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Gukor by bilban - 1:100 Learning to Build a Hull

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I started and finished the only hull of the only boat that I’ve ever built over ten years ago. As I’ve only just finished said boat and am pretty happy with the rigging of it and that the wooden boat thang has really bitten, I decided that I should at least learn how a wooden hull was built before going too far. By understanding the principles I can apply them in future builds either scratch or kit.


Looking around for a free plan (I know, I’m bad) I happened across the Gukor here and so decided as it looked ‘fairly’ straightforward I would use it. 


Before I go any further I must state a few things.

  • I did start work on this build six months ago before I was unaware of this awesome site and the immense resource that it is
  • When I started about the only resource I had was Charles G Davis’s book “ The Built-Up Model”
  • My drafting skills are non-existent
  • As it was meant as learning exercise, precision is not really in my mind. Refining the techniques learnt will be for a future project.
  • My materials were purposely chosen as they are cheap and plentiful
  • I haven’t got very far today as I’m still kitting out a new workshop/shed after being banished from the dining room table

I would advise purists look away now – you have been warned - you may not like what you are about to see, but then again, please stay and help me learn!





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Lofting of the Frames


To begin I started the lofted the straight frames as, looking at the plans I can’t see cant frames only transoms.


So, working with Mr Davis book I started lofting by taking all the measurements from the  sectional plan and then …




…created a table of offset. In the table of offset I added and extra frame for every section shown by extrapolation of the two sectional points on either side. This increased the number of frames from 11 to 23.




From this table of offset I then used Visio to create basic points for each frame. 




After this I joined




I then added scarf joints to create front and back futtock templates for each frame (not shown)


Told you my drafting is non-existent.


Next time I do this I will take far more care and be much more precise especially with the frame ‘thickness’ but also with the futtock design. I probably need to learn 2D CAD. Been nearly 20 years since I last touched a CAD package but now I have the basic table of offset, shouldn’t be too difficult to convert for CAD.

Edited by bilban
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Next was to trace the futtock templates onto my chosen wood. Don't laugh, but the local craft shop sell bags of 100 lolly sticks for a quid, and as this is a learning build I'm not too precious about the quality of the wood.




Trimming them on the Dremel multisaw took some practice. I don't think the size of the individual futtocks help nore the thinness of the lolly sticks.




Each scarf sanded and using tried and tested aircraft modelling techniques the two half-frames are built together pinned over the paper sectional frame templates.


As I'm still coming to terms with the tools and techniques some filler was necessary. I also added a treenail top and bottom of each front futtock as per the book and an initial sand. I'll leave the final sanding until the frames are mounted and I'm fairing the prior to planking.




Getting a motor on over the last couple of weeks (as the shed kit-out is nearly finished).




About 6 left to do.



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Thanks, Mark. I think I do have the basics, just need to improve the execution and learn to use the tools.


Now finishing off the the last of the frames. Hope to have them all complete in the next couple of days.




And the stem, keel, stern assembly is created.




Found them much easier to create than the frames as they were straight copy from the plan.




After the frames are fully complete I'll need to notch the keel to assemble them and build some for of bracing to hold them square when mounted. Then work out how to sand the the inner sides.


Oh, and need to start lofting the transom and what look like a few kings for the beak according to the plan.


All fun  :)

Edited by bilban
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Thanks, Patrick. I am pleased with with the keel assembly. I cut it all out by hand just using a scalpel, not the Dremel multisaw, in three thicknesses of the lolly sticks. Even has mortice and tenon joints on the sternpost and associated deadwood - but I still had to use a bit of filler here and there. You may note I've added the rabbet as well. That was done using a rotary tool and a mini router bit and a very steady hand. Not sure about the bearding line yet. Will wait until I've lofted the transoms before working out the angles and whether I need it.


The thing I'm not particularly happy about is the scarfs on the keel. I have them in the lateral plane (that's they way the were on the kit I've just finished) and I have since learnt (reading Anatomy of the Ship - HMS Victory) that they should be in the vertical plane. Ho-hum, lesson learnt for next time. [Anyone explain the reason?]



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Wise words indeed. 


Had a bit of a brain fart today giving much credence to the adage : measure twice, cut once. And also confirms the one frame at a time philosophy of life.


As I'd finished the straight frames and have notched the keel ready for them, I thought I'd make a start on the keelson. Maybe it was a couple of brain farts.


First fart : I spent about 20 minutes trying to work out how best to create the paper templates for the keelson. Then Doh!, just use the plan as it came.


Second fart : Toddled off to the computer, printed the 6 sheets that make the framing plan, trim them then tape them together. Cut out the Keelson from this plan. Determine where I'm going to put the scarfs (ensuring they are not directly over any of the keel scarfs), cut out the templates. Starting at the stern, cut out the first keelson piece (each section of keelson will end up as 5 lolly sticks thickness, keel is 3) and offered it up the the keel.


Second doh!


Not sure how, but the plan I printed is at significantly larger scale to my master. Thankfully, as I've only cut the one piece, not too much damage done. Photocopied my master and recut. First two sections now drying. And they will fit with a little sanding.

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Hi Bilban


Good story about the 'farts". But don't worry; afterall, where would life be without a little brain fart here and there....! We'd never learn anything.


My builds are full of them!


Seriously though. I'm enjoying following your build log and you're doing a great job.





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Thanks for all the positive words, guys.


Couple or three pictures of the keel notching and keelson glueing. Those lolly sticks do have multitudinous uses. 




Although I did say precision is not my primary focus, I am not particularly happy with the notching. What I did was measure the thickness of two lolly sticks and used that as a standard measurement for all notches (and cut them poorly). What I should have done was cut each notch to fit the relevant frame. I'll use some packing (coffee stirrers - well, you've got me sussed by now) when I start to mount them.


Next task is to notch each frame to fit the keel/keelson. I'm putting off the lofting of the transoms but don't know why. They should be the next task, but I'll finish the straight frames first. 

Edited by bilban
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Hi Bill


Irrespective of your comment about the 'lack of precision', your work is impressive nonetheless. There's no doubting how much I'm enjoying watching your ship take shape, because, not only is it a nice subject to build, but your commitment to making the hull as authentically as possible is commendable.


Keep the updates coming thick and fast, please.





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Thanks for the support and positive comments, Patrick.


I'm already seeing a change in my thinking through this build. As I state, this really is about learning how a ship's hull was built. I have two kits on the back burner, AL Bounty's Launch and Aeropiccola HMS Swift. I'm already thinking about building a scratch Launch and remodelling the Swift to include a more complex keel assembly (I've even ordered some cherry for the keel).


Stop it! One build at a time. B)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been laid low with sinus and chest infections for the last couple of weeks and so sawdust has been a big no-no, progress has ground to halt I'm afraid. Also preparing for a holiday to Iceland and Nova Scotia in a couple of weeks, so many hours spent planning that. And of course work always encroaches.


I've got as far as notching all but one of the straight frames (I'll post some pics in a couple of days) so am now about to start lofting the transoms. But am stuck on the bow...


Aviaamator, understood, creation is a very personal thing creation. Good luck and enjoy. However, you still may be able to help me with the bow - are you cant framing or just using bow braces (sorry, don't know the technical term)? Not knowing ship plans too well, and lofting for the first time, I'm not sure quite how to build the bow frames - cant v braces.


I may have to open up another build log in a few days. I've mentioned in one of the posts above that I have an Artesania Latina H.M.S. Bounty's Jolly Boat kit and also intend to do a scratch build. As it happens, in planning for the trip to Nova Scotia, I've found that there is a Society in Shelburne that have built a couple of replicas of the Bounty's longboat (The Shelburne Longboat Sociaety - need to check they are happy for me to share their link). I've contacted them and am hoping I can have a chat with someone from the build team to take me through the plans and their build. Too good an opportunity not to at least try to meet them. So, will open a build log to at least share what I learn and see.

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(Hoping this works as the first time I posted it didn't upload)


Hi Aviaamator, many thanks for sharing the pics and the info. Very interesting. Would love to see more as you progress.


Still not able to venture into the shed due to the sinusitis, but hoping I'll be clear by the weekend.




The Shelburne Longboat Society have kindly agreed for a member of their longboat build team to take me through their plans and build on the 11 June. I'll create a build log for this when I get back from holiday to share what I learn. They have a "History" tab on their website that has a very helpful pictoral build log which I can recommend.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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