Saturday, 4 March 2017

Spring, it seems, is nearly sprung....

In my household, the most reliable harbinger of Spring, a big thing for a nation kept in 4 months of dismal Winter, is that I start looking at pictures of wooden speedboats on the 'Net.   I have just joined a Facebook group called, wittily, Mahogany Hot Rods.  And so it seems to be. Lots of lovely wooden boats, some classic, some modern, but all beautifully crafted by real craftsmen and women.  Not a bunch of lacky mechanics, like you get overcharging in the old car world, but people who can fashion hardwoods into the most beautiful shapes.  People who know how to varnish, upholster in the finest leathers, metal polishers, for you only get the plated finish you put on the piece by hand.

And, of course, the more I look at real ones, the more I want to get back to the models of them that sit on my shelves all Winter.  I have made the current ones to be motorised, but I hate all that battery charging faff. The chances are the damned batteries are all dead as dodos anyway and can't be revived. I don't do LiPos, because they also die if not used and are potentially dangerous.  I have a shelf full of lead acids which no doubt are as useless as my car battery was recently when left with the side lights on.  I can't charge them because the special charger I bought has instructions in Cino-English that I can't begin to decypher.  So the chances are that my working models probably won't work at all.  But that's irrelevant really. They exist as much as a seasonal prognostigator than a fine running example of man's fascination with miniatures.  And anyway, the old farts at the pondside (if I was ever to find a pond) are only interested in tugs and lifeboats or overblown renditions of nondescript commercial craft and NO interest whatever in the beautiful mahogany speedboats of the Golden Age.


  1. Personally, at the poolside, I'm interested in tugs, lifeboats, overblown renditions of nondescript commercial craft AND beautiful mahogany speedboats of the Golden Age. The only problem with the later would be wiping the drool off them. I'll admit that a proper wooden speedboat is on my list of "to do" projects one day. It would have to work properly though so I need to go up the learning curve on some plastic ones first.

  2. Not sure why you would need plastic to learn on, Phil. Just make it in plywood like any other and then veneer it in steamed pear to look like real mahogany and varnish. The real trick is the fittings all hand made in brass, then highly polished and nickel plated. I rather think in this age where few if any actually make stuff, that's where people fail and fall back on their tugs, etc. for which all is available off the shelf.

  3. I always enjoy your writings Martin, but I have to say that shoehorning the word 'prognostigator' into a post about beautifull wooden speedboats has made my day! Even if it does conjure up images of leeches, glass jars and little bells...

  4. Ah, you're thinking of Doctor Merryweather's Animal Electricity Tempest Prognosticator, an early weather forecaster!

    Glad you enjoyed it, Paul.