did your your mats have any noticeable odor to them? I'd like to get try another one if it doesn't stink.

Mine didn't have noticeable smell...   if they did they dissipated rather quickly.   I bought a pack of 12, 36 x 24" mats and used maybe 7 or 8.   Two went onto my dining room table for the kids projects and I gave a couple to some friends.   No one has complained yet. 

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8 minutes ago, Justin P. said:

I bought a pack of 12, 36 x 24" mats and used maybe 7 or 8.

Where did you get them, Justin, and what brand are they? Thanks.

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Planking complete.   Its a bit of odd looking mix of grained sheet wood and the kit provided planks so not much matches.   I personally like the mismatched colors, but the grain isn't my favorite detail.   Luckily much will be painted over.   Definitely some odd looking runs of plank, but who looks at the underside anyway right?  Im just pleased I managed to get away without gaps.   The next kit Ill focus on a more natural shape and run of planks...   Ill take it as is and chalk up the rest to lessons to be learned.   

 

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I also received my Plan Station which I had been eager to get.   As part of my workshop upgrades I had been looking for solutions for the plan problem.   I refer to the plans often and like having them handy, but I also very much dislike having them out all the time or otherwise taking up valuable space when Im not using them.   I had looked at many solutions implemented here on MSW until a construction friend of mine suggested one of these stations.   

 

It works extremely well for me.   It keeps everything together and buttons up nicely, thereby eliminating a need to really handle or shift around with plans.  I can drop the station lay parts out on the plans and not have to rearrange anything in my workspace.   It provides its own desk space so anyone without an extra table might find this useful by simply mounting it to a nearby wall.  Its mounted with only two screw hooks into a stud and is very sturdy.   Comes right off the hooks for easy travel or storage.  Note the picture with the vice..   All that is required is the station ($45) and a couple of sheets of 1/2", 2 x 4' plywood.   Not seen are the myriad of little pockets and so forth behind the plans.   Im very excited to have this.   

 

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On 4/28/2020 at 1:53 PM, BobG said:

Where did you get them, Justin, and what brand are they? Thanks.

I ordered them through ULINE, they are Dahl Vantage brand. 

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The last week went fast with work and such, but was able too squeeze in a few more hours on the Longboat.   After satisfying myself with the outer finish, I went ahead and marked out the water line and painted.  Not the best paint job ever but overall happy with how it turned  out.   I think anytime I am anticipated an unmitigated disaster, and manage to avoid it I tend to be likely to settle with the end result.  Flaws and all, Ill keep it and move on.   I also went ahead with nails with by detailing with a pencil tip as stipulated in the kit instructions.   It turned out ok.   

 

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This morning I turned it over and started in on taking out the bulkheads and shaping the frames.   The kit instructions are bit weak when it comes to this part, so Im more or less working from what looks right and what material I can safely remove.   I did manage to break more frames during this process than I did during the fairing, but oh well. 

 

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After a few hours sawing, sanding and chiseling Ive gotten maybe halfway.  I hope to finish this step up in the next few days. 

 

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Ive really got to figure out what to do with the crack at the tip of the bow where I broke off the stem.   Hopefully some sanding will do the trick, looking at these photos now its sticking out to me more than Ive noticed. 

 

If anyone is curious about the cradle, I was in desperate need for "just the right thing."  And after rummaging around the house and tearing through junk for some inspiration I came across an old fishing buff that's well past its useful date.   I put in a sewing request with the war department and accepted delivery of a finely stuffed and sewn pillow type thing that actually works quite well.  Topped with a sheet of anti-slip material from the household fabrics stash and Ive a great surface on which to carry on work.

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Another update, over the hump.    Sanding the frames was not my favorite activity, and spending days looking at the absolute mess of a planking job I did (on the inside) really had me down for awhile.   It is certainly easy to make it look nice on the outside by trying to get it right both inboard and out is going to be a goal for another project.   After talking myself into the next steps here are the results.  

 

I painted the sheer planks as stipulated and frankly made a mess of that too.   Ultimately this comes down to not properly sanding the frames before installing them and not realizing the consequences until I went to apply paint.  The end result is that the finish is fuzzy and not all-together neat.   With that disappointment I spent a couple days mulling it over and again decided to push on with the thought that if I make sure to do the absolute best job on the rest then the overall might overcome the result of a single part.   

 

Hence my approach to the floorboards and decking, which I am quite happy with.  

 

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I also started work on a custom scraper for the thwart riser detail.   Using a razor blade and a rotary tool (an idea I picked from Arthur Wayne in his log of the same kit) I made a couple attempts and finally landed on one that I liked.   After a lot of testing and rehearsing my method I finally got a test piece that confirms that everything will work.   

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Nice work, Justin. How are you simulating the nails?  

 

The moulding looks good. I made a scraper out of a razor blade like you did but couldn't get it to work well scraping the boxwood moulding my Medway Longboat. I ended up using a scraper made by Artesania Latina. It was a loose fit on the moulding strip since it was metric and the strip was imperial in size but it scraped better once I got the hang of it.

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