Bluenose Canadian Schooner

Knightheads, Hawse Timbers and Stanchions

May 20, 2016

Day 49.

Up at the bow, we need to install the knightheads and hawse timbers.  On the Model Shipways Bluenose kit, these are solid pieces that represent some of the structure up at the front of the ship.

We’ll need to install three parts on each side – the knighthead, the hawse timber, and the cable chafe block.


These three pieces form the structure up at the bow.  On a real ship, there would be multiple pieces here, but for the model, we’re going to use a simpler method.  One piece of wood will be placed behind the extension from bulkhead A, and another piece with an angled end will be placed in front.

The chafing block seems to be left out on many models.  I’m going to go ahead and add these, at they are indicated on the plans.  Later, when we drill the holes for the hawse pipes, they will cut into the tops of these blocks.  The chafing blocks would help support the cables running out through the hawse pipes, keeping them from damaging the wood structure of the ship.

Photo May 21, 8 02 12 AM

Completed knightheads, hawse timbers, and chafing blocks at the bow.

These were pretty straight-forward.  Not really much to say about these.  But with these installed, I decided to start cleaning up the existing stanchions…

Along the sides of the ship, stanchions are the supports that hold up the planking above deck and support the rail.


On this model, some of the stanchions are created by the tops of the bulwarks we installed way back.  I even took the time back then to cut them back so they would be about the right size.  The remainder of the stanchions are ‘fake’ – simply cut from strip wood and glued into place.  Stanchions on this model are 1/8″ square, and as tall as they need to be at each position.

The existing stanchions created by the bulkheads will be used to support the planking above the deck.  Once the planking is in, the fake stanchions will get installed.

Before I start installing planking above the deck, I need to do a pass to ensure that the existing stanchions are the right size.  (After planking is installed, it will be impossible to resize these).

I started by adjusting my digital caliper to 1/8″, and tightening the screw so it wouldn’t move.  This lets me reliably measure exactly 1/8″.

Photo May 21, 8 03 58 AM

Stanchions are 1/8″ wide and 1/8″ deep, so I set my caliper to that size.

Then I stared at the front the ship, and worked my way down the side.  I tried the caliper on each stanchion, and if it didn’t slide on easily, I filed the stanchion down.  As I did this, I tried to straighten them up as well, removing any angles or curves.

Photo May 21, 8 02 44 AM

The width of each bulkhead extension is checked using the caliper set at 1/8″.

Photo May 21, 8 03 26 AM

Filing is done as needed to get them straight and exactly 1/8″.

Photo May 21, 8 03 46 AM

A final check shows the width is now correct.

I did the same thing vertically to ensure the ‘depth’ of the stanchion was correct.

Photo May 21, 8 28 51 AM.jpg

Stanchions are measured again after sanding to ensure they ended up at the right size.

Many of the stanchions are not the right height.  However, I’m not going to worry about that now.  Trying to get them all to the right height would be difficult, since the required height varies at almost every point on the ship.  Once the planking is installed, I can sand down or fill up to the planking height, using the planks as a guide.