USS Pennsylvania (1837) Cross Section Scale: 1:64

Mike41

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History

USS Pennsylvania was a four-decked 140-gun ship of the line of the United States Navy, named for the state of Pennsylvania. She was the largest sailing warship ever built for the Navy, and the equivalent of a first-rate of the British Royal Navy, but her only cruise was a single trip from Delaware Bay to Chesapeake Bay. She was just as large as the Spanish four-decked ship of the line Santisima Trinidad, built over 60 years earlier.

Pennsylvania was one of the "nine ships to rate not less than 74 guns each" authorized by the US Congress on 29 April 1816. She was designed and built by Samuel Humphreys in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Her keel was laid in September 1821, but tight budgets slowed her construction, preventing her being launched until 18 July 1837. She had three complete gun decks and a flush spar-deck and her hull was pierced for 136 guns.

Exploding shell guns were replacing solid shot by the time Pennsylvania was fitting out. A Bureau of Ordnance Gun Register for 1846 records her armament as follows:

Spar deck: two 9 pounder (4 kg) cannons and one small brass swivel.
Main deck: four 8-inch (203 mm) chambered cannons received from Norfolk in 1842, and thirty-two 32 pounder (15 kg) cannons.
Middle deck: four 8-inch chambered cannons received from Norfolk in 1842 and thirty 32 pounder cannons.
Lower deck: four 8-inch chambered cannons and 28 × 32 pounder cannons.

Pennsylvania shifted from her launching site to off Chester, Pennsylvania, on 29 November 1837 and was partially manned there the following day. Only 34 of her guns were noted as having been mounted on 3 December 1837. She stood downriver for New Castle, Delaware, 9 December, to receive gun carriages and other equipment before proceeding to the Norfolk Navy Yard for coppering her hull. She departed Newcastle on 20 December 1837 and discharged the Delaware pilot on the 25th. That afternoon she sailed for the Virginia Capes. She came off the Norfolk dry dock on 2 January 1838. That day her crew transferred to Columbia.

Pennsylvania remained in ordinary until 1842 when she became a receiving ship for the Norfolk Navy Yard. She remained in the yard until 20 April 1861 when she was burned to the waterline to prevent her falling into Confederate hands.
 

Mike41

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Resources:

Photograph by M.C. Farrington
The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is an official museum of the United States Navy and reports to the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, D.C.

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Mike41

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The Drawings:

The original drawing is by Howard Chapelle, model plans and sections by Jeff Staudt, the sheer and frames are by myself.

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Mike41

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The Model:
The model is based on drawings from the book The History of the American Sailing Navy by Howard Chapelle and drawings by Jeff Staudt. It will be 8” long 12” wide and 36” high showing 30-gunports and the main mast up to and including the fighting platform. I revised my gantry to accommodate the new model made it wider and taller and added a level.

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Mike41

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Hi Zoltan,
I haven't noticed any cross section models on the site and thought it could use one. I don't believe there is a kit on the market for the Pennsylvania so this build should be unique.
 

Mike41

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The Keel:
The keel is made from yellow hart it machines well and takes a nice finish. The keel has two 3/32” holes drilled in the bottom with pins made from 3/32” brass tubing and project into the baseboard ½” the fit is very tight and holds the keel firmly in place. This is a few photos of the keel.

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Mike41

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Thanks Brian,
I will try to keep it interesting.
Mike
 

Mike41

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Frames:
The 17 frames are all double frames consisting of eleven sections made from yellow hart using Harold Hahn’s method to construct the frames as shown in the following photos.
Please note I use a special forty-pound frame press to ensure a good bond between each side of the frame.

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Mike41

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Frames continuation:
A few more photos of the frame construction.

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Mike41

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Finished Frames:
The assembled frames ready to be installed on the keel.

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Sgtmik

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Hi Mike,
What program are you using to get your drawings and plans? The paper looks oversized.
 

Mike41

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Hi Mike,
I use AutoCAD to do the drafting and have a 11x17printer, it works great for the large frames. I must splice sheets together on long plans but it is cheaper and faster than having them printed at a print shop. This is a large model even at the 1:64 scale.
Mike
 

Mike41

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Gantry Set-up:
The following photos show the gantry the frames being leveled in the keel prior to gluing.

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Mike41

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Gunports:
I am using box liners in the gun ports to maintain a consistent size and appearance. This is a few photos of the assembly.

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Mike41

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Frames Installation:
I started with frame 10 it is one piece at the end closest to the bow leveled and glued it to the keel. Frame 11 is in three pieces I marked the elevations on the first frame 10 installed and glued four spacers to it then leveled and glued the bottom of the third frame in place. Using spacers, the first two gunport frames are glued in place. I used spreader bars on the top of the frames to keep them on center and beams between the port and starboard gunports to keep them level. This method Is used to install the remaining frames. This set of photos shows the clamping and gluing procedure.

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Mike41

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Frames Installation (continued):
This is a few more progress photos of the framing. All the frames are now in place.

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Mike41

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Keelson and Limber Strakes:
The Keelson is installed with two 20 gauge brass pins at each frame. The following photos show the installation.

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Mike41

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Deck Clamps:
The deck clamps for the Five decks were installed next. The scales and level on the jig made it easy to get the clamps in the correct position. The following photos show the installation.

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