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Thanks guys. I definitely recommend both the weathering powder and the soft brushes to apply it - it's a subtle affect as you note but a very good one in making the guns look more realistic (but I'm not using the algae green on the water line of the hull just to be clear - its a metal only application for me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The margin planks and waterway - this small step is no small thing. I had no idea how to even begin despite reviewing multiple logs and reading the monograph multiple times. The finished product is just a ¼” strip of wood that runs along the outside perimeter of the deck. Making the six separate pieces along the bulwarks and five more small ones for the stern was an interesting adventure, and once again a first for me. It doesn’t look like much seeing the final result, but a lot of time goes into fitting everything together properly.






I elected to start with what I considered the hardest step first, cutting margin planks to fit the bow area. I decided to place the first scarph joint near the second port, consistent with photos in the monograph but a little different than shown on the plans. This basically divided the hull into thirds. I started with a cut out of the deck from the plans, used that to cut card stock to get the curve, then further modified that on the model to get an accurate curve. I transferred that to 3/64 sheet and then off to my new scroll saw. I smoothed the resulting edge on my Byrnes Sander then used dividers to measure the ¼ width, which I also cut out on the scroll saw. Once sanded smooth (this inner curve by hand, I know some would take a Dremel to it but I'd rather go slow, there's a lot of time in it by this point) I copied a model of the scarph cut from the plans on a piece of scrap, penciled that onto my new bow piece then cut it out with my #11 bade with an assist from my freshly sharpened chisels. I did it all over again for the other side and smiled with relief I’d figured all this out. My scroll saw skills are improving and while in theory I could have cut it without one, it sure comes in handy, it's a basic model but that's all I need.




All this may sound quick and simple but it wasn’t - I did each step slowly it was important to get exactly ¼ width to match up to the planks I ripped from ¼ wood for the mid and stern sections. Slow sanding and constant checking made sure I got it right.








Next up, the stern. I started by sanding a 15 degree bevel with my Byrnes sander into a 6 inch strip of ¼ cedar to match up flush to the counter, then used the plans and card stock to get the proper width and angles. I created a little expander cutting one piece short of the width, putting double sided tape on that and sliding another short piece to fit snuggly. Using the card stock saved a lot of wasted wood and using the cut out of the plan got the card stock close to the shapes needed, I have have plenty of card stock.




The stern portion of the margin planks were pretty straight forward. I got my plank bending station out and was able to fairly quickly get both sides shaped, then with my scarph pattern penciled on I cut the scarph joint. Again card stock along with some tape made it easy to get the proper angle on the stern end of the margin plank.








I thought I was almost home, I wasn't. I followed the same plans, card stock, process to get the needed curve for the mid-section. It wasn’t until I used an extra long plank (the pencil marks in the photo signify the needed length) and completed multiple heating sessions with different curve patterns on my plank bending station was I able to get the curve for the middle section of the margin plank. It’s a shallow curve with a strong bend at the bow end, it took some time to bend the ¼ cedar into the proper shape, matching it to the card stock pattern also helped. My first attempt with a plank cut to the proper length wouldn’t allow me enough torque to clamp the hard curve at the end. Once again I’ll say Chuck’s heat plank bending method works. Without soaking (using the steam setting on the iron did appear to help this time) I was able to shape, reshape, and reshape again to get a flush fit. These two planks both basically took a day’s work to get right. The cedar held up fine to multiple trips under the iron.




To get the proper scraph cut penciled on I put the freshly curved mid plank under the bow piece and held them in place with plastic clothes pins (these have soft tips and not much pressure to avoid marking up the hull), traced and cut the joint. Once it was done I did the same for the stern, doing one at a time is essential to ensure the right length. I cut the joint too big based on the penciled guide then slowly filed and sanded all the angles and cuts into a relatively smooth fit. It comes as no surprise that while the pattern I cut worked for the stern and bow sections, the final curves create a different angle to match - something the first version, which I’ll politely call prototype now that its in the waste pile, proved. I was too in the zone and forgot to get photos of this step.






I know it just looks like a few curved sticks of wood, on a kit these would be provided as laser cut parts if they were provided at all. Making them myself was something I wasn’t sure I could sort out, it’s pretty rewarding having done so. I’m happy with the result.






The last step is to use 1/32 square strip with one corner rounded off to form the waterway (when you want something fun to do take a piece of 1/32 square and round off just one corner). As Chuck notes on the real ship these and the margin planks where actually one solid piece, this simulated approach works just fine. I was able to use boxwood strips Chuck kindly provided. I love the cedar but it doesn’t cut down to 1/32 square very well, it just kind of shreds.


I have some tools that are versatile and multi-use, this very thin spatula is one. I put a dab of CA on the tip, ran it under the waterway a few inches at a time, then fit it tight with a soft cloth and using my trusty dental scraper. Once I settled into this approach it went quickly.









Here is the finished product with a light coat of WOP to protect it a bit, I’ll wait until the rest of the deck is in before sanding it.


As I noted I’m happy with the result and having had the experience, but I’m glad to have this step behind me. It was one of those that I really had no clue how to do when I first read at the monograph. It seems things I didn’t know how to do is becoming a pretty long list as I’ve noted throughout the log. I do know how to make cargo hatches and that’s next.


PS: I feel like this post has a lot of photos of sticks…


Edited by glbarlow
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This detail is awesome! Your log is simultaneously making me want to build the Cheerful and scaring me off from building the Cheerful all at the same time 😂. In all seriousness, you’re doing an amazing job and all your time and effort shines through!


PS - You may need a second miniature you with a more proud/excited pose. I can’t help but feel like mini- you isn’t as impressed.

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Good work Glenn.


I found this almost the trickiest part of the whole build and much of my precious supply of boxwood ended up in the bin!


Incidentally, I notice that you use No. 11 blades.  For what its worth, coming from a beginner, I have given up on these in favour of Swann-Morton scalpel blades.  I found the No 11's lost their edge pretty quickly.  The scalpel blades seem to last longer and are cheap.  I also find their hobby handles very comfortable.


You are catching up to me fast.  I am enjoying the build but am a bit slow and bumbly.





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Thanks for the tip on blades. I buy the #11s by the hundred and change them frequently. I should look for a source for the SM blades, I know others use them as well. I buy Excel blades, I find them sharper and last longer than Exacto. 

I agree about this being a tricky step, it required some thinking and a slow pace to sort out. 

Edited by glbarlow
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7 hours ago, Edwardkenway said:

when at first glance makes you think "no way, I'll come back to this".

There was some of that, but there was no way forward until I sorted it out. I did go off and make a few cannons as a delaying move 😁

7 hours ago, Blue Ensign said:

A helpful how to,

I appreciate that, like you I try to be helpful to others as I’ve been helped so many times on this forum.


Thanks guys, I appreciate the comments and the likes!

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14 hours ago, MEDDO said:

I have been contemplating this quite a bit recently


14 hours ago, Edwardkenway said:

I'm definitely considering Cheerful. 

I hope you both go for it, I don’t regret it a bit (well there has been a moment or two, but I got over it, lol).  With the monograph, mini and starter kits, some good build logs, and Chuck’s ready advice you have all you need. I write my log with the hope of inspiring/helping someone to build Cheerful, so I hope you do. 

Edited by glbarlow
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On 11/14/2020 at 2:33 PM, glbarlow said:

Thanks for the tip on blades. I buy the #11s by the hundred and change them frequently. I should look for a source for the SM blades, I know others use them as well. I buy Excel blades, I find them sharper and last longer than Exacto. 

I agree about this being a tricky step, it required some thinking and a slow pace to sort out. 



If you decide to have a look at Swann-Morton blades make sure you match the handle to the blade type.  The handles are sold separately.




So the blue is the conventional scalpel blade holder. This is the one I use mostly and the blades are  about 2/3 the price of Excel blades (at least out here),  The red is I think called a SM00 Handle and takes a different style of blade.  You will see that I have a different shaped blade in this one.  The orange Craft Knife has a different style blade again and I only obtained it by accident because I bought the wrong blades and had to buy a handle to fit them so I could use them up.





Edited by bartley
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd once again wish to thank everyone for the likes, comments, and following along with my build.


On I went to making the Deck Furniture, actually six mini projects and a nice change of pace. The hatches and skylight are based on Chuck’s mini-kits, the companionway was scratch-built.




I first made the cross-hatches from boxwood using the Syren mini-kit. These made up into much nicer than the traditional jigsaw kit pieces I’ve used before. With the hatches made and sanded I had the measurements needed to make the frames. As Chuck points out, it’s easier to make the frame second than to force fit the hatch into an already made frame. I elected to pull out my limited supply of boxwood to make the hatch frames, both to match the hatches themselves and to provide a little contrast to the cedar deck. Plus who doesn’t love to work with boxwood.




I made a simple jig both to help square up the frame and more importantly to notch the frame to fit the deck. On Cheerful the deck furniture mounts directly to the false deck with the planking fitted around it. I used my chisel, #11 blade and a jig consisting of planks from the batch I have already cut for the deck glued at 90 degrees to some smooth scrap to round off the corners while leaving a 90 cut matched up with the decking. You can see the resulting corners in the photos. The hatch material is curved, so the frame is rounded as well. Corners on the hatches are done with lap joints. This is a nice exercise in precise cutting, with my Byrnes saw and cross table accessory it’s no problem than other than getting the math right. I think the rounded corners, lap joints, slightly rounded hatch tops and frame all in boxwood made for pretty nice looking hatches. A couple of coats of WOP followed after these photos.




Next up was the skylight - the four pieces in the photo are actually eight pieces, each being two layers. I used PVA white glue applied with a needle to give me time to keep things aligned and to keep it neat. The lower layer of the frames is the inset for the “glass” (acetate) and glass frame, a brush dipped in water cleared away any excess glue. This mini- kit is very well designed, its amazing to me how the laser cut pieces all fit so perfectly together (when it’s done it consists of six layers).




I got a little caught up in the doing and forgot to take photos, but next was squaring up and assembling the pieces, including cutting the corners identical to the hatches using my handy jig.  I've noticed Cheerful builders vary here. Some opt for natural color on the skylight and some forgo the coaming. My including the coaming and RED paint is purely personal choice.




Last up is the companionway, fully scratch built based on the plans. I used 1/32 board cut into planks, The width of the planks is determined by the plans, divided by six. I then edge-glued those planks with PVA after first penciling one side of each edge (I used black sharpie on the edges where the doors and top would separate if they actually worked). Although I was painting it red, this helped to keep some definition to the planks - otherwise I could have cut solid pieces.




I made up the four sides, all larger than needed, used double sided tape to connect the plans to the planks, then made the required cuts with a #11 blade.




Precision is important with making any cube, in this case there’s a little extra challenge added since the sides are angled to correspond to the slope of the deck. I cut a piece of scrap MDF to the interior measurements, this made it much easier to square up my “box” along with my mini-engineering triangles and squares. I’ve had these for years, they come in handy a lot. The back panel was made up a little different with narrow outer edge planks to distinguish the doors. Since the top is wider and longer, but still six planks I cut a different width from the 1/32 cedar board, again using the plans (the top in this photo ended up being a reject).




Here is another point where Cheerful builders vary, either no coaming, integrating the coaming as part of the the sides or leaving it natural. I chose to have the coaming stand proud, but only a little bit by using .025 board. For the latch handles I simply bent a couple of eyelets 90 degrees. The hinges are made up of 1mm wide black card stock. I went back the Syren hinge mini-kit and cut 1.5mm lengths of the micro brass tubing I still had left. Though 24 gauge wire was suggested I thought the brass tubing is a crisper (looks good on the stern ports so...). All of this was assembled using white PVA glue to ensure I could align everything properly.




So here are my completed mini-projects ready to mount. I like the look of the boxwood hatches and marvel at the precision cutting of the skylight kit (which is also angled to meet the slope of the deck).




Here they are sitting loose on their future homes. I simply painted black squares below the hatches, not much can be seen through them. A long while ago just for grins I’d put a bit of decking on the frame below the cutout of the skylight and painted black around it. I was please to find out that flooring can be seen through the skylight, adding a little depth and well worth the five minutes it took at the time. Now I’m thinking why didn’t I build a checkered floor, a table, a small beer stein, and a seated 1/48 character down there (well, it’s not that visible….).


Now I glue these down, hopefully all in a straight line, and begin the process of planking the deck.

Edited by glbarlow
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