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Jan 09, 2011, 05:28 PM
Registered User
Rmay's Avatar
Build Log

Sternwheeler Towboat

This build is dedicated to memory of Joe Brown.

Know on this and many other forums as TowboatJoe, we all owe a great debt of gratitude for his insightful and inspirational help over the years. I discovered his website years ago and have benefited both in my skills and understanding of the craft of building towboat models. My model of the Major is based on input and pictures so kindly offered by Joe early in this build. His input continued during the build right up to his last days.

Although Joe is no longer with us the knowledge and passion of workboats he shared will live on.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Started work today on a Sternwheeler Towboat. Only got a little done today as I discovered I need a heater in my shop. Temps dropped 10 degrees since this morning.
Last edited by Rmay; Mar 04, 2012 at 09:42 AM.
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Jan 09, 2011, 05:31 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
Jan 09, 2011, 08:30 PM
Mmm, tugs...
patmat2350's Avatar
Fun. Looks a lot like:
Jan 09, 2011, 09:25 PM
River Rat
towboatjoe's Avatar
A friend of mine, Bernie Kain, built a 1:32 scale model of the Barbara back around 1990 before Steve bought her and renamed her Barbara H. It was fully detailed inside and ran great.
Jan 09, 2011, 10:18 PM
Old wreck in Milwaukee
Prins Willem's Avatar
There is a sternwheel towboat on display at the National Mississippi River Museum, the Logsdon. Not as big as the Barbara H. I wish i had gotten photos the last time I was out there. Guess I have to make another trip this summer.

In the photo on wikipedia you can just see her past the pilot house and fence.
Jan 09, 2011, 10:48 PM
River Rat
towboatjoe's Avatar
I found a photo of the Doanld B model Bernie built. Barbara H used to be the Donald B
i built a 1:32 scale model of the Lady lois still working the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers today.

I also built a 1:48 scale model of the George M Verity. It's a museum in Keokuk, IA
Jan 09, 2011, 11:37 PM
Taking care of the pond.
I'm watching this build.
Jan 10, 2011, 05:54 AM
Registered User
Rmay's Avatar
I think that's what I really like about this forum - you post and get lots of great replies.

towboatjoe: I know about your site, been there many, MANY times. In fact got most of my motivation from reading your site.

My towboat will be similar to the Barbra H, but since I'm not working from any plans I’ll just create a prototype of my own that embodies all the great characteristics of many of these great boats.

Thanks guys!
Last edited by Rmay; Jan 10, 2011 at 08:35 AM.
Jan 10, 2011, 09:41 AM
River Rat
towboatjoe's Avatar
Here's an easy to build sternwheeler that has the drive in the center of the wheel. It's owned by Madison Coal and Supply, Charleston, WV. They also own the Lady Lois and Laura J.

This boat has a straight shaft, but there are some with split wheels that can reverse one side while the other side goes forward.
Jan 10, 2011, 06:47 PM
Registered User
Rmay's Avatar
Thanks for the great pictures and layout. Tempting to build the Major, but I think the split drive would be a problem this late in the construction. Towboatjoe do you know if the Barbra H had rudders off the stern only or duel rudders - forward and aft of the wheel?
Jan 10, 2011, 07:09 PM
River Rat
towboatjoe's Avatar
i know she had three monkey rudders (aft of wheel) i'm not sure about the steering rudders (forward of wheel) I'll email Bernie and see if he can tell me.
Jan 10, 2011, 07:19 PM
River Rat
towboatjoe's Avatar
I sent Bernie an email. I asked him to join us here. We'll see. Here's plans for Lady lois. you can use these for the wheel. She had two steering rudders and two monkey rudders.

I've got photos of both lady Lois and Major. Anyone who plans to build them can email me for photos

You can see more photos of the Lady lois and George m Verity models here
Jan 10, 2011, 07:21 PM
River Rat
towboatjoe's Avatar
I agree with everyone else here and I can't wait to see how your build comes along. Happy modeling and take lots of photos.
Jan 10, 2011, 08:24 PM
Old wreck in Milwaukee
Prins Willem's Avatar
Your thread got me thinking about a former member of our club. He had a beautiful western stern wheeler. I don't know if you will be as ambitious as he was making your wheel. His had 1100 nuts and bolts holding it together. We all figured there was one more nut running loose.

At that time another member had built a cheesy little paddle wheel boat from some plans in a magazine. It had foil & pinstripe windows and a o-ring belt to drive the wheel. As it would travel it squeeked. Kids loved it. He would point at his boat and yell over to the other member that there wasn't one screw in his paddlewheel.
Jan 10, 2011, 10:01 PM
Registered User
Prinz Willem, That model in your post is the W.H. Bancroft, An Alaska sternwheel workboat built in Seattle WA in 1907. I sell the plans for her at 1/4" = 1' scale. The Bancroft was a freight boat originally built for hauling freshly caught fish (probably salmon) from the Seine boats that cought them to the cannery. She was owned by the Northwest Fisheries Co. and worked around the mouth of the Copper River, In AK

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