buying a wooden ship model
April 30, 2010 4:17 PM   Subscribe

I am considering a wooden ship model as a housewarming gift, the giftee just bought a grand old Connectcut home on the water and loves sailing ships--and has nothing like this at all. I know nothing about these models, but see that there are many sellers online. I am willing to spend money for something that is great. It appears that models of classic America's Cup yachts are popular (and do appear impressive). Any suggestions? what ships are best? Ok to buy online? a good gift?
posted by Duck_Lips to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think a ship model would be a great gift if you're sure they have a good place to display one. But keep in mind that the rigging can collect a lot of dust and be time-consuming to clean. Also, some cats like to chew on them.
posted by 14580 at 7:08 PM on April 30, 2010

I think it's a bit of a risk to take a flyer on something. People who love sailing ships tend to have particular interests around them. It would be easy to choose something by accident that they wouldn't want to display.

At the very least, you need to know:

Do they prefer square rig or fore and aft rig? "Tall ships" or racing yachts and schooners?
Contemporary or historical vessels?
American, British, or some other place of origin?

Ships are as specific an interest as anything else. You wouldn't want to get someone the wrong team's sports memorabilia just because they "like soccer" or "baseball," and similarly, you don't want to get anyone something that is going to miss the mark in terms of their particular interests.

Sometimes you can get a hint from what magazines they subscribe to or books they have. Maritime Life and Traditions? Wooden Boat? Sea History? Go for a nice historical model of a work boat or square-rigged merchant ship. Aubrey/Maturin lover? A British man-o-war model. Are they a sailing racer? An America's Cup model would be a good pick. Etc.
posted by Miko at 7:57 PM on April 30, 2010

If I was into sailing and had a home on the water, even if all my decor was minimalist as hell, this would be an AMAZING gift.

All great gifts, by their nature, kind of have to be a guess. This is a good one. Boats rule.
posted by mckenney at 8:03 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's just that there are so many different kinds of boats. If this is to be anything other than a piece of generic "nautical flavor" it should be more carefully selected.

That said, there are plenty of people who like the idea of boats, but don't know enough tell one kind of boat from another, and just think they're pretty. If that describes the friend, forget everything I said.
posted by Miko at 8:10 PM on April 30, 2010

Speaking as an Aubrey/Maturin lover, I would LOVE to get a man o' war or, and this idea I like almost more: a set of plans to a man o' war. Particularly if they are old yellowing plans, that can be framed and mounted on the wall. I reckon having the plans of the Victory just hanging on the wall would be a great, subtle maritime thing.

And not to be all ask-stealing, but If anyone can suggest where I might _find_ such things myself, that would be spectacular ;)
posted by coriolisdave at 8:33 PM on April 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Wooden Boat magazine people sell such things at their store, and they have instant name recognition among people like your friend.

I had the opportunity to meet boatbuilder and modelling craftsman H. H. "Dynamite" Payson last summer. I am pretty sure he doesn't sell completed models. But in a perfect world, he would accept commissions and you could give your friend one of his. (Though, to be fair, he favors more prosaic boats than what you have in mind.)
posted by richyoung at 10:41 PM on April 30, 2010

Many boat enthusiasts prefer half models or half hulls They have the advantage of being wall mounted so do not occupy surface space.
posted by adamvasco at 12:36 AM on May 1, 2010

To contine... enthusiasts are particulary fond of J Class half models; each hull of these classic America's Cup 30's race boats was slightly different. They can be found on ebay or by googling around. I don't know what your budget is but you indicate you are prepared to spend a bit in which case by shopping around you should find some quality. I see you are in NY. If you have a car go to Mystic Seaport or Newport for the day and you will get all the information you need by asking around.
I have commissioned a scale model from a shipwright turned model builder and the recipient of this gift still has it as the centrepiece of his impressive collection 15 years on. Its a great gift.
posted by adamvasco at 12:56 AM on May 1, 2010

I adore boats of all kinds and while I would love a model, I would Flip! Out! if I was given one of amazingly beautiful ship sculptures by metafilter's own wallstreet1929.
posted by the.carol.baxter.experience at 6:27 AM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you are ever in Boston, try Lannan Ship Model Galley at 99 High St.
posted by Raybun at 6:48 PM on May 1, 2010

« Older Where can I buy this glass?   |   The word "project" is really starting to piss me... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.