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  1. #1
    dauntlessfan's Avatar
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    1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    I've been searching for a good (i.e. realistically easy) first scratch-build. What I may have settled on is a model of a Long Beach CA fireboat (attached pic). I got the plans on eBay, they are out of a magazine called Science and Mechanics, April 1955. Hull planking is very basic, and the cabin is not elaborate.

    The finished hull is 29" in the plans. I'd like to increase the size by 150% - making the hull 43.5". Is that asking for trouble?

    Of course I'd be thrilled to hear if anyone else has built this boat. But mostly I'm just hoping for a few good tips before I begin anything so I can avoid any common pitfalls in the beginner's scratch building world.

    For example the best tools to cut the bulkheads etc. (bandsaw, jigsaw, razor blade?). When to use balsa vs. ply?

    P.S. -- Oh my gosh radios have come a long way since 1955. The size of the transmitter in the article photo looks to be about the size of a Webster’s Dictionary (attached pic). And it looks like the receiver may have even used tubes?
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  2. #2

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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    I built one many many years ago with the help of my dad, who built one when he was young. The plans were also in Am. Aircraft Modeler or Am. Modeler, by Walt Musciano I believe. I'll post a picture of it for you ASAP. Looks like @rap now, it's been kicking around unloved for quite a few years now.
    Bigger is good (suprisingly small at 29") be be aware that ballast requirements go up exponentially with length!
    Transfer parts carefully, use birch ply and put it on a jig to plank it. Those sheets of ply can exert a lot of force. There is no balsa in mine except for a few details (the cabin visor, eg, is balsa trailing edge stock). Could plank it w/balsa I suppose, then FG the exterior for durability.
    The magazine article has only pix of af real LBHD Fireboat as they lost the prototype over a small dam on the shakedown cruise.
    Dave

  3. #3

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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    ennoxman1,
    Can you 'scale up' the plans? Yes. Depending on where you take them to be done, it'll probably be fairly easy and they will look 'close'. Not 'perfect', but close enough. The keel, formers, etc, would probably be best done with ply. Planking with whatever you are familiar with or like working with. With that size of boat, fibreglassing wouldn't be a bad idea either.
    As to what tools to use to do the cutting, what'cha got, or are used to using? A scroll saw would probably be easiest to use to make those 'curved' cuts. But, if you happen to have a band saw, and can cut 'curves' as 'tight' as those of the boat, why not? The 'best' tool is the one you are most familiar with that can do what you want to do. Sand paper by the ton, not sheet!
    Best 'tip' for scratch building? Do a lot of thinking before doing anything you can't 'un-do'! (Not just for scratch building, but for any building!)
    Radios in the 50's were nothing like what's available now. Tubes, 'on/off' pulse control, and lots of other things best not contemplated now - lol. The picture shows a fairly 'hi-tech' radio for the day. It has a handle!
    Have fun...
    - 'Doc

  4. #4
    martno1fan's Avatar
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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    id add that balsa in my view is the easiest wood to work with and a layer of very lite cloth and resin will give you a strong lite hull.its easy to cut using a sharp knife and bends easy if you soak it in hot water for tight bends then bend and pin and leave for a while it will keep its shape i find pretty well.its also cheap too i use thin cyano for the planks on my builds .heres another way to build a hull you may be interested in!![link]http://www.hrfsbo.com/fireboat/hull.htm[/link]
    Waveridermouldings,Manufacturer of quality race proven Hulls.

  5. #5
    Kmot's Avatar
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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    Where's Umi?
    ~Tom~

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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    Speaking of scratch building. I'm interested in scratch building a 1930's era cabin cruiser. I really like the design of those early yachts, particularly the ChrisCraft "Commuter" yachts. Anyone have any idea of where I can get plans, etc. to get started ???

    azcaptain
    AZcaptain

  7. #7

    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    I'm around...

    I cut frames and keels in my builds from plywood, and then typically sheet my hulls with 1/16"-1/8" thick balsa, and fiberglass them.

    A link to some classic boat plans
    http://www.svensons.com/boat/
    Maybe it's possible to find info on commuter yachts here.
    http://www.portcarlingboats.com/WoodenBoats.htm

    I popped in here, as I was interested in how close a "Long Beach Fireboat" might be to the profile of the Portland Fireboat. I am missing frames for the Portland Fireboat, so I haven't made an attempt on it. But the plans I have, came from what was on record at the Portland Fire Department offices.

    Here's a pic of the local fire boat in Portland, OR, and my rendition of the LA Fire boat 2(a work in progress).
    [8D]
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  8. #8
    dauntlessfan's Avatar
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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    Wow, thanks for the great advice, everyone! I'm excited about getting started.

    Umi, what sort of pump do you have installed to make the water spray so high/far? Impressive![X(]

  9. #9

    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    That's a customized pump that I cast. The original was bought surplus by a friend for his Salt water aquarium set up. But the pump didn't do what he wanted. So he gave me the pump housing. I cast up some duplicates, and he helped clean them up for o-rings and seals.

    One of the better high volume pumps I have seen, is a "small" RV fresh water supply pump. Most RV water pumps are 9" long and 5" in diameter. The small RV water pump is about the size of your fist.


    Here's a shot of two of my pump housings and how they are located in the boat.[8D]
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  10. #10

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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    Here is mine, please remember I was 15 when I built this, 30 years ago....
    I KNOW yours can look better than this!
    I converted my Dads old hull into a fishing trawler like the old Lindberg kit.
    (Yeah, I know, wrong kind of hull, but it was handy...)
    Dave
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  11. #11

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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    Well, I have begun a retrofit of this boat. Total refit is underway.
    I am posting because I stated earlier in this thread the plans were in
    AM or AAM, actually in MAN (Model Airplane News) early 1959.

    I realized my error when I came back to this post and tried to find
    the plans for reference in my magazine collection.

    Dauntlessfan, if you are out there, did you ever start yours?
    Dave

  12. #12

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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    Thinking about your fireboat................

    I have several warships that have turrets that can be rotated (trained) by R/C. It's not hard to do, just connect the turrets, (in your case water monitors) to a servo. That would be extra fun, keep the water stream on target as the boat and target moves.

    I've seen some little bilge pumps for full scale boats, I'll be they will throw a lot of water.

  13. #13

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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    Glad to see some building the fireboat . The atricle and plans are on SSMANA website. I print out the plans and have most of the templates made. Istarted cutting out the bulkheads in 1/8th ply. I do have a question, How clear are the demensions for the cabin? I can't read the height of the cabin(small print & blurred)

  14. #14

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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    Fireboat continues, all new running gear is installed, new deck and will recycle all the fittings and cabin.
    Also attached is a picture of what became of my Dad's fire boat hull, based on the plastic Lindberg trawler kit.
    Not exactly the right hull for the job, but it was laying around.
    Dave
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  15. #15

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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    'Smore work.
    New toe-rail from basswood, the old deck had none since the Walt Musciano/MAN plans did not show any, but clearly visible in the pictures and shown on the Dick Ealy plans. New brass railings, new fire reels from 2" mailing tube and lite ply disks.
    Fire hose is ancient "lacing" material like the summer camp lanyard and wallet stuff. Old deck was made of Formica laminate planked with balsa strips, very thin and "warpy" and was easier to replace than work with it.
    Rexlace:
    http://tinyurl.com/y8758gm
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  16. #16

    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    Some nice brass work there...

    [8D]
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  17. #17

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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    Thanks Umi. kind of fun to work on something you did 30+ years ago. Luckily the skills and standards have gone up.
    The thing is mostly made from paneling and Formica, not really my materials of choice anymore.
    Is there a "hard" solder, short of silver solder, that would be better than electrical solder for the brass work?
    I'm a little worried about how soft it is, although it's nice to be able to carve down any "blobs" with an X-acto.
    Dave
    BTW, the last picture is what you get when your Canon camera CCD sensor goes wonky. Trippy, man!

  18. #18

    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    Not really, ... but for easy silver soldering, I very much recommend this from ACE Hardware.

    http://www.acehardwareoutlet.com/(wyivct45kd2k4wyw2mgjb045)/productDetails.aspx?SKU=24646

    It comes with it's own flux, and I know several people, that struggled with silver soldering till they
    tried this Alpha Metals silver solder and flux.

    [8D]
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  19. #19

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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?

    Thanks for the tip Umi, I'll pick some up and try it.
    The old railings were all music wire I somehow managed to
    solder together. Now I use a little kitchen butane torch to do this
    stuff, designed for creme' brullee and such. So much easier than
    a soldering gun.
    Dave
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  20. #20
    green-boat's Avatar
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    RE: 1st Scratch Build - Long Beach Fireboat?


    ORIGINAL: . The atricle and plans are on SSMANA website. I print out the plans and have most of the templates made.
    Does anyone have a direct link to the page? I looked and couldn't find it.
    If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from.


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