Home' Afloat : AFLOAT October 2015 Contents glue the cardboard skin to the foam board
too firmly. Masking tape is useful here.
Once you have the topsides on, add
the main bottom panel the same way until
you have the hull planked up. Then seal
all the edges neatly with masking tape
to hold the cardboard together. You can
lose the chine if you want to by building
this up with strips of foam board, card or
thin timber and smoothing and fairing
with Builders Bog. Your hull will now look
almost like a round bilge one.
Smooth everything down then add a
skin of light fibreglass cloth and resin.
We are not into super strength hulls here,
so the cheaper, quicker drying and easier to
use polyester resin works for us. (Although
I did roller on a couple of coats of epoxy
after all was sanded for a harder finish.)
Sand and fill the glass coating using
Builders Bog or the car body filler
alternative while it is still on the frame. It
is much stiffer then.
When the finish is as good as you can
get, carefully remove the hull from the
mould. If you have made it in two halves,
join them now with resin and tape and
make good. Now you need to waterproof
and strengthen the inside by applying resin
and cloth. Use plenty of resin to waterproof
the vulnerable exposed cardboard bulwark
When all is dry, you will be astonished
how stiff your cardboard hull has become.
When the hull is finished inside
and out, mark the line of the deck
inside the bulwarks and glue in the deck
supports of 8mm square timber glued
and clamped with their top on this line.
(Bulldog stationary clips are fine) Mark the
location of the masts at the bulwark, cut
and glue 3mm ply braces / mast supports
to the underside of the longitudinal deck
supports. Glue 8mm x 8mm strips across
the top to form a level base for the deck.
Make a cardboard template for the
deck as accurately as you can. If you
have gaps, glue bits on until it is perfect.
Mark this onto 3 mm ply and cut out with a
jig saw and a finishing blade. Sand the top
and edges smooth and mark on deck lines
with a straight edge and a fine waterproof
black pen. Decks look more realistic if you
do not varnish them.
Temporarily fit the deck and mark the
location and rake of the masts and
drill through the deck and the supports
below. Remove the deck, replace the masts
at the correct rake and glue in a timber
block to locate the bottom of the mast.
Taper the bottom of the masts so they are
easier to fit. The rigging can be slacked
off so that the masts may be removed for
Drill a series of holes through the
bulwarks just above deck level to
secure the shrouds and to create scuppers
to drain the deck when sailing. Waterproof
them well with resin.
If you want to make a rudder make
it now, and fair before painting, it
looks good but is little use when sailing
and can be vulnerable.
It is best to paint the hull before
fitting the deck and rigging it. Use
oil based, epoxy or polyurethane paint, not
household acrylic which does not stand
up to rough treatment.
Prime the hull and make up a
display stand as suggested in the
sketches. Check that the waterline (LWL)
is horizontal and mark the boot top line
on the hull above this with a pencil fixed
to a stand. Mask and paint the underwater
colour. When it is dry, mask this line and
give topsides several coats of gloss. We use
black, it looks good and more in character
with this period craft.
Now you have the painted line of
the boot topping, you can add the
ballast if you are making a sailing model.
Float the hull in the bath, make sure there
are no leaks and add lead shot and/or
fishing weights into the bottom until the
hull floats about 6-8mm below the top of
the boot topping. It will sink slightly as
you add the resin and rig to it.
Hold the hull steady and pour in a
mix of resin to secure the ballast making
sure it floats upright without listing. Keep
the ballast away from the mast steps. Use
temporary bulkheads if necessary.
When cured, support your hull
in the stand, glue the deck to its
supports, weighing it down to hold it in
position. Then mask the edge of the deck
and waterproof the seal with paintable
sealer, Builders Bog or thickened epoxy.
Smooth off and paint inside the bulwarks.
Taper the masts and spars from
dowel and mass produce the bitts
from dowel with kitchen skewers glued
through them. You can make jaws for the
gaffs and booms with slivers of hardwood,
but for sailing models loops of copper or
brass wire are more durable. Varnish all
spars before installing. Drill and glue the
bitts into the deck with Superglue.
Install the gaffs and booms
on the masts and locate the
bowsprit before adding the rigging. This
is from fine black line from Whitworths
or Spotlight. The shrouds are tensioned
by waxed whipping twine through holes
drilled through the mast with tensioners
down to the bitts on the opposite side.
The tensioners are quite inconspicuous
by using clear Perspex or scraps of plastic
Make sail patterns from newspaper
and try them for size, taping them
into position. Sails are off cuts from your
sail maker. John Hearn from Doyle’s has
made me fine sails in the past and is
generous with lightweight off cuts. One
fabric has lines at about 12mm centres
which look just like scale seams on the
sails. Lay the newspaper patterns on the
fabric, mark and cut out.
The sketches show how they are
attached using a course needle (Spotlight)
and waxed whipping twine. All knots and
cut ends are super-glued.
Sails are adjusted using whipping
twine sheets and adjusters.
The amount of detail you want to
add with deckhouse, dinghies and
decorative model, you can pile on the
davits, boats and deck houses which
might be a bit vulnerable on a child’s
Go ahead, give it a go. You will wind
up with a much appreciated Christmas
present and you will enjoy the process
of creating it.
THE CARDBOARD CLIPPER continued
Plan B AFLOAT.com.au October 2015
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