Skiff, Brackets


Scarlett has grown into a far more helpful studio cat. Here she continues the weathering process on the underside of the Sea House Pavilion Squat roof, while I work on building a wee skiff.


I eBayed this circa 1989 Midwest Products skiff model. I love this kit for many reasons: The superior 36-page construction manual and a full-size plan. Each of the 117 steps has a little checkbox next to it, to track one’s progress. And shipbuilding vocabulary: inwales, cleats, chafing plank, stem and false stem, strongback, painter, breasthook, skeg, knee and quarter knee, transom, fairing.

Here is step 109, Inwales:


Even with the apprentice skill level 1 rating, there was still plenty of late night swearing, especially setting up the framing. I realized very early on how glad I was that the finished model would be heavily weathered.


Making the oars was possibly my favorite part. They’re built from dowels and stripwood, whittled and sanded into final shape. (Still have to varnish the second one.)


The outdoor shower is old Reutter Porcelain, tragically discontinued. One of my all time favorite pieces!

At some point, the Sea House Pavilion was retrofitted with sturdy brackets, much like the foundation of the SH Warming Hut.


This time, made much easier by cutting the components on the Cricut machine. I used the scoring tool to mark angle folds and placement of the bolts, which are two dots thick. (Note to self: hmmmm, maybe make available to sell? Have good metallic cardstock by Neenah. Am thinking of drawing contemporary and or retro wrought iron patterns, too?)


Recently, most of my building has been in the quiet of late night. Scarlett keeps me company on the studio thinking couch. Good kitty.


17 thoughts on “Skiff, Brackets

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thank you, Marilyn! I quite enjoyed building the skiff (except for the frames and gluing my fingertips with CA glue). I sigh about the shower, too. It is a perfect piece.

  1. Sheila says:

    Love how the skiff is turning out. Especially the aging on the floorboards. And Scarlett looks like she’s fulfilling her supervisor duties nicely.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Sheila, thanks! It really is a good kit. My phone is full of random weathering example snapshots and notes now. Next up is faux-patching and funkifying the roof prior to adding gutters and a rainwater collection system :)

  2. marion379 says:

    you were so lucky to find this! I tried to make one with wood but failed hopelessly. so, I had to make a model from foam board and then vacuum form it. turned out very nicely – but obviously not vintage style like yours, with all these details. love your boat!

  3. elizabeth s says:

    I like the word “skiff” since it is one I’ve never used before as I would have referred to your kit a rowboat, so is it the size that determines the name? In any case, you have made a lovely job of it and regarding your considering making “wrought iron” as part of your future inventory, I say ‘Yes Please!’ :D

    p.s. Scarlett looks about as relaxed as a cat could ever wish to be. :D

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Skiff is a pleasant word! I think a skiff, “a shallow, flat-bottomed open boat with sharp bow and square stern” is a type of rowboat, although they can also be powered by outboard motors.
      And thanks for the thumbs-up to making wrought iron! What style would you like to se?

  4. Barbara W. says:

    I think we call them “rowboats” here too. It turned out beautifully! Please would you make some what I would call New Orleans-style wrought iron?

      • Barbara W. says:

        The spookier, the better! I am slightly (okay, a lot) obsessed with abandoned and “haunted” buildings. Loving your revamp of the Pavilion.

  5. Keli says:

    I love the skiff, it has so much character.

    I have seen miniature Zodiacs on Shapeways, perhaps a designer could be persuaded to scale one up to 1:12 for you. Carefully covered in self adhesive vinyl, I think it would look fantastic.

    There is room for two watercraft, right?

    Your chief weatherer looks very content. She must be paid in snuggles.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thanks, Keli. I admit to being surprised at how charming and personable a wee boat can be. Thanks for the Shapeways tip; I’ll check it out. Since all my builds are related and coastally located, they’re all gonna need watercraft :)
      Scarlett is becoming a versatile craftsbeing indeed. Just this afternoon, she crafted my husband’s steak, which he had seasoned and set out on the counter under butcher paper in preparation for grilling, into a much more pleasing (to her) size.

  6. brae says:

    Wonderful work on the boat. The dinghy kit I bought for the lighthouse has languished and is in the “someday” category. I recall much swearing as well. :D

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