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Welcome! My name is Bob Hunt and I build model ships for a hobby.  I've been building these wonderful models for over 23 years now. I want to share with you a very detailed set of instructions on how to build a fairly simple "Plank on Frame" model ship.

The ship I've chosen for this Instructable is known as the Hannah.  It was the first ship in George Washington's Navy. The first photo shows what the finished model will look like.

"Plank on Frame" means that the planking on the hull is laid across actual frames that are similar to the actual frames of a real ship of this time period.  This particular model is not what we modelers call "historically correct" because the framework that makes up the hull is a stylized method of framing and not an actual duplication of the historical framework used.

The woods used in this model are not your garden variety of woods.  In other words, you can't run down to your local home improvement store and buy them.  But they are readily available through certain exotic wood importers such as http://www.gilmerwood.com .  They sell all kinds of wood including woods that are well suited for model ship building.

The frames, keel, and some of the outer planking are made of a wood known in the hobby as boxwood.  This is not the same boxwood shrub that might grow in your yard. It's a kind of tree that grows in various parts of the world and has virtually no visible grain and is very hard.

Some of the outer planking is Virginia holly, a very clear, white wood, as is the deck planking.  The pinkinsh wood is called Swiss Pear and is also used for the upper planking, mouldings and some of the deck furniture.  The black wood across the hull is ebony.

All of these woods can be obtained through Gilmer Wood (mentioned above).  Milling the wood to the dimensions needed to build this model does require a miniature table saw and a regular woodworking table saw or band saw. Additional information on milling the wood will be covered in the next step of these instructions.

To build this model, a set of plans are needed.  For this model, I needed to create the frame drawings in particular.  After doing some additional research I was able to find the two key drawings needed to loft a set of frame drawings. A body plan and waterline drawing for a Colonial Fishing Schooner very similar to the Hannah.  These drawings were drawn by a gentleman by the name of Howard I. Chappelle, who is no longer alive, however, many of the books he wrote on naval architecture are still found in bookstores today.  

Using Chappelle's body plan and waterlines, I was able to loft a set of frame drawings for my model. Photos of some of my CAD work are shown with this step.  I am providing a complete set of my CAD drawings for this Instructable in a ZIP file.  All drawings needed to build the model are included in PDF format and can be printed on standard 8-1/2" x 11" bond paper.  Some of these drawings would not fit on a single sheet of paper, so 2 or 3 drawings were created that can be taped together to form the complete drawing (using the black reference lines found on both halves).

The drawings can be downloaded from my website at http://bobsmodelships.com/HannahDrawings.zip . You might also want to browse my website to see additional photos of my construction of the Hannah model as well as some other models I've designed in AutoCAD and buit from scratch.  Hannah was the first scratch built model I made where I developed plans in AutoCAD.  In later models I not only used AutoCAD to design them but CAM software and a router mill to cut all of the parts out.  Feel free to check out my website at http://bobsmodelships.com for photos of some of these models.

After downloading the ZIP file, unzip it to any directory you wish to work from. You may open the unzipped PDF files with Acrobat Reader. These files all have meaningful names that you can easily distinguish. You will be told what drawings need to be printed for each step of these instructions.

To aid in the framing of the model, a special jig is used.  This jig holds the framework in perfect alignment until the outer hull planking is applied.  I'll cover the construction of the jig in full detail later in this Instructable.

Please do not be intimidated by the complex appearance of the finished model.  These instructions will explain the complete construction of the model in step by step detail.  Anyone with wood working skills should be able to build this model, provided of course, that they have the proper tools.  I will be covering tools needed as well.

So let's get started!

Step 1: Tools and Supplies Needed

First, I'd like to cover some of the tools you will need to build this model. Many of these tools can be purchased from Micro Mark (http://www.micromark.com) or Model Expo (http://www.modelexpo-online.com).  Here is a list of tools I find helpful in all of my model building (Not every tool is needed to build this model. I will tell you what tool I used for making each part at the beginning of each step of these instructions):

    1. No. 5 Exacto knife handle (Micro Mark #36117).
    2. No. 2 or equivalent Exacto knife handle (Micro Mark #14351 or 70233).
    3. #10, #11 and #22 Exacto blades (Micro Mark #14360, 36102 and 36113).
    4. Micro Saw Blades (Micro Mark #14346)
    5. Dremel Rotary Tool (Micro Mark #82592)
    6. Helping Hands (Micro Mark #21120)
    7. Variable speed scroll saw or Jewelers Saw (for cutting out frames - Micro Mark #22105)
    8. Byrnes Miniature Table Saw (for cutting small parts - http://www.byrnesmodelmachines.com/)
    9. Swiss style watchmakers tweezers (Micro Mark #19101)
    10. Deluxe pin vise (Micro Mark #82110)
    11. Dimensioned mini-square (Micro Mark #82147)
    12. Steel machinist square (Micro Mark #10117)
    13. Angled high precision micro shear (Micro Mark #80334)
    14. Tweezer nose pliers (Micro Mark #80338)
    15. Mid size file set (Micro Mark #81063)
    16. Stainless steel 6” ruler (Micro Mark #10114)
    17. Sand It (Micro Mark #84048)
    18. Micro drill bit set (Micro Mark #60362)
    19. 3” Toolmakers angle plates (Micro Mark #60626)
    20. Office clips, small and medium size
    21. Pan vise (Micro Mark #21123)
    22. Bench top mini disk/belt sander (Micro Mark #82218)
    23. 9” band saw or 10" table saw (for milling your own wood)
    24. Veneer Calipers for measuring wood thickness (Micro Mark #82556)
    25. Planer or thickness sander

There are several items I use regularly in my model building that constantly need replenishing. So that you will be prepared when the time comes, here is a list of certain supplies you will find yourself using routinely:

    1. Weldbond White Glue
    2. Zap A Gap Super Glue (Micro Mark #80877 or 80878)
    3. Z Ends (for Zap A Gap - Micro Mark #80890)
    4 Five Minute Epoxy
    5. #10, 11, 13 and 22 Exacto Blades and Knife
    6. 100, 150, 220, 330 and 400 Grit Sandpaper
    7. #0000 Steel Wool
    8. Polyurethane Satin, Wipe On Poly or Sanding Sealer
    9. Toothpicks (for mixing epoxy)
    10. Rubbing Alcohol (for ungluing Weldbod if you make a mistake)
    11. Single edge razor blades (for making moldings)

Other items may be needed as we progress and I will try and give some advance notice of these items when they come up.

CAUTION: PLEASE READ THE INSTRUCTIONS THAT CAME WITH ALL OF YOUR POWER TOOLS TO UNDERSTAND THE SAFETY PROCEDURES ASSOCIATED WITH THE USE OF EACH TOOL.  USE EXTREME CARE AROUND ALL MACHINERY AND EXERCISE DILIGENCE. MODEL SHIP BUILDING IS A FUN HOBBY BUT SAFETY IN THE WORKSHOP IS RULE NUMBER ONE.  BE ESPECIALLY CAREFUL WITH HOBBY KNIVES.  REMEMBER, A DULL BLADE IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN A SHARP ONE BECAUSE YOU TEND TO USE MORE FORCE TO MAKE THE BLADE WORK FOR YOU.  A SLIP OF THE BLADE CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY. CHANGE BLADES OFTEN, KEEP ALL EQUIPMENT CLEAN AND SHARP, AND BE CAREFUL! KNOW YOUR TOOLS AND HOW TO HANDLE THEM. 
<p>All of my best wood tools I made with woodprix. Google and try it.</p>
<p>Dear Bob,</p><p>Thanks for this great support. I,m 60 yo and I still did not have enough courage to start my first model boat. I have some tools and some books but I know what could happen in these long term &quot;projects&quot;.</p><p>I noticed that the videos are missing and some links to your page are broken.</p><p>Please take a look.</p><p>Best regards,</p><p>Claudio</p>
<p>Hi Claudio, I've been building <a href="http://www.modelsinbottles.com/p/supplies.html" rel="nofollow">model ships in bottles from scratch</a> and while the level of detail in Bob's ships is far superior to mine, my website tries to explain the process as easily as possible with plenty of pictures. I also have a link showing <a href="http://www.modelsinbottles.com/p/supplies.html" rel="nofollow">all of the supplies I use</a>. A ship costs me maybe $15-$20 in supplies. Hopefully my page can help you out and if you have any questions feel free to ask.</p><p>I'm surprised by how easy it is compared to what I thought. You should really give it a shot!</p>
Awesome
<p>That is beautiful</p>
<p>http://www.dlumberyard.com/Plans/alfred.pdf</p>
<p>Thank You soo much!</p>
<p>I would really love to see you add sails to this.</p>
I'm new here, signed up today. But it took me all of a five minute search to find that Mr. Hunt had started his own school of model ship building at Lauck Street models. Also, Mr. Hunt is using plans based on another's design, Mr. Harold Hahn. Perhaps this could be deleted but, it's not a good reason to trash the guy's rep. He does good work. If you want to build a plank-on-frame model yourself? Research books on Naval Architecture and you can find drawings in there that you can re-scale and go with that. Good luck to you.
As a new scale boat modeler, I can only imagine the patience and work required to create this piece of art...
thank you
Bob- <br> <br>Where are you? <br>Wanted to check out your website but- to no avail! <br>Has the site moved, or has it expired? <br> <br>Tom
I have always wanted to build a Chinese Junk in this fashion and leave it half done so the intricacy can be viewed. <br /> <br />I am always awed by people with your patience, talent, and attention to detail. Beautiful workmanship!
Beautiful! I will have to try this.
Wow, wow, wow! What craftsmanship! Very well done! A wonderful 'able as well!
Thank you. Be sure to check out my website at http://www.bobsmodelships.com to see even more detailed models and how I built them.
Beautiful work.
On the ship, the models, and the Instructable, too! <br>Fantastically detailed and easy to follow. Kudos, laukstreet.

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Bio: My name is Bob Hunt and I love to build historic model ships. I've been building these beautiful models for over 23 years as ... More »
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