AL’s Independence – Hull and Deck Details

Been making slow progress on the Independence, having been spending some extra time on other projects. But now it’s time to stop dragging my feet and to put in the work on this model!

To begin with, I spent a lot of time over the past few weeks making lot of rings, eyebolts, and hooks, so I could start mounting blocks on the model.


I added some ringbolts to the deck for rigging the cannons, but mostly I worked out the locations of the rigging blocks that will be attached to the masts and got those into place.


Note that it’s actually easiest to strop the blocks directly onto the eyebolts and THEN mount them onto the model. Something I kind of forgot in my haste to get these things in place. So, I actually removed some bolts that I’m going to be adding blocks to and I will glue the eyebolts back into place once those are done. I may do the same with some of these as well.

I also made some knees using a rectangular cross-section strip of boxwood that I ran through my router table. I then cut the individual knees from the strip – like cutting slices from a loaf of bread. I used these under the catheads and also under the channels. On a ship as small as this, I don’t know if there really would have been a need for knees under the channels, but I don’t they are out of place, and they add some more visual detail.

I drilled these knees out and used short pieces of blackened wire to simulate bolts. They aren’t actually pinned to the hull as the wire is very short and only for appearance sake, but they make for some easy visual detail.



Another detail that I’d been taking my time planning out were the timberheads that stick up over the cap rail at the bow. I just used boxwood to make these. I had been wrestling with the dimensions, layout and appearance of these and finally settled on what you see here.


These needed to line up with the timberheads that line the bulwarks interior, though you might notice the change in color from the cherry wood at the bulwarks to the boxwood above the cap rail. Were I to do this all again, it would have been easier to have a completely closed, planked bulwarks, or I would have gone with wider timberheads and maybe simple use cherry for these pieces on the cap rail.

In the above photo, you can also see that I’ve added some of the cleats I made earlier. In this case they are mounted at the foot of the catheads.

Deck Pumps

Next thing was that I finally worked out the design of the deck pumps. These are similar to designs shown in Hahn’s book The Colonial Schooner. I looked at photos of pumps with metal yokes, but opted to keep it simple and made mine from wood. But the pump handles are perfectly straight like he shows and because of that, they tend to stick out a bit. Problem was that I couldn’t then situate them where they’d be out of the way, and I ended up having to relocated the ladders about 1/2″ outboard of where I originally placed them.

Since I pinned the ladders to the deck, this left a pin hole. I felt it best to just stick some eyebolts in the holes. They are pretty well out of the way and close enough to the mainmast and main boom that they might actually be useful. Even if unused, they would not look out of the ordinary.

Later I finished up the deadeyes and chainplates and so added the channels into place.

I also decided to follow a lead from Hahn’s work and added an accept plank. I had run across a sale on Peruvian Walnut boards when I went to Rockler woodworking one day and bought one. I’d been looking for uses for this stuff which is very dark. It is also a little on the soft side and the grain is hardly noticeable. I decided to cut a couple planks and shaped them to fit the upper most strakes of the hull, just beneath the cap rail at the quarterdeck.

This gives a nice, rich-toned color accent to the model that’s just a bit of artistic flair. I might also use some on the large, rather plain looking transom to add some interest there.


Lastly, I haven’t been very happy with the look of the stern gallery lights and finally took on the task of ripping them out. I’ll rebuild them with thinner framing material, fewer panes, and I’ll cut and fit a piece of acrylic to back them as well. I just have to remember what I read to glue them up with so that the acrylic isn’t smeared or damaged.

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