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Downeast Salmon Wherry by FriedClams - Small - Scale 1:18

Wherry Small

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#1
FriedClams

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I'm going to be building a series of small traditional working boats. Each one will be scratch built and historically accurate in its details, but not necessarily of an actual existing example. Rather, these models will represent craft that were typical of their type and their time. The models will be of boats that were designed (and evolved) to suit the occupations where they were used. I say "were used" because although some of these boats are still being built today, they are not being used as they once were. Most are now for pleasure and not occupation - like Catboats, Whitehalls and Peapods. Their simple beauty and functionality are still admired and sought after.

It's easy to think of all small water craft as simply "row boats", but each type does something uniquely well that make them perfectly suited to their task.

This first build will be a "Downeast Salmon Wherry." These small boats were used in the longshore salmon fishery in the Penobscot Bay region of Maine at around the turn of the last century. It will be a boat for both oar and sail. It will sport a center board, knock up rudder and a simple sail rig - probably a sprit rig or gunter. I'll fill in the details as I go.

This will be a very simple and straightforward build. But I think it offers a number things modelers may find appealing.

1.) If you've never scratch built before, something simply like this is a great way to get your feet wet. Pun intended. Get after it, make mistakes, curse, learn and have a good time.

2.) There isn't very much material involved and you may already have everything you need in your scrap pile. An inexpensive model - maybe even free.

3.) Models like these are perfect between larger builds or when you don't know exactly what you want to tackle next.

4.) If you're like me and don't have a lot of room to display large models - these small ones can always find a home on a bookshelf or elsewhere.

5.) You're not modeling a singular actual boat but rather a type typical. You only have to be true to the historical and not to an actual existing example. This allows for personal expression in the build process.


Gary


Edited by FriedClams, 23 November 2016 - 01:41 PM.

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#2
FriedClams

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The old working wherries of the salmon fishery in the Penobscot Bay area were not uniformly the same.  They differed in design, length and beam, but they all had common characteristics.  One of those is the distinctive plank keel which gave the boat a flat bottom large enough for it to sit upright while on the beach.  The narrow flat bottom had runners or skids that were easily replaceable when worn.  Notice in the old photo below that all three wherries are sitting upright.  Notice also the poles and tree limbs placed on the beach as an aid in pulling the boats ashore.

 

DSW 1-2-2.jpg

 

Also characteristic of these boats is the high-tucked stern and small transom as seen in the photo above.   This design allowed the boat to be launched stern first into the surf as was often required, yet at the waterline this boat functioned as a double ender.

 

The photo below shows off the lines of a salmon wherry.  It is from this hull that lines for my build have been taken.

 

DSW !-1-1.jpg

 

Here is another wherry of the same era set up with a simple sail rig and centerboard.  My model will have these features along with a rudder that would kick up out of harms way in shallow rocky waters.

 

DSW 1-3-1.jpg

 

There's a excellent book by John Gardner titled "Building Classic Small Craft."  The focus of the book is how to build traditional small boats full scale.  It is a great reference describing the origins, history and uses of many traditional small working boats in North America.  It is from this book that I found the lines to model the hull of this boat.  The photos above are also from this fine book.

 

The drawings for this particular boat are spare but show everything I need.  They contain a body plan, profile and half breadths.  This model will be built to a scale of 1:18 or 1"=1'6".  The model will be about 9.5 inches rudder to stem and about 3 inches wide.

 

Gary


Edited by FriedClams, 15 November 2016 - 08:43 PM.

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#3
FriedClams

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To begin I photographed the page containing the drawings.  I was careful to have the camera directly over (perpendicular) to the page to reduce skewing of the image.

 

DSW 3-1.jpg

 

I imported the image into a photo editor where I broke it into two images then straightened, brightened, added contrast and generally cleaned them up.  I then imported the cleaned JPEG images into my CAD program and scaled them up to full size 1:1. The scale rule provided in each image made this resizing simple.

 

Beginning with the body plan, I traced the station sections and applied line smoothing algorithms to produce vector lines from the photo raster image as shown below.  This will allow me to manipulate the drawings and output cutting patterns to whatever scale I desire.

 

Note: (Most CAD programs have an auto trace feature that will attempt to create vector lines from raster images such as a JPEG.  I haven't had much any success in getting that feature to work with reliability.)

 

LW DCAD 02.jpg

 

I then mirrored both halves of the body plan and pulled out the individual station sections.

 

LW DCAD 03.jpg

 

LW DCAD 05.jpg

 

Note that the above image also shows the relative height (vertical difference in position) of each station in reference to the first station on the far left.  The transom height is shown at the extreme right.

 

I then did the same tracing for the keel, stem, knee at the stern, etc by using the profile/half breadths image below.  This image also shows where each body station form is to be placed along its length.

 

LW DCAD 04.jpg

 

This image shows the traced vector of the keel/stem.

 

LW DCAD 06.jpg

 

Gary


Edited by FriedClams, 16 November 2016 - 03:06 PM.

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#4
FriedClams

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The image below shows the stations in profile lined up at their proper positions both vertically and horizontally.

 

LW DCAD 08.jpg

 

Flipping it over and adding the keel/stem shows what the building jig will look like when attached to the stongback.

 

LW DCAD 12.jpg

 

Gary


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#5
Cap'n'Bob

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I've never found a raster to vector program that works either.  Your tracings and start look good.  You'll have a fine little boat.

 

Bob


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Every build is a learning experience.

 

Current build:  Two Edwardian launches

 

Completed builds:  US Coast Guard Pequot   Friendship-sloop,  Schooner Lettie-G.-Howard,   Spray,   Grand-Banks-dory

                                                a gaff rigged yawl,  HOGA (YT-146),  Int'l Dragon Class II

 

In the Gallary:   Catboat,   International-Dragon-Class,   Spray


#6
FriedClams

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Hello Bob,

 

Thanks for looking in on my build. I appreciate it.  Boy am I glad to hear your opinion on the raster to vector thing - I was beginning to think it was just me.

 

I'll be following your Two Edwardian Launches build.

 

Gary


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#7
michael mott

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I have to concur with Bob on the raster to vector issue as well Gary. I will be following along on this, A good looking start on your drawings.

 

Michael


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Current builds  Bristol Pilot Cutter 1:8

 

                                Skipjack 19 foot Launch 1:8

 

                               Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 14 1:8

 

Other projects  Pilot Cutter 1:500

 

                         Maria, Sloop 1:2

 

Restoration      A Bassett Lowke steamship Albertic 1:100

 

Anything you can imagine is possible, when you put your mind to it.


#8
Jond

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Gary
I love your concept and love larger scale. I am doing similar projects. My current build of Bluenose includes 6 dories about the same size. I am trying not to make kindling. My first effort was just that.
I hope to learn some from you here and look forward to following along.
Cheers
Jon
PS I am also in Maine
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#9
FriedClams

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Hello Michael:

 

Thanks for dropping by and following along.  It nice to see a consensus building on the raster/vector issue. - but how great would that be if it did work.  I've been following your steamship restoration project - very interesting - quite an undertaking and it's coming along great.

 

 

Hello Jon:

 

Thanks for the kind words and interest in my little build.  I just gave your Bluenose project a quick look - I'll be going back for a detailed read - looks like some very interesting things going there.

 

 

 

Thanks to all who've hit the like button and looking around. 


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#10
FriedClams

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Time to make up the station forms. 

 

First, in the CAD program I tick marked all the places on the body plan where the hull planks will line up on the station forms. 

 

LW DCAD 14.jpg

 

I then transferred those tick marks to the station forms.

 

LW DCAD 15.jpg

 

I also need to add the vertical height difference of each station to the forms. And finally I added an extra scale 10" to all forms to provide clearance off the strongback base for the stem and transom.  The end result of all that is shown below.

 

LW DCAD 13.jpg

 

If this was a full sized boat build, I would want to know if the lines of the body plan represent the inside or outside of the hull planking.  Unless noted otherwise, they represent the outside - I think - or do I have that backwards?  On this little model - it doesn't matter.

 

Printing out the drawing above at 1:18 provides the templates for the station forms.  I traced these templates onto some scrap basswood sheet material and cut them out.

 

On a scrap piece of 1/4" x 2" basswood that I'm using for the strongback base, I marked off the station form positions - 1'6" - 3'2" - 4'6" - 7' - 9' - 11'.  All that's left is to glue the forms on true and square.

 

DSW 5-1.jpg

 

I did some form reinforcing because the sheet material used is thin.  Also not shown here, I repositioned the paper templates and transferred the plank tick marks to the forms.

 

Gary


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#11
FriedClams

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Time to create the keel/stem/stern assembly.

 

Using the profile/half breadths image, I traced and mirrored the plank keel.

 

LW DCAD 23.jpg

 

I already have the drawing for my stem and stern pieces.

 

LW DCAD 24.jpg

 

Now I need a transom.  It would seem logical to just use the one shown on the body plan.  But that would be a mistake.  Due to the rake of the transom and the straight-on view point of the body plan, the depiction of the transom is foreshortened.  The steeper the angle of the transom - the more pronounced this effect becomes.  There is a method for solving this, but happily the profile drawing on this boat provided it for me.

 

LW DCAD 26.jpg

 

Compare that to the body plan.

 

LW DCAD 27-1.jpg

 

And you can see the difference comparing the two side by side.

 

LW DCAD 29.jpg

 

This may seem like splitting hairs - but on a larger model or the full sized boat - it's the difference between a transom that fits and a shapely piece of firewood.

 

Now I have my transom with plank tick marks.

 

LW DCAD 25.jpg

 

So I printed - then cut, sanded and assembled the keel/stem/stern and transom together.  I did not cut the stem to its final length.  I left plenty of extra length on it so I will have something to glue to the strongback base as support.

 

DSW 6-1.jpg

 

DSW 6-2.jpg

 

The stem, sternpost/knee are all made from 1/8" basswood stock.  In scale that's about 2.5" thick material.  Once the PVA dried I transferred the hull plank tick marks to the transom and stern post.

 

Gary

 


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#12
michael mott

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Great progress Gary.

 

Michael


  • mtaylor, Omega1234 and FriedClams like this

Current builds  Bristol Pilot Cutter 1:8

 

                                Skipjack 19 foot Launch 1:8

 

                               Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 14 1:8

 

Other projects  Pilot Cutter 1:500

 

                         Maria, Sloop 1:2

 

Restoration      A Bassett Lowke steamship Albertic 1:100

 

Anything you can imagine is possible, when you put your mind to it.


#13
Jim Lad

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A very interesting looking build, Gary.

 

John


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#14
Jond

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Wow Nice an clean

 

I have a yawl boat to build for my Charles Notman latter with winter and I will try to follow much of what you are doing first.

 

cheers 

jon 


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#15
FriedClams

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Thank you Michael, John and Jon.

 

 

In a previous post I questioned whether the hull lines of a body plan drawing represent the inside or the outside of the hull planking.  I stated that unless otherwise noted, they represent the outside.  I'm still uncertain about the validity of that general statement, but on this particular drawing, the answer was staring me right in the face.

 

LW DCAD 30-1.jpg

 

That's the way the model is being built.  But it always pays to slow down and review drawings carefully.

 

Gary


Edited by FriedClams, 21 November 2016 - 09:23 PM.

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#16
FriedClams

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Time to place the stem/keel.  I need to cut a slot in the station form at 1'6" to accept the stem placement.

 

LW DCAD 31.jpg

 

With this done, I placed the keel assembly onto the forms.  I cut the stem to the length that will allow gluing it to the strongback base.

 

DSW 8-1.jpg

 

The keel is not glued to the forms at any point so a rubber band is being used to hold the stern against the forms.

 

 

Now I need a garboard.  To determine its approximate shape I could have used a spiling method, but chose a different way.  I simply taped a strip of waxed paper with the straight edge lined up along the pencil marks on the forms that define the upper edge (opposite the keel edge) of the garboard.  Pushing and tucking the paper up against the keel/stem/stern I cut the paper with a hobby knife at the contact and crease points.  The translucent light weight of the waxed paper helped out in this process.  Transferring this to the plank material and cutting the keel edge with a little extra material left on it, gave me a plank that was fairly close.  After sanding, beveling and repeated trial fittings I arrived at a good garboard.

 

DSW 8-2.jpg

 

I then made a second garboard with opposite bevels to match it.  This was test fit and adjusted for the opposite side.

 

Gary


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#17
FriedClams

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Garboards are the bugaboos of small boat builds and I knew these would not go on without a fight.

 

The issue is clear: 

           

            - the keel assembly is very fragile and delicate - flimsy even.

            - the keel assembly is floating loose and not fixed to the forms.

            - the garboards can only be glued to the keel assembly and not to the forms.

            - yet they have to be tight up against the forms even as they corkscrew toward the stem and stern.

 

After several naive attempts and much soul searching, I stumbled onto an approach that worked.

 

It requires that:

 

            - both garboards go on simultaneously, and

            - a 2 to 1 CA to basswood ratio.

 

Because the keel assembly is fragile and loose it can't possibly hold its shape against a garboard that is being forced against its will into a twisted position.  Applying both garboards at the same time gave the thing a sort of equilibrium allowing the keel to stay straight.

 

So starting at the stem, I placed and glued the tips of the boards at the pencil marks that represent the rabbet line.  Firmly pinching the two boards against the stem, I worked my way back to the stern in 1/4" increments, each time applying shameful amounts of CA to hold everything together.  The whole time I was careful to keep the mess centered over the forms and to kept the garboard edges lined up with the pencil marks on the forms.  This worked much better than I had any right to expect.  Where the garboards meet the plank keel some extra trimming and fitting persuasion was required, but that was all.  Even the garboards stayed against the forms due to the ends being twisted inward to meet the stem and stern.

 

Moving ahead I placed the broadstrakes.  Conjuring up the shape of these boards as before, I installed the strakes in the same manner.  Because this is a lapstrake hull, I left extra width to the broadstrakes for the overlap.  I sanded a slight angled flat on the garboard edges as a landing spot for the strakes.

 

DSW 9-1.jpg

 

DSW 9-2.jpg

 

DSW 9-3.jpg

 

I rough sanded the hull and added the skid runners and plates to the plank keel.  This strengthened everything and covered some of my gluing sins.

 

Gary


Edited by FriedClams, 23 November 2016 - 01:08 PM.

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#18
mtaylor

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Gary,

 

Heat and pre-bending might also help on those.  By getting as close as possible to the final shape before gluing, you'll relieve a lot of stress on the keel.  I'm used to doing your way, but on my current project, getting the stress off the planks and frames by pre-shaping and bending solved a lot of problems later on down the road.


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Mark

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me


Current Build:

Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0

Past Builds:
Triton Cross-Section
USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War (Gallery) Build Log
Wasa (Gallery)


Member of the Nautical Research Guild


#19
FriedClams

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Hello Mark,

 

Thanks for looking in on my little build and for your suggestion of pre-bending the planks with heat.  I very much appreciate your input and advice.  I have never tried heat alone for pre-bending wood but I will certainly experiment with that technique.  This is an area I know I need to improve at and in boat modeling, bending planks is an essential skill.

 

Gary


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#20
dgbot

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It looks like you are starting a a fascinating build.  Is it okay if I pull up a chair to watch?

David B


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