Bluenose Canadian Schooner

Hull Details

June 24, 2016

Day 84.

With the hull planked, the deck planked, and the stanchions in place, I’m getting close to being able to paint the hull.  But first, there are a few details to be finished out on the hull.

We need to drill the hawse pipe holes, deal with mooring chocks, and drill the mounting holes.

Hawse Pipe Holes

The hawse pipes are a set of holes on either side of the ship up by the bow.  The start above deck, go through the knight heads / hawse timbers, and come out on the side of the ship.

These are pretty straightforward.  The only details are finding the right size drill bit that still fits in a manual pen vise (don’t use a power drill for this), and marking the correct locations.  These holes run at an angle, so it can be a little tricky to get them starting and ending at the right spots.


The hawse pipe holes are drilled into the front of the ship.

Later the holes on the outside of the hull will get some metal ‘lips’, but we’ll save that until after the hull is painted.

Mooring Chocks

Oh, mooring chocks.  These were tricky, because unless you’re really familiar with these on a real ship, the plans make no sense.  The mooring chocks, according to the Model Shipways Bluenose plans, are some ‘things’ that are set into the hull near the rear.  There are metal pieces for them, and they look like this…

Photo Jun 21, 6 16 04 PM

The pieces provided with the kit for the mooring chocks are pretty low quality, and lack proper holes.

The plans don’t show exactly how these pieces fit into the hull, but they indicate that a filler piece of wood needs to go between the stanchions, and some kind of hole or slot needs to be cut through the bulwarks.

After doing some research and asking online, I learned what all this is about.  A mooring chock is basically a ‘hole’, shaped in a big piece of metal, where the ropes used to tie the ship to dock pass through.  The metal hole/tube prevents the rope from damaging the hull.  I was thrown off by the kit’s metal pieces, which don’t appear to have any holes.

On closer inspection, it looks like they are supposed to have holes in them, but the casting is too low quality.

So, I installed the filler blocks, drilled a hole through the metal pieces, and fitted it into place.

Photo Jun 21, 7 32 50 PM

The kit provided pieces mounted into the hull.

That looks bad.

But, I see what they’re after.  All you’d really see of a mooring chock are the outer faces – the center ‘hole’ is inside the bulwark, so it isn’t really visible at this scale.  I decided that I should scrap the wood pieces and simulate the mooring chocks by replicating the faces that would be visible on the outside.

I cut small pieces of brass from a sheet I had handy.  I used a metal punch to punch a hole through the brass.  The punch leaves a slightly rounded edge around the hole, which is perfect, since mooring chocks are rounded out.

My plan is to have a hole running through the bulwarks and filler blocks, and to use these plates on the inside and outside to cover the hole.

Just for an added touch, I cut away some of the wood so these will be a little recessed and flush with the bulwarks and stanchions.

I made all four (two for each chock), test fit and modified the holes, then set them aside.  We’ll attach these after the hull is painted.

Mounting Holes

When the model is finished, it will set on two brass pedestals mounted to a display board.  Screws run through the board and pedestals into the bottom of the ship.

Photo Jun 25, 8 47 51 AM

In a year or show, when the ship is done, it will be mounted using these brass pedestals.

On my last build, I waited until pretty late in the process to drill the mounting holes for the screws.  It was “fun” trying to carefully rest a fully rigged ship model on its side and drill holes.

This time, I’m going to drill the holes before I’ve got anything mounted on the deck that might be damaged.

The bottom of the ship is straight, but it doesn’t lie flat.  The back of the ship sits lower in the water than the front, and we want to display it that way.  To do this, my two pedestals are different heights.

Referring to the plans, I determined the angle for the bottom of the ship, and fiddled with the positioning of the pedestals until I got the right angle.  I marked their positions on the keel.  The ship was then flipped over, and holes were drilled.

Photo Jun 25, 8 48 19 AM

Holes are drilled into the bottom of the ship where the pedestals will go.

Now those mounting pieces get set aside for a year or so (until I’m done with the ship and ready to mount it).

Some people like to mount their ship before they finish the model.  That way, they don’t risk messing anything up later.  However, I tend to keep my ships on a vise so I can tilt and turn them as I work, so I hold off on the final mounting until the very end.

There is also something nice about finishing build, then carefully mounting it on a display board – kind of a nice final step.

I’m Skipping Stuff

Just in case someone is reading this wondering about stuff that seems missing…I have decided to skip two hull details.

I am not cutting in the waist cove.  This is a ‘line’ that is cut into the sides of the ship.  I tried it earlier in the process, and I didn’t get good results.  I could try it again (I even bought a tool to help), but I’m thinking I’ll end up doing some damage, and this detail isn’t very obvious on the final model.

I’m also skipping the transom fashion pieces.  These are two pieces that get cut, shaped, and mounted on the rear of the ship.  They don’t add much, and the plans are to very clear on exactly how they go on.  So, I’m skipping them.

With all this done, I’m ready to move on to painting!