View Full Version : SWMBO--Carved Nameboards

Dave Hadfield
02-14-2001, 12:30 AM
Last year we started a thread asking about the best type of wood for carving nameboards. After much research and experimentation my wife Robin carved these out of Black Cherry, from a tree that grew on my Grandmother's farm. They're carved by hand (and a very sharp chisel), sealed in epoxy, gold-leafed in the traditional way, outlined in black, and coated many times with varnish.

I was quite impressed with her work.

At the time I mentioned that we would post the results, so here they are.



[This message has been edited by Dave Hadfield (edited 02-14-2001).]

Paul Frederiksen
02-14-2001, 12:50 AM
Nice name boards. I am planning something similar so it is nice to see is is do-able. Thanks for posting them.

John R Smith
02-14-2001, 05:53 AM
Hell's teeth, Dave, they are superb. Now then, could I persuade Kate to do something similar? Only four letters, after all . . .


02-14-2001, 06:58 AM
John, only two letters, repeated, kate could practice them both a couple of times beforehand... but seriously, nice nameboards!

Bruce Taylor
02-14-2001, 07:50 AM

02-14-2001, 08:11 AM
Very high quality Honduras Mahogany has a very nice grain for carving.

02-14-2001, 08:19 AM
Very nice. And better yet SWMBO has a stake in the boat, a sense of ownership.

Ed Harrow
02-14-2001, 09:39 AM
Hmmm, does this qualify as self promotion, well I guess not if they were done by SWMBO http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

Very nice, Robin has talent.

02-14-2001, 10:09 AM
Alright i wil plead ignorance what is SWMBO?

Dave Hadfield
02-14-2001, 10:45 AM
She Who Must Be Obeyed (or at least consulted!)

Thanks very much for the comments. John, Robin asked me to offer to carve LULU in return for a painting, but I told her I wouldn't because that would be a swap and we don't do that here.

Seriously, much appreciated. The scanning didn't bring out the rich lustre of the cherry. You ought to see it from the tender, lit by the soft rays of a setting sun in some wild North Channel anchorage.


02-14-2001, 12:46 PM
Yes, and a nice thing about cherry is that it get richer, more beatutiful, as time goes on.

Question: What base did you use for the gold leaf? That is, what is between the gold and the wood?


Ian McColgin
02-14-2001, 08:00 PM


02-16-2001, 11:17 AM
Nicely done!

Knew quite a few women who are into carving wood. I guess it appeals to that whole art & craft thing. It also lets them decorate.

I don't suppose this is their way of "marking their territory"? http://media5.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/biggrin.gif

Dave Hadfield
02-17-2001, 12:48 AM

I know she used "sizing". What exactly that means I'm not quite sure. I'll ask her to comment here as soon as possible. There was quite a bit of trial and error, and reference to several books.


Ron Williamson
02-17-2001, 07:05 AM
The sign guy that rents shop space from me,uses sizing all the time for gold leaf.
He describes it as "varnish that stays tacky"

04-04-2005, 01:12 PM
Carved name boards- are they carved from wood that is pre-bent to fit the curve of the bulwarks? Are they steam-bent after carving? Or, are they just flat and that's ok?

How thick are yours? Anyone have photos of theirs that they want to share?

(The links for photos posted in the messages below unfortunately no longer work...)

thanks- Abby

Jay Greer
04-04-2005, 01:57 PM
Wow! I really wanted to see those pictures! For some unkown reason they are just a small square with a red center. Draht!
Carving is one of my side lines in boat building so I am always interested in seeing the work of others.

The old sea term for name boards is "Arch boards" if they grace the stern. At the sides aft, they are "Quarter Boards". Of course every one knows the term "Trail Boards". Then there are "Billett Heads" and "Cat Heads" . Of course that is stuff for square riggers.

By the way, when fitting a board to a curve, I usually saw the board to fit. Steam bending is a waste. Lamination will work for trail boards . The work can be bent to a pattern taken from the hull. Or, if the boat is under construction, I sometimes lay them up directly on the hull. Fancy scroll can be cut on a scroll saw and then glued on. Saves a lot of back ground relief work.

04-04-2005, 02:00 PM

The trailboards for Catriona were laminated of two pieces formed over a mould, the transom badge/nameboard of two layers of several planks over a mould. The trailboards stayed a constant thickness (about 1.25 inches), while the transom badge was carved into varying thickness as the design demanded. The transom badge blank started out at about 4" thick! This glorious work was done by Don Wilson at the Lunenburg Chiselworks for a reproduction of a Herreshoff 'Bounty'.




Dave Hadfield
04-04-2005, 03:27 PM
Whoa.... where did this old thread come from?

We didn't do anything like Catriona. Robin carved by hand from black cherry, gold-leafed and outlined, then coated with epoxy resin, then varnished. Unfortunately I used a water-based varnish, "Varathane's Diamond", which has no business going over epoxy. We got some blotching after the first year. I could have cried!

So it's had 4 seasons of sunlight, with a coat of varnish on once a year. The blotching stopped once I applied a spar varnish with good UV filtering.

But it looks good enough that we haven't stripped and started again... I left the image large because you wanted to see blemishes. Also, this transom has only a slight curvature, so we could make everything in the flat.


Dave Hadfield
04-04-2005, 03:32 PM
See that nick out of the edge of the transom? That came from a moment's carelessness with the dinghy. Robin did it and her face turned white when the piece fell off into the water.

My ire was rising to extreme levels when I noticed it was autobody filler! The boat had been clobbered there before, in that exact place! I laughed!

And I'll glue a piece of cedar in there this spring.

04-04-2005, 08:22 PM
wow, beautiful!
I was hoping for photos, so thanks! and keep 'em coming...

Here's another question- for names boards that mount on the bulwarks, should the letters slant forward as well? Easy enough for the starboard side, but what about the port? thanks...

Jay Greer
04-04-2005, 09:35 PM
Ok Guys,
I'm not savy as to how to post a photo??
I have some ship carving examples to share.