Email Michael Anytime

One of the most popular questions I have been asked at art and tugboat showings is, "How long did it take you to 'make' it?"  Children often asked me, "Where did you get that?" I'd tell the children that I knew a place in the mountains where I dig tugboats out of the rocks. I usually explained to the "how long folks" that it took me a couple of years. . .a couple of years is about the average for me. If you have a box of money to throw at your project, and you don't have a job you have to be at, and you happen to have a pretty nice wood shop, you can probably build this tug in about 4 months. If you are building your tug on the front room coffee table, like I did for the "Kathy Sue", have a job to attend to, and are shopping for an electric jig saw and a wood file. . .it will take you a year or so.

As I drew up the tracing drawings for my first tugboat, I thought that others might appreciate some drawings that would help them to get a head start on their tugboat dreams. After a couple of years, I finally came up with a set of tracing plans that allow a builder to have their tugboat's skeleton up and sitting handsome in about 2 weeks. This makes for a much more rewarding product for your efforts and will inspire you to build your own tugboat.

I couldn't afford 1/2 inch plywood so I tore apart a huge "entertainment center" and used the very heavy wood from it to build the skeleton. . .bad idea - way too heavy. I built the superstructure from way too thick of wood. . .bad idea - after weeks of work it had to be tossed. Too much piping topside - top heavy for sure.

I'm not much on pictures of myself, however, as you read about building your tugboat on this site, I thought it alright to show myself so you can see who is writing to you. I started my tugboat 7 years ago on my wife's coffee table in the front room, thus the tugboat's name, "Kathy Sue". To most model boat builders, there are several things not quite right about my tug's superstructure.

For example. . .as you can see in the picture above, there can be dangers while building your tugboat. John, biking to the hardware store to buy a box of 1 1/2 inch galvanized deck screws, realized that lubricating his bike chain with "bees wax" was not a good idea in bear country. You must pay attention to details with your time and resources. If John had purchased the deck screws when at the hardware store last time, he wouldn't be missing now. So, how long did it take John to build his tugboat - for ever.

I realized that I was stuck. This tugboat would never see the beach. Oh-no. . .back to the drawing board.  But I didn't give up on tugboat life. Unlike little Johnny below, I didn't say to myself, "Good-bye cruel tugboat building world. No sir, not me. . .I spent another three months altering my tracing drawings. 

Welcome Aboard 

Feel free to email me any time:      12/01/16

As you can see in the fine, old picture below, it has taken way over a hundred years to put the "XBow" design, by "American Natives", into production. Compared to that, I'm making good time. I hope my design work will help you - save time and money for your tugboat vision.

The picture above was taken around the time I was a child who loved to push logs along the beach as I made motor boat sounds. Look closely at the photo. . .all the men are wearing suits. The age old tradition of using a string on a stick is in force. Some of the models, since the electric garage door opener was invented 12 years earlier, were indeed remote controlled. Aside from their wearing their Sunday best and smoking cigarettes, there is no laughing. . .almost complete silence. . .and intense concentration. These fellows are dead serious about their models! How serious are you about your tugboat?