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Hannah by Mike_In_RI - 1:48 scale - Plans by Randle Biddle published by Nautical Research Journal

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Recently, I became interested in ships of the Colonial era. From a forum post about Chaleur I came across a lead to an extended article by Randle Biddle at the NRG. It discusses a his new design perspective about the Hannah. I found the article very novel and well thought out and it will be a great model project for me albeit a challenge.  The article also includes plans by Randle Biddle:

The plans are published by the Nautical Research Journal and are available to NRG members for download. That’s a great bargain and well worth the cost of joining the NRG.


The plans consist of five sheets at 1:48 scale in jpeg format. I chose to upload four of the sheets to Staples blueprint service and they were ready the next day and look great. In a photo editor, the body plan was cropped into bow and stern half views then each mirrored and stitched back together to duplicate and cut up for station templates.


This shot shows the significantly lower tonnage then Harold Hahn's plans.





This will be a 1:48 scale scratch, plank on bulkhead model. I’ve seen some really great open-deck model versions and want to give that a try. This remarkable project by @tlevine  of the Swallow 1779 will be a great resource for me to get through the planning pitfalls that I’m sure are coming my way.


Comments, corrections and "watch out fors" always welcome.




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Lou, did your time zone change? You're up very early! And thanks guys for the likes already.


Jean-Paul, your Cheerful is one of the "open" style projects I've been watching and learning about.  This Hannah is much smaller in below deck volume the Cheerful so I haven't yet decided how much to try to show.


I'll be in the paperwork phase for a while spending extra time reconciling the views, locating small features,  ... etc. 'Just trying to understand where bulkhead support might be needed or get in the way for that matter.




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Posted (edited)

Some progress has been made on Randle Biddle's Hannah since post #1. Decisions made, wood ordered, books ordered and even a little sawdust created.


I've been closely following @tlevine and @JpR62 especially for their construction planning.


The plans are published by the Nautical Research Journal and are available to NRG members for download.

They include 5 sheets.... composite, full view, half breadth, body and stern views.

The composite plan contains everything I have needed so far. With this sheet alone, I can bring it into a photo editor at full size, crop out any view needed and print it out on one 8.5" x 14" sheet.


The lines in all the views I've used from the composite plan reconcile. The stern view in the upper right corner contains diagonals. I don't use that feature but the few points I've checked look good.


The "All Views" sheet contains a framing plan that I use for referencing the position of certain 1/8" POB frames. In that I want to use all the station lines plus loft 12 more, the green frames may not necessary line up with the required POB frames.



Originally, I was going to go with a 1/4" POB style model but decided to go with a partial open deck look with visible stanchions. The Randle Biddle article refers to the "Great Cabin", which caught my eye, so I have been planning around that area of the deck to be partially open. That being the case, 1/4" POB frames can not fit in the transom area and allow a scale sized cabin area.


The backbone is 1/4" plywood cut to deck height along the center line and cut low in the cabin area.



This shot shows some marking out for the frame positions. Red frames correspond to existing station positions while the yellow full frames will be lofted. The hull shape is "wide and deep" which I'm sure is the wrong phraseology. In any case, the center four frames are identical and there is very change in them in the central hull area.  Dotted lines show the position of the main mast and foremast.



Some marking out of the scale cabin area. At this point, I'm unsure of how much deadwood should be accounted for. Two volumes of TFFM are on the way so I hope that helps out. For now, the ladder is set at 25 deg.



Only one basswood dry fit frame is attached.  It's left tall and wide in the moulded dimension.





Some 1/8" AYC is on order. I'll test that vs. the basswood for frame strength. The total amount of plank gluing area with 1/8"  frames at this spacing is about the same as using 1/4" frames with wider spacing so, fingers crossed, glue strength should not be an issue.


Thanks again for the likes, your input is very welcome.



Edited by Mike_In_RI
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Saw dust, finally!!


I'm unfamiliar to scratching the POB backbone so a lot of the time since the last post has been used for planing the deck levels to accounts for the deck and false deck thickness, etc. In my previous post, I hadn't yet thought about that so I have since trimmed down the top of the back bone, and made a new #9 bulkhead to account for a false deck forward of the quarterdeck.


This is a small model but I'd like to show all the deck timbers as well as the Great Cabin area. The timbers are only 6" x 6" so with that in mind there will be about 22 1/8" basswood bulkheads used. The spacing, for the most part, is 1/2" with some exceptions in spacing to allow for the rise in the fore deck and for the gun supports. Of the 22 frames, 10 are at an actual station location, the rest will be lofted or just placed and sanded back where needed.


Again, I've been following the builds of @tlevine, @JpR62 and @KenW for planning which has saved a lot of do-overs on my part.


The general process for the scratch bulkheads I used: 

The plans are published by the Nautical Research Journal and designed by Randle Biddle. They are available to NRG members for download.


In this shot, the bow body view was cropped out and mirrored in a photo editor. Four of these views were grouped at a time and printed on a 8 1/2" x 11" sheets of paper. Each station, in this case #8, can be highlighted as well in the editor if needed.




For gluing, I intend to remove some of the template paper so just lightly sprayed adhesive used to attach the bulkhead template:




The frames are rough cut on a band saw and, for the 10 station frames, disk sanded to the ink line. Other frames are lofted if there is a significant bevel (bow & stern) or left a little outside the ink.




Using waterline 3, the height of the deck timber was marked exactly and cut 1/8" higher sized to allow for sanding. The deck curvature was drawn in using a template at the height of the plywood backbone.




Originally, I had planned to work on the Great Cabin first. After seeing other builds, I realized the remainder of the hull would probably be needed to

support and align the transom area. Note the slots in backbone in the Great Cabin area are to be filled in. There is too sloppy a fit with the bulkhead using that cut out method. There will be just one longer slot in the bulkhead with a snug fit.




Water line three is used as the reference for the fit. Note that top horizontal line is not a waterline. Some bevel lofting is shown shaded on frames 7, 8 & 9 along with the deck levels marked out. The bow curvature is very steep so another bulkhead or filler is planed for the bow (yellow).




Only 4 more regular frames to go but I was itchy to get a 3D look at Randy's Hannah so I dry fit and taped what I have so far:




I'm stalling a bit before cutting the basswood down to the deck levels in case of something unforeseen. Any help on that is welcome.


Please comment any time, and thank you for the likes and encouragement.





Edited by Mike_In_RI
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Posted (edited)

Mike. I’ve not watched this last week. Great progress. One thing you might consider in the bow is to fill the area where the cant frames would be in POF with solid wood. You could use the waterlines to shape 2-3 “lifts”. They would give plenty of support to the plank ends. 


Guessing you have yet to cut those two bulkheads aft, to their Station shapes?


getting out a copy of the drawings so I can follow your comments better. You are inspiring me to get back to my model. Thanks!! 




can you post post a photo of the Stern region of your backbone please? I’m curious about how the Stern Board will be supported especially if you want the Great Cabbin to be open. 


Ill be out most of this morning. 

Edited by Windships
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Thank you gentlemen for the likes & comments.


@Windships Yes, the bow will need some strength to handle the plank curves. And above the wales, I'm looking at cherry & castello so not quite as easy to bend as the bass and AYC. The station shapes aft of "D" are on hold until I settle on the floor (eye) level in the cabin and rework the slots in the backbone. The current slots (filled in now) were too deep and made a loose fit with the bulkhead slots. If the cabin floor comes up a bit, the bulkhead slot can be deeper and get a better grab. 


For the cabin area, regular (thick) POB framing is too thick to allow for maximum space. So for frame "I" aft, I'll need to work out a more traditional plank on frame layout. I've got David Antscherl's TFFM for help. Great books! The cabin floor sits just below WL2 and pitches up just a bit toward the stern leaving enough gluing area of the sternpost to the backbone. The floor level as shown seems to need more pitch for looking out the port. I'll probably raise that more toward being parallel with the quarterdeck.




Shot of the stern with a temporary sternpost and keel.



Shot of the Great Cabin floor at it's current level.







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Thanks for posting the additional pictures, and accompanying text.

My interim drawings aren't at hand, but...as for the cabin floor and visibility out the stern ports.

I spent a lot of time working out those heights using an old "Scale Card" which has a 6 foot man and about a 5'5" woman on it.

I had to take into account the heights for going up and down a ladderway from the companion, entering from the after side of that structure on deck, with the lid lifting up and forward...all the way back to accommodate the location of the two stern ports. It is snug.


Perhaps I should have drawn in where I located the floor of the cabin on the Centerline Deck Structures view (or whatever I called it).

I may have pitched up the after end a bit, just as you are considering. But not much, because of the height/headroom confines.


For those new to the drawings, on the Sheer Plan (Outboard Profile) the level of the quarterdeck is along the rail that runs below the stack of scuppers on that deck, and ends at the forward edge of the companion. Or another way to think of it is that it is just above the top of the stern ports. The round up of the deck corresponds to the roundup of the lines just above her name and hail. Vessels of this period seemed to have a greater round up than others, later.


As to supporting the Stern Board... You can see the tops of the transom timbers on the half-breadth. I would fashion them as in POF, run the two which lie beside the rudder trunk, and add another segment to make an "elbow" as with the real timbers, and run that part forward and glue to the backbone.


Bear in mind everyone, I didn't have any particular building style in mind when creating the drawings. And only included suggestions for those thinking of a POF build (by showing the proposed framing arrangement in color). But, Mike is working it out very well I think.


I'll go look for the interim drawings to see if I have one of where i thought the cabin floor should go. It was also a matter of having sufficient width in that space.  All within the dimensions indicated by working from the tons burthen.

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Interior Details


I just sent Mike some cellphone snaps of the sketches and overlays I made on the Lines to indicate interior details. I would rather they  not be posted here because they don't reproduce well (light pencil) and, at some point should I decide to make a revised set of drawings for publication or sale, I would include refined views as one might see in an Inboard Profile.


However, if anyone else starts a build soon, I will be happy to send them what I provided to Mike just now.


To Mike's question though, I located the cabin floor just below waterline 2, and sketched in the companion ladder way to make sure it was usable.

I used the Scale Card for 1:48 folks.  BTW David Antscherl said he didn't think the body proportions were very accurate for those cards.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I have finally used a little glue... big step. This is my first scratch POB build and I really can appreciate now how much thinking and planning goes into a good POB kit. @Windships plans have trued out nicely and the monograph has a lot of detail for the build. Of course, I still have novice questions and @Windships  has been a big help.


The plans are published by the Nautical Research Journal and designed by Randle Biddle. They are available to NRG members for download.


Most of the interim time spent since the last update has been working in the area between the last full aft frame and the stern board. The Great Cabin is a focus area so I  would like to push the aft wall of the cabin back as far as possible without weakening the framing structure. I settled on using  the sternpost to mount the last frame. The height of the sternpost will be set to accommodate a sill just below the two stern lights. The sternboard frames (set high in this photo) will straddle the sides of the sternpost. The keel is not attached yet so the final height of the post is not finalized.




The stem requires a Scarf joint. Alaskan Yellow Cedar will be used for the keel and hull planks. As of this moment, I'm favoring painting the hull. The stem was roughed out with a band saw and finished up with a sanding drum in a drill press.





This shot shows the lip for the position of the last frame. The rabbet in the keel and sternpost was cut in on a table saw. The stem rabbet was built up with 1/8" x 1/16" strip. This hull has a boxy shape to it so there is a minimal bearding line chiseled in at the stern.



The paper stern board is an orthogonal projection from the body plan... my first since the days of bamboo slide rules.🥺 The plywood backbone forward of the quarterdeck is trimmed down to allow for a 1/32" false deck and 3/64" deck planking.




Frame "J" will be the aft wall of the cabin. This shot shows the position of the stern lights. There are only two and are spread wide to comport with an 1801 watercolor of the schooner Raven, built at Salisbury Mass, 1786.



The bulkheads are yet to be glued in. A few clothespins are the only thing holding things together for now. The counter is very small and just allows enough room for the rudder post.






The frames are still loose and extra tall and wide for now with the red lines indicating the bottom of the cap rail.


Please comment and/or correct any time, and thank you for the likes and encouragement.




Edited by Mike_In_RI
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Thank you Lou & Windships . I appreciate the kind words, comments and the likes.


I've been able to catch up a little. Using some left over 3/4" MDF, I put together a work table/alignment jig.


This shot shows a station bulkhead that is also in line with the location of the foremast. That bulkhead has the usual lower slot for assembly to the backbone as well as an upper slot for the mast. That leaves only about 5/8" in the center holding it together.  So, it is cross braced with 1/16" bass to strengthen it.  The large block is cut to the level of waterline 3 and is used as a gauge to check the bulkhead heights/alignment.




Finally... a little glue! Most of the bulkheads are in and stiffeners were place between them to get ready for sanding the deck and fairing the bulkheads.




The curvature of the deck is just about done. Sanding the end grain of the basswood was torturous so I switched to my scary sharp (3/4") chisel which work great and.. no blood on the table! There was even a (lucky) secondary benefit in using the larger chisel in that I could bridge the 1/2" space between bulkheads to smooth the pitch angle from one to the next. The deck timbers are still oversized so I'll have to go back later & finish the top of the deck frames once the timbers are cut to shape. The deck height allows for a 1/32" false deck plus the plank thickness.




The backbone and stem are fixed in place while the stern fixture is adjustable (in/out) while still holding the sternpost vertical. The fixture helps me visualize how to blend the last few frames into the outside stern board timbers. It's hard to see here but the stern board is rounded out about 5/32".






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Posted (edited)

Thank you guys.


Ken, I'm working through a version of your post #18. That is, getting the upper hull at the stern established. However, there is no room for central bulkheads back there because of an open cabin. Once I can firmly connect that last frame to the stern board with good alignment, I should be able to get the (very small) counter in and the rest can be shaped fillers. 🤞




In the meantime, some sanding to do on the inside of the cabin frames. I'll have rigidize these as well before working with them. The good news is that haven't changed their shape in the the last few weeks.


edit here -- changed a photo --




The photos of your project have been a big help to me. Thanks again.



Edited by Mike_In_RI
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Thank you Randy ... although you may have spoken too soon. Rookie mistake, I just realized I was feeding the frame into the sanding drum on the wrong side. It shot my frame across the shop! I just edited my post with a new photo.... don't tell anybody. 😆



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I formed these frames on the Dremel rig I mentioned.


They are at 1:32

Composed of Floors and 1st, 2nd and 3rd Futtocks, plus a chock between Floors and 2nd's and First's and 3rd's.

Some are single frames and others are double.


If I had more space to display models, and wanted to build POF, I think this is an excellent scale.

Clay Feldman used it as well.



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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Since the last update, all the cabin frames are now in place.  At this smaller scale (1:48) they are only 1/8" x 1/8" and fairly fragile so multiple spacers have been added between all the frames. Also, this shot shows temporary bracing across the top of the frames to keep them from changing shape. 


The wedge shaped piece attached to the stern post will accept the lower hull planking as it rises to the counter.




It may seem a bit backwards, but the counter was fashioned and installed next to establish the height of the lower edge of the stern board.



Once the counter is installed, the dummy sternboard can be temporarily placed which allows fairing of the quarterdeck frames.




For now, the stern board will not be permanently installed in order to allow more room to work inside the great cabin which will be viewable through a partially open quarterdeck.



The counter is made up of two layers of planking. The outer layer is bass wood and will be painted. The inner layer is cherry. My current thinking is to use a combination of natural wood and white paint in the cabin area.




The exterior fairing is about 75% complete.  Currently, I'm thinning the frames from the inside of the cabin back to 1/8". With POB construction, there isn't much more room to be gained without weakening the walls.


Time to give some thought to the cabin floor layout. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.





Edited by Mike_In_RI
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Beautiful job so far Mike. This was my first scratch built model and it was a lot of fun. Actually my model is a model of Harold Hahn's version in the Washington Navy Yard. For me, the most difficult part of the build (as it was for Hahn as well) was the open bulwarks/margin deck planking arrangement. I found it easier to fit the margin planks before planking the outside of the hull. You're a long way from there but you'll need to give this some thought. As well, Hahn's rigging plans left much to be worked out, especially the falls of numerous lines. I spent hours in the museum copying his rigging. Hopefully, Randy's plans include rigging.

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Posted (edited)

Good Morning 

always an inspiration to see your fine work Mike. 


Rigging... I didn’t provide masting and rigging plans on purpose. Why not?


First, I don’t presume that my depiction is precisely what this Hannah looked like. No one knows. Only that the primary record is more fully supportive of what I presented. 


Im confident that had Harold known what I learned his model would be different. 


Harold’s strong suit—by his own admission—was not rigging.


As a point of departure I suggested Chapelle’s Sultana rig as drawn for the Model Shipways kit. Ronnberg’s Fair American is a great reference too as are his unpublished drawings of his Hannah model from Wm A Baker’s design. Other aspects are noted in my article. 


My hope was this new look at Hannah would encourage others toward further examination and even different interpretations of the data where supportable. 


One could rig her with only “four lowers”. Or with a fore topsail v fore and main. Should she have gaff topsails?  The answers are not clear from contemporary illustrations. 


She might have had a lumber port in the lower transom. 


Her armament remains an open question as to weight of shot and how the carriages were mounted. 


I think its been 90 days since publication so I now hold the copyright. However to distribute the piece certain illustrations will have to be removed unless I secure permission and pay for them to be included. 


Of course the best way to view the entire piece is to join the NRG. 


Hope this was helpful. 

Mike and I will continue to work out the wrinkles. 


Last, yes, doing things in sequence is essential and always requires forethought and planning. 


Questions welcome any time. 



To be candid, I didn’t intend to make the Drawings set either but glad I did. Ironically it is only the Drawings and Mike’s choice to build from them which have elicited comment. 


To the best of my knowledge no one has remarked about anything else in the 230 page monograph. 


Come to your own conclusion about whether the underlying research means anything at all to most of our community so long as drawings depict an attractive modeling subject. 


No one seriously investigated Hannah until Smith and Knight in 1970 and they were essentially ignored by our community. 


Until my work no one questioned Harold either...


Sad in each case because there is always something yet to be discovered. And in the meantime we labored along under significant misconceptions about this Hannah. 



Edited by Windships
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