My Workbench

Monday, March 30, 2020

Scratchbuilt Continental 32 Gun Frigate Raleigh

CNS Raleigh was one of 13 ships that the Continental Congress authorized for the Continental Navy in 1775. Built by James Hackett, the keel was laid on March 21, 1776 at the shipyard of John Langdon on what is now Badger's Island in Kittery, Maine. She was launched on May 21, 1776. Raleigh put to sea under Captain Thomas Thompson, who also supervised her construction, on August 12, 1777. She then joined the frigate Alfred and sailed for France. Three days out they captured a schooner carrying counterfeit Massachusetts money. Burning the schooner and her cargo, except for samples, the frigates continued on to France. On September 2 they captured the British brig Nancy and from her they obtained the signals of the convoy which the brig had been escorting from the rear. Giving chase the Americans closed on the convoy on September 4, 1777. 
Raleigh, making use of the captured signals, intercepted the convoy and engaged HMS Druid. In the ensuing battle she damaged Druid, but the approach of the remaining British escorts forced her to retire.
On December 29, 1777, Raleigh and Alfred, having taken on military stores, set sail from L'Orient, France, following a course that took them along the coast of Africa. After capturing a British vessel off Senegal, Raleigh crossed the Atlantic to the West Indies. On March 9, 1778, in the Lesser Antilles, Alfred, some distance from Raleigh, was captured by the British ships HMS Ariadne and HMS Ceres. Raleigh, unable to reach Alfred in time to assist her, continued north and returned to New England early in April 1778.
Accused of cowardice and dereliction of duty for not aiding Alfred, Captain Thompson was suspended soon after reaching port. On May 30, 1778 the Marine Committee appointed John Barry to replace him as captain.
Barry arrived in Boston to assume command on June 24 only to find his ship without a crew or stores and the Navy Board not wholly in support of the manner of his appointment. His reputation and character however, neutralized the ill-will of the Navy Board, drew enlistments, and helped to obtain the stores.
On September 25, Raleigh sailed for Portsmouth, New Hampshire with a brig and a sloop under convoy. Six hours later, two strange sails were sighted. After identification of the ships as British, the merchant vessels were ordered back to port. Raleigh drew off the enemy. Through that day and the next, he enemy ships HMS Unicorn and HMS Experiment pursued Raleigh. In late afternoon on the 27th the leading British ship closed with her. A 7 hour running battle followed, much of the time in close action. About midnight the enemy hauled off and Barry prepared to conceal his ship among the islands of Penobscot Bay. 
The enemy however, again pressed the battle. As Raleigh opened fire, Barry ordered a coarse toward land. Raleigh soon grounded on Wooden Ball Island, part of Matinicus. The British hauled off but continued the fight for a while, then anchored. Barry ordered the crew ashore to continue the fight and to burn Raleigh. A large party, including Barry, made it to shore. One boat was ordered back to Raleigh to take off the remainder of the crew and destroy her. But the British again fired on the ship, and a midshipman struck the Continental colors. All three ships had been damaged, Unicorn particularly so. Of the Americans ashore, a few were captured on the island but the remainder, including Barry, made it back to Boston on October 7. The British re-floated the ship and she was taken into the Royal Navy as HMS Raleigh. (Paraphrased from

Length at gun deck 131 feet 5 inches; Beam 34 feet 5 inches; Depth of hold 11 feet; Crew 180
Armament: 32 x 12 pdrs
Broadside weight 192 Imperial pounds
As HMS Raleigh: 26 x 12 pdrs and 10 x 6 pdrs with a Broadside weight of 175 Imperial pounds

First off ignore the error on the plan I printed out. I have no idea how I got 24 guns for this ship. It is a 32 gun ship for shore and has the ports to prove it! I was transferring so many plans back then I probably got it mixed up with some other ship.

Correct read is "Continental 32 gun frigate Raleigh"

Correct read is "Continental 32 gun frigate Raleigh"
Cutting out the decks

Correct read is "Continental 32 gun frigate Raleigh"

Correct read is "Continental 32 gun frigate Raleigh"

Hull dressed and painted. Masts built and sails traced out.

Masts painted. Spars attached to sails and painted. Base sculpted.

Hull impression carved in base.

Aft detail on how I tie the larger sails to the mast.

Forward detail

Mizzen sails mounted, starting on mainsail.
Lower mainsail done

Main mast and foresail complete 

All sails mounted

Standard rigging and stay sails going on
 Completed ship:

Raleigh with scratchbuilt Chesapeake
Good sites for info:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Pandemic Diary

Another blogger started a "Pandemic Log" that I've been commenting on. I wrote a couple of lengthy comments over the last couple of days and became concerned I might be hijacking his blog so I am starting my own.

March 16: We live here in eastern Washington State and were no part of the idiot hoarding crowd.

But now, when we are out of a few things, all the market shelves are bare. I went out today and came back bare handed. Can't even go out to eat because the Governor has closed all of the restaurants, bars, pubs and taverns in the state!

March 17: We live rural 24 miles from Spokane and usually only need to go to town around 3 times a month for supplies. I am 68 and find plenty to do around our place to keep busy. Plus there's my hobby and I've had to be pretty much a solo gamer anyway so this isolation doesn't hurt much there. But it is time for our regular supply run now so we are getting a bit concerned there are so many empty shelves.

March 18: I went to town again yesterday for a haircut. My barber's shop had a big CLOSED INDEFINITELY sign in the window. So I decided to check more stores for supplies we need. I went to 5 grocery stores, one chain pharmacy, and an Ace Hardware store that normally carries cleaning supplies and paper products. No paper products at all anywhere!! No sanitizers or wipes, not even baby wipes! Most of the grocers were out of fresh meats??? Immunity boosters like Zycam and homeopathics like Echanasia & Vitamin C all gone! But surprizingly there was plenty of cough and cold remedies: Mucinex, Robitussin, Nyquil & Dayquil, cough suppressants, losenges and fever medicines like Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc. Makes no sense to me!
My wife is in town today searching different stores. We are out of several things I couldn't find, not just TP Haha! 🤣😢😭

Whew,  glad I'm not August! 🤓

March 20:

March 23: Th Governor issued a Stay at Home Order today and ordered all non-essential businesses to close within 48 hours.
We made a last shopping trip today to try and find the stuff we are out of. I scored a six roll pack of TP! Jubilation! But my wife told me not to get too excited because we were giving it to her 90 year old dad and his wife since they were out of TP as well. O hope all of those TP hoarding bastards rot in diarrhea hell! Sorry, but how many other 80 to 90 year olds are out there making do with whatever they can while asshole hoarders are sitting with their garages full of TP bundles?

March 25: Today is the day all but essential businesses must be closed. Awoke to snow on the ground and it was still snowing this morning. It all melted away by the afternoon. Or youngest daughter is in nursing school and now only has on line lectures to attend and on line tests. I could use this isolation time to work on some projects my wife would like to have outside, but now I can't get the lumber to build them. Guess I'll just have to build more ships! 

March 31: Oh joy! I just discovered Ziggy's, Home Depot and Lowe's are open for business! Now I can get what I need for our outdoor projects!

April 3: Even though the number of confirmed cases is rising here in the Spokane area, it would appear the supply issues are easing a bit. We went into town on a supply run yesterday and found the store shelves well stocked. We even found TP, and no crowd fighting to grab it all up! We met our daughter to hand over two home made washable masks to her, since the hospital has relented and announced the nurses and NACs can wear them now.
I was even able to get a truck load of lumber for some Honey-Do projects around the ranch!

The trip was interesting. We were careful to maintain the 6 foot distance from everyone, although this wasn't as easy as it would seem. There are still people out there apparently oblivious. Twice I had the same woman with an infant in her cart pull right up next to me from behind. Other folks would just head towards you, forcing you to side step into an isle just to keep from getting brushed. Not fun! Some stores like Lowe's privided sanitary wipes when you walk in. We grabbed a couple and used them to wipe down the cart handle and everything we put in the cart. Other stores like Home Depot had nothing, so we took our chances, avoided touching our faces, and used hand sanitizer when we got back to the truck. After the that store, I carried the hand sanitizer in my pocket. Some people had masks on but not that many. Every store we went into had erected plexi-glass shielding to protect the cashiers from the customers.

All in all a good long as we didn't bring anything else home with us!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Two Davco 30 Gun East Indiamen

These two ships are the Davco 30 gun East Indiaman. The little flyer says "NS82 The Pitt. This model depicts a medium sized vessel which would be found on the East or West Indies Trade. Well armed and efficient, these ships often sailed alone or, if convenient, with a fast convoy. 18 x 12 pdrs & 12 x 6 pdrs."

I looked up the Pitt and found two East Indiamen with that name. The earlier one was originally a French East Indiaman named the Pondichery, captured by the Brits in 1756. It was a 30 gun ship.
The other ship was originally named Fortitude, built in 1780, and renamed Pitt in 1785. Both ships were approximately the same size but the later one was only pierced for 24 guns.

So I am modeling these two ships as the earlier ship. One as the French East Indiaman and the other as the British East Indiaman.

All the parts: The spankers are GHQ, the masts & sprit & spars are scratch

Ratlines for one ship 

Bases before the Mod Podge coat

Standing rigging done for first ship. Note I made the stay and sprit sails as the metal ones are just too heavy for the rigging.
The British ship first:

This is the Davco stern that came with the model, more British style

Here's the French ship:

Note the more rounded French/Spanish type stern I added on this one.

Both ships together:

I have one more merchant left to do; the Davco NS81 50 gun East Indiaman Lord Clive. But I am feeling a bit like doing something else sooooooooo...........