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Alma - San Francisco Bay Scow Schooner

Scow schooner Alma

Alma is a San Francisco Bay scow schooner built in 1891 and still sailing. I am now (December, 2006) working on a scratch-built model of her using plans available from the Maritime Museum in San Francisco. The plans are terrific and highly detailed and drawn at 1:32 (3/8 in. =1 ft.) for the most part (sail plan is at 1:48). I started the model several years ago, but put it aside to work on other projects. A good thing, I think, since my skill level at that time was not quite up to the challenge.

Here are a few pictures of the model in its early stages of construction (click on the thumbnails for larger images):

Building board
Building Board
Bow Knees & Head Log
Bow Knees & Head Log
December, 2006
December 2006
Centerboard Trunk Bolts
CB Trunk Bolts

Construction started with making a building board on which I could position all the keelsons. The head and stern logs hold the keelsons together and the bottom planking makes it a solid unit. The frames were added to the sides and the clamps attached. I found some cool little brass nuts that were just the right size for the centerboard trunk. I'm planning on leaving some of the side planking off so one can see inside the hull. That's pretty much where things are at the moment. I am using my favorite wood, poplar, for construction.

Cabin Interior
Cabin Interior
Chain Box
Chain Box
January, 2007

I finished the interior details of the lower part of the cabin in the first part of the month.. Although it seems odd to be detailing at this point, it has to be done before the deck beams are in place, otherwise there's no way to get the bulkheads in there. The upper part of the cabin and additional detailing will come after the deck is on.

As seen in the photo on the right above, I've built and installed the chain box and am installing the rest of the deck beams. I also decided to paint the interior with orange shellac. The interior of the real Alma is fir, coated with orange shellac. It's a bit redder than the poplar but I rather like the interior look of the model. Has a kind of antique feel to it.

Starboard Planking
Starboard Side Planking
Starboard Hold View
Starboard Hold View

As seen above, side planking is underway. I have left an opening in the starboard side to allow a view into the hold. I have yet to decide if I will cut out the frames inside the hole. Probably, I will, but it would be hard to put them back if I cut them out then decided I didn't like it. So I'll give it a bit more thought.

Update - January, 2008 - I suddenly lost interest in building Alma about the time I started planking the deck. I have no idea why. The model was coming along well and I was happy with it. So I set it aside and it is currently pretty much in the state shown above except there is some deck planking on it. I will get back to it one of these days.