Pattern Making ???

  • Advertise with us
Project by shipwright posted 815 days ago 3174 views 1 time favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few days ago poopiekat posted a forum topic about pattern making. I thought these photos may be of interest to enough of you to warrant posting them as a project. When you build custom boats it is often not possible to get the fittings you want or need these days (or even about 28 years ago in this case) especially in bronze.

Back when I was doing that I made lots of patterns and sent them off to the foundry to be cast. I always used aluminium bronze.

Since this is to be a project made of wood, the first photo is the actual Honduras Mahogany patterns, my actual contribution to the process. Sorry about the condition. They have spent the last two and a half decades in a box of junk.

The second photo is of a shaft strut, along with the pattern. When the core is a regular shape, like a cylinder the foundry supplies it. The bottom of this pattern, that represents the hull of the boat, required a core box though.

The third is a gudgeon fitting to hold the lower end of the rudder shaft, with its pattern. Sorry, the core box pattern is long gone.

Number four the strongest backstay lever I’ve ever seen, with patterns.

Number five is the same lever, all assembled and ready to install.

The last one is of the rudder gudgeons on “Sylvester” one of the Benford catboats.

For the record it’s even harder now as small foundries that will take small orders like mine were are all but gone. The one that cast these closed about twenty years ago and is now the site of a condo development.

C’est la vie !

Thanks for looking, questions, comments etc always welcome.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

22 comments so far

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 858 days

#1 posted 815 days ago

This is fascinating! my grandfather was a boatbuilder – I now wish I had talked to him more about the process. Thank you!

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View a1Jim's profile


112018 posts in 2211 days

#2 posted 815 days ago

Thanks Paul very interesting explanation of what pattern making is. The photos help a lot to demonstrate the process too.

-- Custom furniture

View Karson's profile


34870 posts in 3034 days

#3 posted 815 days ago

Pattern makers were the backbone of industries. Making a master out of wood so it could be case metal.

I had a paying hobby making puzzles out of peoples names. I was contacted by an advertising company working for GM that wanted two letters to be interlocked and made out of wood. They were then going to make plastic copies and give to every dealer to sit on their desk.

I never saw the final product.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View mafe's profile


9492 posts in 1723 days

#4 posted 815 days ago

Hi Paul,
Beautiful work, I especially love the shaft model, it could stand in my livingroom.
Best thoughts from Mr- Espresso,

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View SPalm's profile


4791 posts in 2516 days

#5 posted 815 days ago

Wow, you’re old.

Seriously, this is cool. I have spent my life in electronics design, and things have really changed here too. But I never got to have something cast out of bronze. Neat. Really neat.

Thanks for the post,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View mafe's profile


9492 posts in 1723 days

#6 posted 815 days ago

This is from my living room.
Just to explain.
Best thoughts,

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View stefang's profile


12947 posts in 1968 days

#7 posted 815 days ago

Interesting post Paul. You have to know a thing or two to make those patterns. My casting experience is limited to some metal rings made from silver solder for the opening on some hollow forms I turned. It was fun, but not in the same league as your bronze patterns. I find it sad that so many small manufacturing firms, including foundries have disappeared.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11329 posts in 1739 days

#8 posted 815 days ago

Nice patterns. making them is fun and it is nice to see the cast product from them. Thanks, Paul!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View peteg's profile


2865 posts in 1457 days

#9 posted 815 days ago

Paul, systems were simpler back in “the olden days” but extremely effective, as Karson said the old pattern amkers were the lifeblood of so many industries, Thanks for the Revisit of plesant times where tradesmen took real pride in their work

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View madts's profile


1247 posts in 973 days

#10 posted 815 days ago

Boy, that back stay leaver goes back 40 plus years. remember them well.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View sras's profile


3820 posts in 1763 days

#11 posted 815 days ago

That is really interesting! Thanks for sharing it.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View rance's profile


4130 posts in 1794 days

#12 posted 815 days ago

All I can say is WOW. Oh, and yeah, you sure are old Paul. :D

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 1395 days

#13 posted 814 days ago

I worked in a pattern shop for a little while when I was younger. The skill that it takes to make the pattern or mold for something never ceases to amaze me. Unfortunately I wasn’t in the trade long enough to be taught any of that skill.

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View DocSavage45's profile


4910 posts in 1476 days

#14 posted 814 days ago

Missed this,cause it didn’t come up when you posted. Nice work as always. Interesting that we were once a nation of builders and craftsman. Now we are the business center? We speculate on the value of wigets????

Did the place close due to lack of business, or old age?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View shipwright's profile (online now)


4931 posts in 1432 days

#15 posted 814 days ago

From the sag in the roof that was there as long as I can remember, I might say old age but I know that it just became too tough to make a go with a small foundry.
It was a lot like the old shipyards I worked in as a young guy, run down buildings low light, at the mercy to some extent of the weather, and turning out amazing work.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

showing 1 through 15 of 22 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase