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This is kind of my second build, I finished the ‘Lowell Grand Banks Dory’ and got about half way through the ‘18th Century Long Boat’ both by Shipways when I decided to shift to this boat the ‘Norwegian Sailing Pram’.   This is the second in a beginner series of “progressive model tutorials” designed by David Antscherl.  I did learn a lot about wooden ships and how to build wooden models from the Dory.  I decided to shift sails when I noticed that the Pram was finally for sale by Model Shipways and I thought I could use the additional learning experience especially rigging.  The Long Boat rigging is supposed to be fairly simple but the Pram rigging looked even simpler.



One thing I’ve noticed is that the instructions for these ‘beginner’ models seem to assume the builder knows a fair amount of how to build a model boat.  In my years I’ve built many plastic models but not wood models and I’m really a novice.  So, I’m keeping track of recommendations to improve the instructions as I progress through this build.  


First, I’ve notice that the Pram instructions are missing a lot of instruction points that could easily be corrected with a few annotated pictures and plans.  I strongly recommend that a set of scaled plans be included in the kit.  The only plan is the one below that is from a real pram design.  Even though the Dory was a simple boat to build, I used the plans constantly to figure out things that were not written in the instructions.


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Fwd & Aft Transoms: These seemed straight forward but when it came time to glue the knees on, I wasn’t sure from the instructions did the short or long end of the knee get glued to the transoms.  I did look at the full scale plans on page 3 and it looked like the short ends went next to the transoms.


The lines on the outside of the fwd transom did help in sanding the fairing bevel.




The aft transom was a little more of a challenge to bevel, it appeared from the lines on the aft face of the transom indicated different amount of bevel as you went from the bottom to sides.  I hope I did it right, time will tell when I plank the sides.  By the way, I do like when the kit includes a build board, I had to build my own for the 18th Century Long Boat.


Started to dry fit and look at how the bottom planks are installed.  For the two bottom planks, the instructions state that there is a 1” etched line that you are to bevel to.  But the line is not an 1”, looking at the picture it looks like maybe they were referring to a full scale 1”.  On the inside of the outer planks and the keel plank there are etched lines but no reference to them in the instructions.  I had to assume that they were there to indicate the amount of overlap of the keel plank and the outer bottom planks.  Time will tell as I plank the hull.


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I did bevel the two bottom planks to the etched line.  I bent the bottom and keel planks around a large margarita glass but then when I went to dry fit on the build board it was way too much of a curve.  So, I had to weigh them down on a flat surface overnight which took out most of the bend.  I found it easier to set the curve by wetting the plank and rubber band it to the transoms and mold frames.  However, in the areas without a mold board, it resulted in a extra bend down, see picture below where I circled the bend.  I’m hoping that when I glue the keel and garboard planks to the bottom planks it will take out the bend.



I also had a problem with keeping both transoms square to the board and each other.  I think that the interference fit with the transom and the build board supports had to much play.  So I’m going to try and glue some extra supports to the board to limit the movement of the transoms to keep them square.



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HELP, does anyone have recommendations on how to cut a rabbit into planks without cutting thru the plank and chiseling to deep.


I was not happy with the results of cutting the rabbit into the garboard planks.  I first used a angle blade to cut the depth of the line then used a chisel blade to chisel out the rabbit to the cut line.  In a number of areas I cut all the way through the plank when I was cutting width line and then I chiseled to deep past the cut or took out to much.  So my rabbits were all over the place.


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I’m not exactly sure about the Norwegian design, but typically the planks are beveled along the overlap. That is easier  to do than cutting a rabbit. It is only in the absolute ends where they end in the rabbit of the stem or stern that a rabbit is cut in the planks. I’m not sure how much you would need to that in this model where there are transom sin both fore and aft.




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Check the directions (page 12) - the rabbet is only needed on the last scale foot of the plank ends.  Sanding will work as shown in the photo from the instruction book (below).


However, the gains on this boat are different. Each is a sloping rabbet, rebate or recess, cut along the last scale foot or so at each end of the plank. This gain is a scale inch wide. You can measure this using the scale rule (page 7). Mark this distance on the edge of a paper strip, then transfer this measurement to the plank.
Carefully cut along the line with a sharp blade. Don’t press too deeply! Then shave the slope using a chisel blade in your craft knife handle. Make the deep end of the rabbet no more than about ⅓ the thickness of the plank. At the transom the planks fit as shown here (below right).


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More mistakes on the Garboard planks, I could not dry fit the garboards prior to cutting the rabbet and beveling the other side of the plank.  I was still waiting on the glue to set on the keel and bottom planks, to many clamps and rubber bands.  This resulted in the error that I cut the rabbet and beveled the planks on the wrong side.  I did not want to make new garboard planks and it appeared that the side plank fits nicely next to the garboard plank anyway.  You can see that the angle on the end of the plank is going the wrong way to the transom.  The good thing was the planks were long enough that this did not matter.


I actually formed the curves in the side planks by dry fitting them to the mold/transom, then wetted them and used a hair drier to set the curve.  It worked very nice.


You can see that the forward end of the side planks fit better next to the garboard planks and fwd transom, much better then the garboards.  It looks like I cut the rabbet on the wrong side, but I think that is due to the finger pressure I was pushing down on the plank why the glue set.



I still feel that if there were full scale model plans with the kit or in the instructions, I would not made these errors.  Still, I thank everyone that gave me input on were to cut the rabbet, THANKS

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1 hour ago, SkiBee said:

More mistakes on the Garboard planks

It's good to see that you are continuing on rather than getting too discouraged and giving up which, unfortunately, happens to too many beginners. I still consider myself a relative novice even though I'm working on my 4th model. I can't begin to tell you how many mistakes I have made. It's all part of the journey of learning how to craft these beautiful models. I've heard it said that we learn best from our mistakes and, as much as I hate to learn that way, there's some truth to it. No one but the the master ship modelers ever build a "perfect" model and they do that from scratch. I've gotten pretty good at correcting my mistakes enough that I'm the only one that notices them. You'll have a very nice model by the time you finish and will have learned a lot. 👍

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Had to take a few days off for other non-important life maters, now back to what is important  The Build.

The rest of the planks went better than the garboard planks, but when I got to the sheer planks I found it easier to glue the forward end to the transom off the work platform.  That way I could hold it while the glue set.  You can see some wood putty on the edges of the garboard plank where I cut a little to much and off the edge when I was cutting the rabbet.


I also have to work on getting the excess glue wiped off better in the future.  I did soften the lumps of glue with alcohol and used the tip of my knife blade to scrape it off.  In my opinion there is too much excess left glue, would be a bigger problem if I was going to stain the hull.




During the planking I was not thinking about having to plank to a specific spot on both transoms.  Assuming that the lines that were etched on both transoms were a plank to line, I blew it.  As you can see on the aft end, I was about a ¼ inch over the line and on the fwd end I was short about 1/8 inch.  Looking at the instructions I’m not sure it will matter in the final build, except for not being exactly to scale.


I believe a note should be added to the instructions to be aware of the final plank to line.


The installation of the Skeg and Bilge Keels went well, I do believe a better picture or scale plans are need to show the placement of the Bilge Keels fwd/aft distances.


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I spent some more time trying to clean up the excess glue on the planks and fine sand them.  Also, I found that the Aft Transom Knee on the inside had pulled away from the keel plank, so I used alcohol to soften the glue where it was still glued to the aft transom and then re-glued so that it was in contact with both the transom and keel plank.


Then I built and installed the Dagger Board Case, I ended up with about a 1/8 inch gap, fwd to aft, in the slot pre-cut in the keel plank.  I double check the way I build the dagger board case and I think it was right, so I just used some wood filler in the gap.  I do wish there were full size model plans to answer some of these questions.


Also installed the bottom frames, starting with frame 3, aft frame, but had a hard time sanding and fitting my haul.  I ended up leaving a small gap between the bottom side plank and the garboard plank and at the very top of the frame.  I believe this is a result of my planking being off.


I went to add the Inwales but I couldn’t find the wood, I had inventoried my kit when I received it to the inventory sheet in the kit and everything was there.  I noticed that there was a different material take off on page two of the instruction manual.  From this I determined that I was missing 9 pieces, the loose strips and dowels that are normally packaged together.  I contacted Model Expo and they are sending the pieces.


Please feel free to comment, critique and make recommendations; otherwise I won't learn.

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Nice work there SkiBee!


I got this kit last week, this scale is pretty nice, simple and very relaxing. There are some errors in the booklet so make sure you check the pieces to be fitted after reading the entire step. Size of the slot for the back-stays (2" scale cut in booklet vs 1" scale photo etch piece) and the cut at the end of the dowel for the boat-holder-uppers (switched around). Also noticed the front transom piece was far from symmetrical.

Would love to see scale plans in this kit, like the sheet you get for the 18th century longboat kit. A proper version of the side view that is pictured in the booklet would be very helpful.

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Inwales, Quarter Knees & Thwart frames

To bend the Inwales, I turned the boat upside down and traced the curve of the sheer strake, then wetted the inwale and bent it to the traced curve.  Then I glued them in per the instructions.  I used both transoms to draw a line on the inwale to get both the vertical and horizontal angle that I need to cut the inwale to.  This worked out very nicely and only required a small about of sanding to finish the fit to the transoms.




Then I glued the forward and aft quarter knees, they required a little sanding to get a good fit to the transoms.  I did try to get the same angle on both knees by measuring from the top of both transoms to the end of the knee, this worked well.


The Seat and Thwart Frames did not work out as well, I had the same problem with them as I did the Bottom Frames, that is getting the right angle to fit my boat.  I ended up with some gaps but I did not want to sand them two thin.  Also, the vertical placement was a challenge. I was not sure where the top of the frames should be.  Here again a scale drawing of the model would have been helpful.  Also, not sure what the ‘bevel’ was being talked about for ‘A’ and ‘B’ frames, a picture or drawing would have been helpful.


I bent the floor board cleats a little to much, so I just glued one half of the cleat to the haul and then I’ll glue the other side once the glue is set and I hope the bend relaxes a little.


Since my planks ended higher on the aft transom then the model was designed for, I had to draw a new curved line on the aft to cut to.  Then I whittled most the excess transom with a model knife and then finished up using sanding stick to get the final curve. Sorry the fwd transom pic is blurry.





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Mast Step, Chain Plate Slots & Rowlock Pads

Installed the Mast Step and the only problem was I pushed a little to hard in the middle of the step to seat the glue and broke it at the mast hole, you can see the repair in the pic.  For the Chain Plate Slot, I drilled two holes at either end of the slot then just used a model knife to cut a thin slot between them just by pushing the blade through the wood a few times.




Rowlock Pads: Followed the instructions and used a chisel blade to shave off the ends on the pads a little at a time.  The problem came when I went to install the aft pads, there were no instructions on where to install them.  Looking at the pictures I could not tell exactly where they were to be glued but I made an assumption that they would be the same distance aft of the mid-thwarts as the fwd pads were from the fwd-thwarts. It seams to look similar to the small pictures in the instructions. Again, a scale drawing of the model would have answered the question and been very helpful.




I know I’m a broken record about the scale drawing of the model, but I would be very helpful. 

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On 10/2/2020 at 12:05 PM, druxey said:

There is a dimensioned drawing on page 3 of the instructions, SkiBee.

I’ve tried to refer to the actual boat schematic on page 3, but as a Novice, I do not find it very helpful as a to scale dwg of the actual Model boat.  This Pram is designed to be the second build for a novice after the Grand Banks Dory, which I think is a tremendous idea to have a few models in a series to gain skills and confidence.  I’ve read in numerous places in this web site of people who started and quit the hobby due to getting frustrated with a complicated build and don’t try again for years, myself include.  Thus, the instructions should be written for the novice with no experience other than the Dory to facilitate that growth.  I do find the instructions very helpful but as anything we should strive to make things better.

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The installation of the rub rails was fairly straight forward as well as the sanding of the rudder and dagger board.  I painted the hull with what I thought was off-white spray paint, but I found it to white and did not like it.  Plus, I think I like the little texture that brushing paint on gives, as this is a wood hull not fiberglass.  So, I found a creamer white that that my wife had, I was very happy with the results.  I used Tamiya Red Hull acrylic paint to paint the inside of the boat.  I found it a little to dark but stayed with it since I was using a light stain on the floor boards and thwarts.  I also, noticed that after the first coat the paint looked a little streaked like the internal hull looked a little worn.  1185710547_Pic37.thumb.jpg.dee6529afe3d7424bb0940112492259c.jpg



Started the tiller and extension, I guess I need to buy a jeweler’s saw to cut the tube.  Tried a Dremel but the small piece kept flying off and a file did not give a good result either.

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Buying a jeweler’s saw and a fine blade was what I needed to do, it cut the tube beautiful.  I used my miter box to help hold the tube and get a square cut.  Installing the fwd eye bolt was a challenge, not sure which wire rod to use but then I figured out it was the one that fit in the tube of the stay plate.  The problem I had with the side stay plates was finding the hole in the plate with the nail to drive it in.  Finally figured out that if I had a little glue on the end of a tooth pick it would hold the head of the nail straight so I could start to get the nail into the hole.



The rudder gudgeons went ok, except for cutting the nails, I lost two nail heads as they went flying when I cut the nail down to size.  I then cut them with the nail head in a paper towel to capture them.  I assumed that the lower gudgeon plate was one of the two 4-hole photo-etched parts and just cut it to fit with two holes.  I did use the brass rod to hold the short piece of tube at roughly a 90 deg angle to the plates as the directions said, it worked well.  I left the rod in when I glued the lower gudgeon on the riser and made sure it was aligned with the middle of the transom U-shaped notch.  Then I slipped the upper gudgeon over the rod as I glued the upper gudgeon to the transom, that way I was hoping that the two holes would end up aligned with each other as I installed the rudder.


The rudder pintles were a challenge since there were not two of the same size plates with just two holes left on the photo-etched sheet.  The longer of the two plates worked ok and I ended up using it for the upper pintle.  The shorter one really did not look right after I bent it and installed the short piece of tube.  So I made a longer plate from some of the photo-etched sheet excess, which work nicely.  I did end up shorting the pintle rods from what the instructions call for to make it easier to install and I think it looked better.  I still had to file a little indent above the upper pintle to install the rudder's upper pintle.


Now on to the mast.

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The Mast

I decided to try my hand at building the mast from the two laser cut halves, I glued the two mast halves together, also built up the spar shaping jig and left them overnight to ensure the glue was dry.


While I was waiting for the glue to dry, I started to read how to make the mast.  I read this section a number of times, studied the drawings on page 5 of the mast schematic and the picture on page 30 of the halyard sheave.  I also, looked at the finished pictures and did some web searches for pictures, but the only ones are what are on the Model Expo site which are not detailed enough.  The instructions seemed to contradict itself a few times.  The first is, on page 29 the instructions say to drill 4 holes for the ‘eyes’ at a right angle to the laser hole.  The schematic on page 5 shows the eyes are in the same plane as the halyard hole.  So, I sent the following questions to Model Expo.


I’m having a problem with the instructions about the top of the mast.  The schematic on page 5 shows one hole drilled at the top of the mast for the ‘halyard block’ and a ‘Shroud eye’.  I cannot find any other reference to the ‘Shroud eye’ in the instructions.  Also, the instructions speak to a ‘halyard sheave’ not a block, and the halyard sheave requires two holes. 


> What is the purpose of the shroud eye?

> Is it optional for a one hole for the halyard or to drill two holes and simulate a halyard sheave?

> The instructions state to drill to holes near the top of the mast, one at 5/16” and one at 3/8” inch.  However, the pre-drilled laser hole is 3/8” from the top of the mast.  So, is the hole at 5/16” for the halyard sheave if you want to simulate a sheave?

> Also, the schematic on page 5 does not show the two back stays.

> The instruction does not say how far down to drill a hole for the back stays.  How far down should the hole for the back stays be drilled?


While I wait for an answer I will move on to the sail.

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The building up the sail was pretty straight forward, I the cloth first between two moist paper towels to get the creases out.  The instructions said to cut out a 8”x12”, but that is the size that was provided in the kit.  So I tried to be careful laying out the sail on the cloth to ensure I had enough material for the reinforcements.  I used a pencil to outline the sail and the width of the edge doublers.  I should have coated the sail before marking since I could not get the pencil marks off later and some of them showed through in the final product.  Instead of using water down glue, I used my wife’s decopage which is watered down white glue.  I did end up watering it down since I thought it was going on to thick.


Then I added the edge reinforcements while the base decopage coat was still wet and coated them with the decopage and added the sail stiffening battens with white glue. 


I flipped the sail over and coated it with decopage and added the corner reinforcements in the same way as the edge strips.  Instead of cutting the sail out with a knife, I used very sharp scissors and it looked just fine.  Then I used a fine tip brush with just a very small drop of paint on the end and just barely touched the sail to create the lacing holes reinforcements.  I did this on both sides of the sail.  I noticed due to the slight porosity of the sail that the paint did expand more then I hoped.


A couple of lessons learned; I would have drawn the lines on after the first coat of decopage and been more careful to ensure I cut the lines off to prevent the lines from showing through on the final product.  Second, I would not have had the corner reinforcements been so big.

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I bought a small Stanley Wood Plane to use on the oars, spars and mast.  I just sanded the oars on the Grand Banks Dory, I did a good job but I wanted to try a plane this time.  The plane was great on the oars, to round (octagon) the shaft and to reduce the thickness on the blade. I’m GLAD I tried the plane; it worked a lot better then sanding the blade.  I just used medium sandpaper to round the shaft then fine sandpaper to smooth the shaft and blade.  Instead of paper to simulate the leather I used some left-over sail material, I thought it would give a more simulated leather texture than the paper.  I think it worked out really well.  I painted the leather a brown and stained the oar with a light oak stain and wiped it off right after I applied it.


I then planed off the edges of the boom and gaff and then sanded them to be round.  They ended up a little more oval than round due to sanding the char off the wood.  I wish they had pre-cut the spars wider so there would not be this problem removing the char.  When sanding I broke of the tip of the Gaff were the laser hole was, so I had to drill a new hole and ended up with a Gaff that was about 1/16” shorter.


I think I will go ahead and make the Mast and decide on my best guess to the above questions that I sent to Model Shipways.

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The assumptions I made and how I proceeded to build the Mast

> Purpose of the Shroud Eye: this eye only shows up on the schematic on page 5, there is no reference in the text.  There is an asterisk that states, “See instructions for alternate fitting”.  I could only think of two things this eye could be used for; a guide for the halyard before it goes through the mast halyard hole, or to tie the back stays to.  But the instructions cover installing two straps for the back stays.

     So, I decided to leave the shroud eye off for now until I get a response from my questions or I find a need later in the instructions.


> In regard to drilling the two holes at the top of the mast, I think that the person that wrote the instructions was giving us two options; use just the laser pre-drilled hole for the halyard line to pass through, or drill and extra hole to simulate a halyard sheave.

I went with the two holes and simulated a halyard sheave; I painted the inside a gold/copper to simulate the sheave and put in two nail heads 90deg to the sheave to simulate the bolt to hold the sheave.


> The instruction doesn’t say how far down the mast to install the straps for the back stays and they are not indicated on the page 5 schematic.

     I installed them just below were the shroud eye should have been.

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Buildup of the Mast

I started with the square mast blank, drilled the holes for the halyard sheave and downhaul eye and started the rounding with my new plane which worked well.  Then I sanded it round but I had the same problem as I did with the spars, it ended up oval rather then round.  I had to stop sanding to make it round as the area around the holes was getting to thin.  First mistake, the area around the pre-drilled hole was so thin from sanding that I broke off the tip of the mast at that point.  I just drilled two holes down from the new top of the mast.  I simulated the sheave by using the tip of a small round file.  I stained the mast as I did the spars with a light oak, as I was wiping the stain off, Mistake two, I broke off part of the downhaul cleat.  I just glued on a thin piece of wood on what was left of the cleat to create the t-shape.  The third Mistake was sanding the bottom part of the mast smaller than the hole in the Mast Step.  I just glued one wrap of sail material around were the mast interfaces with the mast step, worked great.  I also used a piece of sail material to simulate the leather chafing pad as I had used it to simulate leather on the oars.  The instructions say to create the downhaul eye from “brass wire”, but I found that the eye was to thin and would bend as I proceeded.  So for all the eyes I used the 1/32” brass rod, which worked great.  I did look through the rest of the instruction and could not find another use of the 1/32” rod, so I felt confident that I could use all of what was left for the eyes.




When I test fitted the gaff to the mast it was very loose since I had sanded to much off the mast to get it round.  I thought about building a new mast but instead I just glued a thin piece of wood on the gaff gooseneck.


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Started to attach the sail to the gaff spar, GOOF, as I was tightening the thread at the Leech end, POP, the thread broke through the thin wall where the hole was drilled.  Between drilling the hole at a small angle and sanding to much to make the spar round, I ended up with a very thin hole wall on one side and that is were the thread broke through.  Actually, the tip of the spar then broke completely off.  I tried to glue the tip back on but it was not actually inline laterally.  So I’ll move on to installing the mast while the glue on the spar dries.


When the glue dried, I drilled a new hole inside of the break, then completed to tie the two ends of the sail to the gaff spar.  Started to lace the sail to the spar and POP, the spar broke at the halyard eye due to a thin wall of the holes.  I glue the spar back together, as it dried I went on to install the mast in the boat.


Edited by SkiBee
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