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John 0868 Triton build (re-post by mod)

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This is a re-post of an old triton log - please do not post against it as the original owner will not be replying - should the original owner no longer wish this log to be active then please get in touch and it will be removed. Additionally most of the times only the original posters post has been saved and so it will jump with regard to comments. In this particular logs case some of the image comments were tabalised and are often cut off as well. 


I'm finally getting started on this. I still have a lot of rigging to complete on my current project, but I was feeling the need to cut some wood this weekend, so I thought I'd take a crack at a sample frame member for this build. I probably won't really get into the build for another month or so.

I started with the "C" frame assembly and got all the pieces cut out, sanded and assembled yesterday. I went thru all this pretty quickly (about 4 hours total build time), just to get a feel for what I was going to need to be thinking about for jigs and tools once I get started.

It was a good exercise, and even this little bit of framing has told me that I will probably never build a POB hull again! 


I cut the frame pieces from poplar, just because I had some thin scrap laying around the shop. I doubt I would use this on the real build, but it's not bad looking. Certainly it's easy to work with cutting and sanding, and it's still pretty hard. It's jus




I glued all the parts together with a thick CA glue. I was thinking this would be a quick way to throw this frame together, and I would use yellow glue for the real thing, but I'm pretty happy with how the joints turned out. It certainly makes for a quick




The finished frame member, sanded to a 320 grit and finished with paste wax.






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You bet it won't stick! I only waxed these to see what they would look like finished. I wasn't planning to use these first couple of frames in the final model. This is all just practice

I have a couple more frames I completed this last week just to try some different woods. the yellow frame here is Yellowheart, which is a great wood for this in terms of it strength and ease of working. It's very straight grained, and takes a great polish with a fine sandpaper. Given all that, I still think it's too yellow for the framing. it may have it's uses later in the build. I also tried a frame with walnut, and I think this one looks great. It's a nice dark wood, straight grained, and easily worked.

The admiral approves of the walnut, and we must keep the admiral happy!


I think I'm ready to start some frames for the build, which means it's now time to build a jig for the frames. Thankfully, Uwe, you have already done all the hard work for that, and I'm just going to copy your jig!


I picked up a small piece of Holly the other day at my local hardwoods store. It will be great for decking as it's a very, very fine grained white wood. 





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OK, finally, back to work again.....

Actually, I've been working steadily on this a few nights a week for the last month, I just haven't gotten around to posting.

I'll start with the jig. This is built pretty much like Uwe's jig, but I did add separations in the upper level to keep the frames aligned. All in all, the framing went pretty well. I did frame in the gunports, which turned out to be a mistake. I found out later on as I started planking up on the sides that I needed the flexibility in the frames to get everything aligned. I ended up breaking out the gunport frames, and I'll re-frame them when I get up that high with the exterior planks.



Close-up shot of the jig and first frame. The frames are walnut, the keel is pacific maple, and the false keel is hard maple.




The first frame in the jig....




The upper level of the jig keeps the frames aligned, and I used carefully planed blocks of wood to keep them aligned at the keel.




Just a few more frames to go here...








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The frames are completed, except for the gun ports, which you still see in these pictures, but I removed them as I started planking. All in all, it went pretty well. A few of the frames are not quite aligned (or shaped) as well as they could be, but it's a good start. I didn't really notice the mis-alignment (or mis-shaping) until I got into the planking, but I seem to be able to hide the bad spots pretty well. I thought I was being pretty careful with checking the alignment of everything as I was
installing the frames, so I'm wondering if I'm getting more movement in the wood than I thought I would. It's pretty well seasoned walnut that has been in my shop for, oh, maybe 15 years!! Anyway, it's not too bad, and I can workaround it.

I've started the planking along the keelson on the interior. I'll got the limber boards in and a little bit of planking, then moved up to the deck clamps. Next I'll start on the exterior planking.

I have pictures of the keelson and limber boards in place, but I haven't gotten any pictures beyond that.

This will be my first experience with treenailing! I picked up a Byrnes drawplate, and I must say, this is a great drawplate!! I highly recommend it to anyone who is attempting to draw thier own nails. I tried a cheap one that I had ordered last winter from Amazon, and it was just about impossible to draw anything thru it successfully. With the Byrnes plate, drawing is the easy part. Now if anyone can tell me how to successfully split the bamboo into about 1mm squares to draw them, I'll owe you a beer!  :D 






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To split bamboo, the trick is that you have to half the piece each time you split it. So first halves, then quarters, eighths and so on. If the piece you are using doesn't split cleanly, as some don't, discard it and try a different piece.

Also, strip off that hard, glassy outer layer and any soft  inside material that may be on the section of bamboo that you are working.

I agree, the Byrnes' drawplate is superior to anything else available.

You now owe me that beer. A Guiness will do nicely! Cheers!


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Well, it's been a while since I've been in the shop working, but the weather here has finally turned cold, so I have an excuse to stay inside! I've spent the last week or so finishing up the planking on the exterior and starting on the interior. 


I started with the wales. These are made from hard maple.




I stained the maple with an alcohol based black leather dye. It takes several coats to get a good dark finish, but in the end, it looks very much like ebony.





Planking the hull with Sapele. 


I started the planking at the keel, working up to the wales. You can't see the lines on the frames in this pic, but I carefully measured out 4 lines along the hull frames to help with the spacing and alignment of the planks. The treenails I used are drill




Completed planking on one side, with treenails. I didn't take any intermediate pictures here, and I wish I had. When I placed the planks, I used a piece of thin paper shim to space the planks apart, and then when I had finished planking the side,I used a





With the hull complete up to the wales, I went back in and completed the planking up to the first deck on one side, and only partially on the opposite side to show off the frames. 


Cherry planking on the thicker pieces, with hard maple on the thinner pieces. Some of this has been finished with a clear lacquer (the areas that don't have anything being glued to them) so the cherry has turned more reddish orange. The browner cherry is




not sure why, but that last comment in the picture of the interior planking cut off the last bit of comment. It should read that unfinished cherry is the browner looking part

Anyway, next up is cutting and fitting the parts for the first deck




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I cut the floor beams from walnut, the same as the hull frames. I have not cut any of the notches yet, I'm just testing the fit here.




Same with the knees here, just testing the fit of the parts, temporarily tacking them in place with a small dot of CA glue. So far, it's looking better than I expected. We'll see how it looks after I start notching. Looks like I'm going the have to pick a





Ok, it looks like I'm going to need to re-post some notes here. I didn't realize all my comments in the photos were being cut off. I guess there's a limit to the number of characters allowed

On the caulking of the hull, I used a mixture of wax based  (at least it feels like wax) wood fillers. I mixed about equal amounts of black and walnut to give me a dark brown caulk. When I placed the planks, I used a thin paper spacer to "gap" the planks, and then used the caulk to fill in between . All in all, I'm happy with how this turned out, but there is one thing to note here: make sure you apply a finish to the planking before you caulk, or the filler will get into the pores in the wood. Also, if this is waxed based, I'm not sure how some finishes would react to this waxy film. Oil based finished are probably fine, but I'd bet that a water based acrylic would not work well. I did apply a paste wax finish to the hull after caulking and
that worked fine.

I also meant to note in one of these pictures of the planking that I had used a #64 drill bit (#37 hole in the Byrnes drawplate) for the treenails, and I think they turned out just a bit too large. When I completed the interior I dropped down to the next smaller drill bit and it looks better.


The black leather dye really works well on the maple. It does not have any "thickness" to it when it's dry so it doesn't look like paint applied over the wood.

I got a little further with the deck framing over the last few days. Those little notches in the beams are tricky to get just right and make for a good looking joint. I ended up grinding down a small chisel I had to about 1/8" wide to make the smallest notches.

At one point my good layout ruler disappeared entirely. I've looked everywhere but it's gone. I don't have children, so I can't blame them! I'm guessing my rigging fairy has stolen it because she's pissed that I haven't finished the rigging on my Bounty   :D


Deck beams, carlings and knees are all done in walnut. This particular plank I've been using has a nice tight grain and notches really well.




Deck beams, carlings and knees are all done in walnut. This particular plank I've been using has a nice tight grain and notches really well.




The next section of framing. These are the easy parts. The beam arms and that 4th deck beam will be the fun part!




close-up shot of the joint work. Not a perfect fit, but not too bad for a novice at scratch building.










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Jim, I threatened to withhold her Guinness ration, and she finally relented and gave it back. You might want to try that with your fairy!

The lower deck frames are now complete, and I've started on the decking. I'm using Holly for the decking, and I really love this wood. It's almost pure white, no markings or discolorations, and a very fine grain, with just a bit of tiny flake, like what you see in a quarter sawn white oak, but on a much smaller scale.

I'm using bamboo treenails again, sized with the #28 hole in the Byrnes plate. I'm also spacing the planking with a thin sheet of paper between planks as I did on the exterior hull planking, to be caulked later. 





... and here is the decking completed on half the deck. I'll leave the other half open to show off the framing.

The caulking was done with the walnut/black wood filler that I mixed up for the exterior hull planking. I've finished the planking with a thin coat of lacquer before I caulk to seal the wood, then just work the filler it into the spaces between the planks with a wood stick, tapered on the end like a small putty knife. Scrape the excess off and polish with a soft cloth, and then wax the entire surface with paste wax.

With the decking waxed and polished, you can just make out the flake grain in the Holly, Beautiful stuff, and definitely my choice for decking in the future! 







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...and the last thing for this week is the inner hull planking between the lower deck and gun deck. Same materials as the inner hull planking used below the lower deck, cherry for the thick stuff, maple for the thin... 






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Well, I hope you all a great holiday season. Mine was quite peaceful this year. We didn't have to travel anywhere, and the admiral has been sick with a chest cold this past week, so I've been in the shop avoiding her so I don't get sick!

I'm getting very near the end of this build, having accomplished quite a bit over the last few weeks. After complete the lower deck, I moved back out to the exterior planking and brought that up to the level of the gun-ports (the first molding actually). Then I went back in and framed the gundeck and completed planking the interior.

The upper exterior of the hull is planked in yellowheart, and the moldings will be painted black, which you will see in a later post.The caulking is completed the same way as the lower planking and the interior decking, using a dark wax wood filler.



Exterior hull up to the first molding in yellowheart





Gun deck framing in walnut and maple,just as the lower deck was completed


Gun deck framing and testing the fit of the bitts and cross piece. These will need to be in place before the last set of ledges are installed.



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One of the necessary items that I needed to learn to make was gratings. Following some other examples I've seen here on the site, I set up a jig to make a series of cuts on a piece of hard maple about 1/8" thick, cutting halfway thru.

I used a piece of clear acrylic to make the jig, clamped to the top of a microlux table saw. using the jig I cut a serie of slots in the underside of the maple board, and then sliced the board into strips on a bandsaw. I tried slicing the strips on the tablesaw, but I was getting too many broken "teeth" on the grating. using a fine tooth blade on a bandsaw worked pretty weel. After that, I fed the strips very carefully thru a my home-built thickness sander (thanks again to this website ) until the strips just fit together to make gratings. After that, just a little sanding and polishing, and it's a nice looking grating. In the process, I've made enough grating of this size to last at least a couple of builds!

This was one of the more challenging parts of this build, and one that I've looked forward to completing successfully.

You can also see in the bottom picture, the paper shims used to separate the planking to allow space for caulking later on.


Cutting the slots on the tablesaw using a .045" jewelers slotting saw blade.





The finished grating




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The gun deck is now complete. Once again, I used holly for the decking, and the wax wood filler for caulking. The waterways and coamings are cherry, the sheet bitts are cherry, crosspiece is maple.

The sheaves in the sheet bitts came from an old model ship, the first one I had ever built, some 25 years ago. It was not a great model, and had been thru 3 moves since it was built, and was in pretty poor shape. I decided last summer to dismantle it and I kept all the blocks, sheaves, deadeyes and brass fittings just in case I might need them for a future scratch-build, like this one! The sheaves were just the right size, so I've honored my first build by using a part of it in my first scratch build.




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Next up I completed the interior planking around the gunports. I made big oops here, as the gangway clamps should have stopped below the tops of the frames to allow for the gangway decking. You'll see later on that I was able to chisel the clamps down before I placed the sheer rail. That's what I get for staying up too late to try and get things complete, when I should just go to bed! 






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The exterior planking around the gunports is complete, along with the moldings and fenders. I made the moldings and fenders from holly, which works well for this small detail stuff. I think hard maple would have worked well also. Either one takes the black leather stain very well. The holly shows a little more "figure" thru the stain, but unless you can see it up close in good light, you wouldn't know the difference. 








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...and to finish off the exterior, I give you entry steps, sheer rail, and the final moldings!

The step were a challenge. I thought about this quite a bit over the last few weeks as I was coming up to this part. I didn't want to just use a beveled profile, I wanted some detail. and I knew I could get it by making strips of molding. The challenge was getting the profile to follow around the ends of the steps. I suppose I could have carved each step, but I thought that was a a lot of work, and I wasn't that confident of my carving skills to repeat it 18 times with any consistency. I decided to just miter the ends to get the profile and make a "picture frame" joint at each end of the steps.

Making a micro-sized miter jig for the microlux saw allowed me to make miters in the ends of the steps, and then I just glued the miters together using CA adhesive. The end pieces were kept extra long so I would have something to hold onto, and then after the glue was set, I just cut off the excess. 












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Uwe, each plank was cut individually to a curved shape at the exposed end, and then glued in place. It's a bit time-consuming to get just right and get a smooth flow across several boards, but the end result is very pleasing.

I was looking for a good way to extend the decking over to the gangway ladder and keep a nice appearance, without covering too much of the framing. This technique seemed to work well. I don't recall where I stole the idea from, but it was somewhere on this site, I'm sure!




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I decided I better get the cannons completed before I finished the gangway or it would be difficult to get them rigged. The plans for the cannon carriages are excellent, and I had no problem getting those built this week. I haven't tackled making the barrels yet, but that will be this weekends work. I used cherry and maple for the carriages, and you can see the results below. I'm quite happy with how they turned out. The wheels are functional, and so are the brackets for the trunnions! The little tapered pin comes out so I can place the cannon barrels later. I hadn't intended to put this much detail into it, but I was having way too much fun.

I also got the brackets for the gangway completed and glued in place. 












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Got the cannon barrels turned this past weekend, and the rigging completed for the cannons. I turned the barrels from Holly, which works very nicely. It takes a fantastic polish! After turning them , I dipped them in black leather dye a couple times and then gave them a thin coat of clear satin lacquer. The alcohol in the leather dye raises the grain in the wood just a bit, but that just gave it a bit of texture, and the result looks pretty good.

The rigging turned out about as I expected. The rope work looks good, the blocks I'm not so happy with, but so far it's the best I've been able to achieve making blocks.

The rope was made on a homemade ropewalk using thin cotton quilting thread. 4-strand ( about 1" dia ) lines for the running tackle, 16 strand (about 2 1/2" dia) for the breech rope.

The rope coils are made off-line as a separate item from the line coming down from the block, and then I just glue the end of the line to the deck, cut it off nice and square, and then glue the coil down at the end of the line, trying to get a clean joint between the two. Sometimes it works nicely and you can't really see the break unless you really look for it, other times it's too obvious. I've not found a way to make a coil that small on deck, using the tail end of the line as it should be. 














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Feels good to have finished her at last. With the gangways complete, and half the hull coppered, I finished a little display stand to show her off. I even took a crack a making an acrylic display box cover for the stand. Gonna take a little more practice to perfect that. There are a lot of bubbles in the joints on the acrylic, but not bad for my first time. All I need now is a little brass nameplate!

Once again, I want to thank everyone who contributed to this project. To all of you who invested your time to create the drawings, monitor the build logs and give your input, all those who came before me and took the time to post thier build logs, and all of you who offered suggestions and support, I thank you! You've made this a great first project, and made me a convert to scratch building!

...now I'm off to finish rigging my first model. Lots more to learn about rigging before I can tackle a complete scratch build, but I'll be back for the complete Triton build before too long! 










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Matrim, thanks for the work of reposting this log. It's really nice to see the build again.

Regards Christian


Current build: HM Cutter Alert, 1777; HM Sloop Fly, 1776 - 1/36

On the drawing board: English Ship Sloops Fly, 1776, Comet, 1783 and Aetna, 1776; Naval Cutter Alert, 1777

Paused: HMS Triton, 1771 - 1/48

"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it." Salvador Dali

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Thanks for all of your reposts.

This is another great build. I'm working on it.


Later 42rocker

Current Build -- Finishing a 1:1 House that I've been building for a while

Current Build -- Triton Cross Section

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  • 2 months later...


A very nice model.

Wow I have a long way to go to compleat with your standard of modeling.

I like the colours for your timber.


Regards Antony.

Best advice ever given to me."If you don't know ..Just ask.

Completed Mayflower

Completed Fun build Tail boat Tailboat

Completed Build Chinese Junk Chinese Pirate Junk

Completed scratch built Korean Turtle ship 1/32 Turtle ship

Completed Santa Lucia Sicilian Cargo Boat 1/30 scale Santa Lucia

On hold. Bounty Occre 1/45

Completed HMS Victory by DeAgostini modelspace. DeAgostini Victory Cross Section

Completed H.M.S. Victory X section by Coral. HMS Victory cross section

Completed The Black Pearl fun build Black Queen

Completed A large scale Victory cross section 1/36 Victory Cross Section

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