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About jdbondy

  • Birthday 08/30/1968

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    Dallas, TX

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  1. Since I bought the Pride 2 kit in 1995, many times have I looked at the bowsprit netting on the plans sheet and wondered how in the world I would go about doing that. Recently, though, it became apparent that I was at a point where I could start working on it. The bowsprit and dolphin striker had been installed, and the guys were in place. I had not yet started installing either mast, but had been working on the sails. I realized that trying to install bowsprit netting after having put in all the forestays would be difficult, as the forestays travel to the tip of the bowsprit and then travel back to the bow underneath the bowsprit. Those would obstruct the area of the netting. A year or so earlier, I had tried assembling a bowsprit net off the ship, using a jig that I built out of scrap. The blocks at the top and bottom have grooves cut in them. Using some coarse leftover line, I took about 10 strands and ran them between the blocks. The strands traveled in a zigzag pattern essentially parallel to each other, without actually crossing each other (like chain link fence). Fine line was used to attach the lines to each other. T-pins maintained the shape of the net at the edges. This wasn’t very satisfying, because the netting would have to have an overall triangular shape, with an apex and then widening as it approached the bow. Another jig was built that had more of a Christmas tree appearance. Work with that jig produced a net like is seen in the bottom of the next photo. (The net in the top of the photo is the final product that resulted from all these first tries.) Work with the jigs helped me realize that the netting would have to be a true netting, meaning that the strands of the netting would have to cross one another, instead of abutting one another where they were attached to each other with the finer thread. And the fibers would have to weave above and below one another to create a more stable structure. The question really became: is it possible to build a net off the model and then install it? Or is it necessary to build it in place on the model? Of course, the ultimate solution would be a combination of both. On the real ship, the netting does not attach directly to the bowsprit guys. The netting attaches to finer line that is intermittently seized to the guys. The next photo shows a 0.004” line being seized to the guy using very fine fly tying thread (Veevus 16/0). And a close-up: After attaching this line to each guy, a test run was made by running lines through these gaps on the guy and weaving an initial in situ bowsprit netting. It was clear that something would have to be done where the netting and the guys meet. Simply weaving the fibers through the gaps on the guys causes the line to very gently curve up to where it meets the guy. In reality, these parts of the netting need to look like sharp corners. It was also a puzzle what to do at the fore edge of the netting, where the fibers all came together. They could be gathered into two common points, but the fibers look too crowded and less net-like. In order to get the edges of the netting to be more orderly, and in order to make the fibers sit neatly, they were waxed. Plain beeswax by itself is not very pleasant, as it leaves a whitish residue that is visible on the line, especially if it is worked too much. But a piece of beeswax that has been colored with Transtint black dye can be used to coat the lines with no visible residue. This took some experimentation in order to get the granular appearance of the beeswax on the line to disappear, which typically involved heating the line by pulling it through tightly pinched fingertips and letting friction melt those waxy deposits into the fibers. They became much more orderly after that. So instead, the netting was begun using a single line that ran athwartships at the fore edge of the netting, and five lines were seized to that line. That gave a total of 10 fibers traveling aft that could be used to weave a bowsprit net. Next step was to install some loops along each guy that could be used as temporary attachment points for the netting, enabling me to create a netting in place while being able to remove it once I was happy with its shape. In order to get the netting to attach more realistically to these temporary loops, it would be necessary to seize the fiber of the netting as it came up to each of the attachment points on the guys, so they would not gently curve into the guys but would come to a focal attachment point. The guys looked pretty ugly after installation of the temporary loops, which were created with a generic, fuzzy sewing line. Fortunately that made it easier to identify which lines needed to be snipped later on, and which should be left alone. Now it was possible to take the 10 strands attached to the one line and set it at the tip of the bowsprit and guys, and begin weaving the netting. I pretty much weaved the entire netting, leaving the aft most edge open. Then it was time to go back and seize each fiber of the netting where it met the guy. The first photo shows the netting fully weaved, then the second photo shows the seizings going on. There are seizings on the first 5 points on the left side of the photo, and the points to the right remain unseized. Seizing usually involves 5 or 6 wraps, with the bitter end tucking into a loop under the wraps. These seizings were nothing more than a series of overhand knots, with the tails of the overhand knots wrapping around the line and a second overhand knot tied next to the first. The overhand knot was then finished with a square knot. While doing the seizing, it was necessary to include enough slack in the fibers so that the netting would droop below the bowsprit. Once the seizing was added to a particular point, it was no longer possible to adjust the amount of slack in that particular fiber, so this was a key step. Seizings also had to be added symmetrically, so that one side of the netting would not have more slack than the other. To give the netting more stability, temporary knots were tied in the netting in the centerline. Initially the idea was that at each point where the fibers of the netting crossed, a knot would be used to secure the two lines against each other. Here is a picture with nearly all the seizings in place. The temporary knots in the centerline are faintly visible under the bowsprit. On the real ship, the netting looks like this: I ran out of attachment points for the ends of the fibers at the aft end of the netting. You run out of room when there is the bowsprit cap and the dolphin striker protruding down from the bowsprit. So at the aft end of the netting, two of the fibers attach to the same point along the guys. This would turn out to be a temporary arrangement. A row of permanent knots was tied at the edge of the netting immediately inboard of the bowsprit guys and the seizings, in order to give the netting more substance for when it would be removed. At this point I was happy enough with the size of the netting overall that I created loops in the aft ends of each of the 10 fibers. The tails were left long, just in case. Once that was done, the netting could be cut off of the model. In the following picture, the temporary knots are visible along the centerline of the netting. These were replaced with permanent knots using Veevus fly tying thread. The permanent knots at the edge of the netting are visible, just inboard of the seizings. At this point, the netting was adjusted to get as much symmetry as possible. Two additional rows of permanent knots were added, between the row of knots in the midline and the knots at the edge. I decided not to tie knots at every single crossing point, because it seemed like the net was holding together fine without tying that many knots. Once I was happy with the overall pattern, I used Flexament to secure the knots, and the tails were cut off as close as I dared. Here is the final product. Ahh, that looks so much better… It was time to reinstall the netting on the model. I secured it as I had before, in terms of the spacing along each bowsprit guy, but now that all those knots had been added at all those crossing points, the netting no longer hung down beneath the bowsprit. It was in fact very flat, ruining the overall effect. The culprit was too much fore-and-aft tension on the netting, but this was easily fixed by changing the spacing of the attachment points of the netting. Now the netting did not extend as far aft underneath the bowsprit, but a nice consequence of this was that things were no longer crowded up in the area of the dolphin striker and bowsprit cap. This picture shows the netting attached at several points, with most of the attachment points still loose. From here it was a matter of getting all of the points attached and trimming away the excess line. At the aft end of the netting, there were two spare lines that were meant to terminate near the bowsprit cap, but they would no longer reach. I therefore attached these ends to another one of the netting lines. A compromise that you can see in the following picture: All points have been attached, and the only remaining task was to trim away the excess, leaving you with this: The droop of the netting is actually too much, and I don’t like how the netting gathers up about 2/3 of the way back. But otherwise I am happy with how it turned out. And I can put this task behind me! As long as I keep the bowsprit protected from inadvertent injury… This was an incredibly satisfying step to complete, as I had no resources to work with except the specifications on the plans and the images of the real ship. Many different steps required many different trials and errors to reach the final product.
  2. Time to move on to the fore topmast yard and get the sail bent on to it. I decided I wanted to rig the model with furled sails, trying to duplicate the look of the vessel at dock, as we saw it in Boston. But first, installing the studding sail booms required manufacturing of this metal bracket on both ends of the yard. I cut very narrow strips of brass and bent them around small dowels to create this piece. It was painted black after installation. The inboard end of the studdingsail boom is notched and has a small hole in it. This was my first attempt to install a sail on the yard. The fabric is a light cotton cloth called Belvedere cotton. I don’t remember how much I paid for the piece of cloth I got from the specialty fabric shop, but I remember thinking that it would cost a lot to buy enough fabric to make a shirt out of it. It felt very light with good texture. This piece is unhemmed, but the edge has been treated with an anti-fraying treatment. It colors the sail edge a little bit. The color of the sail is achieved with treatment with dilute coffee, like 2 ounces of coffee diluted to a volume of 1 cup. About 5-10 minutes of soaking the fabric in the coffee did the trick. Ironing it caused things to dry rapidly. The dyeing of the sail had to happen before treatment with the anti-fraying compound. The shape of this cloth was cut so that I could achieve a nice folding effect as the sail was gathered onto the yard, plus it would have two “corners” sticking out down low to simulate the clew points that would show when the sail is furled. The sail was carefully sewed on with a running stitch. I couldn’t pull too tightly without tearing the edge of the fabric, even with the treated edge. Then the sail was furled and temporarily secured with black thread. The clothespin would hold the fabric while I tied on the temporary furling lines. Looking ok so far… Hmm. Now the unhemmed edge of the sail is beginning to show where the tack of the sail is tied off. Looks a little rough. And I couldn’t hide the unhemmed edge of the sail in the center of the yard, as it kept showing itself as I attempted to tuck it under the rest of the sail. The black stitch was an attempt to pull it back under the rest of the furled sail. So at this point I gave up on the idea of a sail with an unhemmed edge. Fortunately we have a sewing machine around the house, so it was time for me to learn sewing skills. My wife and my mother in law were able to give me guidance on its use. Regular sewing thread stood out way too much against the fabric of the sail. I ended up using fly-tying thread for the hemming. I had to re-cut the fabric piece for the sail, of course, and allow extra fabric at the edge where a hem would be created. The hem was sewn as close to the folded edge as I could get it (not 1/16” away but certainly less than 1/8” away, so we’ll call it 3/32” wide), then I had to go back and carefully cut away the excess fabric without cutting into the stitch line. A lot of time and effort spent on learning how to sew tiny hems like this, but the look of the sail is much cleaner now. Here I have tied on a couple of rigging blocks in the center of the yard. Some of these required multiple tries because the block’s seizing sometimes didn’t hold when put under strain. This is how the furling lines came to look. The texture of the fabric looks very coarse on close-up imaging like this, but when you back away it looks very clean. The sail is fully installed. Footropes are now being installed on both the upper and lower yards. I spent time trying to coax the footropes to hang down as if under the influence of gravity. I learned that there wasn’t much point trying to work on that at this time; it would have to be addressed once the yard was installed. The footropes attach to the yard in a complex little arrangement as shown above. Those loops would be tightened up so they are much smaller in the final arrangement. This is one of the pendants holding the footrope in place. As of June 28, 2018, the model is officially finished! Here is a preview: Now I just have to fill in all the details between 2016 and 2018!
  3. PS: How do I end this page of this post and roll to another page? Or is it happening automatically, without me having to do anything? This seems like an awfully long post!
  4. OK, I need to get rolling along. I am posting this in May 2018, and I am only up to mid 2016 in my descriptions. Plus the model is almost entirely finished, and I am anxious to get up to speed on how things actually look. Next topic is to start assembling the fore topmast to the foremast. I decided not to permanently glue the topmast to the foremast, in case for some reason it ever needed to be disassembled. Like in a restoration. God I hope I never have to do that. Anyway, shrouds with deadeyes were installed on the topmast, and deadeyes stropped with wire had to be installed in the trestletrees. The wire installation was a tricky assembly because the stropping had to run through the wood of the trestletrees, then come down and form a loop for another wire to attach to. Then that wire extended down to the mast, where a black band representing an iron hoop had eyebolts sticking out of it. And with all this, a sense of scale had to be preserved. No painting of the wire was needed since I had a supply of black wire in various sizes. Sitting in front of the trestletrees and wires is one of the shrouds, which is Morope line that has been served with fine fly-tying thread. The deadeyes were then threaded, and the ends of the lanyards were seized to one of the other strands of the lanyards using a “West country whipping”. This is one of the 10 (paired) blocks installed on the fore topmast that are used for the control lines of the fore topsail yard. Each pair of blocks were attached to eyebolts, with pendants of increasing length depending on how high they were attached to the topmast. They kind of look like bugs. And here are the blocks attached to the fore topmast. The pair of blocks further up are seized directly to the mast and are not attached via eyebolts. In the course of rigging the foremast and fore topmast, I suddenly realized I had installed the topmast shrouds so that they ended too high on the topmast, extending nearly to the very top of the topmast. In the photo below, they should end at the level of the highest pair of blocks seized to the topmast. I was concerned that this meant I would have to completely cut the shrouds and start over again. However, it was possible to physically loosen the seizings holding the shrouds near the top of the topmast, then cut the seizings away. The shrouds were then slid down below the top pair of blocks. New seizings were applied using 6/0 Unithread fly tying thread, and secured using Flexament. Now it was just a matter of taking up the slack at the level of the four deadeyes by the trestletrees. I took advantage of the opportunity to re-do how the lanyards were rigged. They previously were tied off using a West country whipping that joined the end of the lanyard to one of the other strands. The picture above shows one deadeye pair (the lower pair) with the older rigging arrangement, and the upper deadeye pair with the lanyard wrapped twice around the shroud where it is seized to the deadeye. The lanyard then comes back down and is seized in parallel with one of the other lanyard strands. This more accurately reflects the reality on the actual ship: I was left with two deadeye pairs that were spaced wider than the other two. This was because I prematurely cut two of the shrouds before making sure I was happy with the overall length. To fix that would require re-doing the shroud completely. I figure that this model is going to serve as a living example of how to gradually improve on how you are doing things. There, that’s better. Both lanyards are now rigged more accurately. I also realized at this point that the 5 pairs of blocks I had so carefully attached to the topmast using eyebolts needed to be moved off the topmast and attached to the shrouds. Here, the top pair of blocks has been detached and stropped to the shroud. To give each block a shelf to attach to, I first tied an overhand knot onto the shroud that would keep the block from sliding downward. I then seized a pendant to the shroud with several loops of fly tying line that was run through the loop left behind after the pendant was separated from its eyebolt. In this way, there wasn’t a need to redo each of the pendants that the blocks were attached to. I don’t have close-up photos of the final product after all the shrouds had been re-reeved and the blocks stropped to the shrouds. Putting ratlines on the shrouds seems like a simple enough idea before you start. Of course, which size line to use? Morope vs Syren line? How to secure it to the shroud? Actually, the biggest problem was how to take line that wants to do what it wants to do, and convince it to drape downward like ratlines should do. Especially when dealing in fine line like 0.004” or 0.006” Morope. Then there is the matter of making the clove hitches behave. They want to spring back open no matter how tightly you pull them closed. A lot of these problems were overcome with beeswax. Beeswax helped to stiffen the line so that it would take the desired draping shape. It also helped to close up the clove hitch knots and get them to stay closed. But it also gives black line a visible coat of thick grainy buildup that is unattractive. The solution there was to take a chunk of beeswax and dye it black with Transtint dye. Doing this actually made the shrouds to look thicker and more realistic. The best ratline in the picture above is the middle one, appropriate looking scale while the line looks smoother than the ratlines on the left that look more bumpy in appearance. The ratlines on the right were done with thicker line, and with less care to make sure that excess wax had been removed from the line. This is a look at the finished topmast shrouds. The foresail and fore gaff have been temporarily attached to the foremast. In the upper left hand corner of the picture you can very faintly see the pendants and 5 paired blocks now attached to the shrouds. Next up: Sailmaking and bending sails to yards!
  5. Thanks Dan. Good to know that is you! Greatgalleons, where in Texas are you?
  6. This is a side topic to the builder’s log. In fact, I may have posted this series already to the forum. When working on the bowsprit rigging, I found myself looking for a better way to seize a deadeye within standing rigging such as the bowsprit guys. For the guys, I used 0.010” Morope served with fly-tying line, which gives a very smooth look to the final product. Initially, I simply wrapped the served line around a deadeye and then applied a long seizing, then cut off the stub of the served line. This gives a very shelf-like appearance to the seizing. I felt that kind of appearance might be ok for the shrouds, but for the bowsprit guys I wanted a more tapered appearance. Usually, when I do a seizing, it is the kind that involves 6-8 wraps around a loop, then thread the line through the loop, then pull the loop closed, etc. etc. However, I found that when I tried to apply that kind of seizing to line that has been served, there is too much friction between the seizing and the serving to allow you to slide the seizing along the line. So instead, I simply created a long seizing that would not have to be moved, by using multiple consecutive overhand knots on alternating sides of the served line. I learned later that this is called a “West Country Whipping”. That is what is depicted in the photo above. The photo also shows that the seizing (whipping) covers the area where the shroud stub is cut off, with an abrupt change in the caliber of the whipped segment. In order to give a more tapered look, here is what I did: Start whipping around both ends of the served line. Cut the end of the served line that will be discarded, allowing the serving to unravel and allowing the underlying Morope to separate into its 3 separate strands. Let the Morope unravel all the way up to the last wrap of the seizing. Snip one of the 3 strands, then continue the seizing. Snip another of the strands, then continue seizing until you nearly reach the desired length of the seizing. Then a few more wraps to finish it off. A nice, tapered deadeye seizing that makes the bowsprit standing rigging look a lot cleaner. Like I said, I don’t plan on using this technique for the mast shrouds.
  7. Oh, and those white cowlings were hand carved from pearwood, because the cast cowlings that came with the model looked horrible! I had some downtime at work and was working on carving them when one of the techs walked in and asked what I was doing. So I explained and showed him. He said, "Wow, that looks tedious!" I explained that it wasn't tedious if it was enjoyable!
  8. So it's currently April 2018. The following pictures show the status of the deck as of October 2015. The hinges on the deck boxes are small pieces of black decal cut into the shape of hinges. They bridge a little linear divot that was essentially scraped out of the wood using a graver-type tool. The anchor rope and chain have been installed. The ship's wheel was a part provided by the kit. I wasn't about to try to build my own. The cannon are rigged in place.
  9. A long time earlier, I am not sure when, I tapered the dowels I would use for all the spars to their proper dimensions. This was done by hand, well before I ever had a lathe, using coarse sandpaper and elbow grease. Now, though, it’s time to work on the base of the masts where they take on an octagonal configuration, and the mast tops where they take on a square configuration. I used the pieces of wood above to serve as a groove to hold the mast steady while making shallow cuts into the base, then I used a file to create four flat faces. I did the same for the mast tops. These areas at the bases of the masts were then built up with pieces of flat wood to increase the cross sectional size of the flat faces. The protruding corners were then carefully shaved off with a razor blade to yield an octagonal cross section. Do I have a picture of the finished product? Of course not! The octagonal portion was painted a cream color that matched the color of the inside of the bulwarks, and the rest of the mast was stained and coated with topcoat. A picture of all the various spars on their places in the plans. The bowsprit was painted cream for the inboard portion, then the outboard portion was painted black. The metal rings to which the hearts are attached are already installed. Tenons were cut in the mast tops as well as the tip of the bowsprit. The bowsprit is now in place, with its base inserting into the Samson post. This is a picture of the deadeyes that are installed on the outboard surface of the bow. They rig to the standing rigging such as the forestays for the foremast and the bowsprit guys. Trial and error was again involved in figuring out how long of a segment of wire I needed to properly strop each deadeye. But it’s pretty satisfying work. A segment of thick wire is threaded through the loops of the stropping, and the end is peened to keep it in place. How to start the bowsprit gammoning? Here is how I did it. These are flat strips of brass that will be used for the gammoning irons. Holes have been drilled for wires that will pin the two lower plates to the stem. Harder to see are the holes that have been drilled to accommodate very small bolts that will join the lower plates to the single upper plate. Thanks to Scale Hardware for manufacturing such exquisite small bolts and nuts that were a perfect fit! They even had a little wrench to hold the incredibly small nut as you thread it onto the bolt. The yards have been stained, and the central part and the tips have been painted black. Metal bands have been placed on each; they currently have a coating of primer on them but will also be painted black. This picture reminds me that I didn’t do a good job of documenting the process of building the trestletrees for the foremast or mainmast. This part has turned out ok; the lanyard is threaded around several times and then is seized to itself with the smallest thread I had prior to discovering fly-tying line. I was unhappy with how this turned out. The bobstay is composed of a line that threads through the stem and is doubled up on itself as it travels from the stem to the bowsprit. This doubled line is shown on the plans as having seizings along its length. These seizings look very rough and stubbly. I will come up with a better plan for this area on a subsequent post.
  10. Turns out that a lot of the improvement is due to a change in the way I make the rope coils. Hard to describe; better learned by just doing. But I essentially wrap the coil with two wraps of line at the "top" of the coil. Then I used a small needle to open up those wraps, and one of the tails was passed through the space created by the needle. This created a loop at the top of the coil that could be adjusted depending on the needs of a particular spot on the pinrail. Once that was determined, the loop was fixed within the wraps with glue, and the tails were trimmed. The other part of the improvement came with following the suggestion above (thanks David) of placing a dot of CA glue (which I also try to avoid) on the underlying wraps of line on the pinrail, then placing the loop on the pinrail so the dot of CA secures the coil to the underlying wraps. I also would sometimes use a block of wood on the deck to force the coil up against the pinrail so it wouldn't be inclined to lean out in an unnatural fashion.
  11. Nice pic, Spyglass! Ugh, I still have work to do to get them to look like that...
  12. Thanks for all the replies so far. Meddo, here is a picture of my jig, which fits what you are describing: Frankie, I am going to play with your idea of using scrap line to tie a coil to the pin. David, I too try to keep away from CA but I am finding its use important in cases like this. I agree that using a different shape of coil may be helpful. More recently I have been able to make the coils less round and more long by strapping the coil temporarily with thread and painting it with dilute glue, then removing the binding thread. Two of the larger coils of line in the pictures were shaped in this way.

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