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How Realistic Can One Make Sails?


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49 replies to this topic

#41
mtaylor

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Henry,

I've seen some in the past where the sails were billowed but I don't recall that the sail was gathered.   The late Hubert did some tutorials on his site "Model Ship Building For Dummies" that looked pretty good.   And somewhere I've seen someone using silkspan that "stretched" the sail such that it billowed and appeared as you suggest.  Hmm.... time to do digging through my links, methinks.


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Mark

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me


Current Build:

Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0

Past Builds:
Triton Cross-Section
USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War (Gallery) Build Log
Wasa (Gallery)


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#42
popeye2sea

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Perhaps gathered is too strong a term.  I think what I read was a reference to about an inch of slack canvas per yard when sewing on the foot rope and about three inches per yard on the leech rope.  I know that probably doesn't make a bit of difference at scale, but I was wondering if anyone had ever tried it out.


Edited by popeye2sea, 10 January 2017 - 04:51 AM.

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Henry

 

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Current Build:  Le Soleil Royal


#43
bhermann

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Perhaps gathered is too strong a term.  I think what I read was a reference to about an inch of slack canvas per yard when sewing on the foot rope and about three inches per yard on the leech rope.  I know that probably doesn't make a bit of difference at scale, but I was wondering if anyone had ever tried it out.

Henry - I can visualize what you are describing here - now I have yet one more thing to consider!  That should put me in analysis paralysis for the foreseeable future :)

 

I like what you are suggesting, and think it could solve some of the problems getting scale sails to look right.

 

Bob


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Current build -- MS Bluenose

Future build - MS Flying Fish

 

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#44
Dee_Dee

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There's a few ways to add some billowing to the sail, one is 'drawn fabric'.   

A 'puffed sleeve' is an exaggerated example, but good for a short explanation.  Instead of 'gathering', draw the fabric to 'compress the fibers.  I can't remember how much I would draw a sleeve cap on blouses or jackets, maybe an 1/8" over 12", any more, the fabric would pucker.  After the hem is fixed / set, add rope with blind hand stitching. 

 

The info below is an 'overview' of how to draw fabric.  There are numerous variables, such as the fabric itself, if drawing the fabric on the weft, warp or bias and more.  

 

Puffed sleeve - Drawn thread.jpg

 


Edited by Dee_Dee, 10 January 2017 - 08:25 PM.

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#45
zoly99sask

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I tag along ,interesting subject!

Edited by zoly99sask, 11 January 2017 - 11:16 AM.

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#46
Cathead

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Here is my finished topsail, made from bond paper with individual panels. I think it came out quite nicely.

 

cathead_usrc_14a.jpg

 

Before some of you recoil in horror, I'm quite aware that the boltrope stitching is wildly out of scale. I did a lot of research on attaching boltropes, finding a number of approaches. Essentially there's no way to simulate boltrope stitching at scale, so if you don't want oversize stitching, you have to glue the ropes on. That might work for cloth sails, but I was sure that gluing ropes onto paper sails wouldn't end well and my tests proved this. And I wanted my clews to be really strong, meaning I couldn't just try to attach an isolated loop to the corners. So after some experimentation with different stitching methods, I decided to go with this one. It's hand-stitched with white thread, colored with pastels like the rest of the sail. Given that the model this sail is going on is essentially a representative "artistic" model rather than a strictly prototypical one, I like the idea of showing that boltropes were a part of the real sail even if they shouldn't be seen at this scale. And I just like the pattern and visual interest they provide to the sail. Also, one reference I found said that the boltrope should be slightly to the aft side of a square sail, so mine follow that practice as it's pretty hard to get them precisely on the edge of a paper sail anyway.

 

I also researched different methods for bending the sail to the yard, and for attaching reef points. I chose to bend the sail with a single wrapping line, as various references show, because it was so much easier than tying lots of individual loops with oversize knots. I tried knotting the reefing points on both sides of the sail, but couldn't get the knots tight enough against the sail to look right. So I cut them to length and glued them loosely down in slightly curved configurations so they look like they're hanging down naturally. I also chose the one-point-at-the-seam pattern, as opposed to two points per sail cloth, based on the Tilley drawing of USRC Louisiana that I've used as a reference several times. The kit also calls for one vs. two reef points, though it puts the points in the middle of the sail. I like the points in the seam, an extra-strong place to anchor them.

 

In any case, the final sail is strong and stiff, easily shaped into a nice curve to simulate some wind. I really like how the individual paneling creates a 3D effect in real life (it's hard to see in a photo), and the overlapping seams show up well when light is shining through the sail. I decided not to try and draw stitching on, because in all my tests I couldn't get a stitch small and regular enough to look right. I know that's in opposition to my logic for the bolt ropes, but I just didn't like the look of large stitching.

 

I'm interested in what others think, good and bad.


Edited by Cathead, 14 January 2017 - 03:41 PM.

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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


#47
thibaultron

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I think it looks quite nice. For stitching perhaps printing the stitching lines on the paper, before gluing the panels? Obveously not on this finished sail, but on your next one.


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#48
jbshan

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Looks good.

I was suggesting pencil for the seams, but at the next smallest scale, where you couldn't do panels.

If there were more rows of reef points, there might (would) be a panel/strip on the after side, just to give more support along the reef line.  You could add a panel right on top of the large panels you have now.  There are other panels added for reinforcement, as well as many books showing where they go.

Yah, the bolt ropes are a problem, as well as having to make too large stitches, scale stitches would disappear except in really large scales.


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#49
JerryTodd

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Bolt-ropes are sewn on in a paticular way.  They do not attach to the edge of the cloth, but actually lie ON the cloth.  On square sails the lie on the forward face of the sail so they are less apt to rub on shrouds, etc behind the sail.

 

br01.jpg

 

bolt rope 2.jpg

 

The stitching that holds them to the sail comes out of the sail, goes over the edge and into the bolt-rope, through the sail, and goes around again and through the next strand over.  In reality the thread goes between strands and through the third, then into the sail.  Going through one strand isn't critical on a model.  The stitches advance along the sail with the lay of the bolt-rope so it buries itself in the lay of the line.  I skip 3 or 4 rope strands, where-as the real thing is stitched in every strand of the bolt-rope.  That's totally up to you.  The real thread is waxed flax, heavy and doubled.  On a model, one strand of light thread should be scale enough.  Pull it snug in the direction you're sewing towards, not back where you've already sewn or the sail will draw up and kink.  The sail will pucker a little into the lay of the rope - that's fine and as it should be, it wraps the sail around the bolt-rope.   Every so often, a few turns are made, a whipping, typically every yard or so, on either side of grommets, eyes,  and the like.  These serve as pull-stops.  If the stitching should break somewhere, being a whip-stitch it'll easily pull out, the whippings try to keep it from pulling out too far.  This obviously isn't critical on a static model, but it can be seen if you look at real sails and besides adding a touch of realism, is a good place to start a new thread because the whole thing doesn't have to be done with one length of thread.

 

I make cringles and eyes for my RC model's sails by taking a turn around a rod of the right diameter, like toothpicks, and whip it at the overlap.  The real things were usually spliced in.  That can usually be represented by just whipping a join of two ends of the bolt-rope with enough overlap for the eye and whipped at either end of the eye.  In the pics, note how the stitching disappears into the lay of the bolt rope on the front of the sail.  

 

br11.jpg

 

br10.jpg

 

You need to hold out the sail and the bolt-rope as you sew it, don't stretch them, just keep some tension on both.

 

br02.jpg

 

My sails tend to be a much larger scale (1:36) than most models here, but with some good magnification, it's not difficult to do.  I find it easier to insert the needle between strands on the front side, through the third (or not, it's your call), into the sail, snug it up, move 3 or 4 strands over, and do it again.  I reinforce my bolt-ropes with fabric glue as they are working sails

 

br06.jpg


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#50
Cathead

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Jerry, that's really useful, although I think at my 1:64 scale I can't replicate that; the boltrope is just too small and the edges of the sail too delicate. I tried, and felt that it was too likely to tear putting each stitch right at the sail, so moved the stitches inward a bit where they're more visible but also sturdier at that scale. As my sails are paper, they behave somewhat differently from cloth. Great info, though, thanks for sharing.

 

Also, I'm curious, you say that boltropes should be on the forward side of a square sail, but I was going on this reference from The Rigging of Ships by R.C. Anderson, which says "the boltrop goes on the after side of square sails". Did practices change at some point in time, or between different countries?


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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





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