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Swift 1805 by verbal329 - Artesania Latina - First Build


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New to the hobby. I picked up an open-box but unbuilt 'Swift' kit at a local swap meet >10 years ago (when I was in high school) for $5,
only to later realize it was missing an essential component (the keel). Later picked up another one (unopened, wisely) on ebay to make up the difference, and >10 years later am finally making progress.

 

Am I making beginner mistakes? You better believe it....but I'm trying to take it slowly and methodically, and hopefully posting here will help
keep the right level of momentum going.

 

....and since I have relied so much so far on build logs on the previous (lost now?) MSW archives, perhaps the better part of valor here is to post mine, for better or worse, and hopefully someone else will find them of value, either as a cautionary tale or for genuine reference.

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Beginner mistake #1: When planking the deck, don't make ALL of the cutouts....I didn't fully appreciate that part of the bulkheads/keel had protruberances that locked in to the pre-fab false deck, and that they weren't intended to extend through the planked deck. Oops. (I added small 'filler' deck planks later.)

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...I also deviated from what is perhaps the traditional route by planking the deck before bending and fastening it to the keel/bulkheads. This probably made it more difficult to attach, but I think I installed it successfully using clamps and rubber bands. The first big challenge for me as a beginner was wrapping my head around the idea that the deck was supposed to have two 'opposing' bends to it - upwards in the bow/stern axis, and downwards in the gunwale axis. So I clamped and glued in place for the bow/stern axis, and then made the second, opposing bend using rubber bands wound pretty tightly. Nothing exploded, so I declared success.

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Edited by verbal329
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Another picture set illustrating the hull inner planking. Having done I think a halfway passable job here, this is where I'm currently stuck - I don't like the job I've done on the gunwales, and may start over on them.

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Edited by verbal329
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  • 2 weeks later...

Progress! Thanks to some input from Jared (jarero) on how to plank gunwales, I did start over using a second set. The inner side is planked, I added the coamings, and the stern step. I'm using Titebond II instead of cyanoacrylate (I assume the latter is more typical?), so the process is slowed considerably as I have to wait for things to dry....but I think I'd make a hash of it with anything quick-drying. The stern end of the gunwales are not vertical, as I think they're supposed to be (I didn't consider trying to align them as I glued the whole gunwale in place, so they each have about a 20-30 degree angle to them). They're pretty stiff, and while I could possibly force them upright to meet the upper stern flush along its sides, I'm tempted to leave their angle mostly as is and shave off the upper stern to match...I'll just end up with an upper stern that tapers downward. Not sure if this is sacrilege or not. One other thing that's giving me pause is the pre-fab stringers that line the bottom of the gunwales, where the gunwales meet the deck. Since they're pre-fab plywood, the top/bottom layers are a dark color wood, and the inner portion is a lighter color. This sandwich profile will be visible on the inner-side of the stringer as it runs down the deck, and it seems like it ought to be the same color....except I've already tung oiled it, so I'm guessing stain might be hard to apply. Not sure if I'm over-thinking this piece of it or not, but I'll need to decide one way or the other before gluing it down.

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Edited by verbal329
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The bulwarks look good. The angle at the stern is actually pretty good. This hull had outward flair above the deck just about the entire length of the bulwarks. You can probably coax the sides in a little at the stern if needs be.

 

Russ

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Russ is right that you can make small adjustments if needed.  I had to tweak mine slightly when I went to line the top of them with the pre-made top railing (don't know the official name without looking at my parts list).

 

I can see some really nice details on your that make me wish I could go back and do some steps over again on mine.

 

-Jared

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I have been reading the building logs on the AL Swift while waiting for my kit to arrive. I have noticeed that you have used tung oil several kits.

Is this something that the instructions say to do. I have built three wood rc models as well as refinished a couple of end tables and never used

tung oil or any kind ot stain untill I was finished building.

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In the AL instructions, I was somewhat surprised when I got started as I saw no reference to applying a finish for a long time - so I was under the impression that the conventional wisdom was to leave it unfinished. It was only after I got further along that I saw a passing reference to 'applying a finish of your choice', or something like that, after several pieces were already assembled - I think this was after the gunwales were mounted on the deck. I had already decided I wanted a finish on it, but not too glossy - again, from cruising around online I found more references to tung oil than anything else, but nothing authoritative.I decided that I'd rather keep going than be paralyzed by indecision on a finish, so I went forward with Minwax Tung Oil Finish (in a yellow metal canister from Ace Hardware), and so far I'm pleased. I tend to apply the finish before gluing things together, because I think it will apply more evenly that way.

 

Gunwales, upper stern, stringers in place; just waiting for the glue to dry before tackling the (scary) outer hull planking. I used a brown Crayola colored pencil on the inside of the pre-fab stringers to darken them up to match the top layer, and I think it turned out okay.

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Edited by verbal329
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Nice work on the bulwarks. I'm dreading that part, but as I've just started planking I am still a bit away.

Any tricks in getting the angle where the bulwarks meet at the stem?

 

Love the way the crayola pencil work, It didnt seem to cover the wood graining the way I would have expected. The contrast really makes the detail POP.

 

Looking forward to more pic's and tips.

 

Shine On -/\=

Keith

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the compliments on the crayola; all I colored was the inner edge of the stringer. Since this pre-fab plywood, the 'inside' of the plywood was a light blond color, and the top and bottom layers were a darker wood. Especially after adding the tung oil, this was a pretty high contrast difference, and the crayola helps minimize that.

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So here's a question: the stern, stern-post, and keel are all thinner than the bottom-most portion of the hull....so it will be undersized, or thinner, than the hull stem I attach it to. Is this correct? I feel like most models I see are uniform in thickness, and the transition from the sapelia of the outer planks to the african walnut of the stern and keel is fairly seemless.

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Okay, I see what has happened. The false keel should have been thinned slightly in the after section so that the planking would sit lower and then the keel and sternpost would match up. In any event, I would have attached the keel, sternpost and stem before planking. It would have made it easier to account for this situation beforehand.

 

The only remedies I see right now, without totally remaking the pieces in thicker wood, is to 1) use some left over planking material to pad them on either side so that it matches up, or 2) sand down the planking next to the keel and see if you can get it to the same thickness as the keel. I am not at all certain that 2 will work though, if the difference is that much.

 

Russ

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I have been looking forward to some progress pictures and it looks really, really good!

I'm inclined to do 1, except the planking is sapelia, and the keel etc walnut....and I liked the idea of the contrasting dark woods. Hmm.

I had a very slight step to mine where it didn't keep the same profile. I never thought about it being right or wrong until you asked this question. I personally would do whatever you have to to be happy with it without covering that walnut. It is amazing looking wood.
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This is something I've noticed in the older kit also. The keel doesnt have the rabbet cut into the swift but rather requires a tapering of the bulkhead keel. Even with this tapering the keel plus planking widens the mounting area of the false keel. At the moment, in the stern I'll have to sand probably 1/8" to narrow the mount surface. And towards the bow the keel is V shaped and will require sanding to flatten to the required width.

 

As Russ stated, Ive concluded that mounting the false keel prior to second planking is the only way around this problem. I also have concern about the bow keel curvature fitting the planked curve tightly (without gaps). I'm figuring on a large amount of sanding on the second planking to make the keel fit correctly. I dont know what the AL instructions say as I've quit reading them.

 

Oh BTW verbal, I like the block your using to clamp planks. With the Swift compound curvature on the deck I've found clamping planks to be a bear. I did not want to use CA glue but havent been able to find another way to clamp planks flush. Thanks for the idea!

Edited by themadchemist
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Wow, how life tends to get in the way.

Glad to see things settled and you now have a dedicated space. I found your Swift log inspiring when I first started mine, although my build has went in a very different direction.

I love watching the Pilot boats built and can't wait to see you at it again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Indeed. In addition to simply moving I've renovated a bathroom, the hobby room (where work on this will happen) plus a laundry room. Oh yeah, and child #2 is overdue by three days now...so I suspect life will continue getting in the way. But progress! Timber heads have been added using clothespins as clamps...they were the wimpiest clamps I could find to avoid potentially denting the sapelia. Putting these on was an example of having to work in spite of the kit; the kit inventory sheet said there would be 42 pieces to cut and shape to fit. In fact, there were two long pieces, not 42 short. Okay, no problem....except I realized about a third of the way through that I was cutting off too much material to use as each timberhead blank. It was only by carefully measuring for each timberhead position along the gunwale that I ended up having enough material. Whew!

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