The USS Constitution- a 14 month project - and a photo essay step by step.
Made possible by a very dedicated "model shipwright"
Good afternoon Norwich,
I am sharing with you today a story about the USS Constitution , no not the real ship but a ship model which is a very close replica to it.
This ship model was built by ARTHUR SAUVIGNE
Arthur is a very talented ship model maker if you will with a lot of patience and has been at this for awhile as he indicates below: Here is Arthur’s story as only he can tell it.
It was a 14 month project but the USS Constitution is now complete. It Took awhile to correlate all the US Navy construction and rigging details but this is very close to how she appeared from 1812-15. The flags and armaments are accurate for the War of 1812 - 18 32 pound carronades on the spar deck and 30 24 pound long toms on the gun deck and 2 24 pound long tom chasers(up to 3 mile range) on the spar deck. The main ship launch was a 42 footer and there were three 28 foot whaleboats on davits. The model is basswood, beech, walnut and maple and 37.5" long, 12.5" wide and 27" tall from keel.
The start- most critical step to keep keel straight and all bulkheads square and even.
Planking the hull and bending and contouring strips (aka "spiling the strakes") is the most tedious for me. A few planks on each side afre alternated to prevent warping the hull. Thank god for superglue.
An intermediate step is mast, bowsprit and spar fabrication. Each lower mast section is a composite of over 40 pieces of wood. The fighting tops tops(gray) each have 30 components. All the masts, spars and tops are rigged with blocks and foot ropes prior to assembly on the hull.
This is the rigging jig used to sort lines and add the mast shrouds and ratlines prior to "stepping" the masts to the hull.
Coppering the hull bottom. This is 1/4(6mm) copper foil cut and dimpled into individual strips.
The finale: Putting it all together and adding rigging. There are 7 different sized rigging threads. Black rigging is "standing rigging" which is coated with Stockholm Tar preservative; this rigging is immobile except for periodic tightening and required for mast/hull structural integrity. "Running rigging" is tan colored natural hemp and used to maneuver the spars and sails through the various spools and blocks and belaying pins. "Boys, you've gotta learn the ropes!" During combat the objective was to fire at the ship rigging to disable it. The hull was then captured and refitted.
Final ship photos are uncompressed as attachments if you want to check out the details.
And the photo below shows the finished product proudly displayed
Arthur has also built a model of the CSS Alabama and that story can be read by clicking on the blue read full story link below the photo:
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