1. Getting Started - Introduction


Staff member
Aug 21, 2011

Madison, MS
1. Getting Started - Introduction

I will tell you from a personal experience. It took me quite a while to subscribe to Wooden Ship Modeling. The thought of "making" the parts just did not set well with me. So, for a time, I focused a lot of energy in plastics ships. There is a main thing that you need to be aware of if and when you get your first ship model (and I will make some suggestions later). The main thing is the Nautical terms. In wooden ship kit building all the instructions for the most part are going to expect for you to have a basic understanding of the nautical terms. Let me say that I can rest assure you that I have been building ships for the past several years, and I still do not know every term. There is just too much to learn. Now, I do not even think about the parts that I make. It is just part of the process.

There are many books out on the market that will get you going in the right direction (and I will again make a suggestion). The important thing is not to get a ship that will completely blow you away in the amount of time it takes. However, this may be familiar with you already as their are plastic ship kits that require a great deal of time depending on the level of detail you are after.

Basically, the smaller the vessel , the less details you can do as things basically are just "representative" of the true scale. There is no way to make a true to life block and tackle at a smaller scale. However, on the other end of the stick, a larger ship can in someways be easier to build, but take longer to build due to the fact that then you have to focus on the details and the scale of the ship demands that you put forth extra effort on those Blocks and Tackles and Rigging.

So, for the first wooden ship, it is important to find one that is not overbearing with rigging and huge amounts of detail. But at the same time, it starts a person in the essence of working with wood. Most all kits are going to come with some laser cut parts and some metal parts. I also suggest just going by the instructions. You will get a set of plans usually on a very large sheet of paper about 3 feet by 2 feet that has all the details of how to build. Most of the instructions are going to focus on the frame.

My shop is in my house - yes, in a carpeted room. Sanding is not a big deal. You are not building a piece of furniture that uses a band sander. I just vacuum my carpet from time to time - still looks new.

The tools that you use are going to be somewhat similar to plastic with some variations of exacto knives, files for wood, tweezers and the like. At the moment, I can not even begin to think of the small tools that I use. I will at a later time go into details about this, just be sure to check back.

Framing, Planking, Rigging all will use their own tools depending on the stage you are at with the model. The main reason people might start out with a solid hull is due to NO planking of the hull is done. The kit gives you templates to trim down. The wood is so soft that you will find that in a matter of "seconds" that you over sanded. It is not like a hard wood - it is VERY soft.

Here is a list of some ships all from http://www.Modelexpo-online.com that you can try. I would avoid the temptation of a large ship. The main thing is to learn the nautical terms curve.

I believe that you would not have any problems at all. Here are some ships below that might be of interest.

1) Willie Bennett Chesapeake Bay Skipjack, 1:32 Scale
Item # MS2032

2) Hms Bounty Launch
Item # MS1850

3) Corel Sloop 1:25 Scale
Item # SM43W

4) The Neophyte Shipmodeler's Jackstay
Item # MSB110