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Bluenose by Jim L - Model Shipways

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Hello all,


This is a reconstruction of my Bluenose log. I was able to salvage the text from my initial post which also happened to be my biggest so I should be able to a pretty decent job of getting it back. Unfortunately when you pull something back that has been cached on Google most of the time the photos are not there so this may be a bit hit or miss matching the text to the photos I have but I'll try.


Onward and upwards!

I've been working on my Bluenose for a number of months now so this log will not start at the beginning but rather at about the halfway mark. To date I've planked the hull, both decks, painted the hull and have begun working on the dories.

Here are a few photos that show what has been done so far.

This first photo shows what the hull looks like so far. You'll notice the waterline in this photo is yellow, not white. Actually the water line IS white but it is covered by a 3/64" wide strip of yellow automotive pin stripe tape. The way I did my water line is this:

  1. I painted a wide stripe white. This stripe is wider than the actual water line will be and it extends above and below where the final line will be.
  2. Next I took a piece of 3/64" yellow pin stripe tape and ran it over the white area exactly where I wanted the water line to appear.
  3. Finally I painted up to the tape with red and down to the tape with a midnight blue that I mixed up for this build.


The tape will be coming off soon and I'll get a shot of the final result. I leave the tape on as long as possible to protect the white line. I hate to try and touch up thin lines.

The next couple of photos show my decking job. I used boxwood from Hobby Mill and am very happy with the result. Boxwood has very tight grain so there was no bleed through of the artist charcoal I used to simulate caulking. As you can see I deviated a bit from the kit suggests when it came to the planking. I used 5 planks per set and used a pattern of 5-3-1-4-2. This gave me an appealing pattern with adequate spacing between plank ends in adjacent rows. Since it was my plan from the beginning to use a pattern like this rather than using one long plank, I used a 1/32" basswood subdeck. This made it very easy to apply the planked deck which is made with 1/32" x 3/32" boxwood. An unexpected but now that I think of it not surprising benefit of this was cutting the planks that go into the nibbing strake was much easier. Cutting 1/32" boxwood was very exact, push down on my knife and SNAP a nice clean cut. Boxwood sands very well so the little sanding I had to do on the edges is also very crisp, unlike basswood.


Planks are 120mm long which is 25 scale feet, a believable length for a ship coming out of this region of Canada. Since I used 5 planks per set the offset for each is 24mm. With the narrow planks (6 scale inches) I think this arrangement worked well. The deck is finished with 3 coats of Wipe-On-Poly (Satin) rubbed with a green nylon pad between coats.

I am just about done with my dories. I will have 2 stacks of 3. I did a bit of substituting on materials, here is a list of what I used:

  • Battens are 1/32" x 1/16" boxwood
  • Cleats are 1/32" x 3/32" boxwood
  • Thwart support rails are 3/64 x 1/16" walnut
  • Thwarts are 3/64" x 3/16" walnut (very light color - may be sapwood)
  • Rails are 3/64" x 1/16" walnut


I realize this is a long post but rather than spend time trying to figure how to break it up I decided to just dive right in, post this one long entry and then I'm caught up to date. Future entries will be shorter and cover one thing at a time.


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Another log entry I found!


Jeff, Alistair, Bob, Jay and Elia, many thanks for the warm welcome and kind words!

As promised, here are some pictures of my dories. This first photo is of 2 stacked dories on the skids. They are made to look like they have been knocked about a bit as these are work boats and would have seen some rough handling in their day. There are minor differences in things like the rails to give each an identity beyond the number painted on the bow. I didn't want them to look like carbon copies of each other. This stack is just placed on deck for the photo, it hasn't been installed yet.



I used the jig that came with the kit to make the dories. I found that the sides had to shortened by 1/8" (cut from the aft end, not the forward end) to make things work. I started assembly by edge gluing the P&S sides at the bow and holding them together with my fingers while the glue set up. This gave me a piece that looks like the letter "V". Next I got the sides clamped against the jig using the 8 hook shaped pieces held in place with clothes pins. I then pushed the floor into place. I had made a note of where the center cleat would be and marked the floor on P&S sides. Once in place I used a drop of CA glue to hold things in position and gave the glue time to dry (the spot of glue will be hidden by the batten). Once the glue was dry I turned the whole thing over and put tiny drops of CA glue all along the perimeter where the floor and sides meet, these acted like tiny liquid spot welds. Again, I gave the glue time to dry before I moved on. When the sides were
securely attached to the floor I put in the transom. By putting the glue on from the bottom I avoided those shinny spots that show up when you paint over CA glue.

With the hull now complete I started work on the interior. I dry fit the cleats and once I had their fit the way I wanted it I drilled the holes in them to allow water to flow between sections. With the cleats installed I glued on all the battens. Next came the thwart supports. I soaked them in water for awhile to make them a little more pliable then glued them in place. I cut the thwarts to fit and glued them in place.

The rail was harder to get into place because although I soaked it the wood still wanted to spring back. Then I  remembered something I learned at a meeting of the Ship Model Society of NJ. Chuck Passaro gave a demo of how to
bend wood and make it hold its shape. I put a piece of paper over the drawing of the dory and traced the outline of the rail. I took that and laid it on a scrap piece of wood. After wetting the rail I used a small spring clamp to clamp one end of the rail on top of the tracing. I then slowly and gently bent the rail to conform to the tracing. I then clamped the other end to the board. The trick is to use heat to dry the wood while it is clamped into the shape you want. Once it is dry (and has cooled) you can remove the clamps and the wood will retain its shape! With the rail now bent to the correct shape I painted the outside edge the same deep midnight blue that I used for the hull of the ship. When the paint was dry I applied a coat of Wipe-On-Poly to both sides and the top. When all that was dry I glued the rails into place.

I drilled holes in the transom and the bow and then threaded .6mm tan Morope through. The two loops of rope are used to hoist the dory out of the stack when they are needed for fishing.

This is what a finished dory looks like. This single dory will be displayed off the ship at the height of the waterline, probably on a brass rod coming up from the base that the ship will be mounted on.



Each dory has a bunch of gear in it. I've seen photos of fishermen in these dories and many times they had to sit on the rails with their legs intertwined in the thwarts to hold themselves in. My dories are equipped with a coil of .6mm beige rope, 2 oars, two buckets with rope handles (one with fishing line coiled in it, the other empty) and a marker buoy.

The inside of the dory is painted with a color called dirty concrete which is a sickly green/tan combo that looks just right for a fishing boat. The outside is painted aged white. The floor of the dory is stained with a deep red oak which nicely simulates blood stained wood (fish blood, not fisherman blood). The number painted on the side is not meant to look like it came out of a factory but more like something a fisherman would have painted using whatever brush was handy. To make the yellow less glaring it is aged with walnut stain applied in a haphazard way. Over all I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

This next photo is a shot looking down on a stack. You can see the oars, buoys, buckets and coiled rope. Before this assembly gets attacked to the deck I will load more oars, buckets, etc. As much gear as possible was stored in the
stacked dories to save room on deck.



That's it for now. Next up is deck furniture but I am still working out how I want to build these items.


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I have a question for you, Jim.

I noticed that you were able to  post text and then insert a picture and then text again. I have not been able figure out how to do that with this new format.



I like the previous format where you could add some text underneath the picture or attachment. But that has been deleted. Yours would allow me to do that.


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Jay, I composed my log using MS-Word. I insert the pictures into the document and then put a label under the photo so when it's time to upload I know which photo to use. I find the new software MSW is using is actually easier for adding photos. Here is how I do it:


In Word I press <CTRL> A and then <CTRL> C to copy everything to the clipboard. In the MSW editor I press <CTRL> V to paste everything. You can't paste photos this way but the editor will show a little box where the photo goes and on the next line the name of the photo. To add the photos inline I then go to the area below the editor. One of two things happens and I haven't figured out yet why sometimes "A" happens and other times "B" but it is always one or the other so I'll explain both.


Option "A" has a very obvious Add Photo option below the editor. Click on it and you'll be in a windows box where you can select one or all of the photos you want to upload. Once you've made your choice(s) you'll be back at the editor screen.


Option "B" has the option for adding photos hidden. Below the editor window, towards the right side of the screen you will see a button for "Other Reply OPtions" or something to that effect. Click this button and the editor will refresh and now the button in Option "A" is visible.


After you have done either A or B as appropriate you will see all of your photos listed one above the other just below the editor window. Scroll to the point in your post where you want to add a photo, click your mouse button to mark the spot and then click the option below the photo to "Add to Post". That's it! Hope this helps.


Recent Bluenose work:


Recently I've done some work on the foredeck of my Bluenose. The project has reached the point where the ship really needs somebody keeping watch on things. Meet Jacques, my scale deck hand. That's him standing next to the skylight. He stands a scale 5'10" and he can be found all over the ship. I find him especially useful when trying to visualize how something would look in real life. At those times he stands tall and I can usually get things sorted out pretty quickly.





This shot of the foredeck shows everything I've done since my last post. The skylight and companionway are both made of boxwood from Hobby Mill. The bars on the skylight are 3/64" brass rod. You can't see it in this photo but the inside of the skylight is lined with blue foil and if you look straight down you see gold textured foil - this is done instead of painting everything inside black, it adds a little interest.


The interior companionway sides are painted black and at the bottom you will see the same gold foil. I didn't want to have the sliding top all the way closed, nor did I want it all the way open. A normal person would say then leave it half open/closed depending on your point of view. I wasn't sure I liked that either so the sliding top does just that and you can open it or close it as weather conditions permit. Not sure what that will be once this is under glass but I will (probably) glue it at that point.


There is a lot going on with the hoisting engine and assorted equipment. I was bored one night so I sat with a triangle jeweler's file and went to work on the large gear. I liked that so much I did the same thing on the smaller gears, the ones that are connected with chain. After filing all the teeth I rolled it on a piece of thick paper with a little pressure so that it left impressions where the teeth were. I measured 1" and that gave me the chain size I needed. I forgot what that is and the paper is lost but I found that in my box of odds and ends I had a chain that was almost the exact size I needed. Jacques put up a fuss that it wasn't EXACT but that's life. When I was in the Navy we used to say "good enough for government  work" and so that is what the chain is.


This next shot is taken from the port side and gives a better view of the engine housing and the associated hoisting equipment. The label on the hoisting engine box was created in MS-Word using 5pt font. This was done on a whim and I wasn't sure I would use it until I cut it and put it into place, it looked so good that I kept it. The 3 positions are: Forward, Neutral and Reverse. The label is for the benefit of new hands least they kill someone by throwing the hoist into the wrong direction.


The hinges and hasp on the engine housing were cut from a sheet of .005" brass.





The next photo is taken from the perspective of another fishing boat off the starboard side. The base is rock maple with a mahogany stain. Into the side of the base I drilled a hole for a dowel and into the dowel I drilled a hole for a brass rod. On the end of the brass rod is one of the dories, fully outfitted as if was being hauled back aboard after a (successful) trawl. The dory is displayed at the waterline. This photo also shows the installed rudder. I used 3/16" pintels and gudgeons from Bluejacket Ship Crafters to mount it.





The next photo is a seagull's eye view of the foredeck with the dory along side.





This final shot is just a different view of work done so far.





I've just started work on the fife rail, the boom sheet buffer and the jumbo jib boom traveler block.




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Thanks Jim for the insight. I was not aware of the details but did try to copy and paste a section of a word document. Then when I pasted it in this forum I got the little box where the picture was supposed to be. At that point I gave up. Now I can try it again.


Your build log looks great and you are ready to continue where you left off. I got a long way to go with updating mine but I am also trying to include some suggestions that I found good for the Conny build.

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Jim, I assume that the dories can be removed easily while you continue building. I found that with my Conny I damaged some outside pieces while doing a lot of deck work. For any future builds I will take care of things in a more logical order to prevent that from being a problem


You are being watched my friend      B)

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Hi Michael, there is a good reason for all the dories, it took that many before I found 2 that I felt good enough to be on top of the stack and visible to one and all. I actually started getting into it after awhile. The one displayed off the starboard side was an afterthought when I found I had 3 that passed inspection.


Jay, you're too late! Just this past weekend I was looking at the rigging plan and my eye kept wandering back to the ship and it occurred to me that I'm going to have a difficult time drilling all the holes in the deck around those stacks which are not only nailed to the deck, they are epoxied as well. Live and learn. You say I'm being watched like it's a bad thing to have folks who do much better work than I keeping an eye on me :rolleyes: It's one of the big benefits to MSW !!

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Hi Jim

Great to see you back here and Bluenose is looking great. Such an elegant hull and very well executed. Like Jay I'd worry about the dories when it comes to rigging but I'm sure you're in control.


I'll be keeping up with your log. Thanks for posting.




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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Jim. Your Bluenose looks great. I built the same model a few years back, partially. I finished the hull and the deck details but never rigged it. A friend came over to the house one day and loved it just the way it was, so I gave it to them as a gift.

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Hey Jim. Your Bluenose looks great. I built the same model a few years back, partially. I finished the hull and the deck details but never rigged it. A friend came over to the house one day and loved it just the way it was, so I gave it to them as a gift.

Jeff, I like to be one of your friends.

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Hi all,


Work continues on my Bluenose although lately progress has been slow. This is mainly due to my getting ready for the Echo Fully Framed Cross Section workshop last weekend - it was great.


I have some vacation time I have to burn so I'll be down in the shop in the coming week. I have created the main cabin and the compass housing. I'm working on the skylight and should have it done by the weekend. Once that is done I'll post some photos.

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Your Bluenose is coming along very well, and I love that last photo, 'deck1', showing smart nibbed deck planking, the main rail, the cabin, main mast bitts and rail, and all of that forward deck furniture and dories.   Very nice!



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Thanks Elia, Hamilton and Alistair,


Overall I'm happy with the way the cabin came out but the photos show details that weren't so evident in the as I was working. I went back and forth about painting the sides of the cabin white, I've seen photos both ways. I finally decided to add it as the hoisting equipment up forward is painted white I thought it would tie things together. Some of the white pain bled over to areas that shouldn't have paint on them so now I have to do some scraping to get rid of it. I didn't have time last night to scrape and post so since it had been so long between updates I went with the post first, fix later.


There isn't much left to do on deck and then it's up in the rigging I'll be. I'm doing the masts and spars in boxwood. I'll have to dust off the lathe, it's been awhile.

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Keep it up Jim. You are doing a great job. Love those details.

When you look at the deck from astern you can really see that you paid a lot of attention to the planking. And now you are doing the same with the wheel and housing. 

You know when we work on those details it is nice to step back and say, 'Damn, that looks good'.

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Hi guys, thanks for the kind words.


Bob, the skylight was built with an interior core of 1/32" basswood by whatever the height was and the floor was made of the same. I cut the floor first so I had a rectangle the correct size, then I added the 4 sides. With this frame built I planked it using 1/32" x 3/32" boxwood. The floor was covered with a gold foil and the interior sides were covered with a dark purple foil. I collect foils from candy for use on interiors, they give them a bit more interest than just painting all the interiors black. The hinges on the two lights is made out of .005" brass I had. The bolts are simulated using a tiny nail with the point dulled. The bars are solid brass, I believe 1/64" diameter. I stripped the factory finish off the brass rods and then rolled them around in my fingers to tarnish them a bit. The "glass" is plastic that I save from those containers that are impossible to open without a chain saw. I've got quite a collection in various thicknesses. I found one piece that had some sort of film on it which nicely simulated what salt spray on glass looks like. The photos don't show it but when you look through the glass you get an impression of light and color in the space below. Overall, this skylight is my favorite feature so far.


I haven't done the pumps yet. We can sometimes get really lost in the tiny details and that's the case with me and the pumps. I'm not sure how I want to display them and how crazy i want to get adding pins, etc that only a microscope would reveal. If i go with the pump handles installed I will most probably complete the pumps and put them asside until all deck work is done as I see those handles as being extremely fragile. If I go that route I'll put a pin in the center of each pump and then drill a hole in the deck to position them. After all other work is done a spot of epoxy and they're set. Time will tell.

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