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how to determine the correct number of frames on scratchbuilt ship (Moved by moderator)

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I am wanting to build a scratch built ship and woul like to know how to determine the correct number of frames I would need to make. I have the sheer half bredth and body plans but I know that those will not be enough as I would like to leave one side so I could show the interior of the ship. I am new to this form but havebeen building ship for a fe years mostly POB and kits. Woulld like to build the next one like it was orginally build any help with drawing the frames and determining how many would be a great help. Thank you. 

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Well I would say the more frames the more accurate the hull will be. In warships the frames were heavy and only a few inches apart. In say a fishing boat maybe a foot apart. One thing you could do would be to show false frames where you intend to show them through the planking. I've seen example models on this forum where the modeler has blocked in between every frame to ensure a fair hull.   BILL

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Well I would say the more frames the more accurate the hull will be. I've seen example models on this forum where the modeler has blocked in between every frame to ensure a fair hull.   BILL

I have done this somewhat with the Utrecht. I took the main frames and they were to far apart so added some more and now all of them are 26 mm apart. I may just add some more where the bow is or make it a solid bow.

Like Bill said, you decide. There is no exact way.


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Greetings Budad,


What ship are you building? I don't know how anyone answers your question without this information. You said you wanted to show framing as the original ship was built. Are you aware of how close the frames are in 18th-19th century naval ships? On the other hand, merchant vessels of the same period were not built as heavily as the naval ships. I am sure someone on this forum can point you in the right direction once the type of ship is known.



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If you can tell us the name and size of the ship as well as the year, the sidings of the floors and futtocks as well as room and space can be determined.  From these you can determine the number of frames.  Are the stations shown on your drawings?  


I am doing a framing disposition drawing of the Litchfield (50) 1730, built to the 1719 Establishment now, so can share the issues in having the frames form the sides of the ports etc.  Do any of your existing drawings  show  the gun  port locations? 



Edited by allanyed
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I have the model shipways kit of the Fair american. I would like to build it as a plank on frame instead of a POB. I would also like to show some of the interior of the ship. I have been researching different ship; techniques; sites ;books and the like. I built this ship many years ago as a POB and it turned out fairly well. I am also wanting to know how one would use the sheer and profile plans to increase the number of frames along the keel. I know that the main frames go from the perpendiculars thes the bow are cant frames I like 17th18th century warship mostly however i also like other ships like junks viking and other unusual ships.

  The drawings do show the station lines but no room and space. I am trying to learn how to  draw the hull frames using the sheer profile and halfbrethd drwaings. I know that it would be alot of work to build a miodel the way the real ship was built ,however,I think it would be worth the effort. I appreciate all of your thoughts.

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Try http://modelshipbuilder.com/page.php?183 and you will find Gene Bodnar's practicum on building the Eagle from scratch as a Plank on Frame ship. The practicum walk step by step through using the plans to construct your frames. How and where to take the measurements off each one and how to plot those measurements onto a framing grid.


Even if you aren't interested in building the Eagle, the practicum is free and is a very good read.

Edited by robnbill
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The following book should answer your questions:


This is not an endorsement of the vendor, just the book: http://www.amazon.com/American-Built-Clipper-Ship-1850-1856-Characteristics/dp/0071358234/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=149PENCFDSR2QBC446BM



Maybe not - I misread your vessel as Wm Webb's Young America, a clipper.

Edited by Jaager
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Hello Budad,

I think this question is very difficult to simple answer .

The number of bulkheads depends on many factors:

1.Type the ship and the shape of the hull - the greater the curvature of the more bulkhead plating.

   In the fore and aft sometimes be placed in smaller istances than amidships. This applies especially to 

   historical models of sailing ships.

2.Length and scale of the shipmodel  - for smaller vessels can be applied solid hull instead POB.

3.The dimensions and the material of strips used for planking - possibility  bending of it and also final hull stregth.


A few examples from my  modeling practice:

Fot.1,2 Grosse yacht -Length on waterline 42 cm

Fot.3,4 Norman's ship - Length on waterline 37 cm

Fot.5,6 Esplanade - Length on waterline 95 cm


Happy modellihg,




My models:
From kits
Vasa, HMS Victory, Le Solei Royale, Friesland
From scratch
HMS Warrior 1860, Esplanade, Grosse Yacht
Norman’s ship, HMS Speedy, La Royale
Peter von Danzig
Polacca XVII cent.
Current project:
SS Savannah 1818








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