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A Simple Toy Boat

Source: What Shall We Do Now?: Five Hundred Games And Pastimes

The following directions, with exact measurements, apply to one
of the simplest home-made sailing-boats. Take a piece of soft
straight-grained pine, which any carpenter or builder will let you
have, one foot long, four inches wide, and two inches deep. On the top
of the four-inch side draw an outline as in Fig. 1, in which you will
be helped by first dividing the wood by the pencil line AB, exactly in
the middle. Then turn the block over and divide the under four-inch
side with a similar line, and placing the saw an eighth of an inch
each side of this line, cut two incisions right along the wood about a
quarter of an inch deep. The portion between these two incisions forms
the keel. Then carry the line up the middle of the end A, and repeat
the incisions as along the bottom, these making the boat's stem-post.
Next turn to the top again, and make a line, similar to the dotted
line CC in Fig. 1, about three-eighths of an inch inside the outline
of the boat, and then carefully hollow out with a gouge everything
inside this dotted line. It must be very carefully done; it is
better, indeed, to err on the side of not hollowing her out enough,
and then a little more can be removed afterward. Next shape the
outside, first with a saw and then with a chisel, again using the
utmost care. Try to give her a fine bow, or "entry," and a good clean
stern, or "run." If the boat were cut in two crossways in the middle,
the section ought to resemble that in Fig. 2. This flat "floor" will
be graduated away to nothing at bow and stern. Next fix on the lead
keel (see K in Fig. 3), which should be a quarter of an inch thick, a
quarter of an inch deep at the bow, and three-quarters at the stern,
fastened on with four long thin screws. Next make the deck, which
should not be more than an eighth of an inch thick and should fit very
closely at the edges.

The mast (C), which should be about three-eighths of an inch in
diameter at the foot, and should taper slightly, must stand one foot
above the deck, and pass through the deck four and a half inches from
the bow. First pass it through the hole in the deck and place it in
position, leaning a little back from the bows; then slip up the deck
and mark the place in the bottom of the boat where the mast rests, and
there fix, with four small brass screws, a block of wood with a hole
in it, into which the mast can be firmly "stepped." Then on the upper
side of the deck, just in front of the mast-hole, screw a small
eyelet. This is to hold the line called the foresail sheet (L), but as
the deck is only an eighth of an inch thick you must place a little
block of wood under the deck, into which the eyelet can be screwed.
Directly this is done, the deck is ready to be screwed firmly to the
boat with brass screws. If you are in any doubt as to its being
water-tight, you had better bore a hole in it and put a cork in, so
that you can tip it up and empty it after each voyage.

The bowsprit (J), a quarter of an inch in diameter, should be three
and a half inches long, two inches of which project beyond the bow.
Screw it firmly to the boat. You have now to shape the boom (F) and
gaff (D), which must have a fork at the end, as in Fig. 4, to embrace
the mast, the ends of this fork being joined by string. The boom
should be eight and a half inches long and three-eighths of an inch in
diameter, and the gaff five inches long and a quarter of an inch in
diameter. The gaff is kept in position, about three inches from the
mast-head, by the throat halyards and peak halyards, to which we now
come. The peak halyards (H), throat halyards (G), and foresail
halyards (F) should be of very fine fishing-line. After being tied
respectively to the gaff and foresail, they pass through small holes
in the mast, down to eyelets screwed into the bulwarks on each side of
the mast.

The foresail sheet (L) and main sheet (M), which are some four inches
long, are hitched to eyelets screwed into the deck amidships, one just
in front of the mast, as already explained, and the other about two
inches from the stern. The sails must be of thin calico, neatly hemmed
round. Both sails should come to about three inches of the head of the
mast. The foresail is fastened only to the tip of the bowsprit, the
foresail halyards, and foresail sheet; the mainsail to the gaff, all
along, and to each end of the boom.

Nothing has been said about a rudder, because a boat built and rigged
in the manner described would balance herself, and so keep on any
course on which she was laid. With a very little wind she ought to
cross and recross a pond without any hitch, all that will be necessary
being to let the sails have plenty of play, by loosening the foresail
sheet and main sheet, and to give her a steady push.

Next: Walnut Shell Boats

Previous: Kite Messengers

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