Le Cerf – 1779-1780
The Le_Cerf's keel was laid in my shipyard in June 2014. In AutoCad I drew the bulkheads with steps in them for the clinker planking, which speeded up the planking with narrowing only in the bow and stern. To provide a larger area of adhesion, the spaces in the stern and the bow are filled with alder wood. First were planked the transom and the stern counter. I decided not to use paint, but to make all the details of artificially blackened hornbeam. Clinker planking is made of swiss pear. The carvings will be made from European boxwood. As this will be my first attempt at carving, I hope my deer will not look like a cow.
I made the mistake of listening to the older generation of shipmodelers who argued that using the steps in the bulkheads will not let me lay the planking fairly. For this reason I cut the half-finished clinker planking (as it turned out, my method of planking was very strong - barely managed to remove the strakes) and completely filled the spaces between the frames with alder. Following the advice given me, I also cut off the notches for the planking strakes from the bulkheads. Now, in order to glue one strake of planking, it was necessary to use a bracing timber to clamp the plank and prevent it from slipping. Because of this planking became a very slow process. No more than one strake a day could be made, as I had to wait for it to dry completely. Also, the gluing area has decreased, because each board no longer lay flat against the bulkhead, but only a narrow edge bore upon it and on the previous strake. Only in the bow and stern, where the clinker planks lie flat on the frames, did they have enough surface for the glue. My experience convinced me that that the first variant is stronger and more reliable. I ought to have followed through with my original plan and learn from my own mistakes, instead of listening to the advice of the older generation, which does not have experience of AutoCad and laser-cutting.
At the same time began to work on the keel, the stem and the sternpost. For these I again used Asutrian (pink) pear and blackened hornbeam. I am using a table saw for this, though, of course, this could be done with AutoCad drawings for laser cutting. However, the laser doess not give a 100% perpendicular cut and for this reason I decided to make the details by hand. Besides, this proved to be a very interesting process of fitting the scarphs and faying the pieces together. At this stage work on the model was interrupted in January 2017, as I was commissioned to build a large model on a tight schedule.
After a break of more than 3 years:
Work on the model was renewed in March 2020. This stage of the work on La Cerf is already being carried out in a new country, in a new workshop. The work will follow a new methodology and will tell about it in the proper order. At last I completed the clinker planking and replaced the walnut gunport frames with pear, as the grain of the walnut did not match well with the pear. I used a soldering iron to remove the old pieces and glued in new frames. The pear I used was kiln-dried with oak and had obtained yellow-brown color. The cills will be installed after the completion of the outside planking.
Then began building the transom with the help of a frying pan, which had the right radius for bending the planks. For the construction, I used soft poplar and built a support structure which will hold the transom in the right position until the completion of planking. I have begun mounting the wales and clean the planking from glue remains and fairing the surfaces for attaching the stem and sternposts. The wales are made of hornbeam, a hard, but workable material that acceptable bending characteristics. During the long interruption in construction, the transition to the new place, a few pieces of the stern post and the blank for the stem were lost. I have now run out of Austrian pear and am looking for new sources of swiss pear here....
At the same time I was building the longboat of Le Cerf. You can see the whole process in the video.
After the completion of the clinker planking and the wales, I finally added the keel and the stern post. Only part of the stem was mounted at this time. The rest will be added when the planking is completed. It was time to nail the planks and for this I manufactured 3500 naisl. Hopefully this will be enough for the entire hull.
Before I could turn over the hull, I had to drill for and drive 2175 spikes (this is only for the clinker planking and the transom).
Placing the hull right side up in the stocks is a key moment when the model finally begins to look like a real ship. The next stage of planking would be more easily accomplished with the vessel being right side up.
After the completion of the clinker planking, the carvel planking flowed easily. Here, the planks could be held in place with regular clamps. At the same time, I cut the openings for the gun ports at this stage in prepartion of making the cills. After completing the planking, I cut a blank for the upper stem, but did not mount it yet, as it would interfere with the installation of the ceiling planks. I will return later to the upper stem.
Once the planking was completed, the temporary beams were cut out so that the bulwarks could be shaped. At the same time I marked the positions of the oar ports, but they, too, will be cut at a later stage. This needed to be completed, prior to drilling the hull for the nails.
To position the gunports, I used a guiding plank for the horizontal cills. I discovered a new useful tool for this (a gift from a dentist friend) - a dental mirror. Thanks to it, I could check the correct positioning of parts and make sure no leaking glue was left unlceaned, without having to turn the whole model around. I filled the empty spaced between the frames with basswood to create a smooth surface for the ceiling. For this I used a small sanding block with 150 grit sandpaper.