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Mark P

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About Mark P

  • Birthday 09/08/1960

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  • Location
    Rutland, England
  • Interests
    Sailing ship models, scratch built. History, art, architecture, cultural.

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  1. Good Afternoon Everyone; I agree with Steven also. I have read a large number of contemporary document from the 17th & 18th centuries, and I have never seen masts or yards referred to or included with any item related to rigging. Masts and yards are always mentioned separately. Rigging warrants from the 17th & 18th centuries, which were the official document used by anyone rigging a Navy vessel, to indent for all the necessary items from the stores, only mention ropes, blocks, twine, thimbles and other minor items. All the best, Mark P
  2. Good afternoon Allan; Mainwaring will have been describing the most common arrangement which he knew. He does not list alternatives, only the pins, so we can take it as normal. He was active during the reign of James I (who gave him a Royal pardon for piracy in exchange for a large slice of the ill-gotten loot, and knighted him to boot) and during the reign of Charles I and the Civil War. His Seaman's Dictionary is pretty contemporary with Vasa, as Druxey mentions (thanks for that also) All the best, Mark P
  3. Good Evening everyone; There has previously been some discussion of when belaying pins were introduced. The general consensus is that they appeared relatively late in the sailing era, although isolated examples were known before this. I posted a copy of an entry in a 17th century contract which referred to 'turn-pins' in the context of items to belay rigging. However, I have been reading Sir Henry Mainwaring's 'Seaman's Dictionary' as re-printed by the Navy Records Society in 1921, and this contains the following entry: Ranges. There are two; the one aloft upon the forecastle a little abaft the foremast, the other in the beakhead before the wooldings [gammoning] of the boltsprit; that in the forecastle is a small piece of timber which goes over from one side to the other, and there is fastened to two timbers, and in the middle, on either side the foremast, two knees, which are fastened to the deck and this timber, in which run the topsail sheets in a shiver, and hath divers [various] wooden pins through it to belay ropes unto (as the foretacks, fore-topsail sheets and fore bowlines, the fore loof-hook) and that in the beakhead is in the same form, whereunto is belayed the spritsail lifts, the garnet of the spritsail, and other ropes belonging to the spritsail and spritsail-topsail. Although the exact appearance of what is being described is difficult to understand, this makes it clear that a good number of belaying pins were used in a rail across the topsail sheet bitts on the forecastle, and another on the beakhead (a range later came to mean a horizontal timber fastened to the inside of a ship's bulwarks, to which major ropes were belayed) Mainwaring's dictionary was hand-written by him in approximately one copy per year, starting between 1620 and 1623, and continuing for some years after this. He gave each edition to an influential patron, and many different copies survive. It was eventually printed in the 1640s. He was an expert seaman, with many years service, and former pirate, who was a confidant of kings and high officials. We can be certain that he is telling us about things as they were. Belaying pins have therefore been around since at least the early years of the 17th century. All the best, Mark P
  4. Thanks Greg, for the answer. I will give this a try with my next batch. All the best, Mark P
  5. Good Evening Greg; Thanks for the advice, especially the 'what not to do' bits. Not sure if it's the picture, but the polished guns look a bit more bronze than black. Maybe just cleaning with a cloth leaves them blacker, perhaps. All the best, Mark P
  6. One interesting point: In 1695, the keel of a large ship is specified as to be in not more than 3 pieces. In 1755, the keel of an admittedly larger, but not double the size ship, is specified as to be in not more than 6 pieces. Tells us something about how the availability of large trees changed in the interim. All the best, Mark P
  7. Good Morning Allan; The contract for Burlington & Severn, 2no 50 gun ships to be built by Sir Henry Johnson at Blackwall, dated 1695, states as follows: Keeles to be of Elme (Not More than in Three Pieces) and to be fourteen Inches Square in the Midships with Scarphs Four Foot Four Inches Long at least and Each Scarph Tabled and laid with Tarr & Hair, to be well bolted with Six Bolts by an Inch Auger. False Keeles To be Three Inches thick of Elme laid with Tarr & Hair and well fastened with Treenails Spikes and Staples. No other timbers are so described, although the knee of the head is not described at all, so this contract cannot be used to know what happened with those joints. The contract for Swan of 1694 is similar: The Keele to be of Elme (not more than Three Peices) and to be Tenn Inches square in the Midships with Scarphs of Three foot Eight Inches long at least, Each Scarph Tabled and laid with Tarr and haire to be well Bolted with Five Bolts by Three Quarters of an Inch Auger. The False Keele to be Three Inches Thick of Elme laid with Tarr and haire and well fastned with Spikes and Treenayles. This does then describe the head of the ship, but makes no mention of tar or hair: To Build a Faire Head with a firm and Substantiall Knee & Cheekes, Railes, Traileboards, Beast, Bracketts, Kelson and Standarts, and to Finish the Same with Gratings and Stooles of Easement for the Saylors, with a Dead Block Carved for the Tack between the Railes, and with Mortices in the Knee for the Gammoning, and Washboards under the Cheekes. Other contracts of similar date are phrased in an almost identical manner. However, moving forward in time, the contract for Warspite of 1755 is more detailed: Keel. The keel to be Elm, not more than Six pieces, One foot Six ins square in the Midships, sided afore One foot two inches, and at the aft part of the Rabbit of the Post Eleven ins & a half; the Scarphs Four feet Six inches long, tabled one into the other, laid with white Flannel or Kersey, and Bolted with Eight bolts of One inch & an eighth diameter, the lips of the said Scarphs not to be left more in thickness than Five inches and a quarter. False Keel. To be in two thicknesses, the Upper one Four inches, the lower one three ins thick, so as to make the Main and False keel together one foot Nine ins below the Rabbit, not to have more than Six pieces of each, of proper lengths, to give Scarph to the Scarphs of the Main Keel and each other; to be laid with Tarr and hair, and Sufficiently fastened, the Upper one with Treenails, and the other with Nails and Staples. Stem. Not to be more than three pieces of good sound Oak, quite free from defects of any kind, sided at the Head (which is to be continued down to the upper side of the Upper Cheek) two feet, below the Hance One foot six ins, and at the Fore foot, the bigness of the keel; Moulded at the head One foot Six inches, and at the Forefoot the same as the keel, the Scarph Four feet long, tabled one into the other, laid with white Flannel or Kersey, and Bolted with Six bolts of One inch & an eighth Diameter, two of the middle Bolts to go through the false Stem and well chenched thereon; the Lips of the Scarphs not to be more than five ins and a quarter thick. The knee of the head is described thus (note the mention of Canvas, which, with tar, I have seen mentioned as a seal in various places, such as over the tops of the hawse pieces) Knee of the Head. To extend to the Upperside of the Upper Cheeks, to be One foot four inches thick at the Stem; the two Upper Bolts to be Two inches three eighths of an inch diameter in the Knee, and two inches and a quarter diameter in the Stem; the third two inches diameter in the knee, and one inch three quarters in the Stem; the fourth to be one inch seven eighths in the knee, and one inch Five eighths in the Stem; the Fifth to be One inch three quarters in the knee, and one inch Five eighths in the Stem, and all the rest to be but one inch & a half diameter. All the holes to be bored through with proper Sized Augers, that is to receive the Bolts in the least drift, that no Reaming may be suffered from the Stem in. That the holes be bored before the Canvas is put on, and the knee Swung off to Observe if the holes are all good, before any Bolts are drove; To have throat pieces of Sufficient depth of Elm, tabled and Billed, and well secured with Bolts drove up, with Pluggs. This would seem to indicate that a layer or layers of canvas, presumably tarred, was placed between the fore side of the stem and the corresponding face of the knee of the head. Moving forward approximately 30 years, the contract for Ganges of 1782 is surprisingly similar to that for Warspite: KEEL: The Keel to be Elm not more than 6 pieces if to be got, otherwise to have a short piece Abaft of about 22 feet, if required to be of Oak the foremost Piece about 24 ft, and the intermediate Pieces to be as near of a length as can be made suitable to the whole of what remains. To be 1ft 6 ins Square in the Midships, sided afore 1ft 2 ins, and at the Aft part of the Rabbet of the Post 1ft 0 ½ ins, The Scarphs to be 4ft 6ins long tabled one into the other laid with White Flannel or Kersey and Bolted with 8 Bolts of 1 ¼ Diamr, the lips of the said Scarphs not to be left more in thickness than 5 ¼ ins. FALSE KEEL: To be in one thickness of 7ins so as to make the main and false Keels together 1ft 10 ins below the Rabbit, to give Scarph to the Scarphs of the main Keel to be laid with Tar and Hair and sufficiently fastened with Nails & Staples. STEM: Not to be more than 3 pieces of good sound Oak, quite free from defects of any kind, to be thwartships at the head 2ft 2 ins and to diminish from thence to 1ft6ins at the lowerside of the lower cheek and at the end of the Keel or reconciling of the Sweep 1ft 2ins. To be moulded at the head1ft 6ins and at the fore foot the same as the Keel, the Scarphs 4ft long tabled one into the other, laid with white Flannel or Kersey, and bolted with 6 bolts of 1 1/8 Diamr. two of the middle Bolts to go through the false Stem and well clench’d thereon, the lips of the Scarphs not to be more than 5 ¼ ins thick. The Rabbit to be taken out agreeable to what is expressed in the Draught. The knee of the head is again described, again mentioning canvas: KNEE OF THE HEAD: The Knee of the Head to extend to the upperside of the upper Cheeks, to be 1ft 5ins thick at the Stem. The two upper Bolts to be 2 3/8 ins diar; in the Knee & 2 ¼ ins in the Stem. The third 2 1/8inches Diar; in the Knee & 2 ins in the Stem. The Fourth to be 1 7/8 in the Knee & 1 ¾ in the Stem. The fifth to be 1 ¾ in the Knee & 1 5/8 in the Stem, & all the rest to be but 1 ½ in diar; . All the Holes to be bored through with proper sized Augers that is to receive the Bolts in the least Drift. That no reeming may be suffered from the Stem inwards, that the holes be bored before the Canvas is put on, and the Knee swung off to observe if the holes are all good before any Bolts are drove. To have a throat piece of sufficient depth of Elm, tabled & billed, well secured with Bolts drove up with Plugs. In all cases only the timbers I have listed are described as having any sealing material within the joints. Sutherland may well have something to say on the matter, although Steel will be a bit late for your period. All the best, Mark P
  8. Good Evening Jason; I'm afraid that I have not seen the Navy Board warrant ordering that the painting of names should cease, so the only reason I can give is as above, which I read somewhere in connection with this. 17th century ships did not have their names painted on them, nor their models, but they certainly appeared during the 18th century. As Druxey says, the Navy Board order that names should be painted on sterns was probably an official recognition of an established but unofficial practice. Thanks for the picture Druxey: that must have been a massive driver sail she carried. I wouldn't want to sew that by hand! All the best, Mark
  9. Thank you Allan & Mic-art; One caveat: As-built draughts well into the 1780s show the ships with their names displayed on their stern. A lot of marine artists show the names also. It is possible that the Navy Board's directive to cease the practice was somewhat ignored, which would not be too unusual
  10. Good Evening Allan; Druxey is almost correct. I think it was 1771, not 1781 when it commenced. I don't have the warrant when names were first mandated, but this is the wording of the warrant issued by the Navy Board in 1772, changing the rules: 9th September 1772 Notwithstanding our Warrant of 28th June 1771 These are to direct and require you to paint the Name of the Ships at your Port in Letters as large as the second Counter will admit, as they come in course of painting without any compartments [painted border] round them Dated the 9th September 1772 To the respective Officers of all the Yards. This practice lasted for about 10 years, after which it was discontinued, as it was felt that this could give important information to an enemy. 1781-2 is probably when it was ordered to stop. All the best, Mark P
  11. Frank Fox is well-known for his work on Charles II's Battlefleet, published many years ago, by Conway in 1980. Copies of this command good prices on the second-hand market. His account of the Four Days Battle in 1666 is the best re-telling of a Naval encounter which I have ever read, and reveals an astounding knowledge allied with what must have been years worth of research in archives in Western Europe. It is far more than a bare narrative of events and their consequences. The historical setting, the Navy, the ships, officers, crews and customs, of the English and Dutch are all well described, which is what one would expect of any decent book. What sets this apart is firstly its readability, with no feeling of tedium or excessive quoting of statistics at any point; secondly the really clear and interesting explanation of just how much influence the shoals, tides & currents of the Thames Estuary and North Sea had on events; and thirdly the amount of clarity which is given to the abilities, shortcomings, characters, desires and motives of the various commanders and captains. The development of Naval tactics during the period (when the line of battle was first brought into use by the English fleet) is very well set out, with the contrasting tactical methods of the protagonists clearly explained and thoroughly analysed. The battle of Lowestoft the year before, and the St James' Day battle later in 1666 are recounted and their places and consequences in the Second Dutch War made clear. The decisive part in the year's events played by the French fleet, which never fired a shot in anger, and hardly saw an enemy ship at all, is analysed thoroughly. It was the perceived threat of Louis XIV's fleet which caused a large number of the Navy's best ships to be detached from the main fleet, leaving the remainder vulnerable. This was a mistake of catastrophic magnitude, made much worse by faulty intelligence and lack of scouting ships to report events. This meant, among other things, that the English commander was unaware that the Dutch fleet had sailed, for a week after it had set forth. This book will bring to its reader a deep understanding of the factors influencing Naval Battles in the Restoration period. I feel as though I have been thoroughly educated from reading this, but also, thoroughly entertained. All the best, Mark P
  12. Good Morning All; The best method I ever used for making mast hoops was with an ordinary hand plane. This was to set the blade to a slightly coarse cut, and then carefully plane a long shaving off the edge of a plank of pine (no knots being present) The shaving will have a natural tendency to curl. Weight it down flat and coat the inner side with glue, then roll it around a suitable sized dowel, with a rubber band around the outside, and leave to dry. Once dry, this will give a perfect tube, from which hoops of the desired height can be cut with ease. This works for woldings and hoops for sails sliding up and down the masts. This was a tip I saw long ago in (I think it was) Underhill's 'Leon' book. But it works wonderfully well, and is quick. The plane needs to be sharp, of course. All the best, Mark
  13. Thanks Allan; An interesting selection, with some very nice paintings amongst them. All the best, Mark
  14. Good Evening Allan; Thank you for the link. shame that they are all a bit blurred. Do you know any way to sharpen them up? All the best, Mark P

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