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Rattlesnake by Martin W - FINISHED - Mamoli - Kit-Bashed 1:64


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Thanks Russ, that does reflect my strategy -- one shroud on one side, the corresponding shroud on t'other.

 

And JPett, my Treenail affliction was chronic, in that it lasted a very, very long time.  My fingers still ache and I secretly suspect that one reason I had to get thicker glasses was those treenails.  Numerous times I said something, "the next build will have no treenails."  And they do stand out, but in the end I like 'em.

 

And thanks for seeing the nicer parts and ignoring the flaws!

 

Cheers,

 

Martin

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  • 2 months later...

Hello again -- It's been a long, long time since I've updated this log.  I've spent just about all my time admiring everyone else's work and haven't tended to my own.  So I thought I'd do a quick and hasty post, just to record one or two details (apart from the ratlines, which have taken up endless days and nights).

 

The first is the crowsfeet, which I'd long ago promised myself at least to try, since I think they add a beautiful detail to a build (at least when they're done well).  I've done them for the mizzen and the main mast so far and the results are, well, ok.

 

post-1223-0-28885700-1381239969_thumb.jpg

 

Since I put the sort of rail around the top, that's where the holes for the crowsfeet had to go.  I had to drill them by hand, and on a surface that is slightly curved, and so -- as is painfully visible in this photo -- the alignment isn't at all straight (and I hadn't even noticed how far off it is until looking at this).  The line itself is .2 mm cotton, dyed.  It has a kind of gungy look to it here as well, which could be from the wax I put on it.  But, again, that's not visible, unless you get right up to it with either a camera or an opti-visor.  Oh, and in this picture, the lanyard is flopping, but in reality it's taut (I fixed it after shooting the picture).

 

Next I had to cut some sister blocks to go in the topmast shrouds.  These don't come in the kit, and I still don't have my new mill set up (another, and very long, story there), so I cut them out with an exacto knife, beginning with some pencil marks that just delineate where the curves of the blocks themselves should go:

 

post-1223-0-93091900-1381239421_thumb.jpg

 

Next I rough cut them:

 

post-1223-0-86073400-1381239514_thumb.jpg

 

 

post-1223-0-77260700-1381239609_thumb.jpg

 

And then I cut it off the stock.

 

post-1223-0-17903700-1381239693_thumb.jpg

 

And then here it is in place (with all the threads yet to be trimmed):

 

post-1223-0-53316000-1381239749_thumb.jpg

 

Now back to more ratlines.

 

Cheers,

 

Martin

 

 

 

 

Edited by Martin W
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Oh, and I thought I'd add one last image.  David Antscherl makes a very, very useful suggestion for keeping the ratlines spaced evenly.  As you can see here, it entails marking the ratlines from the plans onto a piece of card stock that is then clamped onto the shrouds.  Every fourth ratline is tied first, to give the proper spacing, then the ones in between.  I found this strategy to work well, and it's quite simple.

 

post-1223-0-50149000-1381240256_thumb.jpg

 

Cheers,

 

Martin

 

 

Edited by Martin W
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Thanks for checking in, JPett.  And I appreciate your kind words on the crowsfeet -- they're something I felt intimidated by, but wanted to try.  I always have to remind myself that this build is not the build, but a learning experience. 

 

Cheers,

 

Martin

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  • 1 month later...

So I'm skipping out from work today, supposedly to get ready for our house guests who'll be here through the Thanksgiving week (this is the week every year when I become an utterly unabashed American, since we have this holiday devoted to eating large amounts of food and drinking even larger amounts of wine).  Right now, though, I'm going to add just a bit to the narrative of my latest travails in rigging.  Here goes.

 

The most consistent problem I've had has come with the deadeyes along the tops.  As I tighten the shroud and the lanyard, the bottom deadeye creeps up from where I'd positioned it.  The bottom deadeyes are all connected by chain plates to the lower shrouds with futtocks that I fashioned from metal wire served with brown rigging line.  I tried tying a loop around the top of the chain plates, but only with slight success.  That's a problem that awaits a solution, so if anybody has a suggestion I'd be happy to hear it.

 

Here's the procedure I've worked out (largely from reading multiple times through Antscherl's account and then trying to translate that into the reality of fat fingers, slippery tweezers, and bifocals that insist on slipping down my nose):  I stretch the shroud to its taut length, holding it in a big loop with tweezers at the bottom where the deadeye will go.  When I have the bottom at the right distance from the bottom deadeye (but see the account of the problem above), I put an alligator clamp higher up the shroud to hold the loop in place.  Then I seize the bottom of the loop, insert the deadeye (3/32" deadeyes at the tops), and thread the lanyards as shown on the MS plans.  A good strategy here is to harden the tip of the lanyard with some super glue so it can serve as a needle to pass through the deadeye holes.  The important part here is to keep the alligator clamp in place so that the shroud will stay taut and the deadeye won't slip in its seizing until everything is tied off and glued.    Sorry I don't have photos of this, but it's very straightforward.

 

Now to the main forestays, all of which belay onto the bowsprit.

 

First I had to attach the bowsprit, which I'd delayed doing from fear of breaking it when I moved the model back and forth tying the shrouds on alternating sides.  Once attached, I put the gammoning on the bowsprit.  For this I used some brown .5mm nylon thread that Keith Jewell sent me as a sample in my last order. It doesn't quite match the color of the other standing rigging, but it's nice and smooth looking, especially for something like gammoning where all the threads are lined up.

 

Basically I just followed Antscherl's account in FFM vol 4, which starts by attaching a long length of line (he says 56", I started with about 48", since I'm working at a smaller scale; I found that that was well beyond what I needed; for the Ratt, at 1:64, I would recommend something like 30", which will be more than ample).  This is connected to the port side of the bowsprit with an eyesplice.  I hadn't seen Blue Ensign's stategy for faking one yet, so I just seized a loop in a way that the seizing won't show.  The line then passes straight down through the foreward end of the gammoning slot, then up from the starboard side, passing behind the thread to the port side of the bowsprit, then over the bowsprit in front of the splice, down the starboard side of the bowsprit, to the port side of the slot and behind the line that's in it, and so on.   This photo sort of shows the process about 3/4 done:

 

post-1223-0-10523400-1385483267_thumb.jpg

 

 

And this one shows it complete:

 

post-1223-0-83031600-1385482443_thumb.jpg

 

Next came the forestay and the preventer stay.   These are belayed to the hearts seized on the bowsprit, with corresponding hearts.  To carve the hearts, I uses 5/32" thick boxwood 1/4" wide, and roughly traced the outline of a heart that I cut out with my jeweller's saw (it just seemed simpler with such a small piece than going outside to the still-in-process workshop to use my scroll saw).  Then I filed off the rough edges.  I opened a hole slightly below center with the Dremel, and then widened and shaped the hole, eventually finishing off with a needle file.  When I had the shape  -- inside & out -- that seemed as right as I could get -- a flattened round wide top and squared narrow bottom -- I cut a groove on the outer edge with an exacto knife.

 

I might add that the little bugger leapt from my fingers countless time, but without ever finding its way into oblivion.

 

After eyeballing the heart from as many angles as I could imagine, to check for appearance, I sanded it, starting with 180 and ending with 400 grit paper, and rubbed some lemon oil on it to smooth out the scars.  Here are the hearts in place -- the one in the forestay twists in defiance of my best effort, but the one in the preventer is visible.

 

post-1223-0-95125000-1385483147_thumb.jpg

 

As always, comments are more than welcome.

 

Cheers,

 

Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Martin,

 

I tracked your build down from your signature :) 

 

You're doing a fine job "bashing" Mamoli's offering!  Looking very good.  And to be all the way along to the rigging -- I'm envious!  I see you started your log well into the build, but how long have you been working on this project in total?

 

Cheers,

Robert

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Hi Robert -- Thanks for checking in.  And thanks especially for the compliment!

 

i started this build back in January 2010, and on 16 December 2013 I began cutting the masts and spars.  Whew! I am slow indeed!  The rigging itself seems to go the slowest, since I've had to spend lots of time simply studying the plans.  And the day to day progress just doesn't seem as noticeable, since a couple of hours can easily get spent on one or two lines.  But I like the rigging line I got, so it's a pleasure to work with -- at least when the knots hold and the masts & spars stay in their proper alignment!

 

I've been remiss in keeping up with the log -- I'm hoping to do some updating over the holidays.

 

Cheers,

 

Martin

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Rigging the Bowsprit

 

With a day or two at my disposal, I thought I'd bring my Rigging Log somewhat up to date.  Moving from the Mizzen Mast forward, I've completed all the shrouds & stays of the standing rigging, and have wrapped it up with the Bowsprit, where I'm also starting the running rigging.

 

One of the primary tasks on the Bowsprit was to rig the Traveller.  I'm sure the kit has included one, but I've lost it in the detritus that surrounds my build.  So I decided to fashion one out of wire.  It couldn't be soldered, however, since I'd already connected some of the rigging to the Bowsprit.  So a made a small loop out of wire, which I could solder together; this is where the jibstay will pass.  Then I made a larger loop at the bottom that will go around the jibboom.  This bottom loop looked ugly with an unpleasantly obvious gap where there should have been soldering.  To make the contraption a bit more eye-appealing, I served the bottom loop after setting it on the jibboom.

 

post-1223-0-82588200-1388074565_thumb.jpg

 

And here is the jib stay as it passes through the traveller on its way to the Bowsprit cap. 

 

post-1223-0-21411200-1388074833.jpg

 

You can also see a line coming from either side of the traveller -- these are inner guys, not to be confused with the inner guy pendants (if I have worked these details out correctly!), which are part of the running rigging.

 

post-1223-0-69063900-1388075489.jpg

 

 

This photo also shows the Fore topgallant stay, which I simply seized onto the end of the jibbom and belayed with deadeyes on the starboard bow.

 

Right around this point, I began to have loads of unexpected fun as I noticed that several of my lines were wrapped around each other.  I had to undo almost everything and  straighten everything out.  And of course that's also when seizings started slipping, knots came undone, and numerous nights went by when I would only be repeating what I had already done two or three times.  I suspected that the diluted glue I was using had become too diluted.  So I made a fresh batch and went at it again.

 

In this next picture, you can see the lanyards for the inner & outer guy pendants, and the bowsprit shrouds (one of them anyway).  These shrouds run from an eyebolt that I fashioned out of a thick wire (and soldered) to the heart connected to the small hearts that I fashioned from some boxwood bullseyes.  Here I thought the line for the shrouds was already pretty thick, and to use a simple seizing would be even thicker.  Having just that day admired Blue Ensign's strategy for making a false eye splice, I tried it here.  I'd read David Antscherl's account, but BE's photos suddenly made the process click for me.  So thanks as always, BE:  the process is very simple, and makes for a neat splice.

 

post-1223-0-85276900-1388076526.jpg

 

You can also see just aft of the large heart from the forestay 2 thin ropes hanging down.  These are the stirrups supporting the man ropes, which run from eyebolts in the rail to eyebolts in the cap.  For these supports I also used the BE false eyesplice.

 

You can also see part of the bobstay, which I served its entire length, and is belayed to a heart at below the forestay.  One page of the MS plans shows the bobstay with deadeyes, while the other shows the heart.  Mamoli shows deadeyes, and Petersson has hearts.  I flipped a coin on this one.

 

This final photo shows the running rigging:  the lifts for the spritsail & topsails yards, the inner & outer guy pendants, and (not as clearly as I'd like) the braces.

 

post-1223-0-66390100-1388077173_thumb.jpg

 

For the braces I encountered another divergence of opinions.  Mamoli shows both braces (spritsail & topsail) passing up to a double block seized to the forestay and then passing down to the jeer bitts.  MS has them passing through separate single blocks hanging from the crosstrees and then to the bitts.  Petersson has the topsail braces set up in the same fashion as MS, and the spritsail braces beginning from the forestay, where it's tied with a clove hitch, then down to a single block seized to a line from the end of the spritsail yard, and then up to its own block under the crosstrees and down to the bitts.  Petersson's layout makes for an attractive W shape, so I went with it.  But then I realized I had used the block that are meant for the bunt lines on the fore sail yard, and so down they come.

 

Next up:  Jeers.

 

Martin

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Making progress Martin, it's a tricky area all that rigging at the sharp end, I often find myself going one step forward two steps back. Re the hearts/deadeye options for the Bobstays, Steel suggests hearts but also gives deadeyes as an option. Lees suggests deadeyes up to around 1840 which seems a little strange as he would have been well aware of the contemporary Steel work, but then I think he based a lot of his work on the contemporary models he had access to in the NMM. which would suggest that they didn't follow in practice what Steel had written in 1798.

 

Did you solve your problem with the deadeyes in the tops pulling up when you attach the topmast shrouds? When  I've had this problem in the past I have resorted to a tiny spot of ca in the deadeye slot to hold it down on the top.

 

Cheers,

 

B.E.

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All of this rigging stuff is new to me so I am watching you and Blue Ensign closely. I am getting very close to finishing my Rattlesnake hull and will have to tackle this phase of the build soon. My apprehension grows daily. But like all things, I will take it one step at a time and hope I don't screw it up too badly.

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Thanks for dropping by, BE and Jon.

 

BE -- as always your knowledge of Steel is extremely valuable.  I guess I would take his ambivalence to mean that it's Captain's choice.  Since I'd already rigged the hearts onto the jibboom before setting it in place, I went that way, but could see how deadeyes might work as well or better, since finishing off the lanyard for deadeyes seems more commonsensical than with hearts;  I've tried out several possibilities (sacrificing consistency in hopes of a final determination of which looks better), and haven't settled on any one yet.

 

On a side note, I might mention as well, that -- even as one pretty familiar with the turns of eighteenth-century English prose, I have often found Steel just a bit obscure in places.  That might be simply because I have not yet mastered the organization of the books.  And it seems that some of the key details are presented as though they were ancillary.  Maybe it's time to fluff up my easy chair and put in a few hours in serious study.

 

Jon -- It was the rigging that first led me to Bob Hunt's practicum.  I got the rigging portion of the Rattlesnake work first, just to figure out how to proceed.  The instructions in my previous kit (my first), basically said, "To rig the ship, start aft and move forward."  For this build, I have found the MS plans invaluable -- though the information on the running rigging seems a touch less informative.  I have also relied heavily on Petersson's book, as well as Lees, and this web site.  My best advice:  get a hold of several pairs of tweezers -- they can fit where fingers can't.  And as for the knots, well, David Antscherl is absolutely right when he says you'll get lots of practice.

 

Cheers,

 

Martin

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Bumkins:

 

These 2 little spars fascinate me for several reasons -- their size, I'm sure is part of it, but also the fact that they curve on many of the ships of the period.  Blue Ensign's Pegasus shows the curved version.  But as far as I've been able to make out from Hahn's plans and the MS plans (by Ben Lankford), the bumkins on the Rattlesnake do not have that little droop.  They do have shrouds, however, and a single block seized to the end.  I wanted to post this just because I've followed both Flyer and BE in their work on the bumkins.

 

I made my bumkins from boxwood, just cutting down a 1/8 inch square piece to a rounded piece with notches at each end.  I had to customize the fit for each one so it would come out of the bow at the correct angle.  Since they're pretty tiny, I didn't attach them until all the other bowsprit rigging was done.

 

In this photo, you can see that I've affixed the bumkin shrouds, using a basic seizing to the eyebolts, and a false eye-splice at the bumkin.  The eyebolts might not adhere exactly to the MS plans (Hahn's are bit confused here, with numerous lines converging in a small space), but I set them up where they seemed to make most sense.

 

post-1223-0-67008900-1388503735.jpg

 

Unfortunately, this photo also shows up the rather rough serving I did on the bobstay.  Really, I thought it looked much tidier when I put it on.

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I've also have been curious about the bumkins when someone told me not to forget them. Forget them, I didn't even know they existed! So I researched them a bit and at least for the Rattlesnake, I still don't know how they are attached to the stem on the actual ship. Is there a notch they slid into? are they tied or bolted somehow? On the model, most likely they are just  glued in place.

 

Once I've completed the ship's boat on my model, I will have entered into a new phase of my build, the rigging and the bowsprit will be the first thing I tackle. So any info will greatly be appreciated.

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Hi Jon -- Here are some references for you on the bumkins (or boomkins, or bumpkins):  Antscherl has a photo on Vol 4, p 29 that shows the port side bumkin passing just in front of the seat of ease.  He describes the shrouds on p. 46 of the same volume.  Petersson shows the bumpkin on p. 61 and p 48.  Lees describes the evolutionary stages of the boomkins on p 36, and he marks 1780 as the beginning of the drooping version; but, again, it seems that the Rattlesnake had straight ones, as appears in Chapelle's lines of the Ratt, on p 136 of The History of American Sailing Ships.  (I've looked in Steel as well, but I can't seem to get a grip on the organization of his work.)

 

And here's a photo (not terribly clear) of my starboard bumkin that shows pretty much how I fit it in to the keel by drilling an angled hole.  It took several tries to get everything to fit.

 

post-1223-0-52699200-1388530061_thumb.jpg

 

Hope that helps.

 

And Happy New Year!  :cheers:

 

Martin

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Thanks for the feed back Martin. I have all but two of the sources you quoted and one of those, i just ordered last week (Lee). The other, Antscherl, will have to wait. If I get one of his, I'll want all and they ain't cheap. Of the ones I do have, I had looked at before and if they only show the base of the bumkin where it meets the stem. They don't explain the mechanics of how it is attached. So I guess your method is as good as any and I'll follow suit when the time comes, unless I learn something new by that time.

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Thanks guys, I appreciate having you all check in, and your kind words.

 

Affixing the bumkins really follows the same principle as stepping in the masts:  you drill holes where you want them to go and try your best to get the angle close to what the plans show, and then you put them in (of course that overly simplistic description leaves out all the swear words that go along with the countless tries that look close then prove to be way off).  The difference here, really, is that the bumkins are pretty tiny -- after I cut and shaped them, I had to put them away someplace where they wouldn't get lost or broken. 

 

As for placement, there is a suggestion that it could vary somewhat.  Here's what Lees says:  "The boomkins tapered towards the outboard end, being about one quarter narrower there than at the heel.  Their length varied with the individual ship, but they had to be long enough so that when the fore yard was braced sharply, the yard arm and the boomkin were in a straight line.  Usually the boomkins butted against the beakhead though sometimes they butted against knightheads on either side of the bowsprit, this latter method being used mainly after 1800" (my emphasis).

 

All the plans I've seen show the block on the bumkin un-rigged.

 

Lees is a great source for the history of each part of the masting and rigging. 

 

The Antscherl books are indeed pricey.  It's taken me more than a few years to accumulate the 4 volumes, and each purchase usually meant that I had to cut back my beer consumption for a month.  But the sacrifice has proven worthwhile, since his explanations are very clear, and easily transferable to builds like the Ratt.

 

Cheers to all,

 

Martin

Edited by Martin W
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More on the Boomkin:

 

Here's an interesting detail that Jon and anyone else following Bob Hunt's practicum might find useful.  While working on the Bunt lines last night, I began wondering about the thickness of the line I was using.  I thought I would look to see what size Bob used, and found that in the discussion of rigging the foremast, he describes the placement of the boomkin!  Jon, take a look at the volume on Rigging the Rattlesnake, chapter 5, pages 14 & 15 -- you'll see that he refers to Sheet 9 of the Mamoli plans, and they should help you work out the placement and angle.

 

This should have gone in an earlier part of the practicum, of course.  But I hope any future modellers following this useful but quirky guide will be helped by this alert.

 

Cheers,

 

Martin

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Thanks Martin, I would not have found this section in a timely manner when working on the bowsprit in the near future.

 

I was wondering why he didn't mention the boomkin, he did only it looks like it was an after thought in the context of things. He states:

 

The boomkin is made from a piece of 1/16" boxwood cut to a length of about 2". It fits at an angle against the stem on each side just under the bowsprit and rests on the headrail. It is angled outward and slightly downward and typically there would have been an iron plat over the boomkin at the head rail to hold it in place.
 
I must assume the "iron plat" is a typo and he meant "iron plate" because I could find a definition for "plat" that made any sense.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Martin

 

Just found your log and must say that’s a very neat looking Snake you have here. The Mamoli kits are not too bad as they are but your improvements are really bringing your ship dangerously close to the dark arts of scratch building!

 

Keep up the good work

Peter

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Hi Peter, thanks for checking in, and for the nice words.  Bashing, I have learned, adds to the appreciation of the ship we're modelling.  Oh, and it challenges skills that I keep finding I don't really have!!

 

Cheers,

 

Martin

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