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Planking Revell Cutty Sark- what stain?

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  • Member since
    December 2002
Planking Revell Cutty Sark- what stain?
Posted by lenroberto on Friday, January 12, 2007 11:56 AM

http://www.materials-world.com/stains/olympic/solid/Stain_Olympic_Solid_01.htm

In a past post-  Mr. Tilley suggested "Driftwood"-  is this still the best choice?  I was leaning towards "Deauville"  -  a little less brown....but I'm open to the expert advice found on this board....have not started planking yet-  basswood is on the way so plenty of time to decide!

Current pics show the deck with a slight grey sheen so that's why I'm asking...

Any help appreciated- thanks!

-Len

  • Member since
    December 2002
Posted by lenroberto on Friday, January 12, 2007 12:34 PM

http://www.minwax.com/products/woodstain/woodfinish-color.cfm

 

Pickeled Oak 260 looks good too....

 

-Len

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Lewiston ID
Posted by reklein on Friday, January 12, 2007 7:55 PM
If you are using basswood,black liquid shoe dye, found in shoe repair shops,thinned with alcohol and a couple test dips to determine the shade work very well for me and the dry time is in minutes. Caveat,you don't need a lot of dye to alcohol ratio,its actually better to fill a container with alcohol and add dye than to thin the dye with alcohol. very thin will give you a really nice driftwood look and darker from there.
  • Member since
    April 2004
Posted by Chuck Fan on Friday, January 12, 2007 8:03 PM

I've just been to the Cutty Sark.   The actual deck color is a bleached, very faintly greenish gray.   There is no real tan colored tinge to it.   Of course the deck planks currently on the Cutty Sark is somewhat neglected and in need of maintenance.   You might choose to ting it tan to make it look newer.

 

  • Member since
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Posted by lenroberto on Friday, January 12, 2007 10:06 PM

thanks guys-  good advice...I'll post pics soon....

 Len

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, January 12, 2007 10:19 PM
According to Mr. Campbell's plans, the original deck planking of the Cutty Sark was teak. The planks on the main and forecastle decks were 5" wide; those on the poop and the roof of the poop deckhouse seem to have been 5" wide at their forward ends, but tapered slightly toward the stern. The seams between the planks on the main, forecastle, and poop decks were filled with black caulking compound; those on the roof of the poop deckhouse had white caulking. (Mr. Campbell describes the roofs of the other two deckhouses as "bare teak, 2 1/2" plank." I think that dimension refers to the thickness of the planks - as distinct from the deck planks, which were 3 1/2" thick. He's drawn the planks on the roofs of the deckhouses as though they were 5" wide, like those of the decks.)

The Cutty Sark's deck planking has been replaced at least once. It was in the process of being replaced the first time I visited her, in 1978, and I think it had been replaced at least once before that. The guys who were working on it explained to me that they weren't using teak, but some Asian hardwood (the name of which I fear I've long since forgotten) that, they hoped, would last longer. They were gluing this substance down to the teak planks beneath. No nails, bungs, or other fastenings were visible in the deck when they got finished.


I tend toward making any deck planking a basically grey color, perhaps with a slight tinge of beige. I used to like the "driftwood" stains made by Floquil and Minwax; unfortunately, neither of them seems to make that color any more. (If either of them does, I haven't been able to find it.) The line of stains from Olympic Paints does include a "driftwood" color. It's ok, but to my eye it's perhaps a little TOO grey. I did some experiments a few months back mixing it with other stain colors. I was pretty happy with a mixture of "driftwood" with a small percentage of "golden oak." There is, however, a lot of room for personal taste here.

Applying wood planks over the existing plastic deck components works particularly well on this model. The real ship has iron waterways, which are "sunk" below the level of the deck planking. (At some point in the ship's history the waterway "troughs" were filled with cement. It sticks in my mind that, on at least one of the three or four occasions when I went on board her, the cement was painted red. I may be mistaken about that, though.)

I don't imagine any of that has helped much. Good luck.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    December 2002
Posted by lenroberto on Saturday, January 13, 2007 8:10 AM

Thanks John-  I went to the hardware store and got 3 sample tins of Cabot stain-  they have a huge line of colors!

 

One is called Navajo White, the other is called Driftwood Grey and the last is an Oak.  Each tin is more than enough to do the model so I'll post pics of how it looks when I can.  Will be a while though!

-Len

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, January 15, 2007 7:54 AM
I've seen ads for Cabot stains and paints, but nobody in my neck of the woods seems to sell them. I don't know of any reason why they shouldn't work fine for this purpose.

One other thought. Basswood is a decent material for planking; it's capable of producing good results. But the best material for such a job, in my opinion, is holly veneer. Holly is extremely hard, with an incredibly tight grain that actually looks like miniaturized wood. By a furniture maker's definition it's difficult to stain, but for modelers that's not a problem; stain barely penetrates the surface, but for our purposes that's more than enough. The only problem is that it's rather difficult to find (you aren't likely to find holly in a local lumberyard or home center), and you have to cut it yourself. If you've got a table saw with a fine blade (or if you've got access to one, or to a friend who has one), that's relatively easy. If not, I'd probably recommend sticking with basswood.

Several web sources carry holly veneer. One good source, which has been in business forever, is the one that used to be known as Constantine's of the Bronx (now Constantine's of Ft. Lauderdale). Here's the link: www.constantines.com .


Good luck.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    December 2002
Posted by lenroberto on Monday, January 15, 2007 8:35 AM

Thanks John-  I'm committed to the basswood-  should be arriving this week.  Along with the replacement wood belaying pins and brass eyebolts.

I've been keeping myself busy with assembling the masts, and painting the hull.  Paint markers saved the day for the white strake and the mahogany top rail!

And I have loads of thin brass wire for the footropes...

One more note-  I have in my possession a set of huge plans for Cutty Sark-  from 1958.  Thre appear to be plans from an old wood model company is called Marine Model Company, 1958.  6 sheets of plans-  I will take pics soon and post them-  they seem well done.

-Len

  • Member since
    November 2005
  • From: DeLand, FL
Posted by jlsimmon1 on Monday, January 15, 2007 1:50 PM

I have 2 copies of the Marine Model Cutty Sark Kit (got them off ebay for decent prices).  While I haven't had a chance to compare them to the Campbell plans or the 1959 Revell Kit Instructions, they look pretty good.  The instructions with Marine Model kits were not as detailed as many of the Model shipways kits that I made 30 years ago, but they had somegood clipper ships, and good scale Constitution and Charles W. Morgan.  The Marine Model Cutty Sark is a very nice kit, it has good size and detail.  The hull is not as nicely finished as the Model shipways kits, but the mahogany 1 that I have is a very nice piece of wood.

I remember reading that either Marine Model or Model shipways made some of the fittings for Scientific and Sterling model ship kits.

Jim

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, January 15, 2007 4:55 PM
Marine Models was in business for a long time - at least forty years and probably longer. I don't think I've ever actually built any of their kits, but back in the Olde Dayes I looked at quite a few of them. My recollection is that, like the products of just about every other company, they varied quite a bit in quality. Some of the MM machine-carved hulls I've seen were lopsided and mighty primitive; others looked really nice. The same goes for their fittings. I think I recall hearing one of the gentlemen who used to own Model Shipways acknowledge that Marine Models blocks, when the firm was in its heyday, were the very best. And some of their cast white metal (i.e., lead alloy) parts were pretty awful. I don't recall having seen the MM Cutty Sark in the flesh.

I can't comment on the MM plans either, not having seen them. I just took a look at the Campbell plans, trying to find a date on them. I couldn't find one, but I have the impression that he drew them in the early sixties - when the ship was undergoing a major restoration. My guess is that the Marine Models plans are older than that, and may not reflect some of the research that Mr. Campbell and his associates did. But I don't know that for a fact.

In any case, it's hard for me to believe that ANY set of plans for this ship could have more detail on them than the Campbell drawings do. They don't show the actual structural details of the hull (i.e., precisely how the frames and other structural members were riveted together), except in a general way. Otherwise, just about every detail of the ship that I can think of - and quite a few that never would have occured to me - is there.

I know Model Shipways made fittings for both Scientific and Sterling; Messrs. Shedd and Milone (the original owners) mentioned it once when I was there for a visit. The old Model Shipways "factory" consisted of a small storefront at the end of a dead-end street in Bogota, New Jersey. John Shedd and Sam Milone were two of the friendliest, most outgoing gentlemen I've ever met. That "factory" wasn't really set up as a retail store, but whenever a modeler strolled in the two owners would drop what they were doing to roll out the red carpet and talk ship models, baseball (Sam was a rabid Yankee fan), and whatever. Those were the days.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 10:11 PM
Back on the subject of deck stains - this afternoon I took a stroll through the paint department at the local Lowe's store, and found there have been some interesting developments in the world of wood stains since the last time I checked. Minwax still doesn't appear to have a "driftwood" color, but both Minwax and Olympic have made some changes in their ranges of water-based stains. Both of them now offer a wide range of "custom stain colors custom mixed at the paint desk."

Among the colors on the chart were several interesting grey and beige shades. I imagine a sympathetic individual working in the paint department could, in fact, mix up a stain to just about any shade the customer wanted.

I've never used water-based stains, but I've read quite a bit about them in woodworking magazines. The usual criticism of them is that they raise the grain - i.e., that the surface of the wood is made rough and fuzzy where the water-based finish is applied. The cure usually mentioned in the magazines is to "prep" the wood by dampening it with water. That raises the grain. Let it dry, then sand it smooth, and (supposedly) the grain will stay smooth put when the finish is applied. It's hard for me to believe that anything could raise the grain in holly; it's too hard. But on baswood, which has a tendency to be a little soft and fuzzy in the first place, raised grain might indeed need to have some attention paid to it.

The other drawback I can see to that custom-mixing arrangement is that, in my experience, paint dealers are only willing to mix custom colors in quantities of a quart or larger. A quart of stain would treat the decks of several dozen 1/96 Cutty Sarks.

At any rate, it looks to me like these water-based, custom-mixed stains are worth checking out.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    December 2002
Posted by lenroberto on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 4:07 PM

Progress so far-  took about 3 nights.  need to sand the main deck, smaller pieces have been sanded.  This is pre-stain:

Thanks for your help John-  I am using all your tips over the years for this one....I made Xerox copies of the plastic to overlay and use to locate holes for deck parts.

-Len

  • Member since
    December 2002
Posted by lenroberto on Friday, January 19, 2007 7:21 AM

Driftwood Grey Cabot stain applied-  a little too dark but another light sanding I think will make it better.  Used a different stain on tops of deckhouses-  Salt Marsh.

-Len

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, January 19, 2007 8:00 AM

Looks about right to me - maybe a trifle dark, but the final sanding should take care of that.

One more small suggestion:  when you get the color the way you like it, give the whole deck a coat of white shellac, diluted almost beyond recognition with denatured alcohol.  (Better do a test off the model; I've used this trick on Minwax stains, but never on Cabot.)  The shellac will settle the grain and, without adding any gloss (if it's sufficiently diluted), protect the wood and the stain from various things you may accidentally get on it later.  A drop of acrylic paint, for instance, will make a permanent mess on unfinished wood, but wipe right up if the wood has a coat of shellac on it.

Shellac is making a comeback among woodworkers these days.  It's actually remarkable, versatile stuff; one of the easiest and most attractive wood finishes to apply.  Paint and homeowner stores are selling it under the Zinser label.  One of its few drawbacks is its limited shelf life.  Always start by brushing a little out of the can onto a piece of scrap wood.  If it doesn't dry in a few minutes, throw the can out.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
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Posted by lenroberto on Friday, January 19, 2007 8:36 AM

thanks!  another good suggestion!

what a resource this forum is....

-Len

  • Member since
    August 2006
Posted by Mike on Thursday, February 15, 2007 8:03 PM

That deck is very impressive. I am building the cutty sark as well. I'm planning on planking the deck with wood but I have a few questions. First of all, do you start planking in the centre or at one of the sides? How do you keep the planks straight as you work your way down the deck? Do you add the planks with the deck out of the hull or mounted in the hull? There are a number of areas that are raised on the deck like around the holes for the masts. Did you sand all of these flat?

Sorry for the number of questions, but I want to do this right!

 

\

  • Member since
    January 2005
  • From: Ohio
Posted by mikepowers on Thursday, February 15, 2007 8:20 PM

Good question.

I'm waiting for jtilley to answer because I'll be building this model pretty soon too.

tilley? Whistling [:-^]

  • Member since
    February 2007
Posted by vonBerlichingen on Thursday, February 15, 2007 8:43 PM

@jtilley:  I've been learning a lot by reading your very informative posts, and noticed that you had mentioned in 2005 that there were some good references on prototype decking.  What are some of those references?

Reading threads like this one has tempted me to go further in 'redeeming' the Trumpeter Mayflower ...

Cheers,

 

vonB.

 

  • Member since
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Posted by Mike on Thursday, February 15, 2007 8:48 PM
I saw that post too. This may be a stupid question but what is a "prototype" deck?
  • Member since
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  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Thursday, February 15, 2007 10:07 PM

I assume vonBerlichingen simply meant "prototype deck" to refer to the deck of the real ship.

As for references, in dealing with this ship you can't do better than the two by George Campbell:  his plans of the Cutty Sark, which I've praised many times in this Forum, and his book, China Tea Clippers.  The latter has a whole chapter on the principles of deck planking.  As of a few months ago, the entire book was available on the web.  I can't remember the address; can somebody help?

The planking of a deck on a ship like that is more complicated than it looks at first glance.  There are rules governing the disposition of the butt joints, and where the ship's shape tapers fore and aft the planks are not cut off to sharp points.  (That's a no-no in shipbuilding.)  They're "joggled" into the "margin plank."  Mr. Campbell's drawings and text clarify all that.  And, as I mentioned in an earlier post in this thread, the planks on the poop deck and the roof of the poop deckhouse are tapered as they go aft.  If this is your first attempt at laying planks, I don't recommend worrying about that sort of detail.  If you get a nice, even, tight-looking deck you'll be doing fine.

In the case of a model this big, it's probably preferable to install the planking after the plastic deck components have been installed in the hull.  As I think I mentioned earlier in another thread, the design of the kit works in your favor a bit.  The waterways - the horizontal "edges" of the deck that are molded integrally with the hull halves - are in fact sheet iron.  They form a "trough" around the edge of the deck - and if you glue 1/32" planks on top of the plastic deck, the trough will look just about right.  (The trough is filled with concrete, which, on at least one occasion when I visited the ship, was painted red.)

You need a flat surface to lay the planks on.  Anything that projects above from the plastic deck components has to go - with the possible exceptions of things like the hatch coamings, which you can work around.  (I seem to recall that the hatch coamings on the Revell kit are rather heavy, as though they were made of wood.  If that's the case, it's wrong.  They're made of iron plate.)

About the only practical way to plank a deck is to start on the centerline.  Mark the centerline as accurately as you can and lay a row of planks on each side of it.  (No plank down the middle.) Let the glue dry thoroughly before you lay the next strake.  If you shove each strake firmly up against its neighbor, the lines of the planks should be nice and straight when you're finished.

Before you lay each plank on the main and forecastle decks, run a medium-hard pencil around all four of its edges.  The graphite in the pencil will do a beautiful job of representing the caulking between the planks - and it will survive any sanding or other brutalization you inflict on the surface.  The planking on the roof of the poop deckhouse is white.  I've never tried to reproduce that effect, but I suspect extremely thin white plastic strips laid vertically between the planks would do the job if you want to try it.

Don't waste your time trying to imitate nailheads in the planks.  The real things are held down by iron bolts in counterbored holes, with wood bungs covering the heads.  In 1/96 scale they'd be virtually invisible.

Hope that helps a little.  Good luck. 

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    August 2006
Posted by Mike on Friday, February 16, 2007 6:15 AM

That helps alot, thanks. I do have Campbell's plans and they are extremely detailed. I expect to start in a couple of weeks. I am just waiting for the wood strips I ordered to arrive. When you say the deck must be flat, I take it you are removing by sanding all the details including the planking thats molded into the plastic? One more thing, do you have any tips on getting all the holes in the deck in the right place after the planking is on? Some of these are not round but are square or rectangular. I thought locating their exact position after it has been planked may present a problem as I don't want to cut into the wood in the wrong place even if its off only a 1/16 or 1/32 on an inch. I don't think I will worry about the taper on the poop deck as this is the first time I've tried this.

 I think it would be a lot easier to mark a centre line if the hatch combings were removed. I was planning on using the molded wood lines as a line to follow but if I remove them by sanding I will have to mark a centre line. Any suggestions?

  • Member since
    December 2002
Posted by lenroberto on Friday, February 16, 2007 7:11 AM

Hi Mike-  I'll add to Mr. Tilley's answers:

First of all, do you start planking in the centre or at one of the sides?

I STARTED IN THE CENTER AND WORKED MY WAY OUT TO THE BULWARKS.

How do you keep the planks straight as you work your way down the deck?

GOOD QUESTION-  I USED THE RAISED PLASTIC AS MINI GUIDES-  THE REST JUST EYEBALLED. 

Do you add the planks with the deck out of the hull or mounted in the hull? One more thing, do you have any tips on getting all the holes in the deck in the right place after the planking is on? 

FIRST I SANDED OFF ALL THE RAISED DETAIL AS MR. TILLEY SUGGESTS.  THEN I MADE XEROX COPIES OF THE PLASTIC DECKS TO USE AS TEMPLATES FOR LOCATING HOLES.  LAID IT OVER SECTION BY SECTION AFTER PLANKING AND DRILLED HOLES THAT WAY.

-One more tip, to give the parts strength that will hold the lines at the bases of the masts, I drilled into the legs, cut up a paper clip and inserted a piece in each leg.  Drilled down into the deck through the plastic and used CA glue.  It helped keep them anchored when you are trying to get lines tied to them!

hope this helped a bit... 

Len Roberto

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Friday, February 16, 2007 8:21 AM

I wouldn't bother sanding the "wood grain" detail off.  If you use tube-type styrene cement to secure the wood planks (as I recommend), the glue will obliterate the detail.  In the meantime, the molded "seams" will help you line up your planks.

It really isn't hard to locate the various holes in the planks if you drill them as you go along.  As you cover up a hole with a plank, mark the location of the hole in pencil.  Then drill through the plank, and, if the hole is a fairly big one, clean up with a small file.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

  • Member since
    June 2005
  • From: Walworth, NY
Posted by Powder Monkey on Friday, February 16, 2007 4:20 PM
 jtilley wrote:

As for references, in dealing with this ship you can't do better than the two by George Campbell:  his plans of the Cutty Sark, which I've praised many times in this Forum, and his book, China Tea Clippers.  The latter has a whole chapter on the principles of deck planking.  As of a few months ago, the entire book was available on the web.  I can't remember the address; can somebody help?

 

Here it is:

http://www.all-model.com/Clippers/Page1.html 

  • Member since
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Posted by Mike on Friday, February 16, 2007 11:08 PM
Thanks for all of the help. This should get me started. I'll let you know how it is going when I begin in the next couple of weeks.
  • Member since
    February 2007
Posted by vonBerlichingen on Sunday, February 18, 2007 3:26 PM

It occurred to me that the deck of a ship that was in use would have been 'holy-stoned' and otherwise maintained by its crew.  Might that have tended to remove the weathered grey upper layer of each deck plank, revealing more of a tan colour?

Cheers,

 

vonBerlichingen

 

  • Member since
    August 2006
Posted by Mike on Sunday, February 18, 2007 6:39 PM

Len, I'm looking at your pictures and wondering if you are going to add planks right out to the margin plank or leave it as it is. There appears to be maybe a 1/16" space between the last plank in the middle of the deck and the waterway. It looks to me that if you do then the stanchions that are molded into the bulwarks will interfere with the planks especially if you glue the deck into the hull before planking as suggested earlier by jtilley. If this is done then I don't think the planks be able to fit underneath the stanchions. How did you deal with this?

I hope I am articulating what I mean well enough and that I'm using the right terms.

Mike

  • Member since
    August 2006
Posted by Mike on Sunday, February 18, 2007 6:57 PM

 

Len, I just answered my own question. I just tried a bit of a mock up on my model and I see that the stanchions are actually slightly angled up and away from the deck and there is enough room to fit the wood planks right up to the waterway.

Mike

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Greenville, NC
Posted by jtilley on Monday, February 19, 2007 12:57 AM

In response to vonBerlichingen's most recent post - There's certainly plenty of room for interpretation and taste when it comes to such things as deck colors; I wouldn't claim for an instant that there's any absolute "right" or "wrong" way to do it.  I do think a couple of points are worth considering in this particular case, though.

One - in sailing merchant ships in general, spit-and-polished maintenance wasn't considered as important as it was in warships.  A big reason for such activities as holystoning decks was to keep the crew busy.  H.M.S. Victory had a crew of over 800 men; the Cutty Sark's complement was 28.  That includes the captain, the officers, and such non-seamen as the cook, the carpenter, and the steward.  Tea clippers had a reputation for being well-maintained ships, but I rather doubt that those 28 guys had time to holystone the decks every day.  (Frankly it still surprises me, given the complexity of that ship's sailplan, that 28 men were able to sail and maintain her at all.  They must not have had much spare time on their hands.)

Two - the Cutty Sark's decks are (or were until the late twentieth century) made of teak.  Unfinished teak, exposed to the weather, turns a greyish, almost silvery color that runs quite deep beneath the surface.  Different sources say different things about what finish treatments, if any, were applied to deck planks.  I've seen references to "oiled" deck planking, for instance; just what that means in terms of color would depend on the kind of "oil." 

My inclination, unless I have some specific reason to do otherwise, is to make deck planking a slightly beige but mostly grey color.  To my eye, the background color of these Forum pages (at least on my monitor) looks about right - though perhaps a little dark.

Later edit:  I think I'd better back off a bit from that last statement.  My employers just assigned me a new laptop computer (finally!), and the colors on its monitor - whether because it's set differently from my home computer or because it uses a newer version of the browser - look quite a bit different.  The background color for the Forum pages is a plain, neutral grey - not what I'd recommend for a sailing ship's deck.

My observation has been that when I go on board a ship with a wood-planked deck the color of the planking usually doesn't make much impression on me one way or another unless I really start concentrating my eye on it.  Therein lies a valid lesson:  whatever finish you apply to a deck, it ought to be subtle and not attract much attention to itself.  If you achieve that sort of impression on a model, you're well on your way to success.

In response to Mike's two posts - A not-too-difficult improvement to the Revell kit would be to get rid of those triangular gussets in the waterways.  They represent - rather crudely - the iron rod stanchions that support the iron plate bulwarks.  Trimming off the plastic gussets wouldn't be hard or take long, and they could be replaced with wire.  The real things are A-shaped, with a horizontal iron cross-piece about halfway up.  (Mr. Campbell's plans make all this clear.)  It wouldn't be too difficult to make the stanchions to scale, soldering the pieces of wire together in a simple jig.  On the other hand, if the cross-pieces were omitted I suspect few observers would notice - especially where the stanchions are almost completely hidden by the wide sections of the pinrails.

Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery.

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