Beginner questions re: tools

Robert M.

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Hello,

I realize I will not need some of these for a while yet, as I build simpler, smaller models, but I have been pondering some of these and have seen some at good prices.

Keel clamp (or vise): I have seen a few different types. Which is best and why (or should I just make my own with each new project - do remember, I do not have a workshop, so no power tools of any kind are available to me)?

Plank bender: I have lurched the hand-held type that notches the plank, but I see another type that heats pre-wetted planks and is used with a forming block. What are the recommendations here?

Small plane: I’ve read a few articles on tools “not to waste money on” and “tools you must have” and this tool is on both lists. It would seem a necessary tool to have to shape wood. I’m guessing there must be good and bad varieties of the tool. Can someone suggest the good varieties?

Vise for planing/shaping: I have a smaller table-top vise. It seems like ship modeling requires special vise to hold longer pieces of wood. Recommendations here?

Thank you in advance for comments here. Fore armed with your recommendation, I might be able to get some deals on these tools as I browse around.

Robert
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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Keel clamp (or vise): I have seen a few different types. Which is best and why (or should I just make my own with each new project - do remember, I do not have a workshop, so no power tools of any kind are available to me)?

if you go through the build logs you will see simple ways to clamp a keel or profile piece in place. Most are nothing more than a board with a small angle screwed to the base. if you are thinking of a clamp to hold he model as you work on it personally do not think that is necessary.

Plank bender: I have lurched the hand-held type that notches the plank, but I see another type that heats pre-wetted planks and is used with a forming block. What are the recommendations here?

bending planks can be done with soaking the plank in water and bending it around a piece of pipe heated up with a torch or over a gas stove, simple as that. Steam is hotter than just hot water and you need that steam to bend a plank. Plank benders do not get hot enough.

Small plane: I’ve read a few articles on tools “not to waste money on” and “tools you must have” and this tool is on both lists. It would seem a necessary tool to have to shape wood. I’m guessing there must be good and bad varieties of the tool. Can someone suggest the good varieties?

I had a few of those and never did them to work, an alternative is a 1 x 14 x 6 inch piece of wood with sandpaper glued on. That works just fine.

tool3.jpg

Vise for planing/shaping: I have a smaller table-top vise. It seems like ship modeling requires special vise to hold longer pieces of wood. Recommendations here?

it is true for some work a long vice jaw is needed like for tapering a plank. I solved that by 2 pieces of metal the length I need clamped in a standard vice. i you can see what i mean in the Royal James topic
post #75

I suggest first take a little time and look around the site to see how other builders handle certain jobs before you invest in tools that you really don't need.

dave
 
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NMBROOK

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Hi Robert

Regarding the keel clamp.Personally I dislike the one which clamps the keel in two places.If you have a bow in the keel it is not guaranteed to hold it straight.Secondly it will not stop the keel being pulled out of straight during the planking process.
I always found a board with angle brackets from the hardware store screwed to it works best.Take a small square with you when you buy the brackets,not all are made square;)

Kind Regards

Nigel
 

Jimsky

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Hello Robert. Here are my few cents on the tools, or as we call yem here - 'toys'. Here is my formula: you cannot get the enouph, but you cannot buy them all! So what to do? You buy them - as you need! Once you will start your project, you quickly realize what tools you might need. If you build ing from a kit, you will probably get away with some basic tools set: files, vise, and rotary tool. Another story if you will build from scratch, then you will need some power tools. One thing to consider (at least, I am thinking that way): Buy good tools! They don't have to expensive, they have to be good quality. Likewise, expensive tools will not guarantee good quality. We have a great thread about tools, where members share their experience buying various tools\jigs, Please spend some time and check it out.


Use 'serach' functionality to narrow down wha you are looking for

Good luck
 

Le Capitaine

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Those keel clamps are usually too small to hold what I build. I do as the others and have a straight board and metal angles. Clamps, no matter what size, are always handy. Also tweezers. I believe you are in the US, so find a Harbor Freight and ask for gift cards to there!

For plank bender I have one of those that notches the plank, I like it. I also use a old soldering iron to bend wood that has been soaked.
 

paulv1958

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I have used the Amati keel clamp ( the large one on all my models so far including the current Santa Ana.
However its an expensive item and a build board is easy to make.

Plank bender ( Hot water soak and old electric Hair curler works fine.)

Plank shaper. I just use a steel ruler & a sharp No 11 blade in a hobby knife ( Most kits use a soft first layer wood & then a vaneer top layer.)
Even the Santa Ana single layer hard mahogany, was able to be cut with No 11. The effort to put a single board in a plank clamp is not worth it.

Small plane ( I have two but only ever used once. A kit company recommended for shaping masts but a rasp & sandpaper was a lot easier to use and caused less damage)

If you ever get into scratch then more power tool are are good.

The northwest cutter 1 ,2 or 3 is a great investment for repeated cutting.

My best power & MOST USED investments ever were a Dremel & a Proxxon mini lathe.

If you look at the Keith Julier books for a basic list of tools you will see there really is not much needed. As I said I go back to the same small set most of the time.
It just be comes a bit of a compulsion sometimes to by more stuff.

As you do more ships you will be come adept at items and realize that some specialist tools can be used to complete repetitive tasks faster and constantly. ( ie 112 mounted cannons on a 1st rate Ship of the line)
 

Robert M.

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Good morning,

I want to thank you all for the replies and I appreciate your advice. I will take it. :)

So far, I have purchased only a plank bender (the type that makes notches) and a small mitre saw. I think I have everything else needed for now.

Robert
 

danielsje

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Hobby tools can be a "hobby" by themselves. I have collected various gadgets and used most at least once. Bottom line you need sand paper, good #11 blades with handle, tweezers (the kind you squeeze to open), a bunch of clamps, and some diamond style files of various shapes. I get frustrated with sanding so I have a dremel tool with a bunch of different tips...use the dremel a lot to sand, shape, and drill. I do not use any kind of hull clamp...but prefer a foam cradle that keeps the hull steady but allows me to move it all around easily. I use a crimping tool for bending planks.
 

Robert M.

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A small plane is a must ,check out Lee Valley ,very good quality.
Thank you. I’m not yet versed in the tool brands or even where to purchase them yet. I have looked locally, and my local hobby shop doesn’t carry tools for ship building (but he was able to order the plank bender for me).

Robert
 

Robert M.

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Hobby tools can be a "hobby" by themselves. I have collected various gadgets and used most at least once. Bottom line you need sand paper, good #11 blades with handle, tweezers (the kind you squeeze to open), a bunch of clamps, and some diamond style files of various shapes. I get frustrated with sanding so I have a dremel tool with a bunch of different tips...use the dremel a lot to sand, shape, and drill. I do not use any kind of hull clamp...but prefer a foam cradle that keeps the hull steady but allows me to move it all around easily. I use a crimping tool for bending planks.
I saw the foam cradle on the Micro Mark site and thought it was clever; I was wondering how well that might work. Does it work well for the various scales?

I also see Mico Mark sell plank screws (the all metal type). I’ve not noticed builders here using them, but all of the how-to books I’ve purchased list them as necessary tools. I believe they are $18 for a set of 10. Are these useful to have or unnecessary?

Robert
 

Pathfinder65

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I and several other forum members have made different versions of hull/keel clamps. I made mine using simple hand tools and have used them on my Enterprise, Sequin Tug and Lobster boat builds. I’m not a wood worker, don’t have many shop tools, but like to use what I have on hand to do my variou projects.

20F5AF9B-BB74-4B56-85F0-452771EEA70B.jpegE7809D1F-9E62-43A5-92D4-3A7905E0346D.jpeg

You can find a description of my effort in my 1799 Enterprise



Jan
 
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Robert M.

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Thanks again to all of you who have chimed in.

As I have looked around, I have seen some clever ideas. I will pick up some clothes pins (would you believe we have not one of those in the house), and I think I have come up with a way to make plank screws on my own with thumbtacks and plastic strip.

Robert
 
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