Category Archives: Philosophy

Shrouds Progress

I wish I had somebody to talk “Ship-Talk” with. Preferably an Old Timer who has been doing this awhile and who I can watch work.

Anyway… Lacking that… I do this blogging. I know… It’s not the same thing. But I also follow some really talented Model Makers in the Groups I belong to.

So, I’m looking at these Shrouds and I am beginning to suffer the “Modeler’s Regret”… You know… When you think that you should have done something a certain way???… I guess that’s the nature of it. I’m not going to redo it all. Definitely not. But I’ve seen guys who do it.

A prime example are the Seizing on Shrouds that wrap around the Deadeyes.

I started off like this…

Deadeyes on Fore Mast, which I started off on…
Deadeyes on Main Mast

I especially love the one all the way to the left. I wish they were all like that and uniform. Hmmm… 🤔🙄🧐

Main Mast Shrouds

Mast Hole – Foremast

One of the things I really like about having a blog is that I can really get into the minutiae of whatever I have going on. Making Posts on Facebook or Instagram or whatever, I always feel like I’m being a braggart or whatever. When in fact, the only thing I really want to accomplish with the blog is to have a record of my work. That being said…

Mast Hole – Foremast

While laying the planks down, I always wonder how I’m going to work around the Mast Hole. Of course everybody finds the solution best for them. Here’s mine…

Mast Hole and Mini Rat-tail File I have to be careful because this is my only one… 🤭

While laying down the Planks, I like to take and file down the Planks as they overlap into the Mast Hole. Not to wait until after they’re planked over and drill through it.

Drills tend to dig into and splinter the wood that is this light. Files work a lot better for this work.

Sanding and finishing Hull

As I’m into my 2nd day of sanding and making micro adjustments here and there, I was thinking to myself how I never rush this process.

I find that it helps to put it down and pick it up every once in awhile over the course of a few days before proceeding to the next step.

During that time, I’ve come to realize some of the shortcomings and disadvantages of Dap Weldwood Contact Cement. I’ll cover this more in a Post dedicated to it.

In the meantime, suffice it to say that I’ve made perhaps about a dozen or so repairs of Planks that didn’t retain their glue holds, which I’ve had since to repair with SuperGlue. Not to mention those annoying little Glue sprues.

One thing that I’ve found out from previous models is the danger of over sanding. You always need to stay aware of how much wood you have left under what you’re working on. Which is not to say that you can’t take it down to almost paper thin… But you want to avoid doing that just for the sake of preserving it’s structural strength.

Between now and when you’re done, the model will get handled quite a bit. Once it’s displayed though, there’s not much to worry about unless you have kids or cats.

#9 Strake

The Strakes are curving around nicely around the Bow.

I was afraid that I was going to run out of space but I think it’s all going to fit together nicely. I may need a Stealer but I’m not sure yet.

#9 Port Side gluing in

Just doing the Starboard side of #9 and I was thinking to myself that the Batten was right at around 11 – 12 Plank’s worth of Planks on the biggest Bulkhead which was the #9 Bulkhead. It actually landed on 11.6 Plank Widths… So figured I would round up for comfort’s sake.

To be honest, this whole time I was planking, I thought that I was going to run out of space.

The cardinal rule in Planking is to apparently not cut your Plank to any smaller than 1/2 if your original Plank. What is frowned on is for a Plank to come up to the Bow in a Point. The reason being, there was no way to secure a pointed piece of Timber.

I probably should do a Post on some rules on Planking.

#9 Plank Starboard side being glued in

Different Methods of Determining Tapering

In my efforts to learn about planking, I ended up learning about three or four methods and here’s what I found out.

I think that’s the worst thing that you could do is to go by planking your boat haphazardly. You really need to make a plan and think about what you’re doing before you begin the project.

The first method that I learned was from the book Ship Modeling Simplified.

To be honest, I really wasn’t a big fan of this method because what they require you to do was to bend your plank around the Hull and at the point where the plank above it was your point x and for you to taper the playing from that point on to the Bow at the point where that plank met it.

The next method is the one that I’m using now. This method requires you to use a batten that divides the Hull of the ship into two bands. The upper band and a lower band.

Then what you have to do is to calculate out how much taper you’re going to need by mathematically finding out how small the Plank needs to be in order for it to squeeze into a certain space.

First you have to find out how many planks are going to be all the biggest part of the bulkhead, then you determine how you’re going to be able to squeeze that many planks into a limited space like the first bulkhead.

Another method is by using proportional dividers. I kind of have a hard time with this one because the proportional divider didn’t go small enough for the scale the ship that I was using but I’ll save that for later scale model which is bigger.

Like I said, there are as many methods as there are Model Makers. But this is my method. I’m not into it for speed production. Slow and Steady…

“Steady as she goes…” 🤣🤭😲

Updates on Flying Fish and HMS Surprise

So here it is January 1st 2020… Beginning the new year so I figured it was time for me to complete the HMS Surprise.

What happened was that on the Flying Fish project, I ran into a little bit of a snag.

The kid by corral only provided less than about three-quarters of a meter of the flexible Beech wood. I only had just enough to complete the interior planking along the gunwale, and it didn’t leave me enough to finish up the caprails.

Sewing in anticipation of this time, I had ordered some more Beachwood from Modelers Central but they are based out of Australia! This is around two weeks ago. Well, come to find out that there’s a difference between plain Beech wood and flexible Beech wood!

So now I have all this wood that I’ll probably end up finding a use for… but they’re not useful to me right now!

So I went ahead and bit the bullet and reordered some flexible Beech wood from the same company but it will be another two weeks!

Turns out this flexible Beech wood is really expensive! So I probably got enough of this stuff to last me for the next few models anyway!

But I have nothing to do in the meantime since I have to wait to install the cap rail before I could continue with doing anything else so I decided to start back on the HMS Surprise.

At this point, I am installing the supports for the main deck…

The Zen of Sanding

As I sit here, listening to my favorite Bach B Minor Mass performance by the Van Veldhoven Netherlands Bach Society, I was thinking to myself about how the act of Sanding the wood is very cathartic and relaxing.

I guess Leroy Jethro Gibbs has the right idea about it as he builds his boats down in his basement.

I used some Tamiya Wood Putty to fill in holes
Almost done with this layer
I cut out the part where the Rudder Gudgeons are going to fit

Bulwark Top Part

This is the part where I messed up. I should have come up higher on my initial Plank. Short of redoing the entire thing, I’m going to make a filler Plank for this gap.

Making the to Starboard Bulwark Plank take the bend

This is one thing that I love about this hobby. Because when you run into situations, you have to do what the Marine Corp doctrine dictates… I.A.O. Improvise Adapt & Overcome

Anyway, while driving to my doctor’s office, I thought of a way to make a template for making the filler Plank. I’m going to use a big piece of clear Scotch Tape and trace the gap onto it. Then, I’m going to bend the Plank around a Jig that I made and once these wood takes the bend, I’ll simply last the tape on to the wood and trace around it and sand it down to fit.

I put a piece of Scotch Tape across it to make a Template

Mind you… This is all experimental. I’m in the process of repairing this Gap by making this shape of internal Plank.


I’m starting on the Bulwarks. The Bulwarks are the side of the ship that comes above the deck.

I kind of feel like I messed up in installing the first Plank so now I’m going to have to compensate for it with some corrections.

I first bent this first Plank in with soaked plank wood 1.5mm x 5mm.

Now I taped off the guides going along the Gunwale so that the glue doesn’t stick to the Bulwark because I’ll be removing these guides once the Bulwark are up.

Rubber bands to pull it in at an angle and to hold it in place
Port side Bulwark taking bend
The bend took nicely… But I had it on here for about 12 hours
The Port side fit in very nicely

So… I’m kind of dreading the next step actually. What happened was the I didn’t come up and over with the initial Plank on to the Forecastle Deck. Now I have to do a funky fix… Which really wouldn’t be visible anyway. It’s just I wish u would’ve gotten it right the first time. Oh well. Live and learn. It just seems a bit Amateurish.

But hey… I never claimed to be an expert anyway! 🤭🤣😲

Planking Routines

I find that once I find a good routine to do, it’s kind of a pleasant feeling.

What I mean is that right now, I’m on a Planking Routine.

1. Soak or Steam the Wood.
2. Bend the wood around the Hull.
3. Wait for it to dry.
4. After drying, Glue the Bow portion after releasing tension.
5. After the glue dries, glue the rest of the Plank in.

While that’s all going on… I can have another piece of Wood soaking or whatever.

Here the tension is released and I’m waiting for the glue to set.

So, as you can see, all these steps take quite a while. It’s not a hobby for the impatient. As I’ve said many times before, it’s really not about the finished product. Once it’s done, I’m done with it. It’s about the building of it and the concentration it takes. Also, it’s a great feeling when I managed to get something exactly right. I guess that’s probably true in any Wood Working Art.

After the glue on the Bow has taken and grabbed, I then bend in the Plank and clamp it all down with a combination of Clamps and Pins.

Had to make sure it was glued flush.

There you go… Now I have to wait a few hours.