Model Boat Mayhem

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length.
Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Vic Smeed's River Queen  (Read 404 times)

SailorGreg

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 882
  • Money talks - it says goodbye
  • Location: Hayling Island, Hants
Vic Smeed's River Queen
« on: March 12, 2020, 10:43:04 PM »

 Since I started building model boats I have always been impressed by those who build proper clinker model hulls, and have always assumed they have a level of skill way beyond mine.  So recently I thought I would test that assumption and have a go at Vic Smeed’s River Queen design. I bought the plans and set to, but I warn you now, this build will not end up in the Masterclass section!  I started off building a trial hull just to identify the likely issues (lots of them!), and used cheap ply for the planks, so they were never going to bend properly.  I got about a third of the way through a very messy planking, and decided it was time to start on the real thing, but I am glad I did the trial because it did indeed help me resolve some fairly fundamental issues.  This will be electric powered, not steam, in case any steam enthusiast was getting excited.

The first job is to make the building jig, and here is the backbone of it on the plan.



 

I also photocopied the bulkheads from the plan, and then taped the centre line onto a piece of ply, traced it, then flipped the template over to get the matching half.





The next job was building the keel/stem/deadwood which is illustrated in the next few piccies.  The various pieces were cut to rough shape from the plan and fettled to fit.  (Occasional pictures are from my trial hull, so if you spot some differences in the wood or joints, that is why.)







The stern deadwood has the prop shaft running through it so I made it in two parts, grooved them out on the router table and Araldited the whole lot together.





When doing this part on my trial hull, I discovered an error in the plan. The keel is drawn in the side view as 3/8” deep, but everywhere else as ½” deep.  The housing in the bottom of the deadwood obviously needs to be ½”, not 3/8”, as you can see from the piccie above, with the correct sized deadwood laid over the plan.

The keel is then glued to the deadwood and the first really tricky part is looming – cutting the rebate for the planks along each side of the stem/keel/deadwood.  This was one area where I made a bit of a mess on my trial hull, and was only slightly better on the real thing.  A combination of sharp Stanley knife, small chisels and abrasive paper eventually got me somewhere close. 




The hardest part was where the planking sweeps up in a curve towards the transom.  I had a practice go on a scrap of wood to make sure I could cut a smooth curve, then did it for real -



Then took a chisel to make the rebate more like |I thought is should be.





You can see that this process has exposed the tube for the prop shaft – not good for the chisel edge, and potentially annoying when putting a plank over that area.

Next problem was how to reproduce that curve, cut freehand, on the other side.  I traced the curve, cut out the pattern and drew round it on the other side.





With the rebate completed on both sides (and a fresh tub of wood filler standing by for later!), it was time to set the frames and keel up on the building jig.  Most of the frames are removed after building, so were made of scrap plywood.  The transom and the frames at each end of the hull remain as part of the hull, so were made from slightly more presentable wood.  The plan suggests screwing the transom to the backbone, but this leaves a screw hole to be filled in the middle of the transom.  I added a tab to the top of the transom so I could fix it in place then cut it off once the hull was finished.



The plans show access doors in the rear bulkhead, and I cut the hole for these before fixing it in place on the jig, and made a blank to fit the hole.





Slots had been cut in the backbone to accept the frames as indicated on the plan. 




However, when they were put in place, the cutouts for the keel to sit in were all at different heights.  I had to shim all of the frames by different amounts to get them all to sit in line for the keel.  Once done, this is where we were.



Having shimmed the frames I was concerned that maybe the sheer line was going to be all wavy up and down, so I turned everything the right way up and put a flexible strip along the tops of the frames to check.  Everything looked fine.  Big sigh of relief – not sure what I would have done if it had been wonky!



Next step some planking.  Oooh-err.  {:-{ {:-{
 
Greg
 
 
 
 

Jerry C

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1,117
  • Location: Caernarfon, North Wales.
Re: Vic Smeed's River Queen
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2020, 12:42:52 AM »

Way to go Greg!
Looking good so far. Ref. Your error in plan re keel and deadwood. I can’t see from pics of plan but is there a keelson  on this model?  The reason I ask is because when I built Wear I got confused because it doesn’t have one. Patternmakers’ Boat (can’t remember name) had one and a Montague whaler and my old Redwing OD had one so I thought all clinker boats had one.
When you plank up ensure you keep the planking balanced 1p, 1s 2p 2s etc. or you’ll get a kink in the jig.
For “geralding” I found a 1/4” mortise chisel scary sharp was the way to go and for top shamfer on planks a set of those toy Rolson planes also scary sharp, and a 1/2” strip of Formica invaluable for marking out.
The mistake on Wears plans was where deck planking shown butting up on inside of shear strake when it should lay over the top and end grain and joint covered by rubbing strip.
If memory served the best I managed was four planks a day.
Kind rgds
Jerry.

SailorGreg

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 882
  • Money talks - it says goodbye
  • Location: Hayling Island, Hants
Re: Vic Smeed's River Queen
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2020, 10:25:43 AM »

Thanks Jerry.  Yes, there is a keelson (if that is what the plan calls the hog, the strip that lies on top of the keel).  If you look at the picture of the deadwood over the plan, you can see there are two rebates and a dotted line on the plan that indicates the keelson/hog.  And other parts of the plan clearly show a 1/2" keel.

I am actually much more advanced than I show here.  I thought it best to make sure I had at least a 50/50 chance of finishing this before I began a build log.   ;)   But I am always happy to have your advice. I will cover my attempts at geralding in the next exciting instalment!  (And I have never done better than 2 planks a day, and mostly one!)

Greg

frazer heslop

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 167
  • Location: Durham
Re: Vic Smeed's River Queen
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2020, 02:56:15 PM »

River Queen is a nice build I made my boat about 20 years ago and Im just starting to get ready to build her sister River Princess she will be a steamer
I cannot remember the problem youve had with the keel although I cannot remember what I did ast week
For the geralding I used a rabbit, rebate or shoulder plane although a good sharp chisel is just as good
Good luck
kind regards
frazer
Logged

SailorGreg

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 882
  • Money talks - it says goodbye
  • Location: Hayling Island, Hants
Re: Vic Smeed's River Queen
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2020, 10:03:57 PM »

 Before embarking on the planking, there is a little bit of fairing to be done on the transom and bulkheads that will remain in the hull.  Here the fairing is half done.  Pencil scribbles let me know where I still need to sand.





So on to planking.  I guess many people, like me, have read descriptions of how this is done, but it’s not until you actually do it that you spot the omissions in those descriptions! I will try and fill in some of the gaps.  The first step is to mark each frame with the plank widths, that is you measure the distance from keel to sheer at each frame and divide by the number of planks (12 in this case).  OK, I can do that.





It wasn’t clear to me whether you take the measurement around the frame from the face of the keel or the bottom of the rebate, or if it matters.  I took it from the face of the keel then added a bit to the first plank to allow for the depth of rebate. 

So cut the planks to the marks and you’re done!  Wrong, because we need an overlap so the planks need to be a bit wider than that.  But how much?  The plans showed a pretty small overlap although nowhere did it actually advise what this should be.  Also, I made the mistake on my trial hull of cutting the garboard plank (the one that lies along the keel) to the marks and then adding an overlap to the next plank.  This, I realised after a lot of sketching things out, would mean I either ended up with a very wide sheer strake (plank number 12) or would be short by the width of an overlap.  You have to cut every plank to overlap the marks on the frames by 3mm and start the next plank at the mark.





The plan also calls for 1/16” ply for the planks.  This is nice and flexible but I wasn’t too confident in my ability to cut good geralds (the tapering rebate at the ends of each plank so that the bow and stern end up with flush planking – more explanation later) in 1/16” ply.  I also wondered about the robustness of a hull built of this, so I decided to go for solid timber 2.5mm thick.  (The plan is all imperial measurements, but I usually work in metric so you might find an odd mix of units appearing.)  That seemed a nice number, so I decided my overlap would also be that. In fact it turned out I needed a bit more once I started building my trial hull (to allow some wriggle room due to my poor measuring/marking), so for the real thing I opted for a generous 3mm.
Right, got that out the way.  Planking material next.  Ideally I would buy ready cut sheet out of which to cut the planks, but most of that available is only 100mm wide, which I reckoned would leave me with loads of wasted material once I had cut a curved plank out of it.  What I wanted was 2.5mm sheet about 250 or 300mm wide so that I could cut several planks from each sheet.  I quickly concluded I would need to make my own.  I also wanted a close grained wood that would steam well (as I didn’t know if I would need to steam the planks or not).  A tour of my local (only 15 miles away!) timber merchant left me with a couple of planks of beech for a good deal less money than a whole sheaf of ready cut sheets. I won’t bore you with the processing to get the sheets, suffice it to say that a bandsaw and a planer/thicknesser helped a lot!
Having scorned 1/16 ply, I actually used it a lot to cut patterns for each plank.  It is easily held in place on the hull, cuts easily and I often added bits as well as taking them away to get a good fit to all the marks on the frames and at the bow rebate.  I had a fair number of these patterns from my trial hull, although it quickly became clear that I wasn’t building an identical twin!
Here is the garboard strake being test fitted.  I did actually steam this as there is a lot of twist at both ends to get the plank lying flat in the rebate, but it turned out this was the only one I steamed. In hindsight I might have done a better job if I had steamed more of the planks.





As mentioned before, each plank has a rebate at each end, or gerald (heaven alone knows why it’s called that), to bring the planking flush at bow and stern.  I marked the 3mm overlap, then starting at about 700mm from the end of the plank I ran a sharp blade along the overlap line then used a bull nose plane to cut the Gerald. A picture or two –








Once the plank was in place I used a chisel to take Gerald down to nothing at the end.





As well as the usual clamps and clips I made up a bunch of these –





And here they are in action –





I did all my gluing with Titebond 3.  This is definitely not a job for superglue.  You do need time to get everything positioned properly.    Each plank was copied to ensure symmetry.  (As you will see later, that comment is heavily laced with irony.)





Once each plank was in place I planed a bevel the width of the overlap using this dinky little plane.  I planed it by eye, but mostly the bevels turned out pretty well and matched the next plank’s angles.





Sounds great, dead easy eh? Hmmmm –





Clearly the end of the plank was cut incorrectly or not pulled into place properly.  I fixed this by gluing a long tapered sliver of wood to cover the gap and recut the gerald to line up with the pencil mark, but it was not the only rectification job I had as the planking moved along.  But onwards and upwards! Half way there, six planks a side.





Just approaching the turn of the bilge, which caused me a few issues, but that’s for next time.



Greg

 

SailorGreg

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 882
  • Money talks - it says goodbye
  • Location: Hayling Island, Hants
Re: Vic Smeed's River Queen
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2020, 01:15:02 PM »

 If you look for advice on planking a clinker hull, you may well see something like “trace the shape of the previous plank edge, add the plank width at each frame and join those points with a spline”. This, one assumes, gives you the shape of next plank to be fitted.  It sounds simple (ignoring the issue mentioned previously of the overlap) and mostly it is.  However, I found that it simply didn’t work.  In particular, at the turn of the bilge, I had great difficulty getting the planking to follow the tight curve of the frames.  I didn’t really notice the first plank to start separating from the frames, I thought after the second I could pull things back into shape, but when the third went on it was clear I was moving well away from the design.





At this point I was faced with a choice – rip off the last few planks and try again, or simply continue with planking and see where I ended up.  I didn’t really understand why I was getting this divergence, so I didn’t think re-doing it would give any significant improvement – I felt I was likely to end up in the same place.  Also, every plank was taking me quite a long time, and I was reluctant to lose all that effort.  So I carried on.  Here is the last plank going on.





It has only taken a few sentences and pictures here to go from no planks to a fully planked hull, but it was a long-winded and frustrating job for me and there were times when the whole thing nearly went in the bin.  It was also the case that as I progressed, the two sides started to become slightly different – cutting a mirror image plank didn’t work, and the two sides are not completely identical.  I fully accept that most of this was my own inexperience and lack of precision in cutting and gluing, but I am now glad I persevered, although I’m not rushing to do another one just yet!


So why did the planking not follow the frames?  (You might want to skip the next paragraph if you really aren’t interested!) I am still not sure, but I suspect I didn’t put enough curve in the planks around the turn of the bilge.  If you can imagine a plank held in the middle in its place on the hull, you would hope that, as you push the plank into place, each end meets the stem and transom in line with the previous plank.  However, if you put more curve in the plank (so the ends leave a gap to the previous plank) you have to push the ends up into place and doing this forces an inward twist into the middle section.  This twist causes the middle of the plank to follow the curve of the frame.  I think this where I went wrong, but am happy to hear other opinions.  OK, end of ramble.


With the planking completed, I took the hull off the building frame.  The two bulkheads that stay in the hull now didn’t meet the planking over most of the topsides.  Rather than try and rip them out and risk damaging the planking, I simply made new ones that fitted the hull and glued them onto the original pieces.








So now I had a hull that looked like this.





It is about 30mm wider in the beam than the design, but if you didn’t know, would it show? And because I built it, I know where the nasties are, but I will leave you to spot those as we go forward.


Next job was to stiffen the hull by fitting the inwhales.  First, the breast hook and quarter knees went in.








The inwhales were next, laminated in place with two strips of wood.  You will also spot that I have sealed the inside of the hull with some thinned epoxy, partly at least to consolidate everything and guard against failure of any of the glue joints.





Next comes the timbers, and I had fondly imagined when I was planning this that I would rivet these in place.  Indeed, I had bought a heap of 1.5 mm copper rivets for this purpose.  However, I realised that drilling the holes through the plank overlaps was going to have to be deadly accurate 100% of the time if the rivets were to end up in the right place and without damaging plank edges.  I reckoned the chances of failure were pretty high, so decided to set the rivets aside for another day. So time to dig out those venetian blind slats and fire up the steamer.  That’s for the next instalment.


Happy modelling in isolation


Greg

 
 

derekwarner

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Online Online
  • Posts: 8,191
  • Location: Wollongong Australia
Re: Vic Smeed's River Queen
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2020, 12:14:32 AM »

Excellent thread of honesty and self acknowledgment....10/10........I for one, cannot see an issue with the plank at the turn of bilge....??


We have seen some excellent clinker builds on MBM that could be considered Museum Quality .,....and they are as such, however a little beyond many of our members


It would only be a Contestant Judge running a tape measure over the vessel beam & then asking you to explain where the extra 1 1/4" came from  <*< .....[need to remember Judges are still in the original Imperial world


The use of your homemade wooden C clamp bodies & tapered wedges  :-)) sure does eliminate those unsightly temporary nail holes


Looking forward to seeing your progress with staining & chosen coatings %)


Derek


PS...[we also see the use of Titebond III......which is universally accepted as the best selection for a super water resistant/waterproof glue, but any residue on a plank inside or out will react differently in surface colour and finish to that of adjoining raw wood]
Logged
Derek Warner

Honorary Secretary [Retired]
Illawarra Live Steamers Co-op
Australia
www.ils.org.au

SailorGreg

  • Full Mayhemer
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 882
  • Money talks - it says goodbye
  • Location: Hayling Island, Hants
Re: Vic Smeed's River Queen
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2020, 01:20:27 PM »

Thanks Derek.  I knew from the outset that this wasn't going to be a museum piece but I hope others might take heart from my rather crude efforts! 

The issue with the planks is that, from the turn of the bilge I didn't get them to lay flat gainst the frames.  In the picture you reproduce the planks should be flat against the frame you see in the lower right.  Instead there is an increasing gap as more planks are added.  But as you say, once the boat is finished and sailing, who is to say what the beam should be?  :}

Greg
Pages: [1]   Go Up