Building the Hull

Our very own "Chris M" Tackles A Craftsmens Card Model Of HMS Victory:

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chrism
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Building the Hull

Post by chrism » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:31 am

A quick shot of some bulkheads which I have blackened up in areas where guns will be placed.

Image
Once the bulkheads were all prepared assembly of hull was next.


The core of the hull is now all assembled.

Image

I did have to pressgang a second pair of hands to hold and assist during this stage; primarily because there is no spare material at the bottom of the central piece that can form a keel and allow the hull to rest in a conventional tramline type building board.

The keel infact does not get added until after the second layer thickness of hull plating (or planking on a wooden kit) is in place.


For a card kit,this is a reasonable first milestone.

Having looked at other European build logs with notation in languages I cannot comprehend, or in one case photos only; but in which arrows or dots annotated bulkheads in photos much later in the build than I am at; I just had a bit of a niggle in back of my head and decided that I would check all the gunports aligned OK before proceeding. However, I am damn glad I did, as two of them are out and modifications were needed to them if I wanted to have a gun barrel in place. I now understand those photos better.


If I left things as they were, two of the gunport openings would sit directly over middle of different bulkheads.

As It turned out this was a simple modification type operation to perform – on the middle deck I was able to just cut the top of bulkhead out, and on lower level sliced card above and below and then bent it back in 90 degrees and secured it.

ImageJust glad I discovered this now – and not much later into the build.

What next

What next? Gun port framing and planking the deck over the waist.
I do however have questions on both that need resolving before I proceed..


Shift pattern on planking: I am about to plank the deck in the waist area.
I am proposing to use a 75mm length of plank over a 5 shift pattern giving me 15mm delineations.

I am proposing to lay the king and waterway width first, and then plank out from centre in my 5 width pattern.

What I dont know is: having planked one half of the deck, what notation do I use on the first plank the other side of the king?

Is it whatever plank is necessary to keep continuity of the 5-plank pattern (in effect ignoring the presence of the king when following pattern on)

or do the two halves of the deck either side of the king mirror each other exactly.



Gunport framing: Given that the hull was thicker at lower deck level than upper deck level, the gunports would surely have been correspondingly thicker at lower deck than the upper deck. At scale this is only likely to make a slight difference; of say 1 to 1.5mm between lower and upper; but would it be right and proper to have and model a difference in width on different decks of say: 3.5-4mm on lower, 3 on middle and 2.5mm on upper

Or am I wasting my time and should I just use a standard 3mm width frame on all.

Advice and comments on gunport framing and deck laying appreciated please.
Last edited by chrism on Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Building the Hull

Post by Maurice Wilcox » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:27 pm

Having laid the King plank down the middle line presumably you start from as far aft as the deck goes and move forward with your shift pattern outwards from the centre line plank.

I tend to plank both sides alternatively making sure that the butts follow a parallel line across the whole deck, so I suppose each half does mirror the other.

As far as the gunports are concerned I would have a look at the modifications made by Daniel,Evan,and Bill to the Heller kit. I think reducing frame thickness was used by these three “Musketeers of Victory modification” to good effect. :D

Is the framing made of card on your Victory, or will you have to utilise other material?

A 1mm difference in framing size is probably quite noticeable say between the lower deck and Upper deck ,so if they have to be framed, I would show the difference.

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Re: Building the Hull

Post by chrism » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:36 pm

Thanks for that. I will go with the approach to the decking where I mirror the same plank on each side of the king.
working out row by row from the centre to the edges at the same time.

As for the gun port framing. The kit supplies long thin strips with the intention that they go into slots in the bulkheads and then the sides are added later....

Image

In this picture you can see small pieces which are the left and right sides for the ports and the longer pieces just showing at the bottom are the lengths supplied for the tops/bottoms.

I was initially going to go with the method the kit suggests. However getting these pieces in neatly is proving a challenge . . . as they are made from 1mm thick card and are 2mm or 3mm wide. They sag and bow very easily and I have only seen one build using this method for the framing.

I have seen a much neater approach by 3 other people - whereby small pieces of card are glued onto the reverse side of the first layer of hull side pieces and thereby you can ensure that each port side peice is square on and the sides are firmly glued before it reaches the model. This is the approach I am now going with.

I can then paint the ports red before fixing the pieces onto the model.

Later when the second layer of card is added to the sides I shall then have go back and do a light paint of those pieces in the thickness of the card around each port else I will have a white edge showing ....

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Re: Building the Hull

Post by Old CWO » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:40 pm

Chris,
From my perspective, the build continues to go exceptionally well. Your post and Maurice's comments help illustrate the importance of advance planning. Fixing bulkhead interference with cannon locations would have been a nightmare later in the build. Even working with a plastic kit needs planning, as Maurice references thickening the hull profile on Heller's kit.

From looking at pictures of other builds, I think you've made the right choice in modeling the varying hull thickness. Similarly, the mirror-imaged deck planking will have an esthetic appeal that I believe is probably historically accurate. Certainly craftsmen in that day took great pride in such details.
WR,
Ed

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Re: Building the Hull

Post by Pete Coleman » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:46 pm

Chris,
Regarding the planking, I have seen evidence for both "mirror image" and "continuous" styles, so go with whatever you are happiest with!
She's coming along very nicely Sir.
Cheers,
Pete.
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Re: Building the Hull

Post by chrism » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:05 pm

Thanks for comments gents.

Maurice - just looked at your pickle deck planking. I note you had 2 king planks on that. So it was easier to mirror.

Whereas Victory only has one wider central (king) plank - I specifically noted that on the lower deck where the wood is still original.

Was it normal for some ships to have 2 king planks and others to only have one dead on the centre line. x3x

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Re: Building the Hull

Post by Pete Coleman » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:35 pm

Chris,
In spite of my earlier post, Interestingly McKay shows all of Victory's deck butt joints to be in a continous crosswise order (skipping the central king plank), now if he is to be believed then "mirror image" would definately be the wrong way to go!
Any thoughts Daniel?

P.S. The Frigate "Pandora" has two central king planks....
Cheers,
Pete.
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Re: Building the Hull

Post by Maurice Wilcox » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:03 pm

On Pickle the two planks either side of the centre line were called the 'Partners' or King planks.

In reality they were stronger planks than normal decking, the purpose of which was to act as primary fore and aft deck bracing, although this doesn't show on the Pickle model of course.

In his book The Construction and Fitting of the English Man of War, Peter Goodwin has this to say:


Most of the decks that were open to the elements were laid out in the four butt shift system, unlike the gun decks a plank of greater width was set along the centre line, and the planking worked from this until it reached the margin plank.

As far as Victory is concerned, Bugler says that the Lower (original) gun deck has no king plank, the Middle gun deck doesn't have one now, but probably had one originally (from some of the old deck remaining) the Upper gun deck has one, so too the Fo'csle/Quarterdeck (12" wide) The Poop does not have a king plank.

Whether in practice the planking was started one side and carried across to the other, jumping the king planks, or was planked from aft forward up each side of the centre, as far as modelling is concerned I think the aim should be to get a nice symmetry, afterall on a model the whole deck can be taken in with one glance.

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Re: Building the Hull

Post by Pete Coleman » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:18 pm

I'm with you there Maurice,
Perhaps a good case for symmetry versus authenticity....
Chris, I would go with what your heart tells you.
For myself, I actually enjoyed deck planking, how perverse!
Cheers,
Pete.
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Re: Building the Hull

Post by Maurice Wilcox » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:30 pm

Nothing perverse about liking deck planking Pete, I think it is a rather satisfying activity, almost theraputic :D

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Re: Building the Hull

Post by chrism » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:30 pm

Thank you for the info.
Think I will plank one half and then see what looks neatest and appeals to my eye most.

Appreciate info on different decks.

But I measured a 12" plank on lower deck and others of 10" so as far as I
am aware there is a central wider plank on lower deck

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Re: Building the Hull

Post by chrism » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:36 am

I was now ready to proceed with planking the first section of deck - that for the upper gun deck which lies beneath the waist.

I prepared the deck pieces - which were supplied as two halves, and dry fitted and tweaked them, then covered them in black paper to act as my caulking.

Image
I
I was now ready to begin the planking. The wood had been stained with a light dip in some tea.
The wood on the left is the treated and on the right the natural lime wood.

Image

I started the planking - using 2.5 inch pieces - so as to have a half-inch delineation over my 5-plank run.

I am not at all happy with this and it is now being scrapped.

In the photo - there is a 3mm centre plank, and then 5 planks which I have laid in a straight run- because the centre of this deck is mostly covered with gratings and openings and the gratings I shall use - whilst having holes in them are such small holes that it will not be noticeable that they are on the decking wood - and then after that I began laying the shorter "plank" pieces. (the paper pieces of gratings in the photo are the kit supplied items - and are there for my measuring purposes - they are not the items I shall be using finally on this deck )


Image


The reason - I am just not happy with how the wood is laying down. It is not even in texture and it is very rough on edges - even when given a rub over with an emery board nail file thing on the edges.

Image

My current thinking now - is that I will go with using walnut. Whilst it will be a tad darker, it is generally much better milled and hopefully will give a better overall effect. I have 20 metres in my stock pile, and will now go off and get a further supply for the upper decks.

The moral of the story I suppose - is always check all your wood before you leave a shop with it. As I wanted 60 metres of the stuff, plus some other for the king and waterway, the shop got 3 prepacked bags of it out of the store room, rather than have me taking individual lengths out of their stock display stand, and causing them to then have to count them before charging me..... I too did not check the contents of the bags as thoroughly as I would have done had I been getting individual lengths out of the display stand.
The wood whilst OK for most of its length, does have a kink and a few knotty pieces in it, in each length that I have.

The reason for choosing this wood in the first place - was that I could get other widths for the king and waterway and the colour of the wood all married up nicely. So I will now try and find some wider walnut that complements the main stuff, but if not, the having of a waterway (sadly) will have to be reviewed ...

Yes - I probably ought to have gone back with it when I realised it was a problem - but the shop is 45 miles away a 90 mile round trip and while it makes a day out we dont need another day out to that place (Bournemouth) yet.

On reflection, this wood was pretty average; Whilst this is natural for wood, there is good milled wood and poor wood. I am now off to the other shop that sells wood etc - which is only 15 miles away.

So onwards and upwards . . . . and as always as many people before me have said - if you aint happy with something be big enough to admit it was a mistake and redo it.
Last edited by chrism on Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Building the Hull

Post by chrism » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:46 am

This photo gives an idea of the colour of the 2mm walnut I can obtain.

There is 2mm and 5mm in this photo.

Image

Whilst it is a little darker, it is a lot smoother and neater milled on the edges. That too me anyway - makes a huge difference in getting the decks laid neatly.

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Re: Building the Hull

Post by chrism » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:31 am

My decking dilemmas continue, and the wood of choice is still under review. I have obtained samples of what different suppliers can offer in 2mm and 3mm wide wood, and made up short small test pieces and varnished them.

The overall consensus from those here who have viewed them, is that the 2mm is far too dark for decking, and it also to my eye seems just that little bit too narrow.

Image

The 3mm is a closer match to the wood I used on deck of my previous Vic, and that has now faded and lightened a lot in the 3 years since it was laid. So I am coming round to thinking I am going to go with a 3mm

The 2mm laid down well, and is lovely wood; and in any other situation I would have been delighted with its colour and richness when varnished. I tried lightening it, and weathering it with some paint – but as I want to use wood for the deck, ideally I want to leave the wood pretty much in its natural state on view. If all I am going to then do is paint it, I might just as well use a piece of plasticard or straight cardboard and line/groove that. .

That photo has samples of 2, 3 and 4 mm woods. The final choice will be a 2 or 3mm one. The wood in the rightmost sample which is 4mm is representative of what I can obtain that will be lightest in a 3mm and that is closest to the wood on my previous model.
Last edited by chrism on Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Building the Hull

Post by Pete Coleman » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:46 am

The 3mm equates to about a 10" wide plank which agrees with the planking on "Surprise", whether or not that's 100% correct I am not sure, but it does compare favourably with the Admiralty models at the NMM. :D
Personally, I think that I would go with the 3mm.....
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