Phil's boat building bench

Discussion in 'Workbenches, including workshop techniques.' started by Phil O, 20 May 2020.

  1. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Hi, first if this is not the place please feel free to move it somewhere more appropriate.

    During the lockdown I am unable to access the clubroom and therefore the layout or most of my tools, so I have been casting around for something and as a result, I thought the layout will need a boat(s) and as I couldn't find anything, I purchased a couple of boat books. In the first book Steam Coasters and Short Sea Traders by Charles V. Waine, I found a contender or two, but I am uncertain whether or not I have the space and so I turned to the 2nd book British Steam Tugs P. N. Thomas and found a nice little tug called Bayswater, built for the Admiralty in 1915 and designed for shallow creeks and canals after the war the PLA bought several of them . I found a few pictures on the web of a couple of sister tugs.
    Tug Kilburn.png

    Tug Stamford.png
    Both photos are from here :-

    I am in the process of doing some prelimanary drawings on QCAD.
  2. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    So here's a basic outline of the tug, I'm going to call her Corona as a reminder of the circumstances in which she has been created.

    Next up is to create something from which I can fashion the basic hull. This will probably something of a lash up, as I have never attempted to build a boat before much less create the compound curves required. I suspect that forward part with the more or less plain parts will be a mixture of stiffners /frames and hot water, whereas the stern will be lamination and filler.
  3. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    Another super project.

    Are those tigs the ones I remember on the Thames where the funnel used to be dropped as they went under the bridges? I hasten to say that I was not very old when I saw them (I just remember London trams) but it's one of those memories which I hope will never depart. Scrapping in 1951 would about fit but allegedly Kilburn was scrapped in the 60s. That seems a bit late to me - I'd have been in my teens and would have stronger memories, I believe.

    In any event that's a lovely evocative prototype.

  4. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Hi Brian,

    The drawing in the book shows, that the funnel does hinge and when folded, the overall height from the waterline is 11 foot. Needless to say I will have a fixed funnel, the lowest bridge on the Tamar is the RA Bridge at 120 ft at high water shouldn't present a problem and the Plym is only navigable as far as Laira Bridge, so no problem there either.

    Hopefully I will be able to cut some plasticard and stick one or two bits together, I expect to be on a one step forward and a minimum of two back as I feel my way forward. I can already foresee a problem with the bulwark at the stern as it leans inwards and needs to be open under it, if it was a semicircle, it wouldn't be too bad, but it's a very long time ago that I learnt how to develop that sort of complex shape and then it was only in the classroom.
    GrahameH and oldravendale like this.
  5. simond

    simond Western Thunderer


    I made a puffer some years back, from card, with very little in the way of equipment, other than a lot of card, and TurboCAD, a printer wood glue and a scalpel. And some knitting needles.

    On the basis that real ships are made from iron or steel plates, which curve quite well in one direction, but are a bit of a fight in two, I plated her with strips of card, which worked passably well, on frames cut from mount board.

    I never got around to the wheelhouse detail, lamps, or indeed proper rigging, but it was a pleasant way to spend a few weeks in a house without a workshop. She’s named after the late MiL whose house we were living in at the time.

    there are some piccies here;

    Porth Dinllaen in 0

    I’m following Giles’ threads as I’d intended to get a Talacre kit to add to my Porth Dinllaen might-have-been, but I’m inclined to try to build a hull or two too, and as Giles has shown, the laser helps marvellously. I see no reason why your tug should not benefit from some laser cut frames, deckhouse, etc. and rather nice etched plywood deck as Giles has done.

    following with interest
    Giles and oldravendale like this.
  6. Giles

    Giles Western Thunderer

    Interesting that your tug made it up to the non-tidal Thames..... I should know that lock - but I can't place it.
    It will certainly make a nice model!
  7. daifly

    daifly Western Thunderer

    Teddington perhaps?
    Last edited: 21 May 2020
  8. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Nice work Simon.

    I have a good stash of plasicard and the time, at least at the moment, so I will scratch build her, or at least make an attempt at it. The grey matter will certainly need some stiring and I shall be putting knife to platicard after breakfast.
    simond and Giles like this.
  9. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Hi Giles,

    They only draw 7 foot. I don't know the depth of the Thames above Teddington Lock and also the height of the bridges.
  10. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Well I have completed phase 1 of the plastic butchery, the base, deck and stiffners have been cut and the base and stiffners have been stuck together, I will allow that to go off, I find that if I muck about too much with stuff stuck with Limonene it soon becomes unstuck. Back to sweating over the laptop.

    Corona 1.jpg
    The base will be 4mm below the waterline, to allow a faffing tolerance.
  11. GrahameH

    GrahameH Western Thunderer

    That was quick Phil !

    Seems as though you've got a good skeleton to work on now and the bulwarks will help tremendously.

    Hope you don't mind me posting these here as an example of my first scratch builds ( seen elsewhere by others ) which were basically how you've approached your build except using 1mm ply for the main basis.



    The main timbers for the shell were steamed to form the basic shapes so I think that with a little care you may be able to do the same with plasticard BUT between your fingers and without the kettle !

    Last edited: 21 May 2020
  12. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Hi Grahame,

    No problems with anyone posting boat building or finished photos. Most harbour type layouts lack anything more than a couple of rowing boats and I want to avoid that, trouble is there's not much available and most of what there is is to modern. Some of the steam powered coasters built in the late 1800s and early 1900s lasted into the 50s and early 60s before they were scrapped. Trouble is even a small boat at around 100ft is 400mm (16") in 4mm and 700mm (28") in 7mm.

    That looks good, what scale is that to? looks to be somewhat bigger than 4mm.
  13. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    They are big, ships are. The Williamson gallery in Birkenhead (where I grew up) has quite a few 1/48 model ships from the Mersey, and particularly Cammell Laird. You’d want a big shed to house one or two of them! 8-10’ long is not unreasonable.

    GrahameH likes this.
  14. GrahameH

    GrahameH Western Thunderer

    Thank you Phil,

    The Thames Barge was take from original drawings many, many years ago and I'm afraid I cannot remember the scale I built it to now, sorry.

    The Tamar Sailing Barge plans were taken directly from the ones in the book on which it is resting on and if i could find it then I could also let you know ( house move and all that, some books are still in their boxes ! ) but safe to say they are certainly bigger than 4mm more O Gauge size-ish.

  15. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    Good plans are hard to come by. Easy to scale, if you can find something to work from.

  16. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Not as much progress today as I would have liked, but I had to go shopping and people have been knocking my door trying to deliver stuff for the neighbours and the one I am expecting has yet to turn up. Anyway I have made a start on the superstructure such as it is.

    Corona 2.jpg
    Main body of the superstucture, the basic hull and the superstucture roof.

    Corona 3.jpg
    The superstructure inserted into the hull and the roof.

    Corona 4.jpg The deck and roof placed in position. I am leaving the deck and roof loose at this time incase some adjustment is needed later in the build.

    Corona 5.jpg Finally a side shot.

    Hopefully more progress tomorrow.
  17. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Well I have got the bare bones of the superstructure beaten into submision, a lot of swearing was required to get the bend on the companion way and toilet sorted, in the end I did several laminations, one thin layer at a time and several boilings of the kettle and not just for a brew.

    Corona 5a.jpg

    Corona 5b.jpg
    Right, tea time.
    GrahameH, Giles, oldravendale and 2 others like this.
  18. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    A bit of progress on the hull over the last couple of days.

    Corona 6.jpg

    The deck was glued into place and then sides were fitted in place and held with elastic bands and hot water poured over them to get the shapes needed and glued, laminations were then added to form the stern. I have started to roughly filed the Stbd side to shape, before I realised I hadn't taken any pictures.

    Corona 7.jpg

    I am not happy with the way the stern gunwhales have turned out and have removed them. I knew that getting it right would be a right pain in the proverbial. The basic shape is slowly getting there. I am wrapping it in now as my head hurts from trying to rember the method I need to use to devlop that b****** gunwhale.
    Deano747, oldravendale, Alan and 3 others like this.
  19. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    Segment of cone?
  20. Phil O

    Phil O Western Thunderer

    Hi Simon,

    Yes, sort of, but the radius expands as it comes forward and also transitions to vertical and it's the transition and expanding radius that is doing my head in. If I knew what I had done with my apprentice lecture book I could probably look it up and all would be sweetness and light, but it's probably 35 years ago that I last saw it and may well have been binned when I took redundancy.