Build Log Baltimore Clipper Ship "Harvey/1847" 1:50 scale

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Ahoy Gentlemen.
I've decided to start posting the build log for the ship I'm building, the clipper ship "Harvey," a two-masted clipper ship. This is my very first build.
As I'm now about 100-120 hours into the building of this ship, and around two months' time, I figured I better start posting some pictures and musings now, since if I were to do this build log at all, I would probably start forgetting much of the nuance and struggle this project has been.
Since I'm now finished with the hull, deck, and superstructure components, I anticipate the masts and rigging will truly be the ultimate challenge. I've plenty experience at plastic models, and even some partial scratch builds in plastic, but looking at finished wooden ship models hints at things I've no experience with- especially the rigging.

Well, for this first chapter, I'll post some pictures of the unboxing and the construction of the hull and deck.
On June 23, 2019, I purchased this kit, along with 11 other kits from an estate sale. A few days later I began this project.

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Chapter 1.1:
After doing much research, I decided to use the false deck as a means of squaring up and locking in the bulkhead sections to make everything nice and properly placed. I took measurements of the plans and keel and drew out in pencil where these bulkheads should land on the bottom side of the false deck. although I was rather dismayed after completetion that some of the bulkheads didn't seem perfectly symmetrical given their ultimate placement, I think I was being too exacting. I'm now completely finished with the hull and planking, and fortunately, all of the following parts fit the hull just fine.
Based on research, I also created a balsa wood filler block for the bow end. The stern was already covered with a factory block.
After completing the hull planking, if I had anything to do over again, I'd also have added filler blocks or pieces to additional areas between bulkheads, especially areas of the greatest curve of the finished hull.
These pictures were taken on July 13, 2019; it took about three weeks and I'd estimate 30-40 hours of direct labor on the Harvey so far.

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Chapter 1.2:
During 'fairing' of the hull bulkheads, I noticed a couple of places that wouldn't 'fair' properly because of the assymmetry of a couple of the bulkheads. I added a bit of filler pieces. As stated above, I wished I'd added even more filler, because the first layer of planking didn't like the relatively "sharp" curves of the hull. It didn't help that the shipwright was a newbie to this craft. The planking with this kits was only .5mm thick, which bent easily in the direction of the grain, but didn't like bending cross-grain at all; and was too fragile to heat and bend. Or required a better builder. filler blocks would have helped this immensely, I think.
These pictures were taken July 16th, and now the boat is ready for first layer hull planking.

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Chapter 2:
July 19th, the beginning of the first layer of hull planking. As a newbie to shipbuilding, I can affirm that at first I was curious as to why two layers of hull planking were necessary. Having at this point completed both layers, I can attest that one layer would have been an umitigated disaster for me. I floundered a bit, wondering which method of planking I should use, given that I ran into several methods via the youtube, internet and ship model building books I've purchased. Ultimately, I chose a hybrid, based on slight variations of what seemed the easiest methods.
Fellow newbies: it ain't too hard to get the planking to lay flat and true. The biggest problems I had were the "sponginess" of these half-milimeter thick planks which really bothered me. It seemed mighty fragile with nothing to support the planks in between bulkheads. I tried stiffening up the wobbles with an inordinate amount of wood filler (regretful in hindsight) and lots of sanding, and I even thought that a coat of paint would help firm up the hull in anticipation of the final layer.
The cutting and fitting of the first layer planking went fine, but I do recommend patience and very sharp cutting blades, along with bright lighting, sharp pencils, and a metal rule that has a non-slip backing (the very fine cuts require preciseness and a ruler that won't slip out of place on you halfway throught the cut!).

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Chapter 3:
Laying the deck.
On or about July 19-23, 2019, I started on the decking, which the Artesania Latina instructions recommended doing before the second and final layer of hull planking.
The stock material supplied with the Harvey kit was 1.5mm thick, 5mm wide; a type of wood referred to as "Bokapi." (Curiosity and instant internet gratification led me to a species of wood "Staudtia stipitata," which didn't truly match the appearance of what I had-- should have been darker. Nevertheless, "Bokapi" is an exclusively African equatorial region origin wood).
The instructions said cut the stock material into approx. 70mm pieces, lay in rows on false deck, and drive pin nails (2) in each end to simulate full size clipper ship deck construction.
If you'll examine the pictures, you'll notice that there are literally over 600 deck planks. And if I'd driven 4 nails in each one... Yikes. Talk about becoming a drooling idiot at some point during that process... I considered simply making holes in each end to simulate the nails, but felt overwhelmed by that prospect too. (At this point I'm probably 80 hours into this ship).
So I began the still arduous task of gluing each deck plank into place.
And that's when I happened to look at the picture of the finished model on the cover of the box. Apparently they felt that multiple rows of single strips (which would have been 150 foot long planks; nice, if you can get 'em). I therefore quit consulting the picture for historical accuracy.
I tried staining the deck later, coz I couldn't find any examples of very light colored wood decks on real ships of the time. I was dismayed to find this particular, so-called "Bokapi" wood, in addition to very light coloration, absorbed stain unevenly, especially at the cut ends. Later, I sanded as much of the uneven staining as I could; but the final version is to my mind a bit too light. Yet I didn't want to make any unrecoverable stain mistakes, so I left it in this state.

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Chapter 4:
Deck and hull Bullwarks and waterway stringers.
This Artesania Latina kit included many parts on sheets of thin plywood, with the parts cuts 95% of the way round. The Deck bullwarks were included like this. They were NOT laser cut, but these parts were accurately cut and not too difficult to extract and smooth out for installation. Alas, not all of this kit's similar pieces were as nicely done. More on that much later.
The bullwarks fit nicely and glued up easily. The assymetry of the hull foundation that worried me earlier in the build did not affect the installation here, so I assume that the degree of accuracy needed is not as critical as I feared.
The waterway stringers' stock material was 1.5mm x 4mm walnut. It needed bending across the grain. I tried soaking it in water, but did not trust the material to bend without breaking after attempting it. I pulled out the plank bender I'd purchased, but realized it wasn't suitable coz it puts a crimp in the material, which would have been exposed.
I next tried the soldering iron, but trying to bend the wood on its narrow edge, I couldn't heat the wood enough to get the result needed without a burn mark showing.
So, my ultimate solution was to trace the bend needed onto a sheet of paper, and lay that over a work board of about 32"x24" that has a 1/2" thick layer of balsa attached, from my days of building balsa wood ariplanes. I then drilled tiny holes every 3/4" inch along the length of the strips. (enough experience with wood to expect it to split at the most inopportune moment) Next, I pinned the strips down with map pins, and slowly bent the strip into its proper shape, pinning it as I went. (I did soak the wood before attempting this). I left it overnight.
The next day, eureka! removing the pins, the wood kept most of it's shape. It did spring back somewhat, but I was able to install it onto the edge of the deck successfully.
On the mirror image piece, I came up with an idea that worked. I pinned it down again, this time, mounting it (upside down) on the same trace I'd done for the first piece. I had come to realize that the soldering iron would lock the bend in place if I heated it up in the bent position, but needed it to be upside down, so the scorch marks would not show when installed. So I did exactly that: I slid the soldering iron tip along the exposed side of the strip, (removing and replacing pins as I went). I wound up with lots of scorch marks, coz it needed to get pretty hot and even a moment's pause would begin to scorch. Still, when done, the strip was exactly to shape, and remained so when the pins were removed. And of course, the scorches were hidden after installation.
I used pin nails to "fill in" the holes made, and the waterway stringers were a success story, after the pains of the first hull planking.

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Chapter 4.1:
Bulwark planking
This part of the build was not difficult, but I ran out of the .5mm x 5mm stock "Bokapi" planking supplied with the Artesania Latina kit about 3/4 of the way through. When I purchased this kit, I also purchased about a dozen other kits, along with dozens and dozens of bags of "Model Shipways" sundries, like deadeyes and string, blocks and anchors, etc. In addition, the purchase included bags of stock wood strips, sheets and blocks, in exotic wood like cherry, walnut, ebony and mahogany. Yet none of this haul included strips of wood in a .5mm thickness. I therefore went through the arduous task of thinning some 1mm thick strips. They were 640mm long, and I eventually needed to thin 7 of them. The kit supplied strips were more of that infamous maybe "Bokapi" wood, and the strips I used were of a similar color wood, but definitely not Bokapi. They did not varnish the same color, although not truly noticeable now, unless I point it out.
Also, the Italian-translated instructions were not clear to me about the orientation of the outer planking of the bulwarks, although it was clearly stated to run the planking vertically on the inner side, which I also did on the outer side.
Alas, I looked at the picture on the box after completing this section. The outer bulwark side on the picture was run horizontally (which in hindsight makes proper sense). Yet, I can't explain logically as this being the reason I ran out of the stripping. Seems it would have covered the same amount of area whether run vertically or horizontally.

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Chapter 5:
2nd layer of hull planking. Keel installation.
It's now August, 2019. I've got many hours devoted to this build. Mostly a complete success, probably because I've proceeded slowly, prepared by thorough research and careful attention to detail (mostly).
Installing the keel was easy. Big thick pieces of walnut were provided; they only needed a bit of sanding, and they fit perfectly. Again, the concerns of bulkhead assymetry, and even a tiny bit of twist of the overall deck, were unfounded.
I struggled with a method to do the final planking, although I watched several youtube videos, read articles online, and have 3 out-of-print books on wooden ship building I found on used book sites.
I thought it might help if I made milimeter scale marks across the hull on top of the first plank layer at each bulkhead location. Though the bulkheads were now covered, it was easy to find them because of the "sponginess" of the very thin first layer.
I'd say the final planking went well, in no small part due to the extreme diligence I took in making sure the first layer was fairly smooth and consistent. Admittedly, much of the diligence was due to repeated attempts at fixing what I thought was a "too spongy" initial layer.
I probably spent another 20 hours on this part of the project. I didn't need too many tiny slivers to complete the planking, as I thought ahead and used stealers and half wide strips to keep the final few strips a manageable size and shape.
Again, I'm confused by Artesania Latina's description of the wood stock for this part. It's described as "walnut" in the instructions, yet this material sure looks like mahogany to me... I've included a photo of the hull after a coat of satin-finish polyurethane I've treated to the entire hull, and to my eye, that ain't walnut. Especialy when viewed right next to the keel, which is blatantly walnut.

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I have see that ship build long time ago
It was an interesting build
Will follow you for certain you did a good start Thumbs-Up
 
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Chapter 6:
Cutting out the gunports. Bulwark stanchions. Top rails. Framing the gunports.Taffrail and transom suports. and longboat hangers. Breast plate.
Now the first week of August. The hull is substantially complete. Curiously, the polyurethane I sprayed on the entire boat remained waxy and a bit sticky days later on the keel sections. I hadn't really sanded these parts thoroughly since they didn't seem to need it. I therefore used a blade and scraped off all the varnish from these sections.
Still a functioning newbie shipwright, I've discovered that taking measurements from a plan (2 dimensional) and converting it to the 3d ship presented some difficulties. Alas, it wasn't until after I'd cut out the holes for the cannon I realized I'd made a mistake laying out the ports. It wasn't a complete disaster, and it doesn't affect the remainder of the build. It simply meant that two of the cannon are about 2-3 feet (blown up to actual size) from where they are supposed to be. Fortunately, no other components of the ship are affected by my blunder.
Other than that, everything in this part went well. Making the bulwark stanchions, framing the gunports and the other assorted components went smoothly. Oh, and I forgot to mention: neither the breast plate nor taffrail were included in the kit. I made them out of the throw-away parts of the plywood from which other parts were made.
The top rails were done in the same fashion as the waterway stringers. I traced the pattern on the balsa pinning board, pinned the 1.5mm x 4mm walnut strips down to that shape, and then heated them with the soldering iron to lock the shape into the wood. Then I flipped them over and used them on the opposite sides of the boat to hide the scorch marks. Worked great.

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Chapter 6:
Rubbing wales. Top rail trim. Anchor chain heads. Anchor chain ports. The Rudder! Holes for the masts. Hole for the bowspirit.
August 8-13th, 2019. I'm into my first build to the count of nearly 120 hours. Much of it on account of being old people.
The rubbing wales or fenders were a simple matter of gluing down some 2mm x 2mm walnut strips. A second rubbing wale I don't think shows up in these pictures also was a 2mm x 2mm Bokapi strip. This fender helped hide a couple of minor imperfections on the bottom of the gunport cutouts.
I then went off-plans and used an additional strip of .5mm x 2mm "walnut" strip just underneath the top rail to hide a couple of places where the outside bulwark stanchions did not meet up perfectly with the bulwark top rails. I simply took an extra .5mm x 5mm x 640 strip left over from the hull planking and split it into a 2mm wide strip.
The Anchor chain heads were my first foray into constructing the parts, equipment and furniture of the superstructure. They started as 5mm x 5mm walnut pieces that had to be slotted, drilled and capped, with two roller blocks inserted into the slot and a brass wire axle inserted, then capped. Turned out well, through very careful construction.
The rudder was a scary step. I hadn't realized until this moment in the instructions that I'd need to drill a hole through the hull, through the deck, (about 60mm apart!) at a precise angle that followed the angel of the keel at the stern, and somehow managed to poke through the deck at the exact center. This hole needed to be 4mm away from the keel to allow for the hinges. That's actually quite close, and yet maintain that precise angle (which according to the plans was about 72 degrees from deck horizontal-- but again, there are no right angle here on the real boat). Fortunately, I have a dremel tool with a flex cable head attachment, which allowed me to stay that close to the keel as I somehow held the wand at a 72 degree angle. I taped a protractor to the deck and just sort of aimed my drill bit at the angle shown on the protractor. I used the smallest drill bit I had that was long enough to reach up to the deck. (about half the size needed). Somehow a miracle happened and the bit poked up through the deck in just the right location. Then, it was simply a matter of drilling from above and below to get the proper sized hole.
Then I had to take the rudder and round the square extension section into a cylinder, being careful not to break or narrow to much. then cut out the sections for the hinge pins, install the hinges onto the rudder and boat. The hardest part here was getting the pin nails to drive into the wood. I would simple drill the holes and glue the nails on a redo.
1 hole for the bowspirit. Not too hard, but I used a small drill bit and then enlarged it with an abrasive dremel bit to avoid any chance of splintering the hole as it got to the final size, since there was no trim on the outer bulwark to hide any mistakes.
4 easy holes of 5mm in the bulwarks and deck for the anchor chain. then brass ports glued into the holes.
Lastly I drilled the holes for the masts. These were also at a sharp angle (80 degrees I think). This was a piece of cake after the rudder installation adventure.

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Chapter 7:
Superstructure components. Cannon. Latrines. Companionway cabin. Bilge pumps. water barrels. hatches. grating. compass bench. tiller. Windlass. Capstan. miscellaneous. Belaying pin racks. Ship's bell and belaying pin rack. Bucket tray. Longboat.
August 13-21st, 2019.
The main structure of the ship took a rest on top of the bookshelves whilst I completed the various components of the superstructure. We have a new puppy who'd love nothing better than to shred into splinters this wooden object that normally sits on my worktable. Not taking any chances.
I'm not going to be too descriptive here. Most of these components were partially cut out already. They only needed careful construction and finishing.
The final pictures show the component glued into place on the ship, except the longboat and belaying pin racks. The racks might interfere with mounting the masts, and the longboat hangs from extensions on the stern, which can wait until later.
This chapter brings the Harvey clipper ship to its present form, here on August 21, 2019. The great adventure of masts and rigging begin forthwith. Still undecided if I'm going to install the sailcloth. From examples of ships, I've seen built, the great tragedy of some of these museum-quality builds is that the sails don't look authentic as much as all the other component appears as real as can be. I have seen offers for super-fine silk cloth for sailing ships that purport to "look real." I may do some investigation on that before I make a final decision.

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Uwek

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Very interesting building log - looking very good......and by the way

We wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Birthday-Cake
 
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Chapter 8
Making and mounting masts, gaffs and boom
Straightforward work here- tapering the doweling. I bought a tiny little block plane made of ebony and it is a joy to use. It’ll curl the walnut so thin you can almost see through it.
The single and double blocks that came with the kit left much to be desired (very rough) but even though I’ve got lots of model shipway items like these, alas not the correct size.
I did find some figures to station on the deck. Had to go with 1:48 scale instead of the correct 1:50 scale I needed. Although 1:50 is the same as “0” scale for mostly railroaders, I could only find modern figures, as concerns clothing and poses. Still not ideal what I have, but the figures really bring home how large these ships are, despite how much larger sailing ships could go.
Seem to be entering the home stretch now. Still quite undecided about putting up the sheets. I don’t want to have unrealistic cloth up there. And the ‘factory picture’ on the box of my kit is perfect example, of what I consider “Unacceptable.” Looks like handkerchief material, even some loose threads noticeable.8BEAC130-46F1-466C-B73E-02352D88E06C.jpeg6BF96719-C2CF-4F9F-9327-7B42C6851CC6.jpg9EF46F09-C0A0-4F65-8940-7DFFFB60E167.jpgF0D7212F-6E15-4DD3-8707-7B027E55D3F2.jpeg
 
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Chapter 9: rigging and wrapping it up
It's been over a month since I've last updated this, my first build. And this will be the final installment. I've done lots of work on this ship; I kind of lost track of actual hours, but I conservatively estimate 250 hours.
I decided some time ago that I would not be installing sails on this build. I went back and forth on this decision, because I rightfully thought I should get some experience in making sails on this first build. But at this point, I've not seen enough examples of sails that look (to me, anyway) authentic and realistic, on the many builds I've looked at. There are some, sure, but I may even build all my future projects as "bare pole" ships. I can be convinced otherwise, but not today.
Please don't look too closely at the rigging photos I've submitted; there are faux pas aplenty. The kit did not contain nearly enough "rope" and the deadeys and blocks left much to be desired. I did inherit some Model Shipways packets of these items so I didn't have to go searching for these things. But they are not exactly the same as the kit suppied items.
Overall, however, I'm quite pleased with how this model has turned out. I realize it is not a masterwork of museum quality, but I'm proud enough to show friends and family, perhaps even force it upon one of my 7 grown children and demand they display it proudly, at least until i'm too old to notice it's been relegated to the attic.

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