Bluenose Canadian Schooner
November 26, 2016
The cabin is one of the largest structures on the deck. It sits on the quarter deck near the wheel box. The cabin is a large structure that has several different components. It has a doorway that leads down into the hull of the ship. It has a skylight that lets light into the lower decks. It also has a vent pipe on its roof.
The cabin is also oddly shaped. It is wider towards the front, and narrower towards the aft. It is taller in the center than it is towards the sides of the ship.
The Model Shipways Bluenose kit plans provide full drawings of the exterior, but don’t provide any real suggestions on how to build it. I decided to make it more complicated than it needed to be.
I started by making templates for the fore and aft walls from the plans. The walls will be made from 1/16″ thick basswood sheets, just like the wheel box. The side pieces were also cut from 1/16″ sheet.
The plans show a curve along the bottom edge. For now, I’ve left the bottom edge straight. That curve needs to match the camber of the deck, so we’ll fit the structure to the deck once we have it assembled.
I pinned the walls in place over a copy of the plans and glued them together. I used some square strip stock to create supports in the corners as well as beams that ran the length of the cabin.
Once the glue dried, the structure was removed from the board and sanded down.
So, here’s where I decided to make things complicated. Most people would simply build the skylight and companionway (door) on the outside of the completed structure. I decided to build them into the structure. It is more accurate, but it probably won’t be noticeable when it is finished.
I started by building out a platform to support the skylight.
Next I identified where the companionway goes, and framed it out. I added the walls that create the companionway. These are taller than the cabin itself, and angled so they slope back into the roof of the cabin.
I added the back wall of the entrance, and built out the skylight. The skylight extends up through the roof, so it took some work to get the right height. It is important to take into account the height of the roof planking.
At this point, the cabin’s structure is fairly rigid, so it is a good time to fit the cabin to the deck.
I saw a trick somewhere (could have been on the Model Ship World forum, or perhaps some book) for how to fit deck structures to match the camber of the deck. I placed a big piece of 80 grit sandpaper onto the deck, and set the cabin on top. I pressed it down, and started sanding. The sandpaper conforms to the camber of the deck, and we end up with a perfect fit along the bottom of the cabin.
I can see the shape of the cabin starting to take shape while it sits on the deck.
Next I drilled out the holes to form the windows. There is one on each side.
I also added in some wide supports across the width of the cabin, flush with the tops of the walls, to support the roof planking.
Prior to planking, the outside of the structure was sanded, primered, and painted white.
The roof will be planked in the same basswood stock I used for the wheel box. The cabin is a bit more complicated because we need to plank around the skylight and the companionway. The area between the ‘wall’ of the companionway and the skylight needs to be planked, so I ended up cutting some special planks to fit. I started with the center (which also happened to be the most complicated) and worked my way out.
The planked roof was then sanded down and given some rounded corners. The skylight and entrance were left open.
The roof was then stained using the same color used for the wheel box.
The cabin is large enough that it makes sense to add the molding. I’m not skilled enough to make fancy molding, so I’m going to just install some 1/32″ x 1/32″ strips under the edge of the roof. These were painted before being installed.
The coamings were made from wood stock, stained, and installed. The process was the same as I used for the wheel box. Once installed, the corners were rounded off.
One detail – the coaming actually runs under the entrance. To do this, the bottom of the entrance was trimmed to match the shape of the coaming material.
Next up are the doors. I’ve seen a few different ways of doing the doors. Again, I decided to make things more complicated than they needed to be.
I trimmed a piece of 1/64″ thick sheet wood to fit the doorway. I then cut out the ‘panels’ on the doors, and cut the entire piece in half to form two doors.
These were then painted white. I cut another piece to the same overall size from 1/16″ thick sheet stock, and stained it to match the roof. The thinner white doors were glued on top, to create the look of darker recessed panels in the doors.
The roof over the skylight needs to let light in (obviously). I framed these out using some thin wood strips.
Once the frames were dry, they were trimmed to size, sanded, and painted white.
I then cut several very short pieces of brass rod and glued them in to form the bars in the skylight. These are out of scale (too large). I considered using wire, but if I went though route I’d end up with a bunch of wire and I think it would be too small/cluttered to really see the detail anyway. I ended up installing 5 bars in each frame.
Near the skylight, there is a pipe coming out from the roof. This was likely some kind of vent.
I decided to try to create the pipe accurately. I cut some 3/32″ diameter brass rod to the right length. I made a single 45 degree cut to split the rod into two parts.
These two pieces were then rotated to form an angle. This joint was soldered.
The long end of the pipe needs a stand. I made this from from brass strip I had laying around. I started by drilling a 3/32″ hole through the strip, then cutting off the top part to leave a half-hole.
Then I trimmed the sides to give it an angle, and cut it free from the brass strip.
The stand was then soldered on to the pipe. The pipe that goes into the roof was left a little long since I’ll actually be dropping that into a hole on the roof.
A 3/32″ hole was drilled at the right spot in the roof, and the pipe is put in place. This will get painted black a little later.
There are only two pieces left.
To the side of the entrance there is a compass box. This is a small box with a hole in the front that allows the crew to see the compass for navigation. The compass box has a rounded top, so I’ll need to bend some wood to make the top.
I soaked a strip of the 1/64″ thick sheet stock in some water.
The body of the compass box was carved from a solid piece of wood. A hole was drilled in one side to simulate the opening for the compass.
The thin wood for the top was bent around the box and pinned in place to dry.
Once it was dry and glued on, it was painted white.
I also built the roof for the entrance. This was built from planks, like the roof of the cabin, but was painted white.
After a little bit of touchup and final painting, the cabin was done.