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John Fox III

Paper Mache Hulls

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Greetings All,

I had the idea of taking a method for making ship's boats I developed and testing whether it might work for much larger hulls. It was all experimental, so I wasn't taking photos as I worked, but since the idea worked out well I redid all the work covering it with photos to show how. Some of you may have seen my work with ship's boat hulls being made by using a plug of the hull shape, covering that plug with cigarette papers whetted with diluted white (pva} glue. Believe I have a video showing how this is done on Vimeo, do not have the URL for that but you can look it up on their site. Basically, laying the whetted paper over the plug, then using a wet toothpick to smooth it down tight to the entire plug, folding the paper over at bow and stern. After waiting 24 hours for the glue to dry/harden, adding another layer. For most ship's boats I would do 4 layers of paper. I would then cover the paper with either cyanoacrylate glue or varnish to harden it. Excess paper was cut away at the top of the bulwarks, and then the paper hull was popped off of the plug. The biggest problem with repeating for more than a single boat of the same shape and size was that cutting the excess paper sometimes cut the plug top, so I added a piece of shim brass of .005" thick to the top of the plug. Photos below show some views of this work, including finishing the interior of the boats with thin wood or plastic pieces. In some cases I used 0.015" thick maple veneer to plank the outside of the boats. These boats ranged from 1/2" to 1-1/4" long. More to follow in subsequent posts.

Paper hull 001.jpg

Paper hull 002.jpg

Paper hull 003.jpg

Paper hull 004.jpg

Paper hull 005.jpg

Paper hull 006.jpg

Paper hull 007.jpg

Paper hull 008.jpg

Paper hull 009.jpg

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Hi John,

I tried this method successfully after seeing it on one of your CD's. I would suggest a release agent (a light rub with a candle or similar) is used as I did suffer slight problems getting the hull off the mould a couple of times. Other than that, its a great idea.

Regards

Alan

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Greetings All,

The next installment of my paper mache hull project is for a much larger hull. This particular hull is for a sandbagger, roughly 3 times larger than any of the ship's boat hulls I've done in the past, at 3-3/4" long and 1-1/2" wide. The plug was made from basswood, cut to. vertical cross sections spaced at 2' to the 1/8" scale. The wood was carved to shape using templates, then sanded and sealed multiple times to get it smooth and water tight. The first hull I used cigarette papers, but that turned out to be problematic as it took many papers to cover the hull, with lots of overlapping. The second time I decided to use tissue paper, the kind one often finds in gifts and such. It was white, but I used some brown wiping stain to get a color that looked more wood like, as at least some areas of the interior of the hull would be visible on the final model. I used 4 layers of paper, letting it dry for 24 hours between layers. The excess was cut off at the top of bulwarks after each 2 layers, and finally the hull was sanded to smooth out the overlaps at stern and bow. Lastly I put several coats of varnish on the paper hull, sanding lightly in between, to harden the outer surface of the hull.

Most to follow.

Anchor's A Weigh!

John Fox III

Paper hull 010.jpg

Paper hull 011.jpg

Paper hull 012.jpg

Paper hull 013.jpg

Paper hull 014.jpg

Paper hull 015.jpg

Paper hull 016.jpg

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That is a great idea for sure, thank you for sharing. So impressive you can put such detail on the inside of those.  It drives me nuts that many (correct me if wrong), when underway, were stowed upside down with a tarp over top? 

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On 3/21/2020 at 1:21 AM, Onni said:

Great idea John. I think that I'm going to try to replicate small boats using your method.

Go for it! If you have to make many boats the same size it a great way to make them the same. Also, save all the boat plugs you make, one never knows when one will need another of the same size.

Anchor's A Weigh!

John Fox III

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On 3/21/2020 at 6:02 AM, exwafoo said:

Hi John,

I tried this method successfully after seeing it on one of your CD's. I would suggest a release agent (a light rub with a candle or similar) is used as I did suffer slight problems getting the hull off the mould a couple of times. Other than that, its a great idea.

Regards

Alan

Thanks for the idea! I have tried using thin oil and petroleum jelly, but it makes it more difficult to get the paper to stay in place while smoothing out the wrinkles and overlaps. I never have an easy job removing the boat hulls from the plugs, I just work around the top edges of the paper hull with the tip of a #11 exacto blade several times and then pop them off. Haven't had one tear or break yet.

Anchor's A Weigh!

John Fox III

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On 3/21/2020 at 2:55 PM, James w rogers said:

Such a great idea, those little boats look incredible!  I’m afraid I’m going to have to steal this!😉😂

Steal away! That is why I put it on the board. Glad you like it, hope you find it useful.

Anchor's A Weigh!

John Fox III

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22 hours ago, Spanky said:

That is a great idea for sure, thank you for sharing. So impressive you can put such detail on the inside of those.  It drives me nuts that many (correct me if wrong), when underway, were stowed upside down with a tarp over top? 

Thanks! I do try to come up with good ideas! <Grin> At first I put very little detail on my boats, but as my skills improved I just HAD to add more and more as I went along. It is true that sometimes the boats are upside down on chocks or stands, but not always. When I have covered boats on davits and such I do not add all the detail to the inside, I just cover the top with more whetted paper to make as close a simulation as I can of a tarp cover.

Anchor's A Weigh!

John Fox III

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Greetings All,

As the paper hull work continues I've made up a keel piece that includes the slot for the drop keel. It was assembled from pieces of 1/32" thick maple veneer that was hand sanded down to 0.020" thick, then glued together as shown. The cutout to match the keel area of the paper hull was then made, and the keel glued to the paper hull itself. Additionally I added a 1/16" thick cedar stern face to the back of the paper hull, it is intentionally made thicker than needed, and will be sanded down to 1/16" later in the work. I then took the same maple veneer sanded down to 0.012"-0.015" thick and cut it into 1/32" wide strips. These were then glued to the hull, starting with two planks at the top of bulwarks and two along the keel, to both sides of the hull. I used cyanoacrylate glue to glue each plank to the paper and the next plank added. I then added two more to each location, and repeated until the hull was completely planked over. At this point the planks are not even and smooth, slight variations in their thickness, so I then sanded the planking even and smooth. I should mention that this planking method is not "normal" in it's method, my only intention was to strengthen the paper hull.

Anchor's A Weigh!

John Fox III

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Paper hull 020.jpg

Paper hull 021.jpg

Paper hull 024.jpg

Paper hull 025.jpg

Paper hull 028.jpg

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