Bluenose Canadian Schooner


June 19, 2016

Day 80.

“What are stanchions, and why are you cursing?” – my wife.

Stanchions are the ‘posts’ that support the ‘bulwarks’, or the short ‘walls’ on the sides of the ship that keep you from falling into the water.  They are basically supporting beams for the sides of the ship above the deck.


This Model Shipways Bluenose kit uses the bulkheads as some of the stanchions, which you have to trim, then asks you to install ‘fake’ ones to fill in the rest.

A while back, before I installed the bulkheads, I trimmed the bulkhead extensions to create the stanchions, just in case I decided to use them.  Those extensions were used to plank the bulwarks, and they have been visible in almost all my previous posts.

Now it is time to fill in the remaining stanchions.

At this scale, the stanchions should be 1/8″ square posts.  The kit provides this material.  So, I started by taking a piece and holding up to measure the height I’d need to cut…

Photo Jun 19, 8 15 59 AM

Marking the height for the stanchions on the fore deck.

Once marked, I used this to spot check various places on the fore deck to make sure this height would work everywhere.  It does, so now I need to cut like a billion of these little pieces.

Time for a jig!

Photo Jun 19, 8 16 13 AM

Jig to help cut consistent stanchions.  This is sized for the fore deck height…I’ll need to modify this for the quarter deck when I get there.

This should let me slide the 1/8″ stock into the jig, and cut it using a razor saw inserted into the slot.  It worked flawlessly, and I had a small pile of potential stanchions in no time.

Photo Jun 19, 8 27 10 AM

A pile of cut stanchions, before sanding.

Since I had previously cut holes for the scruppers, all the hard work for determining placement of the stanchions had already been done.  (They need to go between the holes.)  If I hadn’t cut the scruppers, I would have needed to take a break here to measure and mark the locations for the stanchions.  Instead, I’m ready to start gluing.

Update: In hindsight, I skipped a very important step, and every time I look at my ship I regret it.  I did not sand the 1/8″ strip before cutting the stanchions.  Once those pieces are cut and installed, it is nearly impossible to get in there and sand them down.  Sand the wood strip to get a nice, even surface before you cut the stanchions!  Anyway…

I dropped in all the stanchions on one side of the fore deck…

Photo Jun 19, 9 11 19 AM

Fake stanchions installed on the fore deck.  The stanchions created from the bulkhead extensions really stand out.

…and, wow…the stanchions created from the bulkhead extensions really stand out.  Dammit.  They are too short, oddly shaped, etc.  That’s not going to work.

The practicum warned about this, and I expected I might run into this.

Photo Jun 19, 9 46 15 AM

After cutting out a stanchion created by a bulkhead extension.  Needs to be filed/sanded down.

So I started cutting them out.  To help with this, I took a couple razor saw blades and bent them, which allowed me to cut flush with the deck.  (You can buy saw blades designed for this, but it is Sunday and my local hobby shops are closed.)

After a good deal of sanding, I was able to drop in a replacement stanchion.

I did this for the entire fore deck and quarter deck.  In total, 108 stanchions were installed. Honestly, it didn’t take that long – about 8 hours total.

If I were doing this all over again, I would cut these extensions off way earlier in the process.  Ideally I’d cut them off before installing the bulkheads on the keel, and notch the bulkheads to accept a 1/8″ square piece that would later become a stanchion.  Oh well.  Next build.

I got all the stanchions installed and sanded down flush with the bulwarks.

Photo Jun 19, 5 32 09 PM

Stanchions installed and bulkhead extensions removed.

Photo Jun 19, 5 32 13 PM

The top side of the ship with decking and stanchions complete.

With stanchions complete, it is time to move on to hawse pipe holes, the transom fashion piece, and mounting holes.  But it is Sunday evening, so instead it is time to fire up the grill and pour (another) margarita.