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Old May 28, 2012, 10:41 AM
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JerryTodd's Avatar
United States, MD, Severna Park
Joined Apr 2008
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Well, Friday and Saturday were spent doing things for other folks and Sunday I barely got the fore top mast shaped before I got a visit from someone I haven't seen in decades. Maybe today I can make a little headway.
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Old May 29, 2012, 02:53 PM
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JerryTodd's Avatar
United States, MD, Severna Park
Joined Apr 2008
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Never got near the shop yesterday; so today, after applying for 6 jobs on-line, I went out, finished the fore topmast, and made the main topmast.

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Description: Two topmasts made

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Description: In Toronto
Summer 1981 Name: Dscf0003.jpg
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Description: Posed to match, sort-of.
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Last edited by JerryTodd; May 29, 2012 at 07:21 PM.
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Old May 30, 2012, 11:38 AM
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pretty neat comparison....when completed, take the same side by side photos and see if anyone can say which one is real
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Old May 30, 2012, 10:41 PM
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JerryTodd's Avatar
United States, MD, Severna Park
Joined Apr 2008
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Well hoop-de-doo

I made a false rudder head to hide the collar on the tiller. It's attached to the tiller with a hole to access the set-screw.
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Description: Rudder head

My soldering iron tips have a 1/4-20 thread, so I found a screw and ground it into a blade to cut the sails with. I tried it out on some scrap and made a pennant, but it doesn't cut smoothly. It's hot enough but snags. I saw a video about using a hot knife to cut cloth. It didn't describe the tool or show the tip, but it did mention cutting on glass - hmmm?
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Description: Pennant

Moving on... I started making mast hoops.
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Description: First cut strips I used 1/16" bass cut into 1/8"ish strips.
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Description: Taper the endsThe ends are feathered with a couple of swipes of the plane.
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Description: Soak it, wrap it around the dowel, glue it, and you get a hoop. The strips are soaked in hot water then wrapped around a 1" dowel. You can see how feathering the ends works in the finished hoop.

A bit of sanding and maybe a little stain and a couple of dots with the Sharpie to look like rivets and they'll be done; but then I still have about 15 more to make.
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Old May 31, 2012, 03:21 PM
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JerryTodd's Avatar
United States, MD, Severna Park
Joined Apr 2008
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Mast Hoops

Made the rest of the hoops, sanded, stained, marked the rivets with a Sharpie, and slid them onto the masts - compare this pic with the ones from yesterday.
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Description: Sanded, stained, rivets marked, and on the mast.

With the hoops done, the foremast can get the it's cleats on the quartering faces of the 8-sided portion. They are pinned and CAed onto the mast.
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Description: Fore mast has 4 cleats on the quartering faces of the 8-sides section.

Cleats all installed and painted
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Description: Cleats installed
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Old Jun 01, 2012, 05:34 AM
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Bozeman, Montana, United States
Joined Aug 2003
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I silver soldered a brass blade to the brass screw I used to make a hot knife tip for my soldering iron. My iron is a small wattage, "pencil" type. I found that I had to experiment with the speed of the cut to find the best speed - too slow, and the knife makes a thick bead of melted plastic, too fast, and the blade leaves long strings of melted poly, or does not cut at all. It helps to keep out of drafts, too, as they cool the blade. I was cutting thin nylon(?) for jibs, not thick cloth like Supplex. If your iron is catching, perhaps you need to move slower?

Hope this helps. btw, your top&caps, along with your hoops, look very nice
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Old Jun 01, 2012, 10:27 AM
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JerryTodd's Avatar
United States, MD, Severna Park
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This is the cutting on glass video. Be warned, it's about the most boring video ever made. My Supplex probably compares to what she's cutting.

Cutting Fabric with a Hot Knife (5 min 26 sec)


I have a screw slotted and a #19 blade to put in it. I'm don't have any solder on hand the iron won't melt, so I'm going to seize the blade in with wire.

The screw ground to an edge seems to rely on heat to actually cut and I couldn't get it to that good an edge - using a blade will resolve that. The heat is supposed to seal the edge.

If I can get through it like the girl in the video, I'd be very very happy.
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Old Jun 01, 2012, 03:27 PM
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United States, MD, Severna Park
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Hot Knife

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Description: Steel 1/4-20 screw and a portion of a #19 blade
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Description: Solder didn't do the job
1st attempt at screw ground to a blade below A friend came over last year to replace the AC core and left behind a soldering rod. The hot iron didn't scratch it a bit and it even takes a second or two before direct torch got it to melt. Cleaned, fluxed, heated red hot - and still the solder wouldn't stick to anything; blade or screw .

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Description: Drilled, pined, and peened. So I drilled it through and stuck a bit of brass rod through it and peened it over on each side. Fastening wise, that was great, but while it would cut nicely, it didn't seem to wanna melt, even held in place for a bit.

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Description: Cut fine but wasn't melting so I shortened the screw to put the blade right at the iron - that seems to work. So I shortened the screw so the blade would be right against the body of the iron. That seemed to help a lot. It cuts nice and clean and if I go slow it melts nicely. It doesn't melt out of control or singe when you pause, and it works about as well as the one in the video.

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Description: Cut a pennant from some scrap and seemed to work just like the video. Made a pennant from some scrap Supplex.

I'm gonna find a copper screw and some copper nails and make another one. Soldering tips are usually copper which conducts heat better, so I think I get better performance that way.
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Old Jun 01, 2012, 05:22 PM
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much better i think
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Old Jun 01, 2012, 05:52 PM
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had the same problems....i put a screw in also.....but i think that oxidation builds up between the screw assembly and knife and reduces conductivity.....best to weld it, but it seems to be working for you ..good show.....you didn't use a glass table did you?
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Old Jun 02, 2012, 01:07 AM
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JerryTodd's Avatar
United States, MD, Severna Park
Joined Apr 2008
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Installed the tubes to guide the steering cables below deck.
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Description: Underside of sub-deck looking forwardish Name: pri20120601d.jpg
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Description: Lazerette hatch looking forward.  Opened the hatch.  Tubing will get cut flush with the coaming.
A filler made to look like a grating will cover and seal this up. Name: pri20120601e.jpg
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Description: underside again; a cedar block supports the tubes.  Another block was installed on top, where the orange tip of the clamp is to hold the ends in place.

Cut the first sail for the model. My lady bought an ugly painting for the frame at some thrift store a while back. I didn't have anything to fit the frame, so it's been behind the TV for a couple of years. It's about a 27" x 20" piece of glass, so it became a cutting board.

I don't see that this works better on glass, in fact, I think it worked better on wood. I think a piece of particle-board, hard and with no grain to grab the blade, or hardboard (Masonite) would work better.

As it is, I've cut out the fores'l and it was a lot easier than cutting with the rotary cutter and then trying to seal the edges afterward like I did with Constellation's sails.
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Description: The fore-sail, first cut with the new hot-knife tip.
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Old Jun 03, 2012, 07:14 PM
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Bozeman, Montana, United States
Joined Aug 2003
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I agree with Yancov...oxidation kills the heat transfer. We used to have to sand the regular, solid copper, soldering tip's connection with the Weber iron before every use. The black oxidation crust on the copper (at the electric end, not the actual solder end) must insulate the copper somehow.

Your sail looks nice :-)
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Old Jun 03, 2012, 08:45 PM
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JerryTodd's Avatar
United States, MD, Severna Park
Joined Apr 2008
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The knife is working very well. Using the 24" steel rule doesn't help, a Dan's pointed out in other threads, it cuts better free-hand.

I cut out all 8 sails and things went very smoothly. I did them all on glass. I used a little more pressure to let the blade actually cut rather than try a melt my way through, and I changed the angle I held the blade relative to the surface - something I'll keep in mind when I make another blade. It actually went smoother for me pushing the blade on it's heel rather than pulling it on it's point.

I ruled in the panel seams on both sides with a .01 permanent marker and made a new cyclops eye (Baltimore seal) for the t'gallant. On the first one I did the black first and the yellow marker picked it up - this time I did the yellow marker first and it came out much cleaner (the original didn't look so hot either).

I have to cut out some sail parts yet; reef bands, corner patches, tabling, bunt cloths, that sort of thing - which will all be much easier to deal with using the hot-knife.

The real fore-stays'l had a bonnet and I've been wondering how to deal with that. I really considered making a working bonnet, but I don't want to. I'm thinking I'll glue on a reefband sort of strip, punch sets of holes along it, and lace a line through it. That should look good enough.

Before I cut them from the cloth, I made new patterns for the heads'ls and main tops'l. Looking at photos of the boat compared to the sail plan, these sails were different. The tops'l wasn't as deep, with a higher clew.

I miss-measured something on my fore-stays'l pattern and redrew it correctly. I had made the leech too long so the foot hung too low.

I remarked the jib on the sail plan back in 82 to show it's higher clew. Originally a couple of crew had to go out and walk the thing around the stay when the boat came about, I guess that got old quick, so they recut the sail in '78. I was going to reduce the overlap even more, but it just looked too skinny to me, so now it's correct for what was on the boat in 81. The fores'l originally had a bonnet also, but they either sewed it on under a reef band, or replaced the fores'l outright in 78 or 79 - probably the same time they did the fore-stays'l. So if you see a picture of the boat with a bonnet on the fores'l, and note mine doesn't have one, it's cause the real boat didn't have one by the time I was on her.

Besides being shaped a little differently from the drawn plans, the flying jib was set much higher in practice than shown in the plans. I wasn't sure if I'd be using this sail on the model, but the real boat seemed to sail with the flying jib and without the main tops'l more often than not. I think the jack-yard tops'l was just a pain in the ass and the jib was nothing to to deal with.

The jib and the flying-jib are marked with miter-cut cloth panels, because that's what the boat had. It's not authentic for an 1812ish Baltimore Clipper since that style of sail didn't start appearing until the 1860's - but I'm not building a model of an 1812 schooner, I'm building a 1981 schooner.
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Old Jun 04, 2012, 02:06 AM
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tbarjohn's Avatar
aurora, il.
Joined Aug 2009
222 Posts
Hi Jerry, your on the right track looking at heat transfer, of the 3 metals that you can use for cutting tips, brass is the worst that you can use.
heat transfer of metal
brass = 110
aluminum = 250
copper = 400
as you can see aluminum is 2 times better then brass
and that copper is 4 times better then brass
John R.
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Old Jun 04, 2012, 07:41 AM
SCALE Sailor
JerryTodd's Avatar
United States, MD, Severna Park
Joined Apr 2008
1,689 Posts
That's good to know - where does steel fit in there, c.300ish?
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