My Grandfather's half-hull models

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Project by jmartel posted 12-20-2012 08:53 PM 1882 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I haven’t seen anything like this on LJ’s, so I figured I would post them up. A long time ago, my Grandfather made half-hull models of various sailboat and rowboat hulls. I believe his earliest one was made in 1966.

The first 2 I have hanging in my apartment, and the second 2 are part of a 4 boat set that is hanging in my parents house. To give a representation of size, #1 is about 21” long, #2 is 30” long, and #3 and 4 are roughly 16” long.

The lines through the middle of #1, 3 and 4 represent the design waterline of the hulls.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

8 comments so far

View exelectrician's profile


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#1 posted 12-20-2012 09:31 PM

The polished flowing curves show your Grandfather loved doing what he did.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Boatman53's profile


1059 posts in 2370 days

#2 posted 12-20-2012 11:16 PM

Nice models, did he write on the back the boat they represent.

-- Jim, Long Island, NY home of the chain leg vise

View jmartel's profile


8194 posts in 2323 days

#3 posted 12-20-2012 11:30 PM

On a few of them I believe he did. Unfortunately, the two that I own do not have any markings at all, which is odd since he always signed and dated his work.

He also did Nantucket style woven baskets, but I don’t have any with me and no photos of them.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View shipwright's profile


8129 posts in 2971 days

#4 posted 12-20-2012 11:46 PM

Very nice half models.

The first one has the spoon bow and graceful counter of a Grand Banks schooner.
If the second one isn’t a Friendship Sloop, I’d be really surprised.
Number three is a Chesapeake Bay Pinky. She has “a cod’s head and a mackerel’s tail” as well as the signature “pinked” stern.
Not sure about the last one but looks like an older merchantman.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View a1Jim's profile


117272 posts in 3750 days

#5 posted 12-21-2012 01:38 AM

Very cool.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View GnarlyErik's profile


312 posts in 2307 days

#6 posted 12-21-2012 02:03 AM

Your grandfather had a love for things nautical for sure, as these are nicely made models, true to the types, and obviously carefully made with a discerning eye. He had to spend much time on these models. As to types, I’d say Paul’s comment above is spot on, including the Friendship Sloop. Picture #4 is a large-volume merchant type built from the late 18th Century on both the east and west coasts until well into the 20th Century. This type was built both schooner and square-rigged.

Your grandfather obviously intended these as decorative models. They are not the same as builders models, since they include items like rudder posts, bulwarks, keel pieces and trailboards. Builders did not bother with the externals unless they were making a presentation model for the purpose of marketing, like an architect makes preliminary drawings. Most builders half-hull models were also built in ‘lifts’, i.e., horizontal layers parallel to the waterline at a specific scale, and pegged together so they could be separated into their component layers after the builder was satisfied with the model – sort of a kind of 3-D plan – and a downright clever way of designing in three dimensions. They would then lay the half-model on a mirror to get an accurate idea of the complete hull shape.

And, coming under the possible heading of ‘Arcane And Needless Stuff to Know’, most builders models were made to the ‘inside’ of the planking for the purpose of ‘picking off frames’ to scale up for building the full size frames which determines the finished shape of the vessel as it is planked up. If not done in that fashion it becomes necessary to deduct the planking thickness (with changing bevels changing the deductions!) in order to build accurate framing in the first place!

-- "Never let your dogma be run over by your karma!"

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5811 posts in 2465 days

#7 posted 10-30-2013 03:40 AM

Very cool, with great commentary by GnarlyEric (which makes this a Favorite).

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View padric's profile


34 posts in 2405 days

#8 posted 10-30-2013 09:54 PM

I am always on the lookout for half hull models in antique shops, but they are very hard to find. I’ve made a ew myself but they are crude compared to these. Your grandfather was a real craftsman.


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