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Making cutters for the Oceanic 2 ship model

7 November 2013 by Sam

model rowing boats and oars

The conserved pieces of the tiny model cutters, with a scale in centimetres to give an idea of the size

Ship and historic models conservator David Parsons has been restoring the model of Oceanic 2, which we’re hoping to display at Merseyside Maritime Museum as part of plans to mark the First World War. Following on from his previous blog post, here is his latest update on progress:

“I’m still working on the final parts of Oceanic 2 and the parts I’ve just completed were probably the most enjoyable things I’ve done on the whole model, partly because of what they are and also because they are made up of so many different parts.  These were two ‘cutters’: rowing boats to be used by the ship’s crew.

First of all I made the two shells of the boats (116 mm long) using ‘Quebec yellow pine’ because it’s quite easily carved and it starts to let light through as it is carved to the right thickness (but I used a thickness gauge as well).  I carved the outside of both boats to get them the same before carving the inside, trying to get the bottoms as flat as I could so that the planking could be put in.  The hulls were sanded smooth before being painted white with enamel paint.

detail of empty davits on the deck of a model ship

Before conservation

The planking, seating and gratings were made using Degama as were the oars – (64 mm long) four for each cutter.   These pieces were all coloured with gouache before being varnished with satin acrylic varnish.  The hulls were varnished with satin acrylic varnish modified with black and yellow gouache to lessen the brightness of the white.  Then the planks were glued in as were the seating and grating.  Lastly the ship’s name and port of registration were written on using a mapping pen and Indian ink, together with the White Star flag symbol (in red paint) and the boat’s number.

Blocks, ropes, lengths of cable and griping spars were all made.  Gripes were made from 2.5mm wide ribbon painted black with matt enamel paint.  Then the griping spars were tied on, the cutters were suspended from the davits and the gripes tied round to secure them.

tiny rowing oat suspended by the deck of a model ship

A newly made model cutter installed on the Oceanic 2

I hope people can get as much pleasure from looking at these in place as I got from making them.”

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