Buffalo Rail

UPDATE: I ended up repainting the main rail white later down the road, because it was white on the original ship.  Just pretend this post, and all the photos it has of the rail show it as white.  Thanks!

Day 169.

The buffalo rail is a simple rail that sits at the bow.  On the Model Shipways Bluenose kit, this is a made from three pieces: a kit-provided laser cut ‘tip’ that creates the point at the bow, and two side pieces that are cut from strip wood.

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The original buffalo rail pieces, including the laser-cut tip piece and the two extensions cut from strip wood stock.

It is a pretty simple setup, and shouldn’t take long.  I got the pieces cut and primered quickly and easily, but I got distracted while waiting between coats of white paint, and the painting process ended up taking a couple days.  Somehow, during this time I got a little crazy with my sanding.  When I went to glue the pieces onto the main rail, I discovered that I had sanded the tip piece too much, and it was now too small to line up with the other pieces.

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After painting and sanding, I realized I over-sanded the ‘points’ of the tip piece, and they are now too small to fit properly.  Oops.

I spent several days tracing that tip piece onto a wood sheet and cutting it out by hand.  Every time it came out bad.  Finally I broke down and bought a Proxxon scroll saw.  That saw did the job perfectly, and cut a usable piece on the first try.

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The new tip piece, cut from a basswood sheet using a scroll saw, next to the painted, over-sanded piece from the kit.

The problem with the original piece was that this thing is tiny, and it is difficult to hold it even while sanding.  Just a little extra pressure or an odd angle, and you’ll distort the piece.

So, to make sure that didn’t happen again, I secured all the new pieces onto a board.  I taped down some wax paper, then used double-sided tape to hold down the pieces.  I kept them this way while I sanded, primered, and painted.  Having these pieces secured allowed me to sand the whole assembly at once and keep everything even.

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To prevent uneven sanding, I secured the pieces to a sheet of wood using double-sided tape for the entire painting and sanding process.

Once the pieces were primered and painted, they got installed onto the ship.

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Buffalo rail installed on the ship after painting.
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Another view of the installed buffalo rail.

I also noticed that I had forgotten to install the aft buffer platform legs.  These are two small pieces that go under the main rail at the stern, on either side of the hole.  The kit provides two tiny laser cut pieces for these.  However, since I made my own stern rail piece, these kit-provided legs didn’t fit.  I cut my own out of some scrap sheet wood, painted them white, and installed them.

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My custom pieces for the aft buffer platform legs were modeled after the laser-cut pieces from the kit, only sized to fit my ship.

The next step is to get the monkey rail built.  That should finish off the work on the rail.

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