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Aug 31, 2018, 10:01 PM
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Build Log

Bluejacket Muscongus Bay Lobster Smack


Started a new project today- the big (46”) Bluejacket kit. My wife wanted a big sailboat to go on top of the bookcase in the Living Room, and I was happy to oblige! My plan is to build it for RC so I can sail it, too.
The kit is an old Laughing Whale design, one that hasn’t gone through BlueJacket’s updating process yet. But the kit still makes a fine impression upon opening- bundles of nice wood strips (basswood, mostly, with some Mahogany), and nicely packed fittings in typical BJ style. There are multiple sheets of lovely laser cut parts. There are three large plan sheets, one with profile and deck plans, one with all the laser cut parts plus extra detail and illustrations, and a sail plan. 

The instructions are perhaps the weakest part of the kit - they look like what you got from Laughing Whale back in the 80s, as opposed to the more detailed instructions you’d find in a more modern kit. The instructions for installing the RC gear are OK for an experienced RC sailor, but a first (RC) timer would need outside help.....
(My intention is to use this build log to organize and capture my thoughts, and provide some feedback to Nic at BJ.)

Fair warning- I am a slow builder, it took me 10 months to get the 200 hours in that it took to build my Dumas USCG 36 foot motor lifeboat...

Day 1, got the bench cleaned off and started assembling the keel and prepping the bulkheads...
Last edited by RCBoater; Sep 22, 2018 at 07:20 PM. Reason: Added a better description of the kit
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Sep 01, 2018, 06:55 PM
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Gammon Iron's Avatar
"Day 1, got the bench cleaned off" ...you are already farther along than most of us.
Sep 02, 2018, 08:43 PM
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I built the much smaller balsa version. It would be neat to see how you make provisions for rc.

In my humble opinion now is the time to make the tube for the rudder. I am not sure where I saw it but I like the idea of making that part 3 laminations wide. Basically make your heal at the very bottom for geometry and then glue a block (glue on the edge only) and cut the keel with a razor saw or equivalent. Then glue on a top side. Run a drill bit if needed. Epoxy in place. Getting the OD close to the wood width and then making the rudder fit on a matching ID are the tricks. You can run a push/pull on the tiller for steering or a cable if you have provisions before planning.

The real boat has a dagger board. The small kit gives you a part you glue on but I think the medium kit has you build a trunk so that the keel "works". Are you going to make provisions for an external keel like the squareriggers typically use or use a truck with a working board or a bolt in replacement for sailing?

Thanks in advance.
Sep 04, 2018, 08:29 PM
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Garboard's Avatar
I'm in.....


(On F4, it may be worth temporarily gluing a piece of scrap across the top of the frame to stiffen the sides above the deck level.)
Last edited by Garboard; Sep 04, 2018 at 08:35 PM.
Sep 05, 2018, 11:35 PM
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I have run into a bit of a snag- the F1, F2, and F3 bulkheads are all too small. They are about a 1/4 inch to 3/8 of an inch too narrow, so they don’t come close to being as wide as the deck. They should be as wide as the deck, as the planking is supposed to cover the edge of the deck.

Fortunately, I found this before I installed them! The Shape of the F2 piece, which is also the aft face of the cabin, has other shape issues as well—it would be hard to fix.

A lesser issue is that the slot for the keel in all four bulkheads is too narrow, too- almost as if it was cut for a keel made of two laminations instead of three.

I thought about cutting the bulkheads on the centerline and splicing in some stock to make them wider, but that then makes the keel slot way too wide. So I decided it was easier to just make new ones from a single piece of ply, rather than try to deal with a bulkhead made from multiple edge-joined pieces.

I’ll post photos soon..
Last edited by RCBoater; Sep 06, 2018 at 04:45 PM.
Sep 07, 2018, 04:29 PM
jda
jda
Fossil builder
I have built a couple of the smaller ones. Am interested in how you make this one RC. I'm in.
Sep 08, 2018, 05:57 AM
Registered User
I'm in as well,

Besides Mystic Seaport and Wooden Boat who has plans for this boat?

Bill
Sep 08, 2018, 09:51 AM
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Garboard's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigman
I'm in as well,

Besides Mystic Seaport and Wooden Boat who has plans for this boat?

Bill
Smithsonian has a set. They have plans of all of the boats and ships depicted in the collection of Howard Chappelle's books. The plans for the Muscongus sloop are in "American Small Sailing Craft" (ASSC). The initial cost of the plans are very reasonable, then you just have them enlarged - or not - to the scale you want .
Sep 09, 2018, 06:48 AM
Registered User
Thank you Garboard, great info

Bill
Sep 09, 2018, 08:15 PM
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Fairly easy to make new parts- decided it was easier than trying to fix the originals.

Here’s a pic that shows the old parts on top of the new ones. An alternative solution would have been to just add a 1/8 or 3/16” strip to the outboard edge of the original part.

Nothing that the application of a little modeling skill couldn’t resolve!
Sep 10, 2018, 08:07 PM
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Pwallace: The kit instructions agree with you! The keel is assembled from 3 laminations of basswood. The next step is to drill the hole for the rudder’s tube. It was easy enough to do by eye with my little cordless screwdriver. The tube is only 1.5 inches long, so aligning it would be tricky. My tip is to put the long rudder shaft in the tube temporarily, when gluing - it makes it much easier to ensure the tube will be aligned with and parallel to the keel.

The kit includes basic instructions for the RC installation. They show an airplane flex cable running from the tiller to the servo in the cabin, along the port gunn’l.

The real boats had a centerboard, and the keel assembly incorporates the trunk. The kit includes a (moveable) centerboard for the display version and the plans include a full size drawing for a fin keel with lead bulb for RC sailing. (Material is not included for the sailing keel.). How the keel is attached is not mentioned. I am not going to glue the keel in place- I’ll need to come up with a plan to make it removeable.

One thing the instructions don’t say, (but I thought of in time), is to waterproof the inside surfaces of the centerboard trunk before gluing it up. I was concerned about glue buildup, so I didn’t want to use epoxy or resin. Instead, I soaked the wood surfaces with thin CyA- it soaks in before it kicks, and makes a hard, shiny surface.

-Bill

Quote:
Originally Posted by pwallace
I built the much smaller balsa version. It would be neat to see how you make provisions for rc.

In my humble opinion now is the time to make the tube for the rudder. I am not sure where I saw it but I like the idea of making that part 3 laminations wide. Basically make your heal at the very bottom for geometry and then glue a block (glue on the edge only) and cut the keel with a razor saw or equivalent. Then glue on a top side. Run a drill bit if needed. Epoxy in place. Getting the OD close to the wood width and then making the rudder fit on a matching ID are the tricks. You can run a push/pull on the tiller for steering or a cable if you have provisions before planning.

The real boat has a dagger board. The small kit gives you a part you glue on but I think the medium kit has you build a trunk so that the keel "works". Are you going to make provisions for an external keel like the squareriggers typically use or use a truck with a working board or a bolt in replacement for sailing?

Thanks in advance.
Last edited by RCBoater; Sep 22, 2018 at 08:40 PM. Reason: Fixed typos
Sep 22, 2018, 08:43 PM
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Another tip: Draw center lines on the bulkheads before installing them. It will make it much easier to get and keep them aligned when installing them. (I wish all laser cut bulkheads had reference lines like this scored into the parts- it would be so easy to do that in the CAD drawing before sending it to the laser cutter!)

The kit instructions suggest putting all four bulkheads and the transom in place, then using the battens to get everything aligned before gluing. I couldn’t do that even if I had eight arms! Instead, I started at the bow. The breasthook parts make it easier to get F1 in place and squared up. Note that this bulkhead is the only one not perpendicular to the bottom of the keel!

The instructions recommend using CyA glues for assembly. I like something stronger for my operating models- so I am using waterproof Titebond for some joints. I used it on the bulkhead-to-keel joints, to give plenty of time to check and re-check that everything is square. Once I was happy with the alignment, I used little dabs of medium CyA to tack the parts in place while the yellow glue cured.
Last edited by RCBoater; Sep 22, 2018 at 08:59 PM.
Sep 22, 2018, 08:54 PM
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With the first two bulkheads in place, It was time for F3. Getting that aligned with the forward edge of the deck cutout for the cockpit is most important, so I installed the deck at the same time. It will be easy to add in F4 and the transom after this sets...
Oct 10, 2018, 07:05 AM
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Any new progress on your project?

Bill
Oct 18, 2018, 07:40 PM
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Lots of stuff on the domestic project list lately, so I have only gotten in a few hours in on the model over the last 3 weeks or so...

The bulkheads and deck are all assembled and true. I have started to fit the battens that were intended for use as an aid in getting the bulkheads aligned. I have started some preliminary fitting a couple of planks, to get a feel for what planking will be like.

The instructions have you start planking with the sheer planks which are 1 inch wide. This is going to be a challenge- the hull has a fair amount of sheer- I not sure how I’ll be able to bend a 1/8” x 1 inch strip of basswood (48” long) against the width of the piece, no matter how long I soak it! ( It needs to be about 2.5 inches off in the middle.)

Scaled up, the kit parts equate to a 30’ boat that is getting planked with a 1”x 8” sheer plank, with the rest of the planking being 1x3 material. That doesn’t sound unreasonable, but I do wonder if an 8 inch wide plank would be bent that much in a small boatyard. Maybe rip it in half? Is a 4” wide plank (1/2 inch on the model) reasonable for a boat from the 1870s?

Going to to have to think about this a bit.... 


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