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18th Century Longboat by Chuck Seiler (san Diego)

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Hey Chuck,

Glad to see you are back and going to rebuild your log.
My longboat is not here but in the normal kit build logs if you want to see another one.
I will follow along on yours and Toni's.



EDIT 3-11-2013, Just found my log has been moved to this area now!

Edited by Trussben
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    I originally started my build log on 21 December 2012.  I know this because I started it with “Thankfully
the world did not end today, so I can proceed. I would hate to get halfway into it only to go “POOF””  Well, apparently
it took a little longer but ‘the world’ ended and we now get to put it back together.  Thank heaven for notes!!!!  If
anybody is taking a gander here before taking on this project I hope to provide
some helpful thoughts and observations. 


    This project involves the Model Shipways ‘18th Century Longboat”.   It’s a great project.  It appears to be simple and somewhat straight forward but the planking makes it a challenge.  This is a single layer planking with both interior and exterior exposed to view.  The planking is quite thin, leaving very little room for error.  This is an excellent model to hone your planking skills.  Plans are excellent.


    Once your ‘basic shell’ (more on that later) is set up I find that I can easily remove a plank/strake that does not work out and try again.  (I have done a bit of work on the model since I originally wrote this.  I DID have to remove a strake or two and try again.  It is very forgiving.)  Here goes!!

Edited by Chuck Seiler
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    Let me start off by saying this is an extremely flimsey and fragile structure until the top strakes are in place.  At that point it becomes just
kind-of flimsey.  It is important that care be taken to assemble the basic structure, to ensure it is ‘true’.  Precision is important here.


(Note:  One of the other builders had a different concept.  Blocks of wood were placed between the bulkheads to support the structure and the boat was planked completely from the garboard strake up to the gunwales.  That eliminated that awkward ‘last plank between the top down and the bottom up which looks like a snake that swallowed a duck, a pig and 2 chickens.  Hopfully that will be reposted.)


    My first step was to produce a “build board” in order to provide stability for future steps.  The groove  in the board and the stem support hold center-piece, keel and stem assembly perpendicular to the surface.  I would have liked to support the stern, but in this case I was unable.  (As it turns out, it is not really necessary except to keep the model from sliding out of the cradle as you turn corners at 60 MPH while transporting the model.)

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    Before attaching the stempiece and keel, I cut the rabbet.  There are probably alot of ways to do this but if it involves hand measuring and marking, count me out.  Instead, I set the fence on my mini table saw so that I could cut the appropriate size notch on either side of the false keel.








   Be careful when handling the model at this point.  The top of the stem is very fragile and can break of easily.  I ended up breaking it off twice before I decided to hold off fixing it until later.  My intent is to run a few holes down the length of the stem and reinforce it with a bamboo treenail/dowel.  I will cover this later.  If yours pops off, just set it aside someplace where you won't lose it.


    The next thing I did was make a jig to allow me to square the bulkheads/frames along three different axes, axises, dimensions...whatever.




   A note on terminology.  During this part of the build, I will refer to the athwartship structural pieces as "bulkheads".  Once the centerpiece is removed, I will refer to them as "frames". 


    At this point, I put the centerpiece in the buildboard and started inserting the bulkheads.  As I said before, precision is important.  In addition to using the jig, I marked the top dead center of each bulkhead as another reference.  I then dry fitted eachbulkhead to see how the whole thing looked.  That's my story and I'm ticking to it....



Buildboard with assembly jig

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Chuck, I am the person who put the fillers in between the bulkheads.  It makes all the difference in terms of strengthening the frame.  I think a lot of builders (including myself) have snapped off that stempiece.  The basswood is very soft. I left mine off the model until all the hul planking was completed.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

    I’m back.  I have been out of service due to an eye malady.  Interestingly, it is easier to drive with one eye than it is to build ship (or boat) models.


    Planking is complete but the results are not as good as I would like.  Despite rework, the few strakes above the garboard on either side gave me problems.  I used wood filler to make it look adequate.  Once painted, you should not be able to tell the difference.




    Rather than just cover it up, I wanted to show what can be done when your work is less than great.   ...or I could have just made it an admiralty model.  :-)

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 Completed planking and a low tech waterline marker.




   Another view of the exterior planking and waterline marker.  The trunnels are easier to see in this pic.  I originally planned to use bamboo trunnels, but later decided just to fill the holes using wood filler (based on other peoples experiences).  Rather than the prescribed 2 trunnels per frame, I went with alternating 1-2-1-2 pattern.

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    Planking is done.  If I want to pull the planks off and fix the planking, now is the time.  Otherwise, it's time to remove the bulkhead centers.





    I decided to use a Dremel with cutoff wheel for this.  Caution is important to avoid any damage to exterior planking.


    As indicated by others, even though the model is very delicate at this point, it is surprisingly sturdy.  Extra care must be taken here.  As I sand down the insides of the frames, the structure becomes weaker.  Once you start adding things to the interior, it becomes stronger again.

Edited by Chuck Seiler
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I totally forgot about the interior glue situation while I was planking.  Happily, I only put glue on the bulkheads and on the plank edges,not on the plank interior.  The excess ooze was removed with microchisels and isopropanol.  (One of the advantages of carpenter's glue over CA.)  But between the flooring, the fore and aft platforms and the cockpit seats, very little of the interior planking is exposed anyway.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I have a few days off from work and the boatyard is in full operation.  While waiting for paint and glue to dry, I will post some far overdue thingies.



The hull is taped out and second coat of white spray enamel has been applied.  This will be left to dry and a fine sand before I apply two more coats.  As you see from the date, this was actually done a couple weeks ago.



A look inside the boat shows that some paint mist is getting inside the boat when I spray, however this is not a lot and it can be easily covered.


A note on paint:  Normally I like to use acrylic, but have not mastered the airbrush.  Instead I use spray enamel. 

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Paint job is complete and tape is removed.  Note:  I have added broken stem piece.  Taking pics inside using the ol' laptop as a backdrop seems to be more successful than outdoor shoots with poor light.



I am not very happy with the result of the waterline painting.  It doesn't look quite right.  I have checked and rechecked after painting and that, indeed, is a correct waterline....still looks funny.



A gander at the inside.  I have touched up the inside, removing or covering the slight overspray.  I decided to paint the red topping before adding the toprail.  Note the hole in the top of the stem piece.  A bamboo 'peg'/treenail will be glued and inserted to improve the strength and <hopefully> keep it from breaking off again.


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Hi Chuck,


I think pegging that stem piece was a prudent idea.  Relying on the glue to hold the cracked portion in place could cause some problems come rigging time.  I think I may do the same thing, even though mine did not break completely off.  Keep up the nice work.



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My efforts to fix the problem proved how true your statement is. I drilled a pilot hole in the piece that was to be glued BEFORE I glued it. Once the glue had dried 24 hours, I used my pin vise to drill the hole the rest of the way into the stem. The stem piece broke again; not a the glue joint, but above it. Apparently the force of the drill pushing into the wood (opposite reaction-pushing up on the stem piece) lifted it right off. All should be well now.

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Since my past efforts to tape and paint without seepage on this hull have proven non-good, I decided to do something else for the top rail. Using red Trans Tint water based (or alcohol based) wood dye, I dyed the under side lip of the cap rails.


My initial plan was to use two 1/16" x 1/16" lengths of wood. These would be attached side by side, bent along the whole length of the gun'l so that the wood grain would be always running with the cap rail. Once added, I would have sanded it down to 1/32 thick and as wide as it needed to be. I decided NOT to do that because it did not provide the little flare on the bow.



Port side cap rail added. The water based/alcohol based dye does not interfere with gluing.



A closer look. You can see how much crisper the demarcation line is versus that of the water line. I will eventually paint with caboose red on upper and side portions, but leave undersides untouch (and hence, unboloxed up).

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I forgot to mention...based on the care I am taking with the cap rail, I do not intend to paint the edge of the cap rail white. I thought about painting a 1/32" white line below the cap and above the friese. If I had decided to do this, I would have painted the top of the gun'l a bit more than the 1/32 inch BEFORE I applied the cap rail, thus giving a crisp line. The friese would have been applied so that the 1/32" white stripe showed. Maybe next time.

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