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Christmas Present

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Bob Wilson25/12/2019 10:12:42
1900 forum posts
277 photos

For Christmas this year, my wife got me a set of "ship curves" to assist me in my plan drawing and amateur nautical draughtsmanship in which I am becoming increasingly interested. I know that this sort of thing will be regarded as rather "Bush League" by some (drawing by using drawing pens and instruments on white card to produce the plans rather than the latest CAD software), but I never was much of a "whizz kid," and doing things myself, rather than assembling kits or using fancy software, has always given me a far greater degree of satisfaction that I might have had by "following the crowd!"

Merry Christmas


ship curves (large).jpg

Dave Milbourn25/12/2019 10:24:36
4025 forum posts
282 photos


I never knew such things existed. I wish I'd found out about them 50 years ago; it would have saved me using the edge of my shoe for drawing aerofoil sections and bulkheads. I eventually discovered French Curves but the largest is only about 10" end-to-end.

CAD's not so soul-less. A desktop PC and monitor takes up a lot less room than a Double Elephant drawing board and its stand. I get a kick from sending out an electronic file over the internet and having a full set of CNC-cut ply parts arrive in the post three days later. It's almost magical!

Season's thingies.

Dave M

harry smith 125/12/2019 11:05:03
1141 forum posts
1315 photos

Hi Dave and Bob

I thought CAD was Cardboard Assisted Drawing not Computer Assisted Drawing !!!

Nice set of curves mate !!!

Harry Smith

Bob Wilson25/12/2019 11:42:08
1900 forum posts
277 photos

Thanks - There have been ship curves for well over 100 yearssmiley and they are very useful, but before today, I only had one long one, plus some French curves. I don't use a drawing board, I use a sheet of three ply. I can still send them out over the internet though, but prefer to do everything myself - My brain, patience and cheque book will not stretch to CAD! surprise - Bob


Colin Bishop25/12/2019 12:08:59
5192 forum posts
6120 photos
421 articles

Very interesting Bob, they seem to be very comprehensive and look rather expensive.

Were they produced using CAD I wonder.....


Bob Wilson25/12/2019 13:22:48
1900 forum posts
277 photos

They were about £30 from Ebay. You can get them single, or in sets like this. Single long ones are called "Curved dress rulers" Ship curves have been around much longer than CAD, but maybe the Chinese used CAD to produce these. Years ago, they were made of wood and called "Copenhagen Curves or "Ship Curves" specifically designed for nautical draughtsmanship -


Chris Fellows25/12/2019 16:20:25
1196 forum posts
752 photos

I've got a set of French Curves from my drawing board days but as Dave says they aren't big enough and the curves aren't really suitable for boats. I don't think I've used them at all for my models and didn't use them that much for producing architectural drawings.

Someone in another post on this or another forum mentioned ships curves some time ago and I meant to get some then but forgot so thanks for the reminder. I use the carbon paper method of transferring my drawings to ply and they will be great for that.

I've kept my parallel motion drawing board for years thinking it would be useful for model boats etc. but haven't used it so reluctantly I'm going to get rid of it, it just takes up so much space.


Bob Wilson25/12/2019 16:45:34
1900 forum posts
277 photos

I use them for drawing plans of large ships where there are lots of curves. Nothing looks worse than straight lines on the braces of a sailing ship. A gentle curve really improves the drawing.

Bobpotosi flat.jpg

Chris Fellows05/01/2020 22:29:09
1196 forum posts
752 photos

Thanks to you Bob I've purchased a similar set of curves which will come in very useful.

I've dismantled my drawing board and taken the heavy steel angle base and parallel motion down the tip. Having owned and used the board for over 40 years (it was second-hand when I bought it and used in engineering) I couldn't let that go and it doesn't take up much room stood on end. At some point I will probably cut it down and use it as a building board as it is obviously lovely and flat.


Paul T10/01/2020 12:43:10
7340 forum posts
1229 photos
2 articles

A philosophical question:

Is modern better than vintage?

vintage phone.jpgmobile phone.jpg

Think before answering


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