Le Mercure ANCRE Plans

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Hello all!
It has been a while. Long working hours and young children :) ....

However, now that I have received some wood from my Russian friends (Dr Mike and Bibigon) I am able to start planking my hull as per the process I described in an earlier post. Attached are photos of black hornbeam, yellow hornbeam and 2 shades of pear although they are very, very similar.

I can vouch for the quality of Bibigon's wood. Additionally, he really did go above and beyond to ensure I received it safely. Shipping to Australia is not easy and we have tried a few different options before discovering the most efficient methods.

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Whilst I was waiting for the pear to arrive (to plank my hull) I started working on cannon carriages. I will post my techniques here.

As per an earlier post I start by manufacturing the sides of the carriages. This is pear trimmed down in the thicknesser to the required dimensions. Please note I start the process by re-drawing the cannons on the plans on 1mm graph paper with all dimensions carefully measured (refer to post above). Then:

a) I cut the lengths of the carriages sides by using the saw with the fence and a supporting piece of timber behind the piece being cut. I don't run the piece through the saw all the way. I run it through the saw to half way and then pull it back so the supporting timber is not cut through. The exact size of the sides of the carriages should be 34mm so I cut these to 34.5mm on the saw. Irrespective of how careful you are I always find the saw leaves uneven cut marks or light burn marks so b) is essential
b) I then use the disc sander very lightly to clean up the ends of the cannon carriage sides measuring carefully with a vernier caliper multiple times. My calipers measure to about 0.05mm and I try my best to achieve at least this level of accuracy for reasons that will become obvious shortly. I do this whilst wearing with my loupes.
c) My model requires 22 cannons so I aim to make 26 in total (to choose the best ones to use). As such I have 52 sides
c) The cannon carriage sides are placed on a table for the next step which will involve the milling machine....

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Thank you Uwe!
OK, now comes the interesting part but first I must ensure my milling machine is perpendicular in all planes.
I contacted Sherline and they advised that you can use a shim between the column base and the mill base to adjust the angle. I found that I only needed some aluminium foil (as can be seen in one of the photos) which was enough to get it back to exact perpendicular.
The other plane can be adjusted by loosening the 4 screws, making fine adjustments (as may be needed) and then re-tightening.
You will notice I have Sherline's flat aluminium plate installed. This is absolutely flat (for our modelling purposes) and is very valuable as you will shortly see.
My milling machine is now ready to go.
I'm popping out to my workshop briefly (G&T in hand) and will then upload some more photos shortly.....

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OK, so this all currently relates to cannon carriage sides.
I will use the milling machine to cut the steps and finish the cannon carriage sides completely. I will then store the cannon carriage sides and start planking my hull (as my wood has arrived from Russia).
Referring back to the plans please note the photo of my cannon carriage sides. You will note that the cannon carriage sides are offset by about 2 degrees (as I measure it) to the perpendicular. This means the front edge (and back edge) of the cannon carriage is not exactly 90 but rather 92 degrees and 88 respectively. I will consider this when I make the sides as you will shortly see.

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When making multiple items/pieces of the same type we want to ensure absolutely identical results.

To achieve absolutely identical results I make a case that will hold all of the cannon carriage sides and allow me to undertake the one operation on all of the items (i.e. sides) at the same time.

I start by making a base out of plywood. See photo 1. I attach this tightly to the aluminium table on the milling machine. I then lower the milling machine to mill a very shallow single hole on the 2 opposite ends of the table. I join these with a line and this is the exact line over which the milling machine will pass. I then glue a straight piece of timber (which has been run through my thicknesser) with the same height as the cannon carriage sides along this exact line - see photo 2.

On my disc sander I get a scrap piece of wood, adjust the fence to 2 degrees and sand it such that it has a 2 degree angle on it. This piece of wood will only be used as a template. This template allows me to glue another piece of wood (shown as "A") in photo 3 at an 88 degree angle relative to the original piece of wood. See photo 4. I flip the template and repeat on the other side.

Photo 5 - The cannon carriages are divided equally on the left and right sides and a piece "B" is glued on the ends of each side ensuring that the carriage sides are held very, very tightly and cannot move. I use a clamp to achieve this.

The idea now is to prevent the cannon carriage sides from moving. As such, I attach some timber C and D (photo 6). C will be screwed down to A but I didn't get time to do this tonight. Tomorrow...

I trust you can all get the idea of what will happen next....


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Today I managed to spend the day milling the steps on my carriage sides. With the milliing machine you can achieve the exact depth and length of each step. However, it does take some preparation and care.

However, I am now in trouble as a I need a circular milling piece (diameter 2.8mm - as per photo) to finish this milling task. Does anyone know where I might be able to buy one in Australia?

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Jimsky

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However, I am now in trouble as a I need a circular milling piece (diameter 2.8mm - as per photo) to finish this milling task. Does anyone know where I might be able to buy one in Australia?
Hello, Anthony.

I am using one of the similar jewelers burs. They come in a variety of diameters. Mostly sells in Jewerly stores.

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Alternatevely, look for round endmills on Aliexpress brandname 'Dreanique' very high quality and not expencive (compare to high end mill bits)
 
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Hi all, Many thanks for the responses. I must admit when I last when to my jeweller supply shop (AJS) several months ago I didn't think they had these but it turns out they did. I managed to pick two up today.
 

Uwek

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Very good work on the wooden side parts of your carriages - and very exact with the 2° which 99% of us would neglect .... Thumbsup Thumbsup
 
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Thanks, Uwe.
Setting up the jig as I have on a 2-degree angle for the entire cannon side works well because you can also cut the steps on a 2-degree angle as well as the front and back edges of the carriage. Essentially everything that needs to can be cut consistently and identically on this angle.

I have now finished the cannon carriage sides (aside from drilling all of the necessary holes).

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OK - back to my hull planking!

To do this I must bend wood quite significantly at the bow. My estimate is that the bend is close to 90 degrees but I will calculate this more accurately shortly.

To bend the wood I must use either an Ammonia solution or steam the wood.

Dr Mike uses a 30% ammonia solution but I am cautious about using chemicals as Ammonia can be very nasty. I also have very young children at home. As such, I will steam the wood. To do this I have to:
1) Create a source of steam; and
2) Build a steaming device

As for 1) you can use a kettle, pressure cooker or a range of other devices. However, I discovered a Wagner wall paper remover (see photo) which is a dedicated steam source and thought this would be the way to go. For those of you in Australia it is currently available at Bunnings for $115. (Wagner also happens to be one of my favourite composers).

As for 2) I was a little lazy and thought I might try a PVC pipe in the first instance to see how this fairs. I suspected it might succumb to the heat but given it only cost $10 (with the end plugs) I thought was worth a try. I drilled holes in the side of the PVC pipe to insert a thin dowel through it every 15 cm which would act as a rack to hold the wood that has been inserted off of the floor of the pipe allowing the steam to circulate along all surfaces (top and bottom). The length of the pipe was cut down to 60cm. I also made a hole at the top to insert my thermometer.

I attach some photos.

The PVC pipe did warp with the heat but if it was supported with a piece of wood on the bottom would have worked perfectly.

The temperature reached 101C and was maintained.

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I decided to build a wooden box to replace the PVC pipe. (I had a lot of time on my hands today...)

Again, this is inexpensive ($20 in timber) and can be reused many times.

I used screws and wood glue to create the chamber. On one end it allows for the input of steam (a tight fit). The other end has a door which can open/close via a latch. The length is 60cm as no single plank on my model will ever be longer than this. Also, you want the smallest volume possible when steaming ensuring that all surfaces of the steamed wood are subject to steam. A hole allows for the insertion of a thermometer.

A couple of drain holes are included at the lower end (indicated in photo) to allow condensed water to escape. Dowels are also used to raise the piece of timber off of the floor and allow steam to circulate around its full surface. You will notice that the steaming chamber is always on an angle to allow water to run down and escape from the holes I drilled.

This result was better. 100.5C and no warping at all - exactly as I expected! I will use this timber chamber to steam all planks that require bending.

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