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Swift by adivedog - Artesania Latina - 1:50 First build

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Ready for another Swift build.


I originally was going to do the Lady Nelson as my first build but couldn't find many build logs on it, so after seeing all the Swift logs, decided to do it. It looks like a good first build, not being to big and detailed.


Opened it up yesterday and checked the parts, and cut out the keel and frames. After reading all the logs and the problems everybody was having with warped keels and frames with problems, was expecting the worse. But the keel was straight with no structural damage.







Then dry fitted the frames and checked everything. The frames were in good shape, non warped or damaged.

The only thing I found wrong was frame #7 was off a little, so filed down the keel slot and re-adjusted. Then added the decks and they fit well.






Now my question is, am I ready to glue the bulkheads, or do I glue the decks first. ??







Edited by adivedog
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Welcome John to the Swift builders.

I have the older kit which doesn't have the lower decks, so I can noit be 100% sure, but seeing that I haven't touched my instructions in...um.... hum I may have pitched them :o  I'd say glue the bulkheads first, then the decks. I glued bulkhead one at a time using 4 aluminum angles to secure them square during drying. The lower decks will be easy as they (I think) lay flat and should be easy to set. The main deck though you can put away the level as it has a wonderful compound camber. The deck camber and sheer line of the Swift makes it one of my favorites, she has some great lines.


I know my build log is long and windy, but if there's anything you have questions on I'd be absolutely willing to help, but one look at my Swift and you'll see I've deviated far off the beaten path, but structurally she basically the same... kind of. :dancetl6:


I look forward to you build, IMHO the Swift kit is a great starter for learning on and there are so many places to add to the kit if your so inclined.

Keep it fun though, as that's the only rule. 

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Thanks Keith,  I have been looking at your logs for a while now, in fact that is one of the reasons for picking the Swift. Your very detailed oriented and that makes it easier for us newbies.


I was just looking at the planking they sent. Wow, what a mess, some of it is paper thin and as cannon fodder referred to will be hard to tell what goes where.




I'm guessing the one on the left is for the hull, middle one for the decks, and third for other items

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The left is the limewood/basswood for 1st planking. The middle in mine kit was ramin and walnut, the ramin is the yellow and is for deck, inner and outer bulwarks, I strayed from that and striped the deck  in ramin and cherry and did a double strip on the outer hull that wrapped the counter under the transom. The walnut is for outer hull second planking. For this I switched to cherry. The wood to the right is everything else.


I switched to cherry for outer hull planking as it appealed to me better. I also didn't like that the mahogany had changed color, as my kit was fairly old and so I cut cherry keel, stem and stern posts. That was again for look, but there was a second motive of learning to make pieces as I won't always be doing kits.



Even though the kit first planking wasn't very even I used it and felt I got very good results. Some builders plank fast and use filler, but I prefer doing it slow and skipping the filler. When I started I had 2 goals, no filler and no dropped planks. I achieved both but I planked pretty slowly. The way I see it is the outer planking can only look as good as what its covering, Plus I wanted to prove I could make the first planking good enough for it to be a single plank as the San Francisco I plan will be single planked and I needed to learn to get it right first time. 


Lastly you mention newbies. I'm one too. other then the canoe, the swift is my 1st build. I've only been building for around 1 1./2 years.  Also last winter I took a break to study the gaff rig closer and build a dinghy and longboat to keep sawdust stirred. My Swift DSotM has taken a lot more time then expected, but I'm having fun so that what matters. I have a couple more books coming on the gaff rig and plan getting going again soon.


The one piece of advise I'd give at this point. Make sure your garboard plank (the one next to the keel) doesn't extend to far forward, otherwise you'll crowd the stem and need to drop planks. That and balsa filler block in the bow and stern will give a larger glue surface and make life easier. I also put a small block between bulkheads 2 and 3 for the garboard the end on. Trying to extend it to bulkhead one crowds the front and without the balsa for support its gluing is impossible. There are pics in my log. Russ was the one that I credit with my planking skills. He spent a lot of time helping me and answering questions. So don't worry about asking questions, I own it back to the community to pay it forward. Plus talking build is fun for me.

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Started glueing the frames. So will be slow going for the next few days.






I'm sure everyone has somewhere they keep they're clamps. I got a couple of paint stir sticks and fixed to my work area.

A gallon stick on the left of my work area for clothes pins and the right side a 5 gallon stir stick for other clamps.






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While waiting for the frames to finish glueing. Worked on the lower decks.




Used a dental pick to punch holes for treenails






Then used mechanical pencil to mark holes, by twisting in the holes.




Then used Provincial Stain to do the deck. Tested several stains, and liked this one the best. You can see the difference of staining because of the difference in the planks. Plus my lighting wasn't the best either.






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I have a question. Started fairing the frames and wondered if frames 2 and 3 should be flush with the keel. When planking does the plank go over the keel or butt up to it. I noticed on a couple of the other build logs frame 3 was below the keel line.




Side note: Am really enjoying this hobby. Have played golf almost everyday since I retired about 10 years ago, and reached somewhat of a burn out on golf. Was trying to find something to keep me occupied so I could maybe go just a couple of days a week. Think I found it :dancetl6:

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Hey John
As always, the disclaimer that my Swift was an older kit, but from what I've seen I would handle them the same in this aspect. The keel, to my understanding, which just means "I worked for me", is all basically faked. There is no rabbet for the planks to sit and the fitting of the keel and more importantly the stem was a concern for me.

So here's an attempt to explain what I did with words, which is not so easy. The Garboard plank should end some where between bulkheads 2 and 3 or you will create really bad crowding up front. The center bulkhead was sanded/filed to a point starting at the top of the stem and down to just after bulkhead 5. This was then tapered a complete 90o at the stern. This allows for the 90o twist that the garboard will make as it lays down the side of the center.

Here's a picture of my build just after the garboards are placed and you can see their twist and how the center bulkhead becomes exposed between just behind bulkhead 5 and just passed 6 fully exposed. This caused 2 issues when laying the keel and stem

Once the planking was finished. I taped a piece of 100 grit sandpaper to a flat surface and sanded the peak made by the garboard and other planks as they progressed up the stem, until I had a flat surface the width of the keel. If you look close you can see the pencil line on either side of the center where I have marked the planking for scraping down to match the false keel width. Expect to narrow the stern a lot.

I found this method worked great for giving a good stem/keel contact patch and I highly recommend attaching the keel and stem before 2nd planking. By doing it this way you can use a #10 blade and scratch a pseudo-rabbet between the 1st planking and the false keel and make a really tight bearding line where the 2nd planking meets the keel.

I hope this helped and didn't just add to your confusion. Before fairing to much though It'd get the top deck glued down as that will lock your bulkheads in place and make sanding them easier.

I glad you found this hobby also, and decided to build a Swift. Like you I've found this hobby has increase the overall enjoyment of my life considerably.

Keep up the good work John. As you get to planking try to approach each plank as a project unto itself and you will be surprised at the results that can be achieved.

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Thanks Keith, I got most of what you're saying.


So, it's all right for frames 2 and 3 to be flush with the keel ?


Am in the process of putting in the balsa fillers on bow, stern and between 2 & 3.

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Hi John,

I would consider the first 4 or 5 bulkheads kind of flush with the keel (but actually 2 and 3 are more at the same level). It is just that the 4 and 5 are shaped with more curvature and when the keel if filed down around the 5th bulkhead with the peak the flow from the keel onto the bulkhead becomes a smooth transition. Kind of how the bulkheads aft of 5 are flush with the keel as they curve into its plane, they are just not flush with the "top" of the keel (which is actually the bottom).  

One of the key objectives of fairing, is to make all surfaces the planking will lay across smooth and to create symmetry. A good practice when fairing is to hold planking across the areas as you fair them and let your eyeball gauge what gives a smooth and symmetrical shape. If there isn't symmetry you can build up the lower or sand/file down the higher to make them even. You can use either your eyeball to gauge this or pull the measurement from the plans. I typically eyeball most everything though. If it were a scratch built POF I'd probably measure though. I have found for me at least that much of this hobby is going with your gut.

I spent a lot of time on fairing and still ended up with a bit of a bulge in one side. If it was doing it over I would have checked side to side horizontal widths at points where battens would typically be done. I now understand much better why battens are helpful in fairing a frame.


I found on several bulkheads I had to edge glue planking to build up certain areas of the bulkheads. Hopefully the newer kit is better, but sometimes fixing the issues that pop up are when you learn the most and when it become the most fun.

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Thanks again Keith, that makes sense.  I'll take another picture of the bulkheads on the new model so you can see how they fit as to relationship to the keel.

I think AL upgraded the kit a lot from what I've read about the old one. My keel was straight, the bulkhead fit well and only had to work on one of them. Most of them are aligned fairly well to.


I appreciate your help. Thanks again

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Today, I shaped the Bow filler and stern filler. I was a little worried about this part, afraid I might screw it up somehow, then have to take them out, but everything went well. Did have a little concern with the stern, but think it will work. Mostly used a rasp and sanders I made out of paint stir sticks and dowel rods. ( Thanks Keith )








Have made and glued fillers to go between frames 2 & 3. So have to wait until tomorrow to continue.



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Hello there, adivedog.  Welcome aboard and greetings from Canada!  


As a fellow 'Swiftie', I look forward to following your build log.  


And...you've got an excellent mentor in Keith!  :D


Like he said, this model is a great one to start with and it was my first as well - I completed it February of this year.  However, it took me so long to complete (27 years!) that I can't remember a lot of the details of the early steps other than I decided to add the keel and stem before the second planking, whereas the instructions said to add them after the second layer. (I'm assuming that your hull is double planked - I built the old version of the kit).  My method allowed me to cut in a rabbet to hide the edges of the second planks, particularly at the bow.  I will say that you should watch the thickness of your hull at the stern - I left mine too thick and it created problems when I was installing the stern post and rudder. :(  You will have a chance to fix up some imperfections after you complete the first layer by adding wood filler and sanding...and sanding...and sanding some more.  :angry:  


One thing that I learned from my first build and that Keith absolutely embraces is that you should feel free to change/modify/question/deviate from the instructions as you see fit.  Reading the logs on this site is an inspiration and great education - you'll pick up lots of ideas on what to do and, if you read my log, what NOT to do! :o


Have fun...





Current builds:
Harvey, Baltimore Clipper - Artesania Latina
HMS Triton Cross Section, 18th Century Frigate - online scratch build
HMCS Agassiz, WW2 Flower-Class Corvette - HMV - card model

Swift, Pilot Schooner - Artesania Latina --- Build log --- Gallery

Skeeter, Ship-in-Bottle - Ships a Sailin' kit --- Build log

Santa Maria, Caravel - Artesania Latina --- Build log

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Just finished rubber banding the main deck to the frame to shape it. Now will wait until tomorrow to see if it holds.


Was going to soak with wet paper towels in microwave as suggested by CannonFodder, but decided to use a 22 inch baking pan. Sorry about the photo, forgot to switch from manual focus to auto.






So tomorrow I can glue the deck,  then the fun begins, planking the deck.  :10_1_10:



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That will probably hold most of the bends, but it will likely spring back just a bit. No worries because you can use the rubber bands or some brass nails to hold it down while the glue dries. Looks good so far.



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I got the deck glued today, being held with rubber bands. Most of the bends held pretty good, so it went well. Also, planked the aft deck.


Keith, I just hope the planking is fun as it is the one thing I'm kind of hesitant on. But love a good challenge, so look forward to trying it.

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I think everyone is hesitant on planking at first.

As I've read through many build logs, there seems to be 2 schools of thought on a double planked build.

Some do a quick job of it and let filler fix the imperfections. The other school planks the first planking as if it were the only one.

When I started I choice to use this build to master the techniques of getting a tight single plank. I also wanted the strakes to run full length, with no dropped planks, this required measuring and marking the planking with a planking fan and many hours and narrowing/spiling, beveling and shaping planks. I took it one plank at a time and never pushed to get more done then I could do with in a given day. I'm not sure if I ever attached more then 2 planks a day and never more then one per side. This allowed everything to cure and shrink before proceeding.


If you find tedious tasks relaxing as I do, then I'm sure you'll enjoy planking once started. I find I miss planking when working on other things. Its one of the reasons I stalled the DSotM last December, to build the longboat with holly and to get a planking fix. :)

I find the more I plank, the better I get and the more I enjoy doing it. But I too was very hesitant at first. Remember hesitance in ship building can get you the time needed to acquire knowledge, if you don't feel you have a correct understanding of something - hesitate, then check MSW, build logs, ask questions... until the misunderstanding fades and then things seem to go smoother.


Russ's signature is absolutely true - hurrying takes the fun from the hobby

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I echo what Keith said regarding planking. I have my own system I used on my current project and it came out quite well, just like the original was probably planked. It takes some time and few failures, but once you have done it correctly, you will never want to do it any other way.



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... and I might add that I credit everything I knew about planking, before I began my Swift, came from Russ's guidance.

I had previously built a canoe using CA where I basically forced the planks to conform, then super-glued them in place. Not so pleasing.


With the Swift I gave up the CA glue for good and chose the slower path. For me there's nothing like spending hours measuring, marking, planing and narrowing, beveling, shaping and finish sanding on just one plank so that it fits exactly like a 3D jigsaw puzzle piece. Clamping the wet planks typically required more force then the clamp up for gluing, when the plank is ready to be fit, it shouldn't require much force to hold it in place for gluing.


I found my little harbor freight plane great for planning the edges of the planks for narrowing, pseudo-spiling and beveling. Russ helped me understand concepts like how and why to spile. Which actually requires wider stock from which to cut the plank, but with a kit this is accomplished somewhat with edge bending, hence pseudo-spiling. Like I said I started with the goal of complete full strakes and had to scrap a few that I was over zealous with, but I think you can judge the quality of a builder by the size of their scrap bin(s). I attribute much on my success in achieving my goals in planking to Russ's patience in guiding a newbie with many questions. His help is one of the things that drew me to the community of MSW and caused me to see the real world value of being part of such a community. Having mentors, makes starting out less daunting and a whole lot more fun.


Its always important to remember that this hobby is a long slow process of learning with few shortcuts. Years are required to acquire certain abilities but I'm constantly amazed by what I never thought I could do. I'm also very new to this hobby (2 years in Nov) and have decades ahead of me to completely understand everything I'd like to.


My study of the gaff rig and the pilot boat in general has become an aside in and of its self. I just found an nice used copy of Leathers text Gaff Rig to add to the ever expanding library of ever more details to absorb. Cunliffes 2 vol set is also very informative with many illustrations and photos. I lucked into both on ebay for $35.


as far as the Planking, try stepping back to thinking about plank (not plural). One strake at a time.

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Keith I want to thank you and Russ for your replies.


Usually when I start a project, I don't want to stop until its finished, but have found that this hobby has brought out the patience I wasn't sure I had. I enjoy not having to rush, or to glue something and have to wait until the next day. The more I do, the more I am enjoying it. Other than diving, this is probably the most calming thing I've ever done.


I'm sure I'll be needing some advice in the near future on the planking. Maybe I'll get lucky. :dancetl6:

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Got the deck glued yesterday.




Thought I was going to have to shim some of the starboard bulkheads , as the deck overlapped the frames by about 1/16 of an inch. So I ran a center line and lines across the frames and started measuring with my calipers. come to find out the deck was wider on that side. I'm sure the center line was correct, so just sanded the edges down to the frames.





Edited by adivedog
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The false deck look good. This can be a difficult part of the build, but I think you managed it well.



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