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Skipjack by Shore thing - Wye River Models - Scale 1/2" - First wooden ship build


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Hello all, I'm Reed and this is my first wooden ship build and log.

Let me start by telling you the story of how I ended up building this model. My wife and I retired in 2016 and moved to a new home in Cambridge Md. We decided to decorate our home in a nautical/nature theme. We wanted to use decorations that reflected the history and lifestyle of the eastern shore. It was decided that a model sailboat would look good sitting on the mantel. Naturaly, a Skipjack was the model of choice. We spent a good bit of time perusing many of the antique and novelty stores that are so prevelant in our area. There were always a few models for sale but rarely were they Skipjacks. The Skipjacks that we did find were usually folk art/abstract rendisions of the vessel and were very expensive. We wanted a model that was as close to an actual working Skipjack as possible. After seeing a very nicely done model of a Skipjack in a restaurant window, it occured to me that I could build my own. After all, I'm a retired cabinetmaker with over half a century of experience under my belt. "How hard can it be?" , I thought to myself. Well, I was soon to find out.

 

A short time later, I stumbled across a model Skipjack kit at the local Ben Franklin. I bought it for $125.00. It's rated at a "intermediat to advanced" skill level. Since I don't have any experience with other kits, I didn't know what to expect. I will give you a quick review of what I found upon opening the box. First, the kit is made by "Wye River Models" which is a local company located on Kent Island. When I opened the box I found a jumble of sticks. They were not separated or packed by size. There was a materials list that said what each size of wood was to be used for. There was also several sheets of patterns, a bag of pot metal and plastic hardware, two coils of cordage, some aluminum rods, a square of sheet metal, some sail cloth and a few other odds and ends. A nicely done book "The Skipjack" by Steve Rodgers & Patricia Staby-Rodgers was also included to act as instructions. I feel that the book is more of a guide than step by step directions. There were no pre-cut or laser eched anything. Thats when I started to realize that it might be a little harder than I thought. I will add additional commentary regarding the kit along the way.

 

I have put this build log in the SHIP MODEL KITS section because it says "KIT"on the box. After looking through both build sections, I feel that this may be more of a "SCRATCH BUILD" than a kit. I'll let the moderators make the final decision if one is needed.

 

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This model isn't one particular boat, rather a rendition of a Skipjack that is built as one of the many would have been built, by ratio. Concidering that there were approximately a thousand of these boats built by differant builders and over the course of sixty years or more, they were not all identical. They varied in length by anything from a foot to over ten. The layout of holds, hatches, rails and rudders (amoungst other things) also varied considerably as well as the construction techneques used to build them. One of the advantages of living in Cambridge is that there are a number of Skipjacks in the area. The Nathan and the Lady Katie are both afloat and docked in town. There are two more that are on land and being restored but I don't know their names. Most recently, the Martha lewis (sister ship of the Lady Katie and the Rosie Parks) was brought to town for what I believe to be repairs and restoration.Two more are just down the road in Woolford. The maritime museam in St. Michaels is a short drive away. They have the fully restored Rosie Parks and at least one other as well as a wonderful exhibit that tells the history of these vessels. It has been a great advantage as I have gone to see these boats on multiple occasions in order to study the fine points of their builds.

 

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I actually started building this model in the early months of 2017. I spent many hours working on it as the winter dragged on. When spring came, I put the model aside in favor of outdoor activities. My intent was to start again the following winter (2018) but my wife had other plans for my time. Constructing the cabinets for and remodeling the kitchen took up that time. Once again warm weather arrived and the model remained on a shelf collecting dust. Shortly after last Christmas, I found myself with free time and started back on the build. I have, up until this point, completely built this model on my own and am currently almost done building it. However, after recently discovering this site, I have now decided that some things need to be done better. Using my newly developed skills and some of the techniques exhibited here, I hope to bring the quality of the model "up a notch"....or two. I'm looking forward to the opinions and help I know I can get here.

  

 

 

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"When I opened the box I found a jumble of sticks. They were not separated or packed by size."

 

LOL...I have a faint recollection of a Mad Magazine (or similar) cartoon of a kid opening a model kit and finding the same.  And funny you mention Ben Franklin, a favorite five and dime when I was growing up in Northern Virginia.  Was telling my wife about it the other day (she from Texas had never heard of it).  Hadn't thought of that store for years and actually believed it long defunct.

 

Looking forward to following your build.

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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Welcome! Being that this is marketed as a "kit", whatever its shortcomings, we'll leave it here in the kits section. Personally, I have a soft spot for these little off-the-beaten-path, mom-and-pop manufacturers and enjoy having a look at their products. Mind you, that doesn't mean I'm a huge fan-boy of their kit design philosophy! I'm looking forward to seeing how you pull this project off. Good luck!

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The first step was to produce the Keelson.

A full size layout of the keelson, stem liner and stern was drawn according to the dimensions given in the directions. I did not use the layout supplied with the kit because it didn't match the measurements. I think that something changed when the sheet was printed. Next, a 5" scarf joint was cut on an long piece of 1/2" by 1/2" stock. One piece was then inverted and the long scarf was glued to the uncut side of the other scarf. That produced the angle that would lead up from approximately amidships to the transom. It was then laid on the template to determine the cutting points and the angle of the transom and stem liner. After cutting, a gentle curve was faired on the bottom aft end of the keelson. It curved to the point that the bottom of the stern would fall. Knees were glued to both ends of the keelson. Then the stem liner and transom were attached.

 

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A strong back was also added. It had an angle cut on both ends that were the same as the angles on the sides of the transom. This would help to hold the shape of the sides when they were applied. This model incorporates a solid sheet of wood for the sides instead of planking. Before the sides could be applied, the stem liner needed to be faired so that the sides had a surface to glue too and also helped form the bow.

 

I didn't get any pictures of the stem liner being faired or the sides being glued on. Here's a shot of the model after the sides, chine logs and frames were installed. I added some blocks to the corners of the transom as well as the knightheads in the bow for some extra strength.

 

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The frames were left long because a second piece of siding was needed to bring the bow up to the required height. That piece was attached from amidships forward. Once dry, a flexible straight edge was used to plot the deck line on the sides. It was held to a point on the transom and then bent around the hull to a point on the bow. A line was drawn on each side and then carefully cut with a fine toothed saw. After cleaning up the cut with a sanding block, a shelf was glued into place to be a support for the deck beams.

 

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At this point it was now time to start planking the hull. I will cover this in the next post.

 

Reed.

 

 

 

 

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Keith,

Ben Franklin has always been my favorite craft store. I don't know how many are left but there are a few here in Maryland. The closest one to me is in Easton. It's about a half hour away. I'm surprised that the big stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels haven't completely put them out of business. I think that one of the reasons is that there isn't much in the way of shopping here on the eastern shore. The closest HL is in Salisbury which is about a 40 minute drive from Cambridge. They just built a Michaels in Easton. It's only a few blocks away from the BF. I'm waiting to see if BF will be able to hold on or be forced out of business. Hope not.

 

Chris,

Why River Models is definitely a small operation. They only offer about a dozen model kits. They are all models of boats that are synonymous with the Chesapeake Bay. Here's a link. http://wye-river-models.com/Products.html

Love the picture of days gone bye.

As far as the location of this thread goes, I'm good with your decision. Thanks for addressing my concern.

 

 

Mad Magazine,  HAHAHA!! Good ole Alfred. Loved Spy vs. Spy.

 

Reed

 

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Nice work, Reed.

 

Here is a nice video featuring the owner of Wye River Models.  His passion about preserving the heritage of Chesapeake Bay watercraft comes through.

 

For lots of skipjack pictures, the best site is The Last Skipjacks Project.  Click on the skipjack list, choose a boat, then click on the More Photos link.  There are multiple pictures of nearly every one listed.

 

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Peter,

Thank you for the links you supplied. I enjoyed the video very much. It's always good to put a face to a name. After viewing the video, I stopped by the site to see what might be new. Hats, hats seem to be new..... so I bought one. :D

 

The Last Skipjacks Project is a wonderful site. I'll be spending time there as well. Thanks.

 

Reed

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3 hours ago, Shore thing said:

Why River Models is definitely a small operation. They only offer about a dozen model kits. They are all models of boats that are synonymous with the Chesapeake Bay. Here's a link. http://wye-river-models.com/Products.html

Yup -- we've had them on our radar here for some time.  😉

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Planking the hull was fairly straight forward. Only a small amount of prep was required before the planking could begin.

The first step was to sand a slight bevel on both sides of the keelson. I scribed a line down the center and then used a long sanding block to produce the bevels. The block was about 8" long with paper glued to one end. I let the end that was paper free ride along the chine as I sanded the keelson. When the bevels were complete, I turned the sander around and sanded the chine until it had a slight angle as well.

 

Here's a picture of some of the sanding blocks I used during the built. One of my favorite is an old finger nail file of my wifes.

 

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After finishing the sanding, I used a sliding T bevel to transfer the angle of the transom and the keelson to a small home made miter box. From there on it was cut, slide to the stop and cut again....repeatedly. Since I was letting the planking run long, it was not neccesary to square the ends between cuts. This way either end would work and I was able to pick the best cut for the joint. The cut for the joint should actually have been a compound miter but since the pieces were so thin, it didn't really matter. In the end, the joint would be covered by the keel anyway.

 

My home made miter box. Quick and easy to make from scraps.

 

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In addition to the planking, a "chunk" needed to be glued to the keelson at the bow. It will eventually be faired into the stem and keel as well as forming part of the hull.

 

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After triming the planks, sanding them and fairing the chunk a bit, the rudder post, stem and the keel were attached.

 

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The rudder box opening and the rest of the keel were added.

 

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A stand was made for further construction.

 

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The rudder box was constucted and installed along with the sister keelson and some ceiling beams for the hold.

 

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Planking the hold.  I planked the hold because the hatch covers will be removable and the inside visible.

 

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The deck beams and framing for the holds will be next.

 

Reed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The first deck beams were installed and created the opening for the hold. I found cutting the beams to be quite difficult. They all needed to have compound miters on both ends as well as on the end of the notch that sat over the shelf. I came up short on a number of beams, even after several attempts. The only saving grace was that the beams made good contact with the shelf. This allowed them to be solidly glued into place. I was banking on the hopes that the decking would span the problem areas. The beams also needed to have a slight curve on the top of them. A block plane was used to fair the curve and then they were cleaned up with a sanding block. A bulkhead was added forward of the hold planking.

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More beams were added as well as framing for the hold, cabin and accesses.

 

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The directions asked for another bulk head to be added. I don't know why because no decking was to be installed inside the cabin and it wouldn't be seen. I did it anyway.

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With the beaming completed, it was time to move on to the deck planking. I realized that a block would need to be added for support at the transom.

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This is where there was an issue with the kit. There wasn't enough/any material for the decking. I double checked the materials list and then the model to make sure I hadn't inadvertently used the wrong material somewhere. I hadn't. A nice piece of clear White Pine was found in my stock pile of random materials. It was ripped down to the appropriate size and planking commenced.

 

I started just to port of center on the forward part of the deck. I wanted a full piece along the starboard side of the hatch. Working to starboard and then aft, the planking was cut to fit around the various openings. As mentioned earlier, some of the beams didn't fit tightly to the sides. A small wedge was needed to close the gap in several of those locations so the decking would have good suport. A very important detail was indicated on the decking with a red sharpie. That is the location that the center of the mast will be placed. Soild blocking was added between the beams in that area to insure a tight solid fit. Losing track of that was not something I wanted to happen.

 

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Straight pins were cut off short and used as nails in order to hold the planking in place while the glue (Carpenters yellow) dried. I wasn't concerned with the holes they made because the deck was to eventually be filled, sanded and painted.

 

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Trimed, filled and sanded.

 

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21 hours ago, ccoyle said:

I like how this model is coming together in light of the "box of sticks" nature of the kit shown in your first post. Laser-cut parts and detailed diagrams can be nice, but they are not necessarily essential for completing a project.

Funny you should mention laser cut parts. I just bought some double and single  blocks from Syren. They are the kind that you assemble yourself.

 

It's good to know that there are still things in life that will drive me crazy. Trying to put those together is one of them. LOL. It was a total fail.

 

As nice as they could potentially look, I think they may look "Too real" for this model. I'll discuss this a little more in depth later in the build log.

 

 

Reed 

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The hull was now completed and ready for things like the Log rails, railings, cutwater, head rails, bowsprit, and a few others to be added.

 

First the cutwater was produced from the template supplied with the kit. Some modifications were made because of inconsistencies. It was then glued into place. The log rail was cut to length and scuppers were sanded into them with a dowel that was wrapped in sandpaper. The height was doubled for a short distance both fore and aft to support the railing. A rubbing strake was applied from the cutwater to the stern. It was held on with glue and pins that were cut short. The pins were left in place to simulate nails. Supports for the head rails were notched into the cutwater and then the head rails were fastened.

 

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Supports for the dredge rollers were cut into the log rail at approximately amidships. The log rails height was once again increased, both fore and aft of the roller location. The first row of rails were added using temporary blocks as spacers and brads for stanchions. CA was used to lock them in place. All of this work can be seen in the following pictures.

 

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Along the way other items were made.

 

The barn door rudder.

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The steering box.

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Hold covers.

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Forward hatch cover.

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Winch engine box.

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Bowsprit with walking boards.

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And the cabin.

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More to follow.

 

Reed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As I said at the beginning of the log, I'm almost done with the build. The model is complete with sails and most of the rigging. A few more things like hanging the Yawl and permanently mounting deck fixtures still need to be done. Discovering this site and seeing the amazing work of others has inspired me to want to make some changes that will improve the quality of my build. In the up coming posts I will address some of those changes.

 

With that said, I'll add another post today in order to keep this log moving along.

 

Here are a few more pictures of the progress. They give a little better view of the rails, roller location and some dry fit parts.

 

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The aft section of the railing was added. Once again brads were used to act as stanchions.

 

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Once again, dry fit parts were put in place for the benefit of the pictures.

 

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There was still a number of small bits and pieces to build. The Yawl boat and it's engine was a couple of them. The same building process as the Skipjack was used to make the Yawl. A keelson with a bow stem, strong back and a transom was produced. Sides were bent around around it. The chine logs and frames were glued in place. Then the bottom and the deck was planked.

 

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As with any model, ones skill level and/or personal desire allows you to make things as real looking as you want....or not. This is were things start to get tricky for me. Even though I have a shop full of tools and machinery, I don't have all the miniaturized equipment necessary to build exact replicas of various items. At this point in my foray into model building, I am not willing to spend the thousands of dollars to procure them. If I were to buy something, I think that the most usefull tool I could get would be a small drill press with a milling attachment. Any suggestions?

 

During the build, I ran across another model Skipjack. It was in a seafood store and was built by the father of the owner. It was also the same "Why River Model" as I was building. This builder used a "V8" engine from a plastic car model kit in his Yawl boat. In my opinion, it looked out of place. I contemplated my options. A plastic engine was out. A box that cover the engine (this is how most Yawl boats are) was also rejected. I chose to follow the lead in the guide book. A "mock up" of an engine would be built.

 

All the parts before assembly.

 

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Assembled.

 

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And painted. I'm happy with it.

 

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Dry fit into the Yawl.

 

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The completed Yawl.

 

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As cool looking as it is, that rudder and tiller is going to have to come off. I have yet to see a real Yawl that has them. I would like this model to be as close to historically accurate as possible. Steering was accomplished a couple of ways. Use of the Skipjacks rudder was one. Another was to adjust the angle of the Yawl on the transom.

 

Lady Katie's Yawl.

 

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Nathan's Yawl.

 

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Neither one of them have rudders. They both have boxes that cover the engine. And yes, both their engines are bigger than the four cylinder I built. I think that not having the box adds a little more interest..... Anyway..... they might have been doing maintenance and forgot to put it back on. Or maybe the engine was running hot so they took it off to help with cooling.....LOL.

 

I'll need to add some padding to the bow as well as attachment points for the blocks.

 

Now I'll get back to producing the next post. I have a lot of pictures to sort through and up load to Imgur.com. Imgur and Tinypic are the hosts I use. Tinypic was the first one I used. It's a part of Photobucket. When Photobucket tried to change their site to a pay to use site a couple years ago, I went looking and found Imgur. I like it a little better. Since then, Photobucket has gone back to it's original format and restored access to my pictures.  A lot of these build pictures were already there. That's why I'm posting from both sites.

 

reed

 

 

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So many bits and pieces to make.

The mast was planed down from a 3/4' x 3/4" piece of stock into a shaft that was approx. a 1/2" on one end and a 1/4" on the other. The base of it was inserted into the hole in the deck that it will reside and the top of the deck marked on it. Eight flats were then planed on the bottom three inches. Mast wedges were glued in place so that the tops of them would be above the deck when installed. They would be trimmed to a final fit at a later date. It's hard to see them but if you look close, you can.

 

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Mast hoops were next.

Long thin strips were soaked in ammonia, wrapped around a half inch dowel, clamped and left until they were dry. I had a lot of fails just to get the ones I did. So many of the strips just cracked before I could wrap them. Others didn't get wrapped tight enough. The ones that worked the best were like the one in the lower right part of the picture.

 

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The coils were separated into pieces that made more than a full turn around the dowel. They were held tightly around the dowel again and an angle cut was made across both pieces where they overlapped. Next, they were held down on a flat surface so that the cut ends would come together. CA was used to glue the ends.....and my fingers. After they were sanded, they were dowsed in CA. again to insure they would stay together and be strong. These are what I ended up with. They are not all perfect but the imperfections shouldn't be as visible when they're in place on the mast.....I hope.

 

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The boom was also made. I used the 3/8" dowel that was supplied in the kit. A flat was planed on two opposing sides of the dowel on one end. Boom jaws were shaped and then glued to the flats. A final sanding blended them into the boom nicely. A number of fittings were attached to the boom. Fairleads on the underside for the boom hoists, a cleat on the side, near the end to tie off the boom lift line and a couple "n" shaped wires that will be used to attach the sail.

I don't have a picture of it as It was being produced.

 

I moved on to building the winder based on the plans provided. I was given two sewing machine bobbins. They were to be cannibalized and used as part of the reels. The picture shows most of the parts before assembly.

 

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Now comes the first time I would need to make something out of metal. I had to make three "clamps" to hold down the reel and drive shafts to the frame.

 

The kit came with an assortment of different metal supplies. A 5" x 6" piece of aluminum sheet, a 3/32 steel rod, a couple of very soft aluminum rods and a few other odds and ends. Based on a decision I had made earlier as to how I wanted the boat finished, it was all replaced with brass. And besides, the learning curve was going to burn up a lot more material than the kit gave me.

 

To make the clamps, I cut a strip of sheet brass with a heavy duty pair of scissors. Then it was wrapped around a piece of the brass rod that was going to be used for the shafts. It was then bent with a pair of pliers to form wings. Holes were drilled in each wing. The ends were filed and they were attached to the frames with brass brads and CA.

 

Here's my winder.

 

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Here's a picture of Lady Katie's winder, frame and one of her dredges.

 

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They don't really look that much alike. It will be along time (maybe never) until I can make things like that look realistic.

 

This is one of the things I decided to try and make better after seeing some of the work on this site. Just recently, I added control handles to the winder. They are a little wide for the scale. I also think that the whole winder is a little on the big side. It probably should have been a 1/4" smaller in all directions. This is going to have an effect later in the build.

 

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Two more pieces of rub rail needed to be added. One goes against the existing rub rail in the area of the rollers and the other goes just below it at the water line. They are meant to protect the hull from being damaged when the dredge is hauled in. I made a simple jig to set a bend in them so they would be easier to attach.

 

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While waiting for the rub rails to dry, I mounted the bowsprit, the knight heads and the Sampson post.

 

With all the woodworking done, it was time to paint the hull.

 

Reed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Chap,

Very nice work, Esp, Mast Hoops.

I tried the thin Veneer and other methods....

 

With my BNII, (Some time ago), I got fed up with "Shavings/Wrapping/Etc."

So, thinking outside of the box, or so I thought, I mounted some Dowell into the "Live" head of my Lathe and offered up the turning part to a drill  bit clamped in the other end.

 

I then "Wound" the Drill bit into the Dowell, once the "Live Head" spun up.

Once I thought I had enough length, I Stained and cut the Dowell into thin rings, some broke, but not many....

 

Anyway, just a solution that I found difficult to resolve, and frustration with other methods…. 

(Worked with many Diameters of Dowell, maybe I should go into Business?)

 

Cheers....HOF.

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Edited by hof00
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2 hours ago, hof00 said:

Hi Chap,

Very nice work, Esp, Mast Hoops.

I tried the thin Veneer and other methods....

 

With my BNII, (Some time ago), I got fed up with "Shavings/Wrapping/Etc."

So, thinking outside of the box, or so I thought, I mounted some Dowell into the "Live" head of my Lathe and offered up the turning part to a drill  bit clamped in the other end.

 

I then "Wound" the Drill bit into the Dowell.

Once I thought I had enough length, I Stained and cut the Dowell into thin rings, some broke, but not many....

 

Anyway, just a solution that I found difficult to resolve, and frustration with other methods…. 

 

Cheers....HOF.

HOF, thank you for the complement and suggestion.

 

The way I did it was the way that the instructions recommended. Believe me, I was thinking of other ways to make them during the time I spent being frustrated by failure.  Turning them was one of them. I was also thinking of cutting off slices of PVC or copper pipe and painting them. The walls of the PVC was to thick for my likings. The copper pipe may have worked but I really wanted wood. The problem I foresaw with turning them was that my lathe is very old, full size and belt driven. I thought that the vibration alone would just blow them apart, not to mention the slight play in the bearings. I don't know for sure because I never ended up trying. Ultimately the solution was to use Poplar instead of pine. I found a piece that had wide bands of new (softer) growth. I was able to cut strips that didn't have growth ring separations in them. They still gave me headaches but I managed to get what I needed out of them. If the situation ever arises that I need to make them again, I'll try turning them. Heck, I might even try turning them one of these days when I don't have anything to do just for the fun of it.

 

Reed.

Edited by Shore thing
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Hi Chap,

All the best with your piece of "Maritime Art."

Looks superb and I'll be following with interest!!

 

Have a go at the Lathe thing, Dowell is cheap and so is the time it takes to work it!! 🙂

(Seems to work o.k. for lots lots of OS/IS diameters.)

 

More than happy to share the solution with you.

 

All the very best,

 

Cheers and Regards,

 

Harry.

 

 

Edited by hof00
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7 hours ago, hof00 said:

Hi Chap,

All the best with your piece of "Maritime Art."

Looks superb and I'll be following with interest!!

 

Have a go at the Lathe thing, Dowell is cheap and so is the time it takes to work it!! 🙂

(Seems to work o.k. for lots lots of OS/IS diameters.)

 

More than happy to share the solution with you.

 

All the very best,

 

Cheers and Regards,

 

Harry.

 

 

Harry, Your mast rings look great. So does the rest of the model. Thanks for posting the pictures.

 

I sure hope your enjoying your summer. We are in the middle of a deep freeze.  It's 19* f....or in terms you go by, -7C. In fact, the river behind our house is frozen shore to shore. The Canada Geese are mad. They thought they were coming to a warmer location when they flew south last fall. I told them to keep on going but they didn't listen. LOL.

 

Reed.

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Reed, that's a heat wave you're having compared to my -6 F here in the Hudson Valley - USCG Ice Breakers making daily passes up the Hudson River to keep the oil heating barges moving heating oil to Albany.......   ;):D

 

Boat is coming along nicely !

Edited by Jack12477
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16 minutes ago, Jack12477 said:

Reed, that's a heat wave you're having compared to my -6 F here in the Hudson Valley - USCG Ice Breakers making daily passes up the Hudson River to keep the oil heating barges moving heating oil to Albany.......   ;):D

 

Boat is coming along nicely !

Thank you Jack.

 

WOW, -6, That's COLD!!! Our forecast is for this cold snap to end starting tomorrow. Supposed to be in the low 50s by Sunday and near 60 by Tuesday. Hope the same applies to you.....or at least something much warmer than negative numbers.

 

Reed.

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36 minutes ago, Shore thing said:

Supposed to be in the low 50s by Sunday

We're expecting the same here.  Just hope it doesn't melt the ice tho - almost good enough to go ice boating in a week or two :D.  A little surface melt and refreeze will give us a nice smooth sailing surface. See the 1888 Gaff rigged ice yacht build  log in my signature for photos.

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7 hours ago, Shore thing said:

Harry, Your mast rings look great. So does the rest of the model. Thanks for posting the pictures.

 

I sure hope your enjoying your summer. We are in the middle of a deep freeze.  It's 19* f....or in terms you go by, -7C. In fact, the river behind our house is frozen shore to shore. The Canada Geese are mad. They thought they were coming to a warmer location when they flew south last fall. I told them to keep on going but they didn't listen. LOL.

 

Reed.

Thank you Sir!!

As for the Summer, not too bad, 33'C in the Shade for the past few days, a "Bubble" of heat from our Australian neighbours.

 

All the best for you all, sounds like a perfect time to stay inside and construct!! 🙂

 

Cheers....HOF.

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Very nice build Reed.

Before moving to NC my wife and I had many great weekends on the Eastern Shore over 20 years, and like you, I became interested in the skipjacks. I'm currently about 80% done with the Willie l. Bennett kit from Model Shipways, probably the best kit I've found for any build, wonderful directions and plans - learned a lot. I remember reading somewhere that the skipjack design was so successful because it could be built by house carpenters -- not needing any experience with the complex curves associated with most hulls. Not sure if that is true but it sounds good. Great job on the winding machine

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Since this kit does not specify exactly which Skipack this is, it has been hard to do historical research pertaining to it. I have not been able to find a picture of a boat that combines all the features such as railings, rudder, cabins and deck configurations that are on this model. Combine that with the fact that not much is known about so many of them, coming up with the correct paint scheme for this particular boat has been impossible. After several years of reading about them and seeing a number of them either in photos or in person, what I deduced is, they are mostly white .... :D

 

I am sure that some of them had unique paint jobs at one time. It's more than likely that some had natural or stained decks, hatch, hold and cabin roofs. The majority of these boats never again looked as good as they did the day they sailed away from the shipyard. These were working boats not fancy sailling yachts. They took a beating. Not only from the harsh environment that is the Chesapeake in winter but from the rigors of dragging a dredge and having tons of Oytsers dumped on their decks. I would think that in most cases, a fresh coat of white paint was hastily slapped on them so they could be pressed back into service as quickly as possible.

 

I recently saw a few pictures of the "Lady Katie" after her restoration was completed in 2015. She was beautiful. To look at her today in 2019, one might think that she hadn't seen paint in more than a decade.

 

The pictures in the instructions show this model as being painted white and then aged to look like a hard worked boat. It was complete with rust stains running down the sides and muddy oysters on the deck. Along with the intimadation of a kit that was "a box of sticks", the paint job was also an intimadation.The closest thing that I have ever done that could be concidered "fine painting", is the finishes I've put on the cabinetry I've built. With that in mind, I decided that I would paint it to look like a brand new boat. That's also the reason I chose to leave the metal fittings bright brass. I wanted the boat to have a little "Bling" to it. To further illustrate my point, a plaque will be made and mounted to the base that says "Maiden Voyage" on it.

 

I preceded to paint the hull white useing some interior flat cieling paint. About half way down I realized that I had neglected to add the ice shields. Metal tape was cut into squares and stuck to the hull in an overlaping pattern. A nail set was used to press the appearance of nails into it. I didn't try to have the nails in a perfectly spaced pattern. Anyone who has ever tried to nail a flat sheet of metal over a curved surface knows that it buckels. Here and there an extra nail or two needs to be thrown in to draw it tight.

 

auh6hf.jpg

 

I had concidered staining the deck and initially taped it off but changed my mind. Instead, I chose to stain the mast, booms and the tops of the deck features. I think it gives a nice contrast to the white hull and deck.

 

1z4jxo5.jpg

 

The bottom was painted a muddy brown. Then a light coat of clear matte acrylic was sprayed on everything to seal the finish. Here's a couple pictures of the finished paint job. The mast, boom and all the deck fittings are just dry fit.

 

2guzlvn.jpg

 

2jcu2rt.jpg

 

Metal parts, sails and rigging are up next.

 

Reed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, schooner said:

Very nice build Reed.

Before moving to NC my wife and I had many great weekends on the Eastern Shore over 20 years, and like you, I became interested in the skipjacks. I'm currently about 80% done with the Willie l. Bennett kit from Model Shipways, probably the best kit I've found for any build, wonderful directions and plans - learned a lot. I remember reading somewhere that the skipjack design was so successful because it could be built by house carpenters -- not needing any experience with the complex curves associated with most hulls. Not sure if that is true but it sounds good. Great job on the winding machine

Thanks Tim.

I read the same thing about the carpenters. I also read that it might have been exaggerated to a large degree as many of the boats have been credited to ship builders. On the other hand, I firmly believe that a skilled carpenter may have been able to build a boat, especially one from the Eastern Shore. Combine the fact that boats were as much a part of life as houses were, with a good set of plans and some help or direction from a ship builder and anything is possible. I would also suggest that a good many carpenters supplemented their income working the waters and farms of the area when building was slow. I know for a fact that carpenters (and cabinetmakers.... me :D) will usually build you anything your willing to pay for. I can remember many a time when I was building cabinets one week and framing a deck (or some other carpentry related structure) the following. Gotta pay the bills!

 

Reed

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