Dempsey Woodworking



Van Vliet Homepage

Van Vliet World


Flora & Fauna

Site Search

top prev next bottom Bluenose/Bluenose II Schooner - 225¼ hours - Can$ 11.50 - Advanced

This project is just in the early stages, and this web page is still being build.

The time and cost is for the actual building of the Bluenose model. The cost of drawings and books, and the reading/studying of those is not included here.

This web page is NOT a complete instruction manual for building a Bluenose model. There are other sources that do a much better job (see References). I just pulled together information from different source for my use to build the ship with keel, frames, stanchions and some internal compartments like it was done with the real Bluenose/Bluenose II.

In Oct-2017 I started reading and doing research, and in Dec-2017 I made more concrete plans. Made the baseboard and slip on 10-Jan-2018, and then came to the conclusion that I needed to order dimensioned basswood. I was not happy the way my version of the frame sections turned out. Then on 1-Feb-2018 I happen to find the modeling instructions by Gene Bodnar based on the blueprints from P.F. Eisnor. It is exactly what I had in mind of modeling, and NOW I was ready to begin the actual modeling as of 1-Feb-2018.

Before starting with the project it is important to give a summary of the history of the Bluenose and Bluenose II. It will also illustrate the decisions on scope and scale of the project.

Bluenose History

Bluenose was a fishing and racing schooner. She was designed by William J. Roué of Halifax, and built at the shipyard of Richard W. Smith & George A. Rhuland in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. The building was overseen by shipwright John Rhuland. The Bluenose was launched on March 26th, 1921.

Fishing was done over the banks in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nova Scotia. The Bluenose was a fine fishing schooner, holding the record for largest single catch ever landed in Lunenburg. However, what made her famous was as a racer for the International Fishermen's Trophy. Under her skipper, Captain Angus J. Walters, she won undying fame for Nova Scotia and Canada. During World War II she entered the West Indies trade, where her life ended when she broke her back on a coral reef off the coast of Haiti in January 1946.

Nova Scotians are called Bluenosers, and that is where the schooner got its name.

Bluenose 1/4"=1' Scale Model Ship Plans (Eisnor Blueprints)

Philip F. Eisnor's model ship blueprints (7 sheets) of the Bluenose Schooner may be perhaps the most accurate representation of the Bluenose as she was in 1921 when she was launched and ready for the fishing grounds. Eisnor spent many years in researching this project. Much of his time was spent in the Nova Scotia archives and talking with people in the Lunenburg area who sailed on the Bluenose along with some of the shipbuilders who were responsible for building her.

sheet, drawing, date titlescalecomments
sheet 1, SC-020, May 1990 Hull Lines1/4"=1'
sheet 2, SC-020-1, May 1990General Arrangement1/4"=1'
sheet 3, SC-020-2, May 1990Inside Bullwarks & Profile Deck
sheet 4, SC-020-3, May 1990Masting Details1/4"=1'
sheet 5, SC-020-4, May 1990Rigging & Sail Plan1/8"=1'
sheet 6, SC-020-5, Mar 2007Hull Framing1/4"=1'Copy of Jenson page 38?
sheet 7, SC-020-6, Mar 2007Hull Frames1/4"=1'Copy of Jenson pages 38, 40 & 41?

PLUS -- The scale 1/4"=1' (1:48) drawings result in a nice size model of 44"/112cm long (hull plus projections), 6-3/4"/17cm wide and 35-1/2"/90cm high (keel to top of main mast). Drawing measurements taken from the drawing in inch or cm can be used straightaway to measure the model wood. Except the Rigging & Sail Plan (sheet 5) where measurements have to be multiplied by 2.

MINUS -- The drawings have no written measurements on it. It would be nice to be able to compare a taken measurement against the written measurement. Drawings do have errors sometimes!

Bluenose II History

Bluenose II was launched at Lunenburg on July 24th 1963, built to original plans and by some of the same workers at Smith and Rhuland. Shipwright John Rhuland oversaw the building of the Bluenose II. The original captain of Bluenose, Angus J. Walters, was consulted on the replica's design. The replica was built for Oland Brewery for roughly Can$300,000 (1963 Canadian dollars) as a marketing tool for their Schooner Lager beer brand. The Bluenose II was the last living example of the great two-masted schooners, and a perfect sailing replica of the original Bluenose.

On September 7th, 1971, the Bluenose II was sold to the goverment of Nova Scotia for the sum of Can$1.00. After several years the province gave possession of the ship to the "Bluenose II Preservation Trust". The trust's mandate was to restore the aging schooner to full operational status and continue to operate her for the people of Nova Scotia. In 1994-95 the ship had its first restoration, but only a small amount of the Can$2.3 million allocated for the schooner have been used for restoration works. It was a well known scandal. The trust maintained and operated Bluenose II until March 31st, 2005, when the government of Nova Scotia placed the vessel under the management of the Lunenburg Marine Museum Society at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic.

In July 2010, the Nova Scotia government awarded a Can$12.5 million contract for the restoration of Bluenose II to a consortium of three Nova Scotia shipyards. When the ship was finally relaunched on September 6th, 2013, after major delays, the final retro fit cost was closer to Can$ 16 million for the Nova Scotian Government alone.

This restoration was not without controversy because sources stated the restoration was not intended to create an authentic replica of the original Bluenose and that the builders would not be using the plans. The original schooner was largely scrapped and the schooner was built from keel up with new materials. Some equipment and sections of the old schooner were retained, but the schooner is essentially a new vessel. This has led Joan Roué, a descendant of the original Bluenose's designer William J. Roué and current rights-holder of the design, to question whether this should even be considered the same ship.

In the summer of 2016, Bluenose II renovations were finally completed, and it serves now as a tourist vessel.

Bluenose II, Measured Drawings (Jenson Book)

During the years that the Oland family sailed and operated the Bluenose II, after building her in 1963 for the people of Nova Scotia and Canada, they got often questions about her dimensions, hull, sail plan and rigging. In 1970 Don J. Oland approached the noted marine artist and historic illustrator, Commander L.B. Jenson, RCN (Ret'd) and asked him if he would undertake the task of producing the meausred drawings while the Bluenose II was still a fully rigged and working schooner. After 3½ years Jenson's work was completed and resulted in the limited edition (1,000 copies) of "Bluenose II, The Last of the Tall Schooners, measured drawings", by L. B. Jenson, 1975, Open Library OL18833343M, 32 pages.

Mr. Jenson's interest was developed and he wanted to do much more; how the Bluenose II wooden schooner was constructed, the terminology used, the evolution of the development of the schooner under sail until the diesel engines took over, and he wanted to record how the fishing trade was carried out during the days of sail. For the bigger project Mr Jenson and Mr. Oland formed a partnership which resulted in the book "Bluenose II, Saga of the Great Fishing Schooners, measured drawings", by L. B. Jenson, 1994, ISBN 1-55109-063-5. 140 pages.

PLUS -- Great place to read up on the history of Bluenose, Bluenose II, and fishery schooners in general. Superb detailed drawings that are very useful to complete the model with realism and finesse.

MINUS -- The measured drawings in Appendix I are nice, but have several disadvantages too.

The measurements are in real life feet and need to be converted into scale model measurements. NOTE: feet divided by 4 gives the model measurement in inches (scale 1:48). Several measurements are blurred and simply not readable, even under a well lit magnifying glass.

The drawings have an ackward scale of 1"=6.9...'. And each page has a slightly different scale too; even the horizontal and verticals scales are not the same. Most likely caused by the printing process.

Due to the size of the pages each measured drawing (Appendix I) is split over two pages with an overlap on each page. For example, there is no way to measure the total length of the hull in one go; not that I wanted to do that with the dynamic ackward scale.

DO NOT TRUST ANY DRAWINGS -- To illustrate that you should not trust any drawings, especially in books, just read this.

I wanted to copy the buttocks profiles on page 114 in the model scale size. The vertical "buttocks out" lines are 12' on port side and 12' starboard side which is 24' total, and measures 3.45" in the book. So that needed to be enlarge to 6.0". 6.0 / 3.45 = 1.74, so I had to enlarge that drawing part to 174%.

The main breadth is 27' or 6.75" in model scale. I measured the main breath at the 18' water level and that was 4". 6.75 / 4.0 = 1.69" so I had to enlarge that drawing part to 169%. WHAT IS WRONG IN THE DRAWING, the vertical buttock out lines or the buttock profiles??? We will never know.

Finally I measured the vertical 24' waterline and it was 3.5". So that needed to be enlarge to 6.0". 6.0 / 3.5 = 1.714, so I had to enlarge that drawing part to 171%; a significant difference with horizontal enlargement requirements of 174% and 169%.

Hence different horizontal and vertical scales, and a possible drawing error. Therefore taking direct measurements or copies from these drawings is useless!!!

Bluenose II versus Bluenose, Real Life versus Model Measurements

Just some real life measurements from L.B. Jenson's book (page 17 and specs) and P.F. Eisnor's blueprints model measurements. Other measurements are calculated to allow apples-to-apples comparisons.

BLUENOSE II, L.B.Jenson bookBLUENOSE, P.F.Eisnor blueprints

life size
life size
Main Sail 4,100 sqft 256 sqin 1,652 cm²
Fisherman's Staysail 1,900 sqft 119 sqin 768 cm²
Fore Sail 1,480 sqft 93 sqin 600 cm²
Jib Topsail 1,160 sqft 73 sqin 471 cm ²
Total Area of 8 Sails 11,690 sqft 731 sqin 4,716 cm²
Hull Dimensions
Overall length of Hull 143' 35-3/4" 90.8 cm 143' 35-3/4" 90.8 cm
Bowsprit, total length 34' 8-1/2" 21.6 cm 41' 10-1/4" 26 cm
Bowsprit, projection 17' 6" 4-3/8" 11.1 cm 17' 6" 4-3/8" 11.1 cm
Main breadth to outside of planks (beam) 27' 6-3/4" 17.1 cm 27' 6-3/4" 17.1 cm
Load draught 16' 6" 4-1/8" 10.5 cm 15' 10" 3-15/16"10.1 cm
Height from base line to top of bow 29' 8" 7-5/16" 18.6 cm 28' 7" 17.8 cm
Height from base line to lowest rail point 22' 10" 5-9/16" 14.2 cm 21' 1/2"5-3/8" 13.7 cm
Height from base line to top of stern 24' 6" 15.2 cm 23' 6" 5-7/8" 14.9 cm
Overall length of ship (hull + projections)177' 11" 44-1/2" 113 cm 176' 44" 112 cm
Mast Dimensions
Mainmast, diameter at step 22" 7/16" 1.2 cm 22" 7/16" 1.2 cm
Mainmast, heel to head 96' 2" 24-1/16"61.1 cm 94' 23-1/2" 59.7 cm
Main Topmast 52' 5" 13-1/8" 33.5 cm 53' 6" 13-3/8" 34 cm
Main boom, length 80' 11" 20-1/4" 51.5 cm 81' 20-1/4" 51.4 cm
Main boom, projection 17' 5" 4-3/8" 11.1 cm 15' 6" 3-7/8" 9.8 cm
Main gaff (early Bluenose 46') 52' 5" 13-1/8" 33.5 51' 12-3/4" 32.4 cm
Height from deck to truck of main topmast 121' 6" 30-3/8" 77 cm 120' 6" 30-1/8" 76.5 cm
Height from base line to deck at mainmast 20' 6" 5-1/8" 13 cm 21' 3" 5-5/16" 13.5 cm
Overall height of ship at mainmast 142' 35-1/2" 90 cm 141' 9" 35-7/16" 90 cm
Foremast, diameter at step 20" 7/16" 1.1 cm 20" 7/16" 1.1 cm
Foremast, heel to head 82' 2" 20-9/16"52.2 cm 83' 3" 20-13/16"52.9 cm
Fore Topmast 50' 3" 12-9/16"31.9 cm 48' 6" 12-1/8" 30.8 cm
Fore boom 32' 10" 8-3/16" 20.8 cm 32' 6" 8-1/8" 20.6 cm
Fore gaff 33' 2" 8-5/16" 21.1 cm 32' 6" 8-1/8" 20.6 cm
Height from deck to truck of fore topmast 108' 27" 68.6 cm 107' 6" 26-7/8" 68.3 cm
Height from base line to deck at foremast 21' 6" 5-3/8" 13.7 cm 23' 5-3/4" 14.6 cm
Overall height of ship at fore mast 129' 6" 32-3/4" 83.2 cm 130' 6" 32-5/8" 82.9 cm
Stern to centre mainmast (Bluenose sheets 2 & 3) 64' 6" 16-1/8" 41.1 cm 66' 3" 16-9/16" 42.1 cm
Stern to breakbeam between quarter and main decks 70' 5" 17-5/8" 44.7 cm 71' 17-3/4" 45.1 cm
Stern to centre foremast (Bluenose sheets 2 & 3) 99' 9" 24-15/16" 63.3 cm 102' 25-1/2" 64.8 cm
Displacement Tonnage 285 tons
Net Register Tonnage 96.48 tons
Engines & Generators
Engines, 180 hp Caterpillar Diesel (2)
Feathering Propellers (2)
Generator, 75 KW Caterpillar Diesel (1)
Generator, 50 KW Caterpillar Diesel (1)
All sails, wind 90 mph, max logged, unofficial21 knots
All sails, wind 55 mph, max logged, official 18 knots
Under power, max logged 9 knots
Master (1)
First Officer (1)
Chief Engineer (1)
Boatswain (1)
Cook (1)
Seamen (7)
Messboy (1)
Total crew (13)
Passenger capacity (10) (0)

Add percentage difference. As we are building the Bluenose we those measurements as given.

SAYING -- IGNORANCE IS BLISS. The real difficulty starts where multiple sources on the same subject/project give different information.

The measurements of the Bluenose and Bluenose II are supposed to be the same, or very close, but they are not. There are differences of up to 2 feet or 1/2" in scale measurements.

The Eisnor blueprint state that the overall hull length is 143' which should be 35-3/4" in scale measurement. I measured the hull lengths on all drawings and the maximum length I measured is 35-3/8", i.e. 1'6" shorter in real life size. I doubt that the blueprints has shrunk that much.

Bluenose or Bluenose II, comparison, discussion, modeling plan

I bought L.B. Jenson's book in 2010, and put it away after a quick scan for a future project. I picked it up again this year (2017) and read it from cover to cover, and I was hooked.

The only difference of the Bluenose II from the original Bluenose are in (tourist) accommodations & stowage and the addition of modern navigation devices and safety equipment required for sea-going certification including carrying tourists.

MY STARTING POINT -- Initially I wanted to build the Bluenose II in a scale of 1cm = 1foot (scale 1:30), because I wanted to model the whole interior too and needed the space to do that; basically true replica inside and outside of the Bluenose/ Bluenose II. The deck would be removeable otherwise what is the point, right. I want to build the model from scratch.

SCALE -- The scale of 1cm=1' (1:30) would result in a model of about 70" (197cm) long and 57" (144cm) height. We have a big house, but I would need a boathouse to display it. 1/4"=1' (1:48) is typically the largest size used in ship modeling, so that is what I will use.

MODELING THE INTERIOR -- Since I wanted to model the full rigging, including the sails, making the deck removable would be a challenge. The deck would be in sections and joints are bound to take away from the beauty of the ship. I will satisfy myself by making some top structures removable and allowing a peek inside instead.

KIT OR SCRATCH BUILD -- I built models of the Cutty Sark in 1990 and the Blue Shadow in 2003, both from a kit using planks on frames. I feel that I have the skills to build from scratch. And of course it will be planks on frame construction. If need be, I found online stores where I can buy modeling material.

RAKE OF MASTS -- Studying the drawings I noticed that the masts are either drawn perpendicular to the keel (3° rake) or perpendicular to the base line (0° rake). The actual rake is determined by the master of the ship. So I figure that the rake of the masts on the model can be anywhere between 0° and 3°

POSITION OF MASTS -- The Eisnor blueprints has a discrepancy in the position of the mast. Sheets 2 and 3 show the centres of the mainmast and foremast at about 16-1/2" and 25-1/2" from the stern, while Jenson's book and Eisnor sheet 6 show them at about 16" and 25". Tough decision, but considering that the Bluenose specs (Jenson, page 18) specifies "Deck to overlap for four feet ahead of mast" make the mast position of sheet 2 and 3 more appropriate.

RABBIT IN KEEL -- That is where the hull planking meets the keel. Eisnor sheet 6 and Jenson pages 23, 38 and 39 show the rabbit in the second keel. Eisnor sheet 7 and Jenson pages 40 an 42 show the rabbit in the first keel. Will make the decision at a later point in time.

BLUENOSE OR BLUENOSE II -- I have no choice but to use Eisnor's Bluenose blueprints. So I am modeling the Bluenose, but I will augment those with the details from Jenson's book.

MODELING PLAN -- I will use the Eisnor blueprints and the Bodnar modeling instructions. That combination is exactly what I intend to achieve. In addition I will use Jenson's book to view modeling details, and the modeling tips and tricks from Hubert Sicard's website Wooden Ship Modeling for Dummies (see References).

top prev next bottom Pictures

Click on a thumbnail to get a larger picture and then used the back button of the browser to return.

Bluenose II book
1: Bluenose II, Saga of the Great Fishing Schooners, measured drawings, by L. B. Jenson, 1994, ISBN 1-55109-063-5, 140 pages.
Bluenose blueprints
2: Bluenose Model Ship Plans, scale1/4"=1', by P.F. Eisnor, 7 sheets, Can$85.00 plus S&H.
Bluenose Practicum
3: Bluenose Practicum by Gene Bodnar, PDF, 14 MB, 138 pages
Blank section template
4: Blank framing grid sheet (PDF) Print full size
Frame Spacing Table
5: Frame Spacing Table (PDF)
Base and slip
6: Base and slip
Framing jigs in place (stern to bow)
7: Framing jigs in place (stern to bow)
Framing jigs in place (starboard to port)
8: Framing jigs in place (starboard to port)
Keel Assembly
9: Keel Assembly
Frame OX in place
10: Centre frame OX in place of framing jig
General hobby corner setup
11: General hobby corner setup. Having everything close together saves lots of time.
Fore site of frame glued together
12: Fore site of frame glued together. Using a seringe to apply glue to the tiny surfaces is a must!
Using lightbox to verify lofted frame fits on wood
13: Using lightbox to verify lofted frame fits on wood
Aft and fore of frame glued and clamped
14: Aft and fore of frame glued and clamped
Frames 9, OX, M and U in place
15: Frames 9, OX, M and U in place
Template cemented to frame. Note the squares cut out on the left and right top.
16: Template cemented to frame. Note the squares cut out on the left and right top.
All aft square frames installed
17: All aft square frames installed
All 31 square frames installed
18: All 31 square frames installed, viewed from aft to fore
All 31 square frames installed
19: All 31 square frames installed, viewed from fore to aft
Toothpicks L:9.5cm, T:2.0mm, and draw plate
20: Toothpicks L:9.5cm, T:2.0mm, and draw plate
Keelson with dowels in every other square frame
21: Keelson with dowels in every other square frame
View front half frames
22: View front half frames (imperfections will be corrected later)
Last front half frame glued in place
23: Last front half frame glued in place
Part of jig removed so that deck clamps can be glued in place
24: Part of jig removed so that deck clamps can be glued in place
Deck clamps extended to the front
25: Deck clamps extended to the front
Half frames installed aft
26: Half frames installed aft
Horn timber and half frames installed
27: Horn timber and half frames installed
Deck clamps extended aft
28: Deck clamps extended aft
Ship lifted out of jig
29: Ship lifted out of jig
Rear view of hull
30: Rear view of hull
Frames patched and sanded
31: Frames patched and sanded
Frames patched and sanded
32: Frames patched and sanded
Frames patched and sanded
33: Frames patched and sanded
Frames patched and sanded
34: Frames patched and sanded
Lower deck beams aft
35: Lower deck beams aft
Lower deck beams front
36: Lower deck beams front
37: Bow
38: Transom
Spacers and sanding tool
39: Spacers and sanding tool
Stanchions trimmed
40: Stanchions trimmed
Jig to mark depth stanchion top
41: Jig to mark depth stanchion top
Stanchions top trimmed
42: Stanchions top trimmed
Stanchions top trimmed
43: Stanchions top trimmed
Main beam for openings
44: Main beam for openings
Openings finished
45: Openings finished
Remaining deck beams finished
46: Remaining deck beams finished
Carlings completed, mast partners done
47: Carlings completed, mast partners done
Straker with the location of the stanchions cut out
48: Straker with the location of the stanchions cut out
Straker dry-fitted
49: Straker dry-fitted
Comparing my finger with a deck plank
50: Comparing my finger with a deck plank
Start deck planking in the centre
51: Start deck planking in the centre
Deck planking glued and clamped with baby clothespins
52: Deck planking glued and clamped with baby clothespins
Deck planking completed for about a third
53: Deck planking completed for about a third

top prev next bottom Plans, Drawings, Sketches, and other Decisions

top prev next bottom Materials List

Material size conversion for the main timbers.

??? This table needed ???

qtdescriptionlife size
thck, wdth
scale size
thck, wdth
colour, suggested material, comments
3Keel 1st, 2nd, 3rd 12"x12" 1/4"x1/4" 24"
1Keel Shoe 3"x12" 1/16"x1/4" 24"
2Keelson Main 12"x12" 1/4"x1/4" 24"
4Keelson Sister 8"x8" 5/32"x5/32" 24"
4Keelson Rider 6"x6" 1/8"x1/8" 24"
2Keelson Rider Cover 3"x12" 1/16"x1/4" 24"
57Frames & Cant Frames8"x8"5/32"x5/32"
57Stanchions 8"x8" 5/32"x5/32" 3"
2Stem 10"x10" 7/32"x7/32" 24"
2Stern Post 10"x10" 7/32"x7/32" 6"
1Deadwoods 10"x10" 7/32"x7/32" 24"
2Horn Timber 10"x10" 7/32"x7/32" 12"
2Spiders 10"x10" 7/32"x7/32" 9"
8Stringers 5"x8" 3/32"x5/32" 36"
4Clamps, first 2 5"x10" 3/32"x7/32" 36"
2Clamps, third 4"x8" 3/32"x5/32" 36"
6Shelf 8"x8" 5/32"x5/32" 36"
38Beams 9"x10" 3/16"x7/32" 6"
38Floor Timbers 8"x8" 5/32"x5/32" 6"
38Floor/partition cover 1/16" plywood
4Carlings 8"x8" 5/32"x5/32" 36"
24Ceiling 3"x4" 1/16"x3/32" 36"
3Knees 5"x5" 3/32"x3/32" 24"
2Hanging knees 8"x8" 5/32"x5/32" 24"
2Break Beam 10"x10" 7/32"x7/32" 8"
1Deck base 1/16" plywood
70Deck Planks 3"x4-3/4"1/16"x1/8" 24"
2Waterways, margins 3"x18" 1/16"x3/8" 4"x24"
24Hull Garboards 3-1/2"x6"1/16"x3/16" 24"
130Hull Planking 3-1/2"x6"1/16"x1/8" 24"
4Bullwarks, scruppers3"x3" 1/16"X1/16" 24"
4Bullwarks 3"x3-3/4"1/16"X1/8" 24"
6Bullwarks 3"x6" 1/16"X3/16" 24"
2Rails 3"x10" 1/16"X7/32" 4"x24"
??Knight Heads 8"x8" 5/32"x5/32" count!
??Pointers 6"x6" 1/8"x1/8" at keelson
??Spring Line Bitts 8"X8" 5/32"x5/32"
??Bulkheads 4"x4" 3/32"X3/32" end of holds

Material size conversion for the blocks, deadeyes, belaying pins and ropes.

real size 13"12"10"9"8"7"6"5½"
scale size " 0.271 0.250 0.208 0.188 0.167 0.146 0.125 0.115
scale size mm7 6 5 5 4 4 3 3
single blocks6 3 11 5 17168
double blocks5 4 1 1 7 6
triple blocks1 1
deadeyes 32 8
real size 3-1/4"2-1/2"2"1-1/4"1-1/8"1"3/4"
scale size " 0.068 0.052 0.042 0.026 0.023 0.021 0.016
scale size mm1.7 1.3 1.1 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4

blocks: 5.0, 4.5, 4.0, 3.5, 2.5 mm
deadeyes: 5.0 , 3.5 mm round; 5.0 triangle
belaying pins: 10 mm
ropes: 1.3, 0.75, 0.5, 0.25 mm

Raw Material

Approximate list of raw material bought for this project. Where possible I use leftover material from previous projects too; those are not listed here such as for base board and framing jigs.

NOTE: Dimensions like [12"] signifies the O-Scale (1:48) of the real life size of 12"; that is 1/4" model size.

quantitydescriptionthickness x width x lengthusage
24basswood strip[12"] x [12"] x 16"keel
20basswood sheet1/8" x 4" x 24"frames, stanchions

top prev next bottom Required Tools

top prev next bottom Construction

We will follow the Bodnar Bluenose Practicum (construction guide).
Deviations we made will be highlighted in this text.

It is critical that you are working as accurate as you possibly can -- up to the point of paranoia -- as base board, framing jigs, keel and frames are the basis of a perfect model.

Our headings follow the headings of Bodnar's Bluenose Practicum.

1-Feb-2018 to 3-Mar-2018 -- For all intents and purposes the actual start of the modeling.

25-Mar-2019 to May-2019 -- Project is resumed after my wife passed away on 27-Nov-2018.

25-Jan-2020 to Apr-2020 -- Project continuation.

Oct-2020 to Apr-2021 -- Project continuation.

Sep-2021 to ??? -- Project continuation.

To give an idea of the required construction and finishing time:

Activity hours
Framing jigs & slip 19¾
Lofting & building keel 23½
Lofting & building square and cant frames 99¼
Deck clamps & shelves, trim stanchions, bow, transom, lower & main deck beams, openings, carlings 52½
Nibbing strakes & deck planking 27¼
Exterior planking & rails
Deckhouses & fittings
Masts, rigging, sails
Total time 225¼

The project was considered completed on ???.

Ongoing Notes

Random notes as I find information.

Lofting Frames (Bodnar, page 15)

Draw the 57 frames onto Eisnor sheet 1. picture 5 gives you access to a PDF table with frame spacing. We used a 12" metal ruler. Place that one on the drawing and don't move it until you have marked all frames along the ruler. In that way your marking errors are minimized. I coloured the centre frame green, every 5th frame orange and the rest of the frames yellow as Bodnar recommended. It helps you to avoid mistakes!

The Framing Grid Sheet at the end of Bodnar's Practicum is no good, so we made our own. Go to picture 4, click on it and you get the PDF file of the grid that you need to print true size. Check the measurements to ensure that all sizes are correct. Use this template to loft the square frames. We did one square frame by hand to learn how to do it, and then did all the others with our DesignCAD 3D MAX program.

Bodnar, page 18 -- "Now mark the bottom edge of the keel on your grid, which is found by placing the dividers on the Hull Profile Plan at the baseline at the Midship Frame and extending the dividers open to the bottom of the keel."
"bottom of the keel" is not correct. It should be top of keel or bottom of frame because the square frames rest on the keel!

Lofting the Building Board Plan (Bodnar, page 24)

Slip -- From absolute flat furniture quality 3/4" plywood (multiplex) cut a board of 18"x38"; i.e. the base board. Lengthwise draw the centre line on it. Draw a crosswise line at 17" from the stern end which we will call the "centre line". Draw more crosswise section lines at 2-1/4" intervals starting at the centre line.

Our base board is bigger than Bodnar's 8"x36". We did that because it allows us better use of squares so that we can position the Framing Jigs later.

Next take a piece of scrapwood 18-1/2" long, 1" wide, and taper it at 3° where the stern end is 1/4" thick; the actual slip piece. Cut a 1/4" wide slot in the centre of the top, and 3/16" deep. Mark the centre at 9-1/4". Finally glue and nail the slip piece on the centre lines of the base board (picture 6).

Whole idea is to build the keel in the slip slot to get the correct angle and to be able to place the cross sections (frames) at the right location and height above the baseboard.

Lofting the Framing Jigs and Assembling Them (Bodnar, page 26)

The Main Framing Jig is 8"x36". The Stern Secondary Framing jig is 8"x7-5/8" as from the aft side of frame 16 and the Bow Secondary Framing Jig is 8"x11-9/16" as from the fore side of frame Q. We used 1/4" furniture quality birch plywood. For the rest follow Bodnar's instructions. Make sure that the a top of the Main Framing Jig is at Load Water Level (LWL), i.e. 9.75 cm above the base board! See pictures 7 and 8.

The size of the Secondary Framing Jigs are different from Bodnar's. The stern one is definitely wrong!

Lofting the Keel Assembly (Bodnar, page 22)

Followed the instructions.

Building the Keel Assembly and Installing in the Framing Jig (Bodnar, page 29)

Followed the instructions. See picture 9.

The Veritas standard wheel marking gauge is very handy to mark the slot depth on the edge of the keel assembly where the half frames come.

Building the Square Frames (Bodnar, page 34)

Followed the instructions. As the frames will not be visible I did not do the trenailing; a huge time saver. However, I did pin the frames to the keel as the contact surface is so small. See pictures 10 to 19.

Cutting strips from 1/8" boards is easy when you use the Veritas Standard Wheel Marking Gauge from Lee Valley to score and then use a utility knife to cut through.

To make a square frame takes approximately 90 minutes of work and a minimum of 120 minutes of glue drying, once you get the hang of it.

I started with square frames OX, 9, M and U. I couldn't get frame U fitted properly, and had to inverstigate what had gone wrong.

It turned out that I made the Framing Jig based on WL-4, which is correct.

When lofting the U frame, like all the other frames, you have many more points of course. When you start curve fitting it becomes obvious that not all points fit on the smooth curve. Blueprint sheet #1 has the Starboard Hull Profile where the waterlines WL-1 to WL-6 are supposed to be at 6.00, 7.25, 8.50, 9.75, 11.00 and 12.25 cm from the reference line. The Halfbreadth Plan has the buttock lines BL-1 to BL-3 which are supposed to be at 2.5, 5.0 and 7.5 cm from the centre line. Go to your blueprint sheet #1, check those measurements and you will find that the blueprint is not accurate at all with errors up to 1.5 mm !!!!!

Lines are 0.5 mm wide, so measure from centre of line to centre of line; that is the best you can do. Secondly, make sure to incorprate the WL-4 points in the curve fitting and adjust the other points accordingly. Finally, in my experience, if points BL-1, BL-2 and/or BL-3 do not fit the curve fitting them leave them out.

It took me several square frames before I got in the rhythm. Each frame consists of two layers, and aft layer that goes up to under the deck and fore layer that reaches higher up to under the rail. Both layers should be made a bit higher for later trimming.

The fore layer consist of a floor timber and 2nd, 4th and 6th futtocks on the left and right. The aft layer consists of the 1st, 3rd and 5th futtocks on the left and right. The glue joints of the fore and aft layers should NOT coincide. On the framing sheet custom fit the floor timber and the 2nd futtocks and then glue them together on a flat surface and let it dry. Do the same with the 1st futtocks. Next custom fit the 4th futtocks and glue, and the 3rd futtocks and glue. And finally add the 6th futtocks and the 5th futtocks which should be left a bit longer than needed. Lightly sand the inside surfaces of the two layers.

Take frame sheet and cut out the left top corner made by the outside of the stanchion (fore layer) and the under deck line. Do the same with the right top corner. Place the fore layer on your lightbox and position the frame sheet on top so that the frame fits the layer. Then trace the two cutout corners, i.e. the under deck, the outside stanchion and also the under rail. Take off the frame sheet and extend the traced lines. Do the same with the aft layer, i.e. the under deck and the outside stanchion. Obviously no under rail line.

Finally trim the excess above the under deck line from the aft layer. Glue the aft and fore layers together using the above markings to line them up properly. Clamp and let dry. After that use the scrollsaw to cut out the frame, etc.

Dowel Frames, Install Keelson and Deck Clamps (Bodnar, page 40)

I used 9.5cm toothpicks as dowels to attached every other square frame from 9 till U. Using a #49 drill bit and pull the toothpicks through the draw plate so that they fit loosely in the #49 hole. Add a bit of glue to the end of a toothpick, put in the hole and cut excess off with nail clipper. See picture 20.

Custom fit the keelson and dowel it to every other frame from 8 to S. See picture 21.

Note that I cut some corners here with this never ending project, by using only one dowel per square frame.

Follow the instructions for the deck clamps. The top of front part of the square frames signifies the bottom of the main deck, and the deck clamps should be 1/8" below that, because the main deck beams are 1/8" at the ends.

Building the Half Frames at the Bow (Bodnar, page 47)

Followed the instructions. Basically the same as for the square frames. Frames V to DD. Once ready to custom fit the half frames in the jig and against the keel slots split the frame in the middle by cutting away 1/16". Once done add the deck clamps. See pictures 22 to 25.

Building the Half Frames at the Stern (Bodnar, page 49)

Followed the instructions. Basically the same as for the square frames. Frames 10 to 20. Once ready to custom fit the half frames in the jig and against the keel slots split the frame in the middle by cutting away 1/16". See picture 26.

Building the Half Frames attached to the Horn Timber/Spider Legs (Bodnar, page 49)

Followed the instructions. Basically the same as for the square frames. Frames 21 to 25. Once ready to custom fit the half frames in the jig and against the Timeber Horn split the frame in the middle by cutting away as much as you need. Once done add the deck clamps. See pictures 27 and 28.

Sanding the exterior of the frames (Bodnar, page 44)

I decided to wait until all frames were installed and with the deck clamps in place for extra strength before lifting the hull out of the jig and sanding the exterior of the frames. It also revealed my sloppy work I did on the frames. Using a wood rasp I smoothed the frame parts that stuck out. Next I glued small 1/4" wide and 1/16" thick pieces of wood at the shallow spot on the frames. Repeat the sanding, etc. See pictures 29 and 34.

Mind you, I didn't care very much about the interior of the frames. Unlike Bodnar I have no intension to leave part of the hull visible for inspection of the interior.

Deck Shelf, Mast Steps, Sister Keelsons (Bodnar, page 53)

Followed the instructions.

Lower Deck Beams (Bodnar, page 54)

Followed the instructions. See pictures 35 and 36.

Bodnar stated that the deck camber template is slightly more than 1/8" in the center. Very difficult to sand a perfect arch. I calculated the arch has a radius of 40-9/16". Works like a charm.

Finished Bow, Transome (Bodnar, page 61), Trim Tranchions

For the bow build-up filler pieces for both sides the keel. Then shape them using the shape of the front frames. See pictures 37.

For the Transom follow the instructions. See pictures 38.

At this point I marked the height of the stanchions. In my case being 9.9mm and 15.4mm above the deck clamps/self, i.e. 6.7mm and 12.2mm above the deck, plus 3.2mm for 1/16" deck amd 1/16" tapered main deck beams. I trimmed the height of the stanchion. Followed but a final outside sanding. See pictures 39 and 40.

Next I made a jig to mark the top depth (1/8")of the stanchions. See pictures 41. Then I tapered the stanchions from the top to the outside edge of the deck clamps.

Main Deck Beams, Openings, Carlings (Bodnar, page 58-61)

Basically following the instructions. Due to difficulty obtaining the correct size wood I used the best size I had. See pictures 44 and 47.

While locating the deck openings using sheets 2 and 3 I had an unpleasant surprise. I didn't have enough space between frame C and the fore mast, so I moved the fore mast step from between frame O and P to frame P.

Mast Partners (Bodnar, page 62)

Followed the instructions. See picture 47.

Nibbing Strakes (Bodnar, page 63)

Followed the instructions. See pictures 48 and 49.

I made the strakes wide enough to cover the area between the stanchion also. Transferred the location of the stanchions onto the strakes and cut out the slots for the stanchions. Secondly, I did not do the nibbing as I felt that it would very difficult to have a deck plank fit into the nibbing. Instead I glued the strakes in place. When doing the deck planking I would cut away the nibbing as needed for that particular deck plank.

Deck Planking (Bodnar, page 64)

Followed the instructions. See pictures 50 to 53.

I cut the deck planks from 1/16" thick 12" by 4" sheets. Deck planks are suppose to be not longer than 4". I soon discover that gluing deck planks up to 12" is much easier. After the glue is dry use a knife to mark where the butt joins should and darken the groove.

What went wrong



top prev next bottom References


  1. Bluenose II, Nova Scotia's Sailing Ambassador, Store, Books -- Go to Store and Books for the book "Bluenose II, Saga of the Great Fishing Schooners, measured drawings", by L. B. Jenson, 1994, ISBN 1-55109-063-5. 140 pages, Can$19.99 plus S&H (picture 1).
  2. Model Ship Builder, Eisner Blueprints (1:48) -- Blueprints, scale 1/4"=1', by P.F. Eisnor, 7 sheets, Can$85.00 plus S&H. (picture 2).
    Alternatively got to Bluenose, Nova Scotia's Sailing Ambassador, Store, Misc snd then go to Store and Misc for the same blueprints for Can$ 103.00 plus S&H.
  3. Model Ship Builder, Bodnar Bluenose Practicum -- Free download of the Bluenose Practicum by Gene Bodnar, PDF, 14 MB, 138 pages. The Bluenose Practicum was developed by modeler Gene Bodnar and outlines the process in detail of building a (museum quality) model of this famous schooner based on Philip Eisnors plans (picture 3).
  4. Model Ship Builder, Nautical Terms -- Nautical Terms for the Model Ship Builder.
  5. Wooden Ship Modeling for Dummies -- Lots of practical information, tips, forums, glossary of terms, useful links, pictures, videos, etc. A one time membership fee entitles you to free Bluenose ship plans and complete construction details, AND lots of modeling tips and tricks with pictures and videos.
  6. Fast Track, Mt. Albert Scale Lumber -- Supplies, among others, O-Scale lumber (Canadian).
  7. -- Supplies for wooden ships such as accessories (blocks, deadeyes, belaying pins) and building supplies (wood, tools).
  8. -- O-scale (1:48) basswood, both package and bulk in 12" and 24" lengths. Advantage is their perfect order list in real lumber sizes (feet).
  9. Micro-Mark, The Small Tools Specialist -- Supplies for wooden ships such as accessories (blocks, deadeyes, belaying pins) and building supplies (wood, tools).
  10. Model Tech Studios -- O-Scale (1:48) People and Figures.


This is just a sampling of links to Bluenose and Bluenose II, but they may get you started.

Bluenose & Bluenose II -- Bluenose & Bluenose II summary

Bluenosers -- Why are Nova Scotians called Bluenosers?

Bluenose fishing and racing schooner -- Bluenose history

Bluenose, Grand Bank Schooner -- Bluenose in its glory days

The Canadians: Angus Walters -- Captain Angus J. Walters of the Bluenose

Bluenose resting place -- Bluenose's final resting place?

Bluenose II replica -- Bluenose II history

Bluenose II now -- Bluenose II, Nova Scotia's Sailing Ambassador

Bluenose II -- restoration videos 1 -- Bluenose II, 2009/2015 videos 1

Bluenose II -- restoration videos 2 -- Bluenose II, 2009/2015 videos 2

top prev

Homepage | Workshop | Safety Tips | Woodworking Tips | Copyright & Disclaimer | Other Web Sites | Apple Cider Press | Bench/table | Bluenose/Bluenose II | Blue Shadow | Cowboy Card Holder | Dutch Windmill | Garbage Bin | Garden Gate | Grandfather Clock | King-size Bed | Laundry Box | Monster Truck | Needlepoint Stand | Nightstand, Dresser | Roller Stand  | Roll Top Desk | Sjoelbak (shuffleboard) | Westcoast Sun Mask | Towel Hanger | Wine Rack | Winnie the Pooh

Updated: 11-Jan-2022 19:23 EST -- Copyright © 2003-2022 Pieter van Vliet. All rights reserved. (Remove "NoSpam" before sending)