Spanish Galleon

Galleons were sailing vessels used by European countries from the 15th to 18th centuries. In Spain, these ships were used mainly as warships and for exploring the New World. Many Galleons brought back treasure to Spain and many perished during storms surrendering their booty to the sea. Treasure hunters like Mel Fisher have been fortunate to recover some of this fortune, but it is said that there are still millions in gold still undiscovered. In Florida, near Sebastian Inlet, Gold coins from the Spanish Fleet that sunk in the area have been known to wash up on the beach after storms. That would be a nice treat for beach goers.



The ship model depicted on this page is based on a small 16th century Spanish Galleon, The San Francisco. My mother, Jeanne, gave me a model kit as a gift and when I opened the box I discovered a pile of tiny lumber, hundreds of brass parts and a set of blueprints with instructions loosely translated from Spanish to English. I had built buildings from scratch for a model railroad as a kid but nothing this involved.

The overall model is 25 inches long by 21 inches tall. It is built from wood and metals with no plastic anywhere.


I bought a book on building historic ship models and how to rig a ship and got into this project full force. It was very challenging because I had to fabricate almost everything by interpreting the plans. I upgraded many areas to add authentic details and went overboard on some. For example: the ships hull is constructed from two layers on individual planking and I additionally drilled thousands of tiny holes and filled them in with wood putty to simulate plank nails. I took dozens of extra hours to do this and most people that see the model don't even notice the effect until I point it out.

 My nephew used to visit when I was building the model and always wanted to know when I was going to float my pirate ship in the pool. Arrrr... if this thing gets wet, someone's going to walk the plank!

I even had to learn to use a sewing machine to fabricate the sails. I went thru several needles because the sail cloth was very heavy.

The rigging on the ship took many hours to complete using a needle and tiny pliers. I tied thousands of clove hitched knots.

This is a photo of the ship while under construction.

 The San Francisco is displayed in a case and supported by custom built brackets I designed to look like anchors and fabricated the with the help of my friend, Demo when he had his welding shop. The Wood planking was cut from a hundred year old beam from my sister-in-law's Grandparents farm.

The entire project took four years to complete and I dedicate it to the memory of my Mom.

Thanks Mom!

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