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Making a 68-mm 4-oared yawl

This is yet another short tutorial for building a Master Korabel life boat. This time we will cover the recent 4-Oared Yawl. This is Master Korabel's most recent boat and it has a few improvements over the old ones. Firstly, the jig is not a part of the model anymore, as was the case with the previous Master Korabel boat. It is more like a "building berth", a completely separate entity. Secondly, none of the boat's parts are made of plywood anymore, all of them are made of pearwood and pearwood veneer. Please note that this tutorial is not intended to replace the original manual, it is meant to accompany it and provide additional information.

This kit consists of 2 pearwood billets for boat parts and 1 plywood billet for jig parts:

Master Korabel 68-mm 4-oared yawl kit

You have to be really careful as the laser cut parts are very delicate and fragile. However, it is not the end of the world if you break one. Just carefuly glue it back together with a tiny drop of CA glue. 

Step 1. First you need to assemble the center keel. It is built out of 3 layers of veneer plywood. Simply remove the parts from the billet and glue them together using pins for aligning the layers:

Master Korabel 68-mm 4-oared yawl center keel

Once the glue is dry, you can follow the instruction and bevel the bow and the stern of the center keel.

Step 2. Now you can assemble the jig. I found this to be one of the most difficult parts of the whole process. Plywood is very fragile and crumbles easily, especially the edges of fore and aft bulkheads that need to be beveled. To prevent this problem I highly recommend applying thin CA glue to the edges of the bulkheads and waiting for a few seconds before beveling them. The glue turns the edges into plastic and you will be able to bevel them without any parts crumbling.

After the bulkheads are beveled you can insert them into the jig's bottom piece. Note that the bulkheads have different sized pegs so they are properly oriented when inserted into the bottom piece:


Another difficult spot is inserting the center longitudal element into the bulkheads. It might be a very tight fit and if you push too hard it may break. If you have this problem then you can simply enlarge the notches with a file. Again, I suggest generously covering both sides of the center element with CA glue to avoid it falling apart while you insert it.

Master Korabel 68-mm 4-oared yawl jig

The final part of jig building is inserting longitudal side supports. The instructions tell you to soak them in water then to slightly bend them and then to insert them into the notches in the bulkheads. However, after soaking they will expand and it will be a very tight fit. I suggest to slightly file the notches on these longitudal supports before soaking them in water.  If you are having trouble fitting them in after they were soaked, don't file the notches, just use a sharp knife to enlarge them slightly. In the end, they have to be positioned in the bulkheads in such a way that the tiny holes for the ribs align with the bulkheads:

Step 3. Once the jig is assembled you can cover it with a plastic wrap to prevent glue sticking to it and install the boat's center keel:

Step 4. Now install the ribs. Soak them in water, bend them slightly with your hands and then slide them through openings in the center keel and the jig. Glue them with a tiny drop of CA glue in the area where each rib goes through the center keel and at each end where they touch the jig. Be careful not to glue anything to the jig between the longitudal side supports and the center keel!

Step 5. Once all the ribs are installed you can bevel and install the transom and begin planking. Thanks to the precut planks this should be a pretty straightforward task. Just make sure that the jig section of the first plank (closest to the longitudal supports) is not glued to anything. It is only used for positioning and will be removed later. Before gluing, soak planks in water and slightly bevel their fore ends. Planks should be glued to the center keel, each rib and the transom:

After the glue is dry you can sand the hull.

Step 6. The next step is not too straightforward in the instructions. Basically, you need to remove the jig segment of the first plank (the one you didn't glue to the ribs):

And then cut each rib in two spots - first cut is along the notches on the bulkheads and the second cut is 0.8mm-1.0mm off towards the jig's longitudal support. After all cuts are done you'll have short pieces of ribs sticking from the hull and from the jig. This is needed in order for the final plank to be positioned properly - it is glued to the ribs sticking from the hull and is supported by the pieces sticking out of the jig. Follow the instructions and glue this plank. Make sure you only glue it to the ribs sticking out of the hull! After the glue is dry, the hull can be removed from the jig:

Step 7. Now you can sand the hull smooth (if you didn't do it before) and assemble and adjust the center keel. I had to trim the hull in the stern area to ensure proper fit of the keel.

Once you are happy with the fit, the keel can be glued to the model:

Step 8. Now it is a good time to start working on the interior of the boat. First you need to thin down the ribs as per the instructions. Once this is done the sheer clamp can be glued:

File the notches for the oarlocks. You can see them in the sheer clamps. All you need to do is to file them in the sheer strake.

Then the bulkheads and foot wailing can be installed. I soaked the wailings in water so they can be bent to follow the curvature of the hull. I used PVA glue for the bulkheads and thick CA glue for the wailings:

After that you can install the risings. Note that they also have a jig portion attached to them. This part is not glued to the hull, it is only to help you position the risings properly. Once the risings are glued you can remove that part:

Finally, the thwarts, the side benches, the backboard, the knees, the fore grating and the breasthook can be installed. Make sure you don't glue the thwart with the mast notch just yet. You'll need to install the mast clamp first:

Step 9. Now is the time to make the rudder, the mast clamps, the pintles and the gudgeons. You can chemically blacken them before gluing them to the model. Afterwards, oarlocks and the shoulder can be installed:

Step 10. Finally make oars and the mast, position and attach the mast heel and assemble the boat stand. You can cover the model with a layer of protective oil. I used Wipe-on-poly for this. Your model is done!

Master Korabel 68-mm 4-oared yawl

Master Korabel 68-mm 4-oared yawl

Master Korabel 68-mm 4-oared yawl

If you like this boat you can get it from our store:

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  • Gary Ison on

    Can one buy the 68-mm 4-oared yawl ?

    Thanks in advance Gary

  • Steve Probelski on

    These are just wonderfully detailed little kits! I bought one of the larger ones last year-not planked yet, eff’ed up a few things. Will finish soon. I WILL be buying more.
    Get one and try it…….so rewarding and reasonabley priced.

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