Large Builder’s Half Hull Model US Revenue Cutter Ca 1860

divisor line







Backboard: 51″ L x 9 1/2″ H x 3/4″ T  Half Hull: 50″ L x 5 1/8″ D x 6 1/2″ Depth
Weight:  14 1/2 lbs


Presented is a large antique builder’s half model which, when disassembled, had three
and maybe four templates which were used to loft the model’s lines to full size. This feature makes this model an authentic builder’s
half model. (See section on “Construction“ for a more detailed explanation) The lines of the model seem to match closely
that of a United States Revenue Cutter such as the “Joe Lane“. The Lane set the standards upon
which the Service’s following cutters were built.  Her plans date from 1851 and are on file with the U.S. Coast
Guard’s Department of Construction and Repair. She was a long, low, two masted, full keel schooner with square sails
on her foremast. Her overall length was about 102 feet, with an extreme beam of 23 feet and a draft of 9 feet 7
1/2 inches.  Cutters built to this general shape had the same low free-board, beautiful clipper bows with high
bulwarks.=LEFT> The sister-ships of the Lane were said to be the Duane, Crawford and Morris. The
Revenue Service – 1790 to 1900, and the Revenue Marine were the forerunners to today’s Coast Guard. The drawing below
is from Howard L. Chapell’s “ The History of AMERICAN SAILING SHIPS“ originally published by W.W. Norton &
Co., page 215.

It is remarkable how closely this half model’s shape resembles
that of the   Cutter
Joe Lane.

  Looking aft and then forward. The lines are sweet and you can see the templates.

THE GENESIS OF HALF MODELS: Half Hull models were carefully hand carved, and
incorporated the latest in the designer’s knowledge of which shape produced the fastest and most seaworthy vessel for the
type cargo to be carried. The builder’s models were made to loft the lines of a large size sailing vessel as the first
step in the building process. There were other forms of half models which were used as a presentation piece to the owner, or as
a record of the ship builder’s accomplishments. To learn all about half models, you will enjoy our essay discussing
their fine points on  this page. Go:

           Deck view
upper. Bottom view, lower



A study of the shape of various half hulls can trace the
evolution of sailing craft design as explained in Howard L. Chapell’s “ The History of AMERICAN SAILING SHIPS“. This
one is typical of a hull design that found favor with the Revenue Service for speed and seaworthiness. The evidence of speed
is shown by the amount of deadrise aft and the hollow sections of the keel and bow sections. The half hull
looks strong and sturdy as would be the actual ship.

Authentic, old, half hulls  are much admired, eagerly sought after, and the real ones in very limited supply.

CONSTRUCTION: This half hull is constructed of seven lifts
of wood with three and possibly a fourth thinner and darker layer of about 3/16 inch interspersed between them. When
disassembled, the thin layers acted as templates which were used in the lofting process which makes this a true “builder’s“
half model.. The top lift is 3/4 inch thick to represent the height of the bulwarks. There is a 1/4 inch thick cover
board which may represent the deck above and below, but neither is  counted as a lift. There are screws from the top
through the first couple of lifts holding them together. Old brads are used on the cutwater, the rudder’s skeg
and bowsprit.
From Chappell’s, History of American Sailing Ships

CONDITION: The half hull is in original condition, with very few imperfections.
The backboard may not be original. There are the normal marks of age which include a few dings and
scratches, all very minor and not too noticeable. The varnish’s golden patina gives a look of importance. (See the section
on Construction for further details)


PROVENANCE: Bought in New England at auction. Formerly owned by a highly respected collector of
marine antiques with a specialty in half hull models.


This antique builder’s half hull model
is a great gift or wonderful addition to your office, den or family room.



                Details of Bow and
Stern Quarter section showing templates
divisor line
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