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  • October 06, 2020 3:06 PM | David Eddy

    The Nautical Research Guild is pleased to announce that select back issues of the Nautical Research Journal are now available in our online store.

    From time to time, the NRG has a few extra printed copies of the journal, and we're now making these available to members and non-members through our online store.  Quantities are limited, and once they're gone, they're gone forever!

    If you're missing an issue, this is your chance to pick up a copy.  Currently available issues include:

    • Volume 60.4 - Winter 2015
    • Volume 61.1 - Spring 2016
    • Volume 61.2 - Summer 2016
    • Volume 63.2 - Summer 2018
    • Volume 64.1 - Spring 2019
    • Volume 64.3 - Autumn 2019
    • Volume 64.4 - Winter 2019
    • Volume 65.1 - Spring 2020
    • Volume 65.2 - Summer 2020
    • Volume 65.3 - Autumn 2020
  • August 28, 2020 12:34 PM | David Eddy

    The Autumn 2020 edition of the Nautical Research Journal is now available!

    Digital subscribers can access the digital edition here. Print subscribers will be receiving their copies by mail soon!


    • Notes on California voyages from ports in the East, 1848 to 1860 by Ron Gove
    • Building and modeling a C.D. Mower Snow Bird dinghy: Fifty years, building a boat and two models by David E. Martin and Charles K. Kroell
    • The Continental galley Washington 1776 by Kevin Hudson
    • The 1559 Emanuel Point Shipwreck I model by Steve Harris
    • Neptunia No. 298 
    • Whaling bark Charles W.Morgan: Outbound in the rain to hunt the whale by Richard Bohlman

    Columns and Editorials

    • Editorial -  Moving Forward by Paul E. Fontenoy, NRJ Editor
    • Shop Notes, featuring Scalpels by William E. Sproul
    • Tips and Techniques, featuring Polished brass by Kurt Van Dahm and Embossing dimples in thin metal by Steve Wheeler
    • Book Reviews
    • Letters
  • May 18, 2020 2:19 PM | David Eddy

    The Summer 2020 edition of the Nautical Research Journal is now available!

    Digital subscribers can access the digital edition here. Print subscribers will be receiving their copies by mail soon!


    • A 16x30 decked canoe from 1895, Part 2 by Steve Wheeler
    • Twenty-first-century alchemy: Turning pot metal and brass into wood by Ron Neilson
    • The fake Lexington and the Enterprise mystery—an unusual coincidence? by Ian McLaughlan
    • La Galera Real: A model of the flagship of Don Juan de Austria at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, Part 2 by D. Roger Moore
    • Paper ship models by David Sakrison
    • Neptunia No. 297
    • Restoration of a model Santa Maria by Larry L. Koehler

    Columns and Editorials

    • Editoral - Strange Days by Paul E. Fontenoy, NRJ Editor
    • Tips and Techniques, featuring Blackening metals by Kurt Van Dahm and Keeping things straight by Steve Wheeler
    • Book Reviews
  • April 15, 2020 2:17 PM | David Eddy


    The Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to reschedule the 2020 Conference to be held at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum in Oxnard, CA in October. We have rescheduled it for October 2021 at the same venue.

    The Board felt that attendance would be much less than normal because of the uncertainty of safe travel secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic.


    We are asking our members who are renewing their membership during this time to stay at home and complete their renewals online through the NRG store or by phone to the NRG Office. Renewing with a credit card is secure and avoids the transfer of the COVID-19 virus with checks and envelopes. Please do your part to help avoid transmitting the virus to our office manager, Mary, and her family.

    To renew online, see our Help page on memberships for details on the renewal process. 

    To renew by phone please call between 9 AM to 3 PM CDT, M-F at 585-968-8111. If it is difficult for you to call during our regular business hours, send an email to the office and we can schedule a mutually convenient time for you to call.


    For the duration of the stay at home orders in Illinois, we will be shipping products only once per week in order to minimize our exposure. Orders for countries other than US and Canada are being held by the postal service due to limited international flights so tracking may show packages sitting in Chicago for considerable times. Depending on what we see with tracking of prior orders, we may temporarily suspend shipping some overseas orders rather than have the completed orders sit at the airport for extended periods of time risking loss or damage. You will be contacted if this is necessary and you will be given the option of cancelling the order. Thanks for understanding during these difficult times.


    The contest and show scheduled for May 15-17 has been canceled due to the COVID-19 situation. The show/contest will be held as usual next year. The dates will be May 14-16, 2021.


    The Conference scheduled for April 25 has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation. The Conference will be held as usual in 2021.


    Phil Roach resigned as a Director in February. Phil served as a director for just under six years. The Board wishes to thank him for his service. 

  • March 24, 2020 2:16 PM | David Eddy


    We are finalizing plans for the October 15-17 NRG Conference at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum. All the meeting and tour details are finalized with speakers being the only thing yet to be finalized. Work is ongoing to tie down speakers. We are proceeding with the assumption that things will be back to normal by the time of the Conference.


    To all our members and friends, the Directors and Officers of the Nautical Research Guild send our hopes and wishes that you and your families are safe and healthy during this difficult time. Many of you are at a more vulnerable stage in life, so the practices of self-isolation or self-quarantine are vital to everyone’s protection.

    The NRG office is open for business. It might take a little longer than usual to respond, but we are ready to answer any questions regarding the Guild. We are fully stocked and as long as the USPS is operating, orders will go out as normal.

    The NRG is doing our part to help stop the spread of the virus with all NRG Directors, Officers, Editorial and Office staff working from home. This will cause no inconvenience to us or the NRG membership because that’s how we operate all the time! Staff social distancing is no problem. Except for our Office Manager and Chairman sharing the same space, all directors, officers and other staff are keeping more than the recommended separations – 1 each in CA, AZ, MT, NC, NJ, TX and 2 in NM.


    This is the perfect time to catch up on reading Journal articles you have been meaning to sit down and read or maybe that great book you bought after reading a review in the Journal.

    Our Model Ship World forum ( is as active as ever. If you are getting ‘cabin fever’ log in to MSW and chat with other modelers. You can also look at some of the many build logs to get inspiration for your own models. Visitors are always welcome. Have a problem with your build? Model Ship World is a great place to get answers.

    Miss your local club meetings? Model Ship World offers safe social interaction. With over 35,000 members, it is a great place to get answers and interact with other modelers – at a safe distance.

    If you like what you see and are not currently a member of MSW, it is free to join! You will never receive any spam by joining and your information is never shared with any other organization or company.

    We wish you well in these troubled times.

  • February 19, 2020 2:13 PM | David Eddy


    Jeff Sillick has been the Treasurer for the NRG since 2010. He will be retiring from the position in the near future, allowing him to explore other interests. The Board is sorry to see him go and we appreciate the eleven years that he has dedicated to the position.

    The Board is looking for an NRG member to replace Jeff. This individual does not need to be an accountant but should have some basic accounting/finance/small business skills. Jeff has agreed to work with his replacement, so there will be expert guidance during the transition to the new Treasurer. 

    A detailed job description for the Treasurer position is available and we will be happy to send it to any member interested in the position. Interested members should send an email to the office at

    We (and Jeff) are hoping to fill the position by mid-March 2020. There is an honorarium associated with this position. Due to federal banking regulations, this position must be filled by a US resident.


    The 38th Northeast Ship Model Conference will be held at the Port 'n' Starboard Convention Center at Ocean Beach Park in New London, CT and will be hosted by the USS Constitution Model Shipwright Guild. The Conference will take place on Saturday, April 25, 2020 from 9AM-3PM.

    • Up to 100 detailed models on display from award winning craftsmen and artists
    • The opportunity to display & enter your own model(s) in competition judged by fellow conference attendees
    • Vendors offering maritime & modeling books, kits, tools & supplies
    • Demonstrations of modeling techniques & procedures
    • Featured guest speaker is Mr. Rob Napier who will be speaking about aspects of his life in ship modeling.
    • Continental breakfast & buffet lunch
    • Renew old friendships and make new ones

    Conference attendees who wish to display models must pre-register. We need to know how many models and their display area requirements in order to allocate enough space when setting up the room.

    Conference Registration Fees

    (All fees are per person)

    $42.50 If received by 3/1/20

    $47.50 If received by 4/1/20

    $49.00 After 4/1/20 or on day of conference

    Complete details and registration forms are available on the USS Constitution Model Shipwright Guild website –

    The New London area also includes attractions such as the U. S. Coast Guard Academy, the New London Harbor Lighthouse, and is only a 15 minute drive to Mystic Seaport.

  • February 19, 2020 2:04 PM | David Eddy

    The Spring 2020 edition of the Nautical Research Journal is now available!

    Digital subscribers can access the digital edition here. Print subscribers will be receiving their copies by mail soon!


    • The Flowers of Canada: The Royal Canadian Navy’s corvettes in World War II by Bruce LeCren
    • A 16x30 decked canoe from 1895, Part 1 by Steve Wheeler
    • Seventeenth-century Dutch ship design drawings. Real or counterfeit?  by Ab Hoving
    • La Galera Real: A model of the flagship of Don Juan de Austria at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, Part 1 by D. Roger Moore
    • Some guidelines for photographs submitted for publication by Ian Poole
    • Neptunia No. 295
    • “River Cutter” Yocona pioneers technology on the nation’s rivers and desegregation in the Deep South by William H. Thiesen

    Columns and Editorials

    • Editorial on Cross-fertilization by Paul Fontenoy
    • Shop Notes, featuring LED shop lights by Bill Sproul
    • Tips & Techniques, featuring Painting a waterline — mask only one time by Kurt Van Dahm and Making pipe fittings by Steve Wheeler
    • Letters
    • Book Reviews
  • January 25, 2020 2:03 PM | David Eddy

    If you are not a regular user on the NRG’s Model Ship World Forum you might want to visit MSW and check out the auction that started today of a Byrnes Model Machines 4” Table Saw – AKA The Jim Saw.

    ​Jim has generously donated a table saw with either 120v or 230v, included will be a Rip fence extension, miter extension and mic stop of your choice. Retail would be $540-$570 depending on your choices. The winner is responsible for the shipping....


    We are Auctioning this saw to the high bidder.  The auction will last 10 days. Don't miss the opportunity to own a legendary saw and help our modeling community at the same time.

    The bidding will start at $350

    Please read the details on MSW. You must be a user on MSW to participate and you must submit your bid in $5 increments via the MSW Private Messaging feature. Do not call the office. Bids will only be accepted from within the MSW Forum PM system.

    The auction will close next Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at 1 pm CST.

    The winner must make arrangements with Jim Byrnes for shipping after submitting the winning donation payment to the NRG Office after we contact the winner. We will forward your contact info and name to Jim at that time. The winner must pay shipping as it is not included.



    MSW requires one to register there in order to make posts. It is free to use and we do not share emails or other information. If you want to participate in this auction you must be registered at MSW. There is a button in the upper right corner of the home page to sign in or sign up. Follow the sign up procedure. The process is not automatic - a staff member must activate your account - give us some time - up to 24 hours might be needed.

    Once your account is activated you can post a bid using the PM system. Click on the photo in the upper left corner of the announcement of the auction and select the message option and list your bid.

  • January 16, 2020 12:58 PM | David Eddy

    Steve Wheeler passed away on November 26, 2019 at the age of 76. Steve had been ill but his death from complications of the illness and medications was unexpected.

    Steve was a 25-year member of the NRG. He was a current member of the three Chicago area clubs, The Nautical Research & Model Ship Society, The Midwest Model Shipwrights and the North Shore Deadeyes. He was a member of the Rocky Mountain Model Shipwrights when he lived in CO.

    Steve was a Master Modeler who freely shared his knowledge of modeling and was always the first to say his garbage can was one of his most used tools. He urged modelers to keep on working until each part is correct – don’t settle for good enough. His attention to detail rewarded him with a wall at his home in Racine, WI covered in awards for his modeling. Steve won a Gold award for every model he entered at the annual WI Maritime Museums starting in 1997. During the 22 years Steve was involved with the museum’s Midwestern Models Ships & Boats Contest, he was the recipient of 22 gold awards, nine Best of Show, nine Best Great Lakes Awards, and seven times his models won the Modelers’ Choice award.

    Steve won a Gold medal and Best of Show for the first two of the three NRG photographic model competitions held. He was a judge for the third competition.

    Steve even won Best of Show three times at International Plastic Modelers Shows in IL with wooden boat models.

    The award from the WI Maritime Museum’s annual contest for the Best Novice Award sponsored by the North Shore Deadeyes club is being renamed “The Steve Wheeler Best Novice Award” to honor Steve’s commitment to educating and helping novice model builders advance their skills. Steve never won this award but the first model boat he built, the Great Lakes Tug SHARON W., resides in the museum’s main model room. It won a gold award and would have surely won the Best Novice award had it been awarded at the time.

    Steve wrote 29 articles and Shop Notes in the Nautical Research Journal and has two multi-part articles scheduled for upcoming Journals as well as several more Tips & Techniques. He wrote three articles for Model Ship Builder magazine and thirty one articles in Ships in Scale magazine with several covers for both publications.

    He also wrote two books about boat building in the Racine, WI area:

    • The boat and yacht designs of Fred W. Martin: reprinted from existing original drawings, ca. 1896-1902 Racine, WI. Published by the Racine Heritage Museum ©2009
    • An Industry Forgotten: A Half-Century of Boat-Building in Racine, Wisconsin Published by the Racine Heritage Museum ©2011

    Steve enjoyed writing about model building almost as much as building models and we discussed this many times. Steve always wrote his articles with the less experienced modelers in mind rather than the modelers closer to his level because the novice builders must be encouraged and shown how they can improve their skills, so they achieve better modeling results.

    Steve gave numerous talks on aspects of modeling at club meetings, the Tri-Club meetings in IL, the annual WI Maritime Museum’s Modeler’s Symposiums, NRG Symposiums and NRG Conferences. Steve’s last appearance at an NRG Conference was at the 2018 event in Las Vegas where he spoke on Lapstrake Hull Construction. He always had a word of encouragement for fellow modelers and when a modeler asked him to pick apart his/her model all of Steve’s comments were certain to be positive and encouraging to the modeler.

    Steve had a unique sense of humor and we swapped jokes back and forth almost daily. Steve and I traveled to NRG conferences and Manitowoc together so much that if either of us showed up at one of these functions w/o the other we were questioned about the other’s whereabouts – some said “if you see one the other is close by”. Many said that Steve and I were “Brothers from different Mothers” and we seldom went more than two days w/o talking together on the phone. The spare bedroom here was known as Steve’s room.

  • December 04, 2019 1:02 PM | David Eddy

    Chapter Clubs were originally part of the NRG structure but were discontinued because of lack of interest many years ago. The Board was approached by some of the members to consider reestablishing Guild Chapters and the Bylaws were amended to establish Chartered Chapters. The Board delayed the formation of a chapter system until we could offer a benefit to the Chapters.

    The Nautical Research Guild is pleased to announce the first benefit available only to Chartered Chapters...liability insurance to protect clubs during their activities.

    It is easy for any club to become an NRG Chapter Club; the biggest requirement is that five club members must be paying members of the NRG. More information can be found on the NRG Chartered Chapters page.

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