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    Minnesota, USA
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    Square rigged ships, Medieval and Roman armor, ancient siege engines, WWII machine guns and German infantry reenactment, adventure motorcycling

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  1. The foremast topmast top and the mizzenmast top are now assembled and stained. The holes in the center for the mastheads need to be measured and cut.
  2. The foremast top was completed and parts for the foremast topmast top and mizzenmast top were started. EJ recommended that the parts be stain prior to assembly. That was how the foremast top was made, and you can see a much better stain finish than on the mainmast top shown on the right.
  3. Thanks EJ. I'll use dark walnut stain and see if they look okay. If not, I can always paint them. Work continues on the tops for La Couronne. The main topmast top and the spritsail topmast top were both assembled using the same technique as the first top. Both of these tops are the same size.
  4. The CA glue may inhibit staining the piece evenly to be sure, but I noted that since the parts are plywood, a light colored stain will still show the layers, which probably should be hidden. So, perhaps the tops should be painted instead of having a natural wood appearance? The question remains as to the color.
  5. The top was assembled today. This one is for the main mast. Starting with 1mm thick beechwood plywood, the base or floor of the top which was made earlier was used to figure out the diameter of the first rail above it. The rail's outer radius was made 2.5 mm wider than the radius of the base, and the inner radius of the rail was 1.5 mm less than the radius of the base. The style of top with the upper rail extending only half way around appealed to me so I chose that style for the lower tops,the mizzen top, and the spritsail top. If you find this choice for some of the tops historically inaccurate, please let me know before I finish them so I can make corrections. Until then, work continues. The lower rail supports were shaped four at a time, with 5mm strips of plywood being taped together. the paper pattern was used to trace the outline of the supports onto one of the strips to be shaped. A Dremel tool with a diamond burr was used to remove wood to the pencil line of the pattern, being careful to keep the tool flat so all the parts are of the same height. The burr was used to cut of each set of shaped pieces, and each piece was finished to final shape with a small sanding block. Then the supports were glued onto the pencil lines drawn on the base or floor. The glue dries quickly, so assembly is fast. Being accurate with placement of the parts was surprisingly easy, even with fat fingers. Any supports with ends protruding outside the diameter of the rails was trimmed with the sanding block. The result was better than I expected. The top looks more delicate and detail than the solid turned wooden top piece that came with the Corel kit. Anyone have suggestions as to what color to make the tops? My original plan is to stain them with a light brown fruitwood stain, which is not too red and not dark.
  6. Sorry I didn't wait around for your answer, EJ, but I think I have a handle on sizing the Tops. After some reading up on tops in R. C. Anderson's The Rigging of Ships in the Days of the Spritsail Topmast, 1600-1720, I got an idea on how to size the trestle trees, cross trees, and the tops for each mast, using Dutch rules for measurement as available. The floors of each top were measured, drawn and cut from 1mm birch plywood. They correspond pretty close to the turned hardwood tops provided by Corel, but scratch built ones like the top on EJ's La Couronne are much better looking.
  7. Hey EJ, Did you use the same overall dimensions that Corel specified and as the turned wooden pieces they provided to make the trestel trees, platforms, and rails for the tops, or are your scratch built top custom sized? I need overall dimensions since I'm basing my tops on yours. Could you provide basic dimensions? Currently I am calculating the trestles according to Anderson's book, The Rigging of Ships in the Days of the Spritsail Topmast, 1600-1720. which gives me the diameter of the plywood used for the floor of the tops and a good starting point to guess the diameter of the rails at the top of the tops. So far, the trestle length is 46mm for the main mast, 42mm for the foremast, and 24mm for the mizzen mast. The floor discs will be 7/6 the trestle length, or 1.1667 times the length of the trestles. The top on the bowsprit will be the same size as the topmast top of the mainmast, if Corel is to be believed, because there is no size estimate provided by Anderson.
  8. Thanks Viggen! Adding a few extra details here and there make a huge difference. Some of the simplifications of the kit just beg for scratch built replacements. Since this is my first wooden ship, I'm being extra careful and taking lots of time to plan each step. I like the Corel kit plans and wood, but the instructions are pretty much nonexistent. Luckily, you guys posted lots of helpful build logs.
  9. Some of the previously made masts and yardarms were stained and grouped by mast before being set aside. Yardarm production continues. Tapering yardarms on the lathe while it' spinning at high speed is getting easier, and I've figured a method of using two sanding blocks, one made from scrap wood, to quickly and accurately turn a taper on each yardarm. The yardarm is held in the chuck with only a little more than half its length protruding, and the spindle at the opposite end makes it stable and strongly supported. Only three more yardarms to go and the masts and yards are complete and ready for assembly and rigging.
  10. Another day making masts and yardarms. Using the metal lathe, two sanding blocks with 80 grit paper, facing one another and sandwiching each dowel, were used to taper the masts and yards in the South Bend metal lathe. For finer sanding, a 120 grit piece of sand paper was carefully folded over the part, and light pressure was used to remove the rough sanding marks. if a mast head needed to be formed at the top of a topmast, a triangular mill file was used to sharpen the inside edge where the masthead and mast meet. Very light strokes were used to prevent breaking the part, with was only 2mm in diameter at he base of the masthead. Then the file was applied edge on to cut into the wood to start forming the top of the ball shape of the mast head. The cut was part way through the wood so that it will not break off. The spindle of the lathe did a great job supporting the end of the mast at the masthead. After the topmasts were remove from the lathe, the excess wood was sawed off the masthead, and the final shape of the ball was sanded by hand. All the pieces were sanded longitudinally with 1000 grit sandpaper to polish them up. Today the following parts were made. For the mizzen mast, the mizzen topmast, and mizzen yardarm were made. For the foremast, the main yardarm (not the yard for the main mast as shown in the photo), top mast and topgallant mast were made. For the spritsail mast, the spritsail topmasts were made. Some more yardarms remain to be made.
  11. I've got RC Anderson's book, and a few others, although I have to be careful not to mix 19th century rigging into a 17th century ship. I managed to stumble onto a gold mine and get a PDF copy of Vincenzo Lusci's La Couronne - Vascello del Francese 1636 (published 1972) which has a detailed plan for running rigging, and is the best source I have at the moment. However, it's in Italian, so it will require a full translation. Lennarth Petersson's Rigging Period Ship Models is very pictorial, which is good since I am still rather new to this, but focuses on 19th century rigging. I guess I will have to stick with Lusci's plan. If you or anyone else has any comments or improvements on Lusci's rigging design, please let me know.
  12. Do you have any idea where the running rigging should be tied down on railings and fife rails for the clews, sheets, and tack lines for the sails?
  13. Hello to EJ and the rest of you guys. It occurred to me that before I start working on the masts and rigging, I should review all the details that other modelers have used on the hull of La Couronne, and use many of them before things get too crowded above deck. One of those I originally planned on making, but forgot, was the ship's bell. The bell I selected was purchased separately, and was in the box waiting to be installed. The design and position of the bell was chosen as the one Karl Faendrich used on his scratch built model. Taking some spare walnut, a Dremel power jig saw was used to cut out the top arch piece. Artesania Latina micro shaper was used to give it some shape, and it took a while to scrape the walnut into shape due to the hardness of American walnut and the unusual shape of the arch. The vertical and horizontal members of the bell assembly were also detailed using the micro shaper. You could spend all day adding details to each piece of this model and still only get one or two parts completed. The bell too 3 hours. To install the bell assembly, The deck rail was carefully cut using a micro hand saw, and one of the rail pillars was removed to make room. Some Krylon matt spray varnish was applied to the assembly, before and after installation, to darken the wood and bring out the grain. It also does a great job of hiding any CA glue that wasn't scraped off while removing a portion of the rail. The final effect looks as if the bell was installed when it should have been installed 3 months ago.
  14. A piece of wood dowel from the kit was selected by the closest matching diameter to the plans and cut to the specified length with and additional 20mm for the drill or lathe chuck to hold onto. To support the free end, the dowel was clamped into the lathe, and the center spindle on the back rest was used to dent the wood and mark the center. Then a small drill bit was used to deepen the hole to 1.5mm. A small spindle was clamped into the drill press vice and positioned under the drill press. The dowel was supported between that spindle and the drill press chuck. A sanding block with 80 grit sandpaper was used to rough out the taper of the mast, checking the diameter frequently with digital calipers. After shaping with 80 grit, 120 grit sandpaper was used, then the part was removed from the drill and sanded by hand to remove circumferential scratches, then polished with 1000 grit paper to a smooth finish. For the square portions of the masts that form the mastheads, the round areas were filed square with the dowel laying horizontal in a small vice. The vice jaws were set to control the amount of material removed. The part was rotated 90 degrees in the vice jaws and filed again and again, until the square masthead was formed and within the proper dimensions. Smaller mast parts and yards are done using the same method except using the metal lathe. The tail stock does a great job supporting the end of the dowel, and even 2mm diameter parts can be sanded to shape. On the thinner parts, it's recommended to pinch the part with two hands between two pieces of sandpaper. This supports both sides of the part and prevents you from breaking it because of too much force it the transverse direction. For both lathe and drill, set the speed fairly high and apply sandpaper with a light touch. The ball on the masthead for the main mast was shaped with careful application of a triangular metal file, using light strokes while the part is spinning. You will be surprise how small in diameter you can make the parts without breaking them, if they are supported properly, and you sand from both sides at the same time. For the mainmast, the main, top, and topgallant masts were completed today, and for the foremast, the main and top masts were shaped. The jib boom and the mainmast mainsail yard were also shaped. Tackling mast and yard construction had made me nervous, but making a few parts today was hugely confidence building, and they were made much faster than anticipated.

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