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  1. Dave, I'll give your method a try. It may be easier that what I describe below. In the mean time I just didn't want to give up without a fight, so I came up with a way to fasten things together. I used a 0.003 inch (0.08 mm) silk thread of approximately the right color (all I had on hand) to serve the splice ends. The silk was a bit springy but it worked. Very fine cotton would probably be better. Here is a photo of a 1:48 scale 6 pounder cannon sitting on a US penny for size reference. 1. I unraveled a short section (1/16 inch or 1.5 mm) of the end of one piece of the rope. 2. Using the thin thread I placed a simple overhand knot near the end of the unraveled piece without pulling it tight. This knot was near the short end of the thread. 3. Then I looped the long end of the thread back through the first knot and created a second overhand knot loop without tightening it. 4. I pushed the second piece of rope through the second knot far enough for the cut splice. 5. Then I pulled both knots tight. This attached the thread to both pieces of the rope and pulled them together tightly. 6. I pulled the short end of the thread into the gap between the two pieces of rope, under the unraveled ends. This way the serving will wrap around it also and prevent the knot from becoming untied. To keep the short end in place while I continued I made another overhand knot back along the standing part of the rope some distance from the splice. 7. Then I placed a small drop of glue on the thread and rope where the raveled ends of the first piece of rope were, and pulled these ends around the standing part of the second piece of rope. I used Duco Cement, but just about any glue will do if it soaks into the thread. You want a cement that takes a few minutes to set up. 8. Working quickly I wrapped the long end of the thread around the two pieces of rope, working along the unraveled ends. I pulled the thread tight around the unraveled ends and down into the glue. Occasionally I used tweezers to push the thread loops together into a tight winding. 9. When I had wound the thread past the unraveled ends of the rope I tied it off with another overhand knot around the standing part of the rope. 10. Then I applied cement over the turns of the thread and worked it into the thread with my fingers (super glue wouldn't be a good choice). 11. After the glue set the loose ends of the thread were cut off and a bit more glue applied to gold them in place. That finished the first half of the splice. I used about 2 1/2 inches of thread, including the ends that were trimmed off. 12. I pulled the rope "Y" tight around a drill bit that was slightly smaller than the diameter of the neck of the cannon's cascobel. 13. The open ends of the rope "Y" were pulled together tightly and I repeated steps 2 and 3 to make overhand knots around the two pieces of rope, pulling the knots tight. 14. I pulled the assembly off the drill bit and placed a small drop of glue at the join. 15. I repeated steps 6 through 8 to fasten the two ropes together. 16. Before I had progressed very far - several turns - I clipped the short end of the rope to the proper length and unraveled the ends. 17. Then I finished wrapping the thread past the raveled ends and tied it off as before. 18. Finally, I clipped the loose ends of the thread and rubbed glue into the turns of thread and let it set. I used a "fid" to open the loop in the splice - a muscle separator dissecting tool works very well, but any wood or metal rod that tapers to a point will do. Then the loop was forced over the cascobel. It was a tight fit and the cut splice stays in place on the cannon without having to use glue to hold it. This scheme has the advantage that the thread is attached to the rope pieces with knots, preventing the rope from pulling out of the serving. The glue holds the serving in place. What you see in the photo was my first attempt, and it came out acceptable. I'll do six or seven more and use the prettiest on the cannons. I will also use the same thread for serving to attach the breeching lines to the ring bolts on the bulwarks. Fortunately I have only seven cannons to rig! Note: Dave's suggestion gave me the idea of using a needle to pull the thread through the two pieces of rope in the initial steps 2 through 5 of tying them together. This should produce an even better attachment of the thread to the ropes.
  2. After soldering pieces together, if there is too much solder remaining around the joint I sometimes use a hobby knife or a small dental tool with a chisel-shaped tip to carve away the unwanted solder. Be careful not to gouge into the brass and create a scratch. Then to remove more of the remaining solder to produce a very smooth surface I use a fine wire brush in a motor tool (Dremel). The wire brush removes the soft solder quickly and just polishes the brass. However, it is very effective at removing the solder, so be careful that you don't remove too much! You can also use an ordinary steel wire brush, and even a brass wire brush for less aggressive polishing. One thing to remember is that when the hot solder flows over the surface of the brass some of the tin actually dissolves into the brass forming a tin-brass alloy. In this way the solder "welds" itself to the brass surface. But it is the softer solder between the brass parts that "glues" the pieces together. The wire brush will remove the soft solder build up on the brass but it will not remove solder that has dissolved into the brass - nothing will. Even after you have removed all the solder there will still be a tin "stain" on the brass surface. To avoid this you need to apply the solder and the soldering iron to inside surfaces where possible. **** To control heat flow so you don't unsolder parts when adding new parts just wrap wet cotton balls around the parts you want to protect. Use alligator clips to hold the cotton in place. Water flows to contact the metal surfaces and absorbs a tremendous amount of heat as it evaporates. This makes water a much better heat sink than almost anything else, and it is easy to clean up.
  3. I tried 0.006 inch diameter copper wire. Although I did get a pretty good wrap around the two pieces of rope the serving was not tight enough to hold the pieces together. In the cut splice only a very short part at the end of one piece lays against (spliced) to the other piece. The serving did not hold this short end and it just pulled out of the wire coil. In addition, even this tiny wire created an objectionably large lump. Handling anything smaller than this would be difficult! I have tried several more glue types and nothing adheres to the rope - or absorbs into it. Even if I used a very small (0.003 inch) cotton thread for serving a shellac or other paint would "glue" only the cotton, producing another hollow tube the rope could pull out of. Too bad. The rope is a nice tight three strand weave that looks pretty realistic. I briefly considered trying to create actual splices, but gave that up. Trying to push fuzzy ends of the tiny strands of one piece through the strands of the other doesn't seem to me to have a high probability of success. I'll have to find some other "rope."
  4. I have also seen the term "cont splice." It is a light tan color, and really isn't very shiny. It burns readily leaving ash, without melting, so it isn't nylon or polyester. It definitely is a fiber of some sort. But nothing seems to soak into it. It doesn't feel waxed, but it does burn like a candle wick or a fuse - it would make a good fuse - so it must be impregnated with something. The Duco Cement contains acetone and that should penetrate wax, but no joy! Super glue also normally soaks into threads. With ordinary thread the cement penetrates the fibers and does make a fairly strong bond - not something that would take a lot of strain, but good enough for a static application like the breeching lines on a model. I normally use glue to fix siezings, rat lines, etc. I am working in 1:48 scale, and the line is 0.026 inches diameter, or 1.25 scale inches. That may be a bit undersized for the breeching lines. Biddlecombe's "The Art of Rigging" shows serving over the splices in a cont splice. Maybe I will just use extremely small diameter copper wire to sieze the splice and paint it to simulate serving.
  5. I am working on a Mantua Models kit from the 1980s. The kit supplies some pretty nice looking "rope." The instructions call it "canupa" or "rigging yarn." In one place it is called "hemp." Now you know as much as I do about it. I wanted to use this for the breeching lines for the cannons, and I wanted to create a cut splice to fit over the cascabels on the cannons. This was common practice in the 1800s for cannons that did not have a breeching ring. The rope is only 0.026 inch diameter, so I have no intention of trying to create a true cut splice by intertwining the individual threads! With all other threads/twines I have used it was a simple matter to just cut the rope and glue the cut ends to the opposite cord, creating the cut splice. I decided to use cyanoacrylate "super glue" because it sets up fast. The instructions on the tube said to hold the pieces together at least 5 seconds. After a minute the glue had not set to hold the two strands together (however, it was trying to glue my fingers together)! I tried white glue, with the same results. Then I tried Duco Cement, a glue that works well for gluing wood. After the pieces were held together 20-30 seconds the glue did set up a bit, but it was not holding the threads together very well. After applying more glue and holding the pieces together for about a minute enough glue hardened around the lines to hold them together. After leaving it over night I did get a fairly strong attachment. But I think it is only because a film of glue has hardened around the threads of the rope. This was a new one for me - a totally unanticipated problem. Any thoughts or suggestions why nothing seems to stick to this rope?
  6. I am looking for pictures or drawings that show how these forward running main stays were attached to the deck. I suspect they used a block fastened to a ring bolt in the deck and a traveling block on the stay. This would allow loosening and tightening the stay rapidly and easily. I guess the end of the stay would be wrapped around a cleat near the fixed block. In some of the pictures you posted a block is visible in the line that drapes around the fore gaff sail, but it is pretty high near the gaff. This might not be a stay, as you have proposed. Any ideas?
  7. Nice work on the deadeyes. And making your own ropes! Good practice for the next build.
  8. Pat, Thanks. The period and type of ship is important. The calculations I made were for the Baltimore clipper and revenue cutter schooners of the late 18th century and early 19th century. They were based upon Fincham's 1829 tables and Marestier's schooner descriptions included in Chapelle's "The Baltimore Clipper."
  9. Leopard, I went through the same process to determine mast lengths for my current build of a revenue cutter, post #52: I found the length of the main mast heel to hounds on American Baltimore clippers to be 2.6 to 2.8 times the extreme breadth, while on British ships it was only 2.3 (probably for normal square rigged ships). But the American vessels did carry a larger top hamper. The head (the part above the hounds to the top cap) is 0.25 to 0.45 times the extreme breadth. Look at sail plans of ships similar to the one you are building to determine a suitable head length. The heads are usually the same length on both masts. Total mast length is heel to hounds + head. Drawings show the main mast height above the deck (partners to top cap) to about equal to the hull length, or maybe a bit longer. The "partners" are where the mast penetrates the main deck. In this respect your masts may be a bit too short, at least on American schooners. The fore mast is 0.9 to 0.97 times the total length of the main mast. The fore and main top masts tended to be about the same length, and are typically about half the length of the lower masts. The mast diameters from Fincham's rules are a for full square rigged ships, and are bit large for schooners. Underhill says in "Masting and Rigging the Clipper Ship and Ocean Carrier" that schooner masts are only about 4/5 the diameter of masts for full square rigged ships. The fore mast on top sail schooners carried greater weight and was typically was larger diameter than the fore and aft rigged main mast. Both Underhill's "Masting and Rigging the Clipper Ship and Ocean Carrier"and Mondfeld's "Historic Ship Models" have tables and formulas for mast diameters and tapers that agree closely. After making your calculations compare your results with Marestier's data for a ship of about the same length as you are planning. In the end, you are right that there was a bit of leeway in determining mast heights and sizes, so anything reasonably close will do.
  10. Leopard, Thank you very much for your comments. I am tempted to agree with your interpretation of the stays and preventers. But looking through Chapelle's "Baltimore Clipper" (1968) I find many illustrations showing the stays from the main top to near the base of the fore mast. Awkward though it may be, it would be possible to tack the fore gaff with the two stays running from the main top to the base of the fore mast. To do this the fore gaff would be lowered to the deck, swung to the other side, and raised again. Another way would be to reef the fore gaff sail, lifting the sail to the gaff and then moving the halyard over the stays. Then the sail could be lowered on the opposite side of the stays. Chapelle's "Baltimore Clipper" shows a slaver with the two main stays running to the base of the fore mast, and with the fore gaff sail reefed above the stays (plate before page 109), with no stay from the main top to the fore top. Similar arrangements with main stays running to the base of the fore mast with no stay between the tops are shown on plates at pages 45, 66, 67, 70, 71, 78, 79, 114, 115, 136, 142, 143, 151, 169. The Fig 14 and Fig 25 "Baltimore Clipper Schooner - Sail Plan" on pages 130 and 132 also show the main stays rigged to below the fore mast, without the stay between the tops. The Fig 26 sail plan on page 133 shows the main stay from the main top to the fore top, without the stays to the bottom of the fore mast. These drawings are from Maresttier, who drew them from the actual ships he surveyed. If it was just one illustration by one artist that showed the stays to the base of the main mast I might think it was just a mistake. But there are at least 17 instances showing the main stays running to near the base of the fore mast, and I saw only three that did not have these stays, with a stay between tops. Rigging the main stay to the deck at the fo'c'sle was the standard method on square riggers. So, what do we make of this?? **** Maybe the answer is in George Biddlecombe's "The Art of Rigging" from 1925. In Plate XVI (facing page 111) he shows a topsail schooner with a stay running from the main top to the base of the fore mast. He also shows a stay from the main top to the fore top. On page 109, in "RIGGING A SCHOONER" he states "The main-stay leads to the head of the fore-mast, by which means, the the sail abaft the fore-mast is not obstructed when the vessel goes about, as the peak passes under the stay. There is also two jumper-stays, which set up to an eye-bolt in the deck, just at the after part of the fore-rigging, so that the weather one is always kept taut." I was wondering if both the stays to the deck were rigged at the same time. Only one would be under strain under a given condition (except when the wind was from directly ahead) so the other could be slacked. This may explain the slack line crossing the fore gaff sail in the Pride II pictures - a slack "jumper-stay." Someone who has sailed on the Pride II could answer this puzzle. However, Biddlecombe's book was written in 1925, more than a century after the Baltimore Clipper was being developed. During that time different rigging methods were tried and the style evolved into the 20th century version. Underhill's "Masting and Rigging of the Clipper Ship and Ocean Carrier" says the rigging of British topsail schooners changed over the years and by the 20th century the main stay ran from the main top to the fore top. **** Chapelle's "American Sailing Ships" shows the rigging of the 1812 Prince de Neufchatel (page 147) with the mainstays rigged to the deck at the base of the fore mast. The 1815 80 ton revenue cutter (page 190) and 31 ton revenue cutter (pages 184 and 191) have mainstays to the fo'c'sle deck. The 1825 drop keel revenue cutter (page 197) and a shoal draft cutter with main stays to the fo'c'sle deck (pages 199 and 201). The 1830 built Morris (page 207) has both types of main stays. The Forward of 1831 (page 211) does not have the main stays to the deck. The Joe Lane (ex Campbell) of 1848 does not have the stays to the deck. **** I am guessing that the earliest schooners continued the long time practice of running the main stays to the deck at the fo'c'sle. This complicated swinging the fore gaff sail, but far be it from most to part with tradition! However, rigging the main stay to the fore top greatly simplified sail handling, and that would improve performance, especially in combat. The war of 1812 created a "natural selection" for schemes that worked best and were more survivable in combat. Under such conditions traditionalists lose out to those who adapt best. Even so, traditions die hard, and it would seem that for new construction the stays between mast tops were not adopted until the 1820s and main stays to the deck did not disappear completely until the 1830s. But it is possible that the Captains of earlier ships re-rigged their vessels to improve handling.
  11. I have two suggestions. First, pick something that is described in one or more threads on the Forum. If you don't understand something or how a part is made you have a source of information from someone who has already experienced the problem and has found a solution. This way you can avoid the danger of getting hung up on trying to figure out something and giving up in frustration. Second, don't expect your first build to produce museum quality results. Think of it as a training exercise to learn new techniques and become familiar with new materials. You will certainly make "mistakes" - in your opinion - and want to go back and start over on some things. That's OK. It's your build and you are the only judge that counts. Don't be too harsh on yourself and enjoy the build, faults and all.
  12. Rick, I should have stated that some of my 3D drawings have millions of objects and tens of millions of points. These designs strain even my 3.4 GHz 6 core work machine, and there is no way I could ever get much done on the 2 GHz 2 core laptop. But for simple designs with only a few hundred parts the laptop would be adequate.
  13. Andre, I have used quite a few CAD programs over the last 30 years. Here are a few things I have learned. Before you choose any CAD program be sure to look at the user Forum. First of all, is it free? Is it open to everyone, including non-registered users? If not, move on to another program. Any company that limits access to users' comments is more interested in wringing every penny out of its customers than providing help for the users. You can also be sure they censor posts to their forums to eliminate any negative comments. Second, is technical support free? Or do you have to pay a yearly subscription - even after you have paid for the program? If so, the company really isn't interested in supplying technical support. I have used CAD packages that extort several thousand dollars per year just for technical support! To make matters worse, often the "technical support" people have little experience with the program (just someone the suits hired to read prewritten statements), and they may not speak your language. Third, are updates to fix bugs free, or do you have to pay to correct the programmer's mistakes? Again, this tells you something about the company and what you can expect from them in the future. Forth, can you transfer files from the CAD program to and from other CAD programs? Look at the list of file types the program supports. Some CAD programs have little or no ability to work with files from other programs - especially to export to other CAD programs. Some companies deliberately limit export capabilities so their users are trapped into continuing to use their program. They don't want you to be able to move your existing designs to another program. **** I use DesignCAD 3D MAX. It is a full featured 2D/3D CAD program. Our company started using it in 1988 (it was called ProDesign back then). The user Forum is open to everyone. It has many very experienced users who can answer just about any question you post. Furthermore, some of the users are more knowledgeable than the technical support people. Technical support people monitor the Forum, and jump in to answer questions. Bug fixes and annual updates are free. The program has absolutely the best user interface I have seen for any software. Is it perfect? No, but it sells for about $100. Don't take the cost of the program as a measure of the quality. I have used a $15,000 program that had lousy documentation, poor support, and lacked many of the 3D drawing features DesignCAD has! If you have doubts what you can do with an inexpensive CAD program, check out this link: https://www.okieboat.com/CAD model.html Or follow the link to my post on this Forum:
  14. I have been puzzling over belaying pins on the schooners and revenue cutters in the early 1800s. I have read that they did not use pins and pin rails, although they were common on larger ships (however some schooner kits include belaying pins, fife rails and pin rails). So, if they didn't use pin rails and belaying pins how did they attach the running rigging so it would be easy to release it for adjusting the sails? I have drawings that show the standing rigging attached to ring bolts on the deck. This would not be a convenient way to handle the running rigging. Some texts say they attached the running rigging to cleats or cavels (kevels) along the bulwarks.
  15. Next on the agenda are the 6 pounder cannons. I have been making the little fiddly bits for the carriages and attaching the cannons. I used 0.019" brass wire for the ring bolts to attach the gun tackle and training tackle and the larger rings that the breaching line will pass through. The trunnion straps were cut from 0.008" brass sheet and attached with 7 mm brass nails. After the cannons were attached the quoins were added to set the elevation of the barrels. When all pieces were in place I painted the metal parts with flat black enamel. Now I need to place the ring bolts on the bulwarks for the gun tackle and breaching lines. I have been thinking about placing the guns in the run out battery position or in an inboard stowage position, or maybe run out on one side and stowed on the other.

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