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San Francisco 2 by DesertWolf - Artesania Latina


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This is my first attempt at building a wooden ship (or anything for that matter!).  I just woke up one morning with an itch that I had to scratch, so I went to the store and bought the first kit I saw with lots of rigging and guns. :pirate41:   I knew absolutely nothing about kits, planking, rigging etc back then and because of my ignorance I ended up with one of the few kits with a single planked hull.

 

I’ve been building for more than a year now, spending almost 8 months on the planking alone.  But I’m enjoying every moment!  And thanks to this website and the wealth of information shared here I’ve managed to avoid some major pitfalls.
 

Some pictures of my progress are shown below.  Planking took forever, as the hard mahogany strips were quite difficult to work with.  I hardly finished 2 planks a week.

 

Every plank was spiled in the bow area, and key planks were spiled in the stern area as well.
 

Once spiled, the correct taper (at every bulkhead) was applied working from the new (spiled) edge of the plank.

 

Next, each plank was bent at the bow end.  For each plank, the curve was determined by bending a soft piece of aluminium to match the plank’s required curve at the bow.  The plank was soaked (no more than 10 mins in cold water) and then heated & bent against the piece of aluminium using a solder iron (and lots of patience and beer!). Another piece of aluminium was bent to match the curve of the first piece and the plank was clamped between the 2 pieces of aluminium to dry overnight.

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The next day, the plank was soaked again and “edge set” using a special jig – so that the plank, when viewing the hull from the side, curved upwards as you move from bow to stern (Dan Vad will hang me from the nearest yard, I know!  I did this so that planks follow the same curve as the bottom of the bulwarks, which is similar to the curve the rubbing stakes eventually follows from bow to stern.  Without edge setting, the planks curve towards the keel as it moves from bow to stern.  The colour variation between the planks makes their path across the hull obvious to the naked eye and I thought it would not be aesthetically pleasing to have hull planks curve in the opposite direction as the rubbing strakes. )

 

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The next day, the plank was beveled by pressing it against the previous plank and removing material with a needle file until it sits flush against the previous plank.  The plank was soaked again (not the curved bow end though) and temporarily fastened to the hull to obtain the final shape (this helped in the stern area where a plank is sometimes almost bent laterally across its width).

 

The plank was left to dry overnight and then glued into place the next day.  And then the process started again…

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Wow. Aaron's right on two counts; there are a bunch of us doing the SF II and your planking is great. I am almost to the planking stage, need to update my log, but I can only hope mine turns out as nice.

 

Did you dark stain some mahogany, or walnut or is that a different wood? On the ship it looks like ebony but laying flat it shows a grain.

Randy

Edited by lamarvalley
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Wow!! This is your first build? I can't believe how well you've handled the 2mm mahogany hull planks - it looks great! A painstaking process, but it clearly paid off - it's hard to argue against the method if it produces such great results! I'm on my 11th mode ship kit and I don't think I could plank a double-planked hull that well. Very impressive work - I'll follow this log with great interest

hamilton

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Thanks everyone for the kind feedback!  I'll be sure to check out your build logs as well!  

 

Aaron, I did not buy any extra planking strips.  You are right, for proper spiling you usually need to start with a plank that is wider than the final hull plank.  I'll try to explain my "spiling" technique with a crude sketch.

 

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(1) represents a normal tapering procedure without spiling first.  (The horizontal lines represent the location of bulkheads)  The top straight edge goes against the bottom (tapered) edge of the previous plank.  The bottom is tapered, based on the width the plank must be at each bulkhead.  (If you haven’t yet done so, read Simple Hull Planking Techniques for Beginners by Dirk de Bakker/Greg Brooker – the pdf is on this website and it simply a goldmine of information for beginners!)

 

 

(2) is a representation of a plank that was first spiled at the top edge (shaded area ending in A).  X,y & z are still the same length as in (1).  As a result, you remove less from the bottom edge of the plank (shaded area ending in C).  To make this work I had to break another golden rule of planking - the width of section B was frequently less than half the width of the planking strakes (i.e. I carried more planks all the way to the 1st bulkhead and unto the stempost - so that the width of each plank at the stempost was 2mm or less) If you use a lot of dropped planks in the bow area, the width at the stempost (z) of planks going all the way (to the stempost) may be more than the plank width (5mm) minus A!

 

(3) shows what I did for planks where spiling resulted in a "large" curve at the top end (mostly the planks mid way between the keel and the deck).   X,y & z are still the same length as in (1), but because I measured the width required at each bulkhead from the new edge of the spiled plank, I ended up removing more from the bottom of the plank at I than at II (almost removing a triangle from the bottom edge of the plank).  It looks weird when the plank is flat on your bench, but once the plank is curved around the bow, the bottom forms a straight edge again for the next plank to sit against.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Randy, I stained the rubbing strakes and tracks (ebony).  The 3mm x 1.5mm planks that came in my kit are apple-wood or something and they show more colour variation than a pack of M&M's.  So I decided to stain them.  I wasn't sure if it would end up looking good, but I'm pleased with the result.

 

I can't wait to check out the other San Fran builds.  Happy modelling!

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Thanks for the explanation, I like what you did with the rubbing strakes, I was just looking at mine yesterday wondering what I am going to do with them.  They are pretty ugly.  If I had unlimited resources I would get a lighter color wood to contrast the hull.

 

-Aaron

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Not a lot of progress over the weekend.

 

I worked on the bow area a bit (it is fairly difficult to cut a door shaped hole in the bulkhead lining... I am not sure if I am going to repeat it everywhere)

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Glued the last of the tracks...

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I marked the gun ports using a spacer and a template.  I found that the ports need to be 11.5mm wide by 11mm high, else the metal port lids do not sit flush with the hull.  

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(Glad there's not a 100 gun ports.  This is going to take a while!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Still drilling and filing the gun ports... 

 

I want to replace the gun port lids with wooden ones.  I experimented a bit over the weekend.  I can't lay my hands on brass that is thin enough to make the hinges.  I may end up using paper instead.  I'm already moving at such a slow pace - and making a port lid takes longer than I expected.  I'm not satisfied with any attempt yet and if I can't get it right I'll abandon the plan and stick the precast metal parts.

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  • 1 month later...

I've been really busy with some other stuff lately and found very little time to work on my model (isn't that just annoying!)

 

Making all the gun port holes took some time.  I haven't drilled the foremost gun port on port/starboard side, since I'm not sure yet whether I should use the pre-cast gun ports supplied with the kit or whether I should make my own.  If I decide to use my own gun ports, the foremost gun port on each side will not be square - as I would rather want the sides of these gun ports to be perpendicular to the waterline.

 

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I experimented with various materials (including paper, brass and copper) to see if I can make a gun port hinge that looks at least half decent.  The closest I can get is by flattening copper wire and using a punch to create the rivets.  I had to build a special jig to keep the thin strip of copper straight while punching it.  I'm not sure if I'm 100% pleased with the results.  I will have to think about it some more.

 

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I think the hinges work well....I attempted to make my own, but was not happy with the results so ended up just using the kit supplied ones. I am finding it difficult working with things on such a small scale..I don't know if it is the lack of proper tools and materials, or just that I am all thumbs.

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Welcome back Wolf... :) I wondered if we lost you too.

 

I, IMO, think your created cannon doors are awesome. Huge improvement over the supplied things... I tried painting mine several times with various paints and styles and finally just went flat black overall... not too thrilled with them but they look better than the sloppy paint-job that I was achieving.

 

Yep, looks good on the ship too. Now, just make 21 more :D

 

Randy

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Wolf,

 

Glad to see you are back, your log has been a great inspiration to me and I look forward to what you will do next. I am happy/you found time to work on it, how dare life get in the way of the build right:)

 

Aaron

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Nice job on the gun ports, are you going to blacken the copper hinges? Nice job planking also. Some how I missed this SF until now. Youve definitely got the planking thing beat. The single plank mahogany has to be one of the more difficult plankings provided in kits. The single planking is what forced me in other directions but seeing your and lamarv's beautiful jobs I now have put the SF back on my list of to acquire and build kits.

 

I like the ebony rubbing strakes also. So have you decided what finish to apply. Lamarv's tung oiling really made that wood POP and really bring out the grain.

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That's the problem Randy - 21 more gun port lids!  The planking strakes are only 5mm wide midship, so you can't "mass produce" gun port lids.  To get the planking lines right for gun ports at the bow and stern I'll have to file planks down to the exact width of the strakes at each gun port.  And making those hinges will make me burn through my annual quota of swear words quite quickly...  :D  But I will probably continue down this path since I prefer lids that sit flush with the hull. 

 

TheMadChemist, I would like to blacken the hinges (and ultimately the brass cannons) but I don't know what chemicals to use.  Paining the hinges black did not give a nice result.  It looked a bit fake and you lose a lot of the rivet detail. 

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I'm not sure, IMO, that they need to be of the same grain or width as the hull since I would think they would be a different material or a later production if this were a full size vessel. Consider what it would look like if making them contrast rather than blend. What would it look like if it were ebony? With that nice brass hinge... mmm, could be nice! B)

Then you could edge glue planks into a long single piece and cut them to the size of holes ~ 10x10mm?

 

Don't get me wrong... I love your wooden hatch cover..and I wish I'd have thought of it and if you want to match plank for plank... hats off and cheers to you :cheers: but yikes, you're right, that's a profanity laced adventure if ever there was one. :P

 

I used a product called Brass Black.... I got it a gun shop and it is used to touch up the "blue' on firearms. Toxic and acidic but effective. Wear gloves and eyewear and don't swallow it :wacko: and it'll go fine..:D

Edited by lamarvalley
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I used the same method as Lamarvalley, gun black or a bluing chemical it's fairly easy to use dilute it with water 50/50 or more and you'll have great looking cannons. Also you may end up with a gun or to not to your satisfaction with the color just use steel wool and re-blue.

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  • 1 month later...

Based on on the good advice I got here I decided that I will blacken the hinges of the gun port lids (and the cannons and eyebolts one day).  It took me a while to find a supplier of Birchwood Casey Brass Black.  My hinges are made from copper and I was worried that their normal bluing chemicals (that are more commonly available here) will not work as well on soft yellow metals. 

 

Well, I finally got the Brass Black and I went straight back to work. 

 

Some pics of my progress so far.  13 gun port lids to go....

 

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Thanks Randy & Hamilton.

 

Randy, I took your advice and created an ever so slight contrast on the gun port lids by not sanding them as smooth as the hull. I varnished the lids already to prevent any fingerprints or other stains from forming on the hinges. The varnish really brings out the rougher grain - and that makes the lids 'pop out' just a bit more. Thanks again for planting the idea in my head!

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Beautiful work. Ive always hated the metal ports on the AL SF kit, along with many other kit built features....

Its good to see you tackle this issue as in gives me ideas on when my SF gets started (still ways off).

 

The flush gun ports make all the effort worth it, who cares how long it takes, remember hobbys are to relax not pressure. Your effort has definitely made your SF a looker and unique, she's such a beautifully lined vessel. I just love seeing all the ideas coming out of the MSW SF crowd. Which I can include myself now as Robbyn found me a SF 1 kit on ebay and forced me to buy it. :dancetl6:

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Salute Wolf,

Very clean and beautiful work, well-done improvements and gun port lids are outcome of craftsmanship...

Single planked hull is noticeable, symmetrical and slick... :o

You added great value to the kit...

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