Jerry's Model Ships


This is Jerry's model of the Cutty Sark clipper ship model by Revell, his first ship model


Jerry had always been interested in models-all types, as a kid. Right before he got married in 1967 he got this large Revell plastic kit of the Cutty Sark clipper ship. He worked on it in Germany, while in the Army. He took a few pieces to Vietnam to tie rigging to the yards. It was then put away after that to raise his kids, then finally finished up in about 1980. 
    About this time Jerry subscribed to the magazine Model Ship Builder (now defunct). It covered wooden ship modeling with various articles on different techniques of model ship bulding.  After some reading he bought the kit for the Dallas. It was a simple kit for the beginner but he learned quite a bit about making a ship model from it. 


The U.S. Dallas

The Dallas kit was a plank on bulkhead type of a model. It would end up looking like a real boat, but did not follow real boat building techniques. Here you can see the bulkhead frames and the plywood deck that would be planked over. 
Here you can see Jerry has planked the deck. 
The finished boat with the walnut planking. 

U.S. Frigate Essex

The Building of the U.S. Frigate Essex

After he built the Dallas Jerry was looking for a new challenge and found it in the series of articles in Model Ship Builder by Portia Takakjian. It detailed, each issue, how to build the Essex, a 32 gun Frigate built for the United States Navy by the town of Salem, Mass in 1799.  It saw action in the Mediterranean Sea and against the British in the War of 1812, they eventually captured it. The model was a plank-on-frame building of the ship, just as in real practice of ship building. He purchased a set of full size plans and started gathering the wood. 

U.S. Frigate Essex

Here is one page of the plan set. It comprised 2 pages of the frame outlines,  this page and a page of details of cannons/wheels/etc , also a page of rigging detail and a page of overall rigging. Jerry had copies made so he could cut them up and glue them to the wood for cutting and to a board to follow. 
Jerry decided to make the frames from a layer of maple and walnut. Each frame involved two layers of several pieces so the seams would overlap. 
Once the pieces were glued together and cut out they were assembled on the keel(notched piece),
it is of pecan wood. Jerry had to be careful 
to glue them square. 
The frames varied in size/shape. The holes for the gun ports were incorporated into the plans. 
The planks for the upper section were cut from local apple wood by Jerry. It was very easy to bend, once soaked in water. Each plank was held on with clamps until the glue dried. Then two small bamboo dowels that Jerry made were tapped/glued in to hold the planks in place. This was done on each frame.
LOTS of drilling! 
Jerry used several types of wood to separate 
different areas of the planking. 
Here you can see the finished side. The black planks are ebony, which was VERY hard to curve. The planking below is pear wood from a branch on Jerry's grandmother's tree. It was almost as hard as the ebony to bend. No paint was used in the model. All the colors come from the natural wood. Several coats of 
Val Oil was used for the finish. 
Jerry left some areas unplanked on one side 
to show the frames. 
The deck frames were made from old maple floor boards. Elm was used to plank over them.
They were also doweled to the frames. 
An overall view of the lower gun deck being planked.
Jerry planked the gun deck with some elm planks he made from a tree that was cut down in his yard. The guns he turned on a small lathe that he found at a
yard sale. The insides of the frames were planked
with cherry, probably the easiest wood to work 
with that he used on the model.
The planking in the bow, around all the
hatches took awhile. 
The stove was made from wood and brass. The picture does not do it justice. Note the size by the penny coin. 
A stern view of the finished model. 
Here you can see the partially planked side. The anchors were about the only pieces
Jerry bought for the model. 
This shows the fully planked size. 
One side of the Essex was fully planked, below the black ebony is pear above it is apple. Some other exotic woods were used for trim pieces.
Jerry left part of the top deck unplanked so you could see down to the gun deck below. Planks are made of elm from a tree that got cut down in his yard. They are dowled to the maple deck beams.  Most of the darker wood is cherry for the rails. 

The model took Jerry about 20 years of off and on work, he was still raising his kids then and helping them restore their Mustangs and his Mustang. Also some jukeboxes came his way and had to be restored. He never intended to do the masts of the model, since that makes it very large, as he discovered with his model of the Cutty Sark. 
The model of the Essex sits proudly on a wood base, with brass
plaque in Jerry's living room.

Jerry's Garden G Scale Railway
Jerry's Jukebox
Jerry's Paintings that he did of things he saw while serving his tour of duty in Vietnam
Pictures that Jerry took during his tour of duty in Vietnam
Building a model Gun Truck
The Lumber Yard for 
Model Shipwrights
John's Old Car and Truck Pictures
A picture tour of the 64 remaining Covered Bridges of New Brunswick
The Covered Bridges 
of New Brunswick Canada
Visit Nova Scotia's Covered Bridges of the past
The Covered Bridges
of Nova Scotia Canada
Julie's model covered bridge
Julie and her father Gary built a model bridge using the plans on my Covered Bridge site for 
a school project
A tribute to the Steam Locomotives of the CNR
A tribute to the Steam Locomotives 
of the CNR
Ed's Etching are well worth the vist
Ed's Marble Etchings

Webmaster John MacDonald 

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