skiff – photos of our model, and maybe yours too?

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The model’s parts all fitted, so far as I can tell at this scale,
which shows there are no serious mistakes here. The
glasses case isn’t essential…

Julie and I cannibalised the card from a pack of Lidl’s Soviet-style wheat bix (my favourite, for some reason), used Pritt glue to stick 55 per cent sized prints onto the material, cut the thing out and then assembled it in the traditional skiff fashion – attach bows, bend around central frame, attach stern, add bottom, attach everything else.

It only took a few minutes and yet again the magic worked – and a serviceable if rough model boat popped up in what seemed like a moment.

It was all very satisfying. All the parts went where they were supposed to, which at least proves I haven’t got any of the important components mixed up, and the darn thing looks the way most of us would expect a modern skiff to look – and no doubt it will perform like one too.

I think we’re set fair to finalise the plans for the stitch-and-glue/tack-and-tape version of this 15ft 6in flattie skiff in the next week or two. I’ll make them available for free from this website, and elsewhere. More traditional chine-log construction plans will follow, and after that, who knows? Perhaps a variation or two will suggest themselves…

If anyone else is following this progress and has built a model, we’d love to hear from you at, and to be able to add your photos to this post!

See the whole series of posts on this project:

Complete free plans package for the flat-bottomed 15ft 6in skiff skiff – drawings and coordinates for stitch and glue skiff – photos of our model, and maybe yours too? skiff – now we can make a model skiff progress
Early drawings for a 15ft 5in lightweight flat-bottomed American-style skiff

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A salmon coble at Abbotsford

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Probable mezzotint postcard showing Abbotsford on the Tweed

Jeff Cole has sent us this image of an old postcard of Abbotsford on the River Tweed. Here’s what he says about it:

‘This rather rough looking dinghy on the Tweed is probably the photographers’ transport. Originally from the patchy quality I suspect a photomezotype.

‘Note the broad stern and gunwale level thwart, single thole pins and basic oars made from a virtually flat blade attatched to a round pole. Seems to be a pad and cord to attach to thole pin, muffled oars?. Interesting lines forward and a quite heavy piece of chain. Maybe it’s a hire boat?’

Thanks Jeff. The boat is a salmon coble from rivers and estuaries of the far North East of England and the East Coast of Scotland. They’re curious looking boats with wide, flat-cut sterns, I guess to support salmon fishermen working over their sterns, and I think their odd shape may be the reason there hasn’t been a huge amount of interest interest in them. See the picture on this page: It’s interesting to take a look at what the Wikipedia says about these boats compared with what it has to say about cobles in general – to my mind it rather reflects attitudes to these boats generally.

The house is author Sir Walter Scott’s impressive pile near Melrose.

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Alone and forsaken but with an intriguing stern – or is it bows?

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Punt with striking stern - or bows

There’s something very affecting about this engraving, which Craig O’Donnell of the splendid The Cheap Pages emailed over a few days ago. I know several old songs that seem to apply, and I gather Craig spotted this engraving in an antique shop.

From a practical point of view, I wonder why that stern – or bows, if you prefer – is as it is? Why would anyone build the end of a punt this way? My suggestion is that it’s a chain or rope ferry boat, but if you agree or disagree, please feel free say so in the comment link below!

Back to the songs: I think the Waters of Tyne seems particularly appropriate:

I cannot get tae my love if I would dee
For the waters of Tyne run between him and me
And here I maun stand wi a tear in my ee
All sighin and sobbin, my true love to see

Oh where is the boatman, my bonny hinney
Oh where is the boatman, go bring him to me
For to ferry me over the Tyne to my honey
Or speed him across the rough waters to me

For a fuller, singable set of lyrics and a sample of the tune, go here.

Thanks Craig!

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