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CA for rigging


bmyers448
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It seems like everything I see relating to rigging involves at some point using CA to finish off a knot or rope or block with a drop of CA.

 

In the past, I had been advised in other jewels from the internet that you should not use CA on any of the rigging because over time these areas become brittle and eventually break. And to be honest, I have observed that on some older models I have or have seen.

 

So my question is this. If the use of CA in rigging (on threads, ropes etc) is going to only cause problems down the road in repairs....why are people advocating that it be used in rigging? It seems that tutorial after tutorial does this but nowhere do I see anyone saying "bad idea".

 

I was led to believe that the best way to do rigging was to use waxed thread and sound precise knots. Have I been led astray at some point??

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On my first model I used CA to secure the knots. Twenty years later I note these areas are discolored and appear very brittle. I would not be surprised if the CA'd areas fracture at some point in the near future. I now use matte medium (per Harold Hahn's technique) or dilute PVA. Both work very well.

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Unfortunately, 'bad ideas' are still around and always will be. Sure, CA is a great idea for those in a rush and want a quick fix, but they are generally not interested in the longevity of their work. If you are spending months or years on a model anyway, spend just a little more time and the model will, hopefully, last for a century or more without needing extensive repair work.

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I avoid CA and use it only as a last resort.  I use either white school glue or dilute PVA (yellow) glue for all lines, ropes, etc. and then only a drop or two.

 

I have a friend who insists on using the runniest CA on the market when tying his ratlines and he doesn't care how much runs down the shroud(s) as he works his way up to the trestle-trees. By the time he gets finished the shrouds and ratlines are as stiff as steel gable. Can't convince him to stop; but then it's his ship ..........................

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I try to avoid CA as much as possible, but I have to say that it has its uses. I use CA to stiffen the end of a thread. I then cut it at an angle to make a pointy end, and use it as a needle to drive the thread through small holes. I never never never use it to fix a knot in my riggings. I use either diluted white glue or FLAT varnish for that. (Model Master's Flat Clear Acryl #4636 works great) It doesn't run through the thread, doesn't make the thread brittle, and doesn't leave a shiny spot, all things that CA does.

 

Hope this helps

 

Ulises

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I use CA for gluing down copper plates, holding the end of hull planking down until quick dry PVA glue sets, making a pointy end on thread. Other than that I avoid CA glue. The flu like symptoms resulting from inhaling even a small amount of fumes from it is a real issue for me :(

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I made the mistake of following kit instructions on my first model... CA.  Never, ever again.  I used white PVA/water on my second and the last one I used fabric glue.  I'm not sure about the fabric glue although it is strong and water proof while remaining flexible.  I have my fingers crossed.  On my current ship, I'll go back to the white PVA glue and water mixture... 

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I work in advance for rigging. If I need to tie blocks i will glue all the nessercery parts with Diluted PVA the day before and by the next day the glue has thougly dried I can permanently rig it onto my model. Then glue another set to be installed the day after that. CA is a dirty word in my shipyard.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Strange as I have had more than enough problems using diluted PVA on rigging such as ratelines than that using CA, agreed CA can be brittle but I have had so many issues undoing an evenings work as the PVA hasnt held the knots. PVA diluted I find also leaves a slight sheen to the rigging on black thread. As yet I've not found anything fully satisfactory and thats 3 models under my belt.

 

Norman

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I have a suggestion:

 

First, why:

 

Rigging is totally exposed to the atmosphere.  This planet is enveloped in a layer of a highly reactive ( and looked at objectively - a very poisonous ) gas = Oxygen.  You can readily see it effects on iron - almost as you watch.  An acidic pH only enhances its reactivity.

 

CA probably oxidizes - it likely continues the chemical reaction that produces its function ( it needs water - which is certainly present in the atmosphere ).  The polymerization can continue until near complete - producing a material that is brittle.

 

Titebond  II - yellow PVA  - has is pH 3.   This is 10,000 x's more acidic than freshly distilled water.

Weldbond  - white PVA - has is pH 5.5.    This is about the same as normal water - which is actually a dilute solution of carbonic acid ( atmospheric CO2 disolved in water).

 

I suggest using something like Lineco White Neutral pH Adhesive.  It is a PVA used by bookbinders and preservationists.  Dries clear and can be diluted in water to soak into natural cellulose fiber rigging.   It does not do do well with plastic,  so if you rig with nylon or other synthetic products, use another material.

 

One property of plastic rigging material:  they are formed thru a chemical reaction = polymerization.  long chain molecules are bonded to short ones - producing a web or mesh.  If there is enough linking,  a strong flexible material is produced.  If there is too much cross linking, a rigid, brittle and weak material.  In the presence of UV light, oxygen and heat - plastics continue to cross link on their own.  The material will ultimately shatter.

 

Linen, on the other hand - I believe they are finding 3-5 thousand year old mummies still wrapped in functional linen fabric.

Edited by Jaager
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Strange as I have had more than enough problems using diluted PVA on rigging such as ratelines than that using CA, agreed CA can be brittle but I have had so many issues undoing an evenings work as the PVA hasnt held the knots. PVA diluted I find also leaves a slight sheen to the rigging on black thread. As yet I've not found anything fully satisfactory and thats 3 models under my belt.

 

Norman

Have you tried FLAT varnish like Testor's or Model Masters? They have enough strength to do the job and definitely will NOT leave a shiny spot anywhere.

I do not "glue" all and every knot, only the first and last. The middle should be kept tight by means of being tied on both ends to the next knots. Sometimes a stubborn knot in the middle gets loose, and then that one gets the Varnish treatment.

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I have been around this for a while now.  But even when I started linen yarn was difficult to obtain.  

The Cutty Hunk company had gone out of business and the survivors of the owner had thrown the stock of linen fishing line into a dumpster.

Frederick J. Fawcett seems to be gone.

I collected a good supply in yarn over the years, so I am set,  but my recent supplier WEBS - no longer stocks any. 

The finest I have is 62/1 LEA.  I see that there is a 100/1 LEA but I can't source it.  But then, the 62/1 tends to break in my Byrnes ropewalk before I can lay up a good length.  The 100/1 would probably be a nightmare.

Looking on line,  all I see now is a Chinese company that seems to buy everything that Europe produces and wants to sell shipping container quantities.

How would someone beginning now obtain a supply?

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I try to avoid CA as much as possible, but I have to say that it has its uses. I use CA to stiffen the end of a thread. I then cut it at an angle to make a pointy end, and use it as a needle to drive the thread through small holes. I never never never use it to fix a knot in my riggings. I use either diluted white glue or FLAT varnish for that. (Model Master's Flat Clear Acryl #4636 works great) It doesn't run through the thread, doesn't make the thread brittle, and doesn't leave a shiny spot, all things that CA does.

 

 

Ulises took the words right out of my mouth - I can't add to or take anything away from what he's written except the bit about CA sticking everything except what you want it to :D .

 

Strange as I have had more than enough problems using diluted PVA on rigging such as ratelines than that using CA, agreed CA can be brittle but I have had so many issues undoing an evenings work as the PVA hasnt held the knots.

 

 

Norman, don't rely on the PVA to do more than stop the very last bit of knot from slipping through. If you are tying your knots PROPERLY there won't be any dramas with them coming undone.

 

The beauty of using PVA is that it is easily undone WHEN YOU NEED TO. A brush-over with Isopropyl Alcohol or even just water will loosen the knot if you need to make any adjustments. That's virtually impossible with CA.

 

:cheers:  Danny

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Here's a question. If the rigging lines are waxed and the knots and seizings fairly secure, is there need of any further treatment? Do we really need glue?

Well, yes, there's the rub.  If you can be sure the knots are secure, but either we are so big or the models are so small, it can be hard to ensure nothing will come adrift, and if one comes out that is under several others it can be hard to resecure it.  A little dab of the proper glue can give a little reassurance.

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Here's a question. If the rigging lines are waxed and the knots and seizings fairly secure, is there need of any further treatment? Do we really need glue?

 

Good question..   On a working ship, no as the lines will be resecured and/or replaced regularly.  On a model.. I'd say "yes' because of peace of mind and given humidity, temperature, etc., knots do come loose.  The choice of glue/adhesive is up to you. 

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I see a lot of comments about securing knots, but most rigging connections are splices over thimbles or eyes, or to make strops with thimbles for blocks.  Making splices in model rope is practical only for large sizes.  In my experience making splices in small line sizes requires some form of glue.  If the material is synthetic, PVA glue is unlikely to hold very well.  I like the idea of pH neutral PVA mentioned above and was shocked - shocked at the 3 pH of PVA mentioned above.  I used CA extensively on my Victory model - hating every minute of it by the way.  I am still waiting to see ill effects - after7 years none yet - an admittedly short period.  I found it especially good in making simulated eyes with thimbles as it stiffens the eye and keeps it round. However, based on continued warnings from modelers, for my next rigging project - a big one - I do not expect to use CA and hope to use all natural materials for lines - linen and long staple cotton. I particularly appreciate the mention of pH neutral PVA and will look into it.  Later:  found neutral pH PVA on Amazon.

 

Ed 

Edited by EdT
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I have been around this for a while now.  But even when I started linen yarn was difficult to obtain.  

The Cutty Hunk company had gone out of business and the survivors of the owner had thrown the stock of linen fishing line into a dumpster.

Frederick J. Fawcett seems to be gone.

I collected a good supply in yarn over the years, so I am set,  but my recent supplier WEBS - no longer stocks any. 

The finest I have is 62/1 LEA.  I see that there is a 100/1 LEA but I can't source it.  But then, the 62/1 tends to break in my Byrnes ropewalk before I can lay up a good length.  The 100/1 would probably be a nightmare.

Looking on line,  all I see now is a Chinese company that seems to buy everything that Europe produces and wants to sell shipping container quantities.

How would someone beginning now obtain a supply?

 

A source of linen thread is http://www.threadneedlestreet.com/in Issaqua, WA.   They have Londonderry brand line in sizes from 100/3 to 18/3 in white/grey/beige/ivory/black.  They are used to modellers and have a pdf prepared by a customer giving diameters.  

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For securing knots I always use a varnish (mainly Zapon varnish) that can be re-dissolved, if the need arises. You may find that something needs to tightned up or corrected - a drop of solvent allows you to untie knots. Given the small amounts needed and a steady hand with a fine brush, it doesn't matter to much, whether the varnish is matte or gloss, but remember that matte varnishes contain fillers that make them appear matte.

Edited by wefalck
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Ulises,

 

100/3 , 80/3 , 18/3  are the size of the linen in an old standard termed LEA.

 

18  is much larger than 100.

It is the yarn size.

Fibers   twist into Yarn twist into Thread (or model rope)  twist into  (for our purposes)  Rope.

 

62/1  is a linen yarn.  It is a single unit of twisted plant fibers.

100/3  is a linen thread.  It is three 100 yarns twisted into a three strand thread.

 

Linen is much more coarse than cotton.  Most linen yarns are much larger than cotton thread.  The 62/1 linen is not much different from a #100 cotton thread.

 

The whole subject of rope size can be confusing. 

Rope is subject to compression, so "micrometering" it does not give reproducible results. 

The most common way for us to measure size is to wrap a section of the rope around a dowel (closely packed, but not extreme) and count the number of revolutions in an inch.  This gives the rope diameter.

The reference books like Steele have tables of sizes  -  as rope circumference.

Take our diameter measurement and multiply by pi (3.1416..........) to get the circumference.

 

I suspect that there are models out there with rigging that is 3 times out of scale.

Edited by Jaager
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Are you saying that a seamstress does not walk into a shop and ask for thread or yarn of a certain diameter (as we would like to do)?

 

Since we're on the subject, Danny has suggested using Guttermann quilting yarn for certain applications.  While its easy to find, it doesn't seem to come in sizes.  I've only seen it offered as 40 weight.  My question then, is there a table or reference to translate a threads 'weight' into mm?  For now, I trust in Dan's usage -- for the applications he uses it, if its one size only, then I'll use it only for that application.  But I haven't factored in the model's scale.  It wouldn't seem right to use the same thread size on a 48:1 model as on a 100:1.

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