Author Topic: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale  (Read 165982 times)

Offline Ramon

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'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« on: December 11, 2013, 10:41:04 PM »
Hi 'Guys'

As you may have seen elsewhere I have finally been motivated to pick up a project that I first took interest in in 1972  :o - it just goes to show that 'it's never too late' but I admit this is stetching it a bit  :)

Anyway it all began when the 1972 Feb issue of model boat magazine dropped on the mat. Featured inside was this absolutely enchanting steam launch and I was instantly smitten! I was, at that time, enjoying a short foray into powerboating from previously a total dedication to aeromodelling and it would prove not only the catalyst for my subsequent journey into model engineering but consequently a career change to boot but thats' another story.

Wide a Wake was a clinker (lapstrake) built boat powered with a Stuart Turner Double Ten engine. Designed by Howard Croker, an Australian I believe, it's appeal was that it was built exactly as a full size boat plus of course it had a real steam engine in - something I was completely unaware existed at that time.

An engine was sought - I had no skills nor kit to make such - and after several calls to various model shops were made, all from the local village phone box, what sounded like a D10 was located in Roland Scotts of Bolton. Second hand the deal was done - a brand new water cooled Merco 61 IC engine was taken in direct exchange and the engine duly arrived  :( - Well it worked but it did look in a very sorry state. Really dirty and painted in the most awful lurid, near luminous, green I stripped it down repainted it and rebuilt it to a more reasonable appearance.
The boiler was made, the shell material courtesey of an offcut from a local shipyard and with the help of a work colleague the boiler was made at work during an onshore lull. Unfortunately one of the water tubes has a slight leak so preventing a hydraulic test so neccessary today. Also the material that the dome is made from, though thought that it is possibly manganese bronze, could be brass. No knowledge of the dezincification process was known at the time and so it would be far to risky to chance so the boiler is due for a complete overhaul but more on that at a later date.

However the plant has sat waiting patiently since 1972 ::)...


Materials were purchased at the time - copper nails and roves, brass screws, tubing for the propshaft etc followed a while later by the timber (Parana Pine) but nothing got done for as is the way of things events got overtaken by the desire to further model engineering skills. That first 'real' lathe was bought an ML10, quickly upgraded to an ML7, and the rest is 'as they say'.

About ten years ago the keel was cut out and the stem attached along with the moulds (shadows) but again nothing transpired until that is about twelve weeks ago when quite unexpectedly, but no doubt inspired by the two launches seen at Norwich, the urge was there - perhaps it really was finally time to seize the moment, after all it might not last for long ;D

It's well underway at this point (sorry about the pun) but I'll post a few pics tonight and follow up with some more later if you deem suitable. I can say having now actually got a hull, it's proved to be an immensely satisfying thing to build - should have done it years ago ::)

Some pics then...

First off was to square up the lower face of the keel - to the rear are the moulds fixed to a rigid base board


Then laminate the hog


Next was to drill out for the prop tube.  This jig was made and two long series drills were used - 6.5 and 11.5. The first hole was drilled then the blocks opened up to take the 11.5 drill




Run out was a concern but very little -about .5mm over 200mm or so - occurred. That was trued up enough using a file to align the prop tube spot on.


The keel was then 'sided' (tapered) and the water ways cut in


With the shaft log and transom fixed in place along with the hog the keel assembly was held to the moulds using the transom, the stem and two small bolts through the keel into the shadows ready for the next phase - the planks.


I got about this far earlier and then lost it all by inadvertently hitting the back button so that's the lot for tonight - aaaagh - it's good to be back!

Regards - Ramon

"I ain't here for the long time but I am here for a good time"
(a very apt phrase - thanks to a well meaning MEM friend)

Offline steamup

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2013, 11:07:48 PM »
Great to see another Wide a Wake on the building board.
I have just had my first season sailing this model (with changes to the deck design) and very enjoyable it has been.
I wish you all the best on your build.

Offline ths

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2013, 09:21:45 AM »
Great to see you back, Ramon, with what will be a most enjoyable project. I love boats, but haven't made one yet. Well, the hull of a Miss America which I must complete.

That looks to be a fairly sizeable craft, compared to the workbench, and wonderful use of the bit and brace. Was that an auger bit, or a twist drill? Worked a treat.

Nice clip from Steamup too.

Cheers, Hugh.

Offline Ramon

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2013, 09:29:45 AM »
Hi 'Steamup' - If mine looks and sails (steams?) as good as that I'll be well chuffed :ThumbsUp:

The Borderer pushes that along quite well - despite the original calling for it I have a sneaking suspicion it might be a little overpowered with a Double Ten

Currently the hull is now finished up to deck level - I'll post some more pics later but am concerned about the wood aspect - non PC? - I hope not  :embarassed:

Regards - Ramon

Hugh's post came up as I was typing this -

Thanks Hugh - it's  the same size as Steamups at 52" the beam designed is 14 1/2" but it spread a little over the moulds and is about 15 3/4. Still looks okay and in proportion though.

The brace I've had since I was fourteen - it belonged to my uncle - the bit was an ordinary long-series twist drill the very end turned down to fit. Taking it slow with the brace as opposed to power drilling I felt there would be more control over possible run out

Cheers for now
"I ain't here for the long time but I am here for a good time"
(a very apt phrase - thanks to a well meaning MEM friend)

Online steamer

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2013, 10:11:17 AM »
Hey Ramon!

This is all looking strikingly familiar....though as I remember, I used a 1 1/2" auger bit and an 1/2 drive drill followed by a boring bar........fixture looked the same!.....and no you can never EVER have too many C clamps!

 :ThumbsUp:

Dave
"Mister M'Andrew, don't you think steam spoils romance at sea?"
Damned ijjit!

Online steamer

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2013, 10:17:59 AM »
The wood in the keel looks like "Merenti"....nice stuff to work with...watch for wind shakes though....they'll appear in the grain as a faint white line ....though, your not buying truck loads of the stuff... :lolb:

Dave
"Mister M'Andrew, don't you think steam spoils romance at sea?"
Damned ijjit!

Online steamer

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2013, 10:20:25 AM »
Oh and as to suitability...this is the vehicle section.


....keep em coming!

Dave
"Mister M'Andrew, don't you think steam spoils romance at sea?"
Damned ijjit!

Offline b.lindsey

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2013, 12:28:54 PM »
Ramon, I have never done anything with launches, sailing vessels, or anything of the sort but I am enjoying this a lot. I rather like to work with the brown stuff at times though simple stuff like engine bases, etc.  Seeing this launch come together and the various processes and techniques is fascinating!

Bill

Offline Ramon

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2013, 10:11:51 PM »
Hi Guys, Thanks for the comments, nice to hear you have an interest.

Dave I have no idea what the actual timber is the keel is made from but you are probably correct. It was a 'mahogany' substitute used in the manufacture of window frames bought for a quid at a local shed maker - no we don't have mahogany sheds ;) he'd bought a job lot of rejects ;) It was quite tough relative to mahogany but finished reasonably well. It's going to get painted so that lovely grain will disappear. And yes you are so right - I had every screw clamp at my disposal in play there.

Although I've built the odd model boat before this is the first time I've ever tackled anything like this ie clinker planking. Fortunately I live about eight miles from an International Wooden Boat Building College so I took the keel in to ask some questions. I was very surprised at the strength of interest and the readiness to help - we (Sue was with me) had all the questions answered by being taken round and actually shown the solution on boats in varying stages of completion. It was a fascinating place with boats of all sizes in a seemingly labyrinthine building. Armed with such help and the find of an excellent series of videos on YouTube I felt confidant enough to press ahead. I've been back since but more on that a bit later.

Here are a few more pics of progress .....

My first question had been how was a transom made if too wide for a single piece of timber - three pieces grooved and fitted with tongues..

Scale-wise it's over thick but as that will not be seen once finished it gives a much better gluing surface

With the keel, stem and transom rigidly secured to the moulds it was time to mark of each mould to give the plank widths. First off a marking board was required to give twelve divisions. A strip of card was marked to the actual length around one side of each respective mould and set to give twelve equal divisions


The each mould was marked both sides.



A 'Rabbet' (A whole new vocabulary was required!) was cut along the edge of the keel for the 'garboard' (see what I mean ;) plank to fit into and finally all the preparation was done and the planking could begin.

After some trial and error, knife and fork trimming the first( garboard) plank is glued and screwed in place


Each plank is a different shape. After that first  plank is in situ  a template is taken off it's edge. This is used to mark the next plank which is cut over wide and fitted in place. It's true width is then marked from the marks on the moulds using dividers or a compass and the marks joined using a flexible batten. The plank is then cut out and used as a template for the matching plank on the other side.

Each plank increases it's 'waviness' the last requiring quite a wide piece of timber to accomodate it. This is the second plank cut out and its opposite number has been marked out.

Simple wooden clamps and the bench top provided an excellent way to hold the planks for shaping. All trimming was done to the line using that small block plane, the chisel and the sanding block.


These little peg type clamps and wedges,seen on the videos were an absolute boon. I had four of the sliding clamps but soon bought another eight and even then I could have done with more  :o


'Each plank was first steamed and held in place for about four hours then glued to the previous one and left to set (Glue used was 'Titebond 3' a waterproof PVA which has an incredibly quick(for PVA) grab time) . Once set each plank was 'rivetted' at 2" spacing


Eight planks down - three quarters of the way in.

Incidentally the 'rivets' should be 'copper nails and roves' - I'll comment on them next time.


Hope this is of interest to you - you have to admit it is a bit ( :o) different from making ali swarf  ;)

Regards for now - Ramon





"I ain't here for the long time but I am here for a good time"
(a very apt phrase - thanks to a well meaning MEM friend)

Online steamer

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2013, 11:35:53 PM »
Considering your post has spanned 40 years ....seems short!... 8)

Ya doin fine man!

Dave
"Mister M'Andrew, don't you think steam spoils romance at sea?"
Damned ijjit!

Offline b.lindsey

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2013, 12:30:08 AM »
Dang....that is gorgeous!!!  I like seeing it, just wish I knew more about boat making. Excellent pictures too.

Bill

Offline ths

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2013, 12:44:28 AM »
Love it.

Hugh.

Offline Pete49

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2013, 02:29:28 AM »
Ramon as a lover and user of all things boat and a amateur builder of a few types I am watching with interest.  I have yet to try modelling them though I love watching those that do.
Pete
I used to have a friend.....but the rope broke and he ran away :(

Offline joe d

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2013, 04:14:18 AM »
Ramon

My introduction to sailing was in clinker-built navy whalers and cutters as a teen-aged Sea Cadet.  I still love that type of hull!
I will be following along with great interest.

Cheers,  Joe

Offline Ramon

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Re: 'WIDE A WAKE' a steam launch tale
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2013, 08:54:21 PM »
Hi again guys - it's nice to hear all your views and comments - I know this is a bit 'wooden' (oooh!) at the minute but I hope it will be taken as part of the bigger picture - hopefully it won't be too long before it does what it's supposed to and contain a steam engine ;)


I mentioned the 'rivets' - well traditionally, ie fullsize,  the planks are fastened using copper nails and dome shaped washers called roves ...

The nail is driven through pre-drilled holes through the planks from the outside, the rove is then driven, dome outermost, over the nail using a steel dolly to drive it up tight then the nail is nipped off or 'clenched' using nippers and finally peened over the rove. That's a lot of work on any boat and it was just the same here though I cheated a little - well quite a bit I suppose ;)

I bought these nails above  in 1972 - nothing like getting prepared eh  ::) - they and the roves were the smallest available at the time though I believe much smaller roves were one time obtainable. I've always thought that they might be a bit over-scale but would have to live with it however someone set the grey matter working when they suggested using snap-head copper rivets as used for boilers/tenders etc. First thought was that the head would flatten slightly when peening over to 'resemble' a rove but a little work produced a simple punch and die to stamp the rivet head to a more convincing shape ....







If these were inserted from the inside and then peened over and filed off on the outside they might just look convincing enough.
Just how convincing they turned out to be was quite a surprise - more a bit later.

A few were done and a small test piece made to satisfy myself it would work. 1/16 dia rivets were used and surprisingly they worked out just under, but very near to scale  :D For the first time then that home made fly-press actually got to work on a repetitive basis and produced several hundred of these little devils in 1/4, 38. and 1/2" lengths. The 'die' BTW,  actually really an anvil, had a sprung loaded ejector below hence the rivets sitting proud

Every rivet then had to have a point filed on so as to penetrate the pre-drilled holes. Held in needle nose pliers this was done one at a time with a needle file -  quite time consuming, especially when fitting the planks as every one had to be inserted, as said, from the inside and using a mirror to see the hole  ::)

Trying my best to ignore the total number of rivets required, the hull,  came together surprisingly quickly at a rate of about two planks every day and a half - make a template, trial cut the plank and shape to fit, make the opposite plank, steam one at a time, glue then rivet before moving on to the next until finally only the sheer plank was left to do ...


By this time the shape of the individual planks were needing quite wide material - It's quite surprising how each shape develops. So much so that the 21/2" stock that I'd cut was not wide enough for the sheer plank so another two pieces at 3" were required and finally that last of twelve planks went on - I think I might be allowed a :whoohoo: at this point ...




The brass stem plate was cut and fitted before trimming and flaring the stem to the planks...


And finally the big moment of taking it off the moulds had arrived  ;D ....


..and that inner sheer plank could at last be fitted..


At this stage I took it back to the Boat Building College to ask some more questions before fitting the ribs. It really made my day  ;D when not one but two instructors who came to look at it independently both remarked 'Where did you find those little roves? Yep truly ;D

That isn't it though - there's a whole load of ribs to go in and near as many rivets to do too :o - more on that a bit later.

Hope this is seen as a little change from the mainstream but with that intent firmly in mind ;)

Regards - Ramon
"I ain't here for the long time but I am here for a good time"
(a very apt phrase - thanks to a well meaning MEM friend)