Hull Test

This past week I was away from home four of last six nights so modelling time was restricted so the progress I’ve made has been startling considering this restriction. When I got some time at the workbench I started on the jig to make the piers of Morpeth’s jetty. The pier is actually in two parts:

  • The first part is a short curved length of single track which leads out from dry land onto the section jutting into the Hunter River. I modelled this section after a real pier that existed at Queens Wharf approximately a hundred years ago. This was used to load coal onto river barges but doesn’t seem to have survived much beyond the 1920s.
  • The second section of the pier is a wider, flat platform that loosely mimics the ocean jetty at Coffs Harbour and, to a lesser extent, the one at Byron Bay a bit further up the coast. Ironically I spent two of my nights away at Coffs Harbour at a conference. I could see the real jetty through the window of my motel room. This section of the jetty is 200mm wide and is made up of a 4mm thick piece of ply wood (nothing special here, I bought this at Bunnings a big local hardware chain) wrapped in a layer of Mt Albert strip wood. This platform is held about 2 1/2″ from the surface of the “water” through the use of nine strip-wood piers that I made using a styrene jig. This jig was larger than the one I posted a few weeks ago that I used to make the legs of the curved section of the jetty.
After something like 5 years I finally got to see the hull of the ship I plan to build for this part of the layout sitting adjacent to the pier I've been working on for the last few weeks. I'm chuffed :-)

After something like 5 years I finally got to see the hull of the ship I plan to build for this part of the layout sitting adjacent to the pier I’ve been working on for the last few weeks. I’m chuffed πŸ™‚

The jig went together remarkably quickly and I got stuck into making the piers yesterday. I only made one jig so each pier had to be assembled and glued one at a time. I had to wait around an hour before the glue had set up sufficiently to allow me to prise the pier from the jig: 9 piers X 9 hours = a lot of waiting around. Most of the waiting was for the glue to dry but with a bit of persistence I got all nine piers assembled over a period of about 18 hours (a big chunk of that was sleeping last night) πŸ™‚

While doing all this waiting I managed to listen to the entire second series of the podcast Serial, an offshoot of This American Life, a radio program I highly recommend. Go listen, they both make great modelling companions. I subscribe to both programs via iTunes.

I got the last of the nine piers glued up this morning and then started inserting “pins” into the two outer legs of each pier. Each pier has five legs (approimately 65mm long pieces of 12″x12″ scale timber) but I only pin two to allow the whole assembly to be securly held in place. The pins are 1/2″ 10BA brass blots I screw into the base of the legs the heads of which I snip off to allow the application of a small brass nut from the underside of the water once each pier is in position. I drew a few pencil lines on the surface of my water to position everything in their correct locations and then marked the position of the bolts in relation to the legs on each pier. I drilled two holes through the water, applied some glue to the end of the legs and pushed each pier into position. I then secured each pier by screwing on the two nuts. I also checked each pier was square to the surface of the “water” with a machinists sqare as the glue set up.

At the time of writing I have all nine piers glued and bolted into position and I’ve laid the wooden ply surface of the pier on top of these to check height and position. The next step will be to run some wiring up to the wooden surface of the pier to allow for power to the rails and possibly some lighting fixtures to make the pier look like it’s “populated”. After that I’ll secure the deck to the piers with some glue and brass bolts (these will be quite a bit larger than the 10BA ones I used to hold the piers in place) and then lay some rail.

None of the items above the level of the wooden piers is secured in this photo but having Pioneer on the wooden deck of the jetty gives you a sense of the scale of the ship model.

None of the items above the level of the wooden piers is secured in this photo but having Pioneer on the deck of the jetty gives you a sense of the scale of the ship model.

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3 thoughts on “Hull Test

  1. Impressive progress. Are you still working on this at the old house or the new one? Transporting the finished scene is always scary.

  2. Trevor, you may be interested to look at the photo library on the ‘Coffs Local History – Remember When’ Facebook page, which has dozens of pics of the jetty, including closeups of the deck details, rails and SS Abel Tasman. There is a particularly good overhead shot of the HMAS Ovens (sub) and Abel Tasman on either side of the jetty showing lots of ship detail as well as the jetty deck. Unfortunately your platform won’t allow me to attach the pic so you’ll have to go looking in the FB page’s library. Cheers.

  3. Long time follower, first-time poster. Really enjoying following your exploration of a feature of the NSWGR north of Sydney too. Can’t think of another layout who has tackled the same topic. Looking good so far!
    Slightly off topic, but couldn’t agree more on the second series of ‘Serial.’ Fascinating story, and very addictive.

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