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Young America by EdT - FINISHED - extreme clipper 1853

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Terrific work, as usual, Ed!


Would marking, say, the top timber height of every third or fourth toptimber and running a light batten to get the intermediate ones have been a option? I'm curious as to why you used the height gauge to measure every last one.

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I like that you showed the photo of how you fit the ledge. As you have shown, I also field fit each ledge as well as the carlings at times.   As close as one can be to the plans in their build, there is always the need to field fit some items and the model builder should not feel they have made a mistake  by having to do so. There is not doubt that the full scale ship yards measured and cut in the field at times just as you have shown in your scaled  shipyard.  Showing these little things in your log is huge..  Kudos


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Thank you all for the comments and questions.  I like questions.


Yes, Micheal, she is pretty solid.  I think she may be ready for the Horn.  That's part of my concern for the fairness of those toptimbers - there's not a lot of play in them once the decks are added.  I have one more opportunity to pull/push any bad actors into line with the main deck beams.  I may even have to replace one or two.  We'll see.


A very good question, Druxey, and the answer is: I don't know.  Your suggestion is certainly a good way to do it and no less accurate for sure.  I do like the feel of the gauge sliding over the tops as opposed to a pencil line.  Perhaps that's it. 


Allan, except for frame assembly, I field fit just about everything - definately carlings and ledges.  I do cut the carling scores from measurements out from the centerline before the beams are installed, but there is always some variation when fitting pieces between installed parts.  I space the ledges between beams by eye.  The pencil mark shown in the post is only a guide for the first cut.  Even when cutting from thin pencil lines, I have to remember - inside the line? on it? or outside? - probably because of my unsteady pencil hand.



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Amazing work Ed!


I read and re-read lots of the post and the fantastic conversations you all have. This log as the the Naiad was, is a pleasure for the eyes.



Even when cutting from thin pencil lines, I have to remember - inside the line? on it? or outside? - probably because of my unsteady pencil hand.


We have a "proverb" here in Spain... " The carpenter long and the blacksmith short "


Best wishes!




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Interesting comments on field fitting.  Drawing accuracy has its limits.  There are two considerations (at least): 


While I have utmost confidence in the precision of my drawings and patterns for many things - for example hull profile, frame patterns, overall dimensions, longitudinal line heights and breadths, deck heights, locations of masts and other objects - some drawing representations are not as reliable.  For example, the lines of the insides of the frames along a deck.  While the outboard breadths of these can be well defined by taking breadths at deck side height from the body plan, the inboard breadths would require an accurate horizontal dimension through each frame.  Molded breadhs through these frames vary with height and their horizontal breadths depend on the angle of the frame at the deck. These lines could be drawn by taking  horizontal breadths from each frame pattern where the inside lines (and the bevel)  are represented accurately, but that is an enormous task and the value of the result will be negated by the second consideration described below.  These lines are useful for showing the overall layout and approximate shape of the decks, for example, but I always label them and other similar lines "for reference only."  That says "field fit."


Apart from the above, the primary problem in relying on drawings for every piece is accumulated construction error.  Even with the utmost care, from the time the keel is laid, minute error begins to creep in and add up at every step of construction.  By the time one reaches the first deck, small dimensional deviations should come as no surprise.  Short of perfection, this error accumulation is inevitable so eliminating it is not a solution.  It needs to be recognized.  Field fitting becomes mandatory at some point in construction.  That point can be determined by dimensional checking, but common sense is probably a better guide to when a field fit is needed.


All the errors described above are small, but large enough to cause a gap in a joint or a sprung (or loose) beam.  I do not even bother to loft some parts for these reasons - for example deck and breast hooks.  Field fitting of these is easier and more accurate.


So, again we find ourselves adopting the early shipyard practices - where drawings were few.



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Young America - extreme clipper 1853
Part 84 – Middle Deck Waterways


The first picture shows the hull with the temporary ribbands removed and the toptimbers and upper futtocks cut down to final height.




The outsides of the upper hull have been given a light sanding.  The hull will be planked on this side down to slightly below the load water line.


With the middle deck framing complete, the next step was to install the waterways.  In the next picture the curved sections at the stern have been boiled and are clamped in place to dry overnight.  The same was done at the bow.





These are rough-cut waterways, unbeveled at this stage.  After drying they were cleaned up with sandpaper and beveled to lie flat against the angled aft frames.  Most of this was done on the disk sander as shown below, then trimmed by hand.




In the next picture the aft starboard section is being fit.




The unfinished port member is still in the clamps.  In the next picture the forward starboard section of waterway is being glued in.




The waterways are pretty massive – 15” x 15”.  They are bolted into each beam and through each frame with iron bolts.  On the model these are 22-gauge copper wire glued in with epoxy as discussed earlier.  The sections are joined by hook scarphs as shown in the next picture.




This area has not yet been bolted.  The next picture shows the last section of waterway being glued in.




This picture also shows wood blocks cut to the size of the two fresh water tanks and set on their bases in the hold.  The next picture is a closer view of these.




These blocks will probably be the fabrication bases for modeling these two iron tanks.  The larger of the two comes up to just under the main deck.


Next, the binding strakes inside of the waterways.




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Ed, I have seen many builds over the years. To watch up close the Swan Class builds. But I have always been more interested in clippers and working or racing craft. Your clipper would be a project I love to tackle even if it took me forever. This model is like a treatise on building a late 19th c clipper.

David B

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Young America - extreme clipper 1853
Part 85 – Middle Deck Binding Strakes


The binding strakes provided an additional reinforcement to the connection of the deck beams to the hull frames.  These 8” thick members, placed against the inboard face of the waterways, were bolted vertically into each beam and horizontally – edge bolted – through the waterway and each frame.  On the model I represented this bolting with monofilament – one down through each beam and one edge bolt above each ledge between beams.  There were probably twice this many bolts used on the real ship. 


The first picture shows the forward section of binding strake on the starboard side being glued in place.




The binding strakes were joined with hook scarphs as shown in the photo.  They were also rounded over or beveled down to the deck planking on the inboard side.


 In the next picture the joint measurements are being transferred to the end of the next section.




The length of the hook is being marked here,  The piece was cut back to the angle first.  The next picture shows the last section on the port side at the stern being fitted.




The next picture shows the binding strakes installed at the bow – ready for bolts.




The holes for the horizontal bolts were drilled before installation – those for the vertical beam bolts after.   In the next picture a length of monofilament is being glued in to represent one of the beam bolts.




After installation of the binding strakes the deck was given a final leveling with 220-grit paper as shown below.




This was followed by final sanding using 220 then 320-grit paper – by hand and using the detail sander shown in the last photo.




Next will be installation of the side inboard planking, starting with the heavy 10” x 12” standing strakes over the waterways.  Hatch coamings and some decking can also be started.



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Thanks, everyone. 


Druxey, Lauchlan McKay - less famous brother of Donald - estimated quantities of iron bolts at 68 lbs per measurement ton amd copper bolts at 8 lbs per ton.  Given those estimates and Young America's 1,961 registered tonnage, there would have been about 70 tons of iron bolts and 8 tons of copper bolts used in her construction.  I am actually surprised that these figures are not larger.  It would be interesting to compare these ratios with 18C Royal Navy ships - if anyone has data.  I have not looked.



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Young America - extreme clipper 1853
Part 86 – Middle Deck Inboard Planking


Heavy members – standing strakes – 10” thick by 12” deep are fitted over the waterways and bolted through every frame timber to further reinforce the connection of the deck structure to the frames.  These members are joined along their length by hook scarphs as shown in the first photo.




These members were also bolted down into the waterways but I omitted these bolts because they will be covered by the next higher planks. 


In the next picture some of those planks are being installed and holes are being drilled for the standing strake bolts.




Note that the top strake being installed is notched for a drop plank to account for the widening planking band where the hull flares out at the bow.  The next picture shows a higher strake being glued in – wedged down to close the joint.




Standing strake bolts have been installed in this picture.  In the next picture, the next section of that plank is being glued – wedged and clamped in this case.




I did not bother to jog the planking joints in this work, because hanging knees will hide this detail.  Long planking strips were used and their joints placed under a knee location.


The next picture shows the completed planking – except for treenails – at the starboard bow.




The gap above the top plank is an “air strake” – left open to ventilate the space between frames above the keel.


The next picture shows the larger of the two fresh water tanks ready to be rigged into the opening in the decks.




In the next picture the tank is placed temporarily in position.  The top of this tank will be just below the main deck planking.  A smaller tank located just forward of this one has yet to be fabricated.




I did not go overboard in making these tanks.  They will be difficult to see at best.  I used the wood blocks shown earlier, some file folder and a ponce wheel for the rivets.  After assembly the paper was impregnated with dilute shellac and finished with flat black enamel.


The detail of the actual tanks, like many other things, is a bit of a mystery.  Webb’s Challenge had rectangular iron tanks so I followed that design.  I based the design for these on pictures from the JL Mott catalog from 1886.  Mott was the foremost New York ironmonger from 1828, making a large range of iron goods well into the 20th Century – a likely source for these tanks.  The catalog featured cast and wrought iron sectional tanks.  It is likely that these large tanks would have been of the wrought iron type – probably lead lined.  They were built up to the required size in formed modules.  The top and bottom manways are speculative.  No nozzles yet.





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This build remains at the top of my list of the finest, most comprehensive models I have ever had the pleasure of watching come together. You are a very special artist sir. Thank you again for this amazing log.


PS: Anyone who has not visited your Vic log is really missing something very special.



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