A journal following the history, design, construction and operation of Bernard Kempinski's O Scale model railroad depicting the U. S. Military Railroad (USMRR) Aquia-Falmouth line in 1863, and other model railroad projects.
©Bernard Kempinski All text and images, except as noted, on this blog are copyrighted by the author and may not be used without permission.

December 2, 2022

Notes from Quarantine

Last Saturday, we got back from a nice trip to Alabama to visit family over Thanksgiving. Then on Sunday, my son and daughter in Kentucky had a baby girl, Ruka Kotone Foster Kempinski. That makes our second grand daughter. All are doing fine.

I spent the first part of the week getting my new band saw set up. Unfortunately, I got sick yesterday and tested positive for COVID this morning. So far it's not too bad, but I am taking things easy. I have been staying in the basement and hope to get back to work on the layout.  

The Tug Boat 

I wanted to test out the new bandsaw. So I started building a 1860's era tug before finishing the Pungy. I figured the Pungy and its rigging will take some time, so I wanted to do a simpler boat in the meantime.  

The lead photo shows a group of three tugs in the James River. These appear to be typical screw propelled tugs from the era. One of the key features of those tugs versus later tugs is the squared-off deck and pilot house. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any plans for that style tug. There is a photo of Tug No. 6 in the James River that is nearly a broadside view. So I using that to generate plans. 

I made the hull from two pieces of basswood glued together. Basswood is a great material for modeling due to its very tight grain. The band saw is necessary to cut the sheer line across the beam of the model. That was the first cut I made. Then I trimmed the over head view to create the overall shape.

I used my Rotex sander to shape the stern and bow.  The waterline model of the tug has a fairly simple shape. All the complex curves are under water and will not be visible in my model. Just a portion of the rudder is visible. 

Next I added laser cut pieces to the top of the deck to create the camber of the deck. I planked these with individual pieces of 2 ply maple veneer that I cut on the laser. If I do this again, I will make a thin template to glue to the deck. That would have slots to precisely locate all the camber pieces.

I stained the maple pieces with dark teak colored stain before glueing them on the hull.

The next step was to cut the bulwarks. I made them about 1/8th inch taller than it needed to be. I used that extra height to glue it to the hull.  Then I added the waterway and bulwark frames. In the future, I think I can integrate those frames into the camber pieces. That would make it easier to glue the bulwarks on.

I primed and painted the hull. Then I glued on the rub rail as I thought it would remain a natural color. So I used pins and PVA to glue then to the hull. However, I now plan to paint them the same color as the hull, and then weather them heavily. I cut the grating on the rear from basswood in a couple thicknesses. I like how that came out.

Next is the deck and pilot house. The pilot house appears to be an extension of the deck house, so that is how I made it. 

Hopefully, I will feel well enough to finish it during my quarantine time.

Records of the Alexandria Railroad Wharf at the Archives

I was rereading a copy of the Records of the Alexandria Railroad Wharf I found at the National Archives in 2010. As I have stated in the past, there was generally one car ferry a day from Alexandria to Aquia Landing. Most of the time in the month of May they were transporting supplies for the railroad. But this one caught my eye, on May 2, at 5:20PM, they shipped 6 pairs of Shad Belly Trusses on cars 46, 140, 217, 158, 240, and 245. All of those are flat cars. I have never seen any proof that these bridges were actually used, but that they were a cargo on the USMRR line, means that I need to make some as  flat car loads.

In June they started the evacuation. They hauled all many of supplies to Alexandria from Aquia Creek. That is in accordance with Haupt's statement in his book that they evacuated all that they could have versus destroying it all like happened in October 1862 under Burnside's orders. For example,  On June 15, 1863 they hauled two locomotives, Gouvernment and General Burnsides, and tenders plus three more cars with tents, baggage and lumber. Most of the return trips were empty. 

If I get time, I need to transcribe this document as it is very interesting to me. 

1 comment:

  1. Very productive for being under the weather. Definitely need more river with you adding tugs to your navy. Were the tugs part of the Navy, Army, or civilian?

    Moving the boats to different positions based on cargo?? Might be fun to have a tug maneuvering a pungy around the wharf or preparing to tow one to Alexandria.

    More boats and barges, maybe??????