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Howdy everyone!  When I was a kid, I did a lot of plastic models but then stopped about 15 years ago due to college and early adult job hopping.  Now that I've got the time (and more disposable income), I've started back up and wanted to get into something I always dreamed of doing... wooden ships.  I grew up in Maryland near Solomon's Island before moving out to Arkansas when I turned 13.  Some of my fondest childhood memories is seeing the sailboats out on the Bay so building these allow me to rekindle those feelings.


I picked up this kit at a hobby shop in Memphis (nearest one to me, at about an hour away) about a month ago and have been steadily working on it.  It's not my first wooden model, but it's my first one with actual rigging (my first was a Chesapeake Bay Skipjack).  Here are some pictures of the progress that I've managed to get so far.  I'm not expecting this to be a fast build by any means, as the only time I can work on this is when my toddler is asleep, but I'll try to keep this thread updated at least once a week of any progress that I've made on it.


For starters, I got the framing set in place.  It's as close to straight as I could get them.  I've yet to fair them up yet as that appears to be "major step" 5 in the included instructions, I'm only on step 2.  After doing a lot of reading and research, I decided to go with a "3 butt planking style" for my deck and drew some pictures to reference off of.  The plank length I decided on was a scaled 16 feet, which comes out to 3 inches by my calculations.


To make things easier on myself, I created a little bit of a jig with some spare wood so I could get the basic plank length uniform.  The riser on the left that they butt against is just a couple paint stirring sticks that have been laminated and then brad nailed to the plank of scrap poplar.  My "fence" is some more of that stirring stick cut down to 3 inches, and glued perpendicularly to a popsicle stick after making sure they were square.  I used a chisel to carefully carve out the rabbet that they sit in, giving myself some room for longer planks later projects.  I didn't cut out all of my planks yet, just enough to give me 36 "full lengths" to start with.


I also realize that the drawing I made of the deck to reference off of is shifted from the actual deck... simply put, I drew the picture "starting" at the stern side of the deck but then decided afterwards (before actually planking it) that I wanted them to be started flush against the stem side instead.  I'm just too lazy to go through the process of redrawing that one in particular.  The other deck images are all based on starting flush at their respective stem sides.











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Thanks Backer.


I finished planking the decks last night.  Since I had planks left over that I had pre-cut, I decided to use some of the false deck scrap and try my hand at some tree nailing.  I'll also use this planked scrap to test out the finish that I planned on using for the boat.

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You're off to a good start, Dan.


I can see what you mean about having somewhere to store tools, but the workspace looks ok, to start with at least. Maybe down the track you'll be able to organise something a bit more user-friendly, but I've seen the most amazing stuff produced from pretty minimal working spaces.

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Thanks for the encouragement.


I actually was talking with the wife throughout this week, and got a bit of a surprise... starting this weekend we'll be working on a slight remodel to our shared home office that'll allow us to get some added overhead storage via shelves, and she's given me the go-ahead to build a desk just for scale modeling.  To help make things match (and since I'll be able to get the wood for it), I'll actually be building us matching computer desks (though the design will be somewhat simple), and my computer desk will connect to a 6 foot long modeling table.  Due to that, I won't have much more progress on the Mayflower over the next couple of weeks, but I'll do what I can to keep the project moving along.


I've made a good effort towards tree nailing these planks.  Tomorrow I'll be swinging by Sam's Club to pick up some toothpicks (they have 3200 count boxes there), but in the meantime I've been drilling the holes using my 1/32" drill bit.  I'll get some pictures up of my drilling progress later tonight.

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Be careful with the tooth picks, if they are not all straight up and down the tree nail that is left behind will be at an angle which will look kind of like an oval nail on your deck. Just make sure to align them all straight up and down before you cut them. But so far I think it looks great!



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Not a huge amount of progress this past week due to the above mentioned office renovation. Phase one of it completed nicely, and I'll be able to start phase 2 (new desks) in a few weeks.  Last night I started my tree nails, managed to get this amount done in about 2 1/2 hours but by the end I was getting really familiar with the process.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Near the end it was a little, but I made myself a bit of a system to keep from sanding/snipping too many toothpicks.  I drastically over-estimated the amount of toothpicks I was going to use, but it just means I have plenty on hand for my next ships... 3x 3200 counts from Sam's Club, ended up using about 600.  I did just order some cannons and their cradles from Syren, I want to try and get the number/locations of the gun ports more accurate than the artistic liberties that AL seemed to take.  I think I'll be faring the bulkheads next before I actually attach the decks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have the decks in place and have started work on carving out some bulkhead fillers, obviously I decided to not wait on fairing the bulkheads first. I figured if I was having to zero in on some fillers, the bulkheads will happen naturally.


The cannons were gotten from Syren, I built one to figure out some spacing for the extra gunports and ended up getting a little carried away.








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  • 1 month later...

Evening everyone, it's been a hot minute since my previous update.  Between the holidays, and the cold arriving, the time I have available for heavy usage of tools was (and still is) very limited.  We were fostering a litter of kittens that a local stray had in our garage, so I couldn't use my belt sander very easily during the evening, which left a handful of hours each weekend that I've been able to bulk-sand down blocks for filling the hull.  At this point, I have most of those done and have transitioned to my Dremel (along with a flex attachment) to carve out the remaining detail into the blocks.  I over-sanded one of the blocks (the 2nd block, you'll see in the following post where I upload the pictures) using my belt sander, so I'm debating on filling it in with my wood filler, or just ordering some more basswood blocks and redoing it.  After I've gotten all of the blocks roughly sanded down using the Dremel, I'll be coming back over with with some sandpaper by hand to clean up the sanding job and prep them for mounting the hull planks.


For Christmas, my in-laws gave us some cash due to covid restrictions limiting travel between the US (where I'm from) and Canada (where my wife's from), and I managed to snag a Aeropiccola plank bender off Ebay that was in excellent condition (even contained the original instructions & bag from Model Expo where the previous owner got it).


We've found homes for all of the kittens, and just waiting for the stray mom cat to either get a home or our TNR appointment with my vet for her before I get full usage of my garage in the evenings again... so some more actual progress will be made soon.


Thanks for sticking around!

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Thanks for the praise Backer.  I should probably also note that these blocks currently are not glued into the hull, I'll be doing that before I do my final sanding/shaping to fully match the hull's intended shape.  The box my parents made and gave to me is quite useful too, as it keeps my Xacto knife, it's blades, and my box cutter from sitting on my desk in plain view where my 2 1/2 year old's little fingers would find.


11 hours ago, Backer said:

A lost cat came to our house 2 years ago. We adopted him and he (Felix) is now our best friend 

I hear you on this one loud and clear.  Just under 12 years ago, a blueish-gray tabby showed up on my porch, hungry and with front paws declawed.  She was already on the older side of things according to my vet, half her teeth were missing.  Fast forward to today, and she still sleeps next to my pillow.... so it'll be an extremely sad day at some point in the next few years.

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