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Armed Virginia Sloop by grayarea - Model Shipways - 1:48 - First Wood Ship Build

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By way of introduction, I'm a longtime sailor. All my life I've been fascinated by miniatures of - frankly - just about anything. I'm handy with tools and have a lot of patience, but I have never considered myself much of a woodworker.


While I love boats and the water, I've found it more appealing of late to spend more time closer to home. Combine that with the long, gray winters of Cleveland and I'm enjoying immersion in this new hobby. I'm 51 now and haven't built a model of any kind since I was a kid. I've never built a wood one so this will really demand a new set of skills for me.


I chose the Armed Virginia Sloop as my first kit for the following reasons:

1) It's suitably ambitious without being too daunting

2) Model Shipways kits were highly recommended because of the extra documentation they provide in the instruction manual

3) The boat itself is attractive. It's salty, with nice lines that in its day must have made it a great performer - fast, maneuverable and relatively easy to handle. 

4) From what I can tell, this type of boat has rich history. It's very much like the boat Blackbeard seems to have first sailed - he named her Revenge - before stepping up to the larger boat in which he became most notorious, the two-masted (barkentine rig?) Queen Ann's Revenge.


I suppose anyone who gets involved in this hobby has several shades of geek in him, and now you know mine.


I started my build in mid-January 2014. I was hesitant to start a build log because in the earliest going I didn't feel I had anything to offer. But I've appreciated the great photos offered by BareHook's log of the same kit, and hope my own perspective will be helpful to someone else down the road. I'm a bit impatient with forums (having managed several large ones with really rancorous memberships) but I'm impressed with the good citizenry of this one. 


I'll make a few consecutive posts over the next few days to catch up on the build so far. My biggest concern is that I may not have the patience or desire to post a very thorough log here - but I'm going to make an honest effort. 


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Tools for a beginner:
It would be easy to go overboard on tools. I've tried to hold back as much as possible for now. I have a pretty good workshop but most of my tools aren't meant for small work. 
In the earliest going, I purchased the following, which I've figured I would need for the initial steps of preparing the center keel, carving the rabbet, and shaping/affixing the builheads:

  • Small files
  • Small chisels
  • A set of 4 tweezers - straight and offset in both squeeze-grip and squeeze-release styles.

Cumulative cost so far: About $50.
I already owned a Dremel 410 (it's a late model, but is basically the lowest-priced model that had a variable speed when I bought it about 10 years ago. Very quickly I determined that being able to afix it, rather than hold it free-hand, would make the work far more enjoyable. So I spent another $50 buying Dremel's drill-press/stand; it's proven to be a really smart purchase for me.
Finally, my other early "splurge" was a wearable magnifier. It has 3 magnification settings (great, wow and holy cow) and has built-in headlights that keep the work well illuminated. This was about $40 at Garrett-Wade. There's a wealth of options for magnifying small work; this one seemed to make the most sense for me and is proving to be a good choice. I often don't bother to take off my reading glasses when I wear this, and it works great either way.

2 early splurges I'm glad I made: Lighted magnifier headband and a stand for my Dremel.


Edited by grayarea
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Hey there G,  Fire away with the build log, I for one will follow along as I thing she is a cracking wee boat.

I'm not 100% sure but I think there is a Practicum for this boat available somewhere which might be worth a look.

I wouldn't worry too much about feeling as though you have nothing to offer (you'd want to see my log, it's almost a build by group effort! ^_^)

Half the fun of a log is to have others help you out and offer suggestions and tips.


I look forward to seeing this boat built from the ground up!


All The Best



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The Small files are a great investment, get yourself a good set of blades too (craft knife type of thing) I see many here using Xacto or some name like that! Oh and a cutting matt is good too and not too expensive, and whilst I'm here get plenty of Clamps (Wooden Clothes Pegs are grand for the moment, and will always be useful  even if you get better plastic model clamps later on)



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Thanks for the advice and encouragement Eamonn. I did download the free portion of Lauckstreet Shipyard's practicum, as well as the free practicum so generously offered by John Earl (http://www.modelboatyard.com/AVS_Articles/AVS-Part1.pdf). I find that a few careful reads of each, along with the instruction manual and some study of the appropriate drawings in the plans, and I've been confident in the early going at each step.


I should have mentioned that I already owned several Xacto knives and did arm myself with some new blades. I also picked up a handful of miniature spring clamps at Home Depot for about $0.50 apiece. They're durable and strong. More on these in one of the following entries (you just replied so quickly that I'm still wrestling with photos - when I really want to be in the shop working on the boat. :) )


Instead of a cutting mat, I fashioned myself a sacrificial work pad out of poplar, which I'm using freely to draw on and drill into as needed. I've also built my own jig to hold the keel firmly in place. Photos attached. 

I spent $20 on a nice piece of poplar and edged it with molding. It's finished with just a couple coats of tung oil - all done before the kit arrived in the mail. I've mounted the entire thing to the top of my workbench. I drew the parallel lines to aid in afixing the bulkheads.



When it came time to find a way to hold the boat in place, I built my own jig to do so. Two pieces of scrap 1x2 are screwed down on the workpad, parallel to each other. The ship simply stands up in the groove between them. I can secure it more firmly when needed by wedging it gently with a shim.


When I started working on the stern framing, I cut another groove in the other direction, so I can work either bow to stern or port to starboard.


I started to ease myself out of sailboat racing when I realized I was getting more enjoyment from puttering on my boat than actually sailing it.

Now here I am with a new hobby, and I'm getting as much satisfaction from devising tooling and workholding solutions as I do from building the boat itself. 

Just another part of the geek in me.


Edited by grayarea
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I didn't start taking photos at the very first step, so I don't have much to show on mounting the stem, stern and keel to the center keel, but the work was pretty straightforward and moved quickly. 

I question the need to reinforce the keel with dowels, as indicated on the plans. I followed this step; it didn't take long and the results were just fine. But when I cut the rabbet, I found it required cutting almost all the way through the dowels anyway. So in the end, whatever structural integrity there is in the joint between the keel and center keel is provided by the glue anyway. (I'm using Titebond).


This photo is taken (obviously) during the step of afixing the bulkheads. But it provides a decent look at the rabbet.


Cutting the rabbett was scary to me, but I followed the advice on the instructions and practica: Go slowly and do your best. I reasoned that getting the rabbet straight was most critical at the bottom of the groove (rabbet line) as opposed to the top (bearding line). Any mistakes on the bearding line should be covered up by the planking and will be invisible as long as the planking lines up smoothly at the bottom.




Another look at the rabbet. The most useful tools for the rabbet were my Xacto knife, one of my smallest chisels and a miniature sanding block that I fashioned by wrapping 180-grit sandpaper around a scrap of 1x1, held in place by a single shot from a staple gun.



I got confused about the rabbet where it fattens out toward the stern. In the drawing, the bearding line moves away from the rabbet line. I couldn't find anything that said specifically what I needed to read: The rabbet groove widens out, forming a long, gently sloping taper from the bearding line to the rabbet. 


Instinctively I knew this to be the case, but I wanted someone to show it to me in a picture before I jumped in and started carving away large slices of the center keel. I couldn't find a single picture that really told me what I wanted to so, but eventually through triangulation of everything I read and saw, I just gained the confidence and moved ahead. And now, here I am without my own picture to show the next guy of how the rabbet widens at the stern.


Carving this part of the rabbet was really touchy-feely and I took a long time before feeling like I was ready to begin. But it seems to have worked out fine.


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Shaping the bulkheads:

I did most of the work with my Dremel and a medium-grit sanding drum. Having this tool at this step probably meant the difference between my being a modeler and not. I had done enough research before buying the kit that I knew this was an early step. I just don't think I would have bothered at all if I thought I'd have to do this work entirely by hand. The Dremel made the work much more enjoyable for me - perhaps too enjoyable (point 3 below).


There were 4 challenges that I would highlight:


1. Transferring the drawing to the bulkhead itself.

The suggested methods I considered were:

a. Using a tick strip. This is how a real shipbuilder would do it. But I could only find 2 explanations online of this supposedly simple technique and neither made sense to me; I would need to see a video for understand it. So I discarded it.

b. Cutting out the plan for each bulkhead (or photocopying and cutting) and essentially tracing the lines onto each bulkhead blank. I think this is in John Earl's practicum. I didn't want to cut up the plans and I didn't want to go through the trouble of copying them. Besides, the skill of transferring a curve from paper to wood is a critical skill in shipbuilding, and they never did it by drawing life-sized plans. So, with a nagging (and absurd) feeling that tracing was some kind of a cheat, I discarded it.

c. Measuring the lines on the drawing at various points and transferring the measurements. Ultimately, this is what I did. 

I used a small divider to measure the width of each taper at as many points on each bulkhead as I felt I needed, and then I free-hand drew in the curve by going from point to point. To a shipbuilder, this would be no more buttoned down than tracing. But nobody will drown as a result of a screw-up here. So I went offroad and am sure the result is within necessary tolerance. If I'm wrong, well, it will just show up as evidence in the final product that this was my first attempt at this craft. 


2. Marking the correct sides for each curve. 

I made sure to treat each bulkhead uniformly in marking it - with the imprinted identification letter always facing forward. And then I was careful to mark the curve lines on the correct side - so I would always be looking at the guideline as I removed wood. While I understood the logic of the drawings, relying on them to place the mark on the right side would have confused me - especially the slants for the deck. So before marking each bulkhead, I made sure to hold it up to the profile view of the bulkheads and then reason in my own mind whether the taper faced forward or aft - and on the topsides whether it was moving up or down.

Even with this care, I did manage to mark 1 bulkhead incorrectly. I caught the mistake early in my shaping work, and was able to rescue it by turning it around. So one bulkhead in now faces backwards while all the others face forward. When the model is done, please don't tell anyone; it'll be our little secret.


"N" marks the spot: I mis-marked this bulkhead and started to taper it in the wrong direction. So I had to put it in backwards. Shhhh.


3. Fragility of the timberheads

Between cutting out the bulkheads, shaping them, mounting them and fairing the hull, I managed to break a couple of the more fragile timberheads. 

I glued them back together and splinted them (see photo below). If the splints end up being visible later, I'll have to sand or carve them off after I've done enough planking to provide extra strength. It will be dicey work, but I hope to have avoided it altogether by getting the splints as close to - but below - the deck line as possible. 




4. Giving bulkheads the right amount of shape

I unintentionally did too much shaping work before gluing the bulkheads into place. The Dremel was just too good at letting me shape the wood right down to my guidelines. I didn't screw anything up, but as I started firming up the bulkheads on the center keel, it became obvious that some of the tapers on the outside edges were simply too aggressive. 

On my next build, I'll err on the side of less early shaping. 

None of these errors were critical, though. It just meant the fairing process went slower and required more shimming.




Edited by grayarea
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18 bulkheads, neat and square:

The directions suggest using a temporary plank to lock in the bulkheads at 90 degrees while the glue is drying. I know myself better than that; I would never succeed at glueing in the bulkheads and then securing them with planks and pins and actually achieve a true right angle. 

So I followed John Earl's suggestion of building spacing timbers between each bulkhead. 



My most indispensable tool for alignment of the bulkheads was this low-cost micrometer I purchased at Amazon.com for about $15. You can spend a lot more on such a tool, and if you're designing airplanes for Boeing, please do. But this provides all the horsepower and functionality you need for this particular job.


To help in aligning the bulkheads, I spent time marking some lines on my work pad, perpendicular to the keel as it sat in my homemade keel clamp. 


To do the bulkheads well, it occurred to me that you pretty much needed to put in one at a time and let it set before moving to the next. 

But I was on a roll and wanted to keep working. So I decided to work from both ends toward the middle -- allowing me to clamp twice as many bulkheads before having to sit back and watch the glue dry.

Bad move. 


I started on bulkhead E or F, and took a lot of time to get it lined up straight. Then I glued it and moved on to one farther aft - M or N perhaps. I didn't do anything to reinforce their positions while they dried. I picked these two as starting points because they went in firmly and lined up very square without any assistance.


When they were dry, I came back and put in bulkheads forward and aft of each. I figured if the first bulkhead was square, I could then keep each subsequent bulkhead square simply by cutting uniform spacing timbers for each side of each bulkhead.


I measured these with the micrometer. My base measurement was the distance of the center keel between one bulkhead slot and the next. I carefully repeated this measurement in the length of each bulkhead timer. I also took care to line up each new bulkhead with my parallel guidelines anyway.


The routine was this: 

  • Measure the desired distance between an installed bulkhead and the adjacent one to be installed.
  • Cut spacking timbers to match this measurement.
  • Fine-tune the fit of the bulkhead - making sure the top lines up with the top of the center keel. (On bulkheads at the very bow and stern, I took extra time at this step to doublecheck and sand the pitch of the bulkhead to match the center keel to assure a flush surface for the subdeck).
  • Glue in the bulkhead and spacing timbers
  • Clamp it
  • Sip some Bourbon and find something else to do


Everything was going smoothly, and in no time, I had installed 3 bulkheads near the bow and 3 toward the stern.


Then I picked up the boat and looked at it carefully: With no doubt, the forward set of bulkheads wasn't exactly parallel to the aft set. The difference, when measured, was miniscule. But it was obvious enough to my eyes, and each bulkhead I added would only exaggerate the problem a little bit more. If I had kept going, I'd have built a banana. So I abandoned the "dual zone" approach and simply worked forward and aft from the aft set that was already in place - which, as far as I could tell, was the straight set.
When I had worked my way forward, I had to tear out the spacing timbers of the crooked bulkheads and re-square them to the ones aft.



The 3 forward bulkheads in this photo (D,E,F) are reinforced to each other, but you can see they aren't quite square with the rest. So I redid them.

This photo also captures my assortment of clamps. The metal and plastic spring clamps are easiest to use, but they didn't open far enough for the bulkheads spaced farther apart. 
I have one small pistol-grip bar clamp, being used on the port side in the photo above, that comes in handy and is amazingly versatile. The C clamps at the stern (above) are heavy, so they tend to get limited use.

The most versatile clamping system I've found at this stage is the combination of a rubber band and a spring clamp to give it just the right amount of tension.


Edited by grayarea
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Fairing the hull and stern framing:

I had to add a lot of shims to fair the hull, due to my having been a bit aggressive in shaping the bulkheads originally. The process of fairing is hard to photograph; it occupies all 3 hands leaving nothing to hold the camera.


I basically did it by gently bending a full length of planking fore and aft at various heights on the hull. I marked bulges with a horizontal line at the top and bottom extent of the bulge - then sanded between the lines.


I marked gaps with a vertical line the approximate length of the gap. I filled the gap by gluing in a shim that went just beyond the line at each end. Then I sanded the shim to fillet it smooth at each end. For shims, I used scrap from the edge of the "subdeck" sheet. It's so thin that it bends easily around the curve of the bulkheads. In a few cases, I needed to double up on them to get enough depth.



I clamped the shims by stretching a rubber band across the surface and then putting a spring clamp over it - 3 clamps per shim.



Gluing on a shim: At the far left, a shim is setting under 3 rubber-band clamps. The vertical lines on the adjacent bulkheads will soon be shimmed as well. The two bulkheads at the right also show shims to smooth out instances where the bulkhead is just a little short of the bearding line. 


Fairing is a tedious process, and every time I come back to it I seem to notice a spot that's not quite there yet. So I've been handling it in small doses. But I can see how important it is; any unfair spot will result in a visible dip or bend in the planking - blemishes that will be impossible to fix later.


So I faired the keel simultaneously with framing the stern, and I plan continue fairing right up until I begin planking. 


I didn't find very much nuance or difficulty in framing the stern. 

I took the suggestion of John Earl's practicum of preventing the windows from fall inward during a later step, by putting small moldings inside the window frames. It's tiny work - certainly the tiniest so far. But not very difficult or nuanced.


Rough stern framing is complete.


The only real learning point for me in this step had to do with the wing transom. I cut the small block of wood into appropriate lengths and then began carving them to shape. If I had it to do again, I would carve the entire length to shape first, and then cut it to length. That would assure both port and starboard wing transoms are uniform in profile.


As a result of cutting first and carving later, I probably spent more time and worry to make them uniform, but it wasn't a huge mistake.



The stern is framed and smoothed close to its final shape. There is still some smoothing work to do, but I'm not yet comfortable that I understand all the contours. I think it will become clearer as I get closer to the time of putting on the subdeck and planking the transom. At those times, I'll do whatever additional shaping is needed.



A nice overall look at progress to date. Next step: bow fillers and knightheads.





Edited by grayarea
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Bow filler blocks: touchy little buggers


Here's a shot that I took to show my friends when they say, "But it's a kit, right? So they give you all the parts."

I think it was Michelangelo who said, "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set it free."

Yeah, they give you chunks of wood, but though I'm no Michelangelo I still have to set the parts free.  


Bow filler block: Before/during/still during. 


As recommended, I made a template for the filler blocks, which allowed me to test their size and shape at the basic sections marked on the plans. I used an old, semi-transparent plastic presentation folder that I had laying around; it was just stiff enough to make for a strong template.


It wasn't originally my intent to do so, but after cutting my block into rough triangles, I ended up translating all of the marks directly onto the block, and then extended them to give me a diagram of the shape I needed to carve. You can see these marks in the photos above and below; they were a great help in shaping the bow filler. 


I did the rough shaping with a saw and Xacto knive, and did the fine curves with my mounted Dremel and its sanding drum.




I did the starboard filler first, and felt like the port filler - the 2nd one - came out better. The starboard side ended up just a touch small in the corners. However, it fills the space necessary; while I considered redoing it, I decided the shortcomings aren't likely to affect the curve of the planking, so they will not come into play.


Carving the notches for the timberhead/knighthead was tiny work for the Xacto and my smallest chisel. The timberhead notch went fine on both sides, though it ended up just a little bit loose-fitting on the starboard side - again, the one I tackled first. 


But the knighthead notches are just too close to the forward corner of the filler block, and in both cases, I lost the forward edge of the notch during carving. The grain of the wood just split too easily. 


If someone has a technique for avoiding this, I'd love to hear it. But these blemishes will be covered by the subdeck, so I forged ahead. 




Shaping the curve in the timberheads was trickier than shaping the taper in the knightheads. But I messed up two of the former and one of the latter before finishing pieces that satisfied me.

In the end, I was successful only after deciding that less is more; the curves look far more significant in the plans than they really seem to be when you hold up a finished piece of wood. So I did much less shaping and tapering and was finally satisfied with the results.


I didn't glue anything into place until I had all 6 pieces completed. Then I glued in the bow filler blocks and let them dry. 


Next I glued in the timberheads and adjusted them from above until they looked square to each other, and curved smoothly with the previous bulkhead. I clamped a strip of planking in place to help with this, but it kept moving the timberhead, so in the end I did it by eye and walked away while the glue set.


An hour later, I repeated the process with the knightheads. I used a little extra glue so it would flow in to fill the tiny triangle where I had lost the edge of the most-forward notch.  For clamping, I used blue painting tape - just sticky enough to hold the tiny parts in place, but assured to come off easily in the morning.


Now, bourbon and patience. 


Edited by grayarea
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Always start with the same side first.


This might be the biggest, most global learning point I've picked up so far.


As I build, for no reason in particular I tend to always start work on the starboard side and then progress to the port. And at every step, the port side - the side I did AFTER practicing once - seems to come out better. 


I now plan to continue that practice throughout the build. In the end, it should have a cumulative effect of producing a model whose defects are mostly on the starboard side. 


Admirers, of course, will only be shown the port side. 


(As an aside, I used to race a sailboat that seems to have been built this way. No matter what we did to adjust and tune the rig, it was always faster on starboard tack than port. When the skipper would complain about it, we always assured him that he was at least half-fast.)

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More tools on the way


As I get closer to planking, I've ordered the following tools:

  • Planking bender. I settled on the $14 Latina wood plank bender. I considered the electric soldering-iron type bender, but I figured I'm likely to use multiple techniques before I'm finished, but the "scoring" type bender from Latina is really affordable and looks versatile. I have a standard soldering iron that I've already used for steaming a few of my bulkhead shims, and if I feel I need more horsepower and specialization, I can always spend the money later.
  • Nailer: For another $13 I ordered a spring-loaded nailing tool. I have no idea if it's highly recommended or not, but it looks like a no-brainer for the price. 
  • Microdrills: I'm going to need them soon and didn't own any. So a modest set is on the way.


I've also just ordered a paint set - close to $50 including shipping - because I'm getting close the point at which I'll need to start painting stuff. 


So in case anyone is counting, I'm in for about $200 in tools and supplies, in addition to the kit itself. I keep reminding my wife, as the packages show up at the door, that it's cheaper than a new spinnaker for the old J-24.

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Wow, I went away for a few hours and when I got back here's half the ship built.. :D  You'll be doing rigging in a week at this rate ;)


Kiddin.. I know you started much earlier.. ^_^


All The Best



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Subdeck hell: So how important are those tabs on the subdeck that project between the timberheads?

In trimming the subdeck to lay flat across the boat's beam I've lost several of them. And getting the deck to fit anyway is a nightmare.


I keep looking forward in the plans, and the way the boat is constructed I can't see how those tabs matter once the waterways are added on the inside, and the planking on the outside.

Sure it would be impressive if I could everything to fit tight and snug, but at the cost of my sanity?

Am I making some kind of mistake if I simply narrow the entire subdeck to fit, and lose most of the tabs in the process?

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I'm sort of guessing what you are struggling with...the rebates in the false deck do not align with the bulkhead extensions? If that is the issue don't worry about it - just widen the rebates so that the false deck fits. I wouldn't cut back the deck back to get rid of the rebates altogether to make the fit as you will lose the ability to get the camber right and where it finally cambers into the bulwarks is relatively important. You want a false deck under the waterways to as much extent as you can achieve. If the fit is severely bad it may point to another problem? But without a picture I'm not sure if I'm on the right track for your issue.




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Nice work so far grayarea (btw do you have a name?). It seems that you are taking to this hobby like a duck to water. Your observations and learnings to date are exactly right (and we all have a "wall side" to our models! ;) ). I've enjoyed reading your progress to date and will continue to follow along. You are doing a great job so far. Keep taking it slowly and don't forget to keep enjoying it too. :)

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If these are the issues you are referring to - see attached - I now remember that some parts of the false deck snapped off between the bulkhead extensions. In my opinion DO NOT alter the bulkheads - alter the deck instead but only so much that it fits. I can't remember having a big problem with this part of the build but I do remember being told that the relationships between every part was the key to a good AVS hull. That is the deck, the waterways, the wale and the gun port opening heights. While I'd otherwise never promote Bob Hunt, his AVS practicum really hammered this point and he was right. It also applies to all ships with gun decks and gun port openings. Have a look at the attached picture of my build and you might notice that some of the false deck snapped off between the bulkheads but it didn't really make any difference. It is still hard to tell what is confounding you without any pictures and help is here!





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I agree with Alistair,  "DO NOT alter the bulkheads".  The bulkhead extensions are critical in the construction of this kit.  I also remember that I had to file the edge of my false deck to fit around the bulkhead extensions.  In fact, none of the precut openings were centered on the false deck.  You should be OK once you get to the planking of the deck.

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It ain't pretty but the main deck is now resting easily, securely glued to the bulkheads with no gaps. Everything seems cambered and firm just like it's supposed to be. 


Getting to this point required some work on the bulkhead extensions; nothing radical - just some good care and fairing where I hadn't already spent enough time. Then I had to enlarge pretty much every notch in the subdeck before it would fit. 




Where I got into trouble was trying to get it into place before I had really finished fitting it. The wood is so thin, you just don't get many chances at it before something stupid happens. I averted disaster a number of times - losing several of the tabs where the subdeck extends between the timberheads/bulkhead extensions. I also managed to break off one of the extensions on Bulkhead A (ugh) at a really touchy spot. I've glued it back together, but with no place left to add any kind of reinforcement, I'm pretty sure that little mishap is going to come back to haunt me in Stage 2. I'll just have to deal with it then. 


I also drilled far more holes than necessary for gluing, as you can see in the photo below. I used extra-thin CA and it traveled easily. So when I was finished, I filled the holes and lightly sanded the subdeck for good form. As I said, it isn't pretty and I'll do better on my next build. But in the end, I think I've got a pretty good, firm platform for planking.








Edited by grayarea
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Waterways in and planking has begun. 

I didn't have much time to work on it this week; I only got 5 planks on the stern counter - and they don't look great. 

I'm going to be thankful for double-planking. I'm going to need that second layer to cover a lot of inexperience. 


I also get it: Planking isn't a project; each plank is a project. Whole different mindset. Slow and easy.


Pictures? Only when I'm not embarrassed of the results. 

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I am a butcher. I spent the weekend making hamburger out of basswood as I tried planking for the first time on the back end. The pieces are all small and fairly simple, which is a good thing because there's a pretty good learning curve - and as a greenhorn, I kind of suck.




You can joke about that bottle of bourbon in the background. But trust me: Liquor wasn't the disease; it was the medicine. 


I'm not proud. Fortunately, that basswood macrame created a pretty smooth base for the walnut, which went better.


But I will admit that it looks far better to the naked eye than to the lens of a camera.




The windows fit smooth but close, and I hope once I get the edges trimmed and the fashion piece on, it won't look like the work of a 3rd-grader. I see pictures from guys who have been doing this for years and it all looks so easy.


The next decision is whether to do the fashion piece or the wale next. I can see an argument for either. I think I'll build them in parallel and, when both are ready to install, let my instincts guide me. 

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