Author Topic: French 36 Pounder  (Read 5439 times)

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Offline Greif

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French 36 Pounder
« on: 19 Feb , 2010, 13:36 »
Last Sunday afternoon I was working on my build of the DKM Bismarck.  Some friends of my wife came over for coffee and I few minutes after they arrived my wife asked my to come upstairs.  One of her friends had brought a wooden model kit over.  She explained that her husband had bought it several years ago but decided it was too complex for him and put it away in the closet.  She had found it and as his birthday was soon she asked if I would be willing to build it so she could give it to her husband as a gift.  After looking the kit over I decided I could turn out a presentable model and told her I would be glad to build it.  "When do you need it by?', I asked.  "This coming Saturday," says she. "Eeek!!!" think I.  

Well after around 17 hours of work it is done, and on time at that.  :)  The build was pretty easy, and pretty relaxing compared to putting tiny PE pieces on Bismarck turrets.  This was the first wooden model I have built and I was pleasently surprised at the quality of the parts.  Everything went together in a straightforward manner, which is a good thing as the instructions were less then clear in some areas and lacked organization.  I used mostly oak stain to color the wood with a few parts stained walnut.  I painted the carriage red, the darned pictures have an orangish hue, and the wheels black as per the instructions.  Rigging the kit was the most difficult part of the build as I have never done any rigging before.  It turned out ok for a first attempt, but I am sure some of you old hands can find plenty of mistakes.  To be honest this build sparked my interest in wooden kits and I am considering buying the Mantua "Gun Deck" kit to try something a little more challenging to build - in the future of course!

Enjoy the pictures!
Ernest  
« Last Edit: 19 Feb , 2010, 14:56 by Greif »

Offline Greif

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #1 on: 19 Feb , 2010, 13:42 »
A few more pictures!

Ernest

Offline Siara

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #2 on: 19 Feb , 2010, 15:57 »
Nice model Ernest!

Offline Rokket

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #3 on: 19 Feb , 2010, 22:22 »
Nice model and nicely done! What a challenge, well met!

I've always wanted this one (or that 3 decker I've seen), maybe one day. I used to work aboard the replica Mayflower II, and have sailed on the Maryland Dove, so I'm a sucker for Age of Sail stuff. I think a nice dio from an Aubrey novel would be good, or Hornblower...

Thanks for sharing, great stuff, great gift because you built it!
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Offline Greif

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #4 on: 22 Feb , 2010, 14:08 »
Thanks for the kind words Wink and Siara.  My wife's friend was very happy with the model.  The best part was my wife was beaming with pride; it was almost as if she had built the kit herself!   :D  And I got a "hero's" treatment later on for being such a good sport and doing such a good deed!  ;)

Ernest

Offline Rokket

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #5 on: 25 Feb , 2010, 05:18 »
GOOD for you! Nice when they "get it," even a little bit.
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Offline Pat

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #6 on: 26 Feb , 2010, 17:10 »
Very nice work on the gun Ernest.  Even moreso considering it was your first wooden kit, not a subject that you're familiar with and especially that you did it in such a fantastically short time.  I built one very similar a decade ago and it must have taken me a couple of months.

It'll make a great display on their mantel or some such, or maybe on a desk (he can turn the barrel in different directions like a court martial sword, depending on what's on his mind)

Offline Greif

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #7 on: 01 Mar , 2010, 01:15 »
Thank you Pat!  I take it from some of your comments in other threads that you have built a few, or prehaps more than a few, wooden ships.  I really admire the craftsmanship and beauty of those builds.  Maybe someday I will "crossover" a bit and try my hand at one.  Seems like there are alot of specialized skills to master however.  I was just reading about hull planking techniques and it seems quite complex and skill intensive.

Ernest

Very nice work on the gun Ernest.  Even moreso considering it was your first wooden kit, not a subject that you're familiar with and especially that you did it in such a fantastically short time.  I built one very similar a decade ago and it must have taken me a couple of months.

It'll make a great display on their mantel or some such, or maybe on a desk (he can turn the barrel in different directions like a court martial sword, depending on what's on his mind)

Offline Pat

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #8 on: 03 Mar , 2010, 16:28 »
Yes, I've been building models for about 53 years now, and over half the ones I've build have been tall ships, with at least half of those wooden ones, some kits, some scratch. 

There's several different ways of doing the decks, eah one more difficult, but also more impressive in the end, than the preceding.

The first way of doing a wooden deck is like the plastic kits.  Just cut it out of a printed sheet on thin plywood.  the planks are outlined in ink.  Easy and fast, but not that real.

There's also the veneer method, which I described elsewhere for doing the U-boat deck, where you take a thin veneer of real wood cut into strips, and glue it onto a plain deck.  Doesn't matter whether the deck is one piece or several, whether it's good looking or crappy.  All that matters is that it's smooth.

Then of course there's the idea of using separate planks supported by a framework of actual beams underneath, just like the real thing.  That's the method that I'm using on my U-boat.  I started it that way because I wanted the effect of having all the slots in the decking, which couldn't be done with the plastic kit deck, and the PE decks have to paintedbut it's just so hard to make brass look like wood.  If it had been a U-boat with the steel deck, ok.

The other reason that I decided to do my U-boat deck that way was guess because I'veplanked so many sailing ship hulls over beams, that it just seemed natural to me to do it that way for the sub.

Offline Pat

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #9 on: 03 Mar , 2010, 16:50 »
That was just a brief description of the main methods of putting the planks on a deck.  The patterns and making them look more realistic occupies almost an entire shelf of books in my library.

Planks on a ship are almost always caulked in between.  The caulking on modern yachts is sometimes white, but traditionally it was done with tar.  Modern warships I think have a rubberized caulking that's more to preserve the wood than to keep water from leaking below since the deck UNDER the wood on them is usually metal.

There are several ways to simulate the caulking.

The easiest way, as I said in the last post, is to just have the deck planks inked onto a sheet of plywood.  It looks acceptable, but the grain and any blemishes in the wood cross over from plank to plank so it's noticeable that they aren't really individual planks.

You can also buy scribed plywood.  (little grooves cut into the wood to make it look more like individual planks.).  this method has the same problem as above with blemishes and grain, but usually they use clear basswood or poplar, maple or birch and so that's not a big problem.

If using the scribed wood, you can leave it like it is, or try to fill the grooves with something to simulate caulking.  The biggest problem here is making sure that whatever you use, it doesn't get soaked into the plank itself and ruin the contrast.  This can be done by first coating the wood with a sealer, applying the stain, graphite or other dark material, and then sanding the application off to leave the colour just in the grooves.

If making individual planks, you can actually use something to caulk between each plank.  I did this on two models that I built by using black paper.  the first time, I cut the paper into thin strips and glued it along the edge of each plank and at the butt ends.  When the deck was finished, I cut the excess paper off with a scalpel and then sanded the deck smooth.  It came out beautiful but was a LOT of work.

The second time, I put all the planks together, and then glued a sheet of black paper along the edge and then cut each plank away individually.  this was difficult to get the cuts even and straight and still left the butt ends to be 'caulked'.  In the long run, it wasn't much easier and the effect was identical.

Another way of applying caulking to the edges is not as dark as the paper, but a LOT easier and comes out just as good or better (depending on scale) is to rub the edge of each plank with a soft pencil.  I've seen some people who used paint, but it tends to saok into the grain too much.

You can also bevel the edges of each plank, and then after assembly, lay a thin black thread into the groove between each plank.  This is just about how they were done in real life.  I lot of work, but quite effective.  A very thin knife with the edge flattened helps.

Finally, you can just lay the planks and forget about caulking.  This works best if the planks are very, very tiny so that caulking would be almost unseen anyway.

There are other methods of course, but these are some of the most common.

Offline billp51d

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #10 on: 03 Mar , 2010, 17:07 »
   Hello Pat...I have seen the process useing thread as a caulking between planks. Impressive. My question is are you using veneer to do your U-Boat deck If so, what thickness and what width are you making the strips. I'm asking because i'm considering doing the same and laying them over the beams..
                                             Regards/Cheers .. Bill

Offline Pat

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #11 on: 03 Mar , 2010, 21:08 »
Now, the patterns of planking a deck.

There are two basic patteerns, I'll call them channel-edged planking and kingplank planking.  (It's just been a while since I've looked up the real terms, but this will suffice to get the idea)

Channel-edged planking is where all the planks are straight and parallel from stem to stern.  At the edges of the planking is a lwider border plank (sometimes raised) with a groove or channel cut into it to drain water away towards the scuppers.  The sections of channel plank are joined by any of several different kinds of scarfe joints.

At the bow and stern, where the deck planks run into the channel at a sharp angle, they are cut into the border and "joggled", sort of a saw-toothed .  When the width at the tip of each plank gets down to about 1/3 the width of the plank, it's cut off square and the channel is notched to take the square end.  The reason for this is that a sharp point is almost impossible to fasten tightly and will invariably leak.

The kingplank method of decking is where all the planks follow the curve of the hull, and come together towards the bow and stern.  This method is usually only seen on small boats (less than say 80 feet, although I don't know if there's any exact cut-off).  The planks stay almost the same width for the entire deck, so to fit them together they run into a 'kingplank', or wider plank running straight down the centre of the boat, where they are joggled into the kingplank instead of the channel plank.  The same cutting off of the tips applies here as well.

Another pattern to keep in mind is butt-stepping.  There are 3-5 and 7 butt-step patterns but 5 is the most common.  Where the ends of two planks meet is called the 'butt' and this always occurs on top of a beam.  But if all butts happened on the same beam (as you often see on the patio deck of a house) would create a weak point in the deck, so the butts are staggered in a particular pattern, called "butt-stepping".  That means that the pattern of butt joints repeats every 5th plank, no matter which beam you look at, and no two pplanks together meet at consecutive beams.  So the butts might be in the pattern of (plank) #1, then #3, then #5, #2 and #4, then repeat.

Another thing to keep in mind is that no plank on a ship is more than 40 feet long.  

Offline Pat

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #12 on: 03 Mar , 2010, 21:17 »
Hi Bill.

Yes, I'm using very thin veneer to make the planks for the U-boat.  I can't find my guage right now, but it's just slightly thicker than peice of of stiff paper, perhaps about 0.25mm thick, andcomes in strips 1/8" wide by 18" long.  The strips can easily be cut by scissors or an X-Acto knife to make them narrower.

On one of the threads in the Type VII U-boat section, (sorry, I can't remember which one, but one of the more active ones I think) I gave a link to the place that I get the wood from.  It's approx $25 for 300 strips, which is enough to last most modellers a decade at least.  They do accept internet and mail orders.

If you can't find the thread, google 'Lee Valley' is the name of the company and it's under "cherry wood veneer strips" or something similar to that.

Offline Pat

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #13 on: 03 Mar , 2010, 22:00 »
Back to wooden decks (you can see why I'm breaking it up into smaller sections)

There's more to putting in decks that just the planking and caulking.  There's also the framing aroudn 'deck furniture' (what they can the cabins and equipment permanently mounted on the decks.)

In smaller and cheaper working boats, there's usually no framing done, but in the larger and more expensive ships, and in the small, luxury boats, any cuts into the deck are often 'framed'.

By framing, I mean that there's a sort of picture frame of planks put around the cabin, companionway or major equipment.

The problem is that this frame is seldom finished in the corners like a picture frame, because again, that would mean sharp points where the different sides come together at 45 degree angles.

So again, most 'frames' are squared off at the tips making a 12 sided frame (little square bites cut out at the corners).  They look very pretty, but they're sometimes the devil to cut into the deck.

Again, caulking can come to the rescue though because if you're using a paper or thread caulk, as described in one of the earlier posts, it actually has a little 'give' in it so that you can hide any small irregularities in your cuts.

Also, don't forget to cut a wider tread into the deck where the top step of a ladder comes.  That piece of decking got worn quicker than any other place on the boat and so was a separate pice to make it fast and easy to replace.

Sometimes there was also a 'frame' around eyebolts let into the deck.  This frame looks a little bit like a German WWII cross, like the kind they put on aircraft wings, except that the arms of the cross don't stick out very much.

Offline Pat

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Re: French 36 Pounder
« Reply #14 on: 03 Mar , 2010, 22:25 »
The wood in decks can be almost anything, and changed depending on when and where the ship was built.

Ships built in N America often had pine decks, which were almost white, although some of the ones from the soutern US states used live oak and sometimes a yellowish wood.

Clipper ships built in the 19th century, when there was a lot of trade with the far east, often had teak decks.  Teak was prized for its durability and water-repellant oils.  Teak can be anything from a very light tan to an almost dark, reddish brown. 

British and French warships used a lot of oak throughout, for strength agaiinst cannon shot.  Oak could go black in the cornerswhere a lot of water collects and starts a sort of mildew.

One thing to keep in mind though is that decks were never, ever coloured with a stain nor were they ever varnished.  Varnish is used only in rich people's yachts.  Ones that never go far from shore and not out into any kind of stormy weather.

The reason for this is that varnish is slippery when wet, and the last thing a real sailor wants is slippery deck in a storm.

This was so important that one of the main duties of sailors out at sea was to swab the deck with a 'holystone' each morning.  A holystone is a chunk of usually pumice, used to scrape the deck.  This took off any smoothing of the planks by many feet polishing the same part of the deck over and over again, and also ground off any splinters and slivers in the wood.  (Keep in mind that sailors often went barefoot unless it was very cold, since bare feet gave much better traction thatn the leathpsoled shoes of the day.  the tar used for caulking also got soft in tropical heat and would ruin the deck when it stuck to feet, and it also dripped down from the above where it coated the standing rigging to preserve it.

The stone was called "holy" because it started out the shape and size of a typical Bible.

So it's not incorrect to have a deck looking brand new on a ship that's been otherwise strongly weathered.  The deck WAS new because it was scraped or sanded clean on a regular basis.  The type of wear would show up more as a dishing in the treads of ladders and at the openings to cabins.  also around the windlass and at entry ports.