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Mike Y

Oliver Cromwell by Mike Y - 1:48, 1777, POF (Hahn style)

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On 10/7/2018 at 9:18 PM, Mike Y said:

Thanks Paul, will try it!

I am still yet to try the sanding sealers on Pear, need to prepare proper test pieces with various kinds of grain. Want to switch from oil on a model to have something that looks closer to an unfinished color of the pear. Or maybe finally stop using finish whatsoever, will see. 

You should take into account, that you will add a finish anyway ... the grime/fat/oil/tallow on yours hands will take care of that in time


Lovely clamps, Mike

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5 hours ago, cog said:

he grime/fat/oil/tallow on yours hands will take care of that in time

That is exactly why I am scared of not applying the finish for things that are touched, the "natural finish" you described sounds very gross :)

But it might work for delicate parts of the model that are not supposed to be touched (beams / carlings / ledges / knees / fittings / etc). Patina will form on the wood over time, and it will look nicer. Will run some experiments later.

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Mike, beautiful clamps.  Can you ship a few to me?


The cork idea is good for full sized clamps as noted above, but for yours, you might consider gluing 220 wet dry sand paper to the jaws.  That will greatly reduce the potential for the clamp to slip out of position.                 Duff

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On 10/10/2018 at 3:49 PM, Richard Griffith said:

Mike, beautiful clamps.  Can you ship a few to me?

Hi Duff,

Then both of us would be in a bad situation - not having enough clamps :) 

I am too scared of using sandpaper, since they will clamp finished parts. I already used soft basswood on another kinds of clamps that I used for deck clamps - it works like charm, compressing basswood fibers and leaving no traces on harder pear or boxwood.

My clamps are basically ready, just need to glue in the handles with epoxy and make some final photos. They look pretty nice with the finish!


I am currently in Rochefort, France, on the biggest ship modelling festival I ever saw: https://www.cimnfrance.com/

100 models on display!

Sneaky photo while everybody went out to enjoy some cocktails. Will post a proper photo album later, and hoping for People With Big Cameras to publish their photos as well.




Met a number of people from MSW - Alex M with his Sphynx, Ricci with L'Amarante and Tiziano with his 74 gun ship. Pardon if I haven't recognised somebody! :)


It was a unique opportunity to see a number of recently made models from some of the best people in this hobby. Apart from being in awe, I made a few interesting observations, also related to ageing of various materials, which is hard to see on your own model when it is new:

  1.  Even the best craftsman have some whoopsies, gaps between planks and minor mistakes. Except Remco, I guess - he just tends to re-do everything until there are no mistakes :)  And that small mistakes do not spoil an impression from some great models. So I should not worry too much about mistakes I made, that is very comforting! Would still try to avoid making more of them...
  2.  Should be careful when simulating black caulking between the deck planks - quite a few models have that black colour leeching into the wood.
  3.  Trying to darken the pear or age it is extremely tricky, if you do not want it to look smoked. Definitely calls for many many long experiments
  4. Brass treenails leave fine brass dust in pores of some woods, so one should think twice and experiment a lot before using them. They are quite common in the french modelling community, looks nice on a black ebony wales. Also, the glue that holds them might turn darker over time (or discolour the wood around the nail). Be careful there. I got that effect even when sanding clamps - they have brass rods, as soon as you start sanding with 400 grit or finer - brass dust gets into cherry and it's impossible to get it out, making cherry look dirty. Should be easier with pear though.
  5. Ebony shrinks a lot over time with humidity and temperature deviations, so most of that beautiful ebony wales and planking and headwork develop very visible cracks and gaps over time. Apparently this is pretty normal and well known, some fill that gaps with black epoxy, etc. Well, thanks, will definitely try dyed pear instead. Did not know that fact before.
  6. It is really hard to keep rigged models dust-free or clean them. On average, decks of "bare" models were much cleaner than rigged models.
  7. Rigging the model makes it very hard to look closer on deck fittings, structures inside the ship, etc. It is basically impossible, because a viewer is afraid of bumping into some mast or a boom, so need to keep quite a distance. It was much easier to explore the "bare" models.
  8. Mirror bases are interesting. There were few models displayed on a mirror, very easy to see the underside of the hull this way.


Edited by Mike Y

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You lucky man, that's near Bordeaux! Looks quite impressive. Didn't know about the festival ... is it a yearly event?

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Just now, cog said:

You lucky man, that's near Bordeaux! Looks quite impressive. Didn't know about the festival ... is it a yearly event?

I was impressed by the photos from previous French modelling festivals and decided to watch this page: http://5500.forumactif.org/f8-expositions-et-manifestations

Seems like it is not in Rochefort every year, but it is the same active people from the French modelling forum who organise that events every now and then.


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Aaaand the clamps are finally done!

They work great, and I'm very happy with the result, it was a time well spent. Hope I will use them for years to come. The brass rod is a bit soft, but they are not designed for high pressure anyway. I would recommend to go with 4mm rods instead of 3mm if you are thinking about making them.


Gluing handles with epoxy, using gravity to penetrate deeper. I also cut a notch on the end of all rods, to help epoxy float down and make a "key" to prevent handle from slipping. Forgot to make photos of that.



The final result, everything is finished with two coats of danish oil.

Note that one clamp without basswood lining, it looks darker because of fine brass dust stuck in its pores. I tried to sand it to 400 grit, recognised the mistake, others are sanded to 240 grit. 240 leads to coarser brass particles, and they are not small enough to stuck in cherry wood pores.

Cherry looks like a nice wood for the purpose, the grain match looks pretty neat!






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No way, this is a perfect example of the economy of scale :) Making them by hand and making a profit is impossible, unless somebody wants to pay hundred dollars per pair of clamps.

The jaws are a perfect fit for the simple CNC router, but cutting that rods and threads will require some other machinery.

And, in the end of the day, they have no market. Scratch builders, doll house builders, etc - would rather make their own, it is not difficult. Others do not really need such clamps.

Edited by Mike Y

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Hello Mike

I must congratulate you on your very fine set of clamps you have created. Yes, I agree with all of your Ship Mates that they would make a very nice cover for the Lee-Valey catalog. I for one will be looking forward to seeing your clamps upon their front cover, Well Done,                         ENJOY.                                                                          Regards   Lawrence

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Thanks everybody for the feedback about clamps!


The log was a bit silent for a while, but for a good reason. Me and Admiral finally found a good apartment worth the upgrade (larger, pretty new, pretty good neighbourhood, good school right across the street, etc), so we were busy selling the previous one, settling in a new one, etc. We moved in around Christmas, but the todo list was pretty long. So plenty of home-remodeling instead of shipbuilding :)  Now 90% of all the renovation stuff is done, and we managed not to go crazy while doing it. 


Moving the display case was tricky, it is not really designed for the ease of mounting. 

Here it is, protected by some sofa cushions:



But it survived the move pretty well, and found its new place next to a "french balcony" (don't worry, there is a real balcony on the other side):



And I got a nice corner for my modelling area, super prime spot! :) 

Admiral got a whole room for her knitting hobby, so she is satisfied with the arrangement.




The downside of having a lot of windows is not having enough wall area to mount shelves. Though all frequently used tools fit that single shelf pretty well.

To hide the rest, I took some space in the storage area in the hall, which is pretty close by:


And some tools are stored in the shelves under the display case.


So I hope to finish the renovation todolist in a month or so, and get back to sawdust making!


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Posted (edited)

Mike, Glad to hear you’re still with us. I’m happy your family are getting settled into its new home, that’s always an adventure. How does Daria like her new school? Did you actually get to spend Christmas in the new place? Looking forward to seeing more of your creations. 





Edited by Kurt Johnson

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Posted (edited)

Thanks everybody! :) We are fully settled in the apartment and had a series of housewarming parties, kid birthdays, vacations and other offtopic activities. 


I finally got some time to resume modelling. The longer the pause is, the harder it is to resume. Especially since I am facing is an internal planking, which is a tricky thing if you want it to be neat. And not all mistakes could be hidden by sanding, since a lot of planks have different thickness. D-oh!


Clamping jig to the table is very convenient, I am glad I added a vice to make it possible, can recommend!


First boxwood pieces on the model! Future limber streaks. Planing during a sunset is very relaxing.


Made a mill fixture to route a rabbet into that boards.



It works, but the cut is not very smooth. Overall, this boxwood tends to chip a bit when you mill it freehand of when you scrape it. That is unusual after pear that scrapes smooth. So I need to rely more on files and planes, using scraping for finishing touches, not for shaping



I haven't faired the internal part of the hull in delicate areas, so now I am repaying that debt by fairing it now, trying not to scratch the keelson. And hey, it's 21st century, moving pictures are a thing! :) 


Frames are scratched with a diamond file to improve glue adhesion and break down the surface patina layer.


Final fit is checked with a test plank next to it. Of course, the bottom of the plank is shaped to follow the curvature, and underside edges are broken to simplify the fit with the next plank.


After the glue-up, some final blending is done with fine sandpaper and scraping:



And the end result is "hoorray, I installed the first plank in a few years" :D 

Now it's just a matter of adding the rest of the planks. 


It's so great to be back! :) 

Edited by Mike Y

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