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Cricket 03-23-2020 07:05 PM

Model Boat Building
Hi again folks,
Sequestered in my Brooklyn townhouse for the foreseeable future. I'm closed out of our commercial shop, as well as my boat shop on Jamaica Bay. Bummer, but not sick (yet). I made it out on Saturday and spent the day cutting and milling a pile of sticks (oak, ash, sp. cedar, wr cedar, and white pine) for some new boat models. I also brought home a little Delta jobsite table saw, and my oscillating spindle sander. Plus I have my bench and all my hand tools are.
I joined a ship modellers forum, and have already discovered a world of new tools that I can't afford. This company,
makes beautiful small machinery for the modeler, even thickness sanders, and of course there is Dremel and Proxxon, and the like.

First up is a 1:8 scale (1-1/2" = 1'-0") double ended Chesapeake Sharpie, from Howard Chapelle. Chapelle did an enormous amount of research and measured hundreds and hundreds of old hulls, particularly around the Chesapeake Bay, wrote many books, and published papers for the Smithsonian in an effort to preserve the maritime history of the US. This design was modeled after the double ended Hooper Island, Md. crab skiffs. These skiffs were used for dip netting soft crabs, as gunning skiffs, and later as all out racing sailboats, some with spring boards for hiking out like the famous log canoes. Chapelleís version was designed, Iím sure, for pleasure boating. The Smithsonian has in itís collection all of Chapelleís many drawings, and has made available full size prints of every one, for a modest cost. I have quite a few in my flat files, and here below are the 3 drawings from this set, first published in his book ďBoatbuildingĒ.

Also, here are some pics of a very similar boat, from the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

The lines and construction plans shown here are drawn at 1:12. I want a 1:8 model, and rather than just use the offsets, Iím re-lofting the boat at my intended scale. I want to be sure there are no errors in the offsets, plus Iíd like to work out some alternate construction details for the boat. This is exactly the approach I would take if I were building a full size boat. I found a nice scrap of masonite to draw on, and painted it eggshell white. Iím just about set to start drawing.

Stay tunedÖ

TahoeTwoBears 03-24-2020 05:50 PM

Re: Model Boat Building
Cool, I've never considered building a model of something I've liked. I'm way behind on home projects, but this is something to consider when (if ever) I get caught up. Thanks for this. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

Cricket 03-25-2020 10:40 PM

Re: Model Boat Building
Itís come to this-
I'm locked out of both shops. But I brought home this little Delta table saw. I actually got it cutting pretty good, with a sharp Freud blade off of the Skil saw. It cuts delicate things nice, if I slide a thin piece of MDF under the stock. Beats having nothing, anyway.

So here is my stack of boat parts, sized and labeled.

Iím working on the lofting now. I have the profile and plan views done. The body plan is next, but Iíll lay draw that in the computer, since this hull is a set of straight lines in section. I drew out my strong back right on the lofting, and its position relative to the lofted baseline will appear in the body plan, too. The baseline, which is also the half breadth centerline is the point from which all dimensions of the boat are measured from. The waterline is parallel to the baseline, as is the plane of the strongback which I drew as well.

One of the 50 or so curves from my Ships Curves set.

Here's the lines as lofted, right side up. The strongback is drawn above, upside down.

And here is the lofting, flipped over, with the strongback under the hull as it will be set up.

A closeup of the bow lines.

And the stern.

All of this might make more sense when I show the body plan next time. This simple hull requires only a few lines to define itís shape, unlike the peapod I built earlier which has a host of waterlines, buttocks, and diagonals to define itís more complex shape.

I hope to be setting up the strongback tomorrow,
Thanks for lookingÖ.

Wonderwino 03-27-2020 12:06 AM

Re: Model Boat Building
Looks like a fun project! I'm "sheltering in shop," too.

Cricket 03-28-2020 10:14 PM

Re: Model Boat Building
I finished the lofting, and body plan, and laid out the shape of the molds with notches for keelson, chine, and sheer clamp.

There re 9 design stations for this boat, but I'm using only 5 to plank the model. Hopefully that's sufficient to define the shape, and give support to the backbone pieces. Tomorrow I'll set up the strongback, and hopefully cut out the molds. I need to find some 3M spray adhesive somewhere. I know we have some in the shop. I'll try to slip in and grab a can.


Cricket 04-01-2020 01:50 PM

Re: Model Boat Building
I had some bizness to attend to over the last couple of days, so I made only a little progress on the model. One thing I did was join a ship model forum, and through that was contacted by a modeler down in Va. who is quite familiar with Chesapeake working craft. His work is awesome, and he knows some of the same people I do down there. Check out his website.

I got the strongback made, from my lofted dimensions, and set up a thread for a centerline to set up my molds.

I also got the mold patterns glued down to the plywood mold stock.

I made a little auxiliary table for the jig saw, and clamped it upside down in the vise with a metal cutting blade. It's a little bouncy and rough, but works okay. Will have to do for the moment.

At this point, I've started cutting, notching, and beveling the molds. Then I'll set them all up on the strongback.

Stay tuned...

Cricket 04-03-2020 11:37 PM

Re: Model Boat Building
Iíve got all the molds cut out now and beveled, and Iíve set them up on the strong back. I probably could just as well have left them unbeveled, and set them up on the other side of their respective station lines. I usually do this with full size boats, but for some reason I decided to bevel them for better contact with the planking. I also decided to make a plumb cut on the moulds from the sheer clamp notch, to hopefully facilitate lifting the model straight up off the moulds after planking. weíll see how this pans out.

Iím gluing the moulds to the strong back, and installing braces after carefully squaring them up plumb from the base.

Another thing I like to do with full size boats, is to erect a fore and aft stem mould. This puts the stem (and stern post in a double ender) in the correct position, and helps fair the keelson at the very ends of the boat. Itís a little bit in the way for some operations, but I think itís worth holding the stem steady. Weíll see.

I like to trace parts on mylar or vellum from the lofting, and then use a push pin to transfer the lines to the stock. For linear parts, this is simple. Curved parts require more pin pricks. I find this method to be accurate. You can just see some of the pin pricks in this photo of the bow stem.

Iíll probably regret it, but Iím cutting the backbone pieces out of oak. A mix of red and white, whatever I could find in the scrap pile. Weíll see how hard it is to bevel I can lay out some of the bevels and cut them on the bench before installing them on the strong back. The keelson has been sawn out and faired, but I have to cut the ends where it fairs into stem and stern.

I think I will loft the ends a little more carefully in Vectorworks, so I can see better what is going on. Itís a bit of a muddle on the lofting. I can isolate specific views in the computer. Im trying to get bevel info on the stems in particular. Anyway, moving onward. Oh, and I received my first model specific tools today. A pair of machinistís clamps. I call them handscrews. These are 2Ēers. Still to come are tweezers and a set of diamond files.


Cricket 04-06-2020 02:57 PM

Re: Model Boat Building
I finally seem to be making a little visible progress. I lofted the stem bevels in Vectorworks, and came up with at least a preliminary shape for the keelson ends.
For the stem bevels, I tried clamping them a couple of different ways so I could plane or chisel them, but finally just clamped a block plane in the vise and used it like a jointer, running the stems over the blade at a skewed angle which worked very well, even for the bow stem which has some curvature.

After some fooling around, I got the stem and stern post anchored well enough that I could glue the keelson down to them. I made little forks that lock them in place at the strongback, but had to add a little birdsmouth jig to fit the stem bevels. I split the first one, and had to drill little relief holes at the vee, which solved the problem.

After realizing that the stems were not wide enough to land the chine logs and sheer clamps on, I added small blocks on the stemsí inboard edges to give a good gluing surface for the long, compound bevels on the chines and clamps. I did this as well on the 23í deadrise skiff we recently built (see the pics below). On the model, I could just as well have made the stems wider to start with. They will be hidden under the decks. Then I had to notch the stem moulds for the add-ons, and now Iíll have to figure out how to cut those molds out of the way so I can lift the hull off later. BTW, Iím making the stems in two pieces, inner and outer, which was fairly typical Chesapeake construction according to Chapelle. I always do my full size boats that way too.

The compound bevels on the chines and clamps were relatively easy to cut. Iíve cut enough of those in real life that I can go about it without much back and forth.

Getting those pieces to lay flat in the mould notches is another story. I think Iíve come up with a method for that, which Iíll try before beveling and fairing begins. At any rate, the chines and clamps are glued on, and the backbone is complete. I have not yet cut the centerboard slot. I probably should do that before the bottom planking goes on. But thatís later.

I know this a fairly simple simple project, compared to many. But I am challenged! Iíve already realized a dozen things I would do differently next time. Thatís progress, I guess. Thanks for looking.

Cricket 04-11-2020 08:53 PM

Re: Model Boat Building
I might have mentioned before that my chine and sheer clamps are a little ďfloatyĒ in their notches, which makes it frustrating for fairing. I suppose I could have laminated those parts from 2, thinner pieces which might help them retain the necessary twist. Is this common practice with model builders? I don't know. At any rate, in an attempt to stabilize them, I drilled little holes in the parts close to the moulds, knotted a thread, and pulled the knot, with glue, into the hole. I then wrapped the loose end around a screw driven into the mould, pulling in and down at the same time. It helps, but doesnít completely solve the problem.

After rigging the threads, I went ahead and beveled/faired the chines and sheer. Iím still futzing with the bevels on the keelson and chines up in the very ends, and likely wonít resolve those spots until after the side planks are on. I have to establish the point of transition from overlap to butt at the sides, too.

With most of the beveling done, I spiled the first side plank. This I did with a spare piece of planking stock, clamping it on the boat with no edge set, letting the ends drop where they naturally wanted to lay. I put a tick mark on the mould centers, then used a 3/4Ē wide rule with the top edge set up to the chine line, and marked the bottom edge on the spile board at several locations along the hull.

I then layed the spile board on a piece of planking, and repeated the process in reverse, marking location, and span with the same rule. Then I laid out a fair curve with spline and ducks, as usual.
In cutting the plank out on my jigsaw table, I split the plank (the jigsaw is a little brutal). But I glued the split back together, and will use that as a pattern for both sides. Thatís where Iím at right now. Today I hope to get the side planks installed.

Thanks for tuning in!

Cricket 04-13-2020 02:45 PM

Re: Model Boat Building
Got the side planks glued on today. This is a two plank per side boat, being low of freeboard, like all traditional sharpies, and from a time where wide, flitch sawn boards were available. I did the same thing with the model, but rather than hang two, separate planks, I got out the lower plank (not really called a garboard plank in a vee bottom hull) with the chine edge cut to shape and the upper edge left straight, then glued another straight edge plank to the first, and cut the sheer shape on the upper edge of that. I then was able to install the whole thing like a sheet of plywood. I was careful however, to make the sheer plank a sensible width, and keep both sides the same in case the seam shows up, or I decide to express the seam somehow. The lower plank sweeps up pretty high on the stem and stern post with the two planks nearly equal in width amidship. Iím pretty sure this is how the boat would have been planked. The lower plank can be cut from a 12Ē-14Ē wide board. No sweat in them days. And even now, clear eastern white pine can be found that wide. At any rate, I think the plank seam is visible in some of the pics.

I left the planks a tad wide, rehung them on the boat, and marked them out again, marking also the other edges of the chine, sheer clamps, and stems, so I would know where to put the glue.

I used Titebond for gluing them on, as I wanted enough working time to get everything just right, and the clamps on. I found these little plastic spring clamps at Harbor Freight. Six for $1.99. Bought a bag full of various clamps for $12.00. The ends of the planks are tricky to clamp, just like on full size boats, and the second one is worse than the first. I used sticky back sandpaper on little cauls to grab the planking, and it worked well enough. A better solution would be tapered cauls with sandpaper glued on with Titebond.

This is a milestone of sorts, and I finally think Iím making some progress. Bottom planking is next, Chesapeake style. Stay tuned.

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