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Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Model Boat Show @ OCC

Last year marked the birth of what we hoped would become a tradition. It is rare that first year shows of any kind are anything to write home about, but I have to say that this was a real exception. Let me say a few things about it...

It was fortuitous for us that we had to miss the famous Waterfowl Festival in Easton for the first time in several years. There are a great many truly world class artists representing many different disciplines there and it can be quite the “heady atmosphere”. One discipline that I feel has been underrepresented is that of model boat making. Waterfowling and boats are like, well... …ducks and water...

At the time that we were lamenting the missing of Waterfowl Festival for 2013, we were contacted by fellow model maker Ed Thieler. Ed's models command a lot of respect. If you are familiar with his work, I don't have to tell you. He was inviting us to a model show in nearby Oxford. It was a one-day show on Saturday, the same weekend as Waterfowl Festival and fit well into our schedule.

When he mentioned a few of the other model makers that he had invited, it was clear that he had assembled a group of model makers that would have been appropriate for a “Master's Gallery” of Model Makers at the Waterfowl Festival. Because I am bad with names I won't attempt to list them, because I might forget someone and they were all great. We had the best in local, regional and some national talent, even including the curator of the NewYork Yacht Club collection, which is considered to house some of the finest models ever made. The models at the show represented a wide variety of boats and ships from different places and different eras and those of the Chesapeake were particularly well represented.
Some of the modelers gave discussions of their work and techniques. There was a display of models from around the world; some contemporary, some ancient. There was a display of models of the Oxford/Bellevue Ferry Boat. The Oxford Community Center is modern and the atmosphere was very comfortable. For model makers, this was an opportunity for people, whose work is often solitary, to commune. 

At the end of the show we asked Ed if there would be another. At the time he said “I don't know.” Being involved in show management ourselves, we understood, so we were very happy when he sent us an invitation for another running of the show this year. We'll have to put Waterfowl Festival on hold. This show is that good! If you appreciate model boats, you should come.

Unfortunately, the Waterfowl Festival doesn't have a “Masters Gallery” for model boats, however, if you plan to come to the Waterfowl Festival try to add this one to your list of stops, because you will find miniatures of boats that in every way rival and complement the quality of carvings, paintings and sculptures found at the Waterfowl Festival. Oxford is only a few minutes from Easton and is a beautiful town to visit.

The name of the show is: A Model Boat Show @ OCC and it will be held at The Oxford Community Center in Oxford, Maryland on Saturday, November 15, from 10 am to 4 pm.

Oxford Community Center,
200 Oxford Road
Oxford, Maryland 21654

Of course, we'll be there with our models, our bench, our book and we'll be happy to answer your questions about models...

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I have this theory. Perhaps it's not so much a theory as a kind of gut feeling about some of the things that occur in life. When I think about it consciously, it goes something like this: We all have a lifespan. During our lives many of the creatures surrounding us have very short life spans, or so it seems. We refer to “dog years” as seven years to our one. A Mayfly lives only twenty four hours.

Then I think of such a thing as a Hummingbird, whose wings constantly move so fast that we can't even see them. They seem to be moving as if we were seeing a film played at high speed. Perhaps they see us as if we are moving in slow motion. Perhaps they can't even perceive our motions in the same way that we don't often see the growth of plants. I think that such amazing, and beautiful, creatures will only live a short time. And then I have to wonder...

Do they really live such a short time? It seems like we share the earth with others who, when we use ourselves as comparisons, are somehow cheated of a full life. That doesn't necessarily make sense, though. I think to myself that perhaps the Hummingbird's sense of time is such that their life might seem full, given that most Hummingbirds would live for the same length of time as others. The Mayfly's life is probably a full life, etc, etc. Perhaps lifespan has to do with the speed of their heartbeats and the length of time it takes to reach a certain number of heartbeats. I don't know; does anyone?

All I can say is that a Hummingbird accomplishes amazing things in that short period of time, all the while retaining its beauty. Those of us who love pets, know that we will outlive most of them. We already know, whether we want to be cognizant of the fact or not, that humans tend to have longer lifespans than dogs, cats, or most other animals that we surround ourselves with. Those pets may view, if they can, our lifespans as being incredibly long, as we do when we see the Giant Sequoia trees.

Sometimes I have this feeling with certain people. There are people among us who live shorter lives. Shorter, yet sometimes, fuller lives. It's as if they had the energy of the Hummingbird. It seems that they created more, they lived more fully, they kept doing, in such a way that far exceeded what the majority of us accomplish in a much longer period of time. Robin Williams never stopped moving, never stopped trying to make people laugh, was always looking ahead to the next “come-back”. Perhaps he never took any time away from it and was saving his rest for his return to forever.

I've had this feeling about Jimi Hendrix. He did such amazing things at such a young age. He created music that people are still trying to understand forty years after he died. It's as if he accomplished so much, in his twenty seven years, that though we still desire more, he completed his life. He lived a full life. He lived fast and furiously and contributed greatly to the world of music, influencing every genre of music since.

Perhaps the more intensely one lives and the more things one accomplishes, the longer, greater and fuller their life is, regardless of the length of that life in actual time. Again, I don't know anything for certain but it seems that there are certain people who, now that they are gone, fit this category where, despite the brief time they lived, their lives were full and complete: James Dean, Whitney Houston, Kirby Perkins, Elvis Presley, Tony Pinto, Humphrey Bogart, Glenn Miller... ...and thousands of others.

Please don't think that I am ignoring the tragedy of their passing. Death never seems to occur when it is supposed to. You would think that we should somehow know when it's coming, given the billions who have proceeded us. We suffer tremendously when we lose them. Do they? I cannot say...

I think about this when I need to soothe myself over the passing of a friend, the latest of whom reminds me of some of these others who, although they left me before I thought they should, lived life fully and made great contributions for the rest of us.

When I speak of Dominic living a full life, I can only speak to the length of time that I've known him. We became friends through working together in The Antique & Classic Boat Society and especially working on our chapter's annual boat festival. His wife, Maryann is the Festival Chair. He approached me one day saying that he had heard that I was a former professional musician and he told me that he had been the manager of The Army Field Band, which is where he met Maryann who was a member of the band. The stories he told me of his experiences there revealed some amazing accomplishments, notably getting the Field Band into the Montreaux Jazz Festival, perhaps the most important jazz venue in the world.

One of my earliest recollections of Dominic was when Maryann and he experimented with a business making nautical furniture and began traveling to some of the same shows that we do. In Upstate New York, four hundred miles from home, Dominic noticed that one of our truck's headlights was out. He was a person that always paid attention to “the details”. He found me and said “Don't worry about it. I will take care of it. Maryann can man our booth.” When I said that he didn't need to do that he said “I know how to do it; it's easy. And, if I don't know how to do it, I'll find out how. Give me your keys.” Then he said the thing that I'll always remember him for: “I specialize in getting things done.

I have to say that I really didn't know what to think at that moment, but when we saw him later he told me about how our truck was different from what he had previously worked on and that it was a challenge, but that he enjoyed doing it. I believe that everyone that I know knew Dominic probably had some experience in which Dominic got it done. Dominic thrived on challenges.

Because we live just a bit too far away, and although I consider Dominic a great friend, I don't feel like I got to know him as well as I would have liked. I did get to work with him frequently and can tell you that he was always thinking, always friendly, always willing to give of himself, always trying to make things better, always available when someone needed something, a great leader, able to provide criticism in a supportive way, open minded, interested in new ways of doing things, he had a great sense of humor and he was very caring. Capable of taking seemingly untenable ideas, learning what was required for their success, bringing the right kinds of people together and convincing them to become involved and helping them to complete the job, he not only got it done, he provided opportunities for others to share in accomplishments they could really be proud of. He was probably the greatest master of “Schmooze” that I have known. He was generous and loved to see others enjoy themselves.

I have always seen Dominic as driven to do well in everything he did. Although he always seemed relaxed, I don't think that he liked to be without something important to do. I don't know how he felt about his own accomplishments, but to most people that I know, he would be regarded as having had a pretty amazing record of success.

Of late, I can't help but feel that he foresaw that he was running out of the energy to do what he loved to do most. It took so much energy to do the great things that he did. I don't pretend to know his thoughts, his feelings or his wishes. But, from my vantage point, he reminds me of the Hummingbird, in which despite the brevity of his life, it was full, it was rich, he made the lives of others more enjoyable and he certainly gave me things that I will remember for the rest of my life.

We'll miss you, old friend.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I got this call a couple of mornings ago...

It was Seth Katz. In the Antique & Classic Boat business he's well known as a world-class restorer of boats. Indeed, there are many who have seen his work, but have no idea of the man behind it. For example; he is known for having restored the boats from the classic movie “On Golden Pond”, the US Mail boat “Mariah”, a Century Raven, and the Chris~Craft Sportsman “Thayer IV”.


Seth leads a team of very talented people that produce fine art in their restorations.

When you see the boats that come from Katz's Marina  up close...

 realize that everything is perfectly tight and beautiful and that you can clearly see the grain of the wood throughout his boats. They are impeccable. 

Anyway, back to Seth's call...

Seth has been a good customer of ours for many years. Our customers are, of necessity, customers for years, because it requires time for Nancy and I to design, and then build, every piece of each of our models. We have many great customers and patience is a necessary part of the work that we do. We always endeavor to do our best on all of our models. Customers like Seth help keep our quality up, because of how knowledgeable and concerned with attention to detail, he is.

He called to say that another, who is an important friend to all of us in antique & classic boating, Woody Boater, wrote an article about a model that we made for Seth of the 17' Chris~Craft Custom Runabout “Reneeshins”.


Seth said that it was a nice article and, of course, how could we disagree? Thank you Woody Boater! Here is the link:  The article shows, both the original, and our model. Nice!

If you love boats, especially classic boats, you really should pay attention to Woody Boater. Wherever you are, he's got information about what's happening in your area.

Here are just a few of the other boats that Seth has done...

We've been writing less of late, because we have a lot of work to get done for several great and patient customers, including Seth. We will be writing more, if time permits, especially about our own ACBS Chapter's show here in the Chesapeake Bay – The 27th Annual Antique & ClassicBoat Festival / The Arts at Navy Point on June 13th - 15that the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels Maryland. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

This year has been a crazy one and we will be unable to attend the Waterfowl Festival as we usually do...


 ...there is another new, and for true enthusiasts of model boats, perhaps more interesting, show being held in Oxford, Maryland on Saturday, November 9th. You may or may not know their names, but the lineup of talented model makers is quite impressive, thanks to Master Model Maker Ed Thieler who organized the event.

I don't know the whole list of model makers that will be in attendance, but I do know that in addition to Ed Thieler (Chesapeake vessel expert noted for the precision and beauty of his boats and dioramas), Capt. Eddie Somers (Smith Island native and Chesapeake boat expert), Capt. Don Willey (specializes in Chesapeake and various other craft and is a Marlinespike expert), Capt. Ron Fortucci (Half-hulls, Pond Yachts, professional cabinet maker and sailor), Jim Wortman ( model maker and historian from New York's famous South Street Seaport Museum)  and others will be there, many of whom will be talking about their models and/or the history of the boats they've replicated of the Chesapeake Bay. We'll be there too, with our models and books and we will be discussing “photogrammetry”.

Whether you know their names or not, their works are among the finest in the region and the models that will be there will be something to behold. It will be a rare assembly of such highly talented artists of the type. Some models will be for sale (if you're looking for something different for Christmas), while other models, for display only, will make you say “Wow!”

As great as the Waterfowl Festival is, it's worth taking the side trip to Oxford. You won't find anything like this at The Waterfowl Festival and if you like fine carvings and art, you are certain to love the model boats that will be at this show. After all, the heritage that makes the Waterfowl Festival what it is could not have been without the boats.

Come to the Model Show at the Oxford Community Center, in Oxford, Maryland, from 10:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday, November 9th, 2012.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

“World's Best Ship Modeling Magazine”... what it says on the cover. There's a simple reason. It is. The information, covered in exquisite detail, is vast and comprehensive and is provided by some of the best ship modelers in the world. “Seaways Ships in Scale” lives up to the description.

It's a bit daunting to think that our little book was to face the scrutiny of anyone affiliated with this great publication. In fact, the reviewer of our book was none other than Kurt Van Dahm, President of The Nautical Research Guild, which is responsible for what I believe to be the world's greatest collection of information of interest to ship modelers. We've had a link from our website to theirs for many years. They have information about vessels, information about techniques, information about where to obtain plans, information about where to find supplies, information about maritime libraries, information about professional model making services and much more. See the link below to check out The Nautical Research Guild.

In our career of writing about model making, this is really our moment of truth. The moment when the best of your peers say yay or nay. We've had several reviews that have been nothing but positive up until now, for which I am extremely grateful, but these guys...

I approached my first look at the review of “Fundamentals...” with some trepidation. Initially, I was concerned, because the table of contents had modified our book's name to “Fundamentals of Modeling Marine Boats”. Uh-oh!

When I got to page 72, my moment of... well... concern... all of a sudden became one of great satisfaction.

I think that when you see this sample of the superlatives you'll understand what I mean:

This approach enables them to thoroughly explain aspects of modeling that are often skipped over in other books”, “In my opinion they hit the mark with this book”, “The way even basic information is presented opened my eyes and taught me a few things”, “very clear photographs”, “Some of the drawings are done in a full color 'computer generated' manner for showing the various hull sections or lifts that provide a very clean and easily understood drawing”, “The book goes into great detail”, “provides a real learning tool”, “provides some great examples”, “The thinking like a model maker theme is referred to throughout the book which I found to be very appropriate as this is one of the most important skills a model maker can and must learn”, “the authors provide a logical sequence”, “provide very good, basic information”, “How to interpret and understand mechanical drawings is covered very well”, “presented in a very clear and understandable manner”, “providing thorough descriptions and examples”, “Again, they used a very basic presentation to make a very good explanation of a fundamental skill that one must thoroughly understand”, “a point that more writers should make”, “will provide a very clear understanding of the various lines and measurements one sees on a set of drawings”, The authors provide some of the best photographs illustrating the lift building method that I have ever seen and their explanation of the process will leave the novice scratch builder with few if any questions about the process”.

Mr. Van Dahm did provide one criticism: He felt that the order of some of the chapters were not in the sequence that he would have chosen, but stated: “That said, the usefulness of this book is not diminished by the arrangement and should not make it any less attractive or useful to the intended audience.” I wrote to him and explained why I chose the order of the chapters in question and he responded that their order made perfect sense, given our intended goals.

He concludes his review with this:

This is a book that I think belongs in the library of every novice to intermediate scratch modeler and those modelers who are considering scratch building. The authors have made this book very understandable to those who have held off because of unanswered questions or who have found it hard to grasp the information from other books. The reading and study of this book would be good preparation to help in understanding some of the more advanced texts on the subject.”

This is what the World's Best Ship Modeling Magazine said.              I'm happy.
For a signed copy of our book, "Fundamentals of Model Boat Building" please go to
(If the font looks funny please let me know. I have seen some funny looking font sizes with the advent of  IE10...)
To explore the vast information available from The Nautical Research Guild go to
To learn more about Seaways Ships in Scale go to

Friday, May 24, 2013

Every June, On The Weekend Of Father's Day,

there is a show in St. Michaels, Maryland, that to me, is special in a way unlike any other that I know of. Let me say that I've been to a lot of shows over the years. It's formal name is "The 26th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival/The Arts at Navy Point".

Feel free to print this poster and show it off
It is one of the grandest expositions of fine old mahogany and chrome boats in the country: it is, in fact, the largest show of the type in the Mid-Atlantic region. It's location, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, is a setting that is perfect for the show's many aspects. Being on the Miles River, which connects directly to the Chesapeake Bay, stately motoryachts come from many parts of the East Coast. Many boats simply cross the Bay from the Western Shore or come up or down the Bay from various Eastern Shore locations. Boats arrive on trailers from all over the US and often from Canada, as well. There are runabouts, utilities, race boats, cruisers, launches and virtually everything that you can imagine in between. Because these boats are in competition for best restoration to original condition, they are all in "Bristol" shape and when you see 120 to 130 of them together, it's quite a sight.

There are several Antique & Classic Boat Festivals throughout the US and Canada and I think that they are all worth checking out. We attend a number of such shows each year and they all have their strengths. What I like about St. Michaels is that there is a type of synergy that has developed over the show's 26 year history. In particular, and for reasons that I'm not sure that I understand, it has had a good relationship with the arts. Having been among the first vendors that were part of the show, many years ago, I remember that the first group had a number of artists in it. Some of them still do this show, almost 20 years later.

Talk about use of "Style"
While I don't understand how it began, this connection between the boats and the arts has grown in a very natural way and the two worlds compliment each other amazingly well. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the boats, most of which were designed to be stylish in their times, and which are in such pristine condition are art in and of themselves. Making old and worn boats young again is an art form in no uncertain terms. Understanding how to do research, learning about history, and applying techniques of woodworking, metalworking, finishing, graphics, etc. are all types of multi-media art and artisanry.

I often hear people say how beautiful the St. Michaels show is. That it is balanced and makes people feel good. There are a lot of reasons for that. There is a lot to do and a lot to see and the people are friendly. Again, the Museum's grounds are beautiful in mid-June when the weather is "just right". I
think it looks better with lots of beautiful boats all over the place. ...and if you haven't been to St. Michaels, it really is a great place to be.

Everyone has a reason for liking boats, or not; art or not, and what I see in this may seem like a figment of my imagination to you. I have no problem with that. I will say that you should come to this show and think about what I'm saying here and see what you think for yourself. Even if you think I'm crazy, there are a lot of other things to see and do at the show. Whatever you like, I'm willing to bet that you will love something about this show.

The 26th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival / The Arts at Navy Point

For a list of this year's artists and vendors go to

For more show information, or to register a boat go to

For information about the town of St. Michaels go to

For Accomodations during the show go to

Thursday, March 28, 2013

From Classic Boats to Exquisite Birds...

Katz restored Cobra
Bird enjoying the Lake Dora Show
Show season is seriously underway. Two days to Tavares, Florida, three days of show and two days home. When we get home, it turns out, we really weren't gone for very long. But, the whirlwind of travel, of seeing faces that we know well, but only from this distant show, of seeing faces that we know from almost everywhere that we travel to, of meeting new faces and of spending time with friends and family who are in this distant place, make it seem like we've been away for ages. 
Flying Saucer FiberClassic

It's been about eighteen years since we started this annual journey to Lake Dora where the Sunnyland Chapter of The Antique & Classic Boat Society hold one of the great shows among antique and classic boat shows. It's a given that we will be there next year; “first space to the right of the entrance”.

First booth to the right of the entrance

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is 20 Miles Long!

The drive is as intense as the show, considering that we spend more time in the car than we do in our booth. Route 95, although perhaps a bit faster, doesn't interest us as much as taking those roads that have mom & pop motels, local eateries, farms, houses, and reveal local cultures and industries.

Incredible O.J. Citra, Florida

You can't really see anything from Route 95 and with a good map, and especially with GPS, it's hard to get lost anymore. For the most part, these are also 60 mph roads and I don't think that they cost us anything in terms of time.

The Real Callabash, N.C.

Just as we see familiar faces at the show, there are familiar landmarks along the roads; architecturally interesting old houses and buildings, towns that still hold their character, and because we are on the cusp of Spring, places where the season is much further along or farther behind.

Tara, once upon a time???

As I've said before, this is where we find the great Barbecue and Seafood restaurants that we like so much.

Santee, S.C. at sunset

Swan Pair by Ed Kuhn
This year, we may as well not have gotten out of the car. We arrived home late on Tuesday night. Friday morning (tomorrow) we leave for Chincoteague, Virginia. It's the Easter show down there, with a totally different set of familiar faces. We've known them for a lot of years, as well. The ratio of drive time to show time is a bit different. Two hours of driving (each way) and two days of show: Friday and Saturday.

The Chincoteague Easter Show is not about boats; it's about birds (although there are a few of us that make model boats too). Some of the best carvers in the country come to this show. There are also other types of artists who are truly outstanding in what they do. We're looking forward to spending time with Mary Lou Troutman, Ed Kuhn, Bill Veasey, Shannon Dimmig, Don and Donna Drew, Grover Cantwell, Russ Fish, Bill Hickson, Rocky Detwiler, Donnie Thornton,Bill Cowen, Denise Bennett, Joan Devaney, Nancy Richards West and many, many more great people. I definitely recommend this show and you have to know that it's pretty special for us to look forward to it after the intense trip to Florida. Here is the show website: 
At the 2012 Easter Show
Actually, the Chincoteague Easter show is about the arts and like an ACBS show is centered around boats, so is this show centered around birds. It's really worth the trip from wherever you are. It will be good to have a couple of weeks without travel before our next show: The Bay Bridge Boat Show. That will be another story... At least this year, we don't have to drive to New York on Easter Sunday to put a large half-hull on the wall like we did last year.

See you at the Show!