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Chesapeake Bay Crabbing Skiff by Hekk - Midwest Products- Small

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Hello everyone. I recently purchased the Chesapeake Bay Crabbing Skiff kit from Midwest Products as a birthday present for myself. I have zero experience building wooden ship models and no real woodworking experience. So all of this is 100% new to me. After looking around at some other kits and reading recommendations, I decided on this skiff because I didn't want to get too far over my head and thought this build could give me skills necessary to complete more complex stuff.


Looking around, I haven't seen any real detailed build logs for these easier kits (maybe I am just bad at searching) and hoped that maybe by starting one, I could help others who are new to this hobby. With that said, I hope to keep myself accountable by posting updates here as well. This won't be a fast build because everything is so new and I still need to pick up some tools I don't have. 


With the introduction out of the way, let's get started on the first update:





The model kit arrived today. I pulled the components out and laid them out to have a look. This is the first time I've seen a wooden ship model kit first hand and I was surprised at how delicate some of the pieces look. It looks like I am going to have to cut the sail out myself which is a little worrisome but I am sure I can cross that bridge when the time comes.




Here is the bottom plank laid out and sanded with 400 grit sandpaper. The instructions tell me to use a building board to attach one of the die cut sheets for use as a jig. I have no spare wood lying around to use so I will need to make a trip to the store. I also need to pick up a few tools like a razor saw and 1/32" and 1/16" drill bits. I am pretty sure I can hold out on picking up beeswax for a couple more days until I get closer to messing around with the sail.




That's it for today. I will go to the hardware store in the morning and try to pick up the missing stuff. Hopefully you will see another update in the next day or two.




Edited by Hekk
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Just built that model as my first model boat.  Instructions were very thorough and the materials were nice.  I like the look of the skiff.  Enjoy!  -Jason

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  This is a nice little model. I scratch built a crabbing Skiff. By following Howard Chapelle's book. You will enjoy this one.



Thank You all...





:piratetongueor4:  :piratetongueor4:

"Each of us is a mixture of some good and some not so good qualities. In considering one's fellow man it's important to remember the good things ... We should refrain from making judgments just because a fella happens to be a dirty, rotten SOB(biscuit) ;) "




My Builds....







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Hekk.  I am building the skiff myself.  Same Kit and have gotten up to installing the Toe Rails.  Get some thick and thjin CA glue along with somw good wood glue - Weldbond or Tite Bond.  Clamps - Irwin 4 and 6" ratchet-clothes pins-binder clips(diferent sizes) a decent bench vise with neoprene jaws.  A good Dermel Drill.  As a newbie my downfalls have been wanting to look ahead a do something else while waiting for glue or paint to finish which is good and bad if you can remember what you have done and where you put it.   Some good files are handy for making your scuppers and adjusting fittings to each other.  You need #11 knife blades,  Order some wood blocks rather than the plastic ones and get a little bit bigger size.  Paint as you go along as much as you can.  You can always go back and touch up and glue sticks better before paint is applied.  This is a good first kit as you move right along and can see your boat come to life quickly which helps your motivation.  Study the instructions and then verify by looking at the plans.  I like to use a compass to measure off the plans to verify my measurements from the manual.  This is my first ship that I have done sails.  I first iron the sail cloths then outlined the sails from the plans as instructed noting the holes and hangings then I painted them with polyacrylic hung them up to dry and then puch the holes etc and then cut them out and laid them aside with heavy books on yop to keep them pressed.  Don't worry over small things.  If they don't line up right or have gaps-its wood and there is wood putty or you can just tear it out and put another piece in and don't forget most of your skiff is painter which can help hide some minor mars.  I am an idiot as to computers so I have not figured out how to download photos to ma build log like yours but will try to stay with you as uyou progress and since I am ahead of you maybe I can help yhou along whilw pointing out my mistakes  and what to watch out for.


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Hi Hekk,

 Good choice for a starter kit. I built, in order, Midwest's Chesapeake Flattie, Whitehall Tender, and Skipjack. The directions on each were great teaching aids, showing you not just what to do but HOW to do it. By the time I finished those 3 kits I had the confidence and skills to tackle a POB sailing ship. Needless to say this stuff can get addictive.

Good luck with your build.

Edited by schooner



Current build: Continental Navy Frigate ALFRED (build log)                      

Past builds:     Steam Tug SEGUIN (build log in the kits 1850-1900 section)       

                         Liberty Ship SS Stephen Hopkins (Gallery & Build Log)

                         USS Basilone (DD-824) (Gallery & Build Log)

                         USS Olympia (Gallery)

                         USS Kirk (FF-1087) (Gallery & Build Log)




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Sorry for the length between posts. I made some initial mistakes and was embarrassed of what I thought was going to be a failed build. However, some wood filler and sandpaper has gone a long way towards making those mistakes less noticeable. All of this is a new experience for me and by showing what I've done wrong, maybe someone else can learn from mistakes I've made.



I used a spare piece of wood to create a square to help line up the stern post and stem. The three wood frames in the middle help support and shape the hull. Only the outer two will stay in the boat. The middle frame is simply an alignment tool.



The keel batton was the first large piece I had to glue down. As you can see, I am not very tidy with CA glue and probably would have preferred to just use wood glue. Getting glue all over is a recurring mistake I've made in almost every step of this build. 



Getting the bottom plank glued to the stern post and stem was more difficult than I thought it'd be. Unlike previous pieces, I had to actually bend the bottom plank in order to get it to touch both sides. Once I figured out how to get it clamped down ok things went a bit smoother.



I didn't take pictures of several steps here because I thought I had destroyed the model and was quite frustrated. There are two lengths of basswood that had to be lined up and bent to touch both stern post and stem, as well as the bottom plank all the way around the boat. There is some room for forgiveness here because the wood is about 1/2 inch taller than it needs to be and must be cut and sanded down to match up to the bottom plank. The mistake came in attempting to clamp the basswood in a secure enough position to ensure everything was touching. CA glue gives almost no time for any adjustments once the wood is touching each other. My claps were too strong and broke through the basswood and glued a portion further back on the stern post. This ruined the shape of the hull and I couldn't separate the pieces once the glue set.


I solved this with the use of wood filler and 400 and 800 grit wet sanding to apply layers built up to the shape the hull should be. All of this will be painted anyway. So as long as I ensure the finish is smooth, it should be almost unnoticeable.



Forward and aft thwarts added (walnut) and fore and aft decks installed. With the decks on, you can't see the crooked hull from where my clamps broke the basswood. 



Right now I am busy cutting 44 pieces to add to the inside walls of the boat. My gluing is terrible and I am considering painting the decks instead of sealing with polyurethane. I may just buy some minwax and test it out of some sprue pieces I put glue on to see what effect it has on the finish.

Edited by Hekk
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Hi Hekk!


Sorry I missed this log earlier, work has been crazy for the last few weeks, and only getting crazier for the next few weeks I think.


In any case, I really like following the small kit builds, I think they are pretty cool.  I'm working on a MidWest canoe myself (link in my signature).  To search for these small kits, you can try using the keyword "SMALL" in the search and you'll find quite a few of them, but unfortunately not everyone titles their builds properly for that to work.


Look forward to seeing you finish this one!

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Hi Hekk!

It sounds like you, Page and myself are all starting out with this kit. I just started my build log and am in the process of setting up a work area and assembling the necessary tools.

Reading about your experiences is going to be extremely helpful when I get to those points in my own build so thank you for not being afraid to share what went wrong as well as what went right. I think you've already convinced me to try to use wood glue over CA glue wherever possible.

She looks great so far. Looking forward to your next update...


Edited by DonInAZ

Current Build: TBD

Completed Builds:  Chesapeake Bay Crabbing Skiff by Midwest Products

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