Fair American

Stern Filler Blocks and Framing

May 27, 2018

Day 23.

With the bow complete, it is time to start in on the stern.  The stern is fairly complex.  Like many ships from this era, the rear of the ship had a large room with windows on the stern.  This was typically the captain’s quarters.

The stern of the Model Shipways Fair American requires a good bit of framing.

It starts with the wing transom, which is a laser cut piece that sits on top of the keel, butted up against the last bulkhead.  It forms a little ‘shelf’.  This piece was sanded down and glued in place.


The wing transom is installed behind the last bulkhead.

Like the bow, the stern needs filler blocks so the hull planking will have something to attach to.  The stern filler blocks have some very tight curves.

I started by cutting a block of wood and clamping it in place.  I traced the outline of the wing transom on top, and the bulkhead and keel down below.


Filler blocks for the stern are made from a block of wood.

I used a jeweler’s saw to cut the block down to the rough shape and glued it in place.


Each stern filler block is rough cut before being glued in.

The blocks were then sanded down, using a combination of Dremel and hand sanding, until the shape matched what was called moron the plans.

When complete, the filler blocks create a smooth curve from the last bulkhead up to the wing transom.  The blocks run smoothly into the rabbet line along the stern.


The completed stern filler blocks after a lot of sanding.

Next I moved to framing out the structure above the wing transom.  The kit provides six laser cut frames that create the general shape.  These were removed from their boards and sanded down to remove the laser char.


Frames are provided as laser cut pieces for building up the stern.

The six pieces where then glued in according the locations on the plans.  The four inboard frames are thinner, and sit perpendicular to the bulkhead.  The two outboard frames are thicker, since they get installed at an angle to match the curve of the hull and will need to be sanded.

Once they are all glued in, the back edges will be sanded flat and faired.


The installed frames.

Vertical strips are then glued to the ends of the frames, extending up past the top of each frame.  Horizontal supports were then glued between each frame, creating the rough outline of the stern.


Vertical strips are added to the ends of the frames, and horizontal supports are placed between the frames.

Two end pieces were then cut and glued onto the outboard edges of the frames.  The kit seemed to imply that these were laser cut, but I didn’t see any in the kit.  I ended up using the drawing on the plans as a template, and cut the pieces on my scroll saw.


Curved end pieces finish up the shape of the stern.

The stern will have five windows installed in it.  The windows are provided as cast metal pieces with the kit.  They don’t look great, and I’m not sure if I’ll use them or not.  But right now, I just need to make sure I have the structure in place to hold the window frames.  (I’ll actually install the frames later when I’m planking the stern.)

Using the metal window frames as a guide, I added some additional horizontal supports. These will support the top and bottom of each window, whether I use the metal frames or make my own.


Some additional horizontal supports were added to support the windows, which will be installed later.

Finally, a piece was made to create the hole for the rudder.  This area will be planked, but we want to have a secure spot for the planking to be glued to around the hole.  A small piece was drilled with an appropriately sized hole, and glued in place.


A piece is installed to create a hole for the rudder.