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NRG Capstan Project by Usedtosail - FINISHED - 1:16

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So I am between ship models but we are having a pretty crappy Summer weatherwise so far so I decided to try my hand at scratch building the capstan model from the NRG plans and instructions by Tony Levine. I have the tools so I am going to try to build the Advanced version of the model but may drop back to the Intermediate version if I am having trouble. I downloaded the instructions and plans from the NRG site and printed it so I have it all in front of me as I go.


I started the build by rough cutting sheets of pear wood from a billet I had in scale 10", 7.25", 6", and 5" thicknesses on my small band saw. I already had a 4" thick sheet. I had gone through the plans and found these to be the thicknesses needed for the majority of the parts. I do have some boxwood that I may use as a contrast but for now everything will be pear.




I then ran the sheets through the course side of the thickness sander until I had the saw marks out and then through the fine side until I had the correct thicknesses.




I imagine this is pretty basic stuff for you scratch builders but this is the first time I have started a scratch project. The next step will be cutting strips from these sheets for the beams and carlings.

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Welcome all. Thanks for following along. I hope I don't disappoint.


From the 10" and 6" sheets I cut the strips for the beams and carlings on the Byrnes saw, which zipped through the pear with no problems.




There are 2 more carlings not shown above. Here is my set up for controlling dust with these tools. I have a shop vac with an adapter to fit the thickness sander and the saw. These are plugged into a power strip which is plugged into a box I bought from Amazon that senses when one of these tools is drawing current and automatically turns on the vac, and turns it off a few seconds after the tool is turned off. It works very well for me as long as I remember to move the vac hose to the tool I am about to use.




Now comes the part that has kept me up at night - cutting the mortises for the carlings. I experimented on some scrap first by cutting along the lines and using chisels to clean out the mortise, which worked OK but not great. I then tried using the mill and cleaning up the slot with chisels. This worked much better for me but still not perfect.




So I put one of the beams into the vise and milled a slot, then used some better but smaller files to clean it up. I was pretty happy with the result so I continued on the other 3 mortises for 2 of the carlings.




As I am writing this I realize I could have cut the two matching mortises at the same time by putting both beams in the vise together, but I did then one at a time. I did use the first beam to check the marks on the second beam before I cut them out of the second beam though. Here is a finished beam and one right out of the mill before clean up.




And here is how they look cleaned up with the carling strips just fit in before I cut them to fit flush.




Now to do the other set of mortises for the other 2 carlings.

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Thanks Toni and the likes. I cut the tenons on two of the carlings using the mill with an end mill bit, and fit them to the aft and middle beams. I will use this jig to hold them when I glue them to keep them square but this is how they look just set in place. I need to do a bit more fitting , especially the heights of the carlings. I am pretty happy so far.



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Thanks G.L. and the likes.


The next step was to make the capstan base from three pieces of wider stock. I first cut the three pieces then marked them for the rabbets and hole for the barrel. I then cut the rabbets on the Byrnes saw, using the same technique I use when making lap joints for the display cases I have built. I started by making sure the blade height was just half way up for the narrower pieces, then I set the width of the cut on the cross cut sled. This let me cut all but one of the rabbets, as the one side of the middle piece was cut deeper. This just meant I had change the blade height for that one cut. I then drilled the hole using a large hole bit in the drill press. I had first tried setting up the mill with a rotary table to mill the hole but that proved too frustrating to get perfectly centered.




I then glued up the three pieces. I did this upside down so the tops would be flush, and used a couple of clamps to hold the pieces while they dried.




I take another picture later when the glue dries and I remove the clamps.

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Well I am sorry to say that in the above picture the base is shown 90 degrees to how it should be on the beams. The problem was I had forgotten to cut the ends of the middle piece to fit between the beams before gluing the base pieces together. Luckily I could mount the base in the mill upside down and used a large end mill to cut the notches into the middle piece.




Now the base fit the correct way but something else was wrong as there was too much room between the middle piece and the beams. I went back and compared the carlings to the plans and they were all too long. I have no idea how a messed that up but better too long then too short. I used Iso Alcohol to loosen the glue joints between the beams and carlings and was able to separate them after about a half hour. When they were dried I cut one end of each carling so they were the correct length, then milled a new rabbet into the cut ends. When I was happy with the fit I re-glued them to the beams. I have to be more careful with measurements as I continue.

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Tom just brought to my attention a problem with the printed plans.  The plans themselves are correct but the scale on Part 104 (and possibly others) is off.  I will go back and double check everything over the next few days.  The takeaway lesson here is that you need to build from the measurements, not the printed page.  I can hear the four engineers who reviewed my work now...they did not want me to put any scale on the drawings for this very reason.

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Thanks Toni. I have been using the measurements on the drawings but in this case I thought I would use the plan for part 104 as a template for drilling the bolt holes and that's when I saw the discrepancy. Using the measurements for the holes instead worked out just fine.

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Thanks Toni. BTW I just signed up for your upcoming workshop on kit bashing. Even though I have bashed a few kits I am sure I will learn some great new things from an expert model builder.


I finished drilling the holes through the capstan base into the beams, and separated the base from the beams. One problem I had was that the glue tacks came undone after I drilled all the holes on one side and one hole on the other side. I tacked the base back onto the beams, using metal pins to line up the holes already drilled. I had no trouble drilling the rest of the holes.




Here is the base sitting on the beams but not glued on yet.




The next step was to build the brakes. Instead of building them from three pieces of brass, I made them from single pieces that I cut off a piece of thick brass sheet.




I used the mill to reduce the width in the middle of the brass piece, and also to make the round extension at the pin end. I made the extension by first drilling the pin hole, then milling 45 degrees off the corners and using a file to shape the circle. I also used files to slightly round the brake end and to add the 45 degree slope on the inside of the brake. I then cleaned up each piece with a fine file. I will leave these to blacken until I have other brass parts to blacken too.






This was a fun little project in itself as I haven't done very much milling on brass before.


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Posted (edited)

Thank you Toni and druxey.


On to the coaming. In Toni's build log, druxy suggested to practice those tricky joints so I cut some basswood scrap to practice on.  My first attempt was totally off but the second attempt at least looked closer to the pictures.




My third attempt came out better. For this one I cut one joint with a razor saw then rough cut the other side and filed it to fit.




Still not there yet so I am going to try a few more times before I start cutting the pear. I did cut out the four coaming pieces and the two coaming rabbet pieces so I have them ready to go when I feel comfortable with the practice joints.

Edited by usedtosail
I can't count
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Posted (edited)

So after the practice joints I marked the pear pieces I cut for the coaming and cut the real joints out with a razor saw, then used files to get the final fit. Not perfect by a long shot but OK. I made sure to mark each joint so I could get them matched to the correct joint on the other pieces when it came time to assemble the coaming. Here are the individual pieces and them dry fit together.






I then glued the pieces together in the magnetic gluing jig. I still have to add the rabbets, do a finish sanding on these pieces then sand in the taper and round the edges. The head ledges were slightly too long so I cheated a bit and made the rabbet pieces from slightly thicker stock so they will be flush with the carlings. I found that once you cut those joints you can't make those pieces shorter because the angle of the joints would need. more material not less.


Edited by usedtosail
A little extra explanation.
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