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New Young Model Builder from Minnesota LOOKING FOR ADVICE

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That is a wonderful workshop, Kenna.   As a suggestion/alternate point of vew, for rigging, no CA as it becomes very brittle.  If you decide to put her in water, you should use shellac.  If not going into water than either the shellac or a 50/50 mix of white glue and water.

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Kenna (and Ron),


I envy you! Your first build is always exciting and challenging. And I commend you for wanting to scratch build.


When I was your age I didn't have the money for a wooden model kit, and the hobby shops in my home town didn't carry them anyway. This was decades before the Internet so scratch building was my only choice.


I built a two foot long model of a Chris-Craft cabin cruiser, like a 40 foot real boat a friend of the family owned. I occasionally got to drive the real one, and loved the lines. I had no plans so I just winged it, and the model came out OK. It had a complete interior and even had motors (but no radio control) - I just swam along and turned it by hand. It wasn't very "accurate" but it was a lot of fun to build! Nothing like the quality of the scratch built beauties you see on the Forum, but I thought it was great, and that's what counts.


Then I got bold and tried to model a schooner like I saw on a favorite TV show. Unfortunately, I knew nothing about sailing ship designs. I had built a bunch of plastic ship models, so my "schooner" hull was far too narrow, more the shape of a destroyer hull. The masts were too tall, and when I put it in the water it immediately capsized - "turned turtle." That was a disappointment! Eventually I hung a heavy weight from the keel but that acted as a sea anchor so it didn't "skim over the waves" like the schooner on TV. And it still floated with a sharp list to one side or the other. I gave up on the floating model and just sat it on a desk to look at. As a working model it was a failure, but I thought it was pretty.


I tell you this because no one's first model, kit or scratch build, will be their best. But just building the kit you will learn the skills you need to do a better job. I have built several models from kits and from scratch since then, and I am much better now at researching the designs before I start. But I still have fond memories of those first scratch built attempts at wooden ship modeling.


So I encourage you to dive in, and don't be too critical of your own work - even though you may be your own worst critic. What ever you build, be it a beauty or a beast, you will always remember it. And you will have the satisfaction of having built something!


So remember to laugh at your mistakes and enjoy the experience. If you do, your next build will be much more enjoyable. And if you post your build here on the forum, other members will be a source of encouragement and advice.


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#11 blade for exacto.  Acquire others as the need arises.  You may eventually want to shift over to a surgical scalpel but that is personal preference.


I normally use yellow wood glue but also use CA glue (super glue) to clamp loose ends while the wood glue dries.  Sounds strange, but...  Not all parts can be easily clamped.  The best clamps you have (in terms of versatility and flexibility are the ones at the end of your arms.  Unfortunately you only get 2 at best.  (Be careful when holding a superglued plank butt until it sets.  You may glue your hand to the model.  Don't ask me how I know...stop laughing.)


Clamps....never too many.  Look at other build logs and see what others use.


Magnification--jewelers loops or magnified head band.  Often overlooked but reallymakes a difference when donig detailed work.


Sufficient lighting...looks like you have that covered.


Did I mention that you can never have too many clamps?

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To pile on even more:  Yellow PVA - woodworkers glue - wood to wood - fiber to wood.  It is in water and as it reacts, it releases acetic acid - vinegar - not much, just enough to smell sometimes.  Metal to wood glue = epoxy.  two part mix - lots of choices -messy to use, wants to go where you don't want it.  When set it has a strong bond.

About your Xacto blades ( knife blades)-  they work best if really sharp.   Knee jerk reaction is to use a sharpening stone, but unless you have nicked the edge,  most of the time, this is overkill.  Stropping will keep a sharp cutting edge.  A flat piece of leather, rubbed with polishing compd,  is what is used.   It comes as a green, or gold, or rouge stick,  your choice.  Use it like a crayon on the leather. Unlike grinding, or whetting, stropping is done away from the edge.  On a knife or chisel, make a few cuts, then a few stropping strokes ( the verb for this is?) and the blade should last and last.

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Kenna and Ron, I like to give you a Warm Welcome to Ship Modelling.

Kenna, you are in good hands with such supporting father.... and where both of you get stuck, reach out to us - create a build log first - and we will try to help as best as we can.

A friend of mine built the Golden Hind with fantastic result and search within our logs for other Golden Hind builders.


All the best to you.


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Chris, Eric, MTaylor, DrPR, Chuck and Jaager - WOW- I am blown away at how many people want to help and give of their time. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! 
Chris: thanks again for the direction and yes, we are excited to get going on the Golden Hind. We now have everything we need to get started and hope to start sometime yet this week or this weekend. My dad and I looked at the build log of the 1:36 scale brig you mentioned and that was fun and educational!
Eric: thank you for understanding my chemical sensitivities and giving me some good advice on that front!
MTaylor: my dad was originally thinking of fiberglassing the boat like a cedar strip canoe but we will have to look into shellac- might be a better option? Something he will have to do either way because of the fumes. 
DrPR: When it comes to what I want to do you really get it! When you described your first build, I was like, “Yup, that’s it!” BTW my dad has always loved the Chris Craft cabin cruisers and it has been a dream of his to own one. We live in a 100 year old brick house on a lake in MN and he thinks it would really fit it. 
Chuck: are you saying I will need clamps? :)
Jaager: my dad likes to cook and has been meaning to learn how to sharpen his blades and use a strop so maybe now he will! 

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