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Echo by Jason - cross-section - SMSNJ Group Build

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It has come to pass that I am to join the august company of the scratch builders on this forum.  I stand in amazement of the skill and craftsmanship here.  Humbly I begin my maiden scratch building adventure.  Please give me truthful feedback on this adventure, I hope to improve my skills along the way.


This build is associated with the group build project of the Ship Model Society of New Jersey.  I have been keeping my eye on this project since I joined MSW, and I am very excited to participate.


First, let us see the beautiful timbering package from Hobby Mill:




Now on to the build! 


The first attempt on the keel ended in disaster.  This was owing to the fact that all of my workshop is packed up in boxes in up to three different locations at the moment, as I am in the middle of a move.  So I tried to start with as few tools as possible, a chisel, a hand saw and some files.  Unfortunately, the very first half lap joint ended in asymmetrical folly.  Luckily, the supplied wood provided almost three opportunities to create modern art from boxwood.  Rather than waste anymore of the precious stuff to cabin fever induced exuberance, I decided to hunt for my milling setup.  Once that was found, so also was symmetry in the lap joint.






Once the pieces were finished to a near Palladian symmetry, I used three layers of black tissue paper to simulate the tarred flannel.  After the glue dried, I placed the two keel pieces, glued together in a vice to set.  After removal from the vice, I trimmed the excess "flannel" with a new #11 blade.






Hopefully, I will be able to add another post tomorrow.


Best Regards,


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Welcome aboard Jason. A build with the SMSNJ is a terrific idea for a group project and with Jim's help you should have no problems. Jeff is indeed generous with his wood package and you could probably squeeze out two Echos with it. You're off to a great start!


Admiralty Models

moderator Echo Cross-section build
Admiralty Models Cross-section Build

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Pegasus, 1776, cross-section

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Speedwell, 1752

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Thank you Greg and Peewee!  I am very glad to be aboard on this build.


Rising Wood


The rising wood was another demonstration in "learning curve".  The first attempt was abandoned after milling one side of the notches for the floors.  I chose to mill the optional scores in the rising wood, because I first wanted to be as accurate as I could according to the original sloop and second to test my technical ability. 


The patterns were cut out and affixed to the wood with rubber cement.  The rest is just cutting.  I used a 3mm end mill to cut the scores, rotating the piece in the vice for each facet.  There was one mistake on this second attempt that almost made me launch into a third.  During cutting of the last score on the last facet, I made a mistake.  I turned the motor on without realizing that it was in contact with the corner of the piece.  The end mill immediately chipped the corner in contact.  After finishing the piece, I decided to use it anyway








It should be noted here, that I cut both the keel timbers and the rising wood long on both ends.  In the next installment I will describe the finishing process to get the final dimensions.


An additional note of caution:  Be aware of your tools at all times!  It should go without saying that if it cuts wood, it will cut you.  I had a close encounter with my end mill bit, that precipitated from being tired and in a hurry.  I did not even feel it when it happened, only feeling the bold on my hand afterwards.  Somehow I managed to drag my hand across one of the cutting tips. 


Lesson:  Be aware of your cutting tools at all times!





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Lesson learned Druxey!  I have been around and worked with power tools since boyhood.  This was a small lapse that I hope dispelled a complacency that I was unaware of.


Keel Rabbet:


Practice, practice, practice!  This small, yet very important step was a little nerve wracking to undertake.  I used a piece of keel wood from my first attempt at the scarf joint to practice on.  I tried multiple techniques, and put multiple rabbets in each surface of the piece of wood.  It was this practice that enabled me to get a good result that I am happy with.


I used a dockyard 2mm micro V gauge to produce the first cut on each rabbet.  However, this tool just does not produce a very crisp V profile.  Perhaps it was user error?  So, in order to produce that crisp V profile, I first used a square section micro file to deepen the rabbet.  Then to finish it, I used a new #11 exacto blade, with a corner of the cutting blade lodged in the bottom of the rabbet as a scraper.  This technique did produce the crisp 90 degree profile needed for the rabbet.


Practice piece:



The real rabbet:





Unfortunately I do not have a picture of using the #11 blade as a scraper, and doubly unfortunate the picture that I do have of the finished product is not quality.  Hopefully I will get a better one in a future post:




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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you everybody!


It has been awhile since I have been able to work on any fun projects.  Moving, working on a house, sickness, and even starting a new business has all got in the way of building time.  But I do have a few updates to share today.

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Installing the Rising Wood:


The rising wood was installed by gluing it on to the keel assembly, and placing the entire structure in a vise overnight to cure.  At this stage, both the keel and rising wood are oversized.  Once the entire assembly was cured, I clamped the structure onto my X/Y table and used an end mill to cut to the final length.












Next I will add the simulated bolts to the keel scarph.



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Simulated Keel Bolts:


For the simulated keel bolts I used brass wire @ 0.45mm in Diameter.  Once the wires were all cut and installed, I used a flat file to gently sand the outside profile into a more gentle dimple, rather than the harsh break left by the wire cutters.








And that brings me up to the present state of my cross section.  Hopefully, I will have time to advance the progress of this model in the next month.  If not, I will have to content myself with looking at everybody else's great builds on this forum!

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