Tuesday, 22 March 2016

24 - Dories

The end is definitely in sight! In fact, if this were a model of the Bluenose II, we could probably declare mission accomplished - assuming, of course, that the deck was configured appropriately. However, this is a rendition of the original Bluenose, a working schooner, so it would not be complete without at least a couple of dories lashed to the deck in preparation for an outing on the Grand Banks

The original kit came with a couple of boats glued to the deck that presumably were meant to represent dories but there must have been something lost in translation by whoever built this kit. (Maybe in China?) Here is a picture taken during the early stages of the rebuild when I was trial fitting some of my initial hardware and the deck furniture was still aboard.

Original dories fitted to the model.

Since these were obviously not going to suffice, I resorted once again to the Web and was not disappointed. Dories are still being built and used to this day, although perhaps not in the same role as at the beginning of the last century. 

Dory races - near Lunenburg?

Regardless, there is plenty of information to be had and if you want a full scale dory built, a shop in Lunenburg will happily oblige, with a range of sizes to suit (http://www.doryshop.com/). 

But for my purposes, I was looking for plans that I could scale and came across a web site that had exactly what I was looking for. ( http://www.shearwater-boats.com/doryinst.html) And best of all, the plans were free and were accompanied by detailed build instructions.

Dory plans - assembly.

Dory plans - components.

Not surprisingly, these plans closely resembled the detail that Jenson included in his book.

Dory detail from Jenson's book.

Having availed myself of some thin (35 thou, 3-ply) plywood at a Michaels arts and crafts store, I was ready to build a couple of dories. I first scaled the plans to the required 1:44 scale, cut out the main components on heavy card stock and then traced the outlines onto the plywood.

Major components copied to card stock prior to tracing on plywood.

Once the pieces were cut from the plywood, I used gel 'super glue' to assemble them into a dory. In my initial attempt, I tried to form the curves as I glued, which did not quite work as anticipated. The resultant shape, whilst an improvement over the original version, nevertheless failed to suitably capture the curved sides.

Initial attempt at a dory - unsuccessful.

The solution to this problem was to steam the plywood and bend it into the final shape prior to gluing. This worked much better, but as with other builds in these latter stages, I did not take any pictures so you are only left with the end result. However, the steps were not difficult and once the main pieces were assembled, the rest was simply adding detail, including a set of oars.
Grand Banks dories.

Using very thin plywood allows for scaling the size up or down as desired. After my first failed attempt, I scaled the plans down to test my theory that steaming and bending the plywood was the solution and was able to produce a model about two-thirds the final size.

Small feasibility model.

One issue that I had not addressed to this point were the scuppers. This was another instance where the original kit neglected to faithfully replicate the full-scale vessel. If building the hull from scratch, openings for the scuppers would merely be factored into the design, as it has been for the Bluenose II rebuild.

Scuppers - Bluenose II rebuild.

However, in my case, it was not feasible to cut roughly 80 scuppers in the rails with any degree of fidelity. particularly given the questionable material that comprised the hull. My only option was to simulate the scuppers in much the same way that I had replicated the wooden grates. So it was back to MS Word for a solution. Using Jenson's drawing as a guide, produced the diagram below. After printing and cutting out the strips, glued them to the model.

Drawing of simulated scuppers.

To blend the paper into the background, will have to cover with clear lacquer which I've yet to do.

Simulated scuppers.

(As an aside, I noted in the picture of the Bluenose II scuppers that the cutouts for the chainplates closely matched what I did for this model.)

It also strikes me that the kit builders perhaps added the thin white stripe to represent the scuppers. Regardless, there is no corresponding stripe on the rebuilt Bluenose II so I think a bit of touch-up is in order. And I doubt the original Bluenose had a gold stripe on the rail, so I'll not be adding that detail either.

And that about wraps it up. I intend to add a few work-related items to dress up the deck, such as buckets, barrels, nets and other paraphernalia, but for all intents and purposes I am satisfied with the end result as it stands now. In the next post, I will publish a set of photographs of the completed model.

23 - Rigging

Having stepped the main and fore mast, it was time to commence rigging my model. I had some concerns as to how difficult this might be and looked online for info. After seeing the amount of rigging involved in some models, say, a ship-of-the-line, I decided that the Bluenose shouldn't be all that hard after all. The main recommendation seemed to be to start at the front and work aft. And of course, the standing rigging has to be installed before anything else.

With that in mind, therefore, here is Jenson's diagram of the standing rigging on the Bluenose. It is to be noted that standing rigging generally refers to lines, wires, or rods which are more or less fixed in position while the boat is under sail and which support the mast and other spars. Since it was tarred for protection from weather, it was darker or even black in color. Standing rigging also includes the shrouds.

Bluenose standing rigging. 

Bluenose shroud rigging.

The main difference in my approach to the shrouds was that they are already fitted with the ratlines and thus I wouldn't be looping individual shrouds about the mast as depicted here. However, given where they converge between the mast and the top-mast, it will be impossible to detect the difference.

Earlier in the build, I cut the openings in the rail to allow the chainplates to sit flush to the hull. Now it was time to put them to use.

Rail access holes for chainplates.

Chainplates in position.

Chainplates prior to touch-up painting.
The chainplates installed with deadeyes and shrouds in place.

There was one detail that to this point had eluded me and that was how to replicate the 'baggy wrinkles' found on the main boom end lift and the middle and forward main boom lifts.I had tried wrapping twine, ordinary yarn and other materials around the lifts but none had the right look. Then I happened across a specialty yarn that appeared to be formed in the shape of a tube. This allowed me to thread the lift lines through strands of this yarn and with a bit of fluffing, a reasonable representation of a baggy wrinkle was achieved.

Baggy wrinkle.

Baggy wrinkles installed on lifts.

With the standing rigging complete, it was on to the running rigging, which is the rigging that is used for raising, lowering and controlling the sails. This obviously was going to be much more time consuming but I fully intended to faithfully replicate the full-scale Bluenose. Again, Jenson afforded excellent guidance in this regard down to the smallest detail. Almost every line was individually documented as to the applicable sail, blocks and belaying point. Here are the two pages of the detail.

Page one of rigging detail - Jenson's.

Page two of rigging detail - Jenson's.

And there were overviews that showed even more detail with regards to sail positioning, etc. Here is an example that provides detail on the jibs, jumbo and fore sail.

Example overview - Jenson's.

Once again, there is little in the way of pictorial documentation of the rigging process but here are a few taken at the very outset.

Rigging early days.

Rigging early days.

Rigging early days.

 After quite a few hours of work, I judged the rigging to be complete. The end was in sight,

One of the last details to take care of were the stacked dories, which were now required in light of the original Bluenose configuration. Will cover that in the next post.

Monday, 21 March 2016

22 - Preparing to Step the Masts.

Having put the sail issue to bed, it was time to start putting the pieces together.

The first step was to fix the mast hoops to all the applicable sails and then slide the fore and main sails on to the fore and main mast respectively. (Note that the main and fore top masts will be installed at a later stage,)

Mast hoops.

I then roped the fore sail to the fore boom and fore gaff and the main sail to the main boom and main gaff. The main difference between the rope lacing for boom and gaff is that on the boom, the rope loops are perpendicular whereas on the gaff they are spiral.

Perpendicular sail wrap on main and fore boom.

Perpendicular sail wrap on jumbo boom.

Spiral wrap on main and fore gaff.

Before stepping the masts, though, there are a few associated items not previously covered: these are the Boom Jaw Rest, the Mast Collars and the gaff jaw rollers.

Boom Jaw Rest.

Producing the mast collars was one time when the lathe came in particularly handy. Not sure how I would have turned them if not for the lathe.

Fore mast collar. (Similar one on main mast under fife rail.)

This view shows the curve of the main gaff jaws as well as the retaining rollers, used on both the main gaff and main boom. On the foremast, only the fore gaff is fitted with rollers. 

Main gaff jaw rollers.

Main boom jaw rollers.

The last major items to complete the bottom masts were the cross trees, the bands to provide attachment points for the peak halyard and other blocks,and the top band to connect the lower masts to the top masts. I have no build pictures for the bands but they were constructed of sheet copper strips formed in loops and soldered together with attaching rings. This was fairly straightforward in the case of the halyard bands, which only had to be adjusted to fit the ever decreasing diameter as you moved up.the mast. 

However, the top connecting bands took a bit more time and effort. This was because they were essentially two hoops soldered together with short straps, designed to connect the top of the main mast to the bottom portion of the top mast. And since I was using soft solder, any adjustment or adding of attaching rings risked melting the whole assembly, which happened on a number of occasions as getting the right fit for masts was largely a trial-and-error undertaking.

For the cross trees, Jenson provides measured drawings for both sets as well as for the trestle trees on which they were mounted, (Note that in order to put the mast hoops on the masts after the cross trees were affixed, their diameter had to be large enough to fit over the large end of the mast. Fortunately, I had thought that far ahead!) 

Jenson's cross tree drawings.

My rendition of the cross trees.

As mentioned, the bands for the peak halyard and other blocks blocks were fairly simple.

Peak halyard bands - main mast. (Fore mast is similar)

After a number of iterations, I eventually was able to to produce an assembly that fit snugly to the very top of the main mast while at the same time fitting the top-mast equally snugly at the appropriate insertion spot. Note that because of the taper on all masts, the top mast had to be slid into the connecting ring from the bottom and then the complete assembly lowered over the main mast and the foot of the top sail fitted into the cross tress.  

Close-up of main to top-mast band. 

Close-up of main to top-mast band.

Having got the main and fore mast fitted with their respective sails, booms and gaffs, it was time to install the top masts. Once this was done and the top masts secured, the mast hoops were affixed to the fore and main gaff top-sails and the sails mounted on the respective top masts. Only this time, the mast hoops merely had to be slid on from the top.

The assembled main and fore masts, with their sails, were now be installed on the deck.

21 - Correcting the Sails

Having affixed most of the deck fixtures, it was finally time to step the masts.To this point in the build, I had temporarily mounted the masts on a stabilized piece of 2x4 which afforded me the opportunity to dry-fit the booms and sails. It was during this process that I discovered that the sails that came with the kit were a very poor fit once I had corrected all the hardware to the 1:44 scale that I had adopted for this build. This should not have come as a surprise, since I had known from the beginning that all the booms and masts were only an approximation to the correct size. Nothing to do but modify the sails accordingly,

The original sails in their relative positions.

Unfortunately, only a few of the sails could be salvaged and in six cases, new sails had to be crafted The fore sail and the main sail could be made to fit; the remaining sails had to be scrapped. Fortunately, I was able to source suitable material at a sewing shop. In fact, making the sails from scratch proved to be much easier than modifying the ones that came with the kit and I shortly had a full set of sails at my disposal.

For the record, here are pictures of the extent of the errors encountered. The paper template is the revised sail size,

Jib Topsail



Fore Gaff-Topsail

Fisherman's Staysail

Main Gaff-Topsail

Once the new sails were sewn and lines marked appropriately, I threaded the jibs and the jumbo onto the lines I intended to use for the corresponding stays in preparation for eventual rigging, once the masts were stepped.

Jibs attached to the stays.

Which I'll talk about in the next post. 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

20 - Fitting out the Deck

By this juncture, I felt I was about ready to step the masts and commence rigging. However this also meant that I would have to bite the bullet and start gluing things to the deck, In other words, this was pretty much the point of no return; any mistakes here and I would likely have to live with the results.

Having decided some time ago to replicate the original Bluenose, the task of preparing the deck fittings was made a little easier by virtue of being able to use several of the original kit items. I've covered some of the 'fine tuning' of these items in previous posts and suffice to say that a similar approach was used on other items, for example, the deck house. Since most of this fabrication or modification was minimal and relatively straightforward, little would be gained by documenting it Thus I will merely provide pictures of the installed end items, which consisted of:
  • bowsprit bitts and samson post
  • windlass, including engine cover boxes
  • hatches
  • grates
  • fore boom sheet buffer
  • main mast fife rail
  • companionways
  • deck house
  • wheel box
  • quarter bits
Where possible, I've included images of the Bluenose II rebuild. However, one must bear in mind that there are significant differences between the deck furniture that would have been on the original Bluenose (which, after all, was a working fishing schooner) and Bluenose II, which was configured more as a personal yacht. I did read,though, that an effort was being made to render the Bluenose II rebuild closer to the original but I don't know to what extent that was achieved.

I've also included applicable diagrams from Model Shipways Kit No. 2130 - The Bluenose.

Bowsprit Bitts & Samson Post

Full-scale bitts and samson post - Bluenose II rebuild.

Model Shipways Kit 2130 instructions.

Bowsprit bitts and samson post - installed.

Windlass and Engine Cover Boxes


Windlass engine boxes.


Aft hatch and some buckets.

Fore hatch.

Hatches in the sun.


Forward grate.

Aft grate.

Fore Boom Sheet Buffer

Model Shipways Model 2130 instructions.

Fore boom sheet buffer.

Main mast fife rail

Model Shipways Kit 2130 instructions.

Main mast fife rail.

Main mast fife rail.


Full-scale companionway - Bluenose II rebuild.

Installed companionway.

Forward chain well.

Deck House
Full-scale deck house - Bluenose II rebuild.

Deck house.

Deck house.

Deck house.

View forward from the deck house.

Wheel Box

Wheel box.

Wheel box

Wheel box

Quarter Bitts

Quarter bitts.

Quarter bitt.