OT Making a model ship with a 5 year old

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I checked a few, looks better than the stuff I bought before.
i
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Ignoramus8098 wrote:

Iggy, that wasn't the Titanic! But it sunk.
Nick
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Does he expect the play with the model on the local lake, river, waterbut? be a shame making a kit that didn't float. you might be better off with a some blocks of wood and a few simple hand tools for the first one....
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I think that my plan with plywood bulkheads is a sensible one. It will float with enough epoxying and a sensible sized keel. If the deck is removable, which seems to make sense, it can be later enhanced with LEDs etc. I will try to make it big enough so that it can be messed with later (1.5 ft or so).
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On Fri, 09 Feb 2007 14:53:14 -0600, Ignoramus8098

If you are going to that size..how about making a RC controlled sail or power boat?
They are more than simple enough, you can put a receiver and a couple servos on a chunk of 2x4 and get it to manuever around a pool or pond.
Rather cheap if you look for an older rc setup. Ive spent as much as $25 on a transmitter, receiver and 1-2 servos <G>
Gunner
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Ignoramus8098 wrote:
> > I bought plastic models. They are very much NOT what I am looking > for. Way too detailed and impossible for little fingers to > assemble. What ends up happening is that I waste hours truing to glue > pieces of plastic together, and my son can do nothing. <snip>
OK, this one is courtesy of my dad.
Take a piece of 1x6, about 10"-15" long.
Take a couple of angle cuts on one end to form the bow AKA: "Pointy Part".
Add a rudder skeg using some 1/4" ply.
Form a mast using a piece of 3/8" dowel rod.
Form a cross arm using a piece of 3/8" dowel rod.
Sew up a down wind sail from an old bed sheet.
Use some mason's twine to lash the cross arm to the mast as well as for sail rigging.
Use some screw eyes to locate the rigging.
Paint it black.
Get out your wood burning kit and engrave the name "Falcon" on the sides, then fill letters with silver paint.
You have just duplicated my cub scout project when I was about 8 years old.
BTW, typical square rigger. Goes like hell down wind, but doesn't point worth a damn.
Have fun.
Lew
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snip-----

Exactly. A child of that age has no concept of proper construction------a cardboard rocket is probably every bit as desirable to him as a fine car would be to an adult. Way to go, Ig.
Harold
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Yes. You got it. This is not an exercise in building beautiful models. This is an exercise for the kid to learn the pleasures of making stuff (as well as the value of patience and planning). I am fully aware that the result will be far from beautiful.
If I wanted to own a beautiful model ship, I would buy something mass produced in Chinese sweatshops using CNC, for $30 or so.
Functionality wise, what I want from this model is 1) to look like a ship 2) be able to float in water 3) be able to survive exposure to "life" for decades, in case if he wants to keep it as a childhood memory.
i
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Ignoramus8098 wrote:
> On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 05:24:48 GMT, Harold and Susan Vordos
>> >>snip----- >> >>>I kind of agree with TMT in that it should be kept in a spirit of >>>junkyard wars. Build something nice (meaning that something that >>>performs a useful function) from scrap. >>> >>>He recently made a "rocket" from a Pringles can and paper. We launch >>>it with my compressor. He is very happy about it. He even painted it >>>gold. >>> >>>i >> >>Exactly. A child of that age has no concept of proper construction------a >>cardboard rocket is probably every bit as desirable to him as a fine car >>would be to an adult. Way to go, Ig. > > > Yes. You got it. This is not an exercise in building beautiful > models. This is an exercise for the kid to learn the pleasures of > making stuff (as well as the value of patience and planning). I am > fully aware that the result will be far from beautiful. > > If I wanted to own a beautiful model ship, I would buy something mass > produced in Chinese sweatshops using CNC, for $30 or so. > > Functionality wise, what I want from this model is 1) to look like a > ship 2) be able to float in water 3) be able to survive exposure to > "life" for decades, in case if he wants to keep it as a childhood > memory. > > i Start with a selection of pictures of ships printed out and up on the wall. If he has a favorite book with a ship in it, skip this and just blow up the picture in the book. Thats for inspiration.
Next you want a large block of balsa wood. I see its possible to get 2"x4" a foot long for about $6 or so. You *really* *really* want balsa wood because its so soft its easy to work with hand tools which means far far more of it will be his project rather than Daddy's project. A selection of smaller pieces as well for the superstructure and some pine dowels for masts etc. should also be got.
It would be a good idea to get a small saw and hammer, You may need to take a few inches off the handle for the hammer so it balances in a kid's hand. These will be *his* tools and you ask before YOU borrow them. (with what you have around the place, teaching respect for other peoples tools ASAP would be smart)
You will also want some stiff paper or thin card for templates. Trace round the block onto the paper to help him with the maximum size then get your child to draw what shape he thinks the deck should be if he was on a bridge looking streight down at the ship, fold it down the centre line for symmetry,.cut out, and stickytape it to the block of balsa for your kid to colour round with a marker top and bottom.
Then its HIS job to remove the wood he just coloured. Teach him to cut a little outside the line then take the rest off with a rasp. Then have him decide how much more he wants the bottom smaller than the deck, make another template (flip the old one over?) and repeat the cut out/mark/cut away process but this time at an angle rather than streight. Then its onto sanding it smooth.
Details on deck will be made from smaller blocks pinned and glued into place (you want a supply of long brass panel pins here, steel *will* rust. Any 'oops' get fixed by you with scrap balsa, balsa sawdust and exterior wood glue. As long as you avoid chisels, planes, knives etc. there is very little risk of injury.
A few days later after its been pushed around the house for a while, its time to discuss painting it. Basically, you want to get him to help apply a coat of low toxicity primer (balsa is far too porous and will be really difficult for him to paint otherwise) and you can improve the surface with a little filler and get a second coat of primer on after bedtime.
Next day, its time to see if it floats near enough level, correcting any tilt by adding lead free solder (plumbing solder) let in to holes drilled for it then plugged with filler. Assist him in marking the waterline then get the boat dried off to paint. (an excuse to have to go out for a few hours is good here). He gets to paint it (ask the woodworkers for advice here) then a few days later when its properly dry, you spray it with clearcoat.
I've read most of the other suggestions and thought back to my first boat model which was on display till I was grown up and my Grandmother died then heaven knows what happened to it. You need to keep it simple, (remove anything that isnt boat shaped) and safe, which means no edged or power tools yet. One *can * cut onself with a small hand saw, but he isn't going to do himself serious damage yet. Dont forget a dust mask each when sanding, good habits start young.
Further projects could include a boat towed from the bank on a bridle like a kite, rubber band powered boats (you *will* need some sort of gearbox to match the rubber band untwisting to a model boat propeller) then an electric boat using parts guttted from a cheap RC toy.
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Ian Malcolm. London, ENGLAND. (NEWSGROUP REPLY PREFERRED)
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On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 11:19:56 +0000, Ian Malcolm

I'm not sure he really wants balsa. The stuff is easy to cut but it's hard to cut _precisely_. It's so soft that unless the knife is absoluely razor sharp it crushes instead of cutting. Doesn't saw very well either, tends to clog up the saw teeth with fuzz. It's main strength is light weight, not workability. Basswood might be a better bet.

A caution--there is a tendency to give kids cheap tools. Resist that temptation. Kids aren't very strong and they aren't necessarily all that coordinated--you don't want them fighting a tool that doesn't work very well besides. If you give him a saw make sure it's a saw that actually _saws_ without much force. A jeweler's saw or fretsaw might be a good bet--they aren't horribly expensive, they cut just about anything, downside is that the blades are very fragile--also it's a very narrow blade so learning to cut straight can be a problem. In a wide bladed saw bite the bullet and spend the 35 bucks for a 6 inch dozuki. He'll see how a saw is _supposed_ to work.
My parents were weird--they turned me loose with an Ex-acto knife at an early age but wouldn't spring for the jeweler's saw, so I was forced try cuts that the knife just plain wasn't enough tool to do and ended up cutting myself regularly as a result.
With hammers it's harder--he's not strong enough to be accurate with a hammer that will actually drive a nail of any size. The question is whether to give him a hammer that he can control but that is going to take a lot of pounding to drive anything bigger than a brad, or one that can drive a fair sized nail if he chokes up on it but that is going to have him missing more than he hits.

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Thanks for the criticism Mr Clarke, its always usefull to have another well thought out perspective.
J. Clarke wrote:

OTOH a decent *sharp* saw will cut it well enough. We arent trying for accuracy here, all the fine shaping will be done with 40 grit sandpaper glued to a stick. If he wants to get it flatter than he can cut it, Iggy should tape a sheet of 40 grit down on a board with plenty of double sided tape and show him how to lap the work against a flat surface. We are'nt trying for fine woodworking here and Iggy is going to be 'improving' it a little in the evenings anyway. My childhood experience with large balsa blocks was they were quite a bit harder than the thin sections. I guess they select the lightest wood for the model airplane stuff and the rest is cut for modelmaking. IMHO he should work his way up onto tougher woods as his desire for strength and accuracy inmroves.

if you can borrow them sometimes.

pear-shaped boxwood handle I had lying around. I am not saying its anywhere near equal to the japanese saws but it cuts better and is handier than anything else I've seen at the budget to middling end of the market, I doubt I've got more than 5 and an hours work invested in it but I'd be seriously upset if it went walkabout. It would be perfect for cutting balsa. I tend to use it for anything from rigid foam, via soft and hardwoods to tufnol laminate.

7 is about the right age to introduce a bright kid to sharp knives, chisels etc and also a decent hand drill. Power tools even closely supervised should wait till they've got a good safety record with sharp edged tools.

Control first. Bending nails and beating the wood to death is *frustrating*. I was hammering whatever nails I could scrounge off my dad into offcuts from an early age. Same nails would get extracted, I'd hammer them streight again and knock them into another offcut. If Iggy sticks to balsawood etc. this year, the kid wont need to drive big nails till he's accurate with a light hammer.
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"Lew Hodgett" wrote in message

Best advice yet. "Kits" is what I did with both my daughters. We did a dinosaur and a dragonfly and they hung in their rooms for years.
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One option is to "wing it" - make a solid pine hull using a bandsaw or belt sander. Do this ahead of time, as it's not something you want him to attempt. You present the kid with the hull, and then ask hom what should we do next. You can add masts, sails, strong, life preservers, or whatever you want. Let him paint it and add whatever he likes on the deck. Maybe add an additional "layer" in the aft (IANAS) with ladders, the wheel for steering, portholes, lifeboats, etc. etc. etc. Suggest things to add if he's not sure.
Let the kid decorate it. Buy some miniatures and let him paint them, and glue them on.
And then - try floating the thing in a bathtub. It may not be stable - never tried. May have to add some weights to the bottom to keep it bottom heavy.
The point is, once you make the hull - the rest of the design is left up to the kid. It lets him use his imagination - and he can be as silly as he wants to be, or as serious. He wants a four-poster bed on top, and a hot tub with a TV. Sure.
It's unstructured, and open-ended. He might be done with it soon, or may keep going. Let him decide when it's done.
If he had fun, then perhaps take him to a hobby shop and look at the easy models. See if he wants to do something more "sophisticated."
You will have the memories of the first model, and every model he makes afterwords can only get better. I bet you will have memories of the "first model" for a long time - even if it's the only one he makes.
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On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 12:10:37 +0000 (UTC), Bruce Barnett

No reason he can't saw it out with a jeweler's saw.

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Buy a block of simple Balsa wood or just a couple pieces of scrap wood. (Pine) Let your sons mind do the work . It don't have to be fancy their imagination will take care of that. I have made several thing with grandkids and they can be just as happy with a piece of wood if they build it an color it with magic marker. We built cars with a block of wood with cut disc for wheels Pontoon just a block of wood with a point and they still play with them.. We spent several hours building a race car very detailed with a :-) Rocket engine for propulsion and a model airplane engine (I had as a kid myself) They still play with the blocks of wood . Just a old Grandpas thoughts

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How about Wood? You mention cardboard, but I think I'd let a 5 year old use a saw on wood before letting him use a craft knife on cardboard. Take a 1x4 board and a 1/4" dowel. Cut a pointy end on the board. Shorten board to taste. Drill a hole in the middle. Insert dowel in hole. Hoist a paper sail and go boating!
Kits have been mentioned. Here is a quality outfit: <http://www.seaworthysmallships.com/ Be sure to look at the 'Pine Wood Sailers' and the 'Model Boat Plans'. The 'Pine Wood Sailers' are very simple and the one plan they have is fairly complex, but uses no glue and can be scaled. Everything they do Floats.
Keep it Simple and Fun and make sure it is really a Joint Effort!
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Suggest you start with a produced model, which has frames, stingers, hull planking, etc. Invaluable in teaching your son about the form, construction and logical sequence of assembly. Much better than just an external appearance. He needs to know WHY a boat looks like it does, and how they are made. Next project: A boat style you both agree on, made with any of the other posters suggestions for materials. This can be more for the imagined boat he wants. But,If he is anything like me when I was 5, he will want a bigger, better produced kit to assemble next. JR Dweller in the cellar
Ignoramus8098 wrote:

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He's only 5 ! He doesn't need to learn anything about boats just yet, he only needs to emerge with something and to feel, "I made that".
5 year olds also have minimal motor skills and no ability to use complex tools. IMHE just about all they can do is hammering, gluing, sanding and painting. Knives are out for safety, saws don't work well unless you have good control over their movement and most planes don't work well enough to keep their attention.
5 year olds also have minimal conscious control of their attention. They're OK while they're actively interested and things are working out, but if something doesn't work for them first time, they'll just walk away. They might spend ages sanding a boat hull to shape, because they can work sandpaper glued to a stick, but they'll not plane it if they haven't learned to control the pressure on a plane, even though most of us would see this as quicker and easier than sanding.
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Ignoramus8098 wrote:

airplanes by the following weekend, and wanted to building them in different shapes and wing styles out of balsa wood, we found a compromise.
she fashioned different types of cones and we filled them with Great Stuff, the foam in a can. Where necessary she left excess and then shaped the foam into the body she wanted.
You may try something similar for the boat. The foam is easy to work with no major sharp tools and you can make into about any shape you want. When finished you could paint it and it could be played with in or out of the water.
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Hey, here's a crazy idea. When I was young, I loved boats and model rockets. I had several models of aircraft carriers, destroyers, etc. And I also had a bunch of those Estes rocket engines that were launched by battery to what seemed like thousands of feet in the air. Now, if you and your boy make a couple disposable boats and strap one of those rocket engines on it........Anyway, let him push the launch button....TONS of fun...Just make sure there is no one else in the line of fire! --dave

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