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Stavrogin

The Gjøa by Stavrogin - Constructo - Scale 1:64 (first wooden build)

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Hello MSW,

 

First off thanks for checking out my inaugural wooden kit build. I will do my best to document my experience bearing in mind that this kit has been discontinued by Constructo. For the record: these are completely uncharted waters for me so I will likely be asking lots of specific questions. I have read a number of build logs on MSW now and done a fair bit of research, but I am looking forward to finally engaging with the community.

 

Without further ado, from Toronto where we have some proper arctic weather (feels like -27°C), here is The Gjøa. For those unfamiliar, The Gjøa was the ship with which Norwegian Explorer/Capt. Roald Amundsen first sailed the Northwest Passage.

 

Below are photos from my first afternoon. The false keel/bulkhead board was thankfully (relatively) warp-free so I jumped right in. I was also happy to see that the false keel was 4mm thick, and rigged up a keel clamp using a couple of camera tripod ballheads, a 4mm thick piece of aluminum (used to offset camera flashes) on a 90° attachment, and some small clamps. Since this kit doesn't allow for a building board/groove this spot was a concern for me, but so far everything seems to have worked out to my eye. FYI I was actually working on an old tripod, and since gluing/taking the photos I have repositioned the clamps to provide more support.

 

First feelings: relief. Constructo's english instructions aren't so bad. The wood seems to be a nice quality/tone (Sapele, Ayous, Manzonia, Mukaly, & Anatolia for masts), and I'm feeling pretty decently prepared for a beginner. I know the hard parts are yet to come.  :dancetl6:

 

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I look forward to feedback. Off to sand her down for the deck,

 

Simon

 

*edited for font size.

Edited by Stavrogin

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  Hi Simon,

 

Like you I am new round here and I guess I get to welcome you to MSW!

 

:722972270:

Looks like you have picked a great first build!

 

Will check in every now again and see how you are doing.

 

Welcome again!

 

Nigel.

 

PS You got me beat for cold!  Only -17C here right now :D !

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Part 2.

 

Gluing the deck. Not the easiest, but not so bad. There's quite a drastic curve on top so I had to work with an iron and watch the moisture. Gluing it down looked something like this (not pretty but it seems to have done the job): 

 

post-17198-0-83295100-1420731490_thumb.jpg

 

And this was the result after tacking it down:

 

post-17198-0-33315900-1420731562_thumb.jpgpost-17198-0-11436200-1420731565_thumb.jpg

 

Thoughts: It's not perfect, but I'm happy. Off to sand again,

:cheers:

 

Simon

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Simon,

 Nice Start .... While the beach holiday in toronto sounds delightful, i wonder how the Admrial would take it if i told her i had canceled her end of feb trip to jamaica, to go to the beaches in toronto :pirate41: I feel she might just order me keel hauled. Sno

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Part 3

 

Got some preliminary sanding done on the bow and stern pieces. I've also decided to give myself some extra mileage on my first planking (ever) by adding in some balsa filler blocks. I may have overdone it with the pieces I cut, and I definitely made a lot more sanding for myself, but I'm hoping that it pays off.  Pictures below.

 

Status: stern filler blocks are roughly sanded. Waiting for tomorrow to do the bow. Still thoroughly enjoying the process.

 

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Cheers,

 

Simon

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Progress: bow filler blocks are sanded.  That was a lot of sanding, but I don't think I'm done with the balsa yet. I've decided to do things the hard way and cut my deck planks down. I'm also planning to cut the heads off of some .5 mm black nails and use these on the planks (just for the look). Sounds tedious, and it will be, but I'm looking forward to it. I will be using 10mm of balsa in each frame just so that the nails will have something to sit in, and also to get some solid surface area for the bulwarks.

 

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Simon

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Part 4:

 

I've started planking the deck, and it's proving to be a bit tough. I didn't remove the tacks from the deck so my middle planks are pretty wonky. What is best practice for smoothing these things?

 

And again: the 1cm balsa in between my bulkheads is there primarily to sink some decorative nails into/bolster the bulwark gluing. I suppose it will keep the form too. Anyone want to chime in as to whether this was worth while?

 

Here are the pics - please don't mind the rough patch around the mast support :huh::

 

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Hi Simon,

 

You are making fast progress as I am still sanding my frames down!

 

The balsa blocks should work well for adding gluing more gluing area. By decorative nails, do you mean treenails? I'll be interested in your choice here as I am thinking about how to treenail my hull and deck as well.  Also I doubt the soft balsa will properly hold any nails you need while the glue dries. 

 

Hopefully a light sanding will level the center planks before you apply any finish. If you've not does so already, perhaps countersinking any remaining nails below the deck line would help.

 

Keep going and enjoy!

 

Nigel.

Edited by UpstateNY

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Yes, treenail was the word I was looking for. I plan to dab each in a bit of adhesive and then sit it in the balsa. That should work, right?

 

And yes, I was a bit overeager with by deck planking last night. I cut some down to size then couldn't resist gluing some on. What is the best way to countersink such small nails?

 

Last, thanks for the sanding tip. Wasn't sure whether that was kosher on the deck or not. I plan to stain but I am a bit worried about glue up there as well.

 

Thanks again Nigel. cheers,

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Hi Simon,

 

Wow...you are really building fast! Deck looks good and I'd expect a light sanding to remove any glue and so help the stain to take evenly.  I plan to do some test areas to see how the stain takes on my build. 

 

Hopefully you countersinked the remaining nails OK with a small punch...for very small nails I've filed down a large nail to blunt it down and so create a very fine punch. Of course, this feedback is a bit late now given your deck is now planked!  :P

 

Putting some adhesive on the treenail should work great but I've not done this myself and so I'll learn from you here.  How do you plan to make your treenails? I am thinking of ordering the Byrnes draw plate to make mine. I've seen it mentioned on other build logs as a good way to make treenails of differing scales. Link below in case it is useful.

 

Thanks,

 

Nigel.

 

 

http://www.byrnesmodelmachines.com/drawplate1.html

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I'm actually planning on just taking the heads off of some .5 mm nails and (hopefully) getting the ends flat and flush with the deck. I wasn't planning to do this in my prep so I really have no idea what is or isn't done here. Essentially my build probably won't be a very good case study if you're wanting to do treenails proper, haha. More of an experiment.

 

I have been playing around with some stains, and re the rest of the nails: I actually didn't punch them. I haven't got any sort of nail set and my clamp probably couldn't withstand a proper strike so what I did was just carefully file the rounded heads down as best I could and plank over that.

 

It all worked out. Thanks again for your help with this, and I look forward to some photos of your build,

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Hi Simon,

you are doing an excellent job on your model, Gjoa is an very good choice as your first model, it has just the right amount of complexity for a first build.

Have you checked out all the photos there are of Gjoa on the net?  am attaching a couple that I like. I look forward to following your progress.

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Hi Simon,

 

Glad you found a good solution for your deck nails. Understand the strike comment...I was thinking some steady pressure to gently recess them would do the trick. Not sure what you are doing w your planking, but I've read some builders leave the holding nails slightly high so they can easily remove them after the glue dries and then then add their treenails.

 

Wonderful pictures of the actual ship just posted by Tarbrush. Will you paint your hull to match?

 

Finally, my build log is up, but I need more approved posts before I can add the link to a signature! I'll be posting another update soon, but am still (very!) slowly sanding the frames and false keel to get the bearding lines right.

 

Thanks,

 

Nigel.

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Hi John, Nigel,

 

thanks for the photos. I have been looking for all that I can get. Here is a nice comprehensive album I've found:

 

http://www.pbase.com/maritimmodellklubb/gjoa_dekk&page=1

 

I do plan to paint my hull the way it appears in John's photos, but I'm a bit apprehensive about it at this point. Will need to really slow down and do more research. Tips are appreciated.

 

For the deck I'm thinking I'd like to darken it slightly and add a tiny bit of red, but there is some darker detail in the bulwark supports that I don't want to clash with. Just doing a quick photo search and it may not be such a problem: http://img4.hostingpics.net/pics/391900DSC06658.jpg

 

Last: I learned recently that MS made a Gjoa kit back in the 50s (?), and found some really great hi res photos of their plans and a build log on flickr. They also have some great photos courtesy the Smithsonian of when the Gjoa was idling in San Francisco. I imagine they are taken from William Baker's restoration plans. Here is the link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/31561521@N04/8207809894/in/photostream/

Edited by Stavrogin

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Part 6:

 

Help! I picked out a stain for my deck, which I was quite happy with but it hasn't taken to some of the planks very well. It's blotchy and where it didn't take there are just light spots that look like scratches.

 

I suppose my fine sanding wasn't fine enough, and perhaps I shouldn't have overlooked a pre-stain treatment. Looking back: the troublesome plank was my first, and was laid on top of some ugly nail heads (haha). Maybe I was just sloppy with my glue, but to my eye I had sanded it all off.

 

All that being said I'm not totally displeased with the rest of the stain. I think the colour is quite nice and it makes the details pop. Further, a lot of the worst plank will be covered when I get to the fixings up there & beyond. Absolutely a live and learn situation.

 

What could I have done better? Is there anything I can do to improve the result at this point? Note: I haven't varnished yet.

 

Thanks all, pics below,

 

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Edited by Stavrogin

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Hi Simon,

 

Color choice looks good to me. As for the lighter areas, my 2 cents is to use the area that will be covered by the cabin as a test area and do a further fine sand and then a light second stain to see if you can even it out a bit.  I'd probably use a rag to apply the stain and then wipe off the excess quickly to do the restain in stages. Perhaps someone else has a better idea. As you say, most will be covered in the end and the deck already looks very nice.

 

Nigel.

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Thanks Nigel. That will be my plan of attack for the stain. Luckily 90% of the really rough patches will be hidden once the model is finished.

 

Part 7: I'm starting to fair the hull now. I soaked my first plank, and I was planning on using this as a test batten for the whole side, but the wood (sapele) wasn't very compliant. It actually snapped right at the transom when I tried to pin down a slight twist. I think it's salvageable for the spot it's in with a little help from the wood filler, so I haven't moved it.

 

Going forward I'm planning to pin a plank, make sure it is lying correctly on the bulkheads, then move along/dry pin the next plank. This is essentially the fairing process at this point, correct? Once I'm 4 planks (20mm down) I plan to treat the remainder of the hull in bands and calculate what tapering is required (as per this guide: http://modelshipworldforum.com/resources/Framing_and_Planking/plankingprojectbeginners.pdf).Want to make sure I'm not missing any huge concepts here. 

 

pics:

 

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Note (to self?): The instructions call for the space left above the fitted plank to be saved for the bulwarks.

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just downloaded most of the pictures from the link you provided,  great series of photos, nice close ups perfect for the modeler.  thanks for posting that link.

 

it looks to me like you got the color of the deck just about perfect.  it looks just like in the photos, good job.

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Planking update: So far smooth sailing. I set up a simple jig and just went for the first 4 on each side without tapering. I did some simple bevels while I faired the hull, but overall very simple stuff and I think the results are decent. Going to plan out the remaining planks and do some minor hull shaping.

 

One gripe: I foolishly followed Constructo's instructions into a bit of a tight spot. Constructo provides a very basic tool set with their kits so in lieu of clamping their instructions recommend using nails to tac the planks in place while the glue dries and then remove them. Of course, the nails are near impossible to remove once the glue has dried. I (mostly) have the proper clamps/techniques now but the top 2 rows were nailed. My solution has been to file them down flush with the planks, and so far it seems tenable. Most of the extensive sanding will happen below that line, but I'll also need to match the bulwarks up top. Last note: I will be doing the second planking with veneer strips.

 

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Just finished my first planking. Didn't go very smoothly, but I am going to press ahead having learned from my mistakes. I am confident that if I spend the time forming the hull I will get good results with the second planking (veneers).

 

A couple of notes on my process/where I went wrong:

 

I glued the most straightforward planks (the top) prematurely, and created a 4 plank band with no tapering. Also, see my previous post about using the nails to pin while gluing as per Constructo's instructions. Beginners beware: this is not sound advice if you have access to the proper clamps.

 

I then laid temporary battens and did some basic calculations for the next bands. However, I overlooked the garboard being double the width of a normal plank so after I laid the first band (3 planks here, probably should have kept it consistent) I was left with an awkward space. At this point I just broke some rules and shaped a few correction planks to fill the gaps. Then I lathered with some wood filler and gave it a rough sand to make it more presentable.

 

Some general notes: I think I tired myself out with my process all while not having spent the time up front to plan. I soaked every plank and either pinned it right away or if the bend was significant (or if I soaked 2 at once) I'd put one in the jig. I had a hard time getting the mukali to bend perfectly at times, so unfortunately there was some space between some of my filler blocks and the planks. I also discovered my clamping had snapped some small bits at the bow, but being lazy I just used wood filler and I'm expecting it to sand down fine. I will research some tips for clamping these tough spots because I found it really tough. Last: I added a bit of height (1.5 mm) to my false keel because constructo's instructions seem to have wanted me to plank to a sharper point than the false keel itself (note: I did freehand a bearding line). I expect to sand this down to near nothing, but I will need some new tricks for this fairing while I shape the hull. Hope none of this is too taboo.

 

Thanks for reading. Any help/advice is appreciated. Pics below.

 

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Hi Simon,

 
Glad you are pressing ahead and spending the time now to shape the hull will certainly pay off later when you start the final planking. Planking certainly isn't easy!
 
One thought is I read that some builders coat the inside of the hull with glue before sanding. I followed this advice and I think the hardened glue layer helped stabilize a couple of areas during sanding for me where the planks would have been a bit thin otherwise.  Perhaps the same tip will help you.
 
Cheers,
 
Nigel.

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Simon, your JGOA is shaping up nicely.  You are doing the right thing on double checking the hull.  As for the deck i would not worry to much about the looks.  The finished model is a unique vessel and the deck is crowded as well.  Try scraping the deck this might help even out the color.

David B

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Put the stringers on. I just soaked the pieces/used a jig to get this bend (the wood was manzonia this time), and it wasn't easy. Luckily things worked out even though I had to use nails to hold it down (with some bar clamps). Photo below, but I'm actually slightly further ahead at this point. I've filed the nail heads down and will be painting over the stringers next. Just doing some research into painting.

 

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Looking good Simon.  Really like the color of the deck and looking forward to seeing how you will paint her.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel.

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Hi MSW,

 

it has been a busy while for me, but I'm still at it. 

 

Progress: Got the bulwarks up with the painting done (stringers and bulwarks; by hand). I've sanded down the first planking and overall I'm fairly pleased with the results although there are lots of imperfections. Namely, the bulwarks get a tad low toward the bow, the transom is a bit ajar, and the hull has been faired mostly by eye (it's decent but not great). pictures below.

 

Question: I'm having a very hard time clamping things (planks/bulwarks) at the bow. I have a variety of clamps but nothing seems to do the trick. I've made some rough brackets but even those only do a mediocre job. Where possible I've found rubber bands to be my best but I cant help wonder what others do. Any advice? I've scoured some build logs but it doesn't seem to be such an issue for most. Appreciate it.

 

Next: Second planking. Yikes.

 

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Hi Simon,

 

She's coming together well and you seem to have a great base for your 2nd planking.

 

As for the clamping issues you mention, take a look at this great video in Chuck's Cheerful log on how he does planking. I learned a huge amount about how to line out a hull correctly and then pre shape the planks using heat. In the end the planks just naturally take the correct shape! Wish I'd seen this before I'd planked my build! Hope it helps.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel.

 

 

http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/8131-hm-cutter-cheerful-1806-148-scale-by-chuck/page-22

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