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USF Constitution by cookster - Model Shipways - kitbashed to 1812

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Well, guess I need to recreate my build log since the site died.  I started my build around Christmas 2012 and worked as much as I could up until early February.  Just now getting back to building and was checking the site when I found out it had died!  I will begin reloading as soon as I can.


Here's current progress:








Edited by cookster
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Ok, let's start reloading this puppy....  I'm using Bob Hunt's practicum, but I am modifying some things as I go.  Since this is my first wooden ship build, it's an invaluable guide to me.  I also have Chuck's Syren and the build guide he wrote for it is outstanding, so with both guides I believe I can do this.  I've never been one to start small and work my way up so why start now!


Started as everyone does with the keel.


When building the keel I didn't use simple butt joints. I notched out 1 side of each keel half to accept a splice plate, glued it on, and after drying glued to the next section. This made for a much stronger joint with no splice plate sitting on top of the butt joint (to interfere with the bulkheads). The picture doesn't show this that well, but you can see the rectangular piece for the middle section below the keel before gluing on. The front section still needs to be notched for this to fit. The dark lines on the rear section is the splice plate already glued on, ready for the middle section to slide into it. I thought I had taken more pictures of this, but I didn't.



Gluing in the bulkheads.  And yes some of the keel sections between bulkheads broke off so had to glue them back on.



I wanted to strengthen the keel against side flex so I a cut a notch in each bulkhead (on one side only) for a stiffener which screws to the keel. This stiffener is to keep the keel straight. Once the bulkheads are installed the stiffener will be glued and screwed to the keel.


I don't have a good pic anymore of this but you can see the stiffener in this later pic.



Edited by cookster
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In this pic you can see the keel splice plate between bulkheads L and M


I also wanted to add filler blocks between the bulkheads.  I used a square to align the bulkheads.  I left a small gap between bulkheads so I could insert toothpicks as wedges to square up each bulkhead to the keel.



You can see more of this in a later pic.  The keel stiffener is also visible here.




Edited by cookster
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Making the bow filler blocks. Cut out one side of the block.



Stick the 2 pieces back together with double sided tape.



Cut the other side and make this.



Stick that back together with more dbl sided tape, cut out the last profile, then have this.

And sand away! The block on the left has been sanded a little I think.



The patterns you see in white material are made from index cards.  I also have some 8 1/2 x11 cardstock I cut and use for patterns.  Works much better than plain paper.  On several patterns latter in the build I actually cut out the full size plan and ran through the copier using cardstock, worked like a champ!



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This is my method for making the support piece at the bow for the knight/timber heads.

Instead of making 2 pieces and trying to fumble with fitting them, I made one piece out of some plywood I had. It fits snugly against bulkhead A and the keel (once the notch is cut). This makes fitting and tweaking the entire bow section much less clumsy. Once everything is made and fitted I'll cut the piece in half. I also glued supports to the front side of bulkhead A and the keel for the piece to rest and glue onto. This will be much stronger than just a butt joint.



The supports on bulkhead A have .010 styrene shims on them, that's what the white pieces are.



For the notches (mortises) in the top of the bow filler blocks, since this is not seen I decided to glue on supports instead of cutting the mortises. This way I could fit everything nice and snug and not have to deal with cutting mortises.  A real pain at full size, much worse in miniature! This meant I had to adjust the length of the knight/timberheads, but that wasn't a big deal to me. I made some 1/8 x 1/8 stock out of the 1/8 basswood sheets the bulkheads were from.


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In this pic you can kind'a see where I modified the mortise for the bowsprit. Instead of leaving it square to the bulkhead as cut, I angled it to match

the angle of the bowsprit with a #11 blade. This way I can cut the tenon square to the the bowsprit which will be MUCH easier!



The dark color on the bowsprit tenon is pencil lead. I rubbed pencil lead on the tenon, then slid it in the mortise to see where the tight spots were. The pencil lead will rub off on the high spots. Chamferring the corners of the tenon also helps a lot.



Once I had the bow support piece fit, I glued on 2 temporary blocks to hold it together when I cut it in half. Then I cut it in half, leaving the temporary blocks whole, and glued it in place. In the pic it looks like one wide piece, but it's really 2 about 1/4" apart.



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Waterway:  I think this is my best work on the model yet...


I started making the forward waterway. Back to almost bulkhead C the curve is very extreme, so I decided to make a glue up for this section instead of trying to find wide stock for this. I did not go all the way to bulkhead "E" as Bob Hunt suggested, I just decided this how I wanted to do it. If the long waterway piece comes up short, which I think I will, I'll just scarf in another piece.



Starting to shape the waterway...




You can see the scarf joint I cut for the long waterway section to join into.  I made sure to cut the scarf oriented so the pressure of the bend would press into the joint and keep it tight.  Hard to explain, and no good pic of this...



Fits nice at the bowsprit




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Okay, continuing to rebuild log:


Working on the stern transom block.

Since the block should be 11/32" thick according to the practicum, and the supplied block is 1/2", I used this to my advantage and cut dados (grooves) in the block instead of reducing the thickness of the entire block. These dados are for the transom bulkheads. I took care cutting the dados to make sure the tops of the bulkheads lined up with the top of bulkhead R as Bob stressed was critical. I cut the outer rabbets for the transom sides wider than needed so I'd have room to fit them. I can shim later if I need to.

The dados look out of square in the top pic but they are square to the bulkhead. This must be an optical illusion from how I was holding the camera.

You're probably noticing the bulkheads are not fared much yet, I decided to do most of this after they were installed thinking I'd get more accurate results. Since this pic was taken I've started fairing them in and it's not been too difficult.






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Installed the stern bulkheads into the dados.


The outer bulkhead frames were a pain. After reading the practicum several times, placing the bulkheads, removing, replacing, looking, thinking they're OK only to decide they weren't, I came to the same conclusion as Bob Hunt. There's no way these things will fit like you think they should. So, I just put them in the best location I could come up with and will work the rest out as I go. I beveled the bottom and bulkhead edge to fit without gaps, and that may have been part of the problem.

I made a template from the plans to help line things up as best I could. The markings are on the bulkhead side so you really can't see them here.






Outer bulkheads in place


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Once I started installing the cross beams in the bulkheads and tried to attach temporary battens across the back of the bulkheads, it was apparent something wasn't right. The fins of the outer bulkheads were at the wrong angle, and too short. Beveling at bullkhead R caused some of it this, but not all I don't think.

The only solution I could come with was to add material to back of the fins and remove material from the front, on both outer bulkheads. This would get the profile of the fins to line up with the center bulkheads.

I only faired the bulkwarks side, the hull side will be done later.





I'm not certain this was the right thing to do, but at least it got the transom flat. Maybe if I tried to put the curve in the transom the outer bulkheads would've fit better.


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I lost the pics (deleted, oops!) of making the stern blocks and such, but here theu are installed and sanded (but I doubt all the way)



I need to take more pics of the rear bulwark area planked.  You  can kind of see it here:



The inner buiwarks are planked.



The gun ports on the port side framed and cut out.






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And that brings me where I am today.  Planking the outer hull above the plankshear.  Bob Hunt recommended cutting each piece to length, but i decided against that.  It's easier (for me) to install them long, then come back and trim down.  A little careful sanding and they look good.  


A note on sanding tools, I ordered some sanding sticks but they haven't arrived yet, so in a pinch I used fingernail files (the kind with dual grits) to sand the edges down and it works fine.  I'm sure I'm not the first person to do this, but it works!



Trimmed and edge sanded (not the hull side yet)





And if you're noticing bits of white around the model, I used styrene as shims here and there.  Either my bulkheads weren't perfect, or I got them a little out of alignment (more than likely) so when I faired the bulwarks there were low and high spots here and there.  So I used .010 and .020 styrene strips to build up the low spots. Not what I wanted to have happen.  I wanted everything to line up perfectly - ala Bob Riddoch, but that didn't happen. But at least the finished planking will look straight (I hope!) and no one will see the shims I had to install!


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Thanks all!


Tom, if you haven't already check out Bob Riddoch's Conny build.  There are several Conny builds on this site that are wonderful, but Bob's is the only one I've seen that started at the beginning.  I'm sure there are others (don't want to offend anybody)  His work is awesome, it's what convinced me to give this a try.  Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been a couple weeks with no modeling, but will be back to it again this weekend.  One thing that has become painfully obvious is the lack of consistency in the widths of the planks for the bulwarks.  I first noticed this when planking the inner bulwarks.  (sorry no pics yet).  At the bow I wound up with slight gaps between a couple rows of planks.  I first though this was my error, but after checking and analyzing I realized this was caused by differing width planks laid end to end.  When the next row is added this differing width causes gaps.

This became more of a problem when I realized the heights of the inner and outer bulwarks were different.  Again, caused by differing plank widths.  At least the inside was to high, so I can sand that down to match the outer.

I've begun using calipers to check all plank widths now to try and match widths on all end to end planks.  Maybe all you experienced guys do that and it's just my rookie mistake, but it did bite me in the butt.  I also have quite a few planks with severe chatter marks on the edges that I'm going to have to call Model Shipways and get replacements for.  Everyone on here has said they are great about doing that so I should have no problem (I hope!)

I"ll post a few pics when I get time to take them, although I really hate showing pics of my stupid mistakes. Honest errors are OK I guess, but I should have known better on this issue.  But, I guess that's what this group is all about, helping the next guy avoid my mistakes!

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Thanks Bob!  I'll never reach the quality of your build but I'm trying!


Reached a milestone last night. All the upper gunports are finished.  Glad to be done with that.  I had to correct a couple of my errors and make a few judgement calls, so I hope everything is right!  I just need to sand a little more and I'll post a few pics.  Then on to the lower gun ports.


I was looking at some of the the other Conny logs and the yellow stripe keeps coming up. I actually like that over the white, I kind'a want to go that route, but I know it won't be historically accurate.  But, that's not why I'm building this either.  I'm building for the challange, and the fun.  My finished model will be not be 100% historically accurate, I know that.  So should I let that bother me?  Trying not to...  This certainly is not going to be a museum piece depicting the moment in time when "whatever" happened.  I wish it could, but it won't.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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