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Emma C Berry by craigb - Model Shipways - POF kit build

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Hello everybody.  


I'm starting my Emma C Berry build.  I had previously built the Phantom kit, also from Model Shipways, and used the "build for free" credit to purchase this kit.  


Emma C Berry, at Mystic Seaport in May, 2010



I hope to elaborate more in the future on my goals for this build, my model building background, and maybe even some product review stuff, but for now, I will just start the build log already!


Edit: Please check out my photos of the real Emma C Berry at Mystic Seaport!




Stem and Keel


Lofting Frames




Deck Beams


Wet Well


Mini tutorial: Acrylic Wet Well Faux Planking









Edited by craigb
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I didn't take the obligatory "kit contents" photo and now I regret it. 



I was a little curious as to how nice laser cut parts are. It promises perfect fits right out off the bat.  So, the first thing I did was mess up cutting the very first piece out buy chipping a corner off. This might not be a good omen!




Moving on, I started the build airplane-style: by cutting out the plans, taping waxed paper over it, then laying out everything before gluing.  The fit wasn't as seamless as I'd hoped with the laser cut parts. But it is tolerable, I guess.  




On my last build, The Phantom, I swore off ever building a solid hull model ever again. I hope this kit doesn't make me swear off laser cut kits because that seems to be the new standard! Sanding off burn marks is already not very fun. In any case, my next kit will be Chuck's Syren (already on the shelf!) After that, though, I think the only way I will be satisfied is to scratch build.  And I already have some Hahn plans for that one (the Pelikan!).  Wow, I should really get busy with this hobby!  


The stem was assembled and glued into place after all the dry fitting I could stand.  This took about 2 days  ^_^


I also put the framing jig together.  This is a very nice touch in the kit.  I used my aluminum 90 degree angle jigs and clamps (purchased from Micro Mark a decade ago) to make sure everything was true.  Last thing I want is a messed up jig to loft a bunch of messed up frames!post-1559-0-02262600-1362104521.jpg




The stern was a teeny bit short, so I spent way too long (like, an evening's work) making a little block to space everything correctly. This little bit was critical to getting the stem to sit right on the building jig and at the proper height from the building board. This was all laid out flat before un-pinning and assembling the building jig. I also marked all the frames' positions with a pencil, but that isn't shown in this photo.


The keel is officially laid! Project underway!  Like everything, I took a long (LONG!) time setting up the building jig. Everything was measured a bunch of times for square (using a digital caliper) and making sure it was centered perfectly. I can't help but feel that the time spent here will go a long way to making things line up right for the remainder of the build. 



Next time, lofting the first frame.  




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cb - thanks for taking the time to put some detail into this.  As you say, getting the base correct will go a long way toward producing a good finished product.  Emma is on my list of potential future build (if I ever feel up to a POF challenge.  I will be following along with great interest.



Current build -- MS Bluenose

Future build - MS Flying Fish


"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for." - William G. T. Shedd

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CB - looks like you are off to a good start!  I just got my ECB this week and am chomping at the bit to start, although She Who Rules The Shipyard has issued a management directive stating that one current vessel must be launched before the third can be started.  Hmmm...guess I need to finish rigging and detailing the Harriet Lane!!


Will grab a seat here in the corner near the coffee maker and follow your build to get ready for when i can start!




Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope.

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Welcome to the world of Emma C Berry. It is actually exciting and stimulating to have currently three persons building the same ship: Don Farr, yourself and me. There may be others, but they did not make it public yet.


It is true that the building of the frames must be made carefully. Assemble each frame independently, and glue the floor every time one frame has it.

Then use the jig to position each frame one at a time, starting from the bow all the way to the stern.


The installation of the clamps change the picture completely, and your hull will become suddenly very stiff and solid.




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To all: Thanks for the comments!

bhermann: coming from a background of building model airplanes, where essentially all fuselage construction is sort of "plank on frame" but with very, very fragile balsa, building a POF ship of bass wood isn't so bad! This is a working craft, though, not a warship, so I probably won't get too tied up in the monotony of frame construction. 

trippwj: I, too, have a "Shipyard For(woman)" that dictates one project must be complete before starting another. It is probably for the best, otherwise I'd never finish anything!

Don and Yves, I too am excited to share this experience with others. 

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Work continues, and the first frame is lofted. 

I underestimated the complexity of mounting a complex shaped frame in 3-d space: it has to be matched for height, as well as distance between larboard-starboard (I love POB novels!) and symmetry. 


I used the framing jig to fit everything up without glue. Height using an adjustable rule, width using a digital caliper locked from the measurement from the plan, and left-right symmetry by marking 2 mm increments directly onto the framing jig and sort of eye-balling equal distances. This took hours. Messing with one adjustment messed up all the other measurements. Once I was satisfied, I marked the outline of the frame directly onto the framing jig with a pencil. Then a deep breath was taken, one side's frame was removed and glued using Titebond II to allow for some fiddling. While the glue was drying, all measurements were checked and re-checked and messed with while sweating bullets. This was repeated for the other side. 


One frame done. Twenty-some to go.  It was actually really, really fun! I aim for a frame a day for the next month. Certainly, like most things, it will get easier as it goes. 





Here you can really see the markings I made on the framing jig- marked every 10 mm with 2 mm increments to try to get Left-Right symmetry mostly correct


Edited by craigb
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Work continues lofting frames, setting up #2-7. Each took about an hour: the part was removed from the laster cut sheet, and then all the burn marks sanded off.  Not a fan of sanding off burn marks, but I should get used to it. Sanding the curves was time consuming. I figure it is going to be way easier doing it this way then when it is on the boat. While glue was drying from the previous frame, I prepped the next one. By the time all the sanding was done, the glue was (mostly) dry and the framing jig advanced and the process repeated. 


Frame with burn marks sanded off (Right) compared to as-removed from laser cut sheet (Left)




Frames 1-4 are mounted on the sides of the stem. Frames 5 through 7 that I put up today meet in the middle. 

Mounting 1-4 went well. 


Frame 2 set



Frame 3 set up.  Here is a little mini-how to. 

 I set up my ruler according to the height as determined from the plan.




Then I measured the half-width and doubled it to get the distance between frames. I later realized I could have just directly measured this distance from the plans showing each frame. 




Then everything was lined up, re-measured, and the moving T-bar on the ruler set up so that the frame was at the right height, with the frame right in the corner to maintain Left-Right symmetry.  The width between frames was double checked with the caliper. This rig let me take the frame out and quickly set it back into perfect position for glueing. 



Frame 4 set up



When it came time to set up the frames that meet in the middle (5+) things got a bit weird and my system didn't work so well. It was actually supposed to be a bit easier because the frames are mounted on the centerline, so all I had to do was get the height right and the width should take care of itself.  Should being the operative word here. 

There is a small discrepancy (3-5 mm) between how wide the frames are at the top as measured from the half-bredth plan and how wide they end up in reality. So, I did what I usually do in this situation: sort of ignore it. I got the heights "right" and sighting along the frames, everything looks reasonably lined up. And unless someone really, REALLY knows the Emma well, no one will ever know the craft is a teeny bit narrow. 


Frame 5



Frame 6



Frame 7



A shot of what it looks like now.  Definitely approaching "fishbone" stage! You can also see the floor in front of Frame 7 glued and clamped in place. 




Cheers!  :cheers:




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Nothing too exciting. Mounted frames 8 and 9. Slow and steady progress. 



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Has been a while. Slow going, but that is how this hobby goes.  Life gets in the way of model boat building, sometimes. 


Anyway, I lofted frames up to #16, and glued in the keelson. 


Sometimes I get into the Zen of model boat building. Like how the sandpaper pulls and cuts better when fresh, and has a certain feel to it. And after sanding off the burn marks, and making sure the corners aren't flaky, I sit there and admire a single frame for a second, a perfect part all to itself. But I still don't like burn marks.  :)


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I don't know how I missed this build of the Emma C., and a very instructive log to! She looks very prommissing


Time passes quickly, it's a pitty model boat building can't get in the way of life sometimes! On the other hand, it keeps it special ...


"Desperate affairs require desperate measures." Lord Nelson
Search and you might find a log ...


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Carl and Keith: Thanks for the kind words! NIce build logs for the both of you as well! I look forward to the planking steps. 


Continuing on, I lofted a couple more frames, and went ahead and sanded out all the rest of the frames.  That way I don't have to sand off burn marks for a bit. In another evening or two, the frames will be totally attached!


I continue on this project like the last (Phantom) where I'm building it as best I can according to the plans, but often significant details are left off.  So, I just sort of "go with it" and not stress.  For example, the alignment of the "side horn timber unit" isn't very clear.  So I stuck it on where it seemed like it should go. 


Till next time



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It happens to the best of them. My wife got loose in the shop and accidentally kicked the model.  Good news and bad news. 

It certainly doesn't help that my "shop" is the floor of our tiny NYC apartment. The entire floor. So I can't really blame the gal for trying to navigate across the living room with about 1/2 a square foot to step. But the good news is that it only ruined the last two frames I hung that were still clamped to the framing jig.  And one other random one in the middle somewhere. Also it broke the framing jig, but that was a simple fix too. Nothing destroyed beyond repair, and I didn't have to rebuild any frames. 


So, after a couple hours I'm back to where I started. I must admit, I had a good time hanging frame #19 first time, but it was slightly less fun the second time.  ;)





PS to Wayne. The best I can say is set everything up with much care and don't settle for anything less than than you want it to be. But at the same time, also know that no matter how hard and "good" your set-up is, it will not be perfect.  You will break stuff. Your wood will be less than straight.  The model doesn't exactly match the plans but probably it is only me that knows the difference. I assume that real, full size, wood boats are just the same.  :D



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I'm sitting here looking at the model, and a major milestone has been reached: All frames mounted! I also mounted the model in the shipbuilding vice (Christmas give from my father) and it is fun to see something that looked sloppy while in progress look so clean and nice for a change!





The frames came out pretty well, mostly to dimension. In the photos above you can see that I put a proper length faux deck beam at frame #11, which highlights the fact that the ship is a few mm narrow in the middle. Better than having the ol' girl (or any girl! haha) be a bit wide in the waist (hahahahaha). Moving on... When I get to putting the clamps in, I'm going to make a full set of temporary deck beam "spreaders" to hold the hull to the proper shape for gluing on the clamps and also to make fairing a lot easier. 



A few other comments

-The plans call for pre-fairing the frames a bit, which I didn't do. 

-I also have not cut the bearding line/rabbit yet. I figured it would be more intuitive once the hull is faired. I'm going to build a little rabbit cutting tool, I think. Stay tuned. 

-At the stern, the notches for the frames are angled so I put little wedges in the bottom so the frames would sit properly and have a surface to be glued onto. 




-The framing jig was too low to be used for the last two frames, it hit into the rudder box area. So I used some 90 degree angle jigs to hold the last two pairs in place for gluing. Getting them in the right spot in 3-d space was tricky and basically came down to trial and error. Then removed for gluing, and again trying to get them just right before the glue set up was... not fun. If I had to do more than the two pairs this way, it would be worth it to devise some sort of repeatable jig set up. 




In conclusion, the framing was mostly uneventful, and not nearly as repetitive or dull as I'd expected. Right pleasurable, in fact. 


Next steps will be soaking wood for making the clamps and pre-bending to approximate shape, then sanding them to taper towards the stern. Then while that is drying making frame-spreaders (temporary deck beams, whatever they are called). Then the clamp can be attached, which I'm really looking forward to. 


A couple more photos where I just set the covering boards in place and taped on the transom to get a feel for the hull outline. It really is a classy boat with smooth lines. The shallow draft and high stern make it look very fast. 




Donfarr: I don't know how you keep 3 projects all going at the same time! I know if it were me I would get all the parts mixed up, and also just make a huge mess of the "shop" immediately resulting in reprimand by the Admiral. 


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Hi Craig,


A wonderful accomplishment thus far. Your Emma has a most wonderful sheer line. Wish you well as you continue along.




Hopeful aka David


"Standards set are standards met!"

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This post is dedicated to Yves. Since the day I started this build, I looked forward to fitting the clamps. So I can finally be done with accidentally knocking frames loose and having to re-jig and re-glue. 


The very short post: I fitted the clamps and, yes, this is momentous. The hull is now very rigid and my wife is free to kick it all she wants  :P




For the long version, please vide infra. Like so many things in ship modeling, the simplest results often require quite a bit of unseen labor. 



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The LONG version...


I figured hanging the clamps would be a simple job. First, I had to fair the inside of the frames so that the clamps would have a good surface to be glued to (preposition ended sentence not withstanding). 


Obviously, I knocked off several of the frames and had to re-glue them. This was much, much more difficult without the framing jig. But I made do. Both aft-most frames got knocked loose at some point, as well as the third-in-from-the-stern frame at some point. Somehow. Such is the life of a POF modeler. 




First, though, I soaked and pre-bent the clamps. Yet another not-so-trivial statement. How to soak a plank that is somewhat long? First, clear off the building board of all the scraps, framing jig in its entirety, and glue-junk left over from lofting frames (mistake).


I looked around, and thought about soaking long planks in the bathtub, but finally settled on re-purposing my beer making hose. I clamped the distal end, filled the hosing with water, and jammed the planks down in there for a couple hours soak while I worked on other things. 






In the meantime, I taped the hull layout to the building board with a piece of waxed paper over it and set up a bunch of pins to get the curve of the clamps mostly right. The larboard and starboard planks were bent side by side. 




Now to fair the inside edges of the frames. How to sand it? The "regular" sanding block is long and straight, which would never work for the inward curve. I eventually folded up a bunch of newspaper and taped sandpaper to that. This is actually a pretty good system: you can "live-fold" the semi-rigid sanding block to the curve you want, as you sand. 




I should also mention that I try to be a purist. I don't so much like using power tools but that is mostly because dust gets all over my workshop (tiny NYC apartment living room). But. But. My wife was kind enough to point out that the frames were laser-cut, so that is already as high tech as it gets.  So. I started using the Dremel tool to rough out the fairing of the frames and, let me tell you, this is the way to go!!!  Fast, easy, accurate. Can't complain!


At this point, I decided to take a step back and make sure everything was okay before I proceeded. Frame number 4 both larboard and starboard always seemed a bit off to me, and running a temporary batten over the hull confirmed this. It just wasn't right. The bearding line (still haven't carved that) wouldn't follow the frame correctly with the frame mounted like that. 




So I did every scale ship modeler's favorite thing: Got out a chisel and tore that baby out!



Then I fitted up another temporary clamp inboard, and used that to help hold the re-fitted frame #4 for gluing. This was much, much more difficult than lofting the frame correctly using the building jig in the first place. I should have noticed this before and not settled for less-than-perfect results. 




With those simple, 8 hours of work preliminaries, out of the way, It was a simple matter of tapering the now-dry clamps from frame #17 aft to dimension. Then I fitted and progressively glued the clamps in place from bow to stern. I only have 12 metal clamps so I glued the clamps in place in two steps.  (note in the photos: the trusty Starbucks stirring stick used as a spacer for the eventual deck beams)  I also got out the less forceful clothespins to help. 




The same process was repeated on the starboard side, first gluing the 12 or so frames from the bow to the clamps then re-positioning the metal clamps with clothespins and gluing up the after frames to the clamp. 



The transom was glued in using a creative disassembled clothespin and mini squeeze clamp set up. 



And we arrive at "simply" putting on the clamps. 

:cheers:  :bird-vi:

Edited by craigb
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When I take my photos I try to have a nice, clean workbench. But reading this site it is obvious that, just maybe, we all put our best face forward when posting up photos.  With that in mind, I invite any modeler, novice or experienced, to look at the nice, clean sterile photos of my hull a couple of posts up.  Then look at the following photo of my workshop (floor of the apartment) that I was hiding by creative framing, and not feel so bad!!!


Edited by craigb
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Memorial day was a good long weekend to get some modeling done. 


Well, I faired the hull and it looks exactly the same to the camera as a couple of posts back, so no photos. But fairing up a hull really points out how careful you were when you lofted the frames. Mostly great except one or two frames that got a little thin... I will never tell which and, if you can tell, "get your nose off the glass" as another member here put it! :D  :P  ;)



Is there any reason not to plank the hull right now? I figure if I put in the deck beams and interior details now, before planking, it would make it harder to clamp the hull planks in place. Also, the hull is easier to clamp in upside-down from the keelson now, just making the thing a bit easier to work with, without deck beams in the way. Thoughts? thanks!


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Hi, Craig.  While the planking may be easier with the hull upside down, once the external planking is in place it will get really challenging to maneuver around inside.  It really hinges on what level of interior detail you want to add - are you going to do the wet well and bunks? Those will probably be easier to do when you can also manipulate the pieces from outside.  Also, it will be a lot easier to install the ceiling (interior planking) prior to installing the exterior planking.


Will be interested to see how you handle it!


Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope.

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