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> WRIGHT SKIFF

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The Wright Skiff

May 3, 2021
On the day I took my little rowboat models to the museum at Deltaville, it happened that Bob LeBoeuf, the Museum Director, was there and asked me to consider making a model of their Wright Skiff. Every summer, the museum holds a family boatbuilding week, during which each family or group builds a skiff in just 5 days. (Unfortunately, the program was cancelled for 2020 and 2021 due to Covid.) There are plans and instructions provided to the teams with staff on hand to check progress.

My plan is to create a diorama of three boats, each in a different stage of construction. One will be bottom up with about half of the bottom planks in place. The next will be right-side-up with frames going in. The final boat will be fully constructed and in the process of being painted.

Although the plans are generally OK, they were, of course, not meant for model makers. The museum provides some parts of the boat pre-made for the teams, so some parts dimensions are not provided. In addition, there are some dimensions in the materials list that do not match the plans or the as-built boat that sits on display in the museum. In the end, I had to go down to the museum to take some measurements of my own before I could start building an accurate replica.

The first step was to re-draw the transom to match the boat in the museum. I also had to figure out the size and angles of the spreader board (which is a part supplied to the students, so the dimensions and angles are not in the plans). That allowed me to set up the build board. By the end of the day, I had both of the lower side planks and chine logs installed as well as some of the bottom planks.

First
First Plank
End of Day
End of Day

May 4, 2021
I was only able to work in the boatyard in the morning since I had to mow the grass in the afternoon. I finished planking the bottom. The keel was added later in the evening. The boat requires 18 frames, each of which is alike in size plus two different frames at the transom. I needed a way to taper all of them and after thinking about it for a while, I came up with a tapering jig that I clamped to the table of my disk sander. The guides allow me to feed the stock into the disk and a stop on the left prevents the stock from going too far. After I'd tapered all the frames, I ganged them together, held with masking tape, so I could cut the notches where they fit over the chine logs. Finally, I rounded the corners and all were done.

Bottom Planks
Bottom Planks
Off the Molds
Off the Molds
Tapering Jig
Tapering Jig
Frames
Frames

May 6, 2021
The frames and side planks are all on the first boat. I've started construction on the second boat..The first boat will be the one that is completely built. The boat I've just started could be either of the other two at this point.

All Planks On
All Planks On
Second Skiff
Second Skiff

May 12, 2021
Still plugging away on these skiffs. All three are constructed now. I have one more little thing to add to one of them - the oarlock supports. Just haven't gotten to that yet. The skiff on the far right will get some paint on it too. I spent around 7 hours this afternoon just making six sawhorses. Seemed easy enough before I got started, but I had to figure out the size and design, then all the angles, then cut stock, then make a jig to glue the side supports to the legs, then finally glue everything up. I am at the point now where I will have to determine the size of the display base and get it made.

Sawhorse Construction
Sawhorse Construction
Three Skiffs
Three Skiffs

May 15, 2021
Spent the entire day making a set of pipe clamps for one of the skiffs. It was worth it to me - it was a fun project and I really enjoy making stuff like this! Yesterday, I spent the whole day making the baseboard. I stained it last nite and put some satin clear coat on it this morning, so it will be ready to have the sand laid down on it tomorrow.

Pipe Clamps
Pipe Clamps
Pipe Clamps
Pipe Clamps

May 20, 2021
Not a lot of time in the boatyard so far this week. Errands and chores have taken precedence. Still, I got the wood clamps made for the middle boat to show a side plank being installed and I made an ice chest with some water bottles. The bottles were turned from acrylic rod. I'll need to add some proper labels to them but I don't want to fire up the color printer until I have more things to print. The ice is made using a technique I found on the web - cut clear glue sticks into small chunks. Pretty realistic I'd say.

Wood Clamps
Wood Clamps
Ice Chest
Ice Chest

May 28, 2021
It was another busy week for activities other than working in the boatyard. However, as evidenced by the pics below, I managed to get a few new things made. The teeth on both the pull saw and the file look pretty large in these close-ups, but from a normal viewing distance they look fine. I tried a saw blade with teeth closer together and you couldn't even see the teeth from a couple feet away. The bit in the hand brace is supposed to be a screwdriver bit. Hard to tell.

ChairChair File and Drill
File and Drill
Brace and Saw
Brace and Saw
Plane and Level
Plane and Level

May 31, 2021
I got the sand and grass glued down to the baseboard today. That allowed me to arrange things somewhat. I had planned where the boats would go, but there is still a lot of thought to go into the layout of all the details. There are still more details to make as well. Nothing is glued down at this point, so I can rearrange things as I continue to work on it.

Overall ViewOverall View First Boat
First Boat
Second Boat
Second Boat
Third Boat
Third Boat

June 9, 2021
Another one done! Finished it up this morning and took it down to the museum.

Third Boat Overall View
ToolsTools Rat & Cat
Rat & Cat
More Tools
More Tools
Paint & Putty
Paint & Putty
Tool ChestTool Chest Third Boat
Third Boat
Third Boat
Third Boat
Cooler and Chair
Cooler and Chair
Launching ChampagneLaunching Champagne