Lifeboat Models

Model Lifeboats Built to Perform

A Working Model of a Pulling Lifeboat

Part 2 the deck mould.

Having now got the Atlantic to the point of doing what John set out to achieve with just a few more improvements to be made it was time to consider the next project.

This project is to build a working model of a Pulling Lifeboat. The boat John intends to build is the First Falmouth boat  - City of Gloucester, which was at Falmouth 1867-1887.


Update 3/8/08

The plan is to build a boat with moving crew figures as well as being able to cope with rough conditions without the risk of sinking.

Before building the boat a suitable mechanism for the rowing action for 10 oars needs to be designed and tested.

Most of the design for the rowing mechanism has now been done and I have to credit seeing the rowing skeleton boat at the International model boat show last year for some of the idea's you can see some photo's of it here It is the mechanical workings that have given me some idea's of how to create a mechanism but with much more space I should not need so much in the way of electronics.

Research into the boat itself has now found a book "The history of the Life-boat and its works" which was written by the then secretary of the RNLI Richard Lewis in 1874. There is a good description of the 33' self-righting boat in there with drawings and other research has the first Falmouth boat as being of this design with an 8'6" beam.



There is one thing that the research the given me a problem with and that is the name I have found some evidence that the name was "Gloucester" and not "City of Gloucester". Research into this is continuing but has it is one of the last things to go on the Model there is time to resolve this conundrum.

The plan now is to build a hull and deck in GRP in such a way that it will be possible to fit the workings under the deck and in the end boxes and still be able to remove it from the hull. It is also planned the when the hull and deck are together the boat will be both self-righting and able to clear its self of any shipped water by way of working relieving valves.

Update 22/11/2008


The build has started.

I have started work on building the plug that will be used to make a GRP mould. Even though it’s a plug I am still going to build it the same way as the real boat was built.

To start I have cut a profile of the keel and frames and glued them to a board. I have then steamed and bent some timbers to the shape of the keel and fixed these to both sides of the keel as can be seen in these pictures.

As you can see it helps to have a lot of small clamps.

The next stage has been to add stringers over which the planking will be formed.

With the stringer in place you can now see the shape of the boat.

The next stage will be to fair the frames and start applying the first layer of diagonal planking.

I will post more when the planking is under way.


The planking has started here is a picture of the first plank being fitted and one with the first six fitted.

It is only possible to fit two planks per side at a time first they have to be steamed for about 5 minutes and then bent and held in place to cool.

Then an hour later they can be glued in place. With the number of planks required this is going to take a little time to complete.


The build is going well I now have 24 planks inplace on each side.


I am nearing the end of the first layer of planks.



The first layer of planking is now completed and had its first sanding to remove any high points and bits of glue. There are a few points that need a bit of filler and further sanding to get it ready for the next layer of planking.



Well here we are 5 weeks on so whats been happening apart from Christmas and the New Year.

After the first layer of planking was completed it was sanded down and some filler added in a couple of low spots and that was then sanded to get a fair hull which can be seen in the picture below. The lines on the bottom are a guide for the next layer of planks.


Now the next problem was how to hold the planks of the second layer in place while the glue dried. The first layer was simple it just had to be clamped to the stringer but the only place I can clamp the planks of this layer is at each end and I need to hold the down in three or four places over there length. The solution came from a conversation with a friend who had in the past built large wooded hulls and he explained that they would force a large panel down with props of the inside of the roof of the workshop. This gave me the idea of fixing metal straps over the hull and then putting expanding clamps in-between to hold the planks down. You can see this in action in the picture below.

Below you can see the first 19 planks of the second layer in place. The clamping system is working really well and it is possible to glue down four planks at a time with 16 clamps.


Well it's been a long time since I did an update on the build so here's a couple of pictures and a few words to explain them.

The planking of the hull is now completed as can be seen in the picture below. It has been a slow process to get this far with at times only being able to glue one or two planks on and then having to wait for the glue to dry before adding the next.

After the planking was completed the hull was sanded down then a thin layer of filler applied and sanded down again. The hull has now been cut away from the base board that it was built on to allow me to prepare it for the making of the GRP mould.

The planking extended past the sheer of the hull to allow the mould to be made bigger than the hull this will make it easier to trim the moulded hulls that come out of it.

I am currently testing some samples to find the best way to finish the hull to get the effect I want to achieve on the GRP hull.


An update at last!!

Well after a few problems the mould for the hull as been made. The hull plug has been cut from its base board and trimmed down to size this was then put back in the mould to mark the sheer of the hull on the mould.

The first hull has been taken from the mould and is now being used for the building of a plug for the deck mould.

You can see the plug mould and first hull all together.

Part 2 the deck mould.