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Sep 14, 2007, 11:30 PM
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Greg Knipp's Avatar
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Build Log

Small Harbor Tug


Well, here goes my attempt at a boat build. I am building my rendition of a small harbor tug which is not a copy of any particular real-life boat. One of our club members is gifted with the ability to make hulls as strictly a hobby and not his livelyhood. At any rate, he along with the help and prodding of another club member Bill Pelky (AKA Prinswillem), have came up with a hull which resembles the now discontinued Midwest Harbor Tug. It measures 24 1/2" long X 7 1/2" wide, utilizes the hard chine look and has a refined skeg for ease of stuffing tube placement.
By the photos you can see that I have already installed the homemade stuffing tube, rudder and rudder support strip. The stuffing tube was made by using the telescoping brass tube method. The rudder was made by laminating 2 inner sheets of 1/16" basswood with alternating grains at a 45 degree angle to the 2 outer skins of vertcle grain 1/64th ply. Naturally there was a 1/8" dia. brass rod installed .
Now the next step is to mix up a slurry of 30 minute epoxy and some lead bird shot which I will pour into the skeg cavity to add some concealed weight and permanantly set the stuffing tube and rudder support strip inserts. The next step is to install the deck support framework and deck.
At this time I would like to say that I welcome any advice or support to help make this project a success.
THANK YOU!!!!
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Sep 14, 2007, 11:51 PM
Dragon Slayer
ropanach's Avatar
Welcome Greg:

looks like a nice clean hull, looks alot like the Mid west JimWilder.
Please heep us up to date ( with pictures please ) you seem to have done this before.
I have built the Jim Wilder, because of it's size, the rudder didn't perform very well. so I made one of brass 25% larger could not tell that I had enlarged the rudder but it performed much better, and the prop wash was not as bad, it gave me alot more control in tight spots. But the Jim Wilder is 32" long and 10" wide, your hull being shorter, the rudder may work just fine. hope this helps
Sep 15, 2007, 03:22 AM
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Greg Knipp's Avatar
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Although I had contemplated the sheet brass technique before going this route, advice from a friend and a reference check to the plan and build instructions of the original model gave me reassurance of my choice. The original Harbor Tug kit utilized a piece of 1/8" basswood as a rudder profile. I also had opted to go this route because I thought the rudder having some 3 dimension only looked proper. I know this is not always the case as excellent handling characteristics will often supercede looks. I guess it will be an easy fix should I find this option a flop. Thank you so much for your vauable input as it really does make sense.
Sep 15, 2007, 10:41 AM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
When I built my Vac U Tug, I only cemented in part of the lead shot ballast. The rest went into ziplock bags (shot smushed with epoxy) which were then taped or velcroed to the hull. Removable ballast is nice if you add features to the tug later.
Sep 15, 2007, 10:48 AM
Registered User
tim slocum's Avatar
Brooks, nice project. What scale is it? I also like the bb's in ziplock bag with epoxy method of ballasting,for the very reason you mention.Brooks, you sure dont let grass grow under your feet,do you?
Sep 15, 2007, 11:31 AM
Registered User
Very nice work, Greg!!!! Looks super clean! Keep it up- you are going to have a great boat there!!!
Sep 15, 2007, 09:50 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
Tim, I think you meant "Greg, nice project." ....and I'd agree with you.
Sep 16, 2007, 12:42 AM
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tim slocum's Avatar
Ops..Your right Brooks. Sorry Greg, too much cold medicine.
Sep 16, 2007, 02:30 PM
r/c ships and workboats
This is the same hull I used on the new boat build earlier this year to build the "James E". The hull was very nicely done and is a great size for regattas as it handles well and can be detailed out nicely.
Sep 16, 2007, 07:47 PM
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Greg Knipp's Avatar
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Tim, I am sorry to get back so late. You had inquired about scale in your earlier post. The hull is 1/2" to the foot scale which is the same as the old Midwest Harbor Tug kit.

Keith, you are so right and that is the reason I opted to start my boat ventures with this one. Everyone I know that owns a Midwest Harbor tug echos your same comments. It still amazes me that Midwest felt it a positive business move to discontinue the kit???? I have nothing against the Sequin model, in fact, I have just ordered the Sequin hull from Karl at Microglass. They still continue to manufacture the Sequin for good reason, I can't believe they were not selling enough of the small tug? I would have thought it would appeal to a bigger portion of the model boaters out there?
It seemed like The Harbor Tug was the ideal entry level kit which handled beautifully regardless what the builder opted to do or did by mistake.

Thanks all for the great comments.
Sep 16, 2007, 10:31 PM
Registered User
P_J_Glor's Avatar
Greg - I agree with you fully regarding the Midwest Harbor Tug. It was one of the original Laughing Whale kits taken over by Midwest and my Trawler kit (also a Laughing Whale legacy kit) had the same basic hull. My ex father in law, who had never built an operati9ng boat before, built the Midwest "Bass Boat" and then did a great job on the Harbor Tug. Both were great entry level kits, fun to operate and looked great on a shelf or mantel. I agree that discontinuing them was a missed opportunity for new modelers.

Pete G.
Sep 16, 2007, 10:45 PM
"day ain't over yet-"
der kapitan's Avatar
[QUOTE=Greg Knipp]Tim, I am sorry to get back so late. You had inquired about scale in your earlier post. The hull is 1/2" to the foot scale which is the same as the old Midwest Harbor Tug kit.
Keith, you are so right and that is the reason I opted to start my boat ventures with this one. Everyone I know that owns a Midwest Harbor tug echos your same comments. It still amazes me that Midwest felt it a positive business move to discontinue the kit???? I have nothing against the Sequin model, in fact, I have just ordered the Sequin hull from Karl at Microglass. They still continue to manufacture the Sequin for good reason, I can't believe they were not selling enough of the small tug? I would have thought it would appeal to a bigger portion of the model boaters out there?
It seemed like The Harbor Tug was the ideal entry level kit which handled beautifully regardless what the builder opted to do or did by mistake.

Greg, I don't understand the corporate mindset on what will be marketed, and what will be discontinued.

I'm just a little manufacturer who still seems to survive the hype and the
big-box onslaught of the super stores. None of my stuff is made in China,
though several of my offerings have been "pirated" by them.

Rest assured that you'll get your hulls "made in America" for quite some
time, or at least until they pry the molds from my cold, dead hands---.
Sep 17, 2007, 02:35 AM
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Greg Knipp's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks a million Karl. Yours are some of the best. I do know conversation arrises now and then about the Sequin hull used by Midwest and the actual origin of it. I was always under the conception it was yours and you were providing them to Midwest and then all of a sudden they are being bought from over seas. Am I correct?
Keep up the great work and thanks for keeping American goods alive.
Sep 17, 2007, 06:05 PM
Old wreck in Milwaukee
Prins Willem's Avatar
It looks like your off to a good start. Building your own stuffing tube and shaft is a pain. Cutting threads on Stainless Steel sucks, and I can do it at work on a lathe to get them straight.

Midwest also has discontinued the Stuffing box & prop set they had for the 24s( I think it was #826). When Chuck made the hulls we asked the LHS to stock the sets for the guys building the boats. They did as long as they could get them. About 5 or 6 years ago I stopped at the Midwest Booth at RCHTA in Chicago. They told me the sales were down on the 24 inch kits and that is why they discontinued them. I had told them that we recommended those kits to beginners because of the quality materials they used and the excellent instruction package they had. The complements were well received but the appeal to bring the kits back fell on deaf ears.

I have been doing my rudders from flat brass for a long time. On my current tug rebuild I tried something a little different. I made my usual flat brass rudder then covered it with resin and cloth. The resin didn't stick to the brass and I wound up peeling it off while sanding. Not to be deterred I epoxied 1/8" styrene to each side and then sanded to shape. The boat has only been in the water once (at Kohler) so I cannot vouch for the durability. If it works out I may redo the whole fleet.

With yours and a few others which have come on line it is probably time for a new class picture. I'll bring it up with the picnic committee.
Sep 17, 2007, 07:16 PM
"day ain't over yet-"
der kapitan's Avatar
Prins Willem,

Midwest's decision to discontinue the 24" harbor tug kit was just one instance of a long list of stupid moves they've made.

It doesn't cost a lot to carry an item through a period of slumping sales, as they already have the dies and patterns on hand. A slow period happens, and then there may be a rebound in popularity---.

I have a lot of hull offerings that are slow movers, and others that I haven't sold in years. I've kept all of my molds regardless---.

And then someone asks for one of them, like a bolt out of the blue---.


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