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Old Aug 30, 2011, 12:43 PM
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1/32 Scale W.T. Preston Sternwheeler Build

Now I have a shop so a long time dream project to build a large scale steam powered model of the snagboat W.T. Preston is underway. the bottom was put down in February 2011. At 1/32nd scale she's 62 inches long. I also have a build log on my website at: mjonesfamily.com Click on "Hobbies" and then "W.T. Preston Build." Primary build materials began life as Alaska Cedar 1X6s for a very old fence. I'm fortunate to have the full-sized Preston only an hour away and have made 4 trips up to Anacortes WA to take measurements and photos. The Anacortes Maritime Museum also has all the original blueprints and drawings from which I've made selected 1/32 scale copies.

The model will feature: scale model working steam engine for main propulsion through long-throw cylinders and pitman arms, operational spuds that can be lowered and raised, fully functioning 3-drum donkey, fully rigged crane, 12 channel operation of all functions. I'll add more photos in next update.

I've made a few concessions to 'scale' that will not be visible in the water: first I added 1/2" to the freeboard to make the model less susceptible to swamping, and 2, added a 1/2" high keel to improve seakeeping. I discovered that the last captain of Preston had asked for the installation of a bow thruster. It was never added. She was a handful in any wind. W.T. Preston ended over 61 years of service clearing deadheads, snags and logs from the navigable waterways of Western Washington. My model will be able to demonstrate all her capabilities. I'm halfway there.
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Last edited by hookpilot; Sep 06, 2013 at 11:47 AM. Reason: edit text
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Old Aug 30, 2011, 01:16 PM
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Louisiana
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A build after my own heart. Excellent work so far. Can't wait to see this one on the water.
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Old Aug 30, 2011, 01:22 PM
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PDX, OR
Joined Dec 2002
10,281 Posts
Love the work on the wheel, and at the crane... well, all of it really, Great build!

Aimee
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Old Aug 30, 2011, 01:34 PM
r/c ships and workboats
bellingham, wa
Joined May 2006
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Looking good so far Mike. this thing is going to be a real eye catcher in that scale. Thanks for posting here and keep us upto date.
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Old Aug 30, 2011, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Umi_Ryuzuki View Post
Love the work on the wheel, and at the crane... well, all of it really, Great build!

Aimee
Thanks Aimee. Building at this scale makes for many little side projects going on simultaneously. I've got the lifeboat carved and ready for priming, the crane boom almost done. This one has lots of details to model, pilothouse interior, and the list goes on and on. But that's what makes this so much fun. I can switch from project to project. Moving this boat is going to be the challenge. Many things to break off.
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Old Aug 30, 2011, 07:28 PM
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Olympia WA
Joined Nov 2004
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Great new build. This boat has been a favorite since I first saw the model Wayne Martin built. Keep us updated on the build with many pictures. I have also been aboard many times when visiting that area. Jerryj98501 Olympia WA.
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Old Aug 30, 2011, 07:49 PM
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North Central TN USA
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Great build. A little different perspective on the third picture and that cloud could have been smoke from the stack.
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Old Aug 30, 2011, 08:10 PM
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Great build. A little different perspective on the third picture and that cloud could have been smoke from the stack.
If I had 20 or 30 million laying around, I'd restore her to operating condition. What a fabulous piece of Puget Sound history. Sad to say, Anacortes can no longer afford a Preston curator, so keeping dry rot and peeling paint at bay will not happen except for volunteer labor. Verne did a great job working on the Preston, but sadly, he retired last month and his position will not be filled. Any billionaires out there who'd like to adopt the W.T. Preston???
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Old Aug 30, 2011, 10:44 PM
Taking care of the pond.
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USA, CA, Fresno
Joined Apr 2004
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Great build, I'm watching this build.
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Old Aug 30, 2011, 11:22 PM
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Great build, I'm watching this build.
Thanks. This is a great challenge and great fun to totally immerse myself in the build. I don't know how long it will take to finish, but to me, building is 80% of the hobby.

Mike in Edmonds
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Old Aug 31, 2011, 01:35 AM
Boats on the brain!!
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Arnold, Mo.
Joined Jul 2005
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There is a model of a snag boat at the Melvin Price Lock and Dam that I've always admired. It's a big one, maybe 1/24'th scale.
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Old Sep 03, 2011, 11:40 PM
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1 step forward, 2 back

It's one of those nights... The build gods were busy watching football on TV, not helping me. I'm working on the boom turntable. It has a lot of angle iron to model and it didn't come out quite right, so off it comes tomorrow. But, these little rebuilds always result in a better end product. Got the holes in the hull drilled correctly for the spuds. Now where did they get the name, "Spuds?"
This didn't have a re-do option. Ordered more brass sheaves and LED lights for the boat today. Doing lights is one of my least favorite projects to do. But the push is on to get the boat done.

Happy building to everyone

Mike in Edmonds
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Old Sep 04, 2011, 09:00 AM
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Bozeman, Montana, United States
Joined Aug 2003
3,393 Posts
When you run your control line cable around the boom turntable, you might want to put some flexibility in the cable. A spliced-in section of rubberband would both tension the cable, and also allow some give, in case the boom was accidentally knocked during transport.
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Old Sep 04, 2011, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Brooks View Post
When you run your control line cable around the boom turntable, you might want to put some flexibility in the cable. A spliced-in section of rubberband would both tension the cable, and also allow some give, in case the boom was accidentally knocked during transport.
The turntable will have a turnbuckle to apply tension as on the full sized boat. But the idea of an elastic section might work well. I don't plan on moving the boat with the boom attached. it sticks out too far to fit in my car. The boom adds up to a foot more length to the 62" hull. Thanks for the tip.
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Old Sep 04, 2011, 12:12 PM
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PDX, OR
Joined Dec 2002
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The local ACE Hardware store, here, has two or three drawers full of
different kinds of metal springs. Might be worth a look to see if there
is something at your local hardware store that would work as a tensioning piece.

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