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HMC Sherbourne 1763 by tkay11 FINISHED – Caldercraft – Scale 1:64 - A Novice’s Caldercraft Sherbourne

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I’m really grateful, Tony, for your log. It shows not only the application of various techniques, but also what can be achieved with an eagerness to learn and explore, and with patience and passion.

Congratulations and best wishes,


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Many thanks, Jay, Bugra, B.E., Gregor and Geoff for the lovely comments and the 'likes'. As you all know from your own experience, such appreciation contributes enormously to the motivation -- as well as tickling that eensy bit of pride in achievement.


However, more than that, it also serves to remind me of your own contributions to my learning from the builds of you and others in this forum.



Edited by tkay11
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Thanks very much, Michael. I've followed your Bristol Cutter for a long time now in total admiration, so it's very encouraging to hear that you've liked some of the ideas in this build. The idea for the yoke came because I just couldn't think of another way to make the holes on either side exactly in line with one another so that they could have a rod passed through them without sticking.


However, I would just like to say that such ideas probably only come after studying the ways builders such as yourself approach problems. There seems to be a definite way of thinking about tools and materials that builders have, and a lot of my enjoyment of this hobby has been picking up this way of thinking and teaching my hands as well as my brain this new language. And the simpler, most basic and easy the solution, the more elegant it seems!



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  • 1 month later...

Thanks, Jim, for the encouragement. I've been following your Ballahoo with interest, but I hadn't seen your build of the Snake until I noticed it in your signature. Very nice work indeed.


As for my build, it really should be kept in the context of how a complete newbie to this game can make the build more interesting by taking the time to learn from others (be it from the forum, from books, or museums and the internet) as well as just jumping in and learning by attempting. As with others who have expressed the same, I am constantly surprised that I can do something that I thought would have been beyond my competence -- just by having a go, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. I hope to make this process as transparent as possible to any others who are coming to grips with this hobby and who may feel that they'll never achieve the craftmanship that some builders display. I want to show that for many of us it's just a case of step by step, building up skills and confidence. Patience is everything in this game, but I suspect that many of those who, like myself, start very late in life, feel that their years are numbered and have to rush!



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It's interesting the journey that I have made since starting the Snake build in Dec 2012.


I've gone from very much being a 'follow the instructions' type of builder, where I wouldn't question the manual and plans as I assumed they would be correct to being more confident and experienced. I now have no qualms of venturing away from the plans if it seems like they could be improved upon are are indeed just plain wrong.


The 'cat and heavy object' incident gave me a reason to start scratch building parts, as a requirement to replace damage, and this has helped me no end.


And finally, simply reading builds like yours, BeefWellingtons and Gil Middletons are just inspiring.

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Ebony cannon


Well, after turning 8 barrels from boxwood (I had decided that it would be overkill to try casting from resin, and it did only take a day to do) I did decide to follow Nigel's suggestion and turn the cannon in ebony after all. It seemed to me that boxwood allowed a little more accuracy, but the appearance after painting wasn’t as nice as that of ebony.


I also decided to make the carriages at the same scale as for the 3pdr cannon. I won’t go into the process of making the carriages smaller, as I used the same techniques as for the 3.5pdr carriages that I made last time.




To make sure I didn’t go off the line too much when drilling out the bore, I used BluTak (a kind of putty) to act as a depth gauge.




Holes for the trunnions


I had not covered in my last posting how I drilled the holes for the trunnions. This had caused me to think a while because I needed to drill a horizontal hole through a barrel that has a changing diameter along its length.


In the end, the answer was simple. Using the CAD drawings I found that in order to lay the barrel so that the centre line was perfectly horizontal, I’d need to raise the edge of the muzzle swelling by 0.45mm. So I rested and held the barrel on a plank with some BluTak and placed the muzzle on some feeler gauges that combined to a depth of 0.45mm.


This assembly was fixed to my x-y table and a 1mm hole drilled through so that the top of the trunnion went through the central line of the bore. You’ll note the faint pencil mark in front of the reinforce ring that shows the centre line of the barrel.






The trunnions


The trunnions themselves were again made from strips off a bamboo chopstick pulled through a drawplate to 1mm diameter.




You can see the different barrels from ebony, boxwood and painted pear when compared to the original barrel below.




Finally, you can compare the carriages and barrels as they went through their evolution. (For those with questions about the acrobatic abilities of the captain, he is not standing on the barrel, but is behind).




Should you ask whether it was worth it to make a small difference to the size of the cannon and their carriages, all I can say is that they now fit the cannon ports much better. That as well as the fact that I've improved my skills slightly as a result of all this fiddling around.


Now I will be working on the rigging for the cannon, and I've started to plan for the belaying pins and racks.




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Thanks a lot, guys, for the comments, likes and the continuing encouragement. It's quite clear that without the experience I've gained from you and the forum I'd never even have attempted working with a wood lathe -- as you have seen I spent a long time trying to make it work just with the kit barrels rather than accepting that it was just too big.


I'm really glad you made the suggestion to use ebony, Nigel -- I now feel much more confident about using it in the future. It certainly was made easier by spending time on learning how to use the lathe with the pear and boxwood barrels.


Onwards! (Well, step by little step, anyway)



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A perfect evolution, Tony! What I admire most (beside the accurate and very much historically correct and beautifully noble result) is your effort not to give up and outsource a problem, but to find a way to do it yourself and to document this process to the great encouragement of others.

Thank you, Tony, well done!


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Thanks, Gregor and Kester. The size mismatch has been commented on by so many previously that now I do think it is worth it to re-size the cannon.


Re-sizing, yes that I can do. However, as to finish and crispness, those I have a lot to learn about yet -- although I do appreciate the kind comments. I'm definitely still learning about the sharpness of blades, thinness of paint, which files to use and how, applying varnish etc.


It is the patient exploration of all this that is not only enjoyable, but very calming. The quiet contemplation that goes with thinking how to go about a problem is very satisfying -- whenever I have a boring meeting to attend it gives me a certain wicked pleasure to go back to thinking how to do something with the model rather than having to listen to the same old platitudes, group think and the drive to mediocrity that most groups strive for.



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Just as a small addendum to the build log, I forgot to mention how important it was for me not to try to put too much detail into the carriages, as I found before that when doing so (with my existing skills) the results could be messy and detract from a reasonable interpretation at this scale. So I have deliberately left out the detailed bolts of the cap squares, the pins on the axle trees, the chains to the cap squares, the separation of the planking on the sides of the carriages, the details of the tucks, and a host of other important aspects of a real cannon.


I'm not sure where this places me in relation to authenticity. Perhaps it is a mix of consistency with the remainder of the build, what is achievable at scale with the materials and tools used, level of personal confidence, and with an understanding of the limitation of the skills for my particular level of experience (and shakiness of hands) that defines the 'authenticity'.


With such a definition, 'authenticity' would have very different meanings for each individual builder.



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  • 8 months later...



1. Shot


The first problem resulting from my making the cannon to the scale of 3-pounders was that the shot I had put in the shot racks was clearly too large. So I searched around for 1mm shot that could be painted black. Black plastic ones guaranteed to be exactly 1mm are very expensive. Steel ball bearings proved useless as I couldn’t get them to take black. I ended up getting 200gm of 1mm steel carbon pellets from eBay. It’s the type that’s used to fill soft toys.


It turned out that the stated 1mm was a bit variable, so although the shot is now roughly the right size, I failed in achieving symmetry of placement in the shot racks (which also had to be re-made – as you’ll notice in several of the pictures in the rest of the log, which appears over the next few postings).


I now realise I didn’t try gun blue on the steel ball bearings, so that may be worth a try in future.


2. Seizings


For the rigging of the cannon, first thing to do was prepare the seizings. In this I followed the idea from the late Hubert Sicard in wrapping line around a drill bit and holding it in place with two forceps/haemostats whilst glue was applied. The drill bit was coated with beeswax for each seizing made. I used CA glue at first but eventually shifted to using diluted PVA glue which is far kinder to the thread, leaves it a bit flexible, takes up stain, and does not discolour the thread.





3. Blocks

Again because of the smaller size of the guns, I found that the blocks with their hooks I had originally made were too long to fit between the rear-most eye on the side of the cannon and the eye in the bulwark. Furthermore, if I stuck with the double-sheaved blocks, the smallest I could make them to take 0.25mm thread made them still seem enormously wide compared to the guns.


This posed quite a challenge which I tried to get round in two ways:


a. using only one single-sheaved block attached to the bulwark.


This I justified in thinking that the lighter cannon might have been pulled back using only a single sheave pulley.


I also thought of using one block only, with a line going straight to the hook that attached to the rear of the gun carriage. I reckoned that when I wrapped the line round the blocks it would be hard to tell that there were one or two blocks there at all. This was the first approach I used and did this for all 8 cannon.


This is similar to the approach that some people use. Thus George Bandurek put two blocks on a wire and wrapped the line around the whole assembly. Others have carved a small length of wood to the dimensions of two blocks linked by their ropes and then wrapped line around that. However, although that was relatively successful, I reckoned I should have another try at doing it in keeping with the proper rigging.


b. So I tried making the blocks and hooks even smaller.


I stuck to the idea of having single-sheaved blocks, but this still required several stages.


The first was to find a way of marking the blocks out. I followed Frolich’s suggestion of making a scribe. At first I couldn’t think how to do it as he seemed to suggest just sticking pins in wood, and the smallest pins I could find were too wide to be used as scribes with a depth stop.


Eventually I cottoned on: I filed down the sides of the pins until they were the correct width for the sheave and then sandwich them between leaves of wood against an end stop. You’ll see the process in the following pictures.










With the smaller block came the need for a smaller hook. I squeezed a 0.4mm piece of copper wire in a vice, then drilled a 0.3mm hole through the flattened end. Finished off by curving the remaining wire to a hook shape and cutting off.










I could now strop the blocks.







At last I could rig the cannon. First the breeching tackle. This I made up to 0.5mm diameter using the ropewalk I had made from an old shaver.




Then the ropes could all be attached. Note that I dyed the lines with walnut dye first. The lines are attached to the bulwarks and the cannon, but left loose. This allows the lines then to be tightened until the gun is firmly against the bulwark, at which point it is glued to the deck.


Note also that I allowed the line in the rearmost block to terminate at that block, rather than link it to the foremost block. This was simply because that line would not be seen when the blocks were wrapped for stowage.







Edited by tkay11
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Captain’s companionway


I’d been looking at the plans and decided I’d scrap my long companionway, build a captain’s companionway to the height it is in the plans and place it aft, by the tiller.


This left me with a dilemma. If I placed the doors of this companionway facing forward, it would leave small room for people moving in and out since the next hatchway is only 2 feet in front. If I had the doors opening to the rear, they would be getting in the way of the tiller. I didn’t think of making them open sideways – partly because the plans show a line on the companionway going side to side, which seemed to me to indicate the roof opening in the fore/aft direction.


In the end I decided I’d have the doors opening forwards. I reckoned 2ft was still room to get in and out, and the doors certainly opened comfortably into that space.


To build this I drew up some plans in TurboCAD, then made a block from balsa wood to act as the form around which the walls would be placed.


I used pear wood from pen blanks that I bought on eBay.


The hinges were made of a strip of brass with a 0.5mm brass rod placed across the middle. The whole assembly was then finished with linseed oil.














After all that I decided to add the ship’s bell to the roof. This would be in a handy position for whomever was at the tiller.


I made the uprights from some pear strips with a wood lathe. The bell I had to buy (an Amati fitting) as I don’t have means of turning brass at the moment.


You’ll see the completed bell later in the log in the following posts.


Second companionway


Although the next hatch forward is shown in the plans as a normal hatch, I couldn’t resist keeping the glass-covered companionway I had previously made to fit this position. I had put so much effort into building it that I decided to give those down below light as well as some protection from the elements. Naughty but nice.



Remaining hatches re-made


This left the remaining hatches aft and fore of the main hatch. I had made them with the kit gratings, but since I had remade the main hatch with much smaller gratings to be in line with the likely real size, the small hatches looked incongruous. So I remade those using some of the combs I had not used in making the main hatch.


In doing this I stumbled across a very handy little ploy that overcame the fact that some of the combs were not evenly spaced – several of them had slightly widening gaps as they moved along the comb as a result of my not being too careful with the saw. However, by taking the combs in the batches from which they were originally cut, I could then just interleave the remaining combs upside down and the overall appearance was of a correctly-spaced grating.




The assembly was then covered with dilute PVA, cut to size and placed in coamings. You will see the pictures of these remaining hatches later in the build log where other aspects of the deck furniture are shown.



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Boom crutch

After studying the plans, and asking a question about it in the thread ‘Is this a boom support and how is it fitted?’ at http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/7051-is-this-a-boom-support-and-how-is-it-fitted/?p=207835, I decided to make one.


At first my idea was to make a stick and add a curved section to the top. This proved impossible. So my next step was to carve it out of a single sheet of pear. I started by drawing an outline to the dimensions shown on the plan.




This also proved impossible as the pear simply snapped every time I cut out the outline.


However, it worked with boxwood.




Then there was the need for holders for the support. Following Chuck’s modelling of the Cheerful, mentioned in the post about boom supports mentioned above, I decided to have holders on either side of the stern, allowing the boom support to be placed on either side according to where it decided to have a little rest when it was tired.


I made these holders out of brass tubing. Then glued them to the bulwarks with epoxy and kept them in place with a drill bit and Blu-Tak (a kind of oily putty).








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Rudder coat


Following many others, I decided I’d try to fix a coat on the rudder. I started by holding some cotton over the rudder and its hole with some self-gripping tweezers. This allowed me to make a rough outline for cutting.




I then glued some brass sheet to a strip of wood, and, after drawing the correct diameter circles with a pair of dividers, cut it away with a jeweller’s saw. I then drilled holes for the retaining bolts.






Brass rod was then pushed through the holes, silver soldered and cut off flush on one side. On the other side the rods were filed down to an even height to represent the bolt heads.






You’ll note I stuck the kit’s letters on the transom for the ship’s name. They’re ugly close up, but at normal viewing distance they’re tolerable.





It was clear that the tiller I had made previously was too long and too low to be usable with the captain’s companionway so close.


So I made a new one that was both shorter and s-shaped so that it would be on level with a person’s elbow.







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Entry ladders


Next up were the entry ladders. Not much to comment on here (apart from the very crude workmanship which I am afraid marks me well out from all other Sherbourne builders).


The inner steps were made by pasting a plan made in TurboCAD onto a strip of wood, then cutting at the correct angle. A razor saw was used to cut the joints for the steps.








My first attempt at the stanchions was to turn boxwood on the lathe, but they were rather ungainly compared to brass. So I made the stanchions from a simple brass rod topped by a brass tube which was silver soldered. The base was another brass tube, also silver-soldered. The stanchions were set into the rails.with epoxy adhesive.




You’ll note that I decided to put the ropes through the steps rather than letting them hang loose.







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Pin rails


Following the other Sherbourne builds, I put pin rails at the stern, and modified the ones under the main mast shrouds.


The kit’s belaying pins are way too large. I had to buy the belaying pins as I found I couldn’t make wood ones small enough (although I now realise I could do so with boxwood). I coloured the brass ones with brown paint to make them look a little more like wood.


You’ll notice the square galley pipe I put in, following the plans for the Cutter Alert. I also decided to omit the pin rail that is provided in the kit to go in front of the mast. This is because I felt the deck was really crowded at that point, that the galley needed some space below, and that I might be able to have enough belaying points anyway. Let’s hope that’s right!


You’ll also note the strip of Sellotape I have put across the mast hole to stop small pieces being lost down that hole.







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