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Bohuseka by bolin - FINISHED - scale 1:12 - Swedish west coast rowboat

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This model I actually started a few months ago. I started a course in model boat building in February, and selected it as topic for the the semester. However, due to the corona outbreak the course got canceled. When I saw the schedule for the autumn recently I didn't find the course listed anymore. Then I realized that I will need to finish it on my own, and for that I will need the help and advice by the community here.


I currently have another build ongoing, so the pace for this one might be slow. I will however document the build up to the point where I am currently.


The subject is a small (4.4 m long) clinker built flat bottomed rowboat of traditional Swedish design. From the course I got a copy of the plans and templates for the planks. I'm rather certain the the plans was published in this book (which unfortunately is out of print):



The white boat in the back on the cover looks similar to the one I'm building. It is primarily a rowboat, but a small sail can also be flown.

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The construction method is shell first (as with most traditional clinker built ships).


The first step was to build a jig to build the shell on. The plans included drawings of all frames. These where glued on good quality plywood and then cut out with a coping saw and trimmed to the drawing line with a file. The cut out in the lower part is for rubber bands that will hold the planks when bending and gluing them.



A typical feature of many of these "ekor" is that the have flat transoms in both fore and aft. The fore one being smaller.


As can be seen the frames are angled. When looking at the plans they are approximately perpendicular to the railing (but not to the bottom). The plans are based on measurements done in the early 1980s of a boat that was originally built around 1900.


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The transoms are glued to the jig, but only in the lowest part. When the shell is complete it will be released by sawing them of.


In the picture above I have started to fit the planks. The transom pieces are cut oversized and are filed down to fit the individual planks. For the planks I have some templates, but no exact drawings. The process involves a lot of filing and adjusting.



The wood is lime. The thickness of the planks are slightly over 2 mm, and the transom 3,5 mm.


In the picture above the garboard planks are glued in place. I could have made a better job of creating a smooth curve over the length of the hull. An observation is that these planks are mounted before the bottom plank.



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  • 1 month later...

I took a break from rigging in my Will Everard build. I felt I wanted to do some work on wood...


I glued the bottom plank in place already several months ago, now I continue with the next strake. This is far from kit-building. The planks are cut oversized and it requires a lot of filing and sanding to get them to lay nice and smooth without gaps.




When reasonably satisfied I put the planks in hot water and bent in place for drying. As can be seen I have upgraded to stronger rubber bands 🙂




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  • 3 weeks later...

With my other ongoing build coming to a close very soon, I turn my attention back to this build.


The second plank was glued a few days ago.


When I was gluing one of the planks I was so focused on not getting any glue to the frames so I forgot to glue it to the fore and aft transoms. Thankfully there was enough of a gap so that I could press some glue into the join afterwards. It seems to be holding.




The third plank was fitted. I have become better at this with practice. It went much quicker and the fit is better. This is very good, as one of the primary reasons for completing this build is to get practice in building a scratch built clinker hull. My next planned build will contain much more of that...


In the picture below the third plank has been formed to shape after soaking in hot water. My understanding is that it is primarily the heat that makes the wood easier to bend, not the water. So soaking for a long time does not add anything. I pour boiling water in a thermos and soak the strips in that for a minute or two.


The third plank is from a different sheet than the one provided in the course. This one I bought from Elde Modelbau in Germany. Good quality, but slightly different that the original wood.







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The last plank has been glued and I have cut away the excess in the stern. In the bow I discovered a gap and had to re-glue the foremost part of one of the planks.


I have also started with the finishing of the underside. I have not decided on what type of treatment I want to give it. Probably just linseed oil. For that to look good the surface must be as smooth as possible. My experience is that lime wood (which I use in the model) get more of a satin finish when sanded. Therefore I opted for scraping. It seems to work OK, even where the fibers had raised up when the plank was soaked and bent.



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  • 2 weeks later...

The time for release has finally arrived:




The hull is cut free from the plug. And the inside can finally be inspected.




Overall OK, but there are some lessons to be learned for other builds. There is to much glue spill. I should have used less, and I should have tried harder to wipe it away, even when it was hard to reach on the underside of the boat. There are marks in the planks from where one of the frame templates in the a plug was sticking up too much. Lime is a soft wood, especially when wet. I should have worked more on checking and fairing the plug. Fortunately, since the frame template was in the position of the frame, the marks will be covered.


The biggest mistake is in the stern:




These gaps must be corrected. I cut a cover piece from 1 mm lime and glued it in.






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Looks good!  One problem with the upside down construction method is, like an Easter egg, you don't know what is inside until you cut into it.  Your cover should be fine.  I assume there will be a seat at the stern as well, which will cover most all of the in-board stern exposure.



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The cover piece turned out nicely, I can live with the minor gaps that remains.


Today I continued with the frames. First I wanted to test if I could make a frame in a single piece by bending a strip edge wise and then cut out notches for the plank overlaps. My conclusion is that it might have worked if I created a proper jig for bending. Some of the strips would probably have broken. If I had used some wood than Lime wood it might have been easier. I decided to make the frames in two pieces instead, cut from a wider piece of wood.


Getting the shape of the frames.



The first frame dry fitted.





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I like these small, local craft ...


BTW, as I am collecting books on such small local boats, I did a quick search on the Web and it may be that the above book is still available: https://batdok.com/produkt/batar-i-bohuslan-del-1/


There is also information on similar (or the same ?) boats here: https://digitaltmuseum.se/011024268188/bat


Not sure what the generic term is in Swedish, but in German such clinker-built boats with a small transom forward and no keel, but a bottom plank would be called 'prahm'.

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Thanks Per.


You have a good eye wefalk. That is actually the same boat as documented in the book and the measured plans I now follow. It would have been nice to have found it earlier, then the small forward transom would have been made even smaller :-). I made an observation, there are three oarlocks on each side, the plans only shows two. But based on the text describing the boat it is still clear that it is the same.


In Swedish the boat type is called "eka". In its most specific meaning it is just such a flat bottomed clinker built boat that is meant, but the term is also used in a broader meaning for similar small boats. The most famous eka might be the "Harpsundsekan", the row boat at the prime ministers summer residence Harpsund. Here a picture 1964 with Swedens then prime minister Tage Erlander, and soviet leader Nikita Chrustjov with interpreter.



My model has made some progress.


First the inside has been sanded and scraped.



The frames have been fitted and glued:



With the final result:




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  • 3 weeks later...

There has been a bit slower progress for a while. The reason can mostly be seen in the background of the picture; improved storage for my workspace. Now I hope that I can keep it tidier, and leave more free space on the work area.



On the boat I have worked on the stringer on the inside of the railing. These are med in three pieces with knees extending to the transoms. In the picture the middle pieces are still not fitted.

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Vain hope or not, I feel like have managed to work a bit better with my upgraded work area 😉



I have finished the railing and installed risers along the sides and thwarts across. The floor boards (I'm not sure of the correct term in English), where made of sheets and the "plank joints" where carved into them.



There are still a bit of cleaning up to do before I can do the surface treatment. I have not decided on the method yet. The original boat was tared. Either I try to mimic that, or make it more of a display piece. In the latter case I think I would use raw linseed oil. For a "tared" look I would consider the same oil based varnish that Silverman has used in his cog- build:


On 9/19/2020 at 10:50 PM, silverman834 said:

Thank you for the Steven for the encouragement!


Binho, the paint is from a swedish brand and I think a correct description of the paint would be that it is an oilbased wash meant for furniture and the colour is appropriately called tar. It gets a nice finish if it dries for an hour and the exposed areas is then wiped off to get contrast. But today I got some spots where it turned shiny and I must tone it down.



(The can has the description in both swedish, norwegian, danish and finnish)


The original boat was also equipped for sailing (although the mast was probably only raised when needed). The plans I work from does not include any information regarding that. However the link on Digital Museum that wefalck posted above links to information about the length of the mast and some other details. With that, and with this model https://digitaltmuseum.se/021015749836/fo183212dig-5 as reference, I think I will be able to create something plausible.






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Actually, I think you would need one cleat only, one on the mast to belay the halliard for the sail. But not even that may be needed, as one could tie the halliard simply to the bench.


Sheets on small boats are never belayed, so that you can let it go immediately in an emergency. However, a half-cleat on each side, or something like that, might be useful to lead the sheet around and ease the strain somewhat. There is no information on how it was done on the real thing ?

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Thanks wefalck for the input on the need for (or rather lack thereof) belaying points. With your input I know what to look for. There is a half cleat in the plan on the under side of the railing by the aft seat. I had missed that.


I don’t have any photo of the original mast, and the plans does not include them. However, I have seen other boats from the same area with a cleat for the halliard on the mast. I will probably add one.


Thanks Chris for reminding me of the name for the rig type. In Swedish it’s called sprisegel (segel = sail), basically the same word. As always the information is always a search away, but I was a bit lazy...

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Today I put the boat on a new stand, tied the last knots and declare the Bohuseka complete!



This has turned out to be a very satisfying build. It started out a bit shakily, as the hull shape did not become as narrow in the fore as it should have been, but in the end I like the result. Scratch building is much more satisfying, challenging and ultimatly more satisfying for me than kit building. There will be more.




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Thanks for all the nice comments!


wefalck, I did entertain the idea of giving it a tarred look. But in a sense I chickened out. I intend the model as a gift, and I felt that the recipient would appreciate it more in a clean wooden finish. I was afraid that the tarred look would look "dirty" and less attractive to the untrained eye.


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