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Boston Whitehall Tender by Simon - FINISHED - Midwest Products scale 1:13

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Well here we go, have drawn in a deep breath and now launching my first build log. The chosen boat is a Boston Whitehall tender which I should say was not my first choice. I actually ordered HMB Endeavour by Caldercraft and then realised I was getting in way out of my depth. So you can see it sitting on the shelf of my new workshop.....





so I ripped them all off and started again. 




this time I used an electric plank bender which after much trial and error started giving a good result. Luckily there were TWO sheaves of planks in my kit - I can only assume by mistake as the check list only mentions the 48 planks in one of the sheaves. Anyway, plenty of spare planks which I can see I am going to need....




at this point I have reached an impasse as I have started tapering the planks off too late (i think). And when you look at the port side from another angle you can see how the clinker effect has built up...............




furthermore on the starboard side I found a gap was building between the planks and the forms and I thought that was just going to result in grief.


In a desperate measure I carefully removed the last 4 planks and rather savagely cut a taper into them as can be seen here:




which leaves me wondering what to do now to deal with the clinker effect and what technique to use to complete the planking  through to the dreaded Garboard plank. I have seen it written that the Garboard plank should be last But I can´t help feeling I should get it done now and then try to fill the gap.


It also struck looking through some of the fantastic build logs on this site that most builds involve bulkheads against which planks can be supported and glued and/or pinned. In the case of my Tender, they are just forms which must be removed so cannot be used for securing the planks. Doesnt that make this model rather more difficult when it comes to a first experience with planking.....(ok, so here I am blaming the model for my bad work !!).  


would appreciate any hints as I really want to move to the next stage but want to try and get it right. If I have to start again then no probs......as i said, I have plenty of spare planking !













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Just wanted to add one more photo which shows the extent of the clinker effect on the port side but not so bad on the starboard side ......




one more point...I noted that using CA thick glue tends to stain the wood whereas the white clear super glue does not...but of course takes longer to dry. I assume therefore it might be better to use the white glue wherever possible (although the CA is great for the first fix of a plank to the stem....)


that´s it for now


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Hi Simon,


    This makes into a very nice model. heck all of Midwest little model boats make into nice models. To answer your question, I can't tell from the picture, but did you fair the frames on your building jig first? If you did not you must do that and then you take a batten(spar piece of planking) and lay it across all frames to make sure it sits flat and runs smoothly across all frames. You slide this batten up n down the length of the hull to make you that same look over the whole jig. This will help eliminate the clinker effect...


   As for the garber strake it is usually the first plank that is placed for me. The sheer is what i do next and then i work towards the middle. But before you do this you should take measurements of your frames and the width of your planks and divide them evenly on the frames. This way you can figure the taper of the planks at the bow n stern areas.  You can use one of those seamtress rulers to measure your frames. You know those soft material rulers that roll up in your hand.


What i do and have read is place the plank on the jig and with the next plank i make sure it sits flat as possible on the first plank with no gaps. If there some gaps this is where I start to slightly work in a bevel on that edge of the plank until it sit cleanly on the preceeding plank. Then I start all over again and place the next. What I don't do it bevel both sides of the same plank. Its one beveled side of the plank sits on the factory side(untouched side of the plank) of the plank.


This works for me but there is a great tutorial in the ARTICLE DOWNLOADS section os MSW. I hope this helps you out...


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Thankyou Cap´n for so much very useful input. No, I didnt do fair the forms....I had read about it but the instructions didnt mention it so I took the lazy route and skipped that stage.....lesson learnt for the future!


My doubt with the Garboard strake is where does it begin and end ? Looking at the instructions, it just runs between the 1st and 3rd form without reaching either the stem or the keel. It looks like a fairly small plank ...........:




seeing as how I have a complete spare set of planks I reckon I will start again....but this time fairing the forms and establishing planking bands.....


thanks again for your help


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Hi Simon,

    I try to keep it simple in my head about the Garboard. Its the first one i place, because i look at it as the foundation for all the other planks to sit on. As for how long it will be you must take measurements. But just keep in mind you want the garboard to have a horizonal or straight as possible edge on the top of the plank. That your next plank will sit as clean as possible. But you will get to the point tha this will change slightly and that is where you will have to bevel the edge of the plank that you are fitting the the already glued in placed plank. You keep this in mind then you stay away from spilling planks. But in your case a small boat like this should not have any spilled planks. I hope this helps you out... :10_1_10: 

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I made one of these a few years back. There's no way you can plank it the way they say in the instructions. The first time I tried I got as far as the knuckle on the frames, took all the planks off and started again having read up on how to plank a hull. Just about all of the planks needed to be shaped. I put about 5 planks each side starting from the sheer then started again from the garboard plank. 


It took me a lot longer than I first expected. But as Cap'n Rat Fink says. it makes a nice model. Mine's in a bar in the village somewhere. I've also got the timber to do one twice the size but I've got a bit on at the moment.  

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thank you both for your very helpful comments .  It is somehow reassuring to know it's not just me being stupid with the instructions. I must confess however I did read up on the excellent planking articles in this site BEFORE starting the build and even so  I thought I could get away with forceful bending and a 'steady' eye ....


so I reckon lesson number one in my new career as a model boat builder is: get some humility !! and number two has to be "patience".......




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Moving rather slowly on this and wishing I had read Chuck S´s log on the 18th century longboat as I could have avoided the many mishaps which I will document here. There are a lot of similarities in the builds - specifically the single planking. But I am learning with each mistake and enjoying trying to find a fix where possible.


I said if the clinkering got too bad I would start again but after a couple of nights just staring at it I thought that if I ripped off all the planks I would probably be bringing my new career as a modelist to an abrupt end.  So I filled the largest gap with a tailored splinter......


The Gap:]




and the splinter:




and, thanks to the kind comments of you people out there, I discovered that shaping the planks was just too simple by soaking them in a bottle and then clamping them in place until they dried - incidentally, the wine bottle I picked up to fill with water had the cork pushed in (just shows how desperate I get!). So when I inserted a plank into the bottle the cork naturally sought the surface and in so doing jammed the plank in position thus preventing it from floating half out of the bottle. Neat.



wet plank drying:




and setting into position:





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Time to face up to the trickier part of the planking.....






using pins to stop wet plank lifting from the frame and perpetuating the clinker effect. Of course if I had followed the  advice of Capn Rat Fink earlier I would have been putting a bevel (or chamfer ?) on each plank and tapered them off at the ends in a more methodical, calculated fashion......but the instructions just made it all look too easy !




Then I went for the Garboard plank.........




and now time to fill the gap for which had to glue two planks together:




but not a perfect fit. This has made me realise that I need to up my game a little. A perfect fit is not impossible....it is so wonderful to work with this soft basswood so it just takes a little more focus, a little more measuring perhaps, learning a few more tricks (like using masking tape to measure the gap - ). all good fun:




more tomorrow.




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  • 2 weeks later...

now on the home stretch.....bit of a botch job but have learnt a lot about what NOT to do in making model boats.....


Here are the gaps between the planks




and here some more at the transom:post-4506-0-83159000-1371525248_thumb.jpg



so i thought I would try some home made filler mixing white glue and sawdust which I had collected....disaster !post-4506-0-33841000-1371525251_thumb.jpg


the breasthook broke whilst I was sanding so I cut a triangle from the basswood die-cut sheet and found the Dremel very useful for getting a clean curve:




started to work on the ribs and wet them then cut them roughly to length to they could be jammed in position and dry to the right shape:




next came the floor strips and the adapted soldering iron was very useful for giving the right curve to the one inch pieces



I then decided really to try and get something right so I cut 6 half inch triangles from a scrap piece of die-cut sheet and again using the dremel started shaping the knees to fit between the seats and the bottom of the inwhale. I had already spent quite a bit of time trying to get the seats right.....in the end it  worked out quite well:




I then fitted the mahogany rub rail and made 4 rowlock blocks which I then drilled in order to take the rowlocks. Naturally I got a bit carried away and the drill bit came right out through the hull......




it was fun fashioning the oars from dowel and strips of planking.....



not far to go now



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I now need some advice as I want to give the boat as natural a finish as possible, preferably without painting it as I love wood and the grain and the shades; when you can see each plank individually (albeit incorrectly installed) you can reflect on the time that went into putting it all together.


My problem is the mess I got into with the clinker effect (I failed to measure, taper, and bevel - let alone do proper spiling where required). This meant that when it came to sanding I got the outer hull fairly smooth but it feels and looks like an eggshell. Having said that, I was amazed at how much strength came into the construction after fitting the whales, and ribs, and the rub rail, as well as the seats of course.


There is no way I can properly sand the inside of the boat or I will go right through the hull and anyway the clinker effect on the inside is quite attractive (to my sore eyes). It´s a pity that I made a lousy attempt at filling the gaps with sawdust and glue as it has just left it very messy but this has been mitigated somewhat by the seats and knees.


obviously there are gaps that really require a wood filler but then I assume that will stain the planks on either side of the cracks.....and I would be nervous about doing any more sanding for fear of going through the hull!  The gaps are not huge so if there was a really viscous stain or varnish that could seep into them that would be perfect.........


any ideas ??












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Thanks Pete....that is exactly the finish I am looking for ! Of course it is never going to look as beautiful as your fine dinghy but I reckon it might just do the trick. Problem now is to identify the equivalent in Brazil  - I see from Google that Danish Oil is a proprietary name made by Rustins and produced from something akin to the Brazil nut - so has to be around here somewhere !



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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, this is it......I am calling it a day on the Tender having tried to stain the wood and not really got it right.......

Pete had suggested Danish oil or Tung oil but I couldnt find them here in Rio so I bought some stains and experimented first with Cherry which was too pinkish and then with Mahogany which was too dark.....




I then mixed the two and got a reasonable colour but it did not stain evenly......which was when I decided ...what the hell, I´ll cover the external hull with floor wax which at least will fill inthe gaps and should give an old burnished look to the boat




The wax has indeed filled the gaps but is clearly visible in this photo....but I am going to leave it a while to collect dust and then smooth it down again with a cloth





I stained the base dark and attached rope around it ........




but didnt really like the result so painted it off white and am still deciding whether to keep the rope or not.


I then decided to varnish the interior of the boat with matt finish and now have a bit of a mess as the wax has oozed through from the outside. I quite like the rough finish so may just leave it like that....it looks something of an antique boat !!


so here are some more photos and I can see that the flash mercilessly picks out the unvarnished bits so will have to go back to them.


all in all it has been a fantastic learning experience and I now move on to HMS Victory by Mamoli which I hadnt realised was solid wood hull and quite tiny 1:325.................thanks to all at MSW for making this such an enjoyable hobby







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Thanks guys for the positive comments - I guess we are still like 8 year old children and thrive on encouragement !


Wayne + Tom - glad you approved of the colours as it was totally 'hit and miss'. I was always sure I didn't want to paint the boat as I love the grain and shades and contrasts you find in wood. Next time around I am going to take a lot more care (and exercise greater patience) with the planking


Adam + Eddie - very much appreciated.


One thing I can say is that after doing this first build and going back to look at some build logs of similar boats.....it all seems to make so much more sense. Yet when I looked at the logs in advance it was like a different world. Guess that's what they call building up experience.....




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  • 1 month later...

Thank you Simon!

i long to see pictures of your Victory.

I also made a Victory. It was a plastic kit from Revell but only 18cm long.

20 years ago Revell hat a very little Victory and Constitution that i build, in the sales programm.

Waiting for your pictures  :)


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Thanks Volker - Victory was my first plastic kit too (after doing some Revell aeroplanes)....that was probably about 45 years ago...aaagh !

I have just worked out (again) how to turn my signature below for HMS Victory into a link to the build log so you can have a look if you wish......have only just started and a long way to go !



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  • 2 months later...

Thanks Shawn, I really had fun with the Tender and learnt a lot as a first build - particularly about how NOT to do the planking !  I am now kind of stuck with an Italian version of HMS Victory - the instructions are really dreadful, unlike the Tender where they were very precise. I need to buy a tool for inserting tiny nails and of course can't find it here in Brazil - and mail order from abroad very often gets 'lost' in Customs ! But i'll be travelling to UK shortly so will get all tooled up (buying the right tool is half the fun of this business.....) and hopefully come back with renewed enthusiasm. 

great detail on your model by the way - seems like you have been doing this for years !



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