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John Smith Shallop

December, 2019
I have started a new scratch-build project - the John Smith Shallop.

The Real ShallopThis is a model of a replica shallop built by the Deltaville Maritime Museum in 2006.

The museum asked me last year to build a model of the shallop for them but they were unable to find plans. It appeared that all information relating to the original project was lost in a fire at the museum some years ago. However, a very rough set of preliminary plans turned up in late November. These plans are nothing more than line drawings and do not accurately reflect the boat as built, but they were good enough to enable me to start on the project.Original Plans
Original Plans

On Wednesday, November 25, I drove down to the museum to begin taking measurements. As can be seen on the original plans, there were no details at all and no scantlings so I had to measure as much as I possibly could. I spent 4 hours crawling around the boat and I don't doubt there are things I missed that will require another trip. Or two.

In consultation with the museum, it was decided that a model at a scale of 3/4"=1' would be best for the available display space. The original boat is 30 ft. long (not counting the rudder) so the model will be 22.5" in length. The original plans were drawn at 0.579"=1' (how strange!) so they had to be enlarged. As well, I had to make several modifications to the drawing to reflect the boat as built.

The first job was to determine the locations of the frames. They are roughly 20" apart and there are 16 of them. Once drawn on the sheer plan and half-breadth plan, I was able to start plotting the frames on a grid. That took several days. As of today, December 5, I have the stem cut out with the rabbet carved and three frames assembled. I'm building the boat upside down in the Hahn style. None of the frames are permanently installed yet. I'll wait until they are all cut out. I used beech for the stem to simulate oak. I had intended to use beech for the frames as well, but I just don't have enough on-hand, so I am using poplar instead. The boat will be planked with pine.

Plotted Frame
Plotted Frame
First Frames
First Frames

December 10, 2019
I finished making the frames today. They aren't glued into the build board yet, but I'll tackle that tomorrow. On Monday, I went to a trophy shop and had them laser engrave the name of the boat on a piece of beech I will use for the stern. I tried carving it by hand, but my skills just weren't up to it. This looks way better!

Frames
Frames
Name
Name

December 12, 2019
I spent most of yesterday checking the frames to make sure they were right and then gluing them into the build board. Today, I installed blocking between the frames and made a support for the transom. Next step will be fairing the frames. That usually takes me a couple of days. I find it helpful to get the hull to the point where I think it's right, then leave it alone for several hours, then come back and fix what I missed the first time. I usually do that several times. It's one of those jobs that really needs to be done right or else the whole boat will look screwy.

Frames and Blocking
Frames and Blocking
Transom Support
Transom Support

December 16, 2019
Major milestone today - I got the first plank on both sides. It was a bit of a struggle getting here, but the rest of the planking shouldn't be too bad. Knock on wood.

First Plank
First Plank
First Plank
First Plank

December 20, 2019
Finished getting all the planks on the side today! Bottom planking comes next, then I will be ready to cut the hull free from the build board.

Hull Planking
Hull Planking
Hull Planking
Hull Planking

December 22, 2019
Yesterday, sanded down the hull and I drilled all the treenail holes in the planks. I decided to use filler instead of actual treenails. The frames on this boat are very thin and I was afraid of drilling all the way through them to the inside of the boat. That would have looked ugly and possibly weakened the frames. Once the filler was dry and sanded, I stained the hull and left it to dry overnight Today, I spent the whole day working on the bottom of the boat. The first task was to make a template so I could cut the boards to shape (I had glued them up last nite). The bottom extends past the side of the boat a ways and there are two different angles on the edge. Took me a while to figure out how to sand that but I think it came out OK. Then I glued the bottom on. Once it was dry, I made a template for the skeg and once I'd cut and sanded it, I glued it on the bottom. I reinforced it with some brass rod. The shoe went on top of the skeg next. The aft end of the boat hasn't been sanded down yet. All the planks and the bottom will be flush with the transom. I'm waiting until I get it off the build board to take care of that.

At this point, I can't see any reason why I can't cut the boat off the build board. But I'm going to curb my enthusiasm until tomorrow just in case some reason why I shouldn't pops into my head.

Plank Angles
Plank Angles
Bottom Planking
Bottom Planking

December 28, 2019
As can be seen in the pics below, the boat has been stained and painted. The rub rails are on and the clamps inside the boat are installed.Next step will be the cap rails & deck planking at the bow. After that, I'll work on the floor and thwarts. Or maybe vise versa. Depends on what strikes my fancy.

Painted and Stained
Painted and Stained
Painted and Stained
Painted and Stained

December 29, 2019
I spent much of the morning putting supports in the bottom of the boat for the floor boards. After that, I started making the mast support structure. Most of it is hidden by the floor boards but enough can be seen that it's an important feature. The picture on the left makes it appear that it's painted two different shades of gray, but that's just an effect of the lighting. The unpainted piece in the right--hand picture is a wedge that is used to tighten the bottom of the mast. I just hadn't gotten around to painting it when I took the picture Of course, that square piece of wood is just a stub to show where the mast will go and to test fitting. The floor boards have been stained, but not yet glued in place.

Mast Support
Mast Support
Floor Boards
Floor Boards

January 3, 2020
Happy New Year and Decade! I took New Year's Day off and had a nice hike followed by wine, cheese, salami, and other goodies. Wonderful start to the new year. As can be seen in the photos below, I now have all the floor boards in along with the thwarts and knees. The thwarts look more orange in the photo than they do in real life. They are an iron oxide color so they have some red in them. I still need to make the mast support that goes on the center thwart, then it will probably be on to the cap rails.

Floor and Thwarts
Floor and Thwarts
Floor and Thwarts
Floor and Thwarts

January 6, 2020
Spent the past few days working on the cap rails and oarlocks. Got everything made, assembled and finished painting today. I started gluing up some boards for the stern seat, but that was as far as I got with it today. I'll start working on that next. I also still have to make the mast support to go on the middle thwart.

Cap Rail
Cap Rail
Cap Rail
Cap Rail

January 9, 2020
I have been working on the interior features of the boat including the mooring post at the bow, the mast support and belaying pins, the stern seat, and the mooring posts and cleats at the stern.

There are more things to make for the interior such as chests that go under the thwarts, oars, mast, etc. But I'm going to turn my attention to the exterior for a while now.

Mooring Post
Mooring Post
Mast Support
Mast Support
Mooring Post & Cleat
Mooring Post & Cleat
Stern Seat
Stern Seat

January 14, 2020
I made a trip down to Deltaville on Saturday to take some more measure. Since then, I've been working on the leeboards and rudder. The leeboards are all masked off, ready to paint. All the white styrene on the leeboards represents iron work that will get painted black. The rudder is still, obviously, a work in progress.

Leeboards
Leeboard
Rudder
Rudder

January 15, 2020
I stained the rudder last nite, but I'm not happy with the way the stain looks. I am going to see if I can sand it off once it's fully dry but I fear I may have to re-make it. So, while waiting for that, I spent part of yesterday and all of today making ten sea chests to go under the thwarts. Construction is done, but they still need to be stained and painted and rope handles added. They seem simple enough until you realize that each one requires 14 parts that need to be glued together with two of the sides rabbeted. On top of that, each one is a different size. So it was a time-consuming job.

Sea Chests
Sea Chests
Chest Parts
Chest Parts

January 20, 2020
I've spent the last four days making rudders. As i mentioned above, I wasn't happy with the stain on number 1. I also discovered that those "wings" on the side shouldn't be there. They were put on the real rudder so that the museum could attach a couple of trolling motors to help push it along if there was no one to row. So the museum did not want them on the model. Glad I asked! I worked on rudder number 2 for two days. Had it all constructed and when I held it up to the boat, I discovered I'd put the middle pintle strap too low. There was no way to correct the error. I'd drilled holes for the pins in the straps and if I tried to move the straps, which were well glued on anyway, I would have exposed the holes and probably ruined the rudder in any case. So I started over on rudder number 3 yesterday. Finished it up today along with the gudgeons. The lower section of the rudder still needs to be painted white as does the lowest gudgeon on the hull, but I'll save that for another day. I also made the tiller somewhere along the line, but I'm not really sure when any more. All I can say is I'm glad to have the rudder behind me!

Rudder
Rudder
Tiller
Tiller

January 22, 2020
I wound up doing iron work today. The leeboards are attached to the hull at their pivot point by a chain that runs thru the hull and a thick plate inside where it is fastened with a spike. I won't attach the leeboards until the model is nearly done, but I wanted to make the hardware for them. I didn't have any bolts that were long enough, so I turned some fake bolt heads for the outside. Inside, I was able to cut off some bolts and glue the nut and a protruding portion in the holes I'd drilled for them Drilling that large hole through the hull was pretty intense. If I screwed it up somehow, I don't know how or if I could have fixed it. Fortunately, everything came out OK in the end. Of course there are two of these - port and starboard.

This afternoon, I put some copper on the top of the stem and made the bail for the forward stay. Last, I made the ironwork near the waterline. A mooring rope will get attached there eventually. The nuts and bolts I'm suing came from Model Motorcars. They are real nuts and bolts in brass. Expensive, but worth it at these large scales.

Fake Carriage Bolts
Fake Carriage Bolts
Inside
Inside
Stem Top
Stem Top
Stem Ironwork
Stem Ironwork

January 23, 2020
Spent the day making the mast. There are two cleats near the bottom of the mast and four more at the top. The ones at the top are for the stays. The two pair at the top are bolted on with some fairly heavy bolts. I'm assuming that's to provide extra strength for the stays. Once again, I used bolts from Model Motorcars. I didn't have any pre-made washers, but those were easy and quick to turn on the lathe.

Mast
Mast
Cleats
Cleats