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May 21, 2007, 10:27 PM
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P. Tritle's Avatar
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Build Log

Building the Dumas U.S. Coast Guard 44' Lifeboat

Not long ago the oppertunity came up to build the Dumas Lifeboat. I've seen several of these kits built and all have run well, so welcomed the chance to have a go at one.

The kit is OLD, and definitely shows it's age. The plans are hand drawn, and really don't match the parts all that well, so I went with the parts, not the plans. The instructions are adequate too, but it's sure not like the newer Dumas offerings with step-by-step format being used today.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. In fact, a good old fashioned build looks real good for a change after working with the high quality that the newer kits these days have to offer. In fact, this is "old school modeling" at it's best!

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May 21, 2007, 10:34 PM
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P. Tritle's Avatar
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Framing the Hull

Construction began by reviewing the plans and instructions to get familiar with the way the boat goes together. The next step was to ID each part and take them out of the dye cut sheets.

After trying with limited success to break the parts out of the sheets, I discovered it was easier and faster to remove the parts using a band saw. The cut lines provided all the reference needed to get everything neatly cut out, then sanded and stacked by number.

The hull framed quickly and easily, using the feet on the top of the frames to keep things straight and true while the assembly was glued together. At this point, I found the parts fit to be very good, considering the age of the kit, and the dyes it was cut from.
May 21, 2007, 10:47 PM
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P. Tritle's Avatar
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Planking the Hull.

Now here's the part of the build that I can really get into! The hull is strip planked with 1/8" X 1/2" balsa. The wood was sorted into bundles of hard, medium, and soft balsa. Each density was used where it would best serve the purpose, based on how much the stick would need to be bend to conform to the hull.

The planks were glued to the frames using Cya and kicker. The joint between the planks was done with Alphatic resin (Titebond Carpenters Glue). The planks were glued in alternating from side to side, keel and chine. As the gap began to close, the sticks started needing to be tapered, and finally, a couple of steelers closed the gaps. Once that was done, the forward sides were done to the upper chine, and the stern planked in vertical sections, each tapered to keep it all uniform.

With the planks all on, the hull was rough sanded, then a coat of drywall joint compound squeegeed on to fill the gaps and the grain. When that was dry, a coat of epoxy resin was painted onto the inside of the hull.

The next step will be to finish sand the hull and get the nose block in place and shaped.

May 21, 2007, 11:58 PM
Registered User
Looking great so far, Pat! Great subject too- a couple of years ago I went to a museum in Astoria Oregon that had a great display of the 44' lifeboat, among other great displays... If I remember right, the actual boat they had on display is either hull number 1 or very close to it- they are very tough boats that have seen a lot of tough conditions- CG Bob could confirm but I believe the type has been retired from U.S. Coast Gaurd use...

And you are right about the evolution of Dumas' instructions... I have an 'older generation' Dumas kit on the shelf next to the workbench and while I am certain it will build into a great boat (someday ), it has given me an appreciation of how far Dumas has come in the instruction booklet department!

!Viva Dumas!
May 22, 2007, 07:13 AM
"day ain't over yet-"
der kapitan's Avatar
Aerominded, the 44' lifeboat has indeed been retired for the most part, though there are still a few up in the Great Lakes stations.

The Dumas kit will be a tough build for Pat Tritle, owing to the lack of decent plans and instructions, but I'm sure he'll do a commendable job of it.

I'm guessing that the Dumas kit is 1/16 scale, which is the same as the one that Microglass has been developing. I understand that they have the hull available, but not the plans or cabins, though they may become available with some encouragement from those interested.

Might be something to fall back on,should all that old wood collapse into a splintery heap---.
Last edited by der kapitan; Jun 12, 2007 at 08:39 AM.
May 22, 2007, 11:06 AM
r/c ships and workboats
Neat boats as I have the wood and glass hull from Dumas. Now only to get pasta couple of other prodjects and get back to those...........
May 22, 2007, 11:36 AM
CG Bob's Avatar
The last of the USCG 44' MLBs was retired a few years ago, there are no more left in the USCG. The Ohio Naval Militia has one. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, MI has two - one is used as a dive boat.
Last edited by CG Bob; May 22, 2007 at 11:42 AM.
May 22, 2007, 12:35 PM
Sea Dragon-Lover
Umi_Ryuzuki's Avatar
We will want to see some performance Pat...
Of course you are going to have to find some rough seas locally.

For instance...

Ohh had to add this from the same site.
Last edited by Umi_Ryuzuki; May 22, 2007 at 12:54 PM.
May 22, 2007, 05:25 PM
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tim slocum's Avatar

Surf video

Cooooool stuff. thanks for posting it Umi
May 22, 2007, 06:12 PM
Registered User
WOW!!! that is cool, Umi!!! the model handles the 'seas' just like the 'real' thing! That looks like a lot of fun to run!!!

(Uh oh... another one to add to my list??? Gee, thanks Umi )

Will have to look out for the Microglass version!
May 26, 2007, 06:54 PM
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P. Tritle's Avatar
Thread OP

Finishing Up the Hull Planking

Once all the planking was in place and the noseblock shaped, the hull was rough sanded to knock down the bumps and more obviouse irregularities. Then a coat of Drywall Nud (Wall Board Joint Compound) was squeegeed over the entire hull. The surface was then block sanded and the bad spots touched up. Finally, the inside was given a coat of epoxy to seal the wood, and 3 coats of Nitrate Dope were applied to the outer surface.
May 26, 2007, 07:01 PM
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P. Tritle's Avatar
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Sealing Up the Hull

With the wood sealed both inside and out, the finishing process began on the outside surface. The hull was sanded to remove the "fuzz" that grows on the wood from the dope, and the hull covered with medium grade silkspan. The material was applied in several sections, wet, then given 3 coats of Nitrate Dope, and so far, 1 coat of Beautyrate Dope. Will apply 3 more coates of Beautyrate, then wet sand and shoot a heavy coat of filler primer. And that's when well find out where all the nasty stuff is, and the filling process can begin.

May 26, 2007, 09:04 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
Drywall mud? Really?

How interesting.
May 27, 2007, 02:39 AM
Altivolus per Aquila
Soar Master's Avatar
Why all the dope and Silkspan? Sounds intriguing. Don't you just fiberglass the outside of the hull?
May 28, 2007, 07:31 PM
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charlie eaton's Avatar


Pat, I have the large Billing 44'er under slow construction. Nice kit,have you seen it? Have you been into the dumasmodelboat group? It's in yahoo groups.
The 44mlb site that Umi showed is fantastic,if you haven't already do check it out. Clive lawford owns the site and he's good people and has much information in it.


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