3950 | Honolulu

Half Model
Walter Brown
1883, 19th century
33 x 12.1 cm
New Brunswick Museum
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

In the days before plans were common, the master shipwright carved a half model, which represented one half of the exterior shape of the frames for the vessel he was planning to build. The half model could be separated into sections, or lifts. Each lift was used to make full-scale patterns for constructing the ship's frames. The completed vessel would be the same shape as the half model.

A variety of wood chisels, gouges, drawknives and wood planes was used by a master shipwright to fashion a half model. Taking the measurements from the half model, the master shipwright scaled them to the actual size of the ship and then drew out a pattern on the floor of the moulding loft. From this large drawing, wooden patterns, or moulds, were produced to help guide the cutting of the timbers.

  • What

    The Honolulu measured 67 m in length and was registered at 1545 tons (1,400 t).

  • Where

    The master shipwright drew the ship's lines to full scale in the moulding loft, which was usually on the second floor of a building.

  • When

    The Honolulu was built in 1883 at the John Fraser yard in Saint John.

  • Who

    Walter Brown designed the Honolulu.