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Echo Cross Section by Jim L 1:48

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This will be my second Echo cross section. After raising all the frames on my earlier attempt I was not satisfied with the quality of my work and decided not to take it any further. The Echo makes a very nice looking model as is evidenced by build logs like Maury's and others and I contemplated a second effort.


I am a member of the Ship Model Society of New Jersey and I brought my Echo with me to a meeting after the last of the frames was raised. There was so much interest that the club voted to make it a "group project" where everyone builds their own version of the same model. 12 of us have signed on for this project. We placed a bulk order for wood with Jeff Hayes at Hobby Mill which arrived last month. We meet once a month to discuss progress and group problem solving. I hope others from the club will start build logs as well. Build logs help the builder and the modeling community so it is a win-win in my opinion.


I haven't started work yet but that should happen this weekend. The goal of this project is to build and fit out the model according to the plans posted by David and Greg. The first effort was a great learning experience and I'm sure this one will be as well. Can't wait to get started.

Edited by Jim L
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  • 1 month later...

My keel is complete.


For my first pass I used black tissue paper which looked really great but I over sanded it and the keel ended up with a very nice taper to it. Too bad that wasn't the look I was going for. The problem was the glue was harder than the wood and so sanding to get rid of the glue squeeze out took a real toll on the wood.


For the he second pass I went back to using artist charcoal rubbed on the mating surfaces. This worked out well so I went with it.


The 7/8" bolt holes were drilled using a drill press with a #76 drill bit. I used copper beading wire that I roughed up with a green scratch pad to get down to clean copper. With the copper clean I dipped the end of the wire into CA glue and quickly inserted it into the hole. I used good side cutters to cut the wire off nearly flush with the surface. Once the glue was dry I carefully filed the wire almost flush. I used a stabilized liver of sulfur gel to blacken the ends of the bolts. I used the gel full strength and applied an almost microscopic drop onto the bold head using a hypodermic needle. Once it was blacked to my satisfaction I very carefully removed the liver of sulfur residue with a small amount of water on the end of a 30/0 paint brush. All in all I'm happy with the way the bolts came out. Liver of Sulfur gel cost about $10 for a 2oz. bottle but it has a very long shelf life and a little bit goes a long way.




The rabbet was cut using a 3mm dockyard V gouge. It is very hard to control such a small tool when cutting a straight line so I make the handle larger by sliding a long piece of copper tubing over the handle and then crimping it in place. Voila, a long handled micro gouge! With the rabbet cut pretty close to final size I used several different jeweler's files to get it just right. Greg suggested I leave a tiny bit of meat on the keel for when I start framing so I can get a perfect fit between the keel, frames and garboard strake.


With the false keel and keel assembled I very carefully marked out where the mounting bolts were going to go and I drilled all the way through the false keel and keel. I'm going to use 6-32 bolts and nuts to mount the keel assembly to the building board and later to a display board. The nuts for the bolts were too big to be covered by the rising wood so I filed them down to they are just a bit wider than the bolts. I also filed them down height wise so that they grab a little less than 3 threads. After carefully measuring how long the bolts needed to be I test fit the keel to the building board. Once I was satisfied that all was in good order I used 5 minute epoxy  to attach the now rounded nuts to the top of the keel. Here is a picture of the keel with the nuts attached.




Next I used my mill to cut the recesses needed in the rising wood to hide the nuts. These recesses were cut a bit oversize to allow me a little wiggle room when gluing the rising wood to the keel which was the next step. Here is what the keel assembly looks like on the building board.


The building board is nothing more than a piece of 5/8" / 15.8mm white shelf material. I printed the cross section on self-adhesive mylar stencil film from Treeline. Mylar is dimensionally stable and also fairly sturdy which is why I used it for the build board. At about $1 per sheet I won't be using it for frames.




This is where I'm at today. With a four day weekend ahead I hope to make progress on the frames.


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Thanks for the Likes and comments. I think I'm off to a good start.


While doing research on another project I ran across something that clarified the terminology of the frames for me. The following graphic is from Peter Goodwin's The Construction and Fitting of the English Man of War 1650 -1850


When looking at the frame layout for dead flat 0 I couldn't remember if the timbers that abut the chock are first or second futtocks. This matters of course because it determines the thickness of the wood.




Sorry for the parallax, the graphic is a photo I took of the drawing, not a scan. I hesitate to scan an exact copy of someone's work, the photo has enough distortion as to be unusable as a drawing but still illustrates the point I wanted to make. Maybe Greg or David, as published authors, can weigh in on this.


With frames that are joined with a chock on top of the rising wood the pieces of wood joined by the chock are FIRST futtocks. On top of first futtocks are THIRD futtocks. On top of the third futtock is the TOPTIMBER.


Where there is a floor timber across the rising wood the pieces of wood that connect to the floor are SECOND futtocks. On top of second futtock would be a FORTH futtock, if the ship was large enough, OR in the case of the Echo, the TOPTIMBER.


Hopefully this will be helpful for others who are just starting out on their Echo. As this is a group build for the Ship Model Society of NJ and only 2 people have started to raise frames I know there are 6 to 8 others who will reach this point in the near future.

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  • 1 month later...

Jig for drilling treenail holes


At the last SMS-NJ Echo Cross Section workshop the topic of treenails came up. Specifically, how to drill the holes without breaking the drill bits. I use solid carbide drill bits from Drill Bits Unlimited. Carbide bits are very sharp but they are also extremely brittle and the slightest sideways pressure will snap them. I always use a drill press with these bits.


A number of people asked how I manage to drill out frames in a drill press without something getting in the way. My answer is that I built a little jig that my drill press sits on that has an arm sticking out beyond the edge of the workbench and that's what holds my frames when I am drilling. This first photo is of the jig itself. The back section is the exact same size as the footprint of my MicroMark drill press.




The next photo shows my drill press sitting on the jig. With the MircoMark drill press I can rotate the head 360 degrees and in this case it is rotated 180 degrees. For safety sake I use two heavy steel alignment squares as counterweights on the drill press platform. The things circled in red are bits of wood that are shaped in such a way that they make alignment easier. In my shop I always paint little things like this red so at the end of the day they don't get swept into the trash. In this photo I have a piece clamped to the arm. This piece is a half round piece of dowel. It's used so that curved pieces can sit on it and touch nothing else.




In the next photo I have a piece of wood that is the exact width of the keel. I clamp this to the arm when I am drilling the holes through cross chocks and 1st futtocks.




Here is a floor sitting on the keel sized piece ready for drilling.




The next photo shows how I drill through the futtocks and chocks. I brace the back with a block of wood, position the piece to be drilled, and then slide another small piece of wood up against the piece to be drilled. With everything clamped in place the assembly is rock steady and I don't need to worry that it will rock while being drilled and snap the drill bit.




I find one of the easiest things to do that adds to accuracy is having good lighting. This next photo shows my light setup. I use small but very bright LED lights that attach to my tools using strong rare earth magnets. They have a goose neck so I can reposition the light as needed. Here is the link to the light on Lee Valley's website.




The last photo shows another view of a frame ready to be drilled. You can see how the arm extends beyond the base of the drill press and how the frame is positioned on the arm and is held in alignment by 2 pieces of wood clamped to the arm. You can also see how well lit the field is and you can also see my heavy counterweights. It is important to make sure you have adequate weight on the back of the drill press to make sure when you pull the handle down you don't pull the entire drill press into your lap.




I have two frames complete (Deadflat 0 and 1) and I hope to get two more done this weekend. Time will tell. In the meantime I hope this explanation of how I drill holes for treenails will be helpful.








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  • 4 weeks later...

Tomorrow the Ship Model Society of NJ will have their monthly Echo Cross Section group build meeting. With the holidays and repeated snow storms, which means more time outdoors and less time in the shop, progress has been slow on all fronts.


One of the things people seem to be struggling with is what dimension wood is used for each frame component. To simplify matters for everyone I've created this matrix. Greg or David can chime in if anything is incorrect.





Notice that the column for 3rd futtocks is hidden. This is because although there is a dimension given (8.25") on all the frame drawings none of the components are listed as being a 3rd Futtock. Several members have told me they will run short on 8.25" wood but I don't see how that is possible since none is used, correct?


I'll check back in the morning before the meeting and update the matrix if need be and then print out copies for everyone to take back to their shops. Thanks for any insights.

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Your chart is correct, Jim. Very useful. The framing plan below should correlate well. Just change the 8 1/4" toptimbers to 8". Pay special attention when shifting timbers. It's easy to shift them the wrong direction. Accurately dimensioned spacers and a dead flat surface (like glass) make this step a lot easier.





Sided frame dimensions.pdf

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  • 3 months later...

It has been a long while since I posted so it's time for an update. I have finished all 12 frames and this time I'm happy with the way they came out. I'll post some photos of them later when I get back down in the shop and take them.


I spent a lot of time trying to come up with a process that would allow me to make accurate frames in the shortest time possible while keeping mistakes to a minimum. At some point after I retire I'd like to tackle a fully framed model but to do that I need a better way to make frames than my first attempt at the ECHO. Attached to this post is a PDF file that explains in, what some might call excruciating, detail my method.


What I found is that when I tried to make one frame at a time I wasted a lot of time doing set ups on the mill that I had done for the previous frame. The way around this is to do all like operations at the same time. I marked up every template page before cutting and gluing any of them to stock. When all the templates were glued to stock I headed to the scroll saw where I cut all the pieces at once. I used small plastic bags with a label to identify what the bag held.


With all the pieces cut I went to the Byrnes disk sander where I sanded the mating surfaces of each piece (this is explained in the PDF). With this critical step done I went back to the scroll saw and got rid of a lot of the stock that would otherwise have to be milled. This is done AFTER the sanding step so that when I sanded the mating surfaces I'd have as much of a line to sand to as possible.


Next up is the mill. Here I organized the pieces to optimize each milling step. This is how I went about that.

  1. Arrange all pieces along the left side of the mill according to the thickness of the wood. Except for Frame 3 which has some complex geometery this means floors would be milled first, then pieces that get progressively thinner as you get higher up on the hull.
  2. When you hold a floor in your hand and look at it you realize 3 milling operations are needed on it. One to mill the left area where a chock will go, the center recess where the floor will sit on the keel and the right side of the floor where the other chock will go. To save having to do repeated set ups I milled cut out for the left chock first. I then moved the piece in the mill vise and milled the center recess for the keel. I then removed the floor from the mill vise and set it on the right side of the mill.
  3. Next I milled the next floor but this time I milled the recess for the keel first since the cutter is already in position to do this. Then I moved the XY table to cut the area for the left chock. Then the piece is removed from the mill and put on next to the first floor that is on the bench to the right of the mill.
  4. The next floor had the left chock recess milled, then the center then removed and put to the right of the mill. This continues until all the floors have the keel recess and left chock area milled.
  5. Next comes futtocks that have both a left and right chock area that needs to be milled. I did all the left areas and when that was done I took the piece out of the mill vise and put it with the floors.
  6. After the futtocks with a left and right chock are milled you will have 2 sets of top timbers, one set for the starboard side and one set for the port side. Mill all the futtocks with a left chock area.
  7. You'll notice as you work though the pieces to be milled you are optimizing each setup. When you have milled the last of the top timbers with a left chock the mill vise is set for thin pieces. Move to the items you have been lining up on the right side of the mill. Starting with the top timbers work your way through the items ending up with the floors that have had the left chock area and keel recess milled.
  8. With all the milling out of the way I used tape to attach specific pieces of framing to a paper template. In my head I think of them as foundation pieces because they are the starting point for the frame.
  9. Once all the foundation pieces have been taped to the template I join the pieces that attach to them. These are butt joins and very weak. By doing all the edge gluing first you give the first joint time to cure while you are doing the others. I usually allow a couple of hours to really let the glue cure.
  10. With all the frames assembled I mark out each chock that is needed by sliding the chock stock under the window in the template and using a very sharp 4H pencil use the outline formed by the futtocks to trace the outline of the chock. Each chock is labeled as to the frame and location.
  11. With all the chocks drawn on stock I use the scroll saw to cut them all out.
  12. After cutting them all out I use the 5" disk sander to gradually sand to the lines and test fitting them until they are perfect. One I have the right fit I glue the chock into place and move on to the next chock on that frame.

It's just that easy  ;)


If you have read this far you are a trooper. As promised, here is the  Process for making frames with chocks.PDF.


I found that once I figured out the process I could move very quickly. I had iTunes queued to my favorite playlist and got into a groove. 


Good luck and have fun.

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Very well described, Jim. Obviously, accompanying photographs would clarify things for those whose heads are spinning. It literally takes less time to make a frame than reading the descriptive text. Especially after you've done a few.


One caveat here. The chocked joints become angled  as you progress towards the fore and aft hulls. Note the dashed lines in frames 4 & 5 on the plan. Otherwise the fairing process could break through the face of the chock. However, this angle is so slight on the cross-section section we have chosen it's not really an issue. The setup for doing this is exactly the same as what you have described but the mill vice is attached to an angle plate. One could calculate the angle via geometry or just eye ball it as I did. David Antscherl discusses the laying out of the angled chock in The Fully Framed Model. It's simply a matter of milling the correct angled face on both sides of the mating futtocks on one side, then reversing the direction of the angled plate to mill the chocks on the other side.

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Hi Greg, yep if you have to refer to those directions for each frame you would be in a world of hurt. My hope is that when people read them they will understand the simplicity of the process (despite the number of words needed to describe it) and then they will only have to refer to it if they run into a snag. As you know I write software test plans for a living and so I spend many happy hours documenting processes with hundreds if not thousands of steps. The process contained in the PDF was written while drinking a cup of coffee  :)


As promised here are some photos of my progress so far. The first photo is of the surface gauge I use to take points off the Disposition of Frames which I mounted on a plexiglass backing. This plexi backing keeps everything in proper relation height wise. After a while I realized that it would be easier if I replaced the hardened steel pin with a sharp pencil which I have now done.




This next photo is of all the frames sitting on top of a scrap of wood the same width as the keel. The frames are all bunched up against one another so they don't fall over. Some of them are a very tight but others have a bit of wiggle room in them consequentially some of the tops of the frames look a bit out of kilter.




These next 2 shots show a side view of the frames. An observant reader will notice that the frames are not stood up in the proper order. You can see where I have started to create the notches for the scupper opening as well as the gun port sills. You can be sure I'll have them all in the correct order when I glue them into place.


post-21-0-60041300-1432159629_thumb.jpg  post-21-0-19990400-1432159642_thumb.jpg


The last photo is a different angle and shows how well everything fits together. You'll notice marks on each frame directly above the keel. These are little arrows pointing towards the bow. They are there to keep me from gluing a frame into place backwards. I learn from my mistakes.




Next up is drilling holes for the treenails. That will keep me busy for a little while.


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Here's an update for those of you building the Echo cross-section. We are developing a second, fitting out package with a full instruction booklet. It should be available in the next few months.Stay tuned


That's great news Greg!


At our last SMS-NJ group build meeting this was one of the topics of discussion. We had Jason from Crown Timberyard on Skype and he was asking us what types of wood we want to use. I brought up the cross section that you use as your avitar as a really nice example of using a variety of woods to finish the Echo. Towards the end of the PowerPoint presentation from the Echo Cross Section workshop you and David did there are some really nice color photos. I'm pretty sure we are going to go with the same woods you used. We want to get back to Jason in the not too distant future so he can put together a quote on what this will cost. If you can send me your recommendations on what woods to use I'll bring it up to the group.

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Jim - the palette I used for the hull planking is boxwood, ebonized holly (Feibings leather dye) for the wales and black strake and holly below the wales. Boxwood for all framing components and holly for the deck. Bamboo treenails. Watcos Danish oil is used for the boxwood and dilute sanding sealer for the holly (does not impart a yellowish hue like Watcos). I should add that I first saw these finishes on David Antscherl's models.





Edited by dvm27
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Quick update on treenails.


I debated using actual treenails or doing what Maury did, which looks just as good. In the end I went with actual treenails for a couple reasons. The primary reason was for strength. The second reason was I wanted to see how painful this was with just 144 before I commit to doing the hull this way.


Treenails were made using a Byrnes draw plate which puts a smile on my face every time I use it. Such a simple tool but poorly made it can be a horror. Jim's draw plate is a precision tool which is a joy to use. I started with 1/32" x 1/32" (.79mm x .79mm) boxwood and drew it down to .021" (.53mm) which equates to a treenail that is 1". I believe this is a little over sized but I had trouble pulling the boxwood any finer than that.


One of the guys in my club (Roy) gave me a great tip for using the draw plate which I will pass on here. He suggested that after I pull the piece through the draw plate and I reverse the wood and pull it through again. When you get to the smaller diameters this really makes life a lot easier. I found once I got under about .28" I would pull the wood through each hole 4 or more times. The more times you do it the faster it goes and it makes it a lot easier to get the next smaller diameter going.


I drilled the holes using a #74 carbide drill bit in a drill press. I found that using yellow wood glue on the treenails gave me a snug fit.


post-21-0-21907400-1432318255_thumb.jpg  post-21-0-28105200-1432318262_thumb.jpg


The jury is still out on doing the hull with actual treenails. I actually enjoy drilling the holes and inserting them, it's just that pulling them takes so much time. I spent over an hour pulling enough boxwood to make the 144 treenails needed for the chocks.


Up next I will double check the locations of the remaining gun port sills, scuppers, etc and then cut the grooves. Once that is done I'll raise the frames and get to work with fairing the hull.

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Boxwood is much harder to draw than bamboo. I can split bamboo and draw it down to Jim's smallest diameter hole fairly rapidly. I estimate that I could do enough material for a whole hull in a hour! The length of 'draw' is only limited by the distance between the nodes of the bamboo, less a little that frays by being held in pliers.

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Hi Druxey,


I tried bamboo but had no luck. I was using bamboo skewers sold in packs of 100 for the food service industry. The wood is very dry and hard as I tried to split the bamboo down the middle my knife would take a zig to the outside and that was the end of that. Even soaking the wood for awhile did no good. I wonder if there is a better source of bamboo that I could use that is easier to split.

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Today I started to raise frames. I made a jig out of 1/8" plexiglass to help make this process as accurate as possible.

The profile of the keel structure is cut into the bottom of the face piece. The grid you see on the face was made in MS-Excel to no particular scale. I printed the grid out on self-stick Mylar.


This first photo is from the front and shows the Deadflat0 frame in place.




The second photo is the back of the jig from an 45° angle to show how everything lines up. The blue tape is just to make the pieces stand out a bit. After applying the Mylar grid to the front and cutting the base so the keel is exactly dead center I built the back supports. These are nothing more than 2 bases with an upright glued to the center. For these it is important to make sure everything meets at exactly 90°. The front of the uprights is perfectly flush with the front of the bases. Once the glue has had time to really set I went about attaching the back supports to the back of the face piece. To do this I slide both supports into the keel which I used to set the proper gap. With both support pieces in place I ran a line of glue along the base where the supports meet the face piece. After a couple of seconds I made sure the face piece was in contact with the front edge of each support and ran a line of glue down these joints.




When I'm raising a frame I use a small bar clamp to gently squeeze the keel assembly with the bases of the support pieces. This keeps the whole thing from moving as I raise the frame.


The third photo is another view of the back of the jig, this time looking straight on.




Because everything is square to everything else this makes a handy way to raise frames and check their alignment. The scale of the grid doesn't matter, the lines are just used to check symmetry. The jig is used on a piece of glass to make sure the base I'm working on is dead flat.


Once the glue has dried on one frame the jig can be slid back to make room for the next frame.


Up next is raising the other 11 frames then I'll install the gun port sills, sweep sills and scuppers.


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