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Posted (edited)

I was looking for something different after the long haul voyage with the Bounty, and picked up this Scottish motor fishing vessel from Amati last year. It’s a beautiful kit that looks very good quality. Seems a good choice for a first build given the clarity of the plans and instruction, and anybody else. I’m not entirely sure where I’ll go with it in terms of the overall interpretation but we will see. 

The basic frame goes up straight, fast and trouble free because of the quality of the design and fabrication.

There’s a large hatch area in the centre of the vessel that I might leave at least partially open, so I’ve built a simple enclosure under spanning a couple of frames. I’m imagining this will eventually house a pile of fish crates, nets and other fishing paraphernalia. I’ve incorporated a door to the forward cabins and rear hatch to what would presumably be the motor areas, but not detailing anything outside the hold area as it won’t really be visible. Easier to install and finish the enclosure now in pieces while the frames are still open. The walls are planking on solid panels, with a simple deck floor on sleepers over the mdf base to level it up.
Enough goofing around with this, time to do the planking... 

 

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Edited by Tim Moore
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The top two planks on this model shouldn’t be glued to the mdf frame extensions above the false deck, because those extensions eventually come off. I fixed the second plank first, the bottom of which can be glued to the false deck, and then edge glued the upper plank above it. I extended these first two planks with a scarf joint so that they are continuous. The rest can have joints on the frames (since the boat is longer than the planking material).

Would be better to have a wider 16mm plank of some description to use in place of common planking for these two, but this should be ok when all is said and done.

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A 1mm trim piece is placed on both sides of the keel, which creates a border for the final planks to finish flush against. This eliminates any need for fussing with a groove (rabbet) in the false keel. The underplanking only needs to be feathered to the false keel before placing the trims.

The under planking didn't need much in the way of sanding or filling, so I can start the finish planking as soon as I can get back in the cabin.

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Posted (edited)

And the planking is done. The frame is nice and sturdy to work on, no real issues with second layer just a little finish sanding and then on to some more interesting bits. The walnut is pretty nice seems a shame to cover it all with paint so I’m thinking about my finishing strategy. Kind of looks like a stubby fat cedar strip canoe at the moment.

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Edited by Tim Moore
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Boy, I am envious. Love your hold detail. But tell us about your door. I guess that you took a photo of a door with the poster and glued it to the balsa door. Great idea, in my book, for other details that cannot be fully seen on the finished model. Then I certainly see you work real fast and the planking looks flawless. Compare that to mine which is going to require a lot of sanding and filling to match your. Congratulations and I will be following you.

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Thanks Ras - I appreciate the comments; you are a real gentleman for saying them. Nice to hear from a fellow builder also working on the Fifie - yours is really coming along as well. I scratch built the door and detailed it with a bit of paint and graphite pencil. The North Sea fish chart and the map are paper prints I tacked on. I’m planning on putting a few more things down there but for now I’m concentrating on finishing the hull. 

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Installed all the timber heads and gunwale. Decided on painting the bulwarks white just because that’s what I usually see on fishing boats.  A little harder to do well since white shows up every defect on an assembly. Laid on the basic hull colours, and may do some weathering with the airbrush before applying a final finish. The walnut hull seemed too nice to completely paint over so I’ve used a rust coloured stain for the underwater, which lets the grain and planking come through, and for the upper I used an ebonizing technique which transforms wood to a really deep black without hiding the texture of the planks. Not sure it really comes through in the pictures but i think it has been pretty successful. If anyone wants particulars on how this is done I can provide details on the technique I use, after some trial and error in the past.

 

 

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Thanks Jean-Paul and G.L...Ebonizing is a piece of cake once you’ve prepared the two necessary solutions.  It is accomplished by the reaction between iron acetate and tannin.  For the acetate I submerge a clump of fine raw prewashed steel wool in a plastic container containing 10% (double strength) cleaning vinegar. Put holes in lid for offgassing and leave for a week and then filter using a coffee filter. For the tannin I steeped a dozen tea bags in a cup or so of water to make ridiculously strong tea. 
The tannin solution is the key to the process.

When you’ve concocted these two witches’ brews paint the wood with the tannin solution first, let soak in for a few minutes, then paint on the acetate. Let that dry, and then apply the tannin solution again and your wood will magically be dead black and ready for any finish.

 

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3 hours ago, PJG said:

The hull looks great Tim...both the super clean planking job and nice color choices. The white timber heads and gunwale is very sharp 👍

Is the pottery in the background your work as well? Also very nice!

Thanks PJ...my wife is the potter....I use her studio here for painting because it is heated and attached to house and has a sink etc for cleanup.

Your Fifie diorama is a museum piece. I’m pulling for the fish to show up in the final product.

 

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Thanks Bob and Jean-Paul!

Just starting the deck. The deck wood is an odd sort of beige, so I brushed it with some of the iron acetate solution which I only let steep for 24 hours. It gives the wood a warm grey patina which I think should be right for a fishing boat. I’m in agreement with PJG and using thread to separate the planks slightly, rather than the wood strips provided in the kit.

 

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Main decking on Fifie completed. I know, it perhaps looks a little too posh for a fishing boat. Not sure I have the heart to scuff it all up with a little sandpaper. The deck was accomplished by prefinishing the planks with a weak concentration of iron acetate, tacking down 0.15mm black thread using CA and then setting the planks with wood glue.  

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