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USS Constitution by Hipexec - FINISHED - Constructo - Wood - 1:82

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I had a few hours to kill before I had to head to the airport last week, so I added a deck (see photo) to my gun deck in order to add some additional vertical ribs so I can make proper and square boxes around each gun port. The plans don't call for this, but I think I can make it work. I'll use the cutouts from the bulkhead sheet that came with the kit to shape each new rib. I'll "blend" the shape of the new rib depending on which rib is closest to it.


I also just bought on E-Bay a new digital caliper. Using my old metal ruler won't do anymore if I want to be accurate and  repeat piece after piece. Building my Swift didn't give me that kind of challenge. After looking at all your builds, I must shape up or ship out.





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Finished the port side false cannon ports. Today I am attempting to bend my first eight planks. I used a steam iron and a frame I constructed to hold the shape needed. I'll see how that turns out.


Thanks for everyone's imput.






Edited by Hipexec
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I'm spending a lot of time preparing the frames, bow and stern for planking. I don't want to make the same planking mistakes I did framing my Swift. That was my first boat and I had no idea what I was doing. I salvaged the Swift with a lot of filler and sanding. If you look at the Swift closley you see all kinds of of waves and ripples in the planks. I don't want that on this USS Constitution.


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Still plank bending and hull prep. I made sanding strips to shape the hull. They work very well. Better than a file and safer that a Dremel. I'm bending planks horizontally as well as vertically to shape them  as close as I can to make them fit without forcing the plank.







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Plank number one is defeating me. The kit calls for planking once with 2mm X 6 mm dark Sapelly wood. It's very stiff and subject to cracking and splitting. I soaked the first peices and put them in a jig after using an iron to bend them. They came out near net shape. The plans call for me to pin them temporalrily until the glue sets. Either the pin bends and the pin splits the wood. I'm now soaking new pieces. I will attempt to use guide pins (removable) and rubber bands to hold each plank until the glue sets. Wish me luck.



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Of course we wish you luck!  We all know how frustrating planking can be when you first start.


There are many types of pins available that have flanges around the head.  You stick the pin itself in the bulkhead and capture the plank with the flange.


Here's something I learned during planking my first, the MS kit for Syren.  The planks used on real ships of the period were generally about 25-30 feet in length.  At your scale, that's about 4.4".  That's a rough number and a lot depends on the distance between your bulkheads.  Both ends of each plank should rest on a bulkhead.  You should have a plan that allows for using planks of approximately this length staggering the joints of the planks in a regular fashion so the joints don't wind up directly next to each other.  The bottom line is, it is MUCH easier to lay and control a 4 or 5 inch plank then it is to lay a 24" plank.


I recall reading the 'tube' threads on how to soak 24 or 36" planks.  Dan Vadas, who is one heck of a builder, chimed in that he uses something like a soda bottle because he never bends anything longer than 10 or 12 inches.  Makes sense if you are using pretty much scale length planks!


So give this some thought and by all means check the planking tutorials on MSW before you get too frustrated.

Edited by Augie
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Hi Rich,


I know the feeling. Rubber bands and guide pins are good ways to secure the plank till the glue dries. Micro-Mark and Model Expo sell Planking Screws, which screw into the bulkhead and hold the plank in place. Similar holding devices can be made with spring loaded clothes pins or binder clips.


When you put the pin thru the plank, did you drill a pilot hole for it? That can help keep the plank from splitting. Also, you commented that your plank bending gave a near net shape. Are they close enough that just a little pressure (like from a rubber band) would work?


What type of glue are you using? One of our club members swears by a combination of CA glue and woodworking glue. He applies wood glue to the areas he wants, and then touches a few critical areas with a spot of CA. The moisture in the wood glue kicks the CA to help give you a quick "stick", and the wood glue will cure to provide a permanent bond.


As Augie said, there are several good planing tutorials on the site. Take a look-they can help generate ideas on how to tackle this.


Keep us posted, and above all-have fun! That's what it's all about.





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Rich, I'll echo what Augie and Harvey said.  Take some time if you haven't already and read the planking tutorials here on MSW.  I read all of them and they help a lot!  Especially the one by Chuck and his planking fan template.  Just go to the planking section and they're listed there.

Looks like your planking with a harder wood than basswood.  I've only used basswood planking so far, I'm sure hardwood adds some difficulty to planking.  But, you'll be thankful that it doesn't ding like basswood and can be sanded to a good, sharp, true edge when you get to plank shaping.  


I use carpenters wood glue and edge glue every plank.  I'm not sure how many folks here edge glue but I swear by it.  I can glue a plank and hold it in place for a minute or 2 by hand and it will be set in place.  No planking clamps required!  I also pre-bend all but the slightest bend planks.  Use medium super glue to attach the ends of planks that have sharper bends.  It will set immediately and you can then place the rest of the plank on the bulkheads.

I also ALWAYS pre-bend full planks around the entire curve (bow and counter for example).  This way you get a nice consistent bend through the entire curve.  Then come back and cut the plank into smaller lengths that span several bulkheads.  Some people plank with full length planks, there's nothing wrong with that if that's your style (not prototypical) but it can add to the difficulty factor.


I'm no planking expert, there are many here that are WAY more experienced than me, but these are the things that work for me.

Good luck!

Edited by cookster
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Sounds like you've gotten through your original frustration.  By blending all of the suggestions you'll develop your own method.  Patience is (always) the key.


Just a word on using CA.  I use it myself, like Cookster, in difficult situations.  Many do.  I believe Chuck Passaro uses it exclusively for planking.  I notice that Cookster specified medium grade.  It comes in thin, medium, heavy and even a gel.  The thicker it is, generally, the longer it takes to set.  There is also an accelerator that sets it instantly.  I almost never use thin as it sets too quickly and gets all over the place.  And if any of them get on the outside of your plank it will almost certainly ruin the finish.  It does not sand well.  So be VERY careful if you use it, especially on dark wood.


Also, be aware that many folks report being allergic to the fumes from the glue as it dries.  Hopefully it doesn't affect you.


PLANK ON -- you'll soon be seeing them in your dreams :)  :)

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