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The downside of solder is the lead.  It will deteriorate with time.


Yea, I can attest to that.  I have a AL Morgan Whale boat that I built some 20-25 years ago. All the harpoons, cutting knives, oar locks are made from some type of soft white metal (probably lead based bismuth or something) - all have become brittle, cracked and broke under their own weight. I've tried gluing them together with CA but another section will break off in time.

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I guess I'll need to keep an eye on it. I'll let you know in 25 years. The solder is 60 / 40 Tin / Lead. I'm no chemist, but that may lengthen its' lifespan. Finding a lead free solder with a rosin core may work just as well as the core makes it more malleable and easier to flatten. I just hate using brass flat stock due to its' brittleness. One bend is all you get on that thin stuff.


I'll just need to post a note in front saying ' Please don't suck on the boat ' :)


I do clean the rollers with a paper towel when done rolling.

Edited by ColoradoDave
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A good source of fine absolutely straight wire (if rather short pieces will work) is a wire brush.  The wire is stiff but not so stiff as music wire and can be bent with needle nose pliers to a rather sharp bend. Good for railings, some jackstays, and other small fixtures.


To get the wire out of the brush, you'll probably have to cut the brush; the wires are usually anchored in their holes with staples.


Another source of straight wire, but softer and somewhat larger in diameter, is Christmas tree ornament hangers.  They come in several diameters and colors.




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  • 2 months later...



They're really only a temporary type of product used during storing or shipping.  The problem I can see is getting them out to bake any collected humidity which should be done periodically.  Maybe hidden discretely in a display case might be better.   I'm also not sure if they would draw the moisture out of the wood and cause premature aging.    

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21 minutes ago, mtaylor said:



They're really only a temporary type of product used during storing or shipping.  The problem I can see is getting them out to bake any collected humidity which should be done periodically.  Maybe hidden discretely in a display case might be better.   I'm also not sure if they would draw the moisture out of the wood and cause premature aging.    

Perhaps better to put a dehumidifier in the room with your models, if you're lucky enough to be able to have them all in one place.  If you're in a constant rainy region, however, that might not be helpful.

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  • 5 months later...

Let's see if we can get this thread back on track ...



Perhaps the best method of recreating small, carved details can be found in XKen’s USS Constitution build log. Wood carving is a skill-set that can take years to master. One slip-up can mean having to re-do hours of work. But Ken has found an easier way.



Here, he shows us how to use a piece of ordinary black-board chalk to carve the detail ends for his catheads. With Ken’s permission, I have lifted a few pictures from his log. I’m sure that his explanations speak for themselves …







And here's the final result, in position on Ken's Constitution build.





Edited by CaptainSteve
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Browsing some of the logs that I follow recently, and I stumbled upon this idea by one of my favourite USS Constitution builders.



Thanks to Tom (UsedToSail) for this idea to reproduce more realistic slings for the boats on his build.

Over to Tom …

“I have been doing some thinking about how to stack the two cutters on the waist rails. The plans show only the large cutter with cradles underneath and strong backs over the tops to hold it down. I could use the same method and use cradles on the small cutter to sit on the strong backs, but I thought they might stick up too high. In the AOS book, they show the small cutter inside the large cutter, with fenders between them. I liked this method better, but was struggling how to make fenders until one day, as I was tying my shoes, it hit me to try pieces of shoe laces. I bought some white oval laces and after cutting the pieces, I browned them using brown shoe polish. I was quite happy with the look.”


Tom says that he first tried this with round laces, but it didn't look as good:



Better success was had using a flatter lace …



And a later pic from Tom’s build, showing the boats positioned on-deck …




Edited by CaptainSteve
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After the above entries, taken from USS Constitution builds that I follow on MSW, this one comes from my own build.  I had noticed some iron-works marked on the plans. As this hull will eventually be copper-plated, I wanted to replicate these hull braces as an added detail.



To my eye, the horseshoe-shaped front brace looked a lot like a drink can ring-pull …


… so I salvaged a few for a trial. Holes were drilled to simulate the bolt-heads. The ring-pull ends were trimmed off.



… shaping the bow hull-brace around a pencil-tip.



Braces for the stern were cut from the rim of the drink can, annealed and straightened.



… grooving out a seat for the stern braces.



The horseshoe-shaped bow brace fitted into position ...



…. and the stern braces also placed. The surface of the braces sits slightly proud of the keel.




Since I am still a long way from planking and copper-plating my hull, a test was done to see how the braces would appear, once plated …


... NOTE TO SELF: Be more careful when coppering-over the holes.



Edited by CaptainSteve
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  • 8 months later...



Not sure if it's available globally, but a lot of Spanish red wine comes in bottles with brass wire netting (to use the word in a broad sense). The wire can be easily untangled, straightened, and used for things like rigging blocks etc., or anywhere else where very thin wire is needed.


The only problem is, there's literally yards of it on each bottle, so it's not really an excuse to buy a bottle a day 'for the rigging'...



Edited by RPaul
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Re: Stacked Boats


i don’t know what period the above Constitution model represents but by mid Nineteenth Century US practice was to nest the cutters in the 1st and 2nd launches.  All of the thwarts in the launches were removable. When in use thwarts were fastened by iron pins into heavy clamps worked into the boat’s interior structure.  This allowed the stack of boats to be considerably lowered.


See: William Brady, The Kedge Anchor.



Edited by Roger Pellett
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  • 4 months later...



In my sctrach build of CS, chekpoint I get stuck are deck winches ...

Scale is app. 1:100, so, considering C-plans, dimensions are show on picture above


Hmm, pretty small, and I want as much as possible details

Question of material to use raised

First attempt was wit paper laminated with vener, covered with acrylic paint, with idea to use acrylic ability to plastify

Not good, too fragile

Next attempt was with Cu foil 0,3mm

So soft to manipulate with



I need something harder, but not to much, to be able to modify it with my Einhel graver set and tools I have

And i rembered, that I use earlier in my build parts of folder mechanism, so why not again?

I printed my working drawings on self-adhesive paper, and prepare metal part for working with


And - yes, this is it!


On next pictures you can se test part



Sure, next step is to make four of them more precise



Edited by NenadM
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I would stack the four of them onto a thin piece of plywood for working on. When starting the 'crossing-out', as the watchmakers call the process of making the spokes, I would drill appropriately sized holes in the respective corners. This gives you the directions for sawing out the rest using a jeweller's piercing saw. As material I would use hard brass, not soft copper. Alternatively, styrene would allow you to easily add the reenforcement ribs by glueing, rather than soldering.

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  • 1 month later...


hi i love this thread , so many great ideas , i would like to recommend using 'bonsai aluminium wire , it comes already coated in dark brown and is soft enough to bend easily for deadeye strops etc  and its relatively cheap and comes in many different guages  i use 0.8 mm

Edited by jeff watts
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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...

POPPY SEEDS – Trying to represent the bolt-heads on the stem-plates, pintles and gudgeons for my Queen Anne Barge (1:24), I stumbled on a cheap and easy alternative ...


Each seed is approximately 0.5mm wide, and much smaller than any nail-heads that I had. I soaked a small pile of the poppy-seeds in a black wood-stain, allowed them to dry …


… and then affixed them into pre-drilled holes with CA glue. Give them a light coat with a thin varnish afterwards to hold them in place …


Here are a few examples as used on my Barge build …


 ... the copper keel-plate.


... on the stem-plate.


... on the pintles and gudgeons.

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The following is from MSW member, Thanasis, where he has used a kitchen scourer to make baggiwrinkles on his ship. This will work in any scale whatsoever.


Over to you, Thanasis ….

Baggiwrinkes in 5 minutes


I think you all know of those green kitchen sponges ... 


1.    Take an unused one. Usually they are in green colour, but you might find some in the colour you like.


2.    Cut a small piece close to the dimensions you want your baggiwrinkle to be.


3.    Gently twist the ends between your fingers and your workbench (or between the palm of one hand and two fingers of the other hand) to trim down the corners, and you are almost ready.


4.    If you cannot find the scourers in any other colour than the standard green, then you can use some paint to show the threads on the surface (I used a gray in spray form).


Finally, place it on your model, using a needle at the edge of a strand of your standing rigging before you fasten both edges permanently. If you don’t glue it, it will slide up and down the rigging line.


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  • 1 year later...
On 12/13/2013 at 11:35 AM, Dee_Dee said:



These come in 5.5" and 7.5" and are 1/16" thick.  You can get some at your local coffee shop, or purchase a few thousand on eBay for less than $20.  


These are made of birch, very pliable and hold a corner very well.


When I build my 18th century long boat, I will replace the basswood planking with coffee stir sticks.  

I use these sticks frequently for use in my other miniature projects. What a great idea as planking!

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