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Khufu's Solar Boat by Snug Harbor Johnny - FINISHED - Woody Joe

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  Ahoy mates !  Well, I've started this 'palate cleanser' kit based on some nudging from fellow modelers.  I do not rush anything, yet the absence of masting, sails and rigging make this interesting kit one that can be done in far less time that many others.  I reviewed the Woody Joe kit (unbuilt) in the Review section, and suggest that the log there be seen - since I don't want to repeat information contained there (with a few exceptions).


  I knew I'd be 'into' this model, since I like 'early stuff' - and will get around eventually to build the Billings Roar Ege (as a further prelude to doing the Billings Oseberg - and I want to do the best job on that one).  I can't say enough about the quality of the laser cut parts on cedar stock in the Woody Joe kit.  There are just a few breaks as 'attachment points', and an X-Acto knife breaks these easily.  The parts then come out easily, cut to precise shapes with very little 'burning' on the edges.


The frame (bulkhead) in the image below (detail from a pic in the review) shows how the rib (the only part to be left behind once the hull is planked) is almost completely free of the matrix to allow for ease of removal of the rest of the frame later.  The width of the laser cut is about .006" - the thickness of a filing card (more on that soon).  Care must be taken when handling these parts so they won't break.



  Now to step one, with my 'translations' written in.  This step is meant for assembly with no glue, but there will be an exception.  Once fitted, the framework is pretty good with little flexing, but the frames can be dislodged from full engagement - so the 'exception' to gluing (which even the kit instructions later mention) solves any slippage problem and renders the assemble pretty solid when dry (titebond glue).  First, lets see the initial assembly.


  As you can see, I've inserted a strip of filing card stock in the tiny gap left by laser cutting the ribs from the frame.  I will be putting a lit more of these spacers in before planking to prevent inward movement in these areas.  The kit instructions expand on the clear pictures, but do not address the gap issue (easily solved).  Oh yes, the little metal model (6" for and aft) of the USS Arizona was another 'palate cleanser' I did a build log on.  It was a tricky thing to make, and I wanted to show that I DID complete a build earlier (last year) on the forum (check it out for yourself) as I was stuck on the problems with 'fixing' the old 1:100 Billings Wasa - now on hold but substantial progress was made last Winter.



  A closer look at the framing.  Really, the design and execution of this nifty kit is ingenious - I love it already !


  Now we come to the issue of fairing.  Looking at a small portion of the full-size drawing of the model (needed for the build, as one must get a number of dimensions off it), you can see that the bottom board (the original has flat bottom planking) is faired to the ribs.  No doubt about it.  But to make the temporary building framework removable after planking to the ribs and 'stringers', the frames have to go in vertically. The laser cutting is in x and y dimensions, so the bottoms go in 'stair step ' fashion.  This is typical of many model kit boat hulls and requires fairing (discussed in detail in other builds and as a separate issue elsewhere in the forum).  


  BTW, I use the term 'stringers' from my old stick-built model airplane days, where 1/2 fuselage members are built right on the plan and joined by a series of thin balsa square stock running fore and aft ... known as stringers.  Khufu's boat has a few, (representing internal battens on the original).  The kit can be built by a 'beginner' without addressing the fairing issue with an acceptable result - so the kit says nothing about it.  But I'll take a little care to do some fairing without breaking any of the ribs - it may be a tricky business.  Once decked, one can hardly see the interior - but I'm picky on doing some things (loose as a goose on others) - and I'd like the rear access deck (hatch) pieces to be removable, as they were on the original so men could get under for maintenance.  Khufu's boat shows signs of prior use, and must have been his personal yacht - the final trip was to bear his body to the great pyramid.




  Below shows the exact places to put a dab of pre-thickened wood glue with a dental tool.  I have an old bottle of time bond kept on its side, and the glue has lost about half the water content - so is slow as the molasses in January.  But this 'thickened' glue has its uses ... it is sticker than 'as bought' glue, 'grabs' quicker and dries faster.  Glue dab are ONLY placed on the outside corners of the joins in the frame - as this will be easier to cut for later removal.  Step 2 in the instructions appear next that even mention this option.



  Sorry for the 'bright spot' in the picture just where the instruction note shows the place to put glue dabs - but I have pictured this above clearly enough.



  Now I trial fitted one central 'keel' to see the 'steps' that need fairing.  Note that the bow is not symmetrical to the stern, ergo there are holes in the side 'keel ' pieces to keep the ends oriented correctly.  There is 'stepping', but is hard to see in the first picture.



 The second picture shows the stepping better, and (as in typical fairing done with kits) it is the edge toward either the bow (forward of amidships) or the stern (rearward of amidships) that get sanding/trimming.  Right now, I'm not sure how I'll approach this.  Note the tiny 'relief notch' at the end of the rib to prevent gluing planking to the frame BEYOND the rib.  This is essential to permit easy removal of the framework later.  The central 'keels' (bow and stern) to not have any relief cut, and as I want to glue planking to the ribs there might be a danger of 'squeeze out' glue sticking to the 'keel'.  This is easy to sone by removing small amounts of material shown by pencil lines in the next picture.  The kit directions mention nothing about this, but I can see ahead based on prior experience.  First timers often learn by doing, and re-doing what went awry reinforces the experience gaining process.



  Just a few small cuts will do.




I trial bent (partially, without wetting) the bottom plank to see how the amount of fairing will change going outward - and this is different between the bow and stern since they have different amounts of bending.  I may wet, heat and pre-bend planking as I go to lessen the clamping force (done in many places on this build with rubber bands - not included in the kit).


 'Sorry, but the focus is off, or I moved a little (holding the camera with one hand).  That's all for now, mates.  And further progress will require a little more thought before 'jumping in'.  If you hand a chimp a banana, don't expect him to think about how he's going to peel it (much less read instructions).










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  I mentioned that the ribs needed fairing, and thought how to proceed.  Knife cutting is risky, as is Dremel sanding.  A flat (wood) backer for sandpaper doesn't produce a curve (true for fairing any hull), so a flexible backer is desired.  Then I thought to glue sandpaper onto a hacksaw blade.  Out of a hacksaw, they are bendable to a fair degree and will 'hold' a curve - yet still have 'flex'.  OK, one should grind the kerf off the cutting edge, but I was in a hurry to try the idea and figured the thickness of sandpaper on both sides of the blade would be thicker than the wavy teeth on the blade.  I chose 100 grit 3M no-slip paper and spray construction adhesive that provides a good grip quickly and is fast setting.



  I traced the edge of the blade and cut strips of sand paper with scissors (a good way to dull them, so a utility knife over a cutting surface (cutting the back side of the sand paper) is better.  Yeah, I know - do as I say, not as I do.



    The 100 grit paper turned out to be a little too aggressive - 120 grit would have been better, but too fine will take longer.  Since there ribs are almost laser cut free of the frame (bulkhead), I almost broke one off - so the fix was to put temporary clamps to stabilize the ribs while working.  You can see the nice curve the sandpapered hacksaw blade was bent to.  And EASY pressure (very light) did the job for the bottom of the ribs.  Of course, the semicircular cut outs for the stringers will need some fairing.image.thumb.jpeg.a55ddb93781a9d3256795ebe73938b9b.jpeg


  Below,  a tapered round file was used to work in the cut outs.  Later, the clamps were repositioned and the sides of the ribs were faired (adjusting the bend of the hacksaw blade as needed).  Note that the central 'keel' has been placed (no glue!) and it helps support the delicate ribs.




  The stock for the stringer (part #28) is listed as 1x2 (mm), and is very flexible dry ... no need to wet before bending on the gradual curves of the hull.  Rounding it per the instructions made me think it would be hard to get it done evenly - and I considered looking for 3/32 round wood doweling to use instead, then trim down somewhat with a miniature plane before sanding flush.  But I found that using a scraper (hook edge - and a piece of strip stock that was sheared had a natural burr that was suitable) and holding the stock worked well enough, as not much material had to be taken off ... just enough to test-fit.  2x2 stock may have been more suitable, but what is in the kit will serve - although delicate.



  I took a lot of time test-fitting formed stringer stock along the various routes it will take, adjusting the cut outs in the ribs a little at a time as needed.  The whole affair could be slapped together without all this pre-fitting, but as mentioned before - doing these adjustments will build a beginner's skills without jumping into an HMS Victory right away.



  Shown is a step ahead of where I'm at - one that instructs the bow and stern end pieces (at this stage) to be shaped.  I decided that it would be better to form them NOW, and test the fit with the bow and stern central keels - as well as check that their fairing works with a trial fit of bottom plank.  Parts 20A and 20B are tricky rascals, as the exterior shaping is dynamically curved and not flat.  'Looked like carving was NOT the way to go ... too risky for both part and fingers, so I 'roughed' the perimeter against a fine grinding wheel (still having a sharp corner) taking care not to over grind or scorch the material.  Then I used flat files to work them down and refine during trial fitting.  'Spent over an hour on each one!  BTW while these parts are wood, the 'keels mentioned earlier as 'composite' are really a pressed paper product - perhaps something that might be for structural members in a large card stock model.  No matter, they are used as temporary framing for the hull construction.



  A picture of the blocks getting ready to test fit.





  The hull is significantly curved, and the stern is more highly curved than the bow.  When done, its all rather sexy - and there is a certain mystique about Egyptian artifacts.  OK, I'm pressing things together (note the 'white thumb') then adjusting with a file between trials.  Doing this right the first time will pay off with a better model as I go along.  I'm considering making something to support the hull framing when upside down ... as opposed to putting it over a bowl as was suggested elsewhere.







  Also note:  you really have to keep the bow and stern parts straight, as well as which surface of the bottom plank will be inboard.  You can see some of my pencil markings here and there.  The bottom plank will come up on a curve on both ends, so the slot where the end blocks will be glued at the ends of the bottom plank has to get a relief angle filed into it since the end blocks are vertical.  As mentioned, there are all different angles to deal with.  The block need to have a good fit (just snug but not tight) to the central keel of either end.  The good fit is to assist in the assembly of the bottom plank ... but the keels have to be able to slide away later after all the planking is done.  So I glued paper shims as needed (very little glue needed, and tension clamping between stock until the glue dries will keep the paper from wrinkling or expanding) to where the blocks fit the keels and made sure to test fit until the 'feel' was right.  The picture below show the blocks on the keels and also the 'relief' cutout (nicks) along the keel bottoms to prevent any glue from bonding the removable keels to the hull planking.




  This configuration could have been programmed in the laser cutting, but that is a detail that got past the designers.  So it seems also that even WITH a translation of the Japanese instructions, the information is relatively sparse - and may presume a certain amount of modeling sense and skill on the part of the builder.  It is definitely NOT a 'snap together' project.








Edited by Snug Harbor Johnny
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Good solution on the sanding stick.   You might also look into the bendable fingernail files.  Usually both sides have the sanding media over a "foam" core.  Reasonably stiff yet flexible and available in a wide variety of grits.   I found the best way to buy them is from a beauty supply shop as they cost less than from other shops.

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On 6/15/2022 at 3:58 PM, mtaylor said:

Good solution on the sanding stick.   You might also look into the bendable fingernail files.  Usually both sides have the sanding media over a "foam" core.  Reasonably stiff yet flexible and available in a wide variety of grits.   I found the best way to buy them is from a beauty supply shop as they cost less than from other shops.

  The advantages to gluing sandpaper to a hacksaw blade are:  a.)  It is a longer tool than the fingernail file, and can be bent into whatever curve (unless extreme) is needed to fair over a longer distance.  b.)  the blade is much harder to 'kink' than a foam core fingernail file.  Of course, the files can be handy in many circumstances and come relatively cheaply in packs.


  The other 'tip' in my build is the use of 'thickened' carpenter's glue (by leaving the top off the bottle for a few days - my absent mindedness produced something useful in this instance).  It 'grabs' quicker and dries faster.

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  So I've progressed a little further on the Kufu ship ... I forgot to put the scale in the title, which the kit claims is 1:72.  The original Royal Yacht was 145 feet in length, so the model should be marginally over 2' long (haven't bothered to measure the full size drawing yet).  BTW, the drawing came in TWO pieces, which I'll have to join with tape to make a single page ... a minor inconvenience.


  I decided to pre-bend the bottom plank but running some hot tap water over both sides, then moving the parts of the plank I wanted to bend over a steaming tea kettle.  Sorry, but since I had to use both hands to do this I couldn't take a picture.  I try not to annoy the Admiral with my hobbies, and since I did this at about 11PM so the piece could dry by morning - I did not want to disturb her slumber ... duh.  Anyway, the kettle did the trick and I found the heated plank easy to flex (with care) and it 'took' a pretty good approximate bend.  Then I used the frame assembly as a 'caul', and secured the moist plank to the frame with strips of  blue painter's tape (folding the ends over on themselves before using so it would be easier to un-tape later).  This blue tape has enough 'grab' top clamp pretty good, but the sticky side is not aggressive enough to pull fibers from the wood when un-taping.image.thumb.jpeg.2bb40ac6b25317ddbe41614d8f413491.jpeg


  In the morning before running off for per-diem work, I un-taped the plank and there was only a little spring-back.  In theory, a bending caul with a slightly greater curve than needed will produce a dried piece that will spring back to about the right shape - but this would have been too much trouble and the bent plank coming off the frame was plenty close enough.  I'd recommend pre-bending BEFORE doing the trial fitting shown in the previous post, since this will stress the part less and prevent that 'white finger' effect when one has to squeeze hard on something.  There are other ways of bending planks (like a hot mandrel, or a heated piece rubbed against a curved mandrel) - whatever is preferred.


  Then I glued on the first two stringers - noting that the kit instructions to only put in a splice between frames 8 & 10 is superfluous.  It seemed wasteful of stock, and I have no idea how far that stock will have to go in other places in the build - nor do I know (at this point) whether the mfg. is 'stingy' with provided stock (as some are reported to be) and only giving barely enough to accomplish the build (which presumes that one does not make mistakes or break a couple pieces).  So the part #28 (1 x2 mm cedar) that was scraped to an approximate 'oval' on one side only (I marked with pencil '28' on the flat side so not to get it wrong later) was glued (starting at the stern block) most of the way along the ribs, and only stopped three ribs short of the bow - where I cut it carefully to take up half of the cut-out in the rib.  Then I measured and glued a piece to finish going out to the bow block.  I used 'thickened' titebond applied with a dab in each cutout (dental tool used for neatness).  This stock did not require moistening, since it bent readily and offered little resistance to the gradual bend required.


  Surprisingly, it stuck right to the congealing glue and did not require clamping ... sweet.  But look closely in the photo below.  Some of the cut outs were not filed perfectly, and the stringer 'stands proud' just a bit from the ribs.  This will affect the gluing of the bottom plank as will be seen shortly.  Better trial fitting of the stringers, a little better fairing after the stringers were glued and trial fitting the bottom plank AFTER gluing/fairing the stringers is advised.  Everything is related on this build, and there are things I didn't 'think ahead' on.




  When the glue was cured, there was some additional faring of the stringers, but I did not want to thin them too much because they are thin enough to begin with.  The attachment to each rib does help reinforce the stringers, but they are still delicate and subject to breakage if pushed.  Below is a photo of the pre-bent bottom plank next to the frame assembly with ether first two stringers.


  Note that the end blocks are retained by blue tape at this stage.  It is another 'catch-22' situation.  If they are not in place when the bottom plank is glued, any mis-alignment (yaw) due to a slight looseness of the location tabs amidships will result in lateral displacement of the ends of the plank - a situation that will be hard to fix once the glue dries.  The taped end blocks locate the plank properly fore-and-aft ... but there is a risk that they will 'shift' outward slightly (tape flexure), so if glued (as I ended up doing) to the bottom plank - corrective sanding would later have to be done.


  My solution (in hindsight) would be to use the blocks here as a guide but glue the plank to all the ribs and stringer EXCEPT the final fore and aft stringer pieces and the blocks.  Once the glue is dry, everything can be untaped and the blocks (and ends of the stringers) can be adjusted/trimmed as needed THEN glued.  BTW, note that I'm using the kit box to support the frame ... the quickest and easiest thing to do.


  Yeah, I know a few of the capitalized acronyms like; LOL, ROFL, BTW, FWIW, PITA, etc. ... but I asked several people what IDK meant - and nobody seemed to know.




  OK, so below is everything glued and taped-up to dry.



  So the bad news was that the blocks had shifted, but the good news was that the plank lifted slightly from the stern block (tape 'give' - a clamp would have held more firmly) so I could remove it,  scrape and adjust for perfect fit and regale with clamps as seen below.



  I include another view of this, with my beloved Wasa in the background.  Yeah, I will resume work on it over thew Winter, and even then, maybe having two project underway will permit work done on one while glue is curing on the other.  A side benefit of this hobby is that I like to think about different ways I might do something, look for other ways used in other builds - then weight the advantages/disadvantages of the various approaches, all while doing something else like gardening, chores, or while pushing drugs as a per-diem pharmacy tech at our local hospital.  There are many miles to go every shift with a cart full of medications, thus I'm a legal 'drug-pusher'.  Other techs tend to use hand baskets, but I tell them that I use the cart even for light loads because it looks better than using a walker.




  The last photo in this post shows a close-up of the mis-match between the bottom plank and the bow block.  That was the OTHER bad news that the bow block had shifted AND the glue bonded the parts.  Here is where the stringers that 'stood above' the ribs (and not fully faired since I did not want to thin them excessively) came back to haunt me.  They cause the bottom plank to bend over a slightly longer curve, and therefore did NOT  fully engage the bow block.  OK, I can correct this later once planking is complete by sanding the face of the bow block as needed.  Hopefully, Forum members who'd like to build this kit can benefit from all the observations I'm making in this build log.  Certainly, as a presumed 'beginner kit', actual beginners will benefit from the expansion of what translates from the kit instructions.



   Another story about a good news - bad news situation.  It was on an old US navy whale boat friends of mine converted (back in the 70s) into an ersatz 'Viking ship' (more like a small Knarr).  There were five oars to a side, and I was one of the rowers on a weekend excursion ... yes, we all were wearing our best attempts at Viking garb, with wooden shield hung on the gunwales and a variety of weapons available on board.  The wind was not with us, so we were rowing hard.  The leader manning the steer board (mounted, obviously, on the starboard side) said, "I have some good news and some bad news."  I shouted, "What's the good news?"  He answered, "A round of mead for all the crew!"  (Cheers from all.) Then someone else yelled, "What's the bad news?"  The answer?  "the Captain want's to go water skiing !" ... a true story ...      Johnny










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5 hours ago, thibaultron said:

Soak the bow in isopropyl alcohol to lossen the glue, then you can correct the alignment and reglue.

  'Great idea, Ron ... Now that you've mentioned it, the iso glue softener tip appears now and then in posts - but I'd forgotten all about it.  Aha, this is advantage of wood glue over epoxy or CA.  I'm taking time to fair the other stringer attachment points by laying the end of the round file (actually, an oval file would be better) OVER the rib with a stringer in place to see if there is a gap.  Then a couple more file strokes are made before the next test.  When the fit is right and there is no gapping, I can mark a small pencil 'x' at that point.  Where I put pencil marks on the build is at points that will  not show.


  Another idea that came to me was to use a file to make cut-outs for the stringers (two per side) on the sides of the end blocks.  That seems better for pre-planking prep.  Speaking of planking, I was looking ahead to how the first side plank goes in according to the instructions ... and I see a certain difficulty not consistent with a 'beginner' level kit.  They show the bottom plank trimmed flush with the end block, and the first plank beginning with a HUGE angle pared on the inboard side.  But that angle must then be reduced gradually to about a 45 degree angle - but that requires that the bottom plank go from being flush with the end block to having about a 45 degree angle.  Both planks have to have a 'spiral' bevel that matches well - a hard feat to do.  Yet this is NOT the condition of the planks on the original.


  Museum photos show the bottom plank with an exposed side thickness down the entire length !  These were thick boards (what, something like 4" ?) with internal tenons, and the first planks were fitted to the top inside edge of the bottom planking from bow to stern.  The kit would have been better designed with a WIDER bottom board that one could just fit the edge of the first plank to the bottom board - angling the edge of the first plank only.  Once done, any overhang could be trimmed off the outer edge of the bottom board.  This would have made more sense AND be closer to the original.  What to do?  I could glue a strip of material to the edge of the bottom plank to widen the entire plank, then install the first side plank as above.    A straight strip will have to bend in two axis ... but since I have the board used to laser cut the bottom plank, a french curve can guide a knife to cut around the original perimeter where the bottom plank came out of it's mother board.  That will have the exact curve along the width of the bottom board, so it will only need bending in one direction fore and aft.


  The wood provided seems quite pliant in thin strips, so I'm going to try this approach ... a minor 'kit bust', and something future builders may do to lessen the headache of doing it according to the kit instruction, such as they are.  As noted in my review of the unbuilt kit (reviews section of the forum), I used Google Translate and held a cellphone over the Japanese text to see what the app would display on the camera screen.  The 'translation' kept changing, and some really odd things would come up in succession ('wish I'd written some of them down), but some of the translation was consistent.  Something that made sense as 'Do not glue.  Will be removed later.'  might morph into, 'No I won't do it.  Come to my house later.' or 'She can't assimilate.  Only take her later.'  Go figure.

Edited by Snug Harbor Johnny
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  'Been a couple days since my last post, but I've had progress in between many other chores.  FIRST, the isopropanol titebond softener WORKED like a charm!  I used 90% iso (as opposed to the more common 70% found all over).  It didn't take long to work and I was able to get the mis-glued end block off, clean off softened glue residue, let dry then re-glue (after a little filing and trimming) where it should be.  I also used a 'dremel' (actually a foot control flex shaft Chicago Tool found at Harbor Freight) to cut two places for the side stringers to go ... seemed a good idea that actually worked out.



  Below is a picture of the first side stringer in place, and I used a few pins (with care) to retain.  'Reminds me of building balsa model planes as a kid.  Note also that I put strips of filing card stock between the ribs and the frames to fill the void where the ribs were laser cut.



  A closer look at the rib gaps filled by paper strips.



  Below is a pic of the second stringer installed (with pins) ... and great care was taken not to push the pin in any more than needed due to the danger of cracking the ribs.



  I had to fair the stringers with the handy hacksaw blade equipped with sandpaper.  Then everything was ready to consider installing what amounts to the garboard planks.  






  I cut the aforementioned side rails to consider widening the bottom plank ... but then discovered some real disadvantages to that. A.) The side planks in the kit are designed to be mitered to the bottom plank.  So if they are to be installed on TOP of a widened bottom plank, then the side planking would end up higher by the thickness of the bottom plank.  I couldn't trim that off the garboard planks due to the configuration of laser cuts on that plank to conform to all the odd-shaped component of the original ship.  Trimming the topmost plank later would also present problems.  B.) The angle between the bottom plank and the garboard planks amidships are at a more acute angle than at bow and stern.  This angle would have to be matched on the outboard edge of the garboard planks, so any over-cutting would result in gapping hard to fix.




  Building per kit layout is done by angling the garboard planks on the inboard side a little at a time, which CLOSES the gap between them and the bottom plank gradually.  The original ship is profiled on the exterior, so I expect to use a scraper to round things up a bit.  This can also expose some of the edge of the bottom plank as seen on the original - which should close and residual gap between the garboard planks and the bottom plank.  The original had a flat bottom, and I expect that was to go into shallow water and be able to draw up to a bank on the Nile.


  Below is step 5 (now done), and again - I didn't just splice between frames 8 & 10, but used stock starting at one end (then the other on the next stringer) and splicing where convenient 3 frames from the other end in order to conserve stock.



    So I soaked the starboard garboard plank under a hot tap water,  then discovered that our tea kettle had corroded in two spot in the bottom and leaked.  Water was boiled in a frying pan and ladled over the plank until pliable.  I even held the wet plank over the gas stove burner (by about 3 inches) and moved the piece back and forth until it was very pliable.  Using both hands, I formed the piece ... a compound curve that has to twist near the ends.  I held it up the the frame to judge the bending, then started to trim from the bow end as shown on the instructions for step 6.  This turned out to be a sub-optimal way, as I was working down from one end trying make an acute cut at the very bow (per the picture in the



  Top half of step 6 instructions.  They must presume a certain level of experience, confidence and creativity on the part of the modeler.




  Easier said than done.  I had to trim some to get close to where I thought I should be, then trial fit.  I was afraid of cutting too much with the X-acto, so resorted to the sandpaper covered hacksaw blade.  I also had to let the wood dry out some - but not totally so I could still bend it.  I worked on it for over an hour - trimming/sanding, fitting, bending, re-sanding ... then fudging some.  I even resorted to bending the bow end some with my teeth - and also accomplishing some of the 'twist' near both ends with my mouth and teeth.


  It was a real bugger to do, and the most difficult plank I've ever had to fit ... so this plank is not at 'beginner' level.  The 'pointy' end at the stern presented its own problems.  I now realize that I should have started beveling the plank amidships, then worked out toward the ends.  This I will do on the port garboard plank.  I marked the extent of the areas that needed glue applied on the ribs, stringers and bottom plank.  Then the garboard plank was located, taped amidships and then out to both ends.



  I let the glue dry a couple hours, then removed the tape to see some gapping.  Wood glue was put into the gaps, then the excess wiped away.  I applied saliva by licking the seam (I would do anything for love ... but I WON'T do that)  and spitting out any residual glue.  Since the angle at the edge of the garboard plank comes to a point (supposedly to make a mitre with the bottom plank), I used  the smooth round handle of a round file to 'burnish' the softened edge of the garboard over towards the bottom plank. This drove out some of the glue, which was wiped up, then more burnishing.  As the glue started to 'grab' the gap remained closed.  Near the bow and stern, the plank ended up slightly shifted vertically from the bottom edge of under plank, but this will be modeled/scraped later as needed.


  As I said, this entire process was a pain, but in the two photos below, one can see that the join ended up pretty good ... but then I've done planking before, as well as a lot of other wood working and crafting.  How a beginner would fair with the garboard planks on Khufu's ship is another matter.image.thumb.jpeg.3a9496bf53c253e53a25b5472f8b128c.jpeg

  There is a little gapping going towards the stern, but there is also enough material to scrape away later that the gap will disappear.  Note also the laser cut on the garboard plank that represents the odd-shaped original planking.  Once all the planking is done and shaped to my satisfaction, I plan to  engrave a 'connection' on the surface of the plank where there had to be disconnects in the laser cutting to prevent those pieces from falling apart.image.thumb.jpeg.43070c97725fc3d460e22a4ffa1e19de.jpeg



  Below is the bottom half of the step 6 instructions.  I note the translation of the "advice" ... 'Make it look nice.'  'Are you sure of your work?'

I also note that they show a brad used, which I did not do.  I used tape, which did pretty well - but the very end of the garboard at the bow wasn't quite in contact (probably why the show a brad) - so I used a pinch clamp to hold it fast until the glue set well.















Edited by Snug Harbor Johnny
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  Ahoy mates !  I found that bending the middle strakes for each side was easy, and I modified the method as follows:  Run hot tap water over the piece as before, then (once half-soaked) I moved the strake back and forth over the gas burner flame ... almost right on the flame (there is a danger of scorching if the wood goes dry on the surface) and it will become almost too hot to hold (but not quite) and the wood will give off steam.  Then it bends easily, but I used both hands with the fingers positioned on the outside of the bend and the thumbs on the inside as a 'human mandrel'.  One has to have the 'feel' of how far to push it, but the Japanese Cedar is generally compliant.  


  Since wet wood doesn't sand very well (raises fibers like crazy), I let it dry a bit first.  It fit into position like a glove and there was no adjustment needed on the angle where the edges going with the garboard strakes.  Glue was applied and I kept using blue painter's tape, with clamps on one end where it needed a little more than tape.




  Left and right were glued and allowed to dry together.  Some observations:


  Titebond glue (aliphatic resin) once past the 'grab' stage will go into a 'soft set' (something like 30 minutes). There is still pliability at this time, and some positional adjustments or re-clamping can be done then.  A wood part can be pried off still without too much trouble to re-position after 'refreshing' with a little new glue.   After 1 - 2 hours it has what I might call a medium cure, and the parts can be sanded/trimmed with care.  If something slipped while setting, the isopropyl alcohol removal method (see earlier in this build) will work quickly and effectively.


  A 'hard cure' takes several hours.  When removing blue tape, do so gradually (and at a 'low angle' to the plane of the surface) to avoid pulling up wood fibers.  I use the tape for painting edges that has no more than a 'medium' stick ... other tapes with more 'stick' should be avoided.  Gorilla tape is RIGHT OUT.


I bent the final strakes as above and decided to tape them to the frame to set the bend.



  A view of the interior as the planks dry.



  Once dry I removed the tape (except in the middle so the planks would not fall off), and they had very little spring-back.  This may be because I worked them good per the 'wet wood over flame' method described above.  They were over bent a little so allow for spring-back.


  Obviously there is some, but noting to fret over.



  I have to get into scrubs for an evening shift at the hospital, so I'll post more on planking later.       Johnny







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   The last planks, though dry on the surface, still retain some moisture inside that might take a couple days to fully dry out.  Thats OK since they can still be bend to adjust as needed.  These planks needed just a little sanding/trimming of the edge angle to fit well with the planks already in place.  I also found that (since they are on the wide side - having two planks conjoined) I could use my sandpaper covered hacksaw blade (bend just a little more) to give the inside of each plank a slightly concave profile to better fit to the ribs.  They still need a little bending as well.



  I found one place where I'damaged a plank ... don't know if it was with a clamp as the planks are a softwood, or by some other mistake.  I'm still fitting the last plank, so it's edge angle is not finished - but I was concerned that the damage to the mating plank would not show well on the model.




  Then I recalled a technique I used some time ago when building a harpsichord, and needed to adjust some of the mortices on the keys where the mortice I made to accommodate the locating pins (and allow travel also) were a little too wide.  The manual suggested making a fine cut with an X-acto next to the mortice and inserting a tapered sliver of basswood (the keys were basswood) into the cut.  Then the side of the mortice would move outward to reduce the width of the mortice (and then try to work the pin  and adjust as needed).  It's easy to remove wood, but tricky to put it back.  Since I didn't want to glue a piece in and have the edges of the patch show,  I tried the above method.  Step 1 is to make a cautious cut into the edge of the plank.



  Pardon my focus, but I was holding the workpiece with one hand and the camera with the other while trying not to have the knife fall out.  The next picture shows the wood slivered (tapered at the ends and bottom - made from a piece of stringer stock, part #28) just started to be pushed into the knife cut in the edge of the plank.



  Then I pushed (without glue) the sliver into the cut with the butt end of a round file, and then the pointy end.  It did expand the plank thickness in the affected area, which will allow a little sanding later to make flush (but not so much as to expose the wood sliver.




  Now with a little adjustment made to both planks, it looks a lot better and should clean-up later after gluing.










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23 hours ago, druxey said:

Interesting technique! And obviously it works well. I hope you didn't need to adjust all the jacks in the harpsichord that way - there are a lot of them to deal with! As a matter of curiosity, what style of instrument was it that you built?

  Only a few (maybe 4) needed narrowing from being cut too wide.  I built the Baker Harris English bent side spinet from Hubbard Harpsichords (one time kit supplier) between 1985 and 1987.  I took extra care with the veneered parts, even veneering the back and bottom of the instrument.  The keyboard transposes (my kit bust), but due to the geometry of the instrument (as opposed to a 'regular' harpsichord) the transposition is an entire step (note).  The idea was to tune at A 440 (modern pitch) and transpose for period pitch (A 415), but a full step is way too much (lower) and one loses notes at the top and bottom of the keyboard when transposing (not that those are used very much).  Lowering string tension much below 90% of breaking strength 'muddies' the tones produced ... instruments should produce a clear sound - with steel having more of a 'ping' in the treble, and brass having a mellow sound.  Phosphor bronze is another matter.


  Since building, I've hauled it in a padded case to several historic (Colonial) sites in the area to perform for special tours, and also play for English Country dancers.  These days it stays put at home.  The string scaling 'as built' is identical with an original from the Baker Harris shop (London) that the Connecticut owners allowed Hubbard to copy in return for restorative work.  Brass stringing (intended for the instrument) breaks a lot in the middle range at modern pitch.  My conclusion is that the problem is a combination of period pitch being lower AND that period brass had more impurities - giving it a higher tensile strength.  I devised a second inner 'nut' (paired with the bridge on the soundboard, the string length is determined) for the middle portion of the scaling that adjusts the string lengths (shortening slightly) so that they can sound at about 90% of breaking strength at modern pitch ... they rarely break , yet provide good sound at A 440.






Edited by Snug Harbor Johnny
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On 6/17/2022 at 2:57 PM, Snug Harbor Johnny said:

Yeah, I know a few of the capitalized acronyms like; LOL, ROFL, BTW, FWIW, PITA, etc. ... but I asked several people what IDK meant - and nobody seemed to know.

BTW, IDK is an acronym for "I don't know." FWIW, all these acronyms are a PITA at times but YMMV! LOL! 🤣


Great work and a wonderful build log, BTW. 

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On 6/18/2022 at 6:44 AM, Snug Harbor Johnny said:

The other 'tip' in my build is the use of 'thickened' carpenter's glue (by leaving the top off the bottle for a few days - my absent mindedness produced something useful in this instance).  It 'grabs' quicker and dries faster.

Yes, I found that out by accident as well. Great for holding things that would otherwise not stick.


Beautiful work on the spinet, by the way. My brother once began scratch building a harpsichord (he was about 19, as I recall). Unfortunately his ambition was greater than his abilities and he never finished it. A pity, really.



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16 hours ago, Louie da fly said:

Yes, I found that out by accident as well. Great for holding things that would otherwise not stick.

I use Titebond Thick & Quick a lot since it grabs and sets up quicker but not too quick and it doesn't run down vertical surfaces.



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  'Had a couple days to ponder some additional work AND some changes to the assembly order ... there were just a couple things that didn't 'add up', and sometimes it pays to think of a build as a 'chess game' - where one needs to be thinking several moves ahead to avoid trouble.  Step 8 (not pictured) merely instructs the removal of the 'central keels' at both ends, which was easy since there was no glue holding them back.  The 'safety notching' made earlier prevented trouble.


  Then step 8 instructs to wiggle the outer portions of each frame (bulkhead not attached to the ribs) to remove before taking out the side 'keels'.  Below is a photo of this process.



    This was easy, and the next photo shows the hull after the pieces were snapped off and the keels removed.




    Then the middle portions of the bulkheads came away easily, and were set aside in a bag, since there are little supports contained in each corresponding to the middle of the rib they will have to be glued to - and they will support the under beam for the main deck cross beams.



  Since I took time to fair the ribs and stringers, there is pretty good contact (cemented) to the planking, and the hull seems to have a lot of strength - resisting torquing ... of course there is always a limit and I made sure to only apply enough pressure to test the structure.  So far so good.


  Step 9 (not shown) instructs the supports of the central deck beam to be installed ... but it seems best to hold-off on that for a couple of reasons. a.) there is some adjustment work to be done yet, and b.) they will be very vulnerable to breakage and may also make tinting the interior of the hull more difficult.  I will show step 10, which appears straightforward.








  But "there's the rub" (quoth Lady MacBeth).  The lower part of step 10 has one face-glue the ends (a weak sort of joint) to the hull, with the projections already having been face-glued.  Then the end blocks are to be trimmed 'as needed'.



 To what angle, I ask - and how is this to be determined?  I have to jump ahead to step 14 to get a clue.



 'Sorry that this picture is dark, butter the main deck beams are constructed AND the main deck installed, there are additional sections (removable on the original ship for access below .. guess they are equivalent to 'hatches'.) Two are fore and three aft.  The first fore and aft fit into the longitudinal beams holding the deck support beams (widthwise) and are supposed to angle upward.  The next pieces are 'bridged' between that first piece and the respective end block.  I've seen photos of completed kits where they just don't look right compared to the original (or the large-scale model in the Egyptian museum).


  To make a long story short, I'll choose the the following sub steps to arrive at a solution:


a.)  Tint the hull interior with a water-based colorant. Then assemble the internal vertical supports for the center deck beam and touch them up with colorant. Rough mate the bow and stern end pieces to fit together at the faces.

b.)  Assemble the deck support beams.

c.)  Test fit the beam assembly into the hull, and add the first fore and aft deck hatches to see what angle they need to rise within the hull.  I want to have a cross support member at the end of these parts.  Then the bow block can be angled so the second (forward) hatch can lie properly - bridging the gap without rising above the planking.  The stern has two additional hatches to bridge the gap (the end pair will be glued together for the purpose of getting the angle of the stern block correct.  When test fitting is complete, the hatches will be reserved and the deck beams removed.

d.) A filler piece will be made to fit the slots of the end blocks, and a hole drilled to accept a small screw before the slot fillers are glued in place. Additional wood will be added to fill the voids of the end pieces before they are covered by the side panels.  I'll try and have a pin to strengthen the small end projections, which otherwise seem especially vulnerable.

e.)The ends will be glued and the screw will provide the 'clamping pressure' between the end blocks and their mating pieces.  Putting blue tape at the edges of the joint pieces will prevent squeeze-out glue from getting on the exterior of the planking at the join.

f.) The deck beams are tinted where they will show, then the deck beam assembly is added and glued to the hull. The deck is added, then the hatches - and they can be tinted.

f.) Once cured, the exterior of the hull can be faired as suitable - then tinted as desired.


  'Sounds like a plan mates, so we'll see.  Step a.) begins in then photo below.








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19 hours ago, druxey said:

Lovely work so far, SHJ. However "There's the rub" is from Hamlet - his 'To be or nor to be" speech. Sorry to be so pedantic. I'll go back to my corner now.

   You are right, of course ... but somehow I was thinking that Katherine Hepburn used that line in an historic sort of film.  'Tried going through the film script of Lion in Winter, but didn't find it there (or missed it somehow).  'Tis true 'tis pity.  Pity 'tis, 'tis true. (Polonius)

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  'Been put to work on an Admiralty project for a few days ... also had to finish a hat order - the last two done this morning (cut down Colonial Marine hats).  Sometimes the Admiral thinks I'm a 'mad hatter' of sorts.  Well, this sideline is part of her cottage industry and I'm 'in for the duration'. 



  The adjustable liners are sewn on a 100+ year old Wilcox and Gibbs hat machine - reconditioned and maintained by yours truly.



  Back 'on topic' ...  Another reason for the break is that I was re-thinking the 'plan' mentioned in my last post.  Ah, 'The best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglee.'  By that I mean that I thought of four other approaches to what still seemed to me a 'sticking point' - the attachment of the delecate ends to the fore and aft end pieces, then the attachment of those assemblies to the bow and stern blocks with something more substantial than just butt joints.  'Didn't know how to clamp (having discarded the 'use a screw' idea) and I didn't want to use 'finger clamps' for an hour.   So I settled on the idea of pinning and decided to just forge ahead ... "Screw your courage to the sticking place."


  First I had to fair the sides of the end pieces - done with a file.



    Then the ends of those pieces AND the faces of the bow and stern blocks had to be flattened to meet flush - also done with a file.





    As for the angle to trim the end block to ... I decided to look at the full size plan in the kit - what a concept! (Duh.)  'Still don't like their 'stacking' of the auxiliary deck pieces, but I can do it slightly different.  An X-acto was used to trim (carefully) the unwanted material to get an approximation of the defending angle needed - it will be covered-up anyway.  Below is a trimmed block and putting the side pieces on one of the end extensions.  The uncovered piece on the left has had extra wood glued to where it will join the hull.



  Then the thin end projections had to be carved - so I whittled the first one (bow) to rough-form, and finished with small files.  The stern end on the right (below) has yet to be shaped (for comparison).  There is some real modeling involved to it.




  OK, now to 'brass tacks' (actually one still and one brass for each end).  I plugged the notch in the stern end with part of the 'central keel' used earlier in construction (now removed) because that piece had already been shimmed to fit closely.  I used a #60 drill to hand-turn a pin chuck to get a pilot hole for the steel mini-brad (found in old Billings or Steingraeber kits).  The plug was glued-in and the brad pre-placed to push into the end piece to be added.





  The next picture is out of focus, but I glued the stents projection (now carved and smoothed) with a tiny brass pin included in the Khufu kit.  Hmmm, my opinion of them has gone up.




  The obsolete (Admiralty cast0off) camera I'm trying to use keeps shifting itself from ordinary pictures, to video filming, to 'close up' mode ... at random.  But below is a relatively focused shot of the pin now pushed in .  I intend to get a pin (brad) 'pusher' that will work better than the plier ends or a file end.  With the pin in place, the end projection (lotus) is reinforced and feels relatively firm.  Once the glue cures, it will be strong enough.  Hey, you know  how delicate bowsprits can be ... especially the ones on plastic models - and even more delicate are the cathead whiskers or martingale on the Revell Cutty Sark kit.  So why should I worry about glued wood that is thicker?




  Ahhh, the light at the end of THIS tunnel (doubtless there will be more later).  The stern end is glued and pinned and after curing can be further faired.




  A view of the underside.







  Now both ends are inlace and I can relax a little.  BTW, the Khufu model is about the size of the Wasa project (1:100 first Billings version) ... just under 23".  That is not too big and not too small.  Getting this far with the Khufu kit has involved enough modeling skills that it is no 'pushover' for a 'beginner' - yet affords real opportunity to gain experience (as long as one has a little patience) and is wiling to repair the occasional mis-step ... something we all have to do.





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'Looked for images of the museum ship and replicas to get some ideas on how to represent the model ... not really 'busts', but perhaps preferable v/s how the ship is shown in the kit materials.


One version with the rowing positions shaded.


Note above & below that there is one pair of steering oars.


The real deal below.



A large scale model at the museum.  BTW cross beams did support the removable hatches.


Oarsmen may have stood and rowed by pushing out and back (varying the blade angle each time), similar to a Far Eastern method of rowing.


Another view of the restored ship on exhibit


  Just more 'food for thought' ... why rush?





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    Its back and forth between sundries at this time of year, but I try to do at least something on the Khufu boat at least every other day.  A few things concerning this Woody Joe kit:  The Japanese cedar wood is pretty pliable once moistened - and that does not mean soaked, although the thicker planks were wet a fair amount and held over steam or a gas flame to be pliable enough to bend 'width-wise' (versus the 'easy' way).  The wood is very light and can be 'dented' (especially when wet) and is easy to carve (so a little care is needed not to over-carve ... easy to take off - hard to put back).  I do like working with it (easier than some hardwoods) and the original was made of wood in the same family (Lebanese cedar).  In my kit review I noted that ideally the stock would have been all heartwood ... but what was supplied is acceptable.


  Those following this log can see that the translated instructions (while helpful enough) are a little light in some respects.  My additions should fill-in a lot of the gaps.  However, the sequence of assembly in the instructions turned out to be the one I followed.


  I am truly impressed by the quality of the laser cutting.  The discoloration where cut is kept mostly to a minimum, and there are no 'flare burns' on the reverse side as seen in some kits - and certainly no charring.  I'm amazed how fine the cutting line is on many parts - most notably on the deck cross supports that are to be assembled next.  The attachment points (not laser cut) on them are only on the underside (not visible on the model) so I didn't bother to trim those points, while on other parts just a slight trim with an X-Acto is all thats needed.


  The design is very precise and, aside from the trial fitting and adjustments needed for any wooden model, things go together pretty well.  I revisited a few photos of the original, then refined the lotus ends of the bow and stern to be a little more lotus-like ... small but significant details, so I might as well do what I can along the way.  



  The supports were popped out of the numbered bulkheads (previously removed) and glued in the notches of the corresponding ribs with wood glue.  The fit wasn't tight, and I had to fiddle a bit as there glue set up so that they would stand straight  ... in hindsight small pieces of stock could have been glued to the front and back of the rib to make a 'socket' for the verticals to fit into.  That would limit play fore-and-aft while the glue dried ... but as I would discover later, having some play when assembling the deck support assembly would come in handy - as it was tricky to fit everything in during the trial fit/adjustment process.  Sparing use of regular Titebond did permit forward and lateral adjustment - perhaps PVA might have been appropriate in this application.  Very little of the interior will be visible on the completed model, so there was no need to round the top surface of the ribs (or the verticals).  The joinery on the original involved lots of reed ropes through adjoining planks, ribs and stringers ... also not visible from the outside - ergo no need to try and simulate that. 


  I did want the interior to be a medium brown, so that was done earlier.  The coloration on deck (and the hull exterior) will be lighter.  As you will later see, the edges of the deck cross beams were tanned a little where they were laser cut (the edge that shows) - so I'll not add color to them and they will stand out from the darker interior.





   Below is the next step provided.  NOTE:  I first trial-fit the central beam to all the vertical supports, and found that I had to moisten the beam and alter the upward curve (fore-and-aft) ,or 'loft', a bit to get the best fit.




  The fit of the cross beams into the center beam was snug - 'almost considered not using glue, but then an attempt to fit the first curved side beam  convinced me that gluing would be a good idea.  Woody Joe offers models of traditional Japanese buildings (temples, etc.) and  they likely have engineered them to fit exactly - as the cross beams fit in this instance.



  The side beams were laser cut with the needed loft fore-and-aft, but had to be moistened and bent sideways (not hard to do) to conform with those cross beams having notches.  Getting the first one to fit required a few adjustments ... because I didn't appreciate the right-angle nature of the notch (the piece was laser cut flat), bending the rail did not alter the angle nature of the notching.  After bending, they would have to be like a parallelogram.



  OK, so to get the right fit, the notches had to be angled slightly with a small square file as shown below.  There had too be a little relief filed in the notches of those cross-beams that were notched ... harder to do once glued to the central beam.  Pre filing those cross beams is another tip I learned in hindsight.  Also, the amount of filing is slight the closer one is to amidships - with a little more filing as one goes fore or aft.



  Once the side rails were glued and cured, the strength of the deck assembly was apparent.  Fitting it into the hull would also require some 'fairing' of the cross beams, as the hull form is dynamic.  The photo below shows a small flat file used to fair the ends of the cross beams into a smooth curve, and there also had to be a curve filed from top to bottom of the beam ends - as the hull curves inward.  'Sounds hard, but it was done with the same file without much trouble, and you can see also a few places on the center beam where a little was filed away where some of the hull vertical supports towards bow and stern tended to elevate the center beam too much.  (Yeah, they could have been pre-faired before gluing - but their delicate nature prevented further adjustment, so a little material was filed from the center beam to compensate.)



  The photo below shows the cross beams being faired.







  After enough trial fittings, there was gapping between the cross beams and the hull amidships ... as indicated in the instructions, this gap would be closed by pressure from banding before using CA sparingly at the joins along the hull.


  The next step showed rubber bands being used to bring in the sides of the hull a little, but I had the idea of using thread covered elastic banding (from the craft store) to just wrap around and around.  Each loop maybe had an ounce or so of pressure, so 50 loops provided an aggregate of some 4 pounds of clamping force.  This made everything fit together nicely.  BEFORE the elastic was wrapped, wood glue was put on top of the hull verticals, the tops of the first and last rib, and on the ends of only the first 8 cross beams at either end.  AFTER wrapping, all the other points of attachment were given a little 'thin' CA (note: it is easy to apply too much, the smallest amount 'wicks' into the joint - and the wood).  Then, because I could see some slight gapping of the beam ends against the hull here and there, I went over the beam ends with a little medium 'gap filing' CA.  Cotton swabs removed any excess.  After setting, any sheen from the CA was dulled by rubbing a dental tool over the affected area.  Dental tools are also useful in removing any excess Titebond.





  The hull was left along for a few hours as I busied myself around the house and helped the Admiral clean parrot cages.  When I removed the elastic, I was surprised to see how strong the hull was when I attempted to spindle it.  'Don't know how much force any single beam end glued or CA'd to a hull plank would take before parting, but there are 51 cross beams - and with 2 ends apiece, that would be 102 times the force any single joint would take.










Edited by Snug Harbor Johnny
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  While thinking quite a bit about certain configurations, I did exterior sanding and 'connected' the un-lasered points among the planks (needed to keep multi plank pieces from falling apart before assembly) with fine X-Acto knife cutting.  A mechanical pencil was used to darken those places, as elsewhere there is laser induced darkening on the edges.  Next will come coloring, but not as dark as the interior.  I looked for pictures of how other models were colored (some variation there according to taste), as well as shots of how the original was tied together for display.




  First, a sample model - using green in places and varying shades of brown, likely to make some of the structures more clear.  The oars are in pairs - as they seem to be everywhere ... EXCEPT on the Woody Joe model, where they are alternating - as racing sculls have rowers offset from one another (reason being the narrowness of the scull).  The oars on the original ship are displayed with them 'tied up' jutting right through the framework that likely supported shade cloth!  Hmmmm, seems odd to my eye.  Also, there is a lot of shallow water on the banks of the Nile, so when used the oars would be shipped out a bit - with enough of the oar shaft still inboard to counter-balance.


  THAT necessity would make for interference with the oarsmen IF the oars were in even pairs as shown above.  Ah HA ... so 'offset' oars as designed into the Woody Joe model would allow for sufficient counter-balance without interfering with other rowers.   Also, the oars are place more forward on the ship in the Woody Joe configuration NOT under any canopy (with its support structure that would only get in the way).  I've looked at the museum reconstruction (which has an extended forward canopy structure), and the upper side pieces of the canopy top are lashed together to get the length shown ... with no canopy framework in back of the cabin.  


  Woody Joe has some canopy frame forward - leaving enough room for uncovered oar positions, and the remainder of the canopy framework assembled behind the cabin.  That makes sense from a standpoint of symmetry.  Who would get to be under the canopy? ... Why obviously the Pharo, as well as his couriers/retainers, etc.  NOT sweaty oarsmen.  And why wouldn't there be a rear canopy for the notables?  Woody Joe makes the rear canopy framework longer than needed, as the steersmen with their more vertical steering oars would be in the open.  The kit incorporates 4 steering oars (possibly to make there kit unique, thus make outright piracy easier to spot), as two are seen everywhere else.


  I have to decide exactly how to proceed, so have busied myself with other things while mulling over the situation.






  Note also that there is a series of ropes going all the way down the side deck rails on the original - in order to secure to battens below deck on the hull.  The removable hatches fore and aft allowed access so everything could be tied-off under the deck by a worker.  I though a long time if I should try to make a series of slots going down the side rails for those ropes, but was stumped on how they could be tied on a small model.  Note how the oars are secured using the same slots as the deck ropes ... so there is no indication exactly WHERE the oars positions were on the original.  Hence my thoughts that the practicality of staggered oar positions is just as plausible (if not more so for ergonomic reasons) than any other.  The jumble of parts found at the base of the Great Pyramid happened to be a 'full-size kit' ... with NO instructions.  Obviously many things have to go together as mating parts, but other aspects of configuration (e.g. oar positions and canopy frame assembly) are open to interpretation.



   Above shows how the decking was tied underneath with battens as shown on this hatch from a large-scale model.  A lot of the construction rope isn't visible from the outside, although some of the rope and attachments are seen.  For reasons of sanity (and considering to keep this model kit in the beginner class) I've decided not to try and incorporate ropes other than to secure the oars.





  A sample of original rope made from some kind of twisted reed material.  I want to re-visit a PBS NOVA show (first aired some years ago) called 'Building Pharos Boat'.  It doesn't seem to be available for free streaming now, but those with a PBS subscription can access just about everything in the PBS library.  One series never shown since the 70s (and I haven't seen anywhere) is 'The Fortunes of Nigel' - about intrigue in the English Court of James the First.





  I found a detail of part of the cabin, and it shows that the tops of the canopy supports have a flared head with tapered ends that peg the canopy cross members and side rails.  'Seems that everything else was tied together.  I suppose they could have turned the round verticals on a foot treadle lathe, often referred to as a spring-pole lathe.  The kit kit instructs to 'round' pieces of square stock for these, but that seems a bit laborious.  I may end up turning them on a miniature lathe (Unimat).  I've found my Dad's old Unimat that he gave me quite some time ago very useful on occasion as it has a 4-jaw independent chuck, a 3 jaw 'universal' chuck and a cross table.  It lacks a live center, but I've improvised as needed.  It doesn't have the power to take anything but light cuts on aluminum and brass - or a VERY light cut on mild steel.










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  Ahoy!   So there has been a little progress since the last post.  First, are catch-up shots of the instructions.  As mentioned before, wood glue was used only on a few places fore and aft, with CA applied to secure the ends of all the cross beams.  I'm surprised how sturdy the assembly is (and also how light).  The original was painstakingly roped (sewn) together, and the cumulative bonding force of all the ropes together made for a strong yet light craft.  Put in the water, the seams would swell tight and leakage would be minimal.


  That reminds me of an oak water barrel I used to take on re-enactment weekends.  Prior to the trip I'd run a slow hose into it  from the side bung, and at first it leaked a lot.  But after a couple hours the leakage slowed and eventually stopped entirely.  I could rely on the barrel to hold water without leaking thereafter.  Much later, when the barrel was emptied to dry - the wood shark back a bit and cracks opened up ... until the next time.



Assembly of the stand is simple ... but a little sanding and a couple refinements are needed.



  Note the angle of the side pieces when placed on the platform.



  So it was rubbed on a piece of sandpaper to mostly flatten the bottom, and the end pieces were trimmed.




  The next instructional step refers to the decking.




  Heeding my own note, I put in a support for the first small deck piece near the bow.




  This supported the triangular deck piece at the desired angle.





  Then the smaller piece fit on top just as I wanted.


  These parts are delicate since besides being thin, they are almost completely layered into planks - and the smaller piece broke at the tiny connecting points during handling.  The solution is to glue battens below (just as on the original ship) with trimmings of the stock used for the hull stringers.  Then the connecting points can be scribed (as was done on the hull) to make the planking look continuous when viewed from above.



  SO dar, so good - so I repeated the fitting process at the stern.



  Now I've been thinking a lot about the side rail ropes that should be visible ... an optional step that would have been much easier to do before this point.  That is, making the needed slots in the side rails while they are still flat, and installing ropes prior to gluing the deck into the hull.  Why is it that I sometimes make things harder for myself?  I could just go forward and forget about the side ropes ... but ... then I figured that with care, I could still make additional slots - then use a curved needle to get roping through the deck members.  CA could secure some twisting of the rope that is adjusted to defend into the hull, that could then be tacked with CA.  


  I did a trial on one of the existing slots and found that with care I could proceed.  A post will me made after the process is complete, showing the steps involved.  A minor 'bust', but one that will enhance the model.














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  Since the side rail tie-downs are so clearly seen on the original, I went ahead with their installation even at this stage.  Obviously I could've made neater slots on the rails when they were flat.  There are some irregularities in this 'seat of the pants' backfill method - but close-ups emphasize defects, and are not noticed so much when observing in-person.  My camera skills are rough, and the focus is not always sharp - but often I'm holding the camera with one hand while holding a tool in the other with the model balanced in some way.


  Step one was to make divots ('spot drill') with a miniature square file so the #60 drill would be less likely to 'walk'.




   Then I drilled the pair of holes.




  Next was to cut parallel lines with an X-Acto between the tops of the holes, so the chunk in the middle could be winkled out.





  There are 25 slots on each side to make.  The kit maker could have laser cut these precisely - but that would have added effort to the kit in general (putting in the side rail tie-downs).






  A light brown color was applied to the hull (it looks a little darker in person)  and looks OK to me in-person.  Many models seen have light to medium exteriors - like relatively fresh heartwood cedar.  The dark tea-stain suggested by the kit seems too dark, but perhaps that is because the 4,000 year old wood is on the dark side.



  The stand was given a coat of amber shellac and lightly sanded.  The main deck was trimmed on the edges as needed with a lot angle plane and the edge was lightly sanded during trial fitting between the side rails (to allow a slight clearance for the ropes to be installed.)






    A large X-Acto handle was used to sew some 2-ply linen thread (made by a crafter I saw at a demo) with a curved needle as previously shown.  There is some 'fuzz' to this stuff that really shows in the close ups.  Hmmmm, its time I set-up the Syren Rope Rocket and try and make better miniature rope to use on the other side.  On the other hand, it doesn't look bad when looking at the project - which is also true when seeing small defects in close-ups on other builds.  Still, the better one can do, the better the model.





  A dental tool twisted the wrap on the other side, and I put a little CA to 'lock' this twist in place.  Remember, the rope would have been far easier to do BEFORE gluing the deck support system into the hull.  Well, building is a little like a 'chess game' of sorts - one has to think a few moves ahead before 'painting oneself into a corner'.





    The dental tool was used to pull the twist beneath the deck beams for attachment to the hull with a little more CA.






  From the outside (the inside will be covered by decking and won't be visible) it doesn't look too bad.





    Well, mates,  I'll send some time learning to make my own rope for the other side.  Lessons learned that will benefit other work down the line.  I said at the outside that this was a 'palette cleanser' project ... one that can be accomplished in FAR less time than doing something like the Victory.  I never 'time' myself on how long is spent doing any project - partly because I work slowly and could never 'make a living' at it.  My guess of the time spent so far on Khufu's ship is something like 25 hours - not counting drying time when I can be off doing something else ... like Admiralty projects.  


Edited by Snug Harbor Johnny
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   Well, the box the Syren Rope Rocket came in has sat unopened for weeks  (actually months), but per my last post I have a reason to make better rope.  After all, I do rope demos making 1/2" three strand rope from jute twine at historical craft demos ... I'll have to get the Admiral to send me a photo or two of me making full-size rope - but only 30 to 50 feet at a time so the demo doesn't take too long.  The Syren rig uses a slightly different approach - one that does not require a rope maker's "top" ... a round tapered wooden plug with guide grooves to help the rope 'lay' properly, and it makes rope from the tailstock moving forward all by itself to the winding position.


  The Syren mini rope maker firsts tensions the (typically) three strands (of three threads each), then spins the tailstock so the rope lays from the middle of the run going out to BOTH ends simultaneously.  This is actually very clever.  Sooooo, I figured some assembly would be required.  Below is a picture of whats in the box as it came.



  No instructions, mates - but I found on-line under "Assembling the Syren rope maker" (or something like that).  Shown were the original instructions  where a bit of drilling was needed to fit the hubs.  However, the kit has been improved by incorporating laser cut holes EVERYWHERE needed - so assembly is easier than it used to be.  Still, the instructions I found were applicable.


  Hmmmm, 'seems this is a 'build within a build', as putting the rope maker together is within my Khufu build log.  'Kind of like a 'play within a play' that Shakespeare used to employ ... "The plays the thing, that will catch the conscious of the King."  So step one is to use wood glue to assemble the beautiful Northern red cedar parts together.  Mostly heartwood, it has wider growth rings that the very fine grain Japanese cedar used in the Khufu kit.  The wooden assembly hammer is from a U-Gears kit I made some time ago.




  For a little extra strength (and also as extra clamping pressure, I drilled and countersunk brass flat head screws as shown - strictly optional. A little filing made them flush, and the edges of the wood were lightly sanded.  I didn't bother with any shellac or finish as suggested by the on line instructions.




  Next, a little medium 'gap filling' CA was put into the holes of the discs (one for three strand rope, and the other for 4 strand rope).  The screw eyes were twisted in and needle nose pliers were used to bend the ends open as shown to make stringing the rig easier.  Building this is a one-time affair, after which it will be used to make all thicknesses of miniature rope.





    I added the 1/4 inch threaded bolts with washers ad shown below, with the addition of a little white lithium grease.  The bolts had been 'worked' dry a bit beforehand in their respective holes.  I considered using brass tubing (optional) as bushings for these holes - but unless there is excessive wear at there wood-to-metal point, I won't bother ... just a future mod that may never be needed.




  A little 'green' (removable, with force) locktite was used on the 4 peripheral drive bolts that fit right into the pre-made holes in the wooden disc.  If 'red' locktite was used, it would be considered a 'permanent' bond.




 Then the hub is retained by a set screw on the side.  Operating tip:  REMOVE the hex key (Allen wrench) before attempting to use the rope maker.




  The planetary gear had to be forced (interference fit) onto the brass axels - and I used a Stillsen wrench (AKA channel lock).  I suppose an arbor press can be used, but the plastic yields and it is not too hard to get them on.  BUT, the orientation needs to be as shown - doing it the other way will result in a SNAFU.  That is something short of FUBAR, but a PITA nevertheless.





  Eyes were  loosely screwed into the hollow brass axels, so I used JB weld epoxy on the threads for strength.  When making rope, there is tension (but not all that much), yet one does not want one of the hooks to fly out at an inopportune moment.





  The planetary gears with washers were put into the 'three strand' locations (designated WITHOUT stars etched into the other side of the base plate. The star locations are for 4- strand use.)  White lithium grease was applied.







  Collars with set screws retain the planetarium from the back side.






    The central gear was assembled as shown before, and the teeth were lubricated with grease.  The Admiral agrees that a little lubrication can work wonders.




  OK, I'm ready to go ... so I grabbed the nearest cotton thread (it does have a little 'fuzz') and ran three threads between each of the three pairs of hooks (opposite each other.).  There is a retention nail to prevent rotation of the far side until the second phase of rope making.  There are videos of the process (check the Syren website), so I won't go into it ... it is easy to learn.  Below is the setup for the first time.




   The very first attempt made rope superior to what I was using, although the cheap cotton thread exhibited just a little fuzz ... but much less than what I was using, and what is supplied in many kits.  Sorry that this shot is out of focus, but you can see that it is indeed miniature rope.






  So I got some better thread ... Metrosene - which I use in hat making, a good poly produce.  The rope produced came out very nice with almost no fuzz.  I'm very happy with the results so far, and now will be making my own rope from here out.  I can heartily recommend this to fellow modelers.  Of course, you can buy this pre-made from Syren or Ropes of Scale in a variety of thicknesses in at least two colors.  My second length of rope is shown below.  Sure, the test rig was only 5 feet long on a single table - but that was just as a test of the process.  I'll set-up a longer rope walk to go into production.




  'Having a blast learning new things all the time !        Fair sailing,  Johnny




Edited by Snug Harbor Johnny
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  No pictures today - 'been (and will be thru the weekend) involved with a re-enactment.  But I made a test piece of mini rope with two Mettler threads on each of the 3 strands on the Rope Rocket (six threads in all).  The thread size seems to be 100 ... 80 being finer, which I'll try next.  The 6-thread rope measures about .023" in diameter, while the 9-thread rope measured .030".


  The size that the 6-thread rope represents depends on the scale:  at 1:100 that would be 2.3" diameter rope.  1.6" at 1:70 and 1.15" at 1:50.  So at 1:100, 1" rope (say, for buntlines) would require .01 dia. mini-rope on the model to be 'spot -on' ... pretty thin - which may explain why models at that scale (or those 1:125) have slightly 'out of scale' ropes and blocks (belaying pins as well).  'Guess sometimes one has to compromise a little for practicalities sake.  


  It could be a reason to model at 1:70 scale (or 1:50) ... then the size of the project (not to mention the display case needed) goes up for larger vessels.  Everything seems to require trade-offs.  Working with slightly thicker ropes than needed can be tolerated (perhaps by a third) - if the quality of the rope is as good as what can be had from miniature rope made on a ropewalk.  This also seems reasonable for nice looking blocks.


  I saw some old fishing reels in an antique shop recently - one of which had what I took for 'Old Cuttyhunk' fishing line (twisted linen made in the 1930s & 40s), since it looks like excellent miniature rope ... but was nearly white (bleached linen).  There may have been natural or black available, but what I've seen on-line is very pricy and mostly of 'larger' line thicknesses.  The long lengths on a single spool were produced by a special machine - not unlike the machines in a factory where I used to work that made stainless steel wire rope for use on aircraft.  Decent affordable miniature rope for our purposes today can be bought or made at home on a rope walk.

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