Since we’re still under the stay-at-home order and I have time, I’m plowing ahead with the Himi Tenma. I did manage to get some measurements from Douglas Brooks, but mostly, to verify that my beams are fairly close. Not all exactly like the boat built last Fall, but close enough for this project.
With the beams, or funabari, in place, I went ahead and added the decks at the bow and stern. I don’t recall off hand what the term is for the stern deck, but the bow deck is called the kappa. I fit both decks by first making a templates that I cut to fit as best I could in place of the planks.
I cut three planks to make up each of the decks. For the stern deck, I installed a simple strip of wood onto the transom, or todate, to serve as a shelf for the lower plank ends. That wasn’t necessary at the bow, due to the shape of that deck, which held the planks in place better.
The aft deck turned out well, but I realized later that the bow deck angles downward too much, and is probably smaller on the actual boat. But, it looks fine and I don’t really think there’s any need to redo it.
Next, I decided to install the rub rails. There are two on either side, one at the sheer and one just above the chine. The sheer rub rail is called a koberi, which is a term I’m accustomed to. The lower one is called a nameita in the Himi drawings.
These were much easier to bend to shape and install compared to the hull planks. The upper one had to fit precisely in the space between the extensions of the beams and the upper edge of the hull plank. This required some test fitting and trimming of the beam extensions. You can see some of the beams stick out underneath it.
With the rub rails in place, I went ahead and cut the fashion pieces that fit at the stern. There’s a little, simple shaping of the leading edge, though I’ve seen many wasen with fancier carvings. These pieces don’t appear on the museum drawings I’ve mostly been working from, so I just copied from photos provided by Douglas Brooks.
You’ll note that I’ve also instealled the toko, or the heavy beam at the stern, which serves as a mount for the sculling oar. The toko on the boat depicted in the museum drawings had a more complicated shape, and I was a bit confused about the details I was looking at. Fortunately, the boat built by Brooks and Co. has a much plainer toko that was easy to replicated from photos.
With the toko in place, it only made sense to move ahead with the sheer rail, or what people might refer to as the gunwale. I’ve known of this as the uwakoberi, but the Himi drawings refer to this is the kaibata or kaiuta. These reqiured a bit of edge bending, so they took a little longer to install.
I’ve been using Titebond II wood glue for the most part, but my desire to make faster progress led me to use some medium cure CA glue, which holds well and quickly, allowing me to secure the piece at the bow and bend as I went along, gluing the piece down. The result wasn’t as clean a placement as on the rest of the model, but they represented the final pieces that needed to be installed before I started some small detailing.
By the way, I think I forgot to mention the wedge-shaped box structures inside the cove at the stern. These are called tomobako or hako, which simply means “box”. I’ve always wanted to include this particular detail on a model, but this is the first boat I’ve built that has them. I’ve seen this on some other boats, particularly on the tenmasen of the type that were carried aboard the coastal transports, or bezaisen.
Now the Himi tenmasen that was built last Fall use a lot of screws, covered by wooden plugs. Up to this point, I’ve mostly been dealing with modeling boats that used predominantly old-style, traditional fastenings, like flat iron nails, which were used to fasten the hull planks to the stem. So, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to represent fastenings here.
The museum drawings clearly show the rectangular heads of traditional nails. They look nice, and add some good visual detail to the model. But, this is really supposed to be a model of the boat built last. So, I decided to simulate the fastenings by drilling holes and using wooden dowels to plug them.
I got through with the holes and plugs in the koberi this way, but I found I would get better results using wood filler instead of wooden plugs. So, for the rest of the model, I used Elmer’s brand wood filler.
For the mortises at the bow, I cut them to shape and simply used rectangular piece of adhesive backed vinyl dropped inside them. The jury is still out on whether or not that looks okay. But, so far, I’m good with it.
There are several places where screws may have been used and not plugged over. It was hard to tell from photos whether these were in fact screws or if they were nails. In this case, I didn’t worry about it too much and treated them as nails. To simulate them, I drilled thin holes and inserted “nails” I made from blackened copper wire.
Each piece of wire had to be flat on the visible end, so I filed the ends down of each one, blackened them in batches using liver of sulfur. The blackened “nails” are then inserted and pressed into the holes I drilled with a pin vise. The results were pretty good.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the simulated plugs in the hull at this stage. I actually did that after I added the nails.