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David Lester

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About David Lester

  • Birthday 10/01/1952

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  • Location
    Cobourg, Ontario
  • Interests
    reading, woodworking, architecture

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382 profile views
  1. Pinrail rope coils

    Hi JD, I also find these coils devilishly hard to make look half decent. The lightweight line just doesn't have the heft it needs to hang naturally. My method is similar to yours in that I use a jig to make the coil. I pretty much follow J Brent's method which he shows in the video below, but it has been only with many failed attempts that I can get even close to an acceptable result. While I don't think your coils actually look all that bad, one suggestion I might make is to make your coils a little longer, so that they're more elongated and less round, and make the loop that goes over the pin a little shorter. Let the top portion of the coil rest against, or even on, the pin rail rather than hang below it. When I belay the actual line to the pin, I only give it one turn around the pin rather than several, which leaves quite a bit more space for the coil to be attached separately. I secure it with a small dab of CA glue. (J Brent gives it quite a few turns, but I think it works better to leave as much room as possible.) I don't generally use CA glue on rigging, but this is one place where it seems to work well. I then make the coil the way J Brent does, bringing a small loop from back to front, which will be the loop that goes over the top of the pin. There will be a bit of trial and error here, spacing the nails on the jig, getting the right length for the coil. I also experiment with the number of turns around the nails, usually four or five. (I think a coil that is a bit too heavy, rather than one that is a bit too light is more forgiving in its appearance and gives a little more material to play around with, once it's in position.) I carefully lift the coil off the nails with tweezers, before having applied any glue and then apply a very small dab of CA glue on the back side of the coil at the top. I make sure that it's a very small amount to ensure that it doesn't wick through to the front, because it will discolour the line. I don't tend to use any diluted white glue on the coil, especially on the front because it seems that no matter how dilute I make it, it still discolours the line. I make sure the glue has set well before hanging the coil. I then put a small dab of CA glue on the rail, in front of the pin, place the loop over the pin and press the coil against the rail, maybe even pushing the coil under the rail in an attempt to get it to appear to be hanging straight down rather than sticking straight out which they tend to want to do. I leave long ends on the coil. Once it's secure on the pin, I cut the back one off short so that it can't be seen and cut the front one off long, about the same length as the coil. Here are some of the coils on my Constitution. The other thing, of course, is to not worry about it too much. Every ship that I have ever visited has coils hanging in a lot messier and haphazard fashion than most modelers would tolerate. Not sure if that's of help or not, and I'm not trying to suggest that I have the definitive approach (or result), but I do share your frustration with this aspect of any build. David
  2. Aftermarket yards and Masts for plastic kits

    I was surprised to discover how easily yards can be made from wooden dowels with only an xacto knife and a #10 or #22 blade. Start with a dowel that is the same diameter (or a little bit bigger) as the thickest part of the yard. Mark the major transition points and centre point etc with a pencil and when necessary make shallow cuts around the dowel at those points. Then taper the dowel by simply scraping it repeatedly, pulling the knife towards you and rotating the dowel as you go. If you have to reduce the diameter significantly at the very end of the yard, make your shallow cut around the perimeter, then make short cuts coming in from the end towards the centre. Follow up with some sanding. While you won't get results that are as perfect as turning in a lathe would produce, you'll be surprised to discover what good results you can actually achieve. You will get a perfectly acceptable result. I am no expert craftsman and got very nice looking yards right off the bat using this method. And considering that a length of dowel won't break the bank, you can afford to have several practice runs if need be. I'm give this a try if I were you. Hope that's of some help. David
  3. Christmas time again

    That's awesome! Now you just need to model "Three Ships Come Sailing In" and it will be complete. David
  4. Rattlesnake Rigging Question

    Thanks very much. I was pretty sure aft was correct. Thanks for the confirmation. David
  5. I'm nearing the end of my Rattlesnake rigging and have a question. I'm attaching the braces to the topgallant yard on the main mast. Each brace passes through a block attached to the mizzen topmast stay, then down through the mizzen mast top and terminates on one of the mizzen shrouds. My question is this - the line must run past the mizzen topsail yard. What side of the yard should it be on - fore or aft? The run looks more natural if it passes on the fore side of the yard, but that feels counterintuitive to me as it seems that it would be in the way of the mizzen topsail. On the other hand, the line doesn't run as naturally on the aft side of the yard and looks awkward. I've positioned the blocks on the stay as far up and aft as possible. The instructions, although detailed, don't address this and while Petersson shows the complete run of the line, he shows it in isolation without including the yard in the picture, so that doesn't help either. I've tried looking at photos in various build logs, but I've found it hard to find a photo that clearly shows what I am looking for. I know this is a pretty fundamental question to be asking at this point, but here it is nevertheless. Any input will be much appreciated. Thanks, David
  6. Ropewalk

    Thanks for the input everyone. David
  7. Ropewalk

    Gregory - that line looks beautiful to me, and it appears to be about 1mm in diameter. How many strands of sewing thread is that and what do you do make smaller lines? Thanks, David
  8. Ropewalk

    I too have been thinking about a ropewalk and when the time comes will probably buy the MS one or perhaps Chuck's when it is available. However..... I can't quite grasp several things about the process. So, working on the premise that there is no such thing as a stupid question, I would like to ask the following: I have read as many posts as I can find and I cannot quite understand what type of thread to work with or how to control the sizes of the lines. It seems that garden variety sewing thread is one option, but how does one obtain a wide variety of sizes in the the finished product. Our local sewing store sells one thread - Gutermann 50. So if I make a three-strand line from it, that will give me one size of line, and presumably the smallest line I can made. Then if I twist three of those together that will give me a second size of line and then three of those will give me a third size line. Is that it? Can I easily obtain more than those three sizes? I also see that some people use DMC cordonnet and perl threads, which I believe are crochet threads. But crochet threads already come a wide variety of sizes, why not just buy a variety of sizes and use them directly? Sorry if these questions seem lame, but any input would be welcome. Many thanks, David
  9. Damaged Model

    Hi Dave, I'm really looking forward to working on this project. Its history means quite a bit to me. It was made by the father of one of my best friends and he used to show and explain his many ship models to me when I visited their house as a kid. It's really what got me interested in the first place, although the bug lay dormant in me for many years. My friend tells me that this particular model was his dad's first model and he remembered that it "came in a box" whereas all of his subsequent models were scratch built. This one has to be over 50 years old. I think it's important to limit repairs to only those necessary and not make gratuitous changes or "improvements" which will detract from the integrity of the model. The challenge will be to identify the fine line separating the two and stay on the right side of it. Again, thanks all for input and advice. David
  10. Damaged Model

    Thanks for all the input everyone. Russ, I think that your suggestion that this is an American topsail schooner is dead-on. I've since searched American topsail schooners and all the pictures I could find, especially of the specific rigging, confirm it. Your suggestion about Marine Model Co and AJ Fisher. was also quite helpful. I now believe that what I have is Marine Model's 'Virginia Privateer' kit #1083. There's very little information about Marine Models out there, but I did find where someone is offering on ebay a partially built vintage Virginia privateer and it is almost certainly the same model as I have. So, I'm very happy to now be armed with this information and know that I will be able to find the resources I need to restore the rigging more-or-less correctly. Thanks again, David
  11. Damaged Model

    Thanks for the input guys! I'll do some more checking out on-line with your comments in mind. I notice that the bowsprit is square - is that an indication of anything? I cleaned some of the dust from the deck and took a good look at it. It isn't planked; it's a solid surface and he's very nicely painted or drawn the caulking lines on. I think it's going to look great. There are no ratlines - do you thing that's intentional, or simply unfinished? Thanks again, David
  12. Damaged Model

    Hi All, In my Rattlesnake Revisited post I referred to a model that I was given on the weekend that is in a sorry state of repair. I don't know what ship this is, or even if it's a specific ship or just a generic representation. This model would be about 50-60 years old and appears to me to be scratch built. It has a sold hull. My limited knowledge would suggest to me that it's a brigantine and perhaps an American privateer, but I may be wrong. It has either 14 guns or 16 if you count the two stern ports. Does anyone have any thoughts on what this might be. Some pictures below, dust and all. Many thanks in advance for any input.
  13. Rattlesnake Revisited

    Thanks Mark, That sounds quite plausible to me. David
  14. Rattlesnake Revisited

    Good Morning All, My first exposure to model ships came when I was a kid, maybe 10 years old. My best friend's father built them and I was mesmerized by them whenever I went to his house. They lived in a large old mansion with a fireplace in every room and a ship model on every mantelpiece. His dad knew I was interested in models (plastic cars and planes,) so he would show me his work space and tools and supplies. I know he told me the names of all of the ships he had modeled, but I didn't remember any of them except one - the Rattlesnake - because what kid could forget an intriguing ship's name like that. Decades later when I started modeling ships myself, I decided I had to build the Rattlesnake as a kind of tribute, which I am currently doing. This past weekend I had the opportunity to re-connect with my old friend who has just returned to Canada after many years of living and working abroad. He had retrieved his belongings out of storage, set up his new house and when I visited, I could hardly believe my eyes. He still has his long-deceased dad's Rattlesnake (and one other model which I'll talk about in a separate post.) I always imagined all the models to be long gone, but apparently all of them have survived; his siblings have the others. Here are some pictures of it. The quality of the pictures isn't very good, as the room was quite dark, I only had my cell phone with me and I had trouble with glare on the glass case, but I think you can see it well enough. The last time I saw this model was over 50 years ago. I was pretty excited to see it again. I know he built many of his models from scratch but I'm not sure about this one. Many of the details are very similar to my Mamoli version. While his stern painting isn’t as fine as it might be, the rest of the workmanship looks pretty good to me, especially the rigging. I was interested in the flag he placed on it, which I believe to be the British White Ensign or St. George's Ensign. I understand that the Rattlesnake was an American privateer, was captured by the British and introduced into their fleet as the Cormorant. It seems a bit odd to me that he's showing it with a British flag and still bearing the name Rattlesnake. I don't know enough about naval history to know how these things transpired. That ensign would never have been flown by an American ship, would it? Was it the practice for an opposing navy to immediately raise their flag on a captured ship? Is this a legitimate way to have modeled this ship? or was he just taking artistic license? I'm kind of curious about that. I'm also curious about the blue colour of the bulwarks. I have never seen them painted blue before. Again, is there some legitimacy to this or is it more likely that he just happened to have some blue paint kicking around? Does anyone have any thoughts? Anyway, that's my Rattlesnake story. My friend gave me the other model that he had. Unlike the Rattlesnake, this one is in very poor condition and he's hoping I can restore it and it's mine to keep! Neither of us knows what ship it is. I'll post pictures of it separately to try to get some input from some of you, but I'd like to do a little research on my own first, to see if I can narrow it down a bit. In any case I'm pretty pleased to own it regardless of what it is or what condition it's in. David
  15. Seen any strange signs lately?

    An artist had some fun with these one-way traffic signs I saw in Florence