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BEESWAX FOR SHIP MODEL RIGGING

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Dear Fellow Ship Modelers

 

I am starting the rigging phase of my ship model and I had herd that Beeswax is often used on shipmodel rigging. What is the purpose of the wax and What is the best way to apply it. Are there other products that serve the same purpose that are better then Beeswax. I would be greatful for any advice on the subject.

 

Best Wishes

Vern

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Beeswax helps to soften rope or yarn. It has been used by seamstresses for eons and can be bought at yardage shops such as Joann's.

 

Below is a piece of .018 inch thick rigging line before and after I ran it through the wax. Note that the plastic holder for the wax has some slots which make it easy to draw the thread through. After I had ran it through the wax I simply threw it on the green mat and that is how it landed.

post-246-0-95002200-1363121274.jpg

 

post-246-0-08256800-1363121287.jpg

 

One note of caution. If you intend to use glue on the line (stropping blocks, for example) coat the line afterwards. After all, it is wax!! B)

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Hello Jay

 

Thank you for answering my question and for posting the photos. They were a big help.

 

Best

Vern

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Noob question: Do you typically not wax the ends of lines that will be served and then dab wax on them afterwards or wax them after a line is already rigged in place. Thanks Jay and Crackers - I appreciate your help!

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Good question. Personally I would not bother waxing the seizing afterwards. I assume that the thread for seizing is nylon which does not need to be waxed. However, just like before, I would not wax the line that is underneath the seizing. So take it or leave it :D

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Does the beeswax also "knock down" the fuzziness of the line or are you using a different product for that?


Thanks

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I was informed by Druxey, a very accomplished modeler on this site, that beeswax is slightly acidic and may cause deterioration down the line. I was told to use conservators wax and am looking into it. In this thread I was told that Longridge used it. Underhill used shellac. This looks OK on my standing rigging test. All of these would knock some fuzzies down I guess, but they should be burned off. A spirit lamp with alcohol works great as it's a cool flame. I've been using a barbacue lighter too, works great.

 

By the way...the linen would make a very good slow fuse. Be careful!

 

Von Stetina

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I have found that the fuzz disappears during the staining. I hand draw the rope through a water-based stain (different colors for standing and running rigging, General Finishes products) and right after hanging the rope between two points and while it is still wet, I run a rag or paper towel along the line. That removes the excess stain and also seems to remove fuzz.
 

If you look again at the first picture above you see no, or hardly any, fuzz. The reason for the 'kinks' is that after drying the line is wound on a spool similar to what some use while flying kites. I could use a large diameter round spool, but I know I can remove the kinks any way, so I am not concerned.

 

I don't know this for a fact, but hope that the stain gives some protection from any acid in the beeswax ;) I do know that the stain penetrates the cotton threads very thoroughly. If I unravel a piece it shows uniform coloring.

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Dear Fellow Ship Modelers

 

I am starting the rigging phase of my ship model and I had herd that Beeswax is often used on shipmodel rigging. What is the purpose of the wax and What is the best way to apply it. Are there other products that serve the same purpose that are better then Beeswax. I would be greatful for any advice on the subject.

 

Best Wishes

Vern

 

I use shellac or OSMO oil-wax.

post-215-0-71822200-1363463286_thumb.jpg

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I have found a couple of cheap sources for beeswax. In the summer, we have a variety of Farmer's Market's all over town, and invariably, there's the stand selling honey, and of course a huge variety of beeswax.  Some are round discs of 6-7" in diameter and about 2" thick, for about $10. A lifetime supply. Also I have found at Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Lowes, or any plumbing department, the lowly wax toilet ring seal  that goes on the floor under the toilet to be an excellent wax for rigging, all for about $2.50 - $3.00 bucks. Woodcrafters also sells a jar of pre-moistened beeswax for about $16.00. All of these are much better forms of beeswax, in my opinion, than what is commonly found in hobby shops, sewing and fabric stores, or online hobby suppliers. And they're right in my own neighborhood.  

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After running the rigging thru the beeswax I also drag it quickly over a 40 watt bulb. This tends to melt the wax into the line. I think it is much better method than using an open flame. I use Beeswax on all my rigging and I like the result. I have models with rigging that has been treated this way about 10 yrs ago and have not noticed any deterioration.

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Druxey is correct about Beeswax. It will degrade the line eventually. I checked his comments with a Beeswax expert and he confirmed that conservators wax should be used. That wax is a microcrystaline wax and will not cause any issues. I would check an art supply company as a supply source That being said, if you are not making your model for the "ages" :P I guess beeswax will do

Best

Jaxboat B)

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Bees wax is used in saddle making and other leather work. When sewing the sheepskin on the skirting the hair fibers will catch in the waxed thread and make a mess by pulling the hair through the skirting, also makes it very hard to pull the stitching tight. I read about using beeswax as usual except when sewing the sheepskin, for that use a small piece of canvas, tie one end of the waxed thread to something stable and burnish the waxed thread using the canvas, it heats the thread,and polishes it allowing it to pass through the sheepskin without picking up the fibers, I have done it, it works, which leads me to believe that burnishing the rigging lines would also have some good results for sealing the line and controlling fuzzes.

jud

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I do not use wax on my rigging at all, but every single line of thread that goes on mi ship, is run first over a lighter flame to burn the fuzz. This is 100% effective for that purpose.

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In Ship Modeling From Stem to Stern by Milton Roth on page 239 Roth claims you can dissolve beeswax in turpentine or benzine  and run your line through the solution which will allow the "deepest penetration" but I found the wax would NOT dissolve in turps and later I wondered what he was on about. I have never worked with benzine but I tend to think its likely too strong a solvent to monkey with in this way. My experience is that the raw beeswax should be a bit soft and if your ship modeling battle station is cold you should heat the wax a bit by holding it in your hand or putting a hot light on it.

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I found an easy way to melt the beeswax on my line was to simply fill a water glass with near boiling water.  Coat your line with wax by running it over the wax cake, then run the line against the glass that's been filled with the boiling water.  Beeswax melts at a low temperature and the water-heated glass is plenty hot enough to melt the wax into the line.  With the scarcity of incandescent bulbs (at least in our house), this seems like an easy solution.  Plus, you're not staring into a bright light or worrying about burning the thread with a lighter.

 

I did end up with streaks of wax on the glass, but it washes right off.

 

Andy.

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I will use Beeswax when setting up knots and hitches in tight spots and using thin thread.  The coating makes the thread more controllable and easy to grab and hold with tweezers the tread through small openings. Otherwise I use my thread as is and either mist the line or run through a damp cheese cloth to take off the fuzzy.

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Coat your thread/line several times with bees wax then heat it in the oven at a low temp."or" run the bees wax coated thread/line thru a pc of leather several times, the friction will do the same thing,only not a well,as the oven method.In other words same thing only different ;)

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I have used Swedish tar or Hoof oil a little messy but when dry sets hard and you get the wonderful smell of the oil that is very typical of heavy ropes and blocks as it was used in the old days to prevent rot 

Andy

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I use beeswax all the time.  Warm it up in hands. Run line through the warm wax and the friction which in turn produces heat and melts it right in the line.

 

I tried something else which is called "Snowseal"  I use it on my hiking boots.  Put the boots at low temp in oven,  The get warm.  Take out of the oven and rub the Snowseal on it.  Sucks it right in and the boots are sealed.  While  I put the boots in the oven I put the thread in a bowl at the same time. Take out bowl, add Snowseal and the thread sucks it right up.  I then need to remove excess and I am good to go.

 

Marc

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Hello

 

I see the forum on bees wax for the rigging.

I do not use wax but actually use Scandinavian timber oil.

Which I spray in the entire boat after it is completed and let it dry for weeks before moving to the display area.

I use a hand sprayer and generally give the rigging and ship and good soaking in the oil.

I use this as the final sealer on my timber work (after it has been sealed with varnish and turpentine mix)

This keeps my rigging nice and it also is handy when you need to get the dust off as it water tights the rigging and ship so you can wash the model with a fine mist to clear the dust away.

I have had models with this oil on for over 20 years and the rigging is still fine and in good condition. Also the timber has a lovely grain finish with it

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When sewing leather I just run the thread over a beeswax block and sew, usually with an awl using a two needle lock stitch. When I sew sheep skin to the skirting, I run the thread over the beeswax block as usual, put a loop in one end and place over a sturdy hook. Then the canvas pad comes out that I made from some canvas I keep around and use it to burnish the thread until the thread is hot and slick, by then most of the beeswax will have been drawn into the hot thread, binding the thread fibers together resulting in a thread that will pass through wool with little problem because it will not pick up the wool fibers and create a mess of knotted fibers, old time method used to sew sheepskin, it works.

Could the method be adapted to ship modeling, think it would work well with standing rigging.

jud

 

Responded to this, forgetting I had already done so a month ago, sorry for the repeat.

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I've used Renaissance Wax on lots of different things including tools etc.

I'm getting a little low on supplies though so I'm going to try this one next as it's a bit cheaper.

They are both Microcrystalline wax so should be just as good.

For those that haven't used this type of wax it's a soft wax paste so should soak straight into rigging etc.

 

Microcrystalline.JPG

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Would this work as well as bees wax or better?

David B

In posts #10 and #15 it was suggested that beeswax will degrade the line. Conservators wax (microcrystaline) was suggested as a better alternative.

Not tried it yet myself though...

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Q A's, I did see those posts, think it was a post, maybe on another site, about the breaking down of rigging of old cased museum models that was blaming the deteriorating beeswax  producing a caustic gas in a closed environment, a good argument was made supporting that opinion. Beeswax has been used for years to protect and seal leather stitching with no adverse effects, but saddles and other leather goods are seldom sealed in an airtight viewing case. The post about why museum models were deteriorating, was the reason I have asked about ventilation for cases several times On MSW, few seem to consider it necessary, they may be right.

jud

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