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Post 1


The beginning.  Trying to decide what to build


Now that it seems Ernestina Morrissey nee' Effie Morrissey will have spent over five years here in Boothbay Harbor before returning to her home in Massachusetts, I would like to consider her to have become part of our local maritime history.   It is such an opportunity to visit her especially in these final stages to see how the interior and the equipment are all being done in 2020-2021 to make her the incredible teaching schooner that she will be.  I got to see her in each of her stages as she was hauled, dismantled, and built back with incredible skill.  She was birthed on a railway next door to where Bowdoin was replanked last year.

1a 828292134_em-01aBBB_2522.jpg.241876bfe0163ef61297c82b3aa45127.jpg here we see from DEC 2018 the lowest view looking forward of the amazing planking on the Ernestina as rebuilt by Bristol Marine.  This view is a definite challenging view to folks like me as to what the planking is supposed to look like.   

1bem-01b.jpg.57d22b7480ba1f6276295876fe62109d.jpg here we are looking aft from the bow.  

We are also fortunate that the Wooden Boat Magazine is in mid-stream of publishing a multi part article trying to capture both her heritage and her rebuild.  These articles, especially the third one that tells of the actual reconstruction in the first stage of the rebuild, are must reading for those of us who dabble in the world of schooners. 

21460838086_em-02coverwoodenboat272ernistina.thumb.jpg.f9dcb4cd5dc2d7956eb104a685a3677d.jpg This WoodenBoat article is a must read for all schooner fans

I must also say in this first post that once again for me I may have started down a rabbit hole.  I have never done plank on frame and felt this might be the right schooner to start with.  We’ll see. I need to get done by next spring and a master modeler is already doing a plank on frame version for the yard and I want to focus more on telling a story.    As I am at this stage doing my planning and procurement of materials. I am comfortable taking the lines and drafting up molds [ bulkheads] and getting on with it.  I may decide to do that and then focus on the deck furniture and rigging to match what is included in the 2021 rebuild.  Then on the side I can work away learning how to draft frames and try to end up with the same shape.   The next few posts will both introduce the actual work that is going on, a little of the history and the thought process that sets me on my way.


I have done dioramas for the last two displays and may choose to do that again.  I am fascinated with the early 20th century work in the arctic. Effie Morrissey as she was named for the first 50 odd years was a true arctic explorer.   Perhaps I do another arctic diorama to sit beside the Bowdoin , each one representing a different period. They would be the same scale.

To work in a comfortable 1:48 scale it would be fun to get her sails on too.  So much to think about before I decide. First up is where to get information.   I have totally consumed all the log created by Allanyed as he started his build of Effie Morrissey.  Allan has offered to help when I get into trouble too. Most important he led us all to the Library of Congress where one can download lots of Tiff drawings and even modeling images of fitting out for the interior either for fishing or learning purposes.  Maybe a cutaway with either fish or cabins to look at?     The set includes the basic line drawings of which we all have sufficient familiarity, but also I fear they included too much additional information.  They drew a cross section and plan at deck level showing every frame.  Guess what?   They are not all the same separations….eek


all for now


Edited by Jond
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Post 2


Do I do frames?


First up is a dabble into the world of trying to understand how to recreate frame design when the information I have is reasonably complete but still leaves a bit of conjecture.  Example.  One might think the stations of the line drawings are causally related to the frames.  Well so far, I have taken the tiff drawings and entered them into Turbo Cad and scaled up to full size.  I started drawing the keel and stems etc. and cut them out of maple to at least have some wood on a table.  I then started drawing frames.  My assumptions were quite naive. I assumed one draws the station and then divides the distance between them and makes up and even number of frames.   If the library drawings did not have the frames drawings that might have worked.  If one takes the stations drawn on a cross section of the hull and lays it over the frame section drawn on the hull….. guess what.  There is no consistent relationship between the stations and the frames as drawn.  The spacing between the frames clearly is mystery. 

Anybody reading this log that has already crossed into the frontier of plank on frame knows this and is not worried.  I am sitting here thinking I need to make a matrix by drawing the station line grid onto the frame drawing and then measuring the offset to each of the 41 frames.   Then make up a table of offsets for each.  To simply divide the lines of two adjacent stations by say 4 and to make frames on that basis would work but not reflect the drawing of the actual frames. I am not smart enough to know if it matters.  there are also many more frames knight heads etc as well.


Also, another point for those experienced modelers to chuckle about.   When I draw a bulkhead for a 1:48 it is easy to use birch plywood or even luan of an appropriate size.   However, to cut little frames that are only 6 inches= 1/8 of an inch ...wow that is another world.  I am going to do it at some point, but wow. Perhaps if I jump to 1:24 I could more easily hold onto the pieces.   I even have Bluenose at 1:24 sitting there waiting for a friend in the same scale.    Too much to think about right now,

3 1677324925_em-03sta4moldandrib.thumb.jpg.1d6b315b754b13b8eee5c6a719161c44.jpg

Here is a sample of the station and frame combined drawing.  I am not sure if there is a frame at each station.  As I am plodding along drawing both a frame and bulkhead for each of the 15 stations, I am hoping that is not all wrong.   I need to check it out.  My thought is to first draw layers of stations to put over the frame section in turbo cad and will get a light table to do it the old fashion way in paper to see what I have. I am sure the answer is out there, and I am hopeful it is not as complicated as I think it is right now.



First up to solve this issue is the traditional way

4 1676878078_em-04CCC_3229.jpg.d4c439adbf94e4653d34193720b12d48.jpg

here we see the two elements for the study. The frame section and station section drawing printed out at 1:48 scale. A little magic marker to see those lines.

5 1662732282_em-05CCC_3228.jpg.a1a826d759104467511d2dda10f9ed70.jpg

after laying the frame section over the station section I marked the stations onto the frame drawing.

6 em-06.jpg.af81869f25144c268349678638d19b12.jpg

here we work our way aft noting where each station lines up with a frame or pair for frames










here are the results laid out on an excel sheet noting the positioning of the frames in the aft half. If one is to follow this approach, there is only one frame that lines up with a station.  That means if we use common sense and draft from the station lines, we may retain the shape of the hull simply fine, but we are not following what this drawing says is the actual locations of the frames.    Oh My!!!!



8 803297368_em-08framediagramexcelv1pg2_Page_2.thumb.jpg.6afec7ac9dbabf42c65e9ba07b8ba9cf.jpg

here are the forward frames over stations.  note frame three is centered on station 2, the only one!


here is the next step to lay out the frames and see a pattern and design what to draw. the red frames would be subtle variation on the station drawing and the green are percentage variations to be plotted....I think



10 939061544_em-10mistakeindimensions.jpg.fb78895a45a3304592e3d6d02fb84f1e.jpg

sometimes there is help in research that lets a few of us off the hook and able to find a rationalization.   If one blows up this tiff and adds up all the dimensions one gets 108’ 1-7/8.  The long complete dimension say it is 105’ 1-7/8.   My devious mind is looking for a solution( maybe an excuse).  My next posting, I hope will get through all of this and on my way forward…we’ll see what I plan to do.  i think I see a light at the end of this tunnel but honestly have not gotten there yet.    




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These are my own thoughts, please do not take it as advice or guidance on what to do.   If you take the station lines as a basis for the shapes of frames, this is an easy solution to be sure, tracing the lines in TC, printing them, and cutting out the frame parts.   Is it the "correct" way to go, not really, as they can be lofted.  BUT, if you use the station lines as a guide for the frames rather than lofting them, when taking into account actually cutting the futtocks and assembling the frames, beveling, and fairing, then planking, sanding and painting. how many thousandths of an inch will you be off compared to lofting each frame?    I doubt anyone, including yourself, would be able to spot the difference of a model with lofted frames versus frames based on the station lines only.


As to building the frames, Effie/Ernestina has double frames so two ply 1/8" thick futtocks will be very strong.  If these were not laminated frames I would urge you to use castello or pear or similar.  Laminated frames made of poplar or basswood will be very strong as long as the futtocks of each pair are offset just as was done back in the day.   


Regarding the 3 foot difference in the length, maybe speak with one of the folks that you know at Bristol and get the actual number???  Keep in mind that the plans were on paper and copied and recorded somehow before you downloaded them.   Distortion, stretching, etc is common with contemporary drawings of older vessels so maybe could have happened in this case as well, although 3/4" seems to be excessive.


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Thank you Allan for you sensible words.  The key word in this guidance is thousandths.    I will still do some gyrations as I draft up the plan to set on the base board under the keel to identify where each frame is to go.  I plan to continue to use the stations as my basis.  When I lay out the points to connect for the additional frames, the method really does not change even if the separation does.    I believe a combination of 1/4 inch and 3/16 inch shims to slide in between the different frames will help me keep them square as i work along. it is just a matter of math to add up the frames and spaces and stay inside the grid.   I also realize that to the bevels being sanded means I need more wood when I cut to allow for such bevel.   Since this is my first ever POF build I believe that poplar is the way for me to go on wood selection.  the first go at it  could become kindling.  As to the drawing stretch etc.,  I did notice that as I scaled up the image and then measured in Turbo cad that some deviation was there.  The three foot error is in the printed numbers of dimensions, and as a rule I would go with the sum of the smaller dimensions as opposed to the longer one.  



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Post 3


I have determined a program now I have to do it


First up was the final finagling that some of us need to go through before deciding on the program.  I have now taken more of the plans and cross referenced them and found despite a few discrepancies that things seem to lay out as I have them.  One good thing is I reopened the PDF with the dimensions and found there the long dimension was correct at 108’1 ¾ and the 105’ was what seemed written on the over blown up [ to life size] version embedded  in turbo cad. Lesson learned is perhaps I should have not blown up the drawings to life size as there must be other details that I am missing.

11 708763862_em-1115inchframes.jpg.63eca3f0589a24f93462a33a7770914b.jpgThe final discrepancy came when taking the framing at deck level plan and projecting it to use for the Jig layout.   The frames there are clearly 15 inches wide and 6 inches thick on the deck framing plan. They are also drawn as if they are parallel to the framing.  The space between frame is 9 inches and the stanchions nearly fill it up.   Allan talks about molded dimension of 15 inches, but I assumed that meant the over cutting needed for the bevels in the other direction, so one ends up with 6 inches thickness on the continuing curve.  The width would end up 12 inches measured fore and aft and a little more  parallel to the planking due to fairing.




12823870697_em-12actualfraemsvsmeasuredframe.jpg.8950d948b8abe7bab796055ea7590c13.jpg here is my final test before deciding which of two routes.  I used Turbocad to accurately lay out the stations and then set that over the downloaded deck framing plan.   Not surprisingly it has some oddities that I would agree with Allan are stretching and other aspects of digitizing old drawings as opposed to the models they created that are most likely perfect. At the bottom of the drawing are the green and read frame located off the vertical frame elevation drawing I talked about in an earlier post.


So, in the end I have determined to use the downloaded framing location plan.  My skill level is not up any of these conclusions to make much difference. My decision, however allows skipping a step of recreating the frame plan.   My getting into this issue is not because I think my model will be or even look different, it is just my joy of learning.  I plan to use the frame layout in the Park Service drawings and giggle the offsets a little as I make up the intermediate frame drawings. That means most frames and gaps are indeed ¼”.  Several, especially forward, will be 3/16” gaps to make the math work.    Following the lead of the Allan, I will then overcut every frame and buy more sandpaper to make things right. If I end up with kindling that is fine too.


So first up let us build the jig and set up production.


I have read in recent logs that 1/8th Masonite is too flimsy.  Right next to it at Home Depot is ¼” MDF so I decided to give it a go.

13 1546530375_em-13CCC_3277.jpg.1c5e2ab2a43a2c305ea2d86dc7919901.jpghere I have taken the deck level framing plan and adhered it to the MDF on two pieces, so the step up can be facilitated


14 1956862537_em-14CCC_3278.jpg.0bda1ebf1bdd234cf7fdc3161a010990.jpgHere I have adjusted one sheet under the other for the step at frame 24.


151830556014_em-15CCC_3280.jpg.529a8d4c8e03910af4f4cc3eb2563b38.jpg I little cut out on the band saw with some help on the points by chisel or scroll saw on the transom and we are ready to go.  I assume I will need to notch for the bow stem but leave that for now.  I plan to use ¼ or 3/16” shims between the frames to keep them properly spaced, so I have lines but no notches at the top of the jig.    If I can install interior deck beam shelves [ the new design I will share in another post], that should make everything strong enough to lift out and then do some serious fairing



16 1069869691_em-16CCC_3272.jpg.da6a9b0dce0cefe06375a30c5b6e27e0.jpgI am bragging that this new project got me a new thickness sander.   So first a little learning curve and then we can make our own lumber.  The first plank was touch and go but I learned to shorten up the wood and all went well. I need an arrow to remember which way the screw nob tightens for consecutive passes.


17 em-17.jpg.8b753839f485d9629a5530c254845b48.jpgThe first frame is #8.  As I said I am making a frame drawing at each station. Whether it goes at, just fore or aft of, or even one-half space away, it really is close.


18651357572_em-18CCC_3274.jpg.a949752d8b807ee86e01f238d9fce759.jpg Here we are glued up and ready to cut out  


19 1342070751_em-19CCC_3276.jpg.ec590159e03666f7244fd35ab43627c3.jpgthe second one always goes easier



20 1812677859_em-20CCC_3281.jpg.c8e543473377eee64041617e91644fcf.jpghere we are with most things ready.  There seem to be several tasks. i prefer to move around and do some of each task each day, I can work on this project for as little as 15 minutes or all morning. Some people work one task until it is all done then do all the next task.  I like to do a little of each task and move on.



21em-21.jpg.800901d33964ef7456267946b6f0322b.jpg from the other end we see the work table coming along

On the table we have

a.       2 strips of ripped poplar roughly 5/32 by ¾ by 8 feet

b.       3 short strips from former ripped stock finished in the thickness sander for 1/8 thickness

c.       The jig all screwed together with posts set to have the top of the drawing of the deck section correctly set above the keel

d.       Two rough cut frames set in close to where they go

e.       Two more frames ready to cut out

f.        The Keelson and stem components ready to go in after the center frames are in place.

g.       The computer in the next room waiting for me to draw the next frames to manufacture

h.       The keel waiting to be properly aligned and secured.  


I think I have some more planning like how to attach forward frame 1-7 to the keelson and stem.  Do I rout out a slot or glue and pin? then how to make trunnions for the frames to strengthen them and for looks on those that will be visible. 


All for now we have got to make more sawdust 

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Post 4


Early frame production


First up we need to complete preparing the keel to receive the frames. As I posted earlier, I made this assembly up using maple, then chose to use the park service drawings for all layout. Hopefully, the section frame placement will agree with the deck plan view with all the frames.  I highlight the stations as that is my control and tool for if, or when, a compromise is needed.  


221552424120_em-22CCC_3283.jpg.73e5099dea8bf67a0b6f4c0132c2ed22.jpg here the parts are laid out on the section drawing for marking.


Now back to Turbo cad to draw each frame.  


23 2096310788_em-23tickmarksandframsta6.2crop.jpg.f0e0ca0938e50eadb248460d2ccdf4b1.jpgthe first ones I chose are in the mid-section and they are the straightest.  Between stations 6 to 7 there are four frames, so I measured each offset and then set tick marks at 20% of the distance. They are all on layer for station 6, so they do not show on the printouts for each mid frame. This view is the first completed  frame 18 using the ticks between sta 6 and sat 7

2461933872_em-24sta6.2fr17crop.jpg.b5ef7272d0fbec49929c4f81a0a68398.jpg here is the first frame drawn and the layer for the control station is turned off.  the red line is outside of the planks and the blue lines the theoretical 6 inch frame at the center point.  I cut outside the pland and a little insid so as the beveling takes place I have enough wood to shave off.  so far so good only one frame the sander got a way from me.  I am sure there will be more. 

251622371496_em-25CCC_3284.jpg.4abf0597d7d40a1e4e7e0b30bac4394e.jpg with this method, I can draw two frames in about a half hour.  Then on the assembly bench I can make up the pattern for two frames at a time. That is do a little, go away and let glue dry then do more go away for glue to dry.  

26189150867_em-26DSC_0708.jpg.4760b4d366ee07d0dc655934c765dbab.jpg I tried using my spindle sander for the insides. It is aggressive, so after two tries I retired it. A cordless Dremel does the inside just fine. It is important as there is a slight bevel to the insides, so the surface of the frame is parallel to the planking. 

27 1656379245_em-27DSC_0709.jpg.111a2077c653ce0fb4481218d6055b39.jpghere is my old trusty friend. It too is overly aggressive. I just use 220 grit paper on it and the poplar seems to be OK.  I tilt the table for the angle of the planking and so far, that outer bevel is not hard to match.


28   1189052574_em-28CCC_3287.jpg.29de40fb191072d38e0f55ceb12bf39c.jpgA lesson learned. For some reason I had a little contact cement left over from a copper tape job and foolishly used it to glue the paper to the wood.  Several minutes of acetone and rubbing and even some sanding to get rid of it.  I now use wax rub on glue like the kids do it.  It comes loose sometimes but is much better.


29 2100994990_em-29DSC_0715.jpg.62715977c0e8ae464b5c790b9accfd0d.jpghere I am drilling and using copper wire for the trunnels. There are 14 or 18 on each of 44 frames and most will not be seen, so I am not going to learn how to do bamboo on this build for the frames anyway. I will replenish some blackening stuff and cue tip them before I am done. i also need to decide what to finish if any goes on the frames. The poplar is pretty plain and a little warm tongue oil might be good.


30 2083288951_em-30DSC_0711.jpg.5a55796468c20db93b963bdab3389a57.jpgI plan to get a whole bunch ready for the mid-section and then stop and get them in. the frames are sticking up above the deck, to be removed. On this schooner the stanchions are not extensions of half frames but separate members in between the frames.. I will add temporary planks outside in inside to support the frames until all fairing and sufficient planks and deck shelving are in place.  The ¼" thickness of the deck level jig worries me a bit, so I hope it works the way I plan it. The double deck beam shelves go exactly where the frame is located.  Maybe that is OK…we will see.


31 429227495_em-31CCC_3285.jpg.b7718ec2f6cd591443bf275402451b3d.jpghere we see about ten frames resting in place waited for their companions.


All for now


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Post 5


First frames are in!


My first goal is to complete the frames from station number 7 to 41.  That completes what one might call the normal ones.   After that potential small victory,  I need to get more creative in my understanding of how to draw, make and attach them.  As to what I am doing now, using the park service drawings is to set up the irregularity of the spacing. So far all is fine.   Moving aft of station 7, however things change.


32 1557874667_em-32tickmarksfor7_2to7.8.jpg.2ab5e114e976ad73792539d79bc67d58.jpgI quickly realized that simply using a grid to lay out tick marks works fine on the center section, but as the curves get tighter and even reverse a bit we need a different approach.  My trial and error approach became apparent here.  The tracing line of the station is a polyline. That means many straight lines that allow offsetting needed for the other frame lines.   To get the 3 or 4 frames in between two polylines to follow the curves I needed to forget about the vertical and horizontal grid and draw lines connecting the points of the two adjacent stations.  Then do the measurement and offsetting for the spacing. I realize this is not orthodox.

33 1182498036_em-33offsetcalssta8to11.jpg.931c5d1a99fa9a733770410b9d570198.jpg

stations 8 through 11 are interesting because frames straddle these station lines.  Thus station 8 drawing makes up two frames since the difference is something I could never measure[ say max of .020]. I called one plus and the other minus, but that just to refers to anticipated sanding.   That conclusion meant the number for frames between stations drops to three so the calculation of the tick mark offset’s changes.   Using simple math of the 2.5 inch spacing I can figure the offsets to use rounded %.  I did this going back and forth between excel on one screen and turbocad on the other screen.


34 274257014_em-34angletickssta8-9.jpg.5e406e1e6b2e64b978223e4b5a77b83f.jpg  going between station 8 and 9 I never used the horizontal grid for the offsets.  


I add this lesson into my trial and error learning approach because I was taught that all frames that are lofted are given offsets that are based on a simple grid.   Since I am not using French curves to draw the lines in a simple 2D Turbo cad I needed to go away from that principal. I tried to use the spline function for the lines and that may be the answer. The problem I had there was one can does not draw offset lines of splines [ at least I don’t know how]


Enough of that talk back to wood


35511717302_em-35CCC_3286.jpg.7fd6dc3b65efb106d5a23f4e094d0822.jpg here we have the planned production line.  The four steps as mentioned before.  If I did not have all those things that come with life, I could probably do four of these a day.  Alas life moves on and I try to stay at one a day on average.  


36 825030202_em-36CCC_3349.jpg.5704d9c8bebecec55848922fe1c1f3e0.jpghere we built up to twelve frames, so I thought I should glue some in.


37 1225531560_em-37CCC_3350.jpg.dc1194955ecdb754e8b9e5cb8ff94eaf.jpghere we see, I believe, good enough lines to square up the frames


38 867401532_em-38DSC_0717.jpg.3985d49308e42fb0f7e7f5b8340f0f89.jpgOh well, wouldn’t you know it?  The second one to go in did not have pins, so we delay again to go over the fab table and put pins in place.


39 1101837430_em-39CCC_3352.jpg.0e278be42c6f5f7980ad3e402734e5f1.jpg  finally I glued in the first four frame in place.


40 425538972_em-40DSC_0720.jpg.399659ae9f10ac1ee923102277f610b1.jpg  here we see the temporary plank above the deck held by backer blocks. I needed a few shims to hold the frame as straight as I could.  

I think it’s time for wee dram



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Post 6


LESSON LEARNED. Frames may need more that three points of contact


I do this short post as I am about to be invaded by family and other activities will abound.  I gained even more respect for those builder who already know how to make frames and end up with a fair hull.   It was just a few days ago when I thought I was moving along with the bottom of the frame on the keel and the tops at the deck.   Oops.  One also needs to check about halfway up to see how we are doing as to fairing.



411781499121_EM-41DSC_0724.jpg.b75818c9b6fe00f640f2e8c28836ceba.jpg here we see with the shadows, the identified frame, recently installed, is low on the sides.  If I just went at it sanding, I would end up with a very thin frame.


42459154070_EM-42DSC_0725.jpg.c5fe76181ab5c42dc184e9cf43d39080.jpg I cut loose the top glued joints and then was able to apply just a little upward pressure to hold the frame flush with the plank and reclamp the frame to the reglued top joint. 


43 EM-43DSC_0726.jpg.ece2a68877ddabaca1527840f8001e3f.jpgthis Lesson that an additional process of also checking in the middle of the frame is now SOP moving forward.  A few extra clamps and we are off to the races.


44   516928769_EM-44CCC_3353.jpg.99a03e7e0bc38722e5efe3ecdda10029.jpgnow that we have shrinking frames looking forward there is a hint that this could be a schooner. I plan to get ail the straight frames in and set the keelson before moving all the way forward.


We all get diverted in other projects.  I share my recent diversion as it is indeed a type of a model boat


45834418051_EM-45CCC_3354.jpg.6aed0adc2e2b439b43fe795e7fe42fc2.jpg here is a new house sign I made this week. The half model is a rough version of our real boat.  The house number will go on the sail and the names on the sides.  I was informed that my choice of fonts for the names has been rejected, so it will be a bit before we can hang the sign up. Maybe I should drill holes in the portlights and add LED lights.


All for now

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Post 6

This frame building really is harder than I thought to get it right


One of the fun parts of these builds is to accomplish a new skill then move along more quickly and find it is not that easy, here comes another oops.    I figure that trial and error is a painful trip at times but what the heck, nothing ventured nothing gained

I got invaded with family this week and they wanted to see what was new in the new shop

  • 46591739701_em-46CCC_3362.jpg.c57903d2b6e059becab6ee58f73adba9.jpg my son wanted to see what a thickness sander is all about. Here I sent a previously milled boards through to smooth the surface.  


  • 47 482017040_em-47gCCC_3356.jpg.6fb8185aa71201529c06b3502b641676.jpgI showed off my first supply of recently milled planks as i get ready to build the interior framing and planking. I passed the test, he said that’s OK.  


  • 48739292666_em-48hereweareplayingsithCCC_3366.jpg.385d83a2a090931a05b5459f4c298903.jpghere I am dry fitting the planking and potential thicker shelf. I will get a bigger supply and then rip them down to the proper width.    

Now family have left I have looked things over and found a few more complications I need to address before moving on beyond all those frames in the middle.  


  • 49793021076_em-49CCC_3371.jpg.4f73956d101b0fcb3ac63088b4fd1639.jpg for the next series of frame, I need to get the keelson and full stem in place and figure out how to hold them in place.


  • 50 1927113840_em-50DSC_0727.jpg.98146f9f8f0a19c85bdf8c18937093b0.jpgwhile showing off, I set the next rough cut frames 32 to 36 in place and rested the keelson on top.


  • 51 610120712_em-51frame31.jpg.f55ffc4b2de60492b0de3561116a636f.jpghere we see a problem.  Frame 31 was made by simply making two frames using station 9.  Frame 30 and 31 straddle this line.   It didn’t work. I need to make a new 31 with enough inside meat to allow sanding inward to make the curve more fair

What comes next up forward. I have been playing around thinking about how to go forward. 

  • 52 1360055162_em-52DSC_0729.jpg.91761f695cbd1eb85e631d3f46539a7e.jpgHere we see the assemblies loose fitted keel and stem.  frame 7 is in place just behind the stem.  Frame 6 set on top of the keelson needs to be cut to come into he keelson and stem.  Slotting of the assembly is going to be needed.


  • 53 226986389_em-53DSC_0728.jpg.cc2b4c94957fe8abbad9a8e753cace3f.jpglooking down at frame 6 we see the challenge is coming.  I need to make 5 more frames. On a bulkhead build, I just need a block to carve out.  oh well we shall see how I do



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  • 2 weeks later...

Post 7


The bow and stern part 1 …..I hope

I want to write for memory my trial and error process of figuring out the bow and stern structures and then trying to put them together. I am working on both at the same time. That is why I see 2 or three posts to get through this stage.  I may be an optimist


The bow


I believe the name for the line of my challenge is the bearding line. The plans nicely provide it, but the lines on the scanned drawings do not line up from one that shows the line to the other that shows the frame.    I marked it the best I could. 

  • 54 2112471299_em-54BOWPROFILEBEARDING.thumb.jpg.107988a02ebac65c6d976205dcab8df5.jpghere we see the review of the line.    I have set up a table of offsets projecting from the line drawings where each frame hits the keel or stem as the bottom of the frame rests above the table.  Presumably, that is where at the center of the frame will meet the bearding line.  I love sandpaper if it doesn’t quite make it.
  • 55 2101075241_em-5500016a(1)croppedbowframered.thumb.jpg.225dfa61da08a9a9dbd5d880ead54349.jpgthe model drawing is the guide to compare against the drawings to figure out what to do. There are a few areas where the plans and sections do not agree, and this model varies a bit too.  The location of frame one is clear here but unclear on the other documents.   I am going to try to follow this one, as it makes the best sense. I must guess a bit about the lower deck framing that is missing from all but the two cross sections.
  • 56  1777720131_em-56DDD_0007.jpg.4dc7080951d6b6c7eaf5d87ebd69c972.jpgnext up we have frames 1-6 to split and figure out how to align to the stem
  • 57 535445289_em-57DSC_0731.jpg.1124e760eae70ccd84a0d4ccf50e0b80.jpgI went through and morticed the center frame to receive the first 6 frames. I also precut a rabbit line.  It will likely get enlarged a bit after we are out of the jig and upside down. I probably should have cut the keel before starting
  • 58379199351_em-58DSC_0733.jpg.b9067d351dfcaa277045717bf586fbc6.jpg here we are dry fitting the first two split frames number 6 and 5
  • 59 1606484957_em-59DDD_0009(2).jpg.0c167e00bc431202ca3378fba75e2b0d.jpgI am learning every day.  See the pencil line showing roughly what needs to be taken off the inside of frame 6  .  I should do this check before cutting.  I have already replaced two frame and fear as I go through and fair the inside there will be more frames I need to replace too.




The stern

I need to choose where to slice the frames in two and to attach them only to the sides of the center structure. For four  frames 36, 37,38 and 39 I slit the center structure and fit in the frame. This choice may have deviated from reality, but it may improve strength for a model where the result does not show.  I prefer to do it right but let us see where we go with this. 

  • 60 1398618121_em-6000017a(1)cropsternred.thumb.jpg.a69221d5ab7c8251cdd7fb97b3f1bbf4.jpghere again is a cropped model of the stern framing.   I will get to that part after I compete the frames that go to the keel. The one frame #42 in this assembly comes later too.


  • 61388868852_em-61DDD_0002.jpg.4c285940b5bc35f55ad792aaaab346bb.jpg here we are at the end of the basic frames.  Now each one needs to be set based off the framing and beard line offset sheet.
  • 62 989402557_em-62DDD_0003.jpg.fec3b6fce4a5bbe367f7fd5dceca4ad3.jpgto continue I thought it important to start stretching simulated interior planks to see that I am going to be able to fair this out and still have 6-inch frames.  Here where the pencil is showing frame 32 won’t work.  I made frame 31 and 32 off the same template that represented the station that split these frames.  It did not work, so off we go for a replacement frame to have enough meat to fair into the companions
  • 63 em-63DSC_0732.jpg.a55da143b71e80011bb849390b415aa3.jpghere frame 40 is being dry fit in a mortise.  we can also see the slots I cut for the  frames 36 to 39.   I did this to maintain strength
  • 64 773923165_em-64DDD_0008.jpg.3890a8c93d482deb6fa56c5b5f114a12.jpgHere we see from above
  • 65 1053445174_em-65DSC_0734.jpg.9196b1a813d2ca9fd34530b6ecc97dff.jpghere all the frames through 41 [ one side only] are dry fit. 
  • 66 766807366_em-66DDD_0010.jpg.36eb8f2466d15e7cdfbc9e4c1eedf867.jpghere we see from above
  • 67 1103022750_em-67DDD_0005.jpg.2e6c78b95aef77724f9c5750ab286471.jpgtwo frames need to be replaced.  41 broke one side and one side of 3 is clearly too small to fair.
  • 68 1681165743_em-68DDD_0011.jpg.a8bbac8bbfc2cc3f0ee0f612138746ef.jpghere  we find a possible frame 38 that may need to be rebuilt to better also fairing into its companions, I will extend some planks out and in to see if it can be adjusted and not replaced.

All for now


em-62 DDD_0004.jpg

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Post 8


Visit to EM in 2016


Now that I am looking how to build out the stern, I have revisited the photos I took on site in the summer of 2016.  Perhaps I should call that visit the beginning of this build.  I was there fully occupied with other builds and mid summer sailing season, but it should have been more obvious to me that one day I would return to this wonderful schooner.  The issue at the time was also that I was far away from considering plank on frame and I have Bluenose underway etc.


So here we are, it is July 2016 and the Downeast Shipmodelers Guild traveled to see the ‘Little Morrissey’ as the old skipper Bob Bartlett called her.



  • 69 1324735694_em-69DSC_0408.jpg.3e6769cbf429a501cbd85d097f19eaae.jpghere we are where the mid section around the main mast has been removed and set up with staging to set most of the new frames.


  • 70564504418_em-70DSC_0409.jpg.e342af12f74007e53d1ab1f472ce5c5e.jpg looking forward we see the clean cut through the old schooner with her forward section waiting its turn.


  • 71 1534731046_em-71DSC_0410.jpg.d4493bad2609e9b40ef562103c2ab360.jpgthe frames are magnificent.  The crew developed and way to control a chain saw to cut the various bevels in an efficient way.


  • 72 1449222089_em-72DSC_0411.jpg.569c33caa93df7fdc2458318c0160b6d.jpghere is what will guide me as I figure out how I can build the stern section.  Note the grey bolted member to receive the split frame.  That is not on the drawings but may make it easier to model. We’ll see.


  • 73 1800563833_em-73DSC_0412.jpg.4dcdb95fe29a379c0aebf97bf5ff2d49.jpghere we see where the frame start raising up the rider keelson [ or perhaps here it is the deadwood.


  • 74645171658_em-74DSC_0413.jpg.fee9d62ba1ba84edd77bf97c5d638176.jpgI remember being impressed at the outward sweep of the frames.


  • 75 2124785122_em-75DSC_0414.jpg.f339bb2468d9b6b9d0713c58d5573fba.jpgthe ballast is four long steel sections bolted into the keel.  I wish I had reviewed this photo before I got this far.  See the significance of the bevel that ends up being the rabbit.


  • 76 2108412855_em-76DSC_0416.jpg.93c85d66bfffc5462648d62b89cd2b73.jpgwhen I did a few serious renovations in my career we would penetrate a masonry wall and place steel beams through to support loads as we redid work underneath.  We called them needle beams.  Here the forward section of the hull is supported on needle beams as the keel was cut away and the new keel and ballast laid in place.


  • 77 1285227590_em-77DSC_0418.jpg.0bd0d41b3d59858e75770fdd1644c844.jpghere is our mighty crew of modelers listening to Ross Branch. He was the shipwright foreman in those days and is now the operation manager of the yard. A great resource.


  • 78 1547071154_em-78DSC_0420.jpg.68bfda63b6ce780db10f6327fb0e7c00.jpghere is the old bow. All the temporary supports are clearly visible here.


  • 79 260948183_em-79DSC_0423.jpg.6625cc4f92d094affa921e42ee5eb22f.jpgthe masts are laid aside.  this is important to remember if I go the diorama route.


  • 80 931815421_em-80DSC_0424.jpg.d85bcfbd5677a523d1e9f9d745f45f30.jpghere is view that shows the supports. 


  • 81 1903389006_em-81DSC_0425.jpg.3997d44531b342a62de0da480cff8e14.jpglooking aft on the starboard side we again see the extreme outward sweep of the Gloucester schooner fame.


  • 821075057412_em-82DSC_0427.jpg.cdb6c6dc34bcc08fa32cda20776bc6b9.jpg finally looking aft from starboard we can visualize the scale of the effort to reframe this whole schooner.

these photos are worth many drawings, but they also add questions.  and as they say the search goes on and on. 

I posted this today as I am getting ready to figure out the stern.  I was on board the EM yesterday and took many more photos, but they are for a much more complete view of the innards. 


Now back to work




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Post 9


Bow and stern part 2 of more


I was right.  I was too optimistic that I would figure this out and move along. The bow is sort of straight forward.  I will be able I believe to get it close.  The stern, well that is another matter.   The writing of this post helps me pull together my scattered thoughts and seek a direction to get through the next challenge.  How to build a stern frame that reflects the recent rebuild and keeps the shape.    We’ll see how this goes.


I mentioned my recent revisits to the real schooner this week. I was able to spend the lunch hour while all the crew were at lunch wandering through the innards and took my time to photo what is my record and basis to build this frame.  I am thinking more and more that this build will indeed become another diorama of the rebuild, so I will need to have some of this work visible and I need to have it close to right.


I start this diversion with three subjects and will share a few of my photos. the issues are

1.       What is the new clamp and shelf combination that eliminated the myriad of knees and has been used that is different from original design? The reason I do this now is I realized I need to get this part done to extend the necessary frame controlling elements aft to align the stern.

2.       How is the bottom inside finished including the mast steps? This area is affecting the work going aft, and I need to be sure things are ending up in the right place.  It also affected the bow as I found the rider keelson goes all the way forward as does the concreted inner base. Worse I found the after section that is empty on the drawings as the keelson rides above the frames is not totally correct.  

3.       Get the bow and midsection down to set up aligning the stern.


1 How and where the deck attaches to the hull

  • 832101098387_em-83CCC_3126.jpg.a234d799e8b8eaac09badc70546ce34c.jpg here we see the lower gray stringers [ 3-inch-thick inner planks in lieu of ceiling] that go at the turn of the hull. Above them acting and are the clamps are two more. A 6-inch larger clamp rests below the 9 inch shelf. This assembly is for the forward section of the deck
  • 84 521619111_em-84CCC_3138.jpg.76cb4b7a63fe03c4173b67ffdbfdbcbb.jpgthis is the transition at the step up on deck, it is a raised shelf on spacers to get up the one-foot rise.  The photo is further confirmation of the 9-inch nominal size of the keep shelf members. We are in the main hold.
  • 85 184989077_em-85CCC_3130.jpg.3f07f9e4246d999d7504ac3454475fd7.jpglooking at the bulkhead in the last picture we confirm then end of the doubling of the shelve. We ae now in the engine room looking forward at the same bulkhead. These clamps and shelves need to extent aft for the right alignment of the aft frames

2 how does the bottom inside finish

  • 86 1807485958_em-86belowgalleylookaft.jpg.0aeaffb41a5a59d618e311f197215fd6.jpgTrying to pull together what happens at the mast step involved learning about a lot of things that go on in the bottom of the hull. We are forward of the main mast looking down.  What we learn there are 6x6 beams on every other frame resting on the continuous keelson.  We also see the concrete ballast that comes up partway on the keelson.   [ about three inches exposed here]    under the lower deck we see another of the beams and parallel to the keelson a member bolted to the side creating the needed dimension for the main mast step. 
  • 872059873896_em-87belowgalleylookforward.jpg.652b782a166fef6fdcb50940e2aebe10.jpg looking forward at the same area we can better see some of the details


  •  881317286046_em-88DDD_0039.jpg.1f8964c5a18bd69b0702955f0f4c62e6.jpg Looking at the mast bottom we can assume there is a tenon on the keelson between the members to receive the mast


3  So let’s try progressing using this information and get ready to start the stern

  • 89 em-89.jpg.ed42f11a92b53f99c4d70284706c39c6.jpgfitting in the bow stem at the bow seemed to be going well
  • 90 1579087952_em-90DDD_0014.jpg.e52c4cf8fceee355510e1ba266b98ba3.jpghere were doing a glue up
  • 91 206989009_em-91DDD_0016.jpg.37e3b7171edc8bbf7c3729ed33ee58f3.jpghere we are using the plans to build out what we thought was the stern structure.  On the drawing I was inventing frames that were shown on the deck plan but not the frame drawings.


  • 92380261364_em-92DDD_0017.jpg.cbb72d0940f023cf1e51a3733614d63e.jpgtime to get the shelf in place.


  • 93 3974970_em-93DDD_0018.jpg.755963cd2d692222991b3785f3ce4c32.jpgI made up a bunch of blank deck beams.  there are more sizes to make s but a start.


  • 94em-94.jpg.39afecbe735d521f0107c86be4f014fc.jpg I needed top put in the clamps so I could extend them aft for better alignment at the step up.


  • 95 1983901702_em-95DDD_0120.jpg.6bec1ec3241426c938b26eb5ce5b9af2.jpgi added to the forward keelson to maintain the level through out. this is shown on all the model arrangement drawings but not the framing plan.   
  • 96 2144818999_em-96DDD_0122.jpg.8440507fb80a05fe48971304ba5e43d3.jpgnow the test.  I rested some 6 inch beams on the added forward keelson and allowing for the rise to the lower deck we have the right clearance to the underside of the beam. 


Now my next oops

  • 97 515802560_em-97DDD_0128.jpg.0bd500d8775e4964e0a3caac2ce788f5.jpg setting the bow frames. I went too quick,. the three frames are clearly too high.  As a result of this error I got a lower step stool to sit on for a better view when working this low.  That’s right blame the tool.


  • 98 2032105450_em-98DDD_0130.jpg.313ca679d6c27a94dcbe83828797054d.jpgon the mend. 


Next up I will try to set up the stern

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Post 10


First attempt to frame the stern


This post is a saga of trial and error then ended is a good lesson.  Starting off I used the 2008 park service plans for the transition through the aft section of the keelson and rider to the vertical deadwood that was modified for the added propeller many years ago.  I then checked by looking as best as I could at the innards of the transom framing on site of the current rebuild.


  • 991148635585_em-99DDD_0062.jpg.ccc68a38ae0554436134625b8142996e.jpg here as we look down the hatch near the rudder post and see a frame notched out to rest on a major 6x6 member that goes aft from either side of the dead wood.


  • 100 1523099458_em-100DDD_0094.jpg.04e9f6bc463cc02c47457b6d631d8a0a.jpghere is a better view of the two main members headed aft up to the transom.


  • With all this information available off I went.


  • 101 213667863_em-101DDD_0119.jpg.8893ef0abde7e7cafd7a662bb7a67246.jpghere are all the parts.   The deadwood assembly at this time is only what was shown on the plan.


  • 102 1093395081_em-102DDD_0121.jpg.6b23be0236c0baaaaca36df10fec3417.jpghere I have set the deadwood as is and frames 36-38 are in place as discussed before with notches.

I was having trouble visualizing elevation so with a little study I added the deck frame members to the top of the dead wood.  Also as pointed out in the visit of 2016 I added the “gray’ member doubling the deadwood to receive the three frames 42-44

  • 1032035611876_em-103DDD_0123.jpg.abcc0ea72f1bc698a7a6d3664d785bfc.jpg the assembly is reinstalled.


  • 104 1966320338_em-104DDD_0124.jpg.276ead7bce5e75cc875b692828a4f876.jpghere from the side we can see I copied the member from the drawings.  I was incredibly happy the top of it aligned nicely 5/8 of an inch above the projected deck frame elevation.   yippee   


  • 105 1291769905_em-105DDD_0125.jpg.4fda2e4b826a2eab362232fd0db1e429.jpgnow a dry fit of all the frames. I have split them and accounted for the thicker center assembly.


  • 106 392154329_em-106DDD_0126.jpg.eecb897b86512d9d4fcd69b90359ab6d.jpgfrom below I am disappointed with the setting of the two frames 38 and 39 that I notched into the keelson.


  • 107 1176706517_em-107DDD_0129.jpg.244aba7ec44c01f22399bda71ba4876c.jpgmore adjustments, cut out frame sand clean and reglue into position hoping it fits.


  • 108  em-108.jpg.45ddde82d7a5c863804f175d5d88cce5.jpgnope we are not going to get there.  I take out the offending frames.


  • 109  1687657552_em-109DDD_0132.jpg.ec6380620406fce446799d175c4915ec.jpgit still won’t work and I take out the assembly. Something extremely basic is wrong.



I went back and relooked at the visitation pictures from 2016.  That is when I made the recent posting.  This is the issue that got me there.  The solution is at hand


  • 110 102698106_em-110DSC_0411.jpg.3a5619f6ae29c3a5f7bf6831ce394095.jpgthis is same picture I showed before in the visit page.   The design of the framing around the big hole for the propeller answers all my questions from the 2008 plans.  The keel is fully built up higher and more complete to fit the frames.   Thank you.


  • 111   1848749429_em-111DDD_0133.jpg.63710dbe16febb8a8e4f3166fa013512.jpgthere I have cut out the offending members and will start from there to fix it.  


Two steps back but I feel better already.

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Thank you for kind words  I appreciate your comments. Yes my focus is typically to try to get it right, I know that sometimes it  means scratches or bumpy paint and stuff, but is is a joy to learn how these schooners were built and how they worked. thanks for any advice along the way.


DDD_0020.jpg.05fdbdf8120bd6728307c435bffcbc3a.jpg  I was on site last week when Gleam, easy to google, came up the car and was moved into a building to be refit. She is a 1937 12 meter from Newport RI.  Ernestina is on  the main railway. this second railway in the photo  brought up Bowdoin a few years back and she was a joy to study and model as she was replanked in the same building .  Gleam apparently will get new planks this winter.  



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Post 11


What color is right


I have progressed with the rebuild of the stern, but before I take this log there, I came to another big issue.  It involves the process to determine what I am trying to model and therefore what color should the components be. I realized before I carried on with gluing in the frame that it will be exceedingly difficult to color parts after assembly and I need to consider what to do before installing.


First question is what am I building


1.       If I am going to build a schooner ready to launch, I need not worry about the innards. In fact, I can relax when I get to planking because putty and paint are friends.  However if that is what I am doing, why did I not just build the hull with bulkheads.  I would be on deck by now.    This version is out

2.       If I am going to build a masterpiece of art representing the structure, I should have used box wood or swiss pear and walnut and plan on Alaskan yellow cedar etc and perhaps tung oil if not wax. Anyone who has seen my work knows that is not in my wheelhouse, so this version is out.  I am about trying to make it right, she will unfortunately not become a masterpiece but hopefully a learning tool as we try to record what we can of the history of Maine shipbuilding.

3.       If I am going to build a diorama showing some stage of the work, there are many decisions.   As of now, and considering my recent builds, I am leaning in that direction. the huge 120 x 40 foot car on the railway is something in itself.  much to ponder but that is what winter is for,


Therefore, as a partial built craft, I need to take what photos I have and more if needed to understand what is the wood, and what was its color as milled and fastened, and then how has it been treated thus far and ultimately what will it get.     To that end I have taken some photos and went to the site this week to review with Ross Branch what materials were used and got myself ready to choose.   So here we go on what is there at an intermediate stage of construction where:


  1. The structure is affectively complete and coated if indeed to be coated. [ mid cabin posts are still natural].  The frame itself is oak with linseed oil combination that blackens, though some are clearly less affected .
  2. Some members of the structure are painted.  The clamps shelves and stringers by example.   The undercoat seems to be universally gray.
  3. The deck is Douglas fir and will be partially in place to see through to the structure.    Some of the deck natural and some as treated [maybe?]
  4. Waterways stanchions etc. were all Douglas fir. Quite reddish in hue before treatment.
  5. Planking was golden European oak, some to be on, one side more than the other, but one must be able to see inside [ or what is the point?] 
  6. Planking is natural until painting.  Caulking was white filler then black pitch [ bitumen] before painting.

lets look at some photos:

  • 1121656866569_em-112DDD_0081.jpg.6a23bd1abb74cfceba35cbcd32151b2d.jpg this image shows several things; the lower part of the frames and the keelson are very dark. The 6x6 beams resting on the keelson are lighter. The vertical posts are natural. the concrete is dark gray but granular. the most recent framing would not be there at the time of this scene.


  • 113 em-113.jpg.cc3b3ea6c7d06f885cfe9765e56156c0.jpghere on deck we see the reddish tint to the waterway. the untreated deck was the same but has the linseed oil that has blackened considerably.  another photo show the painted out stanchions.   


  • 114 em-114.jpg.1a6d0e318a9684ed6dde87a224b0c734.jpghere the planking, a golden oak, has the first part of caulking that is white.


  • 115 1863585919_em-115BBB_2521.jpg.21627e12547a1c0546454d3c8b85cc59.jpghere the final black bitumen was applied shortly before painting. 


  • 116 9946870_em-116DDD_0060.jpg.d4f1222896a29eeb8bf9126de83f7430.jpglooking at the stern framing we see key members are painted.  The rudder enclosure [ part of the deadwood] and members headed aft.  Also see in Photo 111. These need to be painted before assembly, almost a serious oops as i glued them n last week.

Now we need to figure out how we plan to do colors. Gray paint ; I usually use acrylics are they are easy to use and give a flat finish. Also they are easy to scrape off if I am all thumbs.


  • 1172139716486_em-117DDD_0150.jpg.a9117f1857684841e7072eb498ca0c29.jpg here I have taken out my weapons of choice. Five stains and tung oil. I then took two samples of poplar and for the dark co9lors maple and applied the stains.  On the lower samples there is also a coat of tung oil


  • 118 1642478241_em-118DDD_0151.jpg.7c7fbebfd13f7b8587a3e46c45655d74.jpgworking right to left we have plain, Ipswich pine, cheery, special walnut, gunstock, and dark walnut.  There is no apparent change with the tung oil and that is good. I like to add it at is stabilizes the stain finish and makes it easier to clean.  I will have a difficult time if I choose to add concrete. It will be some type of paste that I need to be able to remove from nearby members

I cannot go much further without getting these things done.  I know there is more fairing to do, but that is just an issue.   Also I need to figure how to get all the pencil marks out. And because this is me building this, glue is apparent and will impact me some.


I believe for a start, the darker frame members will get dark walnut, and the others special walnut.  Of course, gray gets grey, so I need to divert and prep for painting the inside at least. I believe this weakens the glue value for tight bond but not painting the members now is worse.   In fact, what do I do about the back side of the clamps and sheves already installed?  Something to ponder.  I think I will cover those with planks and avoid the issue.  Yes I need to think about what to cover and what to leave if one is to see inside.


All for now

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Post 12


Figure out the ends ..almost


Before moving to the staining and painting I needed to at least figure out both ends.  I think I am almost there


The bow


  • 119 1313062269_em-119DDD_0141.jpg.f706b7ef6602657f69936e839e48ca21.jpgI have reset all the frames. There is enough material for Mr. sandpaper to fix us up when we get out of the jig.
  • 120 266746951_em-120DDD_0140.jpg.2d920d10ca519d6e4f4d38fe1e5b9109.jpg looking down at the deck.  How best do is how the forward lazarette.
  • 121 950248284_em-121DDD_0106.jpg.4dfd989a6cd19b02d26cf186443e01c7.jpg looking down through the forward lazarette we see several interesting details.  The dark colored frame the medium dark cherry colored  hook, the concrete and the inside of the golden oak planking. Something to think about


The stern

  • 122 1358902240_em-122DDD_0134.jpg.1acb26ce67abe33c6572863e43c14aa4.jpg I rebuilt the dead wood assembly more like the photo.
  • 123754855500_em-123DDD_0135.jpg.5c40be37a186a8db2bc9b944a5326522.jpg here from the side.
  • 124922765706_em-124DDD_0136.jpg.3ce6c29c672d12e6c7e6e01ebba95c53.jpg I reset the frames 42-44.
  • 12594390031_em-125DDD_0137.jpg.0406339fbac5d95d0bbcdc7012fa6e84.jpg here from the side we see we are getting a better fit.
  • 1261472459121_em-126DDD_0138.jpg.279a08b80cbc0e45e538f514f565aede.jpg from the end we see what we have yet to figure out.  How to build the transom.  Ross told me there is a frame in the shape of the transom that creates the flat portion. Now I need to figure out how to make that shape considering the limited drawing information. I think a little trigonometry is required
  • 1272038611161_em-127DDD_0145.jpg.5fffa86eac83ccf718afd6515994b015.jpg here I am taking the major deck frames that let me tie together the deck shelves with eh dead wood structure.
  • 128370826627_em-128DDD_0148.jpg.42ce719cd96d69ac81433e2a694c3b6f.jpg here I have dry fit the shelves and the beams


This was the point I realized I had to stop building until I sorted painting and staining.  Next up I will stain and paint for a while and then install these components to complete the basic alignment.   I will then solve the transom, bow hook and other internal frame members before starting the decks

All for now

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Thank you for your kind words.   I am reading the biography of Ernestina  Morrissey nee Effie Morrisey  and loving the connections. in around 1925 when Bob Bartlett at mid career was looking for a schooner in Gloucester, he met up with captain Ben Pine and dropped a few other common names as he looked at Columbia and turned her down. Too much of a racer he thought.   There are many connections and I hope to feed a few in as I prepare to tell the story to go with the model next year.   Anyway I love building historical boats especially if there is a way to see the real thing.



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I wanted to upload some of the reading for this build.


IMG_1334.jpg.1b7b4d31a24c8068367ede4b3da73989.jpg  Sitting on my reading table is the Phoenix of the Seas  .  It is a wonderful Biography of the Ernestina Morrissey nee Effie Morrissey.   I have finished the early parts and leaned many details that are relevant to the schooner herself. I will list some of them out as they apply to the story.


The second book is one of those coffee table books that is joy to slowly work ones way through.  It starts in antiquity and carries up through about 1914-15, the beginning of the first war.  Part of the finale tale is another version of the heroics of Captain Bob Bartlett in his early days on an old ship named the Karluk . They were wrecked near Wrangle island, northwest of Alaska, and he made a long 100 mile crossing into Siberia. After that he made it to Alaska in time to take a new boat and rescue the crew who had remained on Wrangle Island. This saga helped propel Bob into the society of New York City.  In the 1920's he was backed by NY Yacht Club Commodore Ford to go buy a Schooner.   There is a connection taking one back into the Phoenix story. Ernestina was in Canada, done with fishing and for sale...more to come



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Post 13


Now we know what are building let’s get moving


In this posting, I have gone through the decision of what to build. It will be a diorama of the partially built schooner and include the Ship builders Railway car. I will explain that in another posting.  In the meantime, we need to progress the structure.  The three breakdowns in my mind remain the difficult stern first, the bow and mid-section stiffing of the hull.  Since some of the work will be visible and the main point of this build is for me to better learn how to build a schooner this may go a bit slow.  I have also started top include finish of woods as we go though the build and I start to loose access.


The stern


  • 129110173673_em-129DDD_0152.jpg.7b4a231fad1f5479340480efc518de2e.jpg here we are gluing up the deck shelf back to the stern.  One can see I have stained all the inside of the frames to replicate the blackening of the linseed cocktail applied to the real frame members. Also, the shelves and other items that get finish painted we primed gray as I saw the progress.  


  • 130821913908_em-130DDD_0155.jpg.649d8b7f32b656c0d9d6f25170a99944.jpg  early on I cut out this part of the deck frame to create the gig.  Now it comes in handy for lay out of the future deck beams.  I had marked up the starboard side of the deck plan on the gig to mark location of the frames, and now I will use the portside for control of the beams.


  • 131461231632_em-131CALCULATETHETRANSOM.jpg.839a6017df337a47d9073b144aa74281.jpg Next up is to figure out the large transom.  I went to the plan and laid out the station line provided.  I pasted it separately in the model with a second copy next door.  I then measured the height of the transom on the section drawing.  Finally, I scaled the transom to achieve the correct height.   I hope!


  • 1321618885894_em-132DDD_0153.jpg.bafb3ce71e5b81220533d237b031d176.jpg  let us see if is even close. Not bad but how to set the right height where it ties to the rail


  • 1331153822009_em-133DDD_0154.jpg.645f9ce9e179bd6a37e891f9a2889cd7.jpg   The beam location is fine at deck level but for the right flare out to the cap rail, I took that plan and applied it to 1/16inch plywood.  In past ventures I ended up using this plywood as the cap rail if it were to be painted.  I will either use it for a form or see what is better when I get here.  For now, it will help alignment of the stern where the transom reaches up to his level.


  • 134546977080_em-134DDD_0156.jpg.8b93a2ea665c17e7825c9a9b34ed00a0.jpg  now I have laminated, as if making a frame and roughly cut it out. Getting close


The bow

  • 135 1629312246_em-135DDD_0105.jpg.f115de576aa1478d358a15e7ee331668.jpg a more detailed photo shows what I need to do in the inside. There are three sets of stringers that all come here.  Strangely only the top port side one is painted.  That is directly under the lazarette, so maybe that is why.  I painted both… oh well.    There is a hook pegged into the lowest stringer.  The tough one is a bit of concrete at the bottom to the left of the dark stem.
  • 1361427165743_em-136DSC_0737.jpg.e851b3672da1fa04eeed7991eadd368a.jpg here we see I had to scape off paint and then stain the mid level stringers forward of the bulkhead line.



  • 136em-137.jpg.fb6a4afd1f4c40d4c86cd65e08fc753f.jpg Here is a valuable view that I took a long time ago. It took me several minutes to confirm its location.   We are far aft i the engine room bilge. The start of the bulkhead separates the captain cabin from the engine room. I have now added the gray cross members.  I note that at this early time under the engine room these stringers [ that are all under equipment and not exposed] were not painted. I may need to scrape the ones I just put in. What is also interesting is the lower level stringer pair drop to a single aft of the engine room. 


  • 137 1048812212_em-138DDD_0157.jpg.00af4f8faa8d94479c33d0d5671e9ee8.jpghere is the first continuous mid stringer.  I already scraped it in the forward area and must think about the engine room.  It is clearly painted where it is ultimate a finished surface.

Next up is to get that old transom frame sorted out and to do the study of the plan to include the railway as part of the diorama that this build will become. 


All for now

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dear Jim lad or is it John.  thanks for dropping in . I appreciate your note on Homework.   That research is what I love about this and some past efforts.  The reading both technical and historical is such a joy.  Now that I have decided to include the railway on which she rests, there is a whole new avenue to study.  The railway was built in 1869.  there are many photos of schooners and other vessels on board.  


anyway thanks 



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Post 14


Time to think about the diorama


Now that the decision is made and we are off to make the story about Ernestina in Boothbay Harbor, I went back to the yard to take more pictures and learn more about the Railway.  I will learn a lot more about its history and bring that forward in time.  For now, it was built in 1869 to service coasting schooners.  Most schooners in the market at that time were 2 and 3 masters and ranged up to 150 feet on deck.    Schooners could overhang both ends, but the basics were a box 40 feet wide and 120 feet long. The inland end is a little truncated to fit the dock arrangement.


Boothbay Harbor Shipyard

The original yard was know as Sample's shipyard during  WWII and up to more recent times when it was renamed Boothbay Harbor Shipyard...from the internet…

  • ...was originally established in 1840, by Cyrus McKown.  It later became the Townsend Marine Railway and, in 1917, the Atlantic Coast Company.  Sample acquired it in 1939.  It was sold in 2004 and is now the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard. 


To most locals it is and will remain Samples despite recent ownership changes, Bristol Marine is  “from away” as is often said here.  They are from way down in Rhode Island.  if you call the yard up in google images, many will appear.  A few below quickly share the understanding of what is happening here.


  • 138836855878_em-138bhshipyard2.jpg.b9ebd978db2d1fcba6e9f75d8266327a.jpg here on the yard webpage we get a great overview. 


  • 1391141822015_em-139alamyphotocropped.jpg.9000fa3b608762d610063d4143eb95d5.jpg   here is an Alamy image that shows the railway ready to go .


  • 1401232761199_em-140boothbay-harbor-shipyard-300x225.jpg.d41415527c59533307ad0541377dca09.jpg  here is EM on the railway. I believe it was 2009 and she had the bow fixed.


  • 141 1740610414_em-141filephotobountylaunchhightide.jpg.bb0ce371aaed022043dc4193de467bd2.jpgthe Hollywood commissioned bounty was built up in Lunenburg.  She came to Boothbay years ago for a fix up.  Here she is ready to launch.  The railway is listed as 700-ton capacity


  • 1421684011466_em0142filephotorailwayafterbounty.jpg.6ebfc8dbd9965913646f0c29a872f982.jpg Bounty was launched and then here they posted a good view of the railway


  • 143 428277767_em-143railway1.jpg.42256d1748a12f34f6bd74f8911b032b.jpghere is fun shot;  better for me as it shows the detail of the chain under load


Ernestina arrives for the rebuild


I just finished the book telling her whole story.  Wow.   The short version of the final chapter leading her to Boothbay goes something like this.    In 2008 then Governor Romney was looking to cut cost.  Having come from Utah he had no time for the state paying yearly stipends for a Marine Schooner giving hundreds of schools kids a great educations experience.    Fortunately, a few of the long time Bartlett Boys [ they were the high school through college age boys that went to the arctic pre world war II] and their connections had the financial ability to get involved. In 2009 they sent her to Boothbay for a refurbishment of the bow section.  They then commissioned a complete survey by the Essex Schooner team.    They then raised matching money, got the state involved as  well as the merchant marine school  and awarded a three-year contract for the first phase of the rebuild here in Boothbay Harbor.  I recommend both the book and the WoodenBoat magazine article listed early on in this log to fill in the story.

  • 144119272551_em-144filephotschooneronRR.jpg.b5e84646203e68cdd9c6292aed1a9eb7.jpg Ernestina arrives and is set up on the railway ready for the operation.


  • 145432031922_em-145images(1).jpg.db0b5aa8162eb2177bbbe5e3df3f0852.jpg here we are looking aft at the old hull.   She needed a lot more than paint.


  • 146532779571_em-146DSC_0362-1-1024x685.jpg.09130176299cbfebf1185208c9e089b0.jpg masts are off.  in this view we really see the railway that I need to figure out how to build.  My son told me to go to Plastruct and buy readymade ABS gray structure to scale.  I went to the yard, photographed many details, made a cut list, and ordered the material.


  • 1471361675946_em-147filephotoBowdoinandematyard.jpg.dc188265e79c2b84b1f21327550871b7.jpg I end this introduction with a fun photo of Bowdoin on the 150 ton second railway and Ernestina on the 700 ton railway.  This photo I believe shows Bowdoin  just having a haul for under water inspections etc.  When she was pulled for replanking in 2018, EM was much further along in here work.  I love this photo, as grainy as it is, because I will have modeled both schooners when this one is done.


Up next is to build the diorama base and set slope and lay out the railway.  Oh yes and that stern that needs to be framed.

All for

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Post 15


Complete stringers and start the diorama


I think I finally got to the milestone of getting the frame done fore and aft.  Getting the transom is place and the stringers in means I can get out for the gig and turn her over and see what the outside is like.   Before we go too far, I want to think through where I will go on planking the outside vs completing the inside.


  • 1481687968957_em-148DDD_0205.jpg.15b654c1cba1035783c5ee3fd19b6ac0.jpg here the transom is in place for a glue up.


  • 1491755718726_em-149DDD_0208.jpg.f70c82266da02f934f52521a1004f3bc.jpg it is hard to work this way.  I believe it will be easier to visualize and get the final pieces in place when I can turn her upside down. I hope it works.


  • 150543796052_em-150DDD_0212.jpg.7a76b8465ec330593950452b0ab68bf1.jpg the two low-level stringers in this picture have been pulled out and just laid there for the photo.  I realized I was too high going into the bow. I thought it easier to cut the glue and carefully pull out the old, mill a few more planks and reinstall the new to get them closer to right. 


  • 1511803530128_em-151DDD_0214.jpg.9d7a51d3a59234774d160c085b5536f6.jpg here all the new stringers are in and the final glue up is underway.  It feels great to start removing the gig.  I still set the pieces back as they have all the layouts, I will need for building the internal framing. What is holding back on that work is the need to get the garboard and maybe one more plank in place so I can show at least a little of the concrete before I build the lower deck. More on that as it comes


The diorama planning what to do and getting material


  • 1521005988543_em-152googlesamplesrailway.jpg.7573b72c5acc2de32d31424a58ab2778.jpg if you go to google map for the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard this is what you get.  The big tennis tent is over the schooner.


  • 1531992041742_em-153googleviewofEMinsidetent.jpg.8431d2dd1998302fcae26c8842271038.jpg if you orient yourself and tilt this is what you get. the tent is open in summer months for the tourists
  • 1541869891751_em-154intentggogle.thumb.jpg.6c524ab1ca64b7c955dcab7d4930e11a.jpg in this cropping of the view, we see a sample of what stage I think I want to model.  The planking is on covering the outside of all the sheves and clamps and make the model stable. Below is a see through and maybe even a cut away.
  • 155em-155.jpg.bfe8ea58a6face8a5d67d10beef9f64f.jpg  if you go inside the tent here we look forward [ north or inland]. 


  • 156997517363_em-156DDD_0108.jpg.5b8bb5573c6d3961257776ffc374fc3a.jpg looking aft [ south or Water view] we see the crane set up.   Even today they will use to set water tanks etc. so the crane is a needed feature.


  • 156em-157.jpg.c687938e53cbc2263bfa2b17a9361401.jpg here is the inland end.  The “car” as it is called in the yard, is a bit narrower to fit the buildings. The end of the rail is really at the end of the car.  These stops are the planned limit.


  • 157974780282_em-158DDD_0180.jpg.1a7c73198972c66debb990a5bb4cfe35.jpg Here is one of the options of the water end. This give a clear view of the rail construction.  High tide comes up over all of this end every day and really high tides cover the steel at this end.  The whole car is on a slope that is very close to the keel slope in the schooner.


  • 158106662688_em-159DDD_0174.jpg.8e40560ed2164dfd6832693731580b12.jpg this inside view of the rails and the internal structure explain a lot about what is needed to build. The two laminated rails are resting on slap at the inner end and on ties at the outer end and some 100 yards beyond into the harbor.  The little rollers are fun but at 1:48  I hope I don’t need them.   Another day to discuss that rabbit hole.


Before starting I want to say I will not attempt to have anything to do with the tent.  I believe what I am looking for can be seen in the last post photo 146. I also bought the Alamy Photo last posting photo 139 that is very high resolution and that will help as it shows the empty car.  


Start work

  • 1601520831320_em-160DDD_0209.jpg.3fa5d47c37e756d2e09ed2b6e174e143.jpg I built the base by using the available piece of ¼ MDF that was used for the gig.  It is roughly 48” x 14.5” and I think will work well. itis on a slope to match the keel which is very close the actual slope.    I milled wood for the lower rails and penciled out the frame of the car.


  • 1611901101414_em-161DDD_0211.jpg.bc5abb799edc0dab05e9cd418ad907db.jpg I milled out lumber for the structural beams that span from steel bean to steel beam and support the decking. I also milled some planking.


  • 1622000481332_em-162DDD_0213.jpg.f16a87b5250d0f345d72316c5e926de7.jpg and here is the ABS structural steel that I got from Plastruct.   This photo shows the logic.  The 40-foot steel beams rest on the upper rails.  3"x9" wood beams span between them at 12 feet length and 3-inch planking 15 feet long rests on the outer edge.   The midpoint steel beans are 10 feet long, same as the hole and give added point of bearing for the support of the schooner or other boat being worked on.

There is a lot more detail to the car and then the mechanics of how it works and supports the schooner and lets her go when launched.   I hope it is not too big a rabbit hole, but I will try to something fun with it.

All for now



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Post 16


complete the basic frames and get going on the diorama.


There are always few more things missing or hidden things that need attention from letting us be completely done with one thing before the next thing begins.  Today I went out to the garage to spray paint the black plastic steel members gray.  For that to take and dry in 50-degree garage [ 28 outside today] means that is all for today on that item.   So back and forth we go. I also keep learning things. I dug out 6 photos that I took one day a few years back when I was in the middle of the Bowdoin diorama job.  Ernestina was next to Bowdoin as Bowdoin was replanked.   These few views show a few details that I think are helpful, and I want to include them.


  • 1632006563975_em-163CCC_2768.jpg.8f4a1f9ffb61a15cf1fbf9e96f3be234.jpg here is a view of the 6 lower planks at the aft termination, that as of now I plan to install at least on one side.   This view shows the second application of caulking before painting.  


  • 1641418985654_em-164CCC_2767.jpg.bf0e50f6d2e689a8954e506dabfb0b97.jpg this view allows me to calculate the size of these planks.  They flare to 5/16” which is 15 inches in scale.  I have milled out two pieces to play with, so over the next few weeks I need to get ready and start to install them. It is one of three views that later will help me build the rudder too.


  • 1651780045693_em-165DDD_0215.jpg.e79129fdc0c452f02bafdb6dbad8fece.jpg Now it is time to fair the hull. As I am a true amateur as to calculating all the bevels in 3 d, I need to scarf on planks to bring out the plank to fair to a better profile.  I must admit I had to add twenty or so fixes.   We all have a lot to learn.  A lesson here is if you are a beginner at plank on frame, as I surely am, leave more wood on.  One can always sand it off and look like a pro.


  • 166em-166.jpg.1567327f9048d86871004353e9b48749.jpg here I have painted the first coat of gray to match the steel ballast.  Four sections each weight 15,000# are bolted to the bottom of the keel.  This process cuts the inside ballast needs by half. After another coat, I will use a sharpie [ I think} to create the outline of the members.


  • 167em-167.jpg.d0c2c10544e300133401867588e2f608.jpg here one can see the real steel ballast. The false keel under it is something I need to add.


  • 168476777576_em-168DDD_0217.jpg.542a943206b1a90db248d5d89e41f287.jpg here is a milestone as I start to cut off the extended frames to the level of the top of the deck beams.  On this design the stanchions are all new pieces installed between the frames.   The top of the frames then support the waterway.


  • 169em-169.jpg.8704066403548677ec66d4541fa6ae64.jpg now we start the deck framing. here at the transom is the first beam.  I need to sort out the stanchions before I cut away the last of the extra frame material as there is so little to tie off to back here.
  • 170903759580_em-170DDD_0220.jpg.8d16435af623a5d9657ab4466f7c057b.jpg here I have completed the forward lazarette framing.  Once the planks are on; I will try to put a little concrete in and then photo compare with the real thing.


  • 1711385785314_em-171DDD_0216.jpg.34f0061901ea8794a683614cba5bd3cb.jpg  I completed setting out the stained rail ties and the first coat of joint compound.  I found joint compound so easy to work with last time on the 1816 Schooner diorama, that I am moving right ahead again.   I have set plywood to fill the grade, so only a coating of compound will be needed along the sides. All the rail material is on the near side. I am working on a combination of stain and will need some "slime green" paint for those in the water.


  • 172459232307_em-172DDD_0221.jpg.ad1e9657d0a21ea37f0d09972c73e4bf.jpg here we are for our once a week look at progress. 


The next few weeks will see more obvious changes on the diorama and the schooner is now into the long clean up and preparation for the limited planking as well as the lower deck framing and bulkhead framing .




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it is a true joy to now be building my second diorama of a schooner that was redone in Bristol in recent times.  I was lucky to completely tour both. I like to learn the history of the schooner, her crew , what she did and then tell a story.  For Bowdoin who was actually built here in 1921 it was the summer of 1924 in the Arctic.   For Ernestina who had an equal record of Artic exploration, there remains a  story to be told with a model of the Effie in her older form.   My story is based on her 5 year  life in Boothbay.  Her whole life is well told in the book Phoenix of the Seas .  We are now looking forward to the fifth reincarnation.    


I thought I would share some images of an incredible mast.   Gleam as I mentioned in an earlier posting is here getting a partial refurbishment.   Below I share photos of her mast as she came off a few weeks ago and last week set out in 95 feet of prime Sitka spruce ready for her redo. Please google Gleam the 12 meter and enjoy the images.    I hope you do come next summer. You may get to see her too as she will be back in water racing again. 





Thanks for dropping in. I am enjoying your build and look forward to seeing your model here as well.  



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  • Jond changed the title to Ernestina Morrissey by Jond - 1:48 finished

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