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How Realistic Can One Make Sails?


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#21
Landlocked123

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And don't forget the sea gulls and what they do!
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#22
dgbot

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Rice paper can be used to make realistic sails. Cut to shape and folded it looks good and can be manipulated.

David B


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#23
Cathead

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I have a question about sail making that I can't find the answer to anywhere. When the original two foot wide canvas panels were stitched together, just how were they laid out? Did each panel progressively overlap along the edge, or did they alternate over and underlapping? If the former, did it matter on which side the overlapping happened? I can find lots of info on how to mimic seams on a sail made in one piece, but no clear depiction of how those panels were actually laid out. Anyone?
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Current build: US Revenue Cutter "Ranger", Corel, 1:64

 

Previous builds:

Naval: 18th century longboat, Model Shipways, 1:48; Naval gun kits from Model Shipways; Bounty launch, Model Shipways, 1:16

Missouri River craft: Missouri River steamboat Bertrand, scratchbuilt in 1:87;  Lewis & Clark barge, scratchbuilt in 1:48;
Missouri River keelboat, scratchbuilt in 1:87; Missouri River steamboat Far West, scratchbuilt in 1:87


#24
Blue Ensign

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You may find the answer here.

 

http://www.hnsa.org/...l-making-vol-i/

 

B.E.


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#25
AntonyUK

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Hi.
Very nice find B.E.
Not seen that info before.
Another 4 hours of reading. I like reading this sort of thing that were written in original script.

Regards Antony.
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#26
Blue Ensign

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I've used it for years Antony, do all my rigging by reference to it. Steel is the basis of most modern writers on ship rigging.

 

I do have a hard copy of Steel's Elements of Mastmaking, sailmaking, and Rigging, printed in elephant folio format by DN Goodchild. USA. It's a nice thing to have, but I use the online version constantly.

 

Cheers,

 

B.E.


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#27
JerseyCity Frankie

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The best book on the subject, from the perspective of sewing actual sails is The Sailmakers Aprentice, 495 lavishly illustrated pages concerned solely with traditional sail construction and written by an actual traditional sailmaker. There is no other book that comes close. There was a question above about how sailcloth seams were made and it's very well covered in this book. Modern sewers know it as the Flat Felled Seam and it's the one used on the double row of stitching on the legs of most blue jeans. The actual Seam on a real sail is about 3 or 4" wide. It's not the only type of Seam utilized in sail construction but it is the one used to make the dozens of parallel seams seen in most canvas sails. I have many strong opinions about sails and how they are depicted and much of it is included in my HMS Victory log, click on the link in my signature. Also here is a link with lots of details about one traditional sail being hand sewn with lots of photos: http://www.thebigrow.com/?page_id=451

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#28
Cathead

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These are fascinating resources, thank you! However, so far, I still cannot quite determine the answer to my core question: did the sail panels progressively overlap in one direction, or alternate back and forth? In other words, when the panels were laid out for stitching, did they do:

 

a. __---__--- so that the panels alternate upper/lower when laid flat,

 

or

 

b. __---  so that the panels progressively overlap, technically getting higher and higher as the sail progresses to the right,

 

or

 

c. ---__ like b except that the panels progress up to the left.

 

None of the illustrations or photos I've seen make this clear enough to me, and every written description just says something like "the panels were stitched together" with lots of detail on the type of stitching, but not on the layout of the seam itself from panel to panel.

 

Any ideas? I realize that at a model scale this is a really pedantic detail, but I'm considering making sails panel by panel and want to know how it was really done.

 

JCF, the book you reference looks fascinating, but I'm not sure I can justify buying it on my budget, and a small Midwestern library sure doesn't stock it.


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Current build: US Revenue Cutter "Ranger", Corel, 1:64

 

Previous builds:

Naval: 18th century longboat, Model Shipways, 1:48; Naval gun kits from Model Shipways; Bounty launch, Model Shipways, 1:16

Missouri River craft: Missouri River steamboat Bertrand, scratchbuilt in 1:87;  Lewis & Clark barge, scratchbuilt in 1:48;
Missouri River keelboat, scratchbuilt in 1:87; Missouri River steamboat Far West, scratchbuilt in 1:87


#29
mtaylor

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Cathead, 

 

Check your local library for an interlibrary loan.  When I lived in a small town in Missouri, the local library (and all the ones arouind us) were able to use it.  


Edited by mtaylor, 04 January 2017 - 12:23 AM.

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Mark

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#30
Cathead

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Oddly enough, I may have found part of my answer right under my nose. I went back to look at the Dr. John Tilley drawing of the USRC Louisiana (which you can find on Wikipedia), and found that his drawing shows the orientation of the sails' seams. If you click on the image and fully zoom in, you can clearly see that he orients the seams continuously in one direction: with the fold facing the center of the square sails, and facing aft on the fore-and-aft sails. The only thing I can't see is what happens right at the middle of the square sails: how are those two panels joined, since the seam shown in JCF's central image above has to face one way or another? It seems odd to have the center of the sail lopsided with the seam facing only one way, but how else would it be done?

 

Mark, I should have thought before I typed, of course that's an option. And I'm the son of a librarian! *smack on head*


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Current build: US Revenue Cutter "Ranger", Corel, 1:64

 

Previous builds:

Naval: 18th century longboat, Model Shipways, 1:48; Naval gun kits from Model Shipways; Bounty launch, Model Shipways, 1:16

Missouri River craft: Missouri River steamboat Bertrand, scratchbuilt in 1:87;  Lewis & Clark barge, scratchbuilt in 1:48;
Missouri River keelboat, scratchbuilt in 1:87; Missouri River steamboat Far West, scratchbuilt in 1:87


#31
Roger Pellett

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Julie,

Your J Boat at 1:35 is a large model and unlike a square rigged craft you will only have four sails; a main and three headsails. You will also have relatively little rigging Compared to a square rigger. Your mainsail will be huge. Therefore, no matter how skillfully you model the sails you risk having your model looking like a pond yacht.

I have seen the models in the Herreshoff Museum and the New York Yacht Club's model room as well as a stunning J Boat model that was offered for sale in the Mystic Seaport's model gallery. In all cases, the models were without sails. In these cases, a lack of sails accentuated the rigging and spars. Much of this detail would have been hidden by sails.

Roger
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#32
Dee_Dee

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Cathead,

 

Here's a simple diagram that might answer your question.  I'm not saying this is right, just trying to demonstrate various ways the seams and panels could aligned.   

Sail Panel Seams.jpg

 

I don't know if the seams were flat felled or a French seam.  A French seam is stronger, more consistent in size and used by Levi Strauss.  Which ever seam was used, the seam was formed by folding in and interlapping the edges of two plies of material so that the edges of the material are concealed and sewn with one or more rows of stitches.

 

Here's a sampling of four sort of flat felled seams.  French seams are stronger, faster and easier to sew.            

Various seams.jpg


Edited by Dee_Dee, 04 January 2017 - 04:22 AM.

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#33
Cathead

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Thanks, Dee Dee. That first image is indeed what I was asking: does the upper seam go back and forth, or always on the same side? The illustration I linked to suggests that, at least for this prototype, it was the lower of those two colored examples.

 

At 1:64, I'll only be able to simulate these seams, as any actual folding over of the sail material will end up way too thick. But it's still useful to try and understand what I'm trying to simulate. I just spent part of this evening mocking up an example, and will share it when the photography conditions are better.


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Current build: US Revenue Cutter "Ranger", Corel, 1:64

 

Previous builds:

Naval: 18th century longboat, Model Shipways, 1:48; Naval gun kits from Model Shipways; Bounty launch, Model Shipways, 1:16

Missouri River craft: Missouri River steamboat Bertrand, scratchbuilt in 1:87;  Lewis & Clark barge, scratchbuilt in 1:48;
Missouri River keelboat, scratchbuilt in 1:87; Missouri River steamboat Far West, scratchbuilt in 1:87


#34
Erik W

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Julie,

 

Both of these books address scale sail making.  Both authors are committed to using techniques that make sails look realistic and correctly scaled.

 

https://www.seawatch....php?sku=115003This supplement is part of this revised masting and rigging book: https://www.seawatch....php?sku=115002

 

https://www.seawatch....php?sku=107002

 

Erik


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#35
Cathead

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Just to clarify, I'm not Julie. She started this thread in 2015, I just added to it since the topic seemed a pretty good fit for my own question rather than starting a whole new thread. Thanks for the references!


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Current build: US Revenue Cutter "Ranger", Corel, 1:64

 

Previous builds:

Naval: 18th century longboat, Model Shipways, 1:48; Naval gun kits from Model Shipways; Bounty launch, Model Shipways, 1:16

Missouri River craft: Missouri River steamboat Bertrand, scratchbuilt in 1:87;  Lewis & Clark barge, scratchbuilt in 1:48;
Missouri River keelboat, scratchbuilt in 1:87; Missouri River steamboat Far West, scratchbuilt in 1:87


#36
Cathead

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Here's a mockup of a sail made panel-by-panel. I liked how my bond-paper sails came out on my longboat build, so decided to use that method again. This mockup is just cheap printer paper, cut into scale 24" strips and glued together along the seams in the pattern shown by the USGS drawing I linked above. The upper one is just a cutout with the seams drawn on; the lower one is the paneled sail. I really like the three-dimensional appearance. The real thing will need to be colored and detailed, but I proved to myself that I could assemble a paper paneled sail here the seams are partially real and not just simulated. Anyone else have thoughts? This took a couple hours to make, not too bad.

 

sailtest.jpg


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Current build: US Revenue Cutter "Ranger", Corel, 1:64

 

Previous builds:

Naval: 18th century longboat, Model Shipways, 1:48; Naval gun kits from Model Shipways; Bounty launch, Model Shipways, 1:16

Missouri River craft: Missouri River steamboat Bertrand, scratchbuilt in 1:87;  Lewis & Clark barge, scratchbuilt in 1:48;
Missouri River keelboat, scratchbuilt in 1:87; Missouri River steamboat Far West, scratchbuilt in 1:87


#37
jbshan

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Eric, I like that look also.

The scale of the model will partially determine what is best.  Smaller scales will only need the pencil lines, medium scales could use the glued panels (had you thought of drawing in some of the detail with pencil here also?) while large scales could have more or less sewn construction.


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#38
Cathead

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This is in 1:64; the mockup shows the main topsail of a topsail schooner. I will definitely also be drawing in the stitching, adding ropes, etc. That mockup was solely to test whether I could make the panels look decent and in a reasonable amount of time.


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Current build: US Revenue Cutter "Ranger", Corel, 1:64

 

Previous builds:

Naval: 18th century longboat, Model Shipways, 1:48; Naval gun kits from Model Shipways; Bounty launch, Model Shipways, 1:16

Missouri River craft: Missouri River steamboat Bertrand, scratchbuilt in 1:87;  Lewis & Clark barge, scratchbuilt in 1:48;
Missouri River keelboat, scratchbuilt in 1:87; Missouri River steamboat Far West, scratchbuilt in 1:87


#39
druxey

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See also the thread: "Fabric for your sails and where to buy?"


Edited by druxey, 08 January 2017 - 10:16 PM.

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#40
popeye2sea

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Is it worth trying to replicate some of the bagginess that was built into the sails?  Has anyone tried this to advantage?  What I mean by bagginess is that the length and width of the sails was actually larger than the bolt ropes.  When the bolt ropes are sewn in the sail material was gathered (for lack of a better term) by a certain amount.  Not only did this allow the bolt rope to take most of the strain , but it produced some of that billowing or bagginess to the sail when it filled.

 

I was just wondering if this would improve the look of the sails on a model.

 

Regards,


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Henry

 

Laissez le bon temps rouler ! :D

 

 

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