Jump to content

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

Recommended Posts

Midwest used to make a Skipjack model, before they dropped their model ship line. Dumas also makes a kit, but from the pictures I've seen of the completed model, it is a poor kit.


I'm glad to see you added the ice shields, not many do.


The general paint scheme of Skipjacks was white hull deck and cabin sides, with green or slate colored cabin tops, and natural mast and boom, with the mast white up to the boom crutch. During oyster season, the deck had wood planks covering much of it, to protect the deck from damage.


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, thibaultron said:

Midwest used to make a Skipjack model, before they dropped their model ship line. Dumas also makes a kit, but from the pictures I've seen of the completed model, it is a poor kit.


I'm glad to see you added the ice shields, not many do.


The general paint scheme of Skipjacks was white hull deck and cabin sides, with green or slate colored cabin tops, and natural mast and boom, with the mast white up to the boom crutch. During oyster season, the deck had wood planks covering much of it, to protect the deck from damage.



Thank you for your input. Good info.


The ice shields would have been an absolute "Must have" on these boats. As you know, the weather here in Maryland varies wildly. The western part of the state (mountainous) has many days of below freezing temps and gets feet of snow each year. The eastern shore is a bit more temperate as it is surrounded by the ocean to the east and the bay to the west. In my life time I have only seen the main body of the bay freeze solid from shore to shore a handful of times. Last year was one of them. However, it is not uncommon for the tributary rivers, creeks and harbors to skim over many times each winter. Breaking through the skim ice on their way to open waters would have destroyed the hulls in no time if it were not for the shields.


I have seen the mast painted to the boom but never any color on any of the survivors (only a few) I've viewed. I guess it was just easier to keep on rolling white whenever these boats got a fresh coat of paint in later years. Had I known the paint schemes you mentioned, I would have used the slate. At this point, I'll probably just leave it the way it is.


I am aware of the protective planking used to protect the decks. The Lady Katie has them. She uses a modern day equivalent, Plywood. The kit gave me material to make them and advised me to do so. I haven't decided if I will or not but regardless, it would be one of the last applications as the boards need to be fit around the winder after it's installed. 


Once again, Thank you for your knowledge and all the "likes".







Link to post
Share on other sites

Although the kit supplied me with a hardware pack, not everything was included. It would be up to me to make a number of metal parts. I also decided not to use most of the parts supplied because they were intended to be painted and I wanted them in bright brass. The first thing I attempted was the roller assembly. Per the instructions, I used a 1/4" brass tube to make the main roller. a 3/16" dowel was inserted into it and then it was cut to lenght. The dowel gave a place for a couple of brads to be inserted into the ends of the roller and act as attachment points. Cutting sheet brass, bending, drilling and soldering it was a challenge as I have never worked in this medium before. Let alone making very small things out of it. Several attemps were made before reasonable success was achieved.


Here are some of the parts before assembly.




Final assembly after the painting was finished.




The list of small parts that needed to be made is long. Not choosing to use the parts from the kit made it even longer. Here's a list of most of them.

Bowsprit fitting, bowsprit gammon, mast fitting, bobstay and deadeye chain plates, rudder horns, steering rods, davits for the yawl, the winders "A" frame, turnbuckels, boom fittings for attaching blocks, jib and main sheet travelers, dredges, deadeyes and blocks.


Some of but not all of the many parts.




This is how I made the turnbuckels. They turned out "OK". I think I can do better now that I've seen some of the techniques used on this site. One of these days I may choose to remake them.......maybe.




After gaining some confidence building the smaller parts, I moved on to the davits. They are seen with the bowsprit fitting and bobstay chain plates. I made a simple jig to bend the davits. I will probably need to adjust the bend to get them to sit correctly on the transom.




Next was the dredges. There is generally a bit more bracing on them but I think that these are a fair representation. I may try to add some teeth to the bottom bar. The soldering iron I have isn't very good. It takes a long time to get the metal hot enough to melt the solder. These larger pieces seem to wick the heat away. I switched over to a small torch but then I ended up melting the other joints lose. Eventually I figured out that wrapping a wet piece of paper towel around them would keep them cool.


The kit gave me wedding vail to act as the chain netting on the back of the dredges. I have to paint it black and then figure out how to attach it. The tiny split rings they gave me are going to be very difficult to use. I'll be looking for an alternative method. Suggestions are always welcome.




The "A" frame has been the most frustrating part for me to build.The first one turned out so bad I just threw it away. The second one has turned out better but I'm still not happy with it. For some reason they don't have brass in 1/8" angle at either of the hobby stores I shop at and I don't really have a good way to make it. I decided to use 1/8" square tube even though that's not what the winder is made of. This time I made a jig to make the cuts. I used a piece of 1/16" rod that was bent and inserted it into the brass tube. This made holding the joint together much easier as it was soldered. It's also very strong.
















Besides not haveing the correct material for the legs, I couldn't get a piece narrow enough for the top bar. Another problem was previously stated. I think the winder is a little bit to big. Even though I built the frame to the size stipulated in the plans, I think it's to short. When I look at the picture of Lady Katies frame, it appears to be higher than the engine box. For now I've set it aside in order to address other issues.







Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, thibaultron said:

Nice metalwork!

Thanks Ron.

To be honest with you, it looks a little better in the pictures than it does in person. I burned through a lot of metal before I got to a point where I was somewhat happy. Keeping the width of the metal to scale has been tricky since I don't have a good way of cutting it. I need more practice, a good drill press and a milling machine..........And more practice. And more practice. And more practice. :D



Link to post
Share on other sites

With the majority of the small parts made, it was time to start mounting them along with the mast. Holes were pre drilled and brass brads were cut off short to be used as both physical and decorative fastners.






The mast had been pre fit and all that was left to do was to glue it into place. The boat was adjusted on the stand so that the water line was level. A brad was inserted into the bottom end of the mast, trimmed to a 1/4" and then sharpened. Glue (PVA) was applied to the inside of the mast hole and the mast wedges. Once again using the level, the rake of the mast was set so that the top of it fell directly over the center of the hold. With some force, the mast was pushed downward so that the sharpened brad sunk into the keelson and held it firmly. After the glue had dried, the boom was dropped over the mast. A block that rested on the lazy board of the Yawl davits was used to hold the boom at the correct height. Both were then temperately tied in place.




Rigging for the boom lift and fore stay were added to aid in holding the mast from flexing. At this point a pattern could be made for the sails.


Construction paper was used to make the patterns.




The next challenge was to learn how to sew. Although I had spent many hours watching my mother sew when I was (much) younger, I had never actually done it myself. Fortunately I have some life long friends that live a few miles away. Scott is a friend I have known since third grade. His wife Barb is a friend I have known since high school. They both became high school sweethearts and eventually married. I had the honor of being a groomsman in their wedding. Over the years we enjoyed our shared interest of boating, fishing and crabbing while dreaming of living in a waterfront home on the Chesapeake Bay. Seven years ago, Scott retired early and he and Barb finally made the dream come true when they purchased a home in Cambridge. My wife Jan and I followed four years later when she retired from the school system. But I digress.


I gave Barb a call and she was more than willing to show me the basics of sewing and lend me her machine. After practicing on some scrap material, I jumped right in and produced the sails. The instructions told me to sew lines an 1 1/2" apart in the sail. They should follow the top edge of the sail and be sewn with a darker thread. This is supposed to simulate the seams that would be in a sail that is as large as the ones Skipjacks have. The mast hoops would then be sewn at the intersections of those lines and the side of the sail that abuts the mast. In hind sight, I wish that I would have sew the lines closer together because they only created 10 intersections. That only allowed me to use 10 mast hoops. All the pictures I have seen of the mast hoops on Skipjacks shows at least 14 or 15 of them.....OH WELL, what's done is done.






Reef points were sewn in and trimmed as well.











Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I have figured out why I'm having such a hard time with the dredge winders "A" frame. Stopped by the Lady Katie today to have a look at how it was rigged. While I was there I noticed that the engine box and "A" frame are a bit taller than the 36" the directions told me to make them. I didn't have a tape measure with me and I wasn't about to go aboard uninvited. From my vantage point on the dock and roughly eight feet away, they both appeared to be at least 42", if not more in height. That explains why the scale of what I made looks so off to me.


Looks like I'll be making the "A" frame AGAIN!!  :default_wallbash:



Link to post
Share on other sites


Thank you for the kind words. I really appreciate them. :D



Thank you for the link, photos and the CAD drawing. It will be a great help as I attempt to improve my frame. The pictures and the drawing clearly show that the height is much taller than what was given in the kits directions.  One thing I have noticed is that most of the winders I've seen are the same while there are several different configurations of frames. Kathryn's seams to be slightly simpler than others and should be easier to make......Famous last words. :rolleyes:


As you, I have also been following this thread.


Franks skills are undeniable. :imNotWorthy: 


 I truly believe that his model will look better than the real boat ever did. If that build is not "museum quality", then I don't know what is.  I am also very glad that he and his wife were able to overcome the issue that kept him from the build. Good to see him posting up dates again. His build (amongst others) is a primary reason why I am now striving to better mine. However, I must concede that I will most likely never be that good......But I'll have fun trying.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Blocks and rigging.


Since I decided not to use most of the hardware included in the kit, blocks became another thing on the list to make. The directions showed me a way to make blocks that "resembled" the real thing. Not knowing what kind and size block was used in the various locations created a problem. So did trying to make them to scale. My effort to make them was less than perfect. From a distance they give the appearance of blocks where one would expect to see them. Up close, not so much. The same goes for the deadeyes I made.




Made a few rope coils to add here and there.




I continued on and began to rig the sails using the blocks I had. The kit gave me two coils of line. One was a black plastic cord. The other was a white of some type. The white line looked good but the black didn't. The black was to smooth and shinny. I some how managed to lose the materials list so I didn't know what it was intended to be used for. I assumed that it was meant for the shrouds and perhaps the starboard and port stays for the bowsprit. It would be replaced. The Lady Katie has chain for the bowsprit stays as well as the bobstay and jib stay below the bowsprit. An additional length of chain was purchased from a fabric store and used for the stays. There was only 12' of white line supplied. It was determined that there probably wouldn't be enough. I bought a small spool of white line from Hobby Lobby. It was very close in appearance to the line that was supplied with the kit. Some black line was also purchased. It would be used for the shrouds. I also considered using it to rig the Yawl boat to the davits in order to introduce some contrast.


Here is where I am at with the model at this point in time.
















This is also the point that I discovered this site.


Up until now I have just been going along following the directions and building the model. When I got to this point, I started to become dissatisfied with the way the sail was hanging. That lead me to a "web search". Now I gotta tell ya, I'm not very good at searching. Not being a very good speller doesn't help. I'm so bad at searching that I rarely find what I'm looking for. For example, the other day I googled, "GOOGLE", and "BING" popped up....LOL!!


My search was for ideas of how to make a sail look like it was full of air. To my surprise a link to a thread on this site popped up. Not only was I thrilled to find the thread but I was thrilled to find the site. All of a sudden I had a long list of companies that sold the modeling supplies that I couldn't buy at my local hobby and craft stores. In addition, there was also all the forums that discussed the finer points of model building. I spent hours reading through the various threads admiring the beautiful work and craftsmanship displayed within the pages. The down side was that seeing all the beautiful work stimulated the disease that has lived within me for all the years that I have been a craftsman. The disease that makes me my own worst critic. The disease that makes me feel that almost everything I've ever built, could have been better.


From here on my build log will focus on the improvements I am attempting to make to the completed work. The blocks and "A" frame will be foremost. Proper rigging of the sails and using the correct block for the location will also be a consideration. Other then making the afore mentioned improvements, a few other things remain to be done. The list consists of making and mounting the keel board. It was left off until the end of the build so that it wouldn't be damaged during the building process. Hanging the Yawl is another thing on the list. It needs to have the rudder removed and the hull repaired. It also needs to have a hole cut in the fore deck so that the lifting block can be fastened to the keelson. The directions have me connecting it to the deck. In reality, without structural support below, the weight of the boat would just rip the deck off. Some touch up of the paint job will be needed. And finally, the trail boards and a stand need to be made. The trail boards will be a challenge as fine carving and painting are required. As of now, a name hasn't been chosen. I am leaning towards using drift wood as a stand. I hope to find a piece that will let me mount the boat in a way that makes it look like it's riding up a wave.









Link to post
Share on other sites

The standing rigging on a Skipjack was generally steel cable, so a silver or gray thread would be right. All the running rigging would have been either tan (hemp)(early boat) or white (polyester/dacron type rope, if representing a boat still being used today).


Your boat is looking good!


PS. Your not the only bad speller! 🙂


Yes Frank's build awes me too!


If you don't think you want to carve the Trailboards, I can send you a PDF. of one I drew for my Carrie Price build, so you can make a decal. That's what I'm planning for my Skipjack builds. I have one for the Kathryn, and the Willie Bennett. I can change the name to one of your choice.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron, Thank you for the info and the offer.


As far as the rigging goes, I am going to look through my fishing tackle to see if I have any wire leader that might work for the shrouds, fore and jib stays. I think it would look good if I actually used wire. We'll see. I bought some tan rope from Chuck and may change it out from the white when I re-rig everything.


 I am somewhat reluctant to put much of anything I haven't made on the model. The only things (hardware) I've used from the kit is the prop, steering wheel, some (plastic-yuk) cleats and parts from the bobbins. The blocks are an issue un to themselves. I also bought some double and single,  "build them yourself" blocks from Chuck. At first I thought that they would look "too real" for my model considering that most of what I've built only looks "close to real". The good news is, I did such a poor job assembling them that I actually managed to make them look just right. LOL!!! The first thing that happened was that I fat thumbed them and managed to break some of the sheaves out of the frames. DOH!!! It's even harder to glue those tiny pieces correctly when you do that. The second problem I had was getting them together before the CA (thin) dried. I ended up switching to medium. No matter how carful I was to just use the smallest amount, I still managed to get it into the slots that the metal straps should fit into. I had to drill some holes in the ends and use a piece of brass wire to make the straps. OH WELL, they'll have to do. And besides, they're much better than my first attempt.






Sooner or later I'm going to have to accept this model for what it is, a first attempt. It's getting dangerously close to being a first and second build, all in one.  :D


I'm going to give carving and painting the trail boards a shot. I still haven't decided what to name her. I was going to surprise my wife and name it after her. (Jan) She suggested that I name it after my daughter. (Alexandra) One would certainly be easier than the other. If I fail miserably, I may take you up on the offer. Thanks again.





Link to post
Share on other sites

Yawl boat improvemets


Unlike building a boat such as the Kathryn that is documented and surveyed, this Skipjack is unidentified. That gives me a degree of license to choose between some of the differant styles of components that were on the various boats. The Yawl is one of them.


As previously posted, this is the picture of the Yawl that the kit had me build.




The Lady Katie's yawl.




and the Nathans.




As can be seen, the Nathan's yawl has more deck on the bow than the Lady Katie. In that respect it looks more like the yawl I built. The kit had me using two eye bolts that were screwed into the deck for the attachment points of the blocks that lift the yawl. In reality, unless those bolts were very long and anchored into the keelson, the weight of the boat would have either ripped them out of the deck or taken the deck with them. That logic is demonstrated in both the pictures of the yawls. They both have the blocks mounted to the keelson in order to provide the strength neccessary to lift the yawl. For that reason I wanted to make the mountings on my yawl more structurally sound. Since I had built the yawl without taking this into consideration I would need to make a couple of holes in the decks of my yawl.


I hastily scratched out a rough outline of a square hole on the fore deck and hustled (after taking a picture) off to the shop.




Approximately 1/10 of a second after the drill bit broke through the planking, the thought "OH NO!!!" exploded in my head. Not only did I forget to implement the basic rule of "measure twice, cut once" but I totaly forgot to measure AT ALL!!! A minute later my fears were confirmed. The hole wasn't going to line up with the davit that the yawl would hang from. In a split second I had just un- improved the tiny boat. Major surgery would be required.


A section of deck was removed and the hole cut in the appropriate location.




New planking was glued, filled, sanded and stained.




Previously to making my error of the day, I had also been working on the padding for the bow. I used a piece of three strand cotton string to make the padding. The following pictures tell the story.










It was then dry fit.




After the repairs were completed and the stain dry, a small hole was drilled in the keelson through the middle of the holes in the deck. Pins were cut and bent to eventually hold the blocks at the correct height in the deck after they are rigged.




Here's a few pictures of the yawl now that it's actually been improved.








Hopefully my next "improvement" will go a little smoother.







Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Hope this isn't too far off topic.


We had guests visiting for the weekend so we took them to the Chespeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. They have a number of vintage work and pleasure boats as well as some very interesting exhibits. In particular, they have a couple of Skipjacks and a Bugeye. I was most interested in seeing the Rosie Parks.




To my surprise, she had been stripped of her boom, mast, Yawl and most of her riggings. I soon found that the reason for this was to make repairs to the mast. It had developed some severe cracks at it's base.


Unfortunately, even though it was sitting next to the door, I forgot to bring my camera and had to make do with my cell phone.


The mast after it was repaired. It was coated with a very sticky substance. Don't know why.




You can see the "V" cut and the new wood that was added to the base of the mast. The cut off piece is sitting on the ground next to it. I'm sorry I didn't get as many pictures that I should have in order to show the repair better.


Another point of interest is the two coins in the bottom of the mast.




One of them has the date that the boat was built. The other has the date that the boat was restored.




I don't know if it was a common practice to do this when a boat was built.


It also appears that repairs were made to the mast in other areas and that the hounds were replaced.






The square ends are the top.


They had another Skipjack.




I like comparing the boats to see how they differ. This one has a hook and a pully for the anchor rode. It also has two chain stays on each side of the bowsprit. The davits are heavier than any others I've seen. Three inch pipe.




And of course another Yawl that's drastically different from the ones in this thread.




The Bugeye Edna Lockwood




She's a bit bigger than the Skipjacks.




Not many extras on her bowsprit.










Heres a close up of how a real mast hoop is made.




We couldn't get into the small boat shed. A dog club was having a scent searching contest and they were hidding the packets throughout the shed. Those dogs wasted no time finding them.


This was outside the main door.




I love the rudder on this little sneak boat.




They have a building that is dedicated to oystering. Inside it is another Skipjack. The E. C. Collier.




She is a static display that you can walk on and explore. The hull is open (cut away) on the lower back side and can also be explored. It gives good insight to how the hull was constructed. Once again the dog people were setting up. I only had a few minutes to snap a couple shots.




In addition to the boat, there are a number of artifacts on display.




There's no doubt that dredging for oysters was hard work. Long days on a pitching boat in the middle of winter would have been tough even if trimming the sails was all you had to do. Add in deploying and hauling in a dredge and then sorting the catch for hours at a time would have worn down even the strongest man. Now imagine that you had to haul those dredges with one of these.

P.S. Ron. I vaguely remember a discussion about early winders in another thread. Here's a couple pictures of one. Although they may have been repositioned for the sake of display, the handles are the same length and not offset.






You would have felt that the "New technology" was a God send.






Last but not least.


They have a building dedicated to modeling. There is a number of nicely done cased models on display. They also have programs for the public.




















Thanks for joining me on our trip to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.







Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, thibaultron said:

The handle position may have been changed for display purposes. All the photos I have of them in use show them setup opposing.

I am also sure that the powered winder was well received!


Here is my drawing from SketchUp for the 1/32 scale 3D print.



looks like you got that SketchUp dead on. Nice!!



Link to post
Share on other sites

Windless improvement


Some of the Skipjacks I've seen have windlesses on their samson post.


Rosie Parks








The kit gave me two map tacks to use as the windless.




I was unhappy with the look from the minute I installed them. Paint wasn't going to make them look any better. It was time to improve them.


I took a 1/4 dowel and put it in a drill. Then I formed the concave detail using a rattail file.




Brass was used to make gears and handles. A gold paint pen gave the wood a metalic look.




So here it is. Still not completely real looking but better.










Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
  • 4 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...