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Glenn I too am building Cheerful but elected not to post my trials and tribulations as the model has forced me to improve my skill levels along the way when compared to so many who have posted. I too replanked both starboard and port as my irst attempts were pitiful. You were not alone on this journey.


In regard to the moldings I ultimately went the traditional way using jeweler files to fashion the countours in sheet brass. The only thing I did make the countours a knife edge by back filing one side of the stock. That seemed to help the profile scraping. I used boxwood as I found the cedar is a bit too soft. The only deviation in the scraping that I found to work better for me at least was the following. If the moulding width was to be 'x' in width I milled stock (strips that is) to that dimension in thickness. I then clamped the,edge up, in a homemade strip clamp such that the strip protruded from the clamp enough that my brass profiled scrapper would nicely "saddle" the protrusion. Light passes as you start to get a true run and then successive passes with a bit more attitude to achieve the end result. I then flipped the clamped stock and repeated the other edge. These were then ripped to the desired thickness. Just another way to do it.


One more thing regarding decking. It is a bit of a 'sleeper' in terms of difficulty. Unlike the hull it stares at you and imperfections are so so obvious unlike the subtlies of the hull even when observing it from broadside. There are so many elements on the deck to work around and one has to be dead on to maintain deck plank symmetry. I started at the bow and worked to stern as my first attempt in reverse was off by mid ship. In confering with Chuck I also softened the bend of the planks forward and that worked much better. I did not nibb the margin or waterways as that seemed a bit difficult for me. Lastly check, check, check plank symmetry as you progress from the center line to the waterways it is too easy to lose.



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33 minutes ago, Thistle17 said:

elected not to post my trials and tribulations

It seems you have good information to share, you should start a log. I enjoy passing on my trials and tribulations in the hope of helping others. 

I’ve actually worked out a process for the moulding and have a few practice runs that I’ll share in a future post.

Thanks for sharing.  

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On 9/2/2020 at 9:07 AM, glbarlow said:



Before I get into starting the deck work I wanted to share the latest addition to my workshop, my framed print of HM Cheerful, a true copy from the UK NMM of the original plans. Note the matte color was selected to match my paint choice on the model. Cheerful joins a NMM print of the Pegasus on a different wall. It’s a bit high to get above the ceiling speaker volume control, but I’m out of other wall space. It looks really cool hanging there.


Others may be interested to note that the inscription reads:


"Draft for building in the Marchant's Yards by contract two cutters for his Majesty’s Service to carry ten 18 pounder carronades and two 6 pounders for chase guns       


A copy of this draft was sent to Mr Thomas Johnstone at Dover 30 May 1806 for building two cutters named Cheerful and Surly 


Approved by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty 17 April 1806 "



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16 hours ago, DelF said:

Love the framed print


14 hours ago, Blue Ensign said:

facsimile of the original plans of the models we make

Thanks for the kind comments guys, they are appreciated!

I really like the print. It's quite amazing to see how detailed they are for something done over 200 years ago and more amazing that from it a ship was built.

6 hours ago, MEDDO said:

someone to build the Surly 

At any given moment my Cheerful might become Surly - I'm trying hard to prevent that from happening 🙂 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all again for the likes, comments, and checking in on my build log.




Next up is planking the bulwarks. The first step is adding a 3/64 vertical strip as a false keel/stem at the bow. I elected to make it 1/16th thick so the spiriketing would be flush, while it stands proud for the upper two planks.


The first 3/16, 3/64 thick plank is added with its top even to the bottom of the port sills. This is another of those things had to go right back at the beginning in order for that plank to run smoothly. I mention this only as a reminder to future Cheerful builders to take the slow careful time to get those measurements right. Just as important as a properly faired hull is a properly measured one, no gun port patterns to guide you on Cheerful.




Here is the first layer of planking, prior to adding the spirketing. The plans call for a second 3/16 plank to go below this first one, but I found I needed a 7/32 to leave an acceptable amount of space below. I’ve also lightly sanded the outer hull with 400 grit above the wales to make ready for the moulding coming up next.



I chose to cut the top row from the stern most port to the transom as a triangle from a sheet of 3/64 thick stock. The alternative with my stern would have been to have a small triangular sliver to fill at the top. It won’t be noticeable once sanded and painted and importantly it provided more wood to adhere to the bulwarks.  I cut it over-sized, glued it on, then trimmed it down to fit. I imagine transom heights will very from one model to the next.


In this photo you can see I painted the inside of the area where the skylight will be and added a few strips of deck planking (before adding the false deck). I don’t know if it will show once the skylight is there, but what the heck, it took 5 minutes to do.






I then added the two rows of planks above the sills. There are lots of ways to do this. I could have, like I did on the outside where rabbits were required, cut individual planks between the ports. I chose to run planks the full length and then cut the ports out with my #11 blade. I feel like I get a smoother plank run this way and I’m comfortable working the ports open with the #11 blade by first cutting down the edge a little, peeling it back, then repeating that multiple times while alternating sides to prevent splintering or cracking until the waste falls away. You can see the ports in various stages of being roughed out in this photo and one above. I don’t have planks long enough for the full length, the holes and gaps are when a plank terminates I end it in the middle of an open port.




The bottom two planks now have a second row of 1/32 thick planks to simulate the spirketing, I rounded the top edge a little with 400 grit to soften the edge. In reality this was a thick row of planks, not two layers, but no one will know the difference. It’s good to remember we’re building models, not actual ships and its ok to simulate some things.




Along with my #11 blade and needle file to square the corners, I brought out the “port sander” jig I made so long ago when the sills first went in, only this time turning it upside down so I only sanded the sides and not the bottom and ensuring all the ports are the proper finished width. I like how the lens distortion in this photo makes the stern look long and skinny, merely an illusion.






With everything shaped and fitted it’s time to paint. Here she is with my nice bright red paint. As I said at the beginning of my log I was opting for RED! on this model. I think I’ve achieved that with my Golden Cadium Medium Red, I like it. (although its not as red-orange as it appears in these photos, it's bright but not this bright).



Now I’ve put off adding the fancy moulding as long as I can, that and the cap rails are up next.

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18 hours ago, Edwardkenway said:

been looking forward to seeing you do your moulding as I know you purchased the scrapers

I've been looking forward to it too, being done with it.  The  Amati scrapers won't work - as someone noted the smaller one isn't small enough for these 1/16 x 1/32 strips. I've managed to make one from a brass plate, I'll report in the next post how I'm doing with it. 😄

I like the color contrast as well, the black, red, and AYC do all look good together. The upper part of the hull is a bit beat up at the moment, it'll look even better once I solve, I mean install the moulding.

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You have clearly solved the problem of fabricating a moulding cutter now but for the record, and perhaps for a later build, this is an escapement file which I used to cut my profile.


This is a round one but other profiles are available. The widest part on this one is 1 .5mm and the tip is 0.4 mm - very delicate but with care, especially on brass, very narrow cuts can be made.








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I moved to the cap rails next knowing I’d be doing a bit of sanding (and hacking up my nice bulwark paint job). I guess I could have cut out the bow section from 1/16 sheet with a #11 blade, but it was a good excuse to purchase a scroll saw. I cut out a template of the bow by tracing its outline on card stock and transferring that to the wood, along with a line 5/32 inside that one. Though a tool I’ve never used, me and the scroll saw made short work of cutting out the bow pieces, I then sanded the rail flush both inside and outside the ship.




I elected to place my rail in three sections to make managing the curve a bit easier and knowing I could fill any gaps and cover with paint. I cut and sanded flush the tops of the fashion pieces (on many occasions I've snagged them and almost broke them off, no more of that) having added the taffrail earlier. I also decided to paint the fashion pieces black to match the wales and cap rail, for me it seemed to bring it all together.




I’m happy with how the first phase of the cap rail turned out.




As you know from my last couple of posts I’ve had a good amount of angst on how best to do the fancy moulding. In the end it was just as Chuck and others have described, cutting a profile into a piece of brass. The hard part was getting a small enough profile to work. A seemingly no brainer, it needed to be near exactly 1/16 wide and 1/32 deep. My first several attempts were just too big as were all 6 of the Amati scrapers I acquired. My approach was to use a long piece of smooth floor tile, apply a long strip of double sided tape, lay the strip wood on it and scrape. First lightly to set the groove, then tilted forward to cut, straight up to smooth, tilted backward to cut, and repeat until the bottom of the brass either side of the profile was riding the tile. By the last piece I said to myself “Self, that wasn’t so hard now was it..” Who knew.




This again is where great design comes together. A long time ago part of building the sheer above the wales included two 1/16 strips. Those strips now are the guidelines for the two strips of fancy moulding, no guesswork or measurement required, just follow the yellow wood road. My favored approach is to run the moulding over the open ports to keep a smooth flowing line from bow to stern. I’m comfortable cutting them out with a #11 blade. It was bit more challenging with the rabbit, I could only use the very tip of the blade. Another reason I buy #11 blades in lots of 100, I change them often.


Not being clever enough to carve two separate moulding designs, I was a little clever by turning one upside down from the other. At any rate I like the symmetry as it turned out.


A note: I’ve repeatedly said how much I like the Alaskan Yellow Cedar on this model. However here it just wouldn’t work. the 1/32 strips shredded when scraped (at least scraped by me). Chuck was kind enough to ship me a selection of Boxwood strips which proved perfect and easy to shape.




I cut the hawse plates from 1/32 wood by once again rubber cementing the template cut from the monograph but with an angle to match my stem, easy. I later mounted them to the ship, careful to follow Chuck’s direction to cut the holes parallel to the keel. I colored the inside of the hawse hole with graphite pencil to simulate lead sheathing as per Chuck's monograph.






Next up is the “ear” at the bow stem, also from boxwood to match the moulding. Cutting one of these little jewels, which I first rough cut with my new scroll saw then shaped with needle files and sanding, was challenging enough. The real fun part was cutting as second one to match the first one, (you can see in the photo I wasn’t quite there yet). Then when you’ve done that, using the scraper to cut in the same moulding design as the strips. I was wishing for thinner fingers, yet I managed to pull it off with a good deal of time and patience. Did I mention patience and time...




The last step before painting is adding a third strip of 1/32 moulding to the outer edge of the cap rail. I have to say it makes for a simple but elegant cap rail. I’m glad I asked questions, practiced, made prototypes, and wound up here with the three strips - it makes the hull really pop (even though its still sanded above the wales at this point).




Then it's time to paint the rail black, touch up the red, touch up the black, scrape off the side, touch up again, back and forth. Though it's a process made easier by Tamiya tape, I’m pretty picky about paint lines. I used Admiralty Paint Dull Black for the cap rail and fashion pieces.




Before moving onto the deck, I decided to add the boarding steps. I brought out my new scraping station and repeated the process with a new profile for the steps (I know how to do this now, and I didn’t care for the Amati scraper options). I thought of giving the mill a go, but for a cutter I decided a basic step would be appropriate and at this point I was comfortable scraping them, this time from 3/32 square boxwood strip. I needed six identical steps so naturally I made twelve and selected the best six, ok eight, to use for the final shaping and sanding.








And with all that, along with a fresh coat of (not quite dry so I can’t polish it up yet) WOP the starboard side of my hull is complete.


Now off to the port side and do it all again.


Post 27-2161.jpg

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Just now, Edwardkenway said:

the effort you're putting in on

Thank you very much for saying so. 


Yes, the Amati scrapers were a bust, at least for this model.  There are step profiles that would have worked on the 3/32 square strip, but I just didn't like the look of them. I'd recommend not going to thick on the brass. I had several sizes on hand and determined 1/32nd thick brass was best for me.

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Really superb Glenn. I particularly like the third shot up from the bottom - the one from low down on the starboard stern - as it shows off the lines of the hull and the quality of your workmanship beautifully. As Edward says, the mouldings are spot on - the boxwood goes well with the cedar, and is a lovely wood to work with. Great stuff.



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