I’ve got the Model Shipways Bluenose kit instructions and a practicum. They go about things in different orders – sometimes for good reasons, other times just ‘because’. I’ve heard that if you are going to follow the practicum, you should follow the practicum only, because you can box yourself into a corner if you don’t. But, there are things the practicum skips over or does in a way I don’t like.
I’ve hit the first point where the instructions and the practicum really start to go in different directions.
The practicum says to add one strip of the waterway, then plank the hull. (We need to align the first band of hull planks to the waterway, so it makes sense to install the waterway before planking).
The instructions, however, goes through a dozen or so other steps – mostly doing work on the top side of the ship. It would have me framing out the transom at the rear of the ship, installing knight heads at the front, putting in rails and all the fake stanchions. I don’t think I want to add all that structure when I’m about to flip the ship over and plank the hull.
Over the last week, I’ve started going through the instructions and practicum and listing out all the steps. This is a simple numbered list. It lets me compare the order of the two, and gives me a nice checklist to make sure I’ve done everything. Using this list, I decided to ignore both the plans and the practicum, and go on a little detour.
My goal is to install the waterway and plank the hull. But, the waterway is basically the outside edge of the deck. The deck sits on top of the bulkheads. Except in the center of the ship, where there is a ‘great beam’.
It seems like that beam should get put in before I add the waterway, since the waterway needs to sit on top of the beam. The practicum skips the great beam completely (it never gets installed). The instructions have me doing it about 6 or 7 steps from now (but it wants me to install the waterway now).
Well, it’s my ship and I’ll do what I want.
The great beam is made out of three laser cut parts. It creates the ‘step’ in the middle of the deck that separates the fore deck (front) from the quarter deck (rear). I cut out the three laser cut parts and sanded off all the laser char. These parts are each curved to match the shape of the bulkheads.
One of them goes in front of bulkhead H, and forms the support that the fore deck planks will sit on top of. However, bulkhead H is even with the keel, so to put this in, we’ll need to add a notch.
With the notch made, all three pieces are glued in. After the glue sets, I test-fit with a piece of deck planking. There’s a problem. On the quarter deck, the plank should lay flat across the keel and sit on top of the rear beam. The top of the plank should be flat with the taller part of the great beam. This forms a nice horizontal ‘edge’ on the step. My plank doesn’t sit flat on the keel – there’s a gap.
I don’t want to sand down the rear beam, because then the top of the plank won’t be flush with the top of the front beam. I don’t want to sand down the front beam, because that will reduce the height of the ‘step’. I checked the plans, and it looks like a slight rise in the keel here would be OK. So, let’s add a shim.
I glued on a strip of wood, then sanded it so it blended smoothly back into the existing bulkhead. This strip goes over a mast hole, but I waited to cut that section out until I had sanded the slope to make sure it had a nice, straight slope. After adding the shim, I tried the plank again. Done!
So, I’ve now got the great beam installed. Now I’ll go back to the waterway and start gearing up for hull planking.