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Ahoy all. I'm brand-new to wooden ship modeling. In fact, I'm waiting for my first kit and tools to arrive. I also have a few plastic kits in my build queue before I start on it. One is Revell's 1/96 USS Constitution which I bought to help hone a few rigging skills before doing a wooden ship. The kit I selected is Model Shipways' Niagara. I figured that my woodbuilding experience in R/C planes and boats would allow me to begin my journey with an intermediate-level kit. After watching videos and reading tutorials my major burning question is this: Are nails used in planking or glue? I've seen both used in tutorial, primers, and videos. Is there a preferred method? Are the nails just to let the glue set? I've seen carpenter wood glue, CA, and nails used. I was anticipating nailing when I ordered the kit, so I also ordered a nailer with my tool set (Excel Deluxe Ship Modeler's Kit). I understand the math and geometry of planking, and the bending techniques, I just need the fog cleared on the method of attaching the planks. Thanks!

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welcome "sgtski" (have you got a more manageable name)! As far as nails v glue is concerned, If your model has two layers of planking, the you can use fine brass nails and wood glue on the first layer, but leave the heads proud for later removal, then glue only on the second layer. This is just my personal opinion of course! All the best, Geoff

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Yeah it's a mish mash of different ways folks build,   when folks use slower glue the small nails can help hold a plank till the glue has set.

 

CA can set fast but you can't really un-do it later.

 

I generally use a CA Gel as it sets fast and does not run.

but for some things I will use white glue when I need to be able to work on the placement of a part.

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Thank Geoff! My name's Tom, much easier to type than "sgtski!" I'm unsure if the Niagara is double-planked or not. I downloaded the instructions so I'll go and consult them. I'm comfortable with whatever attachment method is preferred, I just want to do it right since it's a $300 kit. I got it for $199 but still. Not my most expensive kit though. I've built a few 1/8 Pocher automobile kits in the past. Nothing teaches you patience more than building up 4 or 5 wire wheels doing those kits! Thanks for the input!

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Greetings Tom,

 

Single or double plank, I use nails to hold a wet plank in place while it dries and/or to hold it in place as the wood glue sets. Generally, the nails do not need to be driven in all the way. I leave them sticking up about 1/8" above the plank surface so they are easier to remove. I think the best nail remover is a pair of small needle nose pliers. Some pliers are magnetic so they hold the nail after you pull it. Don't worry about the remaining holes left after you pull the nails - they fill in automatically when you finish sand the hull. I have tried plank holders,but nails are the best clamping method in my opinion.

 

wq3296 

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Thanks for the advice everyone! I looked at the manual that I downloaded and she doesn't appear to be double-planked. I'll know more when the kit arrives and I can see the plans. I also plan on taking a trip to Erie, PA where the full-sized replica Niagara is berthed. The model's plans were drawn from this ship. I also picked the Niagara because of her ties to the Great Lakes, where I've spent my entire life, except for my 13 years in the Marine Corps. I also would like to go to Boston to visit the Constitution, but according to the Navy's Constitution page, she's going into drydock in March 2015 for a three-year refit and to be put into her accurate configuration as she was under Hull's command during the War of 1812.

Edited by SgtSki in MI

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I've got the same question. I'm going to plank Cutty Sark from Artesania Latina which is not double-planked. The instruction recommends to use nails but I have a feeling that this would spoil the whole view. I wish to collect the experiences from those who have finished nailing the planking (especially from those who finished Artesania Latina Sutty Sark) : would you use nails if you would have to repeat the assembly one more time?

I've already got the answer from NenadM here, but I guess this topic is a more appropriate place to ask this question.

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Welcome Tom. 
I use Titebond thick set and CA dependent on the situation. Those little brass nails are a large PITA as they bend very easy and you usually need to predrill a hole. You also need to lay a pretty uniform pattern or it can look terrible, ask me how I know. What you need is a vast assortment of various types and sizes of clamps to hold your planks whilst the glue sets. You also need to learn how to bend planks

Edited by Jim Rogers

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I have only planked two kits so I am not what you would say an expert but I would say no nails.  I use a good medium CA glue on the two hulls I have planked.  I then just used my fingers to hold the planks in place until they set.  The medium gives you enough time to get things set in the right spot but sets in 15-30 seconds.  Put a dab on each bulkhead and a thin bit on the edge.  It doesn't take a lot of glue or time.  If the plank is long glue a couple bulkheads at a time.  That has worked for me.  It is fast and easy.  If you get the debonder you can even unglue the plank if you find you attached it upside down or something.  Don't ask me how I know that.  Hope this helps.   Good luck, you will do fine.  It all seems intimidating but with wood you can correct most mistakes.

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When I built my first kit, the Mare Nostrum, it was an introduction kit.  It told me to nail in the instructions, so I did. Since then, I have been working on a few more advanced kits and not one of them included nails. I would have to say that nailing is more for the first time builder.  Don't get me wrong, in my opinion, the Mare Nostrum turned out great. But, keeping with true fashion, I don't believe nailing is proper.  BTW, I see a lot of people saying they use CA glue, including Tite Bond. I don't like CA glue and if you search on this site you will see a lot of great clamping tips.  I find that CA isn't as strong as a good wood glue.

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I used tiny finishing nails that came with the kit for my first plank on bulkhead model (in the 60s). It took a little practice to climb the learning curve, but it became easy to push them in. However, I thought the nail heads were ugly! I used a sharp pointed punch to push them down a bit below the plank surface, and then rubbed a mix of glue and wood dust into the holes. After it was sanded you had to look very closely to see where the nails were.

 

However, I haven't used nails for a planked hull since then. For me the best way is to use a fairly quick setting wood glue (model cement) and use rubber bands and clamps to hold the planks in place until the glue sets. After the planking is complete I paint the inside of the hull with a thin two part epoxy paint like aircraft modelers use to seal balsa against hot fuel. The paint soaks into the wood - planking and bulkheads - and dries over night. After that the hull is very solid, with no leaks, and you won't have to worry about cracks appearing between the planks after a few years. I have 30+ year old hulls that are still as good as new.

 

 

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Sergeant Tom ( I assume this is the source of your screen name as you served as a marine) 

There is a mention of nails to hold wet planks in place above.  Planks will swell when wet so do not try to glue wet planks in place as they will shrink when drying and leave a slight gap between strakes.   You can pin the wet planks in place without glue then remove them when dry and then glue the dry formed pieces in place.  I will not go into spiling as I understand most if not  all the kits only include strips for the planking and you will be relegated to using these and the included issues with bending in two axes.  If you do use pins there are going to be holes that can be seen so consider using the pins in the spots where you would use treenails after the planks are glued in place.   As also mentioned above, there are a variety of planking clamp ideas here that you may wish to try.  Just be attentive to clamping wet wood as you could leave dents in the planks made by the clamps.     Regarding CA glue, based on having used it in the past, my personal opinion is there is no need for it in ship modeling.     PVA for wood, silver solder for metal work, epoxy when needed, and diluted white glue in rigging when called for. 

Please do consider posting a build log as you will get a lot of great advice as you progress.    

Allan

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