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Old Jun 07, 2014, 09:15 AM
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Build Log
US Brig Niagara, 1/24 scale, RC, scratch built

I'm now ready to start my next build....the US Brig Niagara! I grew up near the sagging brig when it was on concrete blocks and spent a summer aboard the sailing version in the Great Lakes.

Below are several pictures of the vessel, plans, crew handbook, section of spring line that snapped and I was allowed to have, a piece of Canadian drift wood I carved aboard with my sailing knife.

This is my first square rig build. The idea is to use this brig as a learning curve to be able to build the much larger ship-of-the-line USS Franklin. My goal is to be sailing in a year. Like my other models, detailing will be a perpetual process as my interest permits.
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Old Jun 07, 2014, 11:54 AM
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United States, MD, Severna Park
Joined Apr 2008
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You're in the right place - if you can't get through a rag-wagon build with this crew, it can't be done. Maybe we should start our own informal, Mid-Atlantic Rag-wagon Sailing Club? Hehehe

Let's see, where's that subscribe option?
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Old Jun 08, 2014, 05:09 AM
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Naming the fleet force and first delay

Mediterranean Squadron....Pacific Squadron...Atlantic Squadron (Mid-Atlantic Division)?? Rag-wagons unite!!

I took a couple sheets of plans to the copy store. I got a call a few hours later saying they were out of the big format paper and it would take three business days until they received more stock. Official first delay....hurry up and wait
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Last edited by Gammon Iron; Jul 14, 2014 at 08:36 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old Jun 08, 2014, 12:07 PM
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If it comes down to it, scaling up her lines isn't a huge deal. How do you think they loft the frames for real boats?

Where ever the hull's lines cross a grid point you measure over and up from the perpendicular and baseline and record it in a table.

You scale up the measurements to say, inches and 1/16th and layout those points for each frame full-size. Put pins/nails in at each point and bend a batten around the pins to draw the shape.

It's another one of those "hard" things in scratch building that really isn't all that hard.
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Old Jun 20, 2014, 06:12 PM
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Massive delay and progress

So, I wanted to make this build a bit easier by having the blueprints scaled up to the building scale. Office Depot let me down. They could not do it at the time of my request, nor three days later, nor two weeks later. Today, I picked up my plans. I used my usual method of scaling off the plans and cut several pieces for the keel, stem post and stern post.

The original boat was built in a wilderness. Maybe I should have that frame of mind Pictures in a couple of days.
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Old Jun 20, 2014, 11:39 PM
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If you're wondering why I haven't offered, my plotter got soaked and I don't have it up and running, or I'd be printing Niagara wall-paper for you.
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Old Jun 21, 2014, 06:59 AM
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That's an accurate description of how big the sheets are. From stem to stern she's almost six feet. With spars, she'll be close to nine feet! However, I'll cut that down a bit.
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Old Jun 25, 2014, 03:12 PM
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building board and keel

I finally found a building board for this model. Sometime in the distant past, I collected one half of a double sliding door. (this method of collecting items fills up most of my garage!) It's wood veneer with a hollow core. I cut it down to a few inches beyond the extreme width and length of this hull. After I glue in stabilizing blocks for the two cut edges, I hope to have a light and stable building surface. Anyone else tried this?

Pictured below is a dry assembly of the keel parts. I still need to ...drill the holes for the tubes which the threaded rod need to hold the false keel, drill the hole for the rudder post, and do a bit of shaping on the stem post. I may also need to do a bit of sanding to define the cutwater.
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Old Jun 25, 2014, 05:51 PM
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Here's Dan's suggestion re: ballast attachment from underneath which I cannot recommend enough.

I fully intend to figure out how to retrofit Constellation to this set-up and install it in Macedonian, and any other model ballasted this way, straight off. They may be a little different in practice than what Dan shows there, but they will be of the same idea

BTW: If you install some frames, half-frames, or knees near the attachment points, somewhat like I did with Pride's dagger-board trunk; to brace the keel against torquing movement imparted by the ballast, you should not need the internal rods up to the deck at all, not with the keel you show there anyway.

When you install the hardware to mount your ballast through the keel, drill them over sized, coat the holes inside heavily with epoxy, and when it's set, drill them to size. If you can install this with the hull sitting on the ballast it will help align the attachments making it easier to attach and remove the ballast without the bolts binding. Butter the fitting/tube/fastener with epoxy as well when you install it.

Beside helping the parts align, coating any holes in the hull with epoxy is critical to prevent water getting into the wood of the hull. This will be very important with all your fittings that will get or stay submerged because any water that gets into the wood of the hull will cause it to swell, delaminate the glass, and cause rot. The folks with all glass hulls don't have this issue, but we wood core folks MUST bear it in mind. The holes in the cutwater for the bobstays like on Pride, for instance.
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Old Jun 26, 2014, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryTodd View Post
If it comes down to it, scaling up her lines isn't a huge deal. How do you think they loft the frames for real boats?

Where ever the hull's lines cross a grid point you measure over and up from the perpendicular and baseline and record it in a table.

You scale up the measurements to say, inches and 1/16th and layout those points for each frame full-size. Put pins/nails in at each point and bend a batten around the pins to draw the shape.

It's another one of those "hard" things in scratch building that really isn't all that hard.
This is a beautiful drawing!

Thank you very much for sharing it!
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Last edited by disabled; Jun 26, 2014 at 10:35 AM.
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Old Jun 29, 2014, 11:46 PM
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Nah, copper is so 10 minutes ago
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Old Jul 02, 2014, 06:22 PM
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hull weight to get to the load water line (LWL)

So, I'm marking where the frames will be on the keel. This got me thinking of where to place the false keel. This got me thinking about the possibility of using the same false keel that is on my schooner. That is roughtly 25 lbs.

The S,H,&C Cruiser Class 18 gun Brig uses a ballast keel weight is 41 lbs. So I guess the re-use is possible. But with this hull, I'll have a lot less interior space to make up any weight difference. Can anyone calculate the 1/24 scale weight it would take to get to the LWL?
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Old Jul 03, 2014, 07:32 AM
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United States, MN, Park Rapids
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What is a "Rag Wagon"? This is a term I have never heard used before and I have been interested in sailing ships and sailing since a wee lad.
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Old Jul 03, 2014, 07:52 AM
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Joined Oct 2004
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Niagara is a bit longer than Grasshopper (the SC&H model of the 1806 version that became Irene), but Niagara has a shallower draft (to navigate the shallows in Lake Erie).
A very rough calculation of displacement has them within 5% of each other, with Niagara having just a bit less displacement due to the shallower draft. So the SC&H ballast keel should be perfect for a model of Niagara. If anything, it might be just a little bit heavy.

(Note - my ref's have the Niagara as L=110, B=30.5, Draft=9, Irene at 100, 30.5, 10.5)

I sailed on Niagara, too. Great experience. Many pics and the experience were used to detail Syren.
A thought...Niagara was built with a very shallow draft to navigate out of the shallows where she was built (for protection from the deeper draft British ships on Erie). The SC&H model (of Grasshopper/Irene/similar to Syren) has a deeper draft. When R/C sailing, the model rolls quite a bit - actually more like knockdowns - when gusted. So I wonder how tender a Niagara shallow draft model might be. Maybe not true to scale, but would building the model with a deeper draft hull help make the model more "seaworthy" ? Or design the hull to have the keel hang lower?
Great project! You should contact the Niagara museum model builders - they are great guys and would likely help out with a lot of info, etc. and they would be very interested in your project.
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Last edited by DanL; Jul 03, 2014 at 08:06 AM.
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