Building the DNB Maru – A Niigata Honryousen – Part 3

Planking the hull is a somewhat tricky process. There are no frames to glue to, so clamps are next to useless, except to hold the former in place. Also, this is an open boat that, like the full-sized boats, will have no finish on it. It’s too small to nail together, so the hull will be held together with wood glue.

CA, or instant glue, will stain the bare wood. If I were to apply a finish on the completed model, I might be able to get away with using CA. But, with unfinished wood, it will mar the model’s appearance. To keep it looking as clean as possible, I’m using yellow carpenter’s glue, which cleans up with water. The only issue is that the parts will need to be held together while the glue sets.

Since I can’t use clamps, tape is being used to hold the planks in place while the glue dries. For this, I’m using low-tack painter’s tape.

There is a bit of an art to partially taping a hull plank to the hull bottom, applying glue, then completing the taping job. I found it was best to hold the plank in place and tape the bottom edge of the plank tightly to the bottom hull piece. The tape serves as a kind of hinge, so that the joint can be opened up, allowing glue to be applied to the edge of the hull bottom. After the glue is applied, the hull plank can then be “rotated” into position, again with the tape acting as a hinge. The top edge of the plank is then taped tightly against the former.

I keep a small brush and a cup of water on the side to clean up the excess glue that will inevitably end up on the exposed wood. A slightly dampened paper towel helps to pull off excess glue as well. Since the wood glue is water soluble, even after it has set, final clean up can be done later. It’s just important to not overdue the wetting of dried glue joints, as those glue joints will break down.

I did find that in certain spots, I was able to enlist the aid of a couple clamps to help secure the hull plank. Again, they’re not particularly helpful, as the angle of the wood parts doesn’t give a good gripping surface, and they can slip out of position pretty easily. The clamping operation consists of being very careful clamping and re-clamping with a bit of swearing in between.

After the glue has dried, the clamps and tape can come off, and then I can see where I didn’t use enough glue in a joint. Some cleanup is done and some areas of the plank joints need re-gluing or reinforcing with additional glue. There is, of course, some re-taping and re-clamping needed. Also, more cleanup of excess glue.

After the glue on the second plank has set, tape and clamps all come off and more cleanup of glue stains take place. Some light sanding also helps with glue stains.

The glued up hull looks like a hull, but not a very nice one at this point. The hull planks need to be trimmed to shape. The top edge will be left alone for the time being, as it will require some careful shaping. So, the bottom edge will be dealt with first. The excess wood there simply needs to be trimmed flush with the hull bottom.

There is too much wood to trim it all with my miniature block plane, so I resorted to carving away large portions of wood with a hobby knife. Fine trimming was then done with the miniature plane, then cleaned up with a sanding block.

Next, I’ll need to carefully trim the upper edge of the hull planks. First, I’ll need to decide how I will mark the curvature on the planks.



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