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SS Vinal Haven by TBlack - Finished


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Chuck brings good news and bad news. The bad news is that I have to redo all my entries and dig up all the old photos. The good news is I get to redo the log and polish it up as I go!

 

Vinal Haven (sometimes Vinalhaven) was built in Searsport, ME in 1892. 6 months after launch she caught fire which destroyed the original superstructure. The yard in Searsport rebuilt her with a newly designed superstructure, and it is this version of the boat that I am modelling. Later, in 1905, the ship underwent additional changes; she was lengthened by 15 feet. Vinal Haven provided ferry service out of Roclkand, ME to the islands in Penobscot Bay, principally Vinal Haven. She survived until 1938.

 

I was able to locate a plan of the hull at the Mystic Seaport Museum, and various pictures of the ship come from the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, ME, the Penobscot Maritime Museum in Searsport, ME, and the Smithsonian in Washington. I will build this ship at 1:48 and can use the plan to get an accurate hull, but will have to build the superstructure from the photographs.

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I'm building this model POB style and the plan has 10 station lines which correspond to the bulkheads on the model. 10 bulkheads over 25" hull length means a little more distance between bulkheads than I would like, but I have no drafting facilities or capabilities, so I can't add anymore bulkheads. I'll just have to deal with it. The picture on the left shows (faintly) the 10 bulkhead lines taken off the plan and cemented to the bulkhead material. The right photo shows the bulkheads mounted on the profile form. The middle bulkheads extend above the main deck to provide a framework for the main deck cabin.

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I decided not to try to plank the stern area. The lines are too fine back there and I would have made a hash of it. Instead that part of the hull will be solid, shaped basswood (left photo). I decided to do the same thing at the bow; in retrospect, I'm not sure why I thought that area would be difficult, because it really isn't. Anyway...

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Not a lot of main deck to install as you can see in the first photo. I decided to get creative with regard to the deck material. I discovered sycamore which has a grain and color that looks very similar to oak; hopefully you can see that in the other three photos.

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On to the cabin sides. It's a little tricky, because the windows have to follow the sheer line but the sills are parallel to the waterline, and the door has to be high enough to clear the bulwark. I wasn't sure how to tackle the layout, so I tossed the problem to my brother, the architect, who has a CAD program. I gave him the photo on the left with a copy of the sheer line and he came back with the photo on the right. All I did was to paste that drawing onto a piece of sheet cherry and cut it out. Simple.

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The windows had insets applied to the backsides. I made these of plastic moldings for uniformity. The pictures below show the process. I don't seem to have a photo of the finished product, but it comes out white and needs cleaning up around the edges and some green paint.

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The after part of that cabin was a little trickier because of the curve at the stern. You can see from the photo that I made the sides up from the cherry sheet material and that there are two pieces that meet at the middle of the curve. Because there would not have been room to assemble the aftermost windows once the sides were installed on the boat, it meant that all assembly and painting had to be done prior to attaching to the forming block at the curve. It was touchy!

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Main deck cabins having been constructed and installed, next comes the bulwark. Prelimary photo:

 

I don't exactly remember how I decided what the spacing of those stanchions should be. If I had it to do over again, I'd halve the space between them.

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At the bow, the bulkheads were built off the boat because I didn't see how I could easily paint the inboard side once installed. Also, you'll see in the photos a hawse hole...plastic! Works great. Two separate ovals, filed to shape and glued to either side of the opening in the bulwark.

 

The two cleats are wooden, probably not historically correct, but I enjoy turning out small wooden items, so there they are!

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I built the rest of the bulkhead in 3 pieces: 2 long ones to go down either side and one curved one at the stern. If you look back at the previous pictures you can see a stanchion that is thicker than the others. That's where the joints occurred. At first I thought I could do the long sections off the boat, paint and install. That didn't work out so well due to the sheer curve that the bulkhead planks had to follow. I ended up doing the curved section off the boat and the long sections constructed in place and painted.

 

The bitt at the bow is a bit of a guess. The only picture I had showed just the top of it peeking over the bulkhead.

 

The pictures below show the cap rail in place. I made it up out of cherry.

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So now on to the 01 level. The subdeck is the same as the main deck, 1/32" plywood under 1/32" sycamore strips. As on the main deck, there's not a lot of decking to do given that the pilot house and salon and stack take up most of the area.. My biggest challenge here was to insure that the stanchions for the railing would all be vertical and in line. It took me a while to figure it out, and what I did was to make the deck off the boat; fashion the railing around the deck (last photo below); turn the whole assembly over and drill through the deck at the stanchion locations, making a mark at the underside of the railing. That process insures that the stanchions will all be lined up properly. I then attached the deck to the model and  did a test of the railing at the forward end (first two photo below).

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  • 3 weeks later...

I haven't made an entry here in a couple of weeks. I'm struggling with the railing that goes around the 01 level and I'm not ready to show you any results yet, but rest assured it's been a process. I'll share with you later. In the meantime, I thought I'd show you how I came to decide on dimensions for the layout of the superstructure.

 

I have been working off the profile picture which is back on page one of this log and is actually 10'X14", so shows some detail. There's a man standing up by the pilot house and I gave him a 6 foot height. Also, from the hull plan that I do have, I know the height of the bulwark. Using those two dimensions I've been able to determine relative sizes of cabins, doors and windows. It's not been 100% perfect, but it has been 95%. By that I mean I can draw in windows and doors and copare the result to the photograph. All I've had to do is tweek the plan a bit to look like the photo. My 01 layout, which is basically the passenger salon, the pilot house and the stack I've drawn as shown in the accompanying photo. I'm not sure you can see the detail very well, but I've just laid tracing paper over the hull plan and drawn in the cabin layout, leaving room for the stack in between. Then I compare that to the profile photo of the boat for accuracy.

 

Tom

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For better or for worse, I finished the railing around the 01 level. I laid out the railing on the 01 deck to get the joints and curves properly aligned. Next I put stanchions in place around the deck. The next step took some education on my part, but it turned out that the best way to install the railing onto the stanchions was to take one of the sections of the railing (there are 7 sections all the way around), attach stanchions only at the end points and let the ones in between fall where they may. That process insures that the stanchions will be vertical and parallel. The railing is cherry, the stanchions are Evergreen styrene rod (.040), and the nipples are Evergreen tubing.

 

That hole in the decking at the forward end of the 01 level is where the pilot house goes.

 

Tom

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The bench at the aft end of the 01 level looks pretty straightforward from the photo. There is no back to it and the legs look straight, and white. I decided to make it out of apple, just because I have a lot of it and it finishes to a nice golden hue.

 

What I did was to make a "mould" that replicates the curve around the stern; slice up some slats; and make some spacers out of basswood. I tried assembling the whole thing all at one time. Too complicated; pieces flew in all directions. I realized there were too many moving parts. To minimize that I'm tackling one section at a time. So, I put the spacers in at the end and glue the first cross piece; let the glue dry and move the spacers around to the next cross piece and so on around the curve (I hope!).

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What the heck is that thing! It either belongs over in the Name the Ship game or in a monster movie!

 

Anyway, I'm moving forward along the 01 level and dealing with the salon. Nothing really difficult here and pretty straightforward, but I have to develop the plan. If you recall my approach to the main deck cabin, I used my brother, the architect, and his CAD program to develop the cabin sides. But he's out of town now and I'm on my own to hand draw the sides. One of the side benefits of building from photographs is the detail that keeps cropping up as I investigate more fully. The Charlie Noble that I've circled in the first photo, somehow just appeared. Notice that it has a "fence" around it in that photo, but in the next photo it doesn't (it's just forward of the lifeboat).

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