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Charles Notman by Jond - FINISHED - radio - 1:48 scale Downeast Schooner 4 mast built by Percy Small 1894

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Well here we go!

I have been reading many logs over the past few years and now am ready to jump in. I have several previous builds, but not many ready for the gallery. we can talk about a few of them later. They were meant to prepare me to build a series of Maine Schooners, some of which hopefully can sail in the local harbor during windjammer days festival. We are coming up to the centennial of the final and best built schooners, many which supported the World War I effort. There were 10 each 4 masted Schooners built here in Boothbay Harbor. Unfortunately there are no known plans, so much research is under way to achieve that goal. In the mean time I need a proto type, so this build is my proto type for the process. I chose 1/48 scale as it produces roughly a 5 foot hull length. [ normally a bit small to sail!] There will be a fight between accurate detail and making it function as a sailor. All this is to be a learning process.

I started this build late last year and to date am almost through the hull building. I start this post with a catch up on the process in mind.


stage 1:


Research and Plans: Maine Maritime provides several different plans of Schooners built either in their facility, Percy and Small or others in Bath Me. There is a great book A Shipyard in Maine by Ralph Linwood Snow and Capt. Douglas Lee. Douglas Lee also produced plans for several Maine ships including this one. He also developed great details for all big Schooners based on his research of the Cora Cressy [ a five master also from Bath]. Another valuable book is The Schooner Berth L Downs by Basil Greenhill and Sam Manning. This book is labeled " Anatomy of the Ship" and shows what you need to fill in the gaps.


Station templates: I took Photos of the Plans, as they were in 1/96 scale, and pasted them into Turbo CAD Deluxe 20. I then improved the grid lines and scaled up to the full size ship. I then traced each station on a separate layer. I set my viewports to 1/48 fixed scale and wiggled to get them all to fit on a portrait view @ 11x17. After printing them out , I had a view of every station. I glued them to a sheet of 3/16 luan plywood and cut them out on the band saw. A little sanding on the edges cleaned them up. I then set them in a vise and cleaned up the slots to fit over the laminated keelson and did a little pre fairing.


When I drew the stations, I included a common extension leg, so that when they were set upside done on the building board they would all be at the right height. [ easier to see in the photos] I also predrilled holes all around the stations to simplify the cutting out of the stations after fiber glassing the hull. My plan is to leave roughly 1/2 inch ribs at each bulkhead for permanent reinforcing of the hull.



The Keelson: This is my name for the whole assembly [ shoe , keel, keelson and riders as well as stems.] it consists of three pieces of 1/4" plywood laminated. this adds strength but helps in straightening and is very easy to work with. I took 4 photos of the line plan and again pasted it into the Turbo CAD. I set up the water lines and used offset to control correct positioning of all the stations. I then stretched and tweaked the photos and they came out OK. I created 4 each 11x17 landscape printouts and pasted them to the plywood. After cutting out the "Keelson" assemble center piece, I trimmed more plywood to form the two outer strips and was ready for laminating.


Building board: I had some building boards left over from some Vintage Marblehead pond yachts built 10 years ago. I recovered the blocks and screws from two boats and had enough to lay out the stations. I prepared the blocks, pre drilling them for attachment to the stations [ horizontal screws] and then ready for installing.


end of stage 1









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Hi Jon,


Welcome to MSW. I think I'll pull up a chair and watch if you don't mind.

Me too! I can't wait until the "launch day" comes. A four - masted schooner beating its way to windward, with spray coming over the bows and lapping the gunwales as she's heeled over will be an awesome sight.


Good luck with your build!


Can't wait.





Edited by Omega1234
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thanks guys ...if you are in a chair please be close to the kitchen because this may take a while. :D


stage 2....set up frame and get ready to plank


The first step is to glue up the keelson.  I set up two stations, 19 & 21 at the bow and 1 & 3 at the stern and set the center 1/4 plywood section into the slots.   I then took the two 1/4 by 2.25 plywood strips and fit then on the outsides and into the station slots.  the plywood had a natural bow of about 3/8 over the length.  Therefore I took a one inch aluminum box tube and clamped it to the length of the assembly and left it to dry over night......it worked!


next I took out the keelson and laid out the stations lines and water lines so I would be able to see them to align and level the stations as I progressed. 


next is to start at the bow and work aft, one station at a time. The blocks were screwed to the stations first and then as I glued the slots of the station to the keelson, I screwed the blocks down to the building board.   Some stations were only 1.5 inches apart and I needed to hold the drill horizontally to drill each station,  thus I had to work one end to the other. I chose to leave out a few stations where they were only 1.5 inches apart.


The next step was to cut out spacer blocks and temporarily glue them at the outer edges of the stations to square up the frame.


You can see in one photo to make the transom was an experiment. I took a 1x4 soft pine board and sort of carved out the shape of the transom.  using the band saw I cut the outside and then the inside leaving a block with a slot to grab the 1/4 inch center keelson.  I also built around the keelson because to install the rudder I need to drill 5/32 hole right through it.  I will show that later.


The final step is to add blocks at the bow to act as knighthead - hawse timbers and receive the planking. Sanding these to shape led to cleaning up the outer strips of the keelson assemble at their extreme ends for fairing in the planks. I finished by fairing up the bulkheads a bit.


end of stage 2









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Stage 3.........well here we go to planking.


First of all I have a few sins to share that affect the process, but I will try to explain them away as follows:

  • I learned this basic planking method while joining a pond yacht session at Wooden Boat School  in 2001 with my son.  We each built hulls for the 'Naskeag'  a vintage Marblehead designed by Thom McLaughlin.   I include a photo here, so you can see that with nicely milled planks and some care one can have a nicely finished cedar hull. the hull was coated in clear resin and cloth and then varnish to protect the resin. FYI I only finished these models last summer and hope to sail them next year. 
  • The cedar strips were cut down from 1x6 red cedar to about 3/16 thick and 5/16 wide and typically 4 to 5 feet long. When provided to us they were all the same.  Wow I did not know that was hard.   In the pond yacht every plank was full length,  there were sharp ends on the final pieces however no butt ends.   This is a racing boat and meant to look nice.  Most people paint the hull and put on a nice top.  We chose to keep the cedar look.
  • Downeast Maine schooners were built for freight; the bigger ones for coal.  They were not nice cedar hulls. As I am learning they were red lead below the lower [ empty cargo] waterline and black or white above. I have found documentation verifying this but taken it from pictures.   White hulls at launch often became black at refit.  Also the 10+/- feet of planking  between lower and upper  [ full of cargo] waterline was often coated with a bit of slime.
  • anyway, my sin is to take a little less care because after fiber glassing the hull, it is to be painted.  Also I stuck with the size planking that is way out of scale  5/16 is like 15 inches or 2-3 time wider than real.....but it is painted.

My sin number one was in my learning how to do a good job on making the strips.  I have previously [8 and 5 years ago] made hulls for a 5-6  foot 1/24 scale schooner Gertrude Thebaud...still hanging from the shop ceiling waiting for a restart, and a 4 footer Boston 1853 pilot schooner 1/18 scale that welcomes guests to the shop but also incomplete.  In those years I used a normal " framing " table saw and the cutting left much to be desired as thickness varied and some scarring occurred.  A year or so ago I got a small Proxxon table saw and I am learning to use it.  I experimented with a few thicknesses.  My reason for this long story is I decided to use up all the precut planks knowing there were defects and thus a need for more filling before fiber glass.....sorry.


I am not sure this second point is a sin.   I marked out the shear line on every station and set a plank below that as my starter plank.  You can see in the photos there is some side bending here as there is about 8 feet or 2 inches in scale of shear on this ship.   Looking into the photos of the Maine schooners at launch, I saw their planks were not wide and thus easily followed the whole length of the schooner. their sides were not full of stealers and very little or unnoticeable tapering. The planks remain quite horizontal as they met the stem at the bow.  My strips at 5/16 are way out of scale but are going to be covered. So I honored the process of following the shear line and worked consistently from the shear down to the one garboard.  This required good soaking in ammonia water for all the planks.   Every plank started either at the bow or stern with the soaked end bent both ways and often twisting and coming to a butt joint somewhere along the way.  As each plank was set wet it was allowed to dry. Holding them required several methods based on location and access.  Small brass screws were the best for the most difficult bends, and clamps of different strengths were used. Often I needed to pull the clamp with rubber bands to get the twist.


After drying I would drill 1/16 hole through the strip into each bulkhead. I then touched the hole with a 5/32 drill to help avoid splitting the strip as I tapped in tooth picks at each connection.  I staggered the butt joint and added a splice plate behind with two pegs. Attachment was simple wood glue along the seam and at the bulkheads. Each toothpick was cut in half. the end was dipped in glue set and tapped.


The hull was upside down to  work up to the shear at the bow....downward is reality. I did add tapered stealers between most planks to make up the steep pitch at the  bow, hawse area.  I also needed about three very short stealers at the keel completing the stern section.


As I got to the internal temporary braces they were removed. I plan to reset them as deck supports after removing the bulkheads later.  After sanding I liberally used a water putty over all. sanding the putty and hull made it ready for fiber glass


At this point I added the cedar strips to transom....oops I will show the goof as my the next stage. Before fiberglass it was important to figure out the rudder and drill the shaft hole for the 5/32 sleeve that will house the 1/8 brass rudder post.


lessons learned in these first three stages.

  1. While in the Turbo CAD I should have marked each station with the shear line.  I had to manually go along and mark the bulkheads before starting the first plank. Also I am not sure but perhaps I could have installed the temporary braces at the right location to double duty as temp frame support and future deck support and not have two activities as I do now.
  2. Now with a better saw and some experience....make the strips common and more accurate.  this means slowing down on the saw.   haste does make waste.
  3. If all the strips were full thickness one can do more sand shaping and less fill and shape. 
  4. Thom McLaughlin had us grind a drill into a taper. This way in one action we drill a hole that replicated the pointy end of the tooth pick....it was easier that way and worth considering if more than one boat is intended.
  5. sin three was I used up many tooth picks that were not all round.   This is not great as there were a few times the cedar slit and this caused a need for the second drilling process.
  6. the oops in my error for the transom...next posting

So we are progressing,  taking pond yacht techniques and trying to make a more historical ship.  I fear a few compromises are happening.  this is not a static model. that would have a double planking using 1/16 by no more than 1/8 width. no fiber glass and joints all visible.  One might even try to paint on the slime between water lines!


 end of stage 3













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  • 2 weeks later...

stage 4:   fiberglass the hull


My main goal is to be able to salt water sail , so we need strength. That means coating with fiberglass and therefore loosing any possible plank detail. Years ago I bought a roll of 6 oz Fiber and it was great for smooth hull pond yachts.  [ the Neaskegs by example]   Many experts say no more than 2 oz. should be used on a model.   I absolutely agree that the stem and rudder post needed to be wrapped in 2 oz and I did  that.  [  wish I had done the keel, but I traded off a little rounding again for strength] I opted for the strength of the 6 oz for the main hull.  Again this is learning proto type.


 I turned the hull on its side, so while applying the second resin coating I could better reduce drips and things. I looked at the transom that I had wondered about and saw .......oops?.   the cedar planks did not conform to the carved mold.    So that required a fix to get the right curve. I also used 2oz cloth here in the fix.


Also at this stage I aligned and drilled the hole for the rudder shaft through the Keelson.   Here I made another mistake, by putting the hole exactly where the rudder post should be according to the dimensions.  It would have been fine if this were to be a static model, but I want a working rudder.....I will explain later when I build the sailing rudder and need the brass shaft a bit aft to hide it in the rudder.


end stage 4










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stage 5 first painting and remove building board


I find that painting of the waterlines on these old schooners is a little left to ones imagination.  None of the plans or books I have found give a definitive description of where they chose to separate and truly when did the red lead become universal. In their voyages, there was  roughly half of the time that with full cargo the ship was 10 feet lower in the water. It has been commented in some histories that seaweed and slime coated this 10 foot band while the Schooner sailed empty.   Black and white photos don't help much with mostly black hulls.   What I gather from the few white hulls in launching photos, and respecting the choice of artists, that most favor the lower water line [ empty] .  I took the Douglas Lee sail plan where he indicates what aught to be the painted water line to be just above the 't' indicating the mast steps at the top riders. This point is perhaps 1foot above the low water line [ empty load]. thus I compromised and am 1/4 inch [ 2 feet] up from low water.....


One nice thing about these 'freighters' was they are truly flat as to the keel and the water line, so the building board made marking the water line easy.  I chose for looks to mark both and then to paint the lower one. you can see in the photo. Before painting I had some drips and pits and things so I used some Bondo to clean up the surface a bit.  There will be more clean up after handling but it is time to get the base paint in place. I chose common spay paint in a flat Black and Satin Royal Garnet to replicate the red lead.


After this base painting comes the joy of removing the building board.  Please note that there are two 1/4 stainless ncs/lag bolts coming out of the keel.  these shall sit within the stand to be out of site while on display but allow attachment of the sailing keel that I need to figure out later in a future stage.


I show two details here to record the bow stems 'knighthead blocks" and the transom mold.

  • the knighthead blocks were carved to receive the planking to give it more strength at the bow. The bow spit shall be anchored into the top of these blocks and keelson.  Also I shall penetrate the decking with an attachment to allow the knightheads to have some rigidity as they surround the jib boom.
  • the transom mold as seen from above grabs the keelson. Much more sanding [ carving] to reduce the size and allow the decking and rudder assembly to be build.  

end of stage 5 










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Stage 6 prepare insides and deck beams:


The first item I needed was to get a deck plan to allow layout of the deck structure.   There is a compromise between simply copying the 1/96 design and making it 1/48 to then  make it support radio sail.   I figured the best approach was to draw the plan by extending down all of the bulkhead lines. The aft edge of each bulkhead is the design line. [ my choice for a little sanity] 

I set up a new layer and then did a centerline and offset on either side for each of the dimensions for openings or lengths of beams.  I did this progressively for each beam and then hatch opening [ horizontal/ fore and aft beam]

  • By example I would go to station 6 and set the offset for the length of the beam.  For clarity I trimmed the line to the center side of the station 6 [ right side] and allowed the extensions outward [ to the left] to remain.  This created an intersection
  • I then connected this  intersection with each similar in progression with a polyline to create the perimeter of the deck.
  • I then drew a line snapping to the intersections of the extended bulkhead lines [ 6 in this example]  and the perimeter polyline.  By thickening it up the beams became easy to see.
  • I then connected the horizontal beams for the hatch and house openings


as a side note,

  • if you look in the hull cross section to the right in the photo of the drawing you can see the square frame extending up to make the bulkhead legs that attached each to the building board. this process kept the hull level
  • in the side view you can see the photos of the Douglas Lee Plans 1/96 that were stretched to fit the bulkhead lines that were controlled as they were set up by offsets


planning for radio. 

  • here I looked at the cabins and hatches and decided what I wanted to open for access.  I will lay that out on another layer later. Honestly I am figuring that out as I go.  I am ok with the basics just not sure if I need 2,3 or hopefully not 4 sail servos.  not for now .
  • my selection is to open the aft cabin for rudder, power switch, connect to charge and receiver, then the aft hatch for batteries.  Then combine the center hatch and cabin for the main servos.  Finally the forward hatch will allow access to ties for the forward sheets. there is a water proof issue here so this is only an off water access.
  • this plan resulted in moving several beams to accommodate the best access.


  • I chose to rip down poplar into 5/8 by 5/16 and the cut off a blank for each main beam. 
  • the deck crown is 10 inches, so I used 1/4 inch = 12 inches and touched the high point with a sander.   looks like 10 inches from here 
  • this means after taper each beam will be at least 3/8 deep at the edge and with the 5/16 width a nice surface for gluing down the 1/16 plywood under deck.   [another stage]
  • I used the previous temporary bulk head supports [ removed during planking] for the fill in hatch beams and edge beams.

note: in the Bertha Downs or the Cora Cressy details drawings as reference,  the deck to planking shear plank cross sections have a few different details pending location.  I also have to deal with the main deck that is 1 to 1.5 inch's lower between the main mast and the foremast.    My starting plan for water tightness is to have the under deck 1/16 plywood @ extend over the shear plank and be sanded back. it shall be attached to the beams and shear plank by epoxy. 


There is a problem with this boat's 1895 first of class , shall we say trial and error design that includes the extended poop deck.  This design is well described in the book A Shipyard in Maine. Its major flaw in the design for them was due to weakness.   For me the radio sailor [ optimistically at least]  what to do about little water coming over the rail and into the main deck area ? it is affectively a potential water tank !!!!!!     How do I try to make this area water proof.   


again  this is a proto type....Fortunately the future schooners I will make to not have this extended poop deck and the main deck is a bit higher. back to the process log


Deck plan usage:

  • I took the plan and printed it out in 4 each 11x17 sheets. 
  • Laying on the top of the hull they actually fit, so I was happy. see photo
  • Next I used them to collect each beam as I shaped it .see photo
  • to do that I took my proxxon and set the angle to 3 deg and it nicely cut the "crown" bevel on each side.

Dry fitting deck beams on board:

  • I needed to set up a bow sprit. it allowed extending my centerline by string as far as possible.  see photo
  •  I know it needs to be square and it will be. I do not have a 5/8 square stock and thus substituted a dowel.  Stay tuned, and as soon as I get to the spars, it will be fixed!

Glue up:

  • during the above work I continuously worked on preparing the insides. This involves water spray and scrape to remove all the paper from the stations on the remaining frames.  I had to sand with power drill drum or dremel small drum each frame back down to the 1/2 inch offset line to remain and below the mast steps.  The floor frames also will provide support to lower radio equipment deck to come. In fact they needed to be planned out and loose fit as the largest one could only go in before the beams. they are 1/8  luan plywood and one can be seen in the photos.
  • another continuous part is to dry fit several beams as a batch.  then before I went crazy remembering so many pieces, glue up say 10 or so pieces. 
  • then the remainder of the resin in each batch is used to progressively cover all of the inside planking.  this is done to reinforce the water base wood glue, fill gaps and further assure water tightness.  Also I experimented and used either small steel brads or preferred 14 gauge electrical copper wire as epoxy pegs for cross beams.
  • there were 4 basic glue up batches to get all of the beams in place. it was tricky to find clamping especially for the main deck section between the Main mast and fore mast.  I fear I found some lost vocabulary as I struggled with gravity

The rudder post.

as mentioned I need to redrill the rudder post hole roughly 1/8 to 3/16 aft of the existing hole.  so to prepare for this fix I took a dowel and epoxy glued it into the existing hole. [ a potential leak].  I need to first make the rudder, hide the brass shaft and then see where to drill the hole.


end of stage 6













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I loved your last build of the Lettie Howard.  It was one of many I have been enjoying this past year as I transitioned from work to play [ retirement] and then built up my courage to start sharing.


length of deck:  there are a few different opinions as I hear it.

  • the purists say, I believe I understand it, that the rudder post to forward end of the main deck is the regulation length.  Douglas Lee says reg length is 219.3 feet.  that would be just under 55 inches
  • I on the other hand am not limited to be a purest.  I say from the tail of the Poop deck to the forward end of the forecastle deck and it measures  238 feet on the drawing.  That scales to 59.5 and I surprised myself as I just measured and it was right on.  Thus I say if you add the forward and aft rails at a 1/4" each, its a five footer   ha ha

wait till I add the jib boom to the bow sprit and over hang the spanker boom. that is another 20 + inches  I hope it fits in the car?????  oops



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stage 7 part 1


this is not really a stage; it will be all the work in many categories that should be done before the drastic step of gluing down the under deck. it includes

  1. all the planning for sailing rigging, mounting of servos and string loops and rings for tie off of the various sheets
  2. completion of the hull detailing
  3. roughing out the spars
  4. building and installing the rudder 
  5. planning out ballast and the mounted keel
  6. planning for the upper deck planks and deck furniture that like knightheads that might  need to penetrate.
  7. planning for the vertical walls at forward drop from the poop deck and forward cabin and forecastle structure. 
  8. the other things that I will likely forget to do before gluing it down

This post is the first part as it represents figuring out some of this. I include the following photos to describe this first week of activity. 


To design the keel I have decided to follow in principal the Marblehead vintage class.  They are 50 inch boats.  I researched the A boats many years back, and they were close to 60 inches but had very similar lines.  I include views of two Marbleheads:

  • the first is the Naskeag which has split lead bulbs @ 10 # on plywood 'dagger' board shape. The design builds out the keel section but I chose not to that on mine.  This deeper narrower dagger would be the modern vintage look I guess ????
  • the second  is an Antique Gus Lassel boat built in 1936 that I bought in Marblehead about 15 years ago. It was in bad shape and I restored it [ probably ruining the antique value alas].......The keel is 1/4 plywood built up with cedar clapboards for a nice shape.  The lead is a full bulb with brass rods holding it to the hull, and I prefer to avoid that detail but like the more classic sweep.
  • My compromise plan is to us the split bulb on 1/2 plywood [ still thinking about thickness and I may laminate with 1/4 plus cedar clapboard.]    This choice avoids any penetrations to the hull.  I would never display this boat with the keel so I almost want it to look extra.

To determine the weight of bulb, I need to get on with  a few things. 

  • I include a picture of Turbo CAD taking the area below the water line on one station.  I did it and then dropped it 1/4 " just to understand the difference in displacement and have a tolerable range.
  • Using a simple excel sheet I calculated that the 3 inch water line displaces 36 pounds.  
  • The hull today is 10 pounds, so what I need to figure out is what the completed boat shall weigh. 
  • To raise the boat 1/4 inch [ reduce the waterline 1/4] removes about 5 pounds, so that is a range that I would be happy with .  
  • I believe  I am headed toward 13-15 pounds required in the bulb if that is sole source of ballast.  I have small lead pieces that I could add to the bilge if I chose. 
  • I still have my old mold that I carved out for the Naskeag bulbs. each half was 5 #.  By adding a layer 1/4 inch deeper and roughly 1/4 all around I add about 2# to the half.  I think that would get me there.

Rudder design

  • I show the Cad work to design a Naskeag style rudder for sailing.  I hope it can be removable. This is risky but worth it. 
  • with this design I will have 1/8 wood forward of the1/8  brass shaft.  this dimension and allowing 1/16 clear, I shall redrill the rudder shaft hole 3/16 aft
  • the skin of the rudder is 1/16 birch plywood. the brass rod is bent into the rudder for torque.  a separate sleeve at the bottom allows a brass rod to penetrate the extend keel and shoe.  
  • I show the mock up of the rudder.....easy to see how much better it would look if the outer part can be removed when not sailing.

Masts and spars.  

  • again several years ago I was studying masts and learned that Sitka Spruce from Oregon up to Alaska was the best material.  I saw more and more of it on friendship sloops and other Maine boats. I bought some 3/4 and 1/2 stock 7 feet long to build masts for the Marblehead Naskeag.   They are in deed beautiful.
  • reading A Shipyard in Maine, you learn that by 1895 the tall spruces of New England were gone.  Large 100 foot spruce from Oregon was trained across the continent and wiggled down the trolley track to the shipyard.  So what better material for my replica of  a Maine Schooner than Sitka Spruce!!!.   I cut out 4 blanks and have since rounded them and shaped them.
  • For all the other spars I defer to the poplar dowels.  As lengths are only 11 to 13 inches they should be durable and in most cases allow thinning down some at the ends. I did the upper masts today.
  • I found I did have some square poplar 5/8 and replaced my bowsprit

servos etc...I have ordered more servos


deck and hull details:

  • I need about one and a half planks added to the center of the transom to come up and meet the poop deck crown.
  • I needed about half and plank tapered to bring up the sides at forecastle deck and bowsprit.  The bowsprit goes inboard  under the forecastle deck.

stay tuned for part 2

















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Your scratch Notman build is looking sharp. I like the idea of Sitka spruce for the masting. How does it's graining look? I have only read about it, not having seen it. I too will enjoy watching your sailer develop.


All the best,



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Yes, I used to do all that calculating and designing but I never listed it like this.  As a list it looks like a lot of work but the doing was fun.  The added rudder and keel look good but they are always tricky to attach so it doesn’t show when on display.  I was right this is a fun build to watch.  Thanks.



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  • stage 7 part 2


I continue a bit scattered in my activity. I find as I study one aspect to another I need something.....how unusual.  with almost four feet of snow over the past several weeks here in Maine, I am challenging UPS, fed ex ground et al.  


currently on order

  • a handle so I can use the small dies to cut threads onto the 1/8 brass rods needed to attach the sailing rudder to the display rudder.  see photo
    • with this approach there will be two 1/8 threaded rods protruding from the display rudder. the sailing rudder would slide on to the rods and with holes perhaps 3/4" , allow fitting a washer and nut to hold it in place.
    • I may try to build the display rudder with two holes but I fear it isn't big enough. To add washer and nut would take up too much of the display rudder.
    • I need the rods to transfer the torque of the sailing rudder and thus the longer bend of the brass will take the stress better. unfortunately that means a few extraneous rods.
    • I have seen nesting connecting rods but that are typical 1/4 diameter or bigger.
  • servos of two types on order.  This is my weakest area of knowledge, and I will be experimenting on this subject.  I will need switches and wires and connectors and and ?? I am sure more than one more order hear.
  • mast hoops for a sailing model.
    • well I tried cutting out of copper pipe. with the patina the old pipe is a nice brown.  Also I actually have a few pieces of 5/8 ID recovered from my brothers steam engine shop. The problem is that using a band saw the best I can do makes them1/8 and that would be 6 inches wide....urgh
    • I ordered the birch plywood ones from Bluejacket. they are wonderful for static models.  I am not sure if they are strong enough and will do some testing.
    • I ordered copper flat washers 17 x 21 MM and 1.5 mm thick.   If the copper will age, they may be perfect. I anxiously await them.
    • making up a roll and cutting...I am still stuck with the thickness issue and strength for sailing
    • I have o rings that would be very functional but hopefully I can avoid using. To buy them brown is >$.30 each   wow
  • anchors...two sizes on the way with other fittings from Bluejacket....they will protrude from the hull and need to be water proofed. This is to be a story in itself..
  • Resin....off to the local store
  • sail and rigging material.
    • I have lots of nice Muslim that I use for stationary sails.  since I plan to look at the model more than to sail it , I plan to try them first.  I am also thinking about trying some 2 oz Dacron.  More to think about
    • I need sheets that work well, feed through the fairleads, allow for on the water adjustment etc. but don't look too big.  I believe this will be an area to justify a little over sizing. 
    • Lizards and seized grommets are nicely described by Douglas Lee for both lacing to gaffs and lashing to hoops.  The smallest brass grommets I have are OK for the clew , reef points etc. but too big for lacing. On stationary models I just sewed the hoops and that is my current choice
    • shrouds are cable.  I can not put too much load on cable to keep it straight.  I plan to use wire and copper/brass pipe for crimps. Again the problem is scale.  I have some thin wire bought years ago from Fisher and that is another internet search.
    • turnbuckles.  My method is 2 brass eyes tail to tail with a 1/16 brass tube all glued. In stationary I would just make it up by using black coated wire.  Here I am trying to make galvanized and would love to figure out how to make the slots.  On the lower mast shrouds they line up and have a wooden turnbuckle keeper...nice detail if I can doo it



mast stepping

  • this was a lot of fun.  Here I set up the hull on the level work bench and did my measuring to get the mast all to the same point.   The tops of the lower masts on these schooners was level as they are all connected with spring stays.
  • I then checked it out with a 4 foot carpenter level and yippee.
  • I then build the mast deck surrounds.
  • one minor fact to note is that the rake of the masts changes as one works aft.  The foremast rake is 1.75, the main and mizzen are 2 inches and the spanker is 2.25.

more preparation prior to the under deck 

  • the fairing process goes on. I needed a little more on the transom to make it square up and several cross beams
  • to be able to set the anchors I need to build inward the hawse planks . I call it a wall in this case.  I shall drill the hawse holes through all of this.  I will then add a second block with a smaller hole to receive the anchor shaft, then hopefully this opening will be water proof.
  • masts:   the Sitka spuce is pretty. If I just varnish it , it will also be pretty but light.   The old masts were all oil and not so pretty.  I have experimented and selected a light coating of cherry stain .  In the first photo I just applied it to the first mast....it covers the grain.  in the second photo I have rubbed off most of the stain and the grain comes through and I hope I am more representative of oiled spruce.
  • the 3rd photo shows all the other spars after their coat of rubbed stain. the yokes were made of a hard wood for strength. it has a tiger maple look to it and it will be a shame if or when I paint them all black......
  • all spars get clear polyurethane.
  • I set the bow sprit after adding the bee, the jib boom block and some brass bobstay bands. again I continue to use copper wire epoxied as pins where I am looking for added strength. I used them also in evey cross beam connection on the deck framing and mast surrounds


all for part 2











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Jond: I would suggest using Supplex or Taslan fabric for the sails, its what many sailers over at RC Groups (myself included) use for sails. Supplex is a water resistant nylon fabric that has been engineered to look and feel more like cotton and is great for sails on radio controlled models. The fabric can be cut with a hot knife (in my case a soldering iron with a very pointy tip) to make a nice clean edge that wont fray. I glue the material with a waterproof fabric glue called Aleene's fabric fusion and add the seems for the bolts with a fine point permanent marker so very little actual stitching is required and the results are very realistic looking. Supplex  can be found on Rokywoods.com they were out of stock on white Supplex when I bought mine so I got Taslan instead but they are both the same fabric I guess you can say that Supplex is just a brand name for taslanized nylon fabric.






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  • 2 weeks later...

stage 7 final part 3


This final part started by taking the model to our monthly meeting of the Downeast Modelers Guild held monthly at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. Part of the purpose was to get help on issues I am struggling with as I find my way.  I got some good ideas for Mast hoops that can sail, agreement that someone needs to help me with my soldering, and guidance on several options for large quantity of turn buckles I am going need.


Well back to work on all that must be done before gluing down the under deck


Anchors:    Studying the Cora Cressy [ 5 master] details the anchors were said to be Baldt Stockless Anchors at 8000 pounds, roughly 6 feet across.    Studying the Bertha Downs [ 4 master] details the anchors were said to be similar Stockless anchor at 4000 pounds, roughly 3 feet across.     gee what to do??     I went to good old Blue Jacket Shipcrafters and ordered two sizes so I could compare and decide.  see in the photo.  I chose the compromise and they are about 4.5 feet across.  If that is a straight line comparison they would be perhaps 5500 pounds.  My thought is they were from the same builder as the Cora Cressy, so even though a smaller boat and 7 years earlier, I  chose to go with the larger size than the Bertha Down.    Any way I also chose them because they look great.   I filed them enough so they would swing properly and project from the hawse pipe that was roughly 30% on the vertical .  I used some 2oz cloth across the inside of the block and three coats of resin to be sure to be good and rigid and hopefully water proof.




here I set up four servos

  • The fore staysail and the flying jib both have small booms and therefore short swings.  The servo is forward and I made a single loop with one ring to tie both sheets.  The sheets have to be routed either through the fore cabin or all the way through the foc'sle deck. For that I also gouged out the Bowsprit under the deck as the sheet comes up forward of the bitts.  I used the little brass servo washers as fairleads.  This servo will likely run in series with the main servo . I will show later.
  • The outer jib and jib staysail are tricky.  The servo is forward with a single loop. There are two rings, one on each side, so one goes forward slacking while the other comes aft and tightens.   They have sheets leading to the aft of the foc'sle deck that wrap up and over the inner stays.   This will be tricky to adjust, to avoid snagging etc etc.  My theory is [ untested][ with a little slack in the loose sheet there is hesitation, so when I start the servo, the windward side ring goes forward the sheet loosens before the other tugs.  The leeward sheet runs as its ring on the loop return goes aft to pull the sheet all the way around.  I get about 7 inches in each direction and will work to make this work.  I will do more later but I think this servo will be on its own signal and be in delay to the change of direction.
  • The main sail servo is located aft. It has a single loop and 4 rings.  The rings, like the jib rings all are located to hopefully sit under the hatch openings when at rest.  All four masts will have the same cycle that I assume will be roughly 5-6" of the available 7 inches.   The sheets come up just forward of each mast 3 times and aft of the rudder for the spanker. I may have to cheat to get the spanker sheet angles to math with the shorter booms.
  • The rudder is a struggle because there is no access over the rudder post for standard fitting.  In my base design all the deck beams are similar [ deep] and the rudder post [ 1/8 brass rod] was to be bent at 90 deg forward to allow access to its attachment inside the cockpit [ opened after cabin].
  • One of the Downeast Guild members with lots of sailing experience came over to inspect before I did the deck.  Like other pond yacht sailors these guys think about sailing and on the water adjustments more than scale . They also think about what snags will catch  lines and break the servo as we try to come about.   " shouldn't I run the loops up on deck?????"
  • My answer is I am building a scale model that can sail perhaps occasionally, not a racing boat.   Not sure I pass the test.
  • After Tom left I thought more about the rudder and decided to redo it.  I removed the deep beam and replaced it with a coped beam giving access aft of the cockpit.  I then 'Dremel sand gouged' out more of the transom block around the rudder giving it more space.  I can now use a standard pond yacht steering arm. It goes on the shaft at installation and the allen wrench access can be done from the cockpit.  I am still using the string instead of direct connection. I am also using a larger servo as I do not yet understand how much force will come in through the rudder....


After gluing up the inner section [ 3 ply of ply wood]  with L shaped brass shafts encased, I planked the outside to get the right look. I then shaped the sailing rudder including slots to receive the two brass rods.  I dry fit it so I could mark the water line. It needs more work and will be in place before the after deck.


Final prep for the decking is fairing and more fairing. I also added under blocking for the bits.    


we are ready for the deck...I hope.... or better said....I have decided to install the under deck...end stage 7












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stage 8 glue down the under deck


Well I have the second to last messy, or more like carpenter process to get through here before we focus on scale model issues. I can't wait for that change.   


This stage glue up started with the foc'sle deck. I used several screws to hold the curves and clamps and it went OK. Everything here is wes system for water proof.   As I moved to the main deck I again used screws. It was at his point that I started to worry about all the holes I was leaving and trying to fill with resin.  When I progressed to the extended poop deck Starboard side, I reduced the screws by adding boxes of lead weights to hold down the edge.  By the time I did the Port side I used all lead and clamps and no screws.  


I had to finish up the rudder. I planked it, and while painting I was able to better see between coats and remove the few resin spots that made it to the planking.  


A final coat of resin puts the waterproofing here below the finish materials.  The decking at this scale and other detail I fear would be lost if coated. Considering all the new holes I will make for bitts and things I may be wrong but at least it will be out of sight. Looking at the deck photo, nothing there will be visible.   


The next and hopeful last messy work area is clear to see in the photo of gluing down the last aft poop deck with the rudder in place.    I will need to turn the boat back over and clean it up, filling and sanding the sides again and getting a good black coat up to the under deck.  But first I need to get out of the snow for a few days and we are headed to Florida. At least I leave it almost looking like a boat.  :D











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  • 1 month later...

well we're back.  It is two days into spring and it is still snowing.....nuts.  anyway this is a fun step. 


step 9  clean up the hull and start making the fly rails. 


I said last time there is a need to turn over the hull and work on the shear planks.  The underdeck plywood projects out across the hull planking.  It is not part of the " upper" [ extended poop deck] plank shear.   I sanded, filled and cleaned up the edge.  I then added the waterway planks above with a 1/16 projection.  For the width of the waterway in different zones, I went around and around comparing details between the Bertha Down and the Cora Cressy and make a few compromises. In general I left the combined water way to be just over 2 feet. Fortunately the decking starts in the center, so as the decking progresses I will visit this decision again.   In several of the details there is a third water plank roughly 9 inches [ 3/16"].   I have a piece, and I tried it.    I just don't like the look of it....yet.    I ripped down miscellaneous hard wood strips for these inner pieces and used milled 1/8" x 1/4" basswood for the outer piece as it is easier to align.

  • For the "lower" main deck shear plank I added a 3/32" by 1/16" basswood planks around the hull. I followed the Douglas Lee drawings which showed it to be parallel to the upper shear plank. 
  • I then added the chock rail in the forecastle area.
  • I found I needed to infill the side bulkheads above the main deck in the recessed area [ between the main and fore masts]  to allow the best completion of the transition from this area to the upper shear plank that carries forward from the poop deck to the forecastle. Here again I had to decide what to do.  The Cora Cressy showed this area enclosed on the interior and the Bertha Downs left the structure exposed.  I chose to close it in, as that detail is the same builder as the Cora C.  The bottom two planks were 1/16" and the upper 1/32", so I needed to put in all the stations @ 3' to hold the 1/32" planks.  I also chose to fill in the break wall at the forward end of the poop deck because access would become more difficult.
  • I was able to do some clean up and repaint the hull. Painting the waterways was just fun!

production time.

I need to make 110 or so turned posts for the fly rails and some other details.   I got a small lathe from my brother's shop and this is all a learning process.  

  • my first free hand attempt to make 8 posts was not good. I had about three different size ball sections.  I chose to connect two razor saw blades over a 1/8 by 1/4 plank so I could cut consistent 1/8 slots.  I then was able to use small angle and or square files to shape the turned section of the post. 
  • I got a supply of hard wood from the Downeast modelers guild.  Sorry but I am not able to know which is which.  Several planks looked perfect though they were just a hair big......second attempt  see photo.
  • I jump ahead to show when I tried one it was just too big so I had to rip down the strips to the 1/8 by 1/8 size and redo them.....next posting 

I need almost 90 mast hoops for 5/8" mast and similar for the top mast.....1/4" and 5/16".  I know I should be learning how to roll 1/64" plywood or other schemes.  I choose however to try used aged ' natural patina or even treated' copper.   To save my sanity....I am not good enough yet to slice 100 rings off copper tube with consistent 1.5 MM width..... I cheated and bought some.   I show them next to some older ones I have that with sufficient age turned brown. they look ok to me.   For the next month I have put the new ones outside to see sun and rain and see how they darken.   I may treat them but that is for another time.










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here is an interim step to get ready for decking.  call it step 10 part 1  as there is more to do before general decking


complete flyrail

  • This was a fun project. As I showed last time the first turned flyrail posts were too big,  so I went back to the lathe and reworked those previously done and continued to run the production line.
  • I laminated the taft rail using 1/32" basswood. I soaked it and set it with pins to dry.  I glued the first one and then as I added the rest to shape, their wetness undid to glue....oops. Anyway adding more pins and clamping saved the day. 
  • The side rails were ripped down hard wood.  I also had to cant them 10 degrees.  Before gluing it down, I used my mini drill press [ my new present to myself for the year].  Then I glued and nailed the rail to the water plank leaving the 1/16" projection.  I then took soft copper wire and super glued it into the holes [ see photo].
  • I took the turned posts to the band saw. I marked out lines at 22 degrees and then placed a mark at mid points of each post.  I then turned them 22 degrees and cut them out.
  • I set up quality control after cutting and had to take 10% and touch them to the sanding disk. I then took them and drilled small holes in the bottom to accept the setting pins.
  • A little more super glue and turned posts were glued both to the pin and the rail. I set the 3/16" x 1/16" basswood fly rail as a guide to help line them up.   Despite checking them there were still several that needed 1/32 shims to fill in to the fly rail. Also a little filling was needed as some for the holes drilled into the small posts came through.
  • I set the straight turned posts at the taft rail and used 5 pieces of plank to tie in the rail.  I carved it to shape and wow!
  • After painting the rails we are on our way....not sure where ..but definitely it's a boat.


pre decking

  • I found much conflicting information while researching decking.  In general the plans show this schooner was done in 4"x4"s.  In subsequent years they upped the deck to 5"x4" and then some at 6"x4".  Also the 6 "king" planks using 6"x4" showed up on all but the plans for Charles Notman.    I decided to install the 6 each 6" inch [ 1/8"] planks as I set the masts holes and some key furniture. 
  • I also decided to order new 3/32" X 1/16" basswood for the planking. I am OK milling down to 1/8" but am concerned for quality at thinner. 
  • I needed to complete the forward house. To do that I needed the side winches, so I went back to the lathe. I had fun turning down simple dowels with files to get the shape. I penetrated the house with copper wire again and am ready to glue them up.
  • I turned the two foc'sle winches. I tried different woods and failed, so for now [ then easily be replaced when I learn better] I filed down a 3/8" poplar dowels.  I used a brass nail head and cut a brass screw head to make the tops.
  • I ended by making the fore & aft bitts and steering house.   I set the small forward deck at the fore bitts.   I built a temporary wheel house [ I hope to replace it after making an emergency tiller to add to the detail. In fact I have an idea to make the steering gear and having the box open but that needs more learned skills and perhaps not a sailing model.

lots more to do before decking















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Hi Jond


Wow! Your ship looks brilliant...and huge! I can't wait until launch day, because she's going to look fantastic underway.


Out of interest, how will you transport the ship to the water's edge? Will you have a cradle/trolley, perhaps?





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