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Hello everyone. When I first reposted this log, I did so in a hurried fashion and did not include any background details on this vessel type or the nature of this build. Here is a short thumbnail of the history behind this vessel type. The Biloxi schooner is a two masted gaff rigged, centerboard working schooner. These schooners were built along the Mississippi coast as early as the 1830s and the last pure sailing schooner was built at Biloxi in 1929. The hull form is characterized by a markedly shallow draft, broad beam, with a midsection having a low, hard turn of bilge. The cross sections were most always rounded with no hard chine. The stern is usually flat or slightly curved across its face and set with a moderate rake. The stem is usually a clipper style stem with a stem head reaching out under the bowsprit. Sometimes, we see a more upright stem, and in a few cases, the stem was rounded and called a spoon bow. In the more usual clipper bows, there is a simple head trim. The sheer in the earlier schooners was more marked than in later boats. These boats were used for fishing, harvesting mostly shrimp and oysters, but also some other types of seafood in local waters. With the development of the local seafood canning industry in the 1880s, fishing schooners were built larger over time. While earlier fishing schooners averaged about 40-45 ft in length, the later schooners of the 1920s averaged around 60-65 ft. The fishing schooners were built in large numbers in the early 1900s because of a 1902 state law that prohibited oyster dredging under motor power. The Bowers oyster law shaped the way the seafood industry did business and inadvertently kept the fishing schooners around for another 30-40 years. The law allowed shrimping under motor power and so there was a trend towards building auxiliary schooners in the period beginning in the early 1900s, but the development of purely motor powered shrimpers developed alongside the schooners. During the mid to late 19th century, freight schooners were built larger and heavier than the smaller fishing schooners, carrying, lumber, charcoal, and locally produced naval stores. They were either carried out to the deep water harbor at Ship Island, about 10 miles off the coast for shipment abroad, or over to New Orleans, by way of Lake Ponchartrain and the basin canals for local sale. With the development of railroads and trucking, these schooners lost their place in the coastal freight industry. Many of them were abandoned in local rivers etc, but some found a new life in the seafood industry in the 1920s and 30s. Although this type of schooner was built in several different locations In Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida pan handle, Biloxi was a single place where more were built than anywhere else. That is why it became known as the Biloxi schooner. In fact, in the Smithsonian's National Watercraft Collection, Howard Chapelle applied that name to this type of schooner. This model is a commission, but the client is a good friend of mine who is allowing me to build at my own speed. The model is intended as a gift and it will be named for the recipient. Thus I will withold the model's name until the end. The plans were developed from a several years study of customs house records, local contemporary photographs, newspapers, builder's half models, various private collections, and some personal archaelogical studies. The most interesting and useful documents I have found are the old tonnage admeasurements from the customs house. These admeasurements contain detailed internal measurements of the hull that were used to determine tonnage. I have studied these documents and the federal regulations that governed them and I can now use them to "reconstruct" plans for some of these schooners. This is how the plans for this model were developed. The model is loosely based on a design for a Biloxi fishing schooner built in 1900 by Martin Fountain, Sr., called American Girl. I have reduced the size of the model to fit what the client wants in an overal finished model. The plans for this model yield a schooner about 41 ft on deck and about 8 tons. This would be a typical schooner for the 1890s. Here are some pics of the components and the beginning of the construction. Comments welcomed. Russ
Here are the last of my maritime models and, in keeping with my different style of building, they're all half hulls. I like this format as it can be hung on a wall so I don't have to answer that awkward question from my wife ... "And where do you intend to put THAT". Well, it's an easier discussion! First up is a model of our own boat, an Alberg 37, which we've since sold. Ever since I took up scratch building I had intended to build this once I developed enough skills to reproduce it and, more importantly, all the metalwork. The hull is carved out of a block of Renshape and is at a 3/4" scale. Here are a few of the details I scratch built from salvaged metals. I've had some questions asked earlier about tools so I'll digress here for a moment. My "lathe" at the time was a hobbyist wood lathe with a 3 jaw chuck, a tool rest and I used cheap Chinese carving chisels which I would grind to custom shapes as needed. In the picture above I've got a chuck that I salvaged from a hand drill mounted into the 3 jaw chuck. This is my preferred setup when making tiny pieces as it gets your fingers away from the deadly, hard, spinning 3 jaws. Even though I now have a "proper" metal lathe I miss the flexibility offered by hand held tools. Anyone considering a metal lathe might want to keep in mind that all the turned metal pieces you can see e.g.steering binnacles and winches, were made by a hand held tool and are considerably more difficult (for me) to make with a metal lathe. OK ... moving on. Next up is up is our previous boat ... a Thunderbird 26. These are plywood hulls built to a Canadian design. On the real boat I removed the cabin and cockpit when I bought it and built a totally new cabin so if anyone thinks it doesn't look like a T-Bird ... that's why. I made this simple, smaller model (13") for one of our sons who was very fond of the boat as a child. Carved from Renshape. Cockpit details mostly fabricated using Arborite/Formica samples. My wife can be very indecisive when we go to a hardware store to pick out a colour for the new kitchen so the salesman is always happy to load us up with lots of samples! These are great for flat surfaces because of their perfect flatness, square and strong. CONTESSA 26's ... Two of them. Our friends who owned it had split up and they both wanted one. Both are 12" (maybe 13") models. The original is shaped as usual from Renshape I made a fiberglass mould from the first hull to save same time. then used auto-body repair paste (Bondo) to make the duplicate. Both friends are happy with their souvenir ... but still apart. BENETEAU 51 IDYLLE This yacht was owned by friends who have it in the charter business in the Caribbean. The real one ... The hull was fashioned from Renshape (mostly) and generous applications of fiberglass paste and Bondo ... needs must. My stash was getting very low so I was cobbling together all the biggest bits to create the mass I needed. She wasn't a pretty baby. But with generous dollops of Bondo and my power sanders I soon had a suitable shape ... It is "close" to 1/2":1' scale but definitely built to scale. I'll just put in couple of shots of the build ... I won't bore you with all the fabrication that was required but if anyone wants to see how pieces were made ... let me know. LOTS of pictures available. Thanks for looking in ... Frank
I built this model many years ago, and found a picture of it on the web. Wish the photo was better. The hull is solid and the rest is built from a variety of materials - all scratch built in 1/48 scale