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>> Home > Tags > mahogany

How do I resolve my varnish problem? by John Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 8 days ago
I have spoken to the person who built the boat. It is based on a Vintage model boat company design. It was scratch built and is made of strips of mahogany as I originally suspected. Having looked at the Vintage model company site it most resembles a sea hornet, however another kit may have been available at the time it was made. The strips of Mahogany were the builder making use of the materials they had to hand at the time, hence the vertical strips! The interior is covered in fine fibreglass mesh and 3 thin coats of fibreglass resin. Work on the restoration continues!

How do I resolve my varnish problem? by Dave M Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 19 days ago
Hi John Having looked closely at your hull construction and joints it would appear that over time the joints have failed. I have a Mercantic with exactly the same problem. If you can sand the raised joints flat then there is a method we use on our mahogany planked schooners that provided a water tight seal and produces a very high shine finish of great strength and resilience. We use G4 pond sealer which is a polyeurethane paint available from Garden Centres. ABL Stevens are my local supplier Its a one-pack polyurethane varnish hardened by moisture in the atmosphere or from the material being sealed, used as a sealant for timber or a barrier coat for concrete, preventing resin being attacked by moisture or alkali's. It's brush painted, touch dry in a couple of hours, dried in 24 hrs and is fully hardened in one week. We usually apply one coat then after 24 hrs wet and dry any blemishes and apply a final thin coat. We also coat the inside of the hull. If your hull has thinned in places then you could use tissue or thin glass cloth inside the hull to give added strength as others have suggested. Hope you manage to get the result you require. Dave

How do I resolve my varnish problem? by HoweGY177 Lieutenant   Posted: 19 days ago
Hi John, Suggest you sand as this will flatten the planking, no doubt each plank has curved slightly as the wood had dried out. Hoover out all the dust from the cracks and fill with a mahogany filler and re-flatten. The inside of the hull will also need varnishing to stop the wood drying out again. Would not advise wetting the planking to raise the grain as is normal practice as this might swell the wood and loose the filler. First use a good quality polyurathene varnish, brushed on but avoid runs, lightly sand to give a key before recoating. At this stage do not worry about the brush strokes showing. After at least 8 coats use wet and dry paper to sand the surface flat. Now apply a yacht varnish that does not dry so quickly and brush strokes will on the whole disappear. I suggest at least 3 coats to finish lightly wet and dry between coats. The more coats you give the deeper the shine. Use a good quality brush, a cheap brush drops hairs and does not give a smooth finish. If you look at my harbour and look at 'River Dance' you will see the finish this method can achieve. Good luck and hopes this helps. Vic

Scale Sailing Association by Westquay Captain   Posted: 19 days ago
Now I'll tell you what's really satisfying....planing the edge of a plank till it just slides right along where it should and locks up in exactly the right place with a resounding thunk. Just had that with tomorrow's plank. I wish the damned glue would set quicker, then it would be later today's plank, but there's always something else to do. I also tried steaming a plank to get some twist in it at one end. I judged the curve to be more or less coffee tin, fired up the kettle and held the end of the plank in the spout. Even though it's one of those turny offy types, leaving the plank end in the still steaming spout until too hot to hold (gardening gloves useful) did the trick. The 1/8th" thick, inch wide Cuban Mahogany went like chewing gum and took on the curvature of the coffee tin till cold, at which point it was glued straight in. Shed locked so I can't fiddle with it (I am a terrible poker of things not yet ready to be poked). The great epoxy event beckons ever closer. Martin

How do I resolve my varnish problem? by Westquay Captain   Posted: 20 days ago
Can't really add much to what Doug has said as he's covered the ground pretty well. I don't ever use paint stripper these days. I once used it to remove factory paint from a Matchbox toy when I was making a series of "Code 3" modified steam lorries. Very oddly the paint strippered ones refused to dry when sprayed with cellulose paint (yes, it was available then no probs.) If I sprayed over the factory paint it dried in minutes as cellulose will do. I hadn't had the problem before, but I certainly got it this time and I haven't wanted to use it since. On wood anyway, I wouldn't use anything liquid as it could always soak in and do who knows what damage. I would scrape the finish on your wood , but make sure you have read up on how to sharpen a cabinet scraper. The shiny ones are pigs to sharpen because they are stainless and you cannot get an edge on stainless. The best knives are NT stainless. As an ex clay modeller for the car industry, I can assure you that all slicks, which we called the thin flat scrapers, were spring steel. They had a nice gun blue finish, but would go rusty if you didn't look after them between contracts. Because you really need two hands to properly control a scraper you'll need to find a good way to hold the boat, but a sweet little job like that Sea Hornet will sit twixt your knees. Because you have all those fractures in a vertical way along the grain, keep your scraper in a diagonal way or it will pick up wood grain and damage the model. It may work if you work down the grain, perpendicular to the deck, so you are crossing the fissures in the varnish. I would suggest that if you want a varnish finish you will need to go over the wood with epoxy and possibly a light weight (1oz.) glass cloth. This will stop any tendency to split again. Surprisingly it does allow the grain to show still and after you have flattened the epoxy, you can then apply 2 or 3 coats, rubbed down in between as Doug says with a very fine paper, of a spar varnish. I have a no name tin which I am using on general stuff, from garden items to the spars of my "Vanity" model. When I did a model of a Rive Aquarama Special, I used an International Spar Varnish which has a slightly golden tinge. Now, the hard part. No boat I can ever think of had wood in a vertical lay on the hull. Ecen double or Riva's triple layer was diagonal, finishing with incredibly well selected horizontal layers. The Sea Hornet would be improved no end, I am sure with a layer of horizontal nature. What passes for mahogany these days is horrible stuff (and I would say that on your boat could even be teak, which should never be varnished), so I always used Steamed pear veneer, which has no figure and a very close grain. Sanding sealer, then stain with you idea of mahogany(from an orangey colour to a rich reddy brown), then spar varnish. DO NOT stain the wood/veneer, always stain the first coats of finish. Riva do that too! I want to know what makes you say the mahogany is the only stuff on the hull. The Sea Hornet has 1/16th" ply skins like all Aerokits, so why not yours? Personally, I think it would look best if you painted the hull and spent your efforts on doing a nice laid deck in Pear veneer and caulking. A gloss black hull and a laid, varnished deck look very tasty, like a Greavette gent's Racer. Pic attached. Cheers, Martin

How do I resolve my varnish problem? by John Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 20 days ago
Congratulation Captain Doug! I must admit I have not really noticed the ranking (and don’t ask me how it works because I have no idea 😁). I am not a wood expert but I think it is mahogany. It is an unusual construction but it looks very nice when it has an even coat of varnish. I also enjoy this site and I have learned a lot reading the posts. John.

The mast & rigging. by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 24 days ago
I had previously adapted the mast with lighting and fixing studs and so it’s ready to be fitted to the wheelhouse roof, but I decided to add some rigging detail in the process. Along with some other items, I had previously bought some threaded brass ’eyes’ and wooden rigging blocks by mail order from RB models in Poland. Very good prices and remarkably quick delivery from overseas. I drilled the horizontal bar of the mast to take a couple of small brass eyes, and bent the lower part of the exposed thread back at an angle, onto these I fitted some wooden rigging blocks with brass sheaves which I had previously stained mahogany and lacquered. Another slightly larger eye was fitted to the centre of the mast and another to the wheelhouse roof for the forward stay rope, I used some thin white elasticated thread that I found in my local Hobbycraft store for all the rigging. The stay rope end were finished with small brass hooks formed from some thin brass wire and secured with some small diameter heat shrink tubing, I think this makes for a much neater look than just tied knots. The top rigging ropes were made in the same way. The completed mast was then bolted down through the wheelhouse roof on the threaded studs and the two lighting wires passed through separate holes in the roof. This should allow me to detach the mast and fold it down for transport if necessary. The lower end of the ropes from the rigging blocks were formed into a loop with a spot of superglue to fix them and then some small white heat shrink tube used to cover the joints. The loops fit neatly over the cleats on the cabin roof so that they can easily be released. I’m hoping that being elasticated all the rigging will stay taut and remain presentable 😁 I must remember to order some ensigns flags from 'Mike Alsop Scale Flags' for a finishing feature as recommended by pmdevlin in an earlier blog post 👍

glass cloth or tissue? by Westquay Captain   Posted: 25 days ago
Can't afford GRP, Doug and they don't do what I want anyway. Plus the sellers all seem to be retiring without first flogging the stuff to anyone new. I prefer wherry to Thames barge, classic mahogany speed to merchantmen and if I ever see another damned tug it'll be too soon, so I am forced to make what I want to see on the water. And I still get a bit of a kick from it AND I'm still pretty quick. But for now, I'm orff to watch Midsommer Moiders. Cheers, Martin

"Vanity" leaves the building board by Westquay Captain   Posted: 26 days ago
Hi all, I have this afternoon released my model of the Victorian Class C Cutter, "Vanity", from her building board. First surprise was how light it is! I really can't believe how light. Being a plank-on-edge craft she is very deep draughted and with such a light weight she should be able to carry her ballast internally which is much the preferable way for me. Now the really hard stuff begins. Preparing the inside of the hull to take the strains of the various bits of standing rigging, somewhere to fix my patent dual sail winch and get the deck all levelled and cambered correctly. She had a very complex deck, with teak covering boards joggled round the bulwarks, which were simply extensions of her doubled oak frames, then narrow boards (on the model 3/16th") deck panks which follow the covering boards as all good yachts should, but unusually, Vanity did not have a King plank and so there is no joggling of the inner ends of the planks, but they must, of course, all meet perfectly. The deck furniture was also rather splendid as she had a roundhouse aft, glazed and several companionways and deck lights, plus the usual Samson post and bitts. Her tiller was a huge lump of mahogany about 6 feet long. The level of woodwork throughout was like this:- That's how she looked when I lived aboard her in Burnham-on-Crouch She was like this when sailing Cheers, Martin

Crash Tender planking by Westquay Captain   Posted: 29 days ago
Thanks Rob. I was kind of assuming that was the case and I don't blame you in the least. I loved planking a model yacht I made for the guy who part owns Cosworth. It was a Luna 50 and thank heavens the guy who had started the model had glued black ebonising veneer to pieces of a very light coloured mahogany, so all I had to do was cut correct sized planks on the circular saw and I had built in caulking lines! But yachts ain't service vessels, so I figures planking might be fanciful, but don't it look good?! I see from that drawing (and where DO you get these things) that the after deck is double layered and the cockpit floor appears to be planked athwartships, but we can only assume the illustrator has it right, but having been a technical illustrator in the days of pens and skill it was often tempting to "soup up" a drawing. But thanks for both those views. I have shamelessly stolen them! Cheers, Martin

The boat hooks. by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 29 days ago
I stumbled on the boat hooks whilst scouring eBay for some other bits and bobs, they came as a set of three but the poles were too short to be scale accurate but I bought a set anyway and replaced the supplied poles with some 3mm mahogany dowel of the right scale length. The hooks themselves are made of white metal and are quite delicate so some care was needed in cleaning them up for painting. I etch primed them first and then brush painted them with some silver metallic acrylic before epoxy fixing them to the poles which I had sprayed with a satin finish lacquer. The retaining brackets were made from some 22 gauge brass cut into a 3mm strip and formed into a lipped retainer. These brackets were pierced to take a 1mm brass dome head pin which was soft soldered in place and then etch primed and brush painted with ‘gun metal’ grey acrylic. A 1mm hole was drilled into the cabin sides in the correct positions according to the drawings and the brackets glued in place. The brackets retain the poles quite firmly and I think they give the boat some interesting detail 😁

The scramble nets. by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 30 days ago
The scramble nets were a particular challenge that I wasn't looking forward to making and at first I looked for something ready-made and I found a manufacturer of sports and bird netting. They make a net for golf driving ranges that looked to have almost the right dimensions and construction so I called them and requested a sample, which they very obligingly supplied. However, when it arrived the ‘rope’ looked far too thin for a realistic scale and the squares slightly too large and furthermore it could only be bought by the square metre with a minimum order of 4 metres so it would have been very expensive for the small amount I actually needed 😱. And so as I couldn’t find anything else remotely similar or suitable I resigned myself to making the nets from scratch. After some research and scale calculations I decided I needed a 2mm diameter twisted black polypropylene cord for the nets and I found some on good old eBay for a few pounds for a 30 metre length. The next hurdle was forming the netting squares and I initially tried to produce a net by tying ‘square’ knots which are used to make real ‘cargo’ and ‘climbing nets’. I found a helpful YouTube video demonstrating how to tie the knots, at which I had some success, but with such a small diameter cord and big fingers I soon gave up on that idea 😡. The successful method involved marking out a square grid on a piece of ply and nailing brass pins on the edges from which a net of cord was formed, and where the cords crossed I used a hollow needle, which I made from some brass tube and rod ground to a sharp needle point, to form the joint. The needle was used to pierce the twist of the vertical cord and draw the horizontal cord through the twist, this was repeated to form a neat and accurate net structure. After adjusting the cords to form accurate squares I applied a small drop of superglue to each joint to lock the cords together. The completed net was trimmed at the sides and the hot tip of my small soldering iron used to melt the polypropylene cord ends to neaten them up. The net was secured to the rails on the cabin roof by passing the cords through a short piece of black heat shrink tube and then passed under the rail and back through the heat shrink tube. I used the clean tip of a small soldering iron to shrink the tubing down around the cords as using my heat gun for the job would also easily remove the paint from the roof 😱. I made a bar for the bottom of the net from some 4mm dowel drilled with 2.5mm holes at the same spacing as the net, this was stained mahogany and given a few coats of lacquer as a finish. The cords were passed through the dowel and secured in a similar fashion as the top fixing with heat shrink. The end result of this process is a scramble net of more or less the correct scale as the real thing that, when rolled up on the cabin roof, looks pretty good… least to my eye 😎. A lot of effort and thought went into making the first one… all I’ve got to do is make another one for the other side 😓.

The foam tanks. by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 1 month ago
I need to make the foam tanks as two separately removable items to allow the deck to be removed for access to the rudder servo etc. The most intricate part of the foam tanks is undoubtedly the gratings that go over the top of them, fortunately there is a ready-made grating available that makes their construction unnecessary 👍👍. I bought this from, the grating ’WG7’ that they supply is dimensionally perfect for the job and can be easily assembled into the shape required. The casing for the foam tanks was made from a combination of materials, the base is 4mm ply, the back is 2mm ply, the front and sides are 2mm plasticard and the top is 1.5mm plasticard. The grating panel was assembled to the correct length and width for the scale and bordered with some 3mm x 4mm mahogany strip, the grating does not run the full length of the foam tanks and there is a plain section to the rear which will be a plasticard infill. The wood and plastic panels were all cut by knife and only needed the edges trued up with a small plane. All the joints were fixed with superglue with a reinforcing piece on the inside of the joint for strength. At all stages the assembly was checked for square and size and dry fitted in the deck well to check for fit. The grating panel was sanded to a smooth finish and a light mahogany stain applied to just the outer mahogany frame as I quite liked the contrast between the light and the dark woods, they were then sprayed with several coats of satin lacquer and set aside to dry. Before glueing the tank tops in place some short bracing pieces were fitted for rigidity. The tanks were given a rub down with fine abrasive paper as a key and sprayed with two light coats of grey primer and then a final paint finish of BS631 RAF Light Grey, the same as the rest of the superstructure. The two infill panels were painted the same and then epoxied into the grating panels. Before fixing the gratings to the top of the tanks some mahogany trim was applied to the tank sides. I need to devise a method of holding the tanks in place on the deck, probably with some of those small but tenacious little magnets that can be let into the bases of the tanks and concealed on the underside of the deck panel. I’ll need to make the suction hoses soon and that will involve a bit a brass turning by ’you know who’ so I’d better get busy with some engineering drawing for the man with the lathe 😉

The cockpit steps. by robbob Fleet Admiral!   Posted: 1 month ago
A little bit more cockpit detailing....there's quite a lot to do in there and I want it to look as good as some of the inspiring examples that I have seen on other boats...sorry if I have stolen your ideas 😜 The cockpit steps were made from some 12mm x 3mm mahogany strip that I made up from some 10mm strip glued together and then cut down to the required width. The supplied drawing was to the correct scale so I was able to use this as a template, but one of the legs of each ladder needs to be slightly longer on one side because of the curvature of the tow-hook deck onto which the ladders are fixed. The treads were cut to the correct width and length and the forward edge rounded slightly. After marking the correct height of the treads on the sides I drilled some small holes through the sides into the treads for some 1mm brass rod to reinforce the glued joint. The steps were assembled using superglue and the brass rod helped to keep the piece square and true as the glue set. The protruding brass rod was then cut and filled flush with the sides. After a light sanding a mahogany stain was applied to enhance the colour and then few costs of satin lacquer sprayed to give the final finish. The steps will be fixed through the deck with some hex head wood screws from the underside so that they meet the bulkhead at the upper end without any fixing. I think they have come out quite well 😁. I'm making the foam tanks just at the moment....and I thought the steps were fiddly !! 😲

Looking for a particular person by Westquay Captain   Posted: 2 months ago
Alas, he talks a lot about old motors, but doesn't use them as such. I want to use mine, at least to try them out before I give up and go all buggy motor. (I call all cylindrical Jap motors "Buggy motors"). It's easier than remembering all the fancy numbers. Buggy or drill motors. I have an electric screwdriver whose batteries are pretty much dead, so there's another motor to go with the minidrill motors I already have! The way I see it is I used to use these old British motors years ago and they always worked, so why not now? I have them and I don't want them sitting on a shelf and I don't want to buy new Jap stuff or ESCs. Failing that, the boats will go on the shelf as show queens and I'll go all wind powered. I have a Veron Veronica, a one-off Dorade GRP hull of considerable age and a vintage Marblehead once owned by Sir Thomas Lipton. Oh and a partly built hull of a Victorian "Plank-on-edge" gaff cutter on which I used to live. Sounds like I need to sort my stuff out! Thanks for all the help. If anyone needs any help with things like mahogany speedboats, deck fittings, etc. please pick my brains. Cheers, Martin