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Speedwell by dvm27 (Greg Herbert) - Ketch Rigged Sloop, 1752

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Speedwell, 1752, was a ketch rigged sloop of the Cruizer class. Designed by John Ward and Built by Thomas Slade after plans of the yacht Royal Caroline, known for her excellent sailing characteristics. Her keel was laid at Chatham 11.2.1752 and she was launched 21.10.1752 and coppered shortly thereafter. As befitting most ships of her size she patrolled the Channel and Home waters off England but did sail to North America in 1757. She was refitted as the fireship Spitfire in 1779 before decommissioning in 1780.


I am building Speedwell from the plans drafted by David Antscherl, who based his reconstruction on plans and documents in the NMM collection. A contemporary model of her is in the museum collection and may be viewed at 



In order to accommodate the eight cannons the hull had to be pierced for gunports and some very interesting toptimber arrangements were drafted to accommodate these. A sample of the interesting shifts and casts are shown in the first photo. For now I am just posting photos of the construction process without text but will add it later if requested. Currently, I am fairing the inside of the hull, a tedious but satisfying part of the process.


Edited by dvm27
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Bollard and Hawse Timbers



Thanks, all for your kind comments. A bit of serendipity with regards to the crash - many of us are putting up more photos than the first version. The ease of posting them and lack of file size restrictions make it a breeze.


The bollard and hawse timbers are among the most challenging to make on the model. As well, they are the first timbers made after the keel, and the learning curve hasn't had a chance to kick in yet. So it's important to take your time getting them right and redo them if necessary (as Ed T. has also pointed out in his excellent log). The last little filler piece has no real pattern. It's just cut over-sized and "massaged" into place.


The last photo illustrates the rather diminutive size of Speedwell as compared to an earlier discarded attempt at my Swan class model. The sixth rate looks gigantic compared to Speedwell. Yet they wood both look like longboats compared to a third rate or larger!













Edited by dvm27
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Thank you gentlemen! Erik, for the tarred joints I use acid free black paper (craft and artists supply stores have this) and white glue. Depending on the joint I'll use thicker or thinner paper and the edges are shaved clean with a blade. I would strongly suggest preparing a test wood/paper/wood sandwich first and applying the finish you prefer as a test to make sure the paper doesn't bleed onto the wood surface. Finally, I perforate the surface of the paper between joints with a pin to make sure glue adequately penetrates through to the other side. I also make sure to use treenails or fasteners in these joints. As yet haven't had a joint failure.


I've also used carpenters glue tinted with aniline dye powders. This works well too but is a holy mess.




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