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Bermuda boat Corsair by WBlakeny - FINISHED - 1:32 - SMALL - First scratch build

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Hi all


This will be my first build log of my first scratch build.  :)


As I was dreaming of scratchbuilding, about a decade ago (I’m getting old!!) I bought the “Progressive Scratch Building” CD set from seaways.  It seemed to me at the time it was a good start to get into scratchbuilding (and it still does :P )


It contains the plans and information to build three ships, each one increasing in difficulty. The first one being the Bermuda boat Corsair.




She was built in 1807 and designed for speed. She acted as an inter-island courier.


The corsair seems ideal to start, a small boat, a very simple rigging as no complex fittings to be made. And I like her hull lines, she really must have been a fast little boat.


I’ll build her using cherry, ebony for the wale and maple for her deck.

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First thing i noticed when examing the bulkheads, is that on some of them, the sides were not equal.


post-6790-0-48575700-1397045759.jpg post-6790-0-63366600-1397045768.jpg


Perhaps it was not that bad, maybe in the case of fairing up it would have dissapeared. But i was afraid of taking the risk, so i took the bulkheads and with the aid of my computer i took a mirror image from one side.




Result, both sides equal now

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Then it was time to make my first sawdust.  I glued all the bulkheads on a sheet of ply and then cut them out using a scroll saw. 





After sawing them out (i had to leave enough on them), i used the sander to finetune the bulkheads.





I printed the plans a couple of times, en used them to cut out the forms to make the keel. I temporarily glued them using a paper glue on a piece of cherry wood.  First time i used this wood, and it sure is a difference from the wood used in kits. It feel and looks so much nicer.




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Hello WBlakeny,

I just found your post and decided to follow along on your build. It is never too late to start a scatch-build model. It seems that you are off to a good start and I wish you have plenty of joy in the construction of this little beauty.


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Thanks Ray, i'm sure i'll have plenty of joy building her.


Hey Barbossa, glad to have you along. 


For tools i've got some basic power tools, a scroll saw, a sander and a proxxon table saw. The last one i've not used much yet, but that'll change when i'll have to cut my planks.

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Hi Don and welcome to my build log.


I continued my work on the keel.  I first glued some black paper on the keel. 




Afterwards I glued the different pieces to each other.





I just did the stem, as I’ve noticed the pieces at the stern were not long enough.  There’s a gap between them and the profile former. 




Back to the saw to fabricate new pieces.


There's also a small gap at the sterm but since that part will dissapear when the planking will be done, i'll just glue a small filler piece between them.




For the curved piece of the keel, I made a simple jig to keep enough pressure on the parts till the glue dries and to make sure, the pieces are flat to each other.




An overview of the whole keel and the profile former with the stern pieces and profile former not yet glued to each other.




Now I was wondering if have not made a mistake here.  I used black paper to simulate the caulking, but are those pieces really supposed to have caulking between them?  

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You have made excellent progress since I last checked. She is really starting to come along. I too have wondered the same in regards to caulking along the keel assembly. In looking at how everything is placed together, I can see how you may have water slowly leak into your Corsair via the keel unions. I believe this will be an instance in which the captain of the Corsair would rather be safe than sorry.

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Thanks Pierre.


If you can build such nice models like your Agamemnon, you definatly can build a nice scratch model :)


And for tools, i've a thing for tools.  I like powertools, but hey, i'm a guy, perhaps that's normal :)


I bought my 16" scroll saw when it was on sale in the Makro, and my sander in the Gamma when there was a 30% reduction.


That sander is really good, only thing is the table at the disc is not that stable, i always have to re-check it for the right angle.

I'll have to fabricate myself something someday, for use with the disc.


And for the scroll saw, the whole where the saw goes into the top is a way too big, for sawing small pieces.

But that's because the the top can be tilted to saw at an angle.

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Starting to fair up the bulkheads.  With a sharp mini chisel i followed the inner line on the bulkheads to fair up.  




I only take off a little with the chisel, prefering to do the final fair up when the bulkheads are glued on the keel and i can check the flow with a plank.




A view from the stem with the bulkheads with the result of the preliminary fairing.


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Working on the midships bulkheads, those need to be hollowed out to form the inner cabin.


I first drilled some wholes in the bulkheads.




Those wholes permitted me to insert the saw of the scroll saw. I then sawed along the line of the cabin floor and the lines for the thickness of the frame. Leaving an upper beam for strength, it'll come off afterwards, when the planking will be done.




Afterwards i used the drum sander of my Dremel to roughly sand the inner contour of the cabin.




And finishing off with the file.




Dry fitted the finished midship bulkheads.



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My keel broke off!!  




Apparently the black paper i used is too thick, the bond between the two parts with the paper is not strong enough, because the glue can't penetrate the paper.   


In the DVD "Model ship building secrets", dr Mike said that black paper is good quality paper. And that white paper should be used because it is of inferior quality.  So I tried with some white paper which i colored black with a marker, but it wasn't much good either.




I then tried drilling some wholes in the keel to reinforce it with a dowel, but i should have used a drill press to drill the wholes.  Big mistake!  One of the wholes came out sidewards, and where visible from the side. 






So for the third time, back to the saw. (Now i know why scratch building takes so long :) )


I first traced the false keel to the plans to have the exact outline of the keel pieces.  I wanted to make sure, i've no more gaps.




Then it was back to sawing and sanding the keel pieces with finally glueing them.  




I used an old mirror as surface upon i glued the pieces to each other. As such i was certain the surface was perfectly flat. This time i didn't use black paper but i just used a pencil on the parts. 


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I've finished the keel and glued the false keel to it.




I'm quite happy with the result. There are no longer gaps between the keel and the false keel.


The pencil caulking leaves a fine line between the parts. Just enough to accentuate the different parts. I still have to do some sanding on the keel and to clean up the last paper on it.  But here is the result with the bulkheads dry fitted.






Next thing to do, cutting the rabbet.  The thing i fear the most, i've never cut one before when i was building from kits.

I think i'll practise on som scrap wood first.

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A nice save....   One way around the paper problem is to punch many small holes in the paper so the glue can soak through to the other side.  I forget who's doing it, but they are using black tissue paper.  The paper is thin enough to allow the glue to soak through.  Another way is color the glue.  EdT talks about this in his Naiad log and it works as have tinted a bottle of Elmer's wood glue and it works very well.

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Don't use India Ink.  Use artist's pigment from an art store.  It's powdered.  Mix a small amount (very small) with a bit of water to make a slurry and then mix it with a bottle of glue.   EdT explains it here:  http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/3453-young-america-by-edt-extreme-clipper-1853/?p=120375

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Hello Blakeny,

Your model is coming along nicely. If you have not started your rabbet you may try using the method I use for making them. I'll draw my rabbet line where it needs to be and then carefully follow the line with an X-acto blade just to score the line. Once that is complete, I will run a triangular file along the score and press ever so slightly with every pass until I get the correct depth of my rabbet.

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Hello Ziled


No i didn't start cutting the rabbet yet. I marked it on the keel, but i was a bit hesitant to start cutting it.


I think i'll start like you say by cutting it with the x-acto blade. For the triangular file, is it a curved one? 

If i use a straight file, wouldn't I leave marks on the keel outside the rabbet? 



Edited by WBlakeny
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Good Morning Chris,

If you are careful with the amount of pressure you use on every pass of the triangular file, up to the depth of your rabbet line, you will not mark the outside too bad. Just remember to go slow and careful. I've attached a photo so you can see that the rabbet is not too deep.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all


Things have been a bit slow around here.  I had serious storage problems in my garage, so i decided it was time to do something about it.


I wanted to be able to store all my tools for shipmodeling, and still have a nice workbench to operate them on.


So i've decided to create my own "mobile" workshop. It's very flexible now and i can move it outside for the "dirty" sawing work.  That keeps the admiral very happy!




The inside looks like this :




I still have to make trays for the spaces in the upper corners, to store the small stuff in, like the one i made in the middle.


On the side, there'll be a larger tray over the whole length of the workbench in which i'll be able to store some wood in. 



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