My vision, please help!

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Workinforwood, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. Workinforwood
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Michigan

    Workinforwood Junior Member

    I had a vision of what my next project needs to be. I am a hobbyist woodworker and intarsia/carver. I know nothing about boats at all, but I need to build a bow that can hang on the wall. I want to simulate something more like a tall ship sort of bow, planks (not plywood), with the mast jutting out the front, if you call that a mast? I'm thinking about 4' tall and sticking out from the wall about 12" perhaps? I want a globe like glass window on each side that can open up with a shelf inside. I want to carve a huge beautiful mermaid and mount it to the front of the bow which will open up like a door to reveal a tall skinny shelf hiding behind it inside the bow(maybe like a wine storage area. I need to carve some breaking waves below as well. I would like to have a few ropes incorporated, perhaps hanging off the mast thingy back to the top front of the ship. I want the ship to look like she's coming right through the wall, the mermaids arms out-stretched like she is making the ship fly!

    Sounds like I"m insane perhaps...but nonetheless where should I start?

    I am not rich, I'm a trucker. I can hold my own with your above average carving crowd. I have all the basic woodworking tools and then some. I can't bend wood. I am great with a pencil, so drawing out my mermaid, waves, any other details like maybe some barnicles is no problem. Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this, along with trying to envision what I'm after and then pointing me to some idea's where to begin!
     
  2. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    SamSam Senior Member

    If you search "Google Images" for "wooden ships" or "pirate ships" you get plenty of pictures of old wooden ships. Searching "Images" for "mermaids" is also interesting.
    Searching "Images" with "ship parts" gave me this site...(and a bunch of others)....

    http://all-kids.us/ships-page.html

    which says the pointy thing on the front is a bowsprit.

    BTW, how's that trucker job? Alotta hard work and no pay or is it an OK job?

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Workinforwood
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Workinforwood Junior Member

    Pay is ok and work isn't too hard. Been doing it for a decade. It's not six figures, but half way anyhow...so the glass is half full. That's a great picture. I don't need mermaid designs, just a way to figure out how to build a bow sorta like what you have there. A bow that is also a cabinet on the wall and the mermaid is the door. the bowspirit is perfect with the ropes, that's what I'm talkin about! Lets see if I can post a picture of the type of artwork that I do. I'm just working on taking it to a new level each time round. I lost, although just barely at a competition recently and it's the first time I ever didn't take first place, so I really want to raise the bar to the most insane possible limits that I can for next time round. I'm very passionate about my artwork, and never stop experimenting with new idea's. I think this idea is really great.

    What kind of planking would be on a boat like that? I like the boats where the planking looks like it overlaps sorta like stairs as it goes down towards the bottom and the front to taper back as well. There surely is some sort of plans available online somewhere that I can alter to my needs to make the ribs and planks, pardon my jargon!

    This picture is 100% all natural woods. It is 3'x5' and contains 1000 individual pieces. It's not my very best piece, it's from a few years back, but it really sets the mood. The second picture is more of my current style...more of a carving element and thickness brought into the picture. Snagged a ribbon on this little girl too, which is actually modeled after my 6yr old daughter.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 7, 2007
  4. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    Did you try any "Image" searches?
    The artwork is great! I've done a bunch of marquetry and have thought of doing big stuff like your 3x5 and bigger.
    An image search for "ship planking methods" turns up stuff like these pictures and searches under model making might give you a bunch of ideas. The giant picture at the bottom came from an image search for "ship models". It's so big you have to scroll way down and then go to the right.------The picture was so big it somehow messed up all my pages so I deleted it and put the site in instead. Go there and click on the picture a few times to see it.

    http://images.google.com/imgres?img...channel=s&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&sa=G

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Workinforwood
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Workinforwood Junior Member

    Where did you find that somewhat schematic picture? Looks like colonel Klink is the method I want, but how do I arch it to the front, which I'm going to call a compound arch because it arches to the front but also to the bottom? Is it a series of ribs that get smaller and shorter and then wrapped with thin wood and lots of scarf joints? Of course, I am lucky perhaps because the middle area of the front of the ship will be left open like a cabinet, but the bottom of the front is sure to be a real pos!
     
  6. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    SamSam Senior Member

    I believe bigger ships used the other method with oakum pounded in between the planks for waterproofing. I found the picture you're talking about in an image search for "ship planking methods".
     
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  7. Workinforwood
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Workinforwood Junior Member

    Learning some terms around here is helping me with my internet searches. But dang..I was reading this article http://www.freewebs.com/woodenboatbuilder/101main.htm
    and it just got to the part I am looking for and then there is nothing more! Seems to me I don't really need a "Keel", just a "Stem".

    I think you are right too, the Kink method looks extra hard to taper. I'm looking now at the picture you posted with the ribs. Looks like you build two ribs and you add that extension onto the bottom to bolt the rib onto the keel? I know my questions can be annoying, but what I'm saying is that if that is the case, you would have tabs sticking down into the water beyond the thickness of the planks which would cause a drag on the ship. Is that true? I've seen lots of ships, but never swam under it to investigate the keel.

    I think I will need to buy a hand plane for this project!
     
  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Your looking to use carvel construction for your wall hanging piece. This is the traditional building method for larger craft and is smooth sided, with caulked seams. The thing sticking out the front is called a bow sprit and are usually quite long, if built to scale. Those "tabs" are called laps and the method is called lapstrake, which looks much like the clapboard siding used on many houses. Yep, the laps do go down to the keel and they do create some drag, but also soften the ride quality a bit too. It gets very complicated with much more explanation, so lets leave it at that.

    The first thing you need to do is establish the type and era vessel you'd like to have hanging on your wall. Merchant vessel, war ship, pleasure yacht, working craft, fishing boat, etc. and the general age. I suspect you'll be most interested in 19th century merchants (clippers, etc.) or 17 to 19th century war ships (USS Constitution for example was late 18th century, built in 1797). Pleasure yachts didn't really come to be until mid way through the 1800's, ditto the big clippers (like Cutty Sark or White Cloud). Figure heads appeared on many merchant and war ships, with none on working/fishing craft and pleasure yachts rarely carried them, but for a few.

    The details of these large ships aren't really necessary. The ceilings and diagonals can be eliminated, you just need a hull shell, some ribs, a stem (usually composed of several pieces) and a sprit. Log onto the USS Constitution web site and have a look at their construction drawings for the old girl. She's carried several notable figureheads and is typical of that era vessel, plus has a cool looking bow, with much detailing. Besides she's all American and kicked lots of butt in her day.
     
  9. Workinforwood
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    Workinforwood Junior Member

    Excellent points. I'm looking at plans for models, although I don't know how big they are, probably not as big as I want, but maybe I can just buy plans for $30 or so and enlarge the copies for the bow section which is all I want. I haven't seen any clippers I like because the bow sprit area's are just way too much, but some of the war ships of those era's seem more reasonable. I don't want a super huge complicated bow sprit that would take away the eyes too much from where I want them to be focused. I'm thinking Spanische Schebecke, but I can't find any good finished photographs. I was looking at plans for HMS ships, but the bows where way too ornamental for what I want. I emailed the plan website to see if they can show me an actual finished picture. I don't know why they only have pictures of a drawing, and then you click to enlarge that but it doesn't enlarge, just opens a new widow with same size picture. I think a ship like that could support a mermaid as it would be the right time period and probably a pirate ship.
     

  10. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Pirate ships were almost always captured merchant craft, usually ones that were considered fast, which is an asset when involved in elicit trades. They were most often stripped of all garnish and unnecessary pieces, in an effort to shed weight for additional guns and speed. Generally pirate ships were ugly (intentionally so) and plan in appearance, so they could intimate a prospective prize (another ship) or easily go unnoticed in a harbor while getting supplies or just being sneaky.

    Pirate deeds had their hay day in the 14th through the early 15th centuries. There have always been pirates, but the ocean plying variety, took off at the beginning of the 1500's and was all but dead by the time the late 1600's was near. Organized navies around the world, had rounded all but the most determined up, before the revolution in this country. The Caribbean was a reasonably safe place for them to hang out and avoid the much deeper draft war ships that chased them, but eventually they got them all.

    The Smithsonian Institute is a good place to look for plans and has been a modeler's paradise for generations.

    You still need to narrow down your search to an era (time frame) and a class of vessel (type of ship).

    Bow sprits are going to be long. Before wire rigging was employed at the turn of the 19-20th centuries, natural fiber ropes were used. This meant the rig couldn't be very tall and had to be spread out laterally, along the length of the ship. What this translates into, are rigs that hang well off the stern and bow of the boat, to provide enough sail area to propel them. Some bow sprits can be half as long as the ship is. The USS Constitution's sprit is about 1/3rd the length of the ship, for example. A clipper bow, 24' sailboat, I recently designed carries a sprit. It's designed "in the spirit of" the golden days of sail and is a gaff sloop. Though it's 24' on deck, the sprit is 8' long counting the clipper knee, which is 33% of the on deck length of the boat. It's not disproportionately long, in fact it looks just right.
     
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