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HMS Discovery 1789 by Don Case - 1:48


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I've been practicing making gratings. I had to try a couple of different methods but I'm getting close to useable. The last two are made of Holly. Holly doesn't seem much different than the Hawthorn I made the first few. But I'm pleased with the improvement from left to right.

I've also been learning to deal with carlings and ledges. You know, all the pictures people take of their ships make the parts look so much bigger. At 1:48 ledges are like toothpicks, small toothpicks. At first I was thinking that I'd never learn to work with pieces that small but after a bit of practice it started to come together. Could I get some very critical advice on the aft platform. I followed Steel as close as I could, I think. I want to know if I'm doing them right before I go on to make more. I had to do all the mortices with a jewellers file because my plank saw is a little too narrow to cut this stuff That and I think I can be more accurate with the part partially assembled than trying to do it ahead and then assemble it and hope every joint lines up.

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I'm still reading Vancouver's book and found this about when a seaman fell overboard.

 

"The poor fellow being a good swimmer was enabled to support himself until our small boat from the stern happily picked him up, when nearly exhausted"

 

This sounds like there was davits on the stern or maybe they were just towing a boat. What do you think?

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22 hours ago, Don Case said:

Was it a normal thing to tow a small boat just for such a circumstance?

I don't know which part of the book you are at, but I would imagine that given the amount of coastal exploration and surveying they were doing at the time, they probably didn't bother pulling up the boats.    Leaving them tied to the ship to expedite short excursions was likely just a practical choice. 

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I've just about finished all the parts for the inside. I'm still trying to decide whether it's worth it to treenail the inside as it will probably be planked but I don't have to make that decision until I've got nothing left to do except build the lower deck. And something I've forgotten may show up.

So, in the meantime I've started to work on the stern framing. There are no drawings of the stern that I've found but I do have a few paintings that have similar depictions of it. I thought that if I could arrive at the general shape it may confirm or dismiss these paintings. I started "lofting" out the shape and found that all my aft cant frames were gradually further away from the center line. Square frames are good, The last cant frame set are 3/8" too far apart at the top. Fortunately they are OK up to where I've planked the interior so I have to glue a splint on the inside of each frame gradually decreasing the width. When the glue is dry I'll sand away the outside until everything is hunky dory. Each splint will end at a chock joint so they shouldn't stand out too much.

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I'm also trying to mount the hanging standards on to the midship platform. I thought I would try gluing the standards too the platform first. I've made the platform already to I made a temporary beam and glued the standards to the ends. Then I gradually fit that assembly to the hull. Then I unglued the temp arrangement and glued the standards to the platform and trial fit it while the glue was easily removed. It fit reasonably well, just needs a bit of sanding. Now I have to do the next one two beams over. We'll see how that goes.

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Here's the result of the midship platform. I'm pretty pleased. You can't really see the standard/hull joint but I'll take it this time. Next one will have to be better but the hull planking will be smoother next time. I'm really not happy with how the "every other beam gets a standard" works out.  If there had been an odd number of beams I'd be happy but with an even number it looks like one end of the platform is hanging out in the breeze.

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Is there any reason not to put off the stem timbers and the counter timber framing?

The gripe would get in the way of my jig and I'm afraid of breaking off the counter timbers if I don't do most of it at once.

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Posted (edited)

All the splints are glued on the aft cant frames and I've started sanding the outside to bring it into shape. You can see that the port side is tucked in some. Now that I've got the shape a little better I can look at what the counter timbers are going to look like. First I have to figure out a way of holding them in position. Hands don't work all that well. The cardboard is the quarterdeck. I think it needs a stiffener.

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Edited by Don Case
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I've been roughly following Vada's Vulture build just to keep me on track. I saw where he installed the sleepers so I put a couple in the Discovery. When I did a trial fit of the lower deck beams I noticed that the short arm of the sleeper sticks up through the deck. I went back and looked at the Vulture again and all seemed right, I hadn't put the sleepers in wrong. So I went to Wikimedia and looked at the profile of the Vulture and noticed that the Vultures lower deck terminates at the wing transom but the Discovery's terminates at the third transom. The Discovery's lower deck is about 2 feet lower than the Vulture's. Not a major surprise but what do I do with the sleepers? Is it possible that the sleepers stuck up through the deck? Right now the sleeper is contacting 3 transoms. If I shorten the short arm enough to clear the deck it would only contact one. I could remove the sleepers and reinstall them lower(they would actually be on the thick stuff which seems better) but I think they would still only be contacting two transoms. If I was the shipwright I would let them stick though the deck but what do I know. Any advise? I can attach drawings if necessary but they aren't very clear.

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I've seen draughts where the ends of a breast hook come through a deck, but not a sleeper. It's possible that as a merchant ship Discovery was not fitted with sleepers or that the aft ends of the sleepers actually came up through the deck. Sometimes only a Time Machine will give the definitive answer. In the absence of one, you need to be master shipwright and decide.

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Posted (edited)

I decided not to treenail the interior planking I've started to glue in the interior pieces. The forward platform is in and I am planking it. The magazine sits on it. I glued in the mast steps and the aft platform. I glued in the midship platform and the next day realized I hadn't put in the carlings and ledges in it so out it came. I started the carlings and ledges and hit a shag. See-

After I got that sorted, sort of, I finished up the carlings and ledges on it and now I'm ready to glue it back in. I started on the right side and worked left. You can see the line of ledges gets straighter from right to left🙂

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Edited by Don Case
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Posted (edited)

Thanks Alan I just discovered that that nice little scuttle in the forward platform is in the wrong place, if it exists at all. That is about right in the middle of the magazine. I "think" the bread room is under it and I can't imagine they would want to have to go through the magazine every time they need bread. So I've torn the decking off before the glue got too set. Here's the drawing that shows how they put the two decks on the same drawing. Makes it kind of confusing. it's a little clearer than this image shows. I thought that, since it says Forward Platform in red ink that everything in red was Forward Platform but all the Bomb modifications are in red too. I'm pretty sure that the black ink is Lower Deck 

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I adjusted a deck plan to the right size, printed it and cut it out so I could lay it on the Platform. It looks like there is a ladder down from the lower deck(sounds weird) to the light room and then there is a square that I'm guessin' is the scuttle down to the "Bread Room". It's funny how laying that drawing in there sorts things out.

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Before I explain why I tore it apart again I thought I should explain what I'm fighting. First thing is I dove in too deep. I didn't understand quite what I was getting into. As far as just building I'm OK. I have no problems with just building. If I had good plans I'd be golden but I don't. What I have is three sets of plans. One set set shows the body plan, internal profile(I think it's called) and deck plans. No bow or stern drawings. The other two are the same but no body plan. 

The Discovery was just about finished when the Navy bought her. For the trip to the Pacific Northwest she had some mods done. As near as I can see they raised the quarter deck a couple of feet and the forecastle about the same, maybe a little less. There was a set of drawings made for the 'proposed' changes. I have those. They are from 1790 probably.

The next ones are from when she was converted to a bomb vessel. There are the 'proposed' in Feb 1798 set and the 'as fitted' set in May 1798.

So I'm trying to build a ship for the period between the 1790 proposed and the 1798 proposed. The 1790 proposed isn't a completed drawing. It's very vague. The 1798 proposed has all of the midships except the hull erased to draw in the mortars and supporting structure.

So I'm trying to build a model with info from what they might have done to what they might do next.

I also have a few of John McKay's drawings  of his interpretation of what she looked like but he only drew an internal and external profile and an oblique cut away. They have been a big help in trying to interpret the faded old drawings. John has experience to know what "probably was" so it fills in a lot of blanks.

So when I started building I thought I had multiple copies of the same drawings. I didn't know until  almost had it framed that there was an eight year gap and even longer until I realised that there was a "proposed" and "as fitted" set in the bomb conversion.

Anyway this is why I'm grasping at straws trying to understand what this ship looked like.

This week I was working on the forward platform and when I cutup some copies of the deck plans and held the in place I realised that I had a scuttle in the floor of the magazine. I tore up the planking and corrected that moving the scuttle out into the light room. Then I looked at the access from the lower deck down to the light room and saw that the 1790 drawing was different than both the 1798 drawings. Because the 1790 is just proposed and the 1798 drawing made much more sense I decided to use the 1798 drawing hoping that they had actually built it that way in 1790. When I cut the hatch in the lowerdeck template there was a bunch of breasthooks in the way of the stairs/ladder. I had made them too robust. So out with the IPA and carefully rip out the breastkooks and sand them all thinner. Tomorrow I will glue them back in.

Even though I'm having problem after problem I'm enjoying it immensely and as long as the world doesn't run out of IPA and you guys keep helping me I'm good.

No pictures this time.

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