abelson Posted July 9, 2022 Share #1 Posted July 9, 2022 I recently completed the US Brig Syren. In my last post of the Syren log, I indicated that my next build might be the Constitution. However, after seeing the scale of the Constitution (48") and looking ahead to the size display case that would be required to display her, I decided against it. Instead, I am now embarking on my fourth build, the US Brig Niagara. The Niagara is a little shorter (43"), so I think the display case for it would be more manageable. And, based on some logs I have reviewed, the Niagara build is very similar to the Syren in many aspects. So, here I go. I ordered the kit from Model Shipways (see photo). As is typical, I checked the parts list against the contents and found that the ships bell was not included and I was short some blocks and nails. Everything else was in order. I labeled the size of the various bundled wood strips for quick reference. The kit comes with 6 detailed plan sheets and an instruction manual which I gave a precursory review before getting started on the build. I also jotted down a few notes that I thought would be helpful from my review of a few Niagara build logs. I decided to deviate from the instructions and start with the quarter boats and stern boat. I glued the various laser-cut lifts together and secured them. While waiting for them to dry, I turned my attention to the one-piece keel. Right out of the box Murphy’s Law crept up. The center keel fell off the work bench and the bow at bulkhead A and stern at bulkhead Q broke off – clumsy me. I glued the pieces and allowed the keel to dry overnight. To mix things up, switching to the center keel, I decided to make the rabbet before attaching the keel, stem, and sternpost. I marked the bearding line on the center keel with a pencil. For the stern bearding line, I made a copy of the plan, cut it along the bearding line, placed it on the keel and traced the bearding line. For the rabbet depth, I laid a strip of 1/16” thick plank flush against the bottom of the center keel and traced a line along the keel. I flipped the keel over and repeated the process. This gave me a good line to follow when bearding the keel. I used an x-acto knife to carefully cut the rabbet. The rabbet was then evened out with a sanding block and flat file. I checked the depth of the rabbet repeatedly by placing a piece of planking against the keel stem. Next, I glued the keel and stem together and allowed it to dry overnight. Continuing, I marked the location of dowels to secure the keel and pre-drilled holes in keel and stem. Also, I pre-drilled pilot holes for the pedestal mounting screws. The pedestal location is a matter of preference, but I typically locate them 1/3 of the way from the stern and the bow stem. I applied carpenters glue to the keel and secured to the center keel with brass pins inserted into the predrilled holes and applied clamps to hold the keel in-place while drying overnight. Before adding the stern post, I deepened the rabbet. The stern post was then glued and pinned. I cleaned out the rabbet of some glue with a flat file. I’m glad that I created the rabbet before adding the keel – it was much easier. Sanded the exterior and interior of the quarter boats and the stern boat to a rough finish with sand paper and a Dremel. I will apply some wood filler to even things out. I won’t spend much more time on the interior because once all the thwarts, seats, gratings, etc. are added much of the interior will not be readily visible. Also, I'm afraid to make them too thin. There’s a lot more to be done on these. I plan to jump back in forth between the boats and the ship while glue is drying and to break the monotony. Moving on to the bulkheads. I beveled bulkhead A. I took the advice of some other build logs and assembled bulkhead A and the bow filler pieces, knightsheads, timberheads, and support pieces before permanently installing the bulkhead on center keel. The filler blocks were made from the kit suppled 3/4"x1"x1" basswood blocks - they're a little harder to shape than balsa wood. It took quite a lot of sanding and filing to get the right shape. Once that was done, I made a copy of the filler block top from plan sheet 2 and used it to mark the cut outs for the knightsheads and timberheads. The cut outs were notched with x-acto knife and evened out with a flat file. Next, I cut (from 1/8" x1/8" basswood), test fit, assembled, and glued the knightheads, timberheads, and laser cut top stiffeners. A added a little CA at the joints to further secure the pieces. I did some final filing to further shape the assembly. Next up, bulkhead Q and the stern blocks. Stay tuned. robert952, Knocklouder, BenD and 5 others 8 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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