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Coiling Down Running Rigging

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Hi Everybody,


Ian asked me to re-post my method of coiling down lines on the belaying pins for the running rigging. This in my preferred method for doing so. I do not want to claim that this is the only way to do so. Some of you have devised clever ways of doing this task. However, this method has worked for me for the past 4 models, so I'm sticking with it.


It does require lots of patience and a bit of hand eye co-ordination. But with a bit of practice it will come naturally and seem less arduous. I have devised a simple tool which allows me to coil the line from the opposite side of the model making it easier and practical. It is made using a paint brush handle with the bristles removed. A hole is drilled in the end which allows a flat toothpick to be inserted. The wide side of the toothpick has a V filed into it to form a notch. The toothpick is a weak link which will break first before doing damage to the model due to overstress. I also use copious amounts of matt lacquer and a small paint brush for applying the lacquer.


The first thing I do is wax the line. This removes the fuzzines the line may have and gives it some "grip" when its turned off at the belaying pin. Run the line from its beginning on the mast or yard, through its various blocks and down to the deck and pin rail where it terminates. Make sure the tail of the line is a good 12 inches (30 cms.) so you have something to work with. You will need it to secure the line from the opposite side of the model. Lead the line under the pin rail and form a figure 8 over the top with a half hitch. The beeswax comes into its own here as it helps hold the line at the pin without backing off allowing slack in the line. As insurance I put a drop of CA glue at the half hitch when I'm happy with the lead and tension.


Now the "fun" part. Apply some lacquer along the first 6" (15 cm) from the belaying pin. This gives the line some memory as you coil the line around the pin. With right hand line, coil the line clockwise around the top of the pin. Left hand line is coiled counter-clockwise around the pin. With each coil around the pin, apply a bit more lacquer. This helps retain the number of coils formed so far. Twisting the line in the direction of the coils helps also. The coil diameter should be such that when it is pushed down to the deck, it will stay in place and not spring horizontal . The first coil should be of this diameter and the subsequent coils made to be the same. I form about half a dozen coils at each pin which appears to be adequate. 


Hopefully the photos that accompany this post will make the procedure make more sense.




These are the tools used for this fun and sometimes frustrating little exercise. Pictured are the beeswax, lacquer, and "riggers" tools.




If you look closely at the picture above, you can see why it's necessary to work from the opposite side of the model. The line is lead down from the mast, hooked round the bottom of the pin and half htiched round the top half of the pin. The wax helps holds the knot in place until the CA glue is applied.




Next a bit of lacquer is applied to the line to help make it a bit more manageable.


More later, supper's ready....

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Hi Everybody,


Sorry for the interuption. And yes, supper was delicious!


The next steps require a bit of dexterity. Give the line a little twist and form a loop. Again, right hand lay - clockwise, left hand lay - counterclockwise. With the "riggers" tool, walk the loop towards the pin as shown in the picture below.







Slip the loop over the top of the pin and apply some lacquer to help hold it in place.




I have a hook tool that I use for tugging on the loop to see how if the coil is the correct diameter for reaching the deck.


Edited by petervisser
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The process continues with adding more loops the coil as described in the last post. With each loop, give the coil another coat of lacquer. This ensures that you previous loops won't unwindl. Don't worry about applying too much. Once dry, the matte laquer won't be noticeable.






Using the hook, I am able to make all the coils the same diameter.




Once you have a few coils looped, the rest will go on a little easier.




When the desired number of loops are made to the coil, dab a little more lacquer to the coil to even out the strands.


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With the coil in place, and all lacquered up, I use an old paint brush handle to hold the coil in place to dry. It's best to leave a short tail which ensures the coil won't unravel while it's drying.


Here are some pic's showing the last of the process...




Push the coil towards the deck. If it is the right size, it won't have a tendancy to spring back to the horizontal.




The paint brush handle helps hold the coil in place.




Here, several coils are being done at once. Once you get going, it's best to do several at a time to keep the momentum!




I have kept some tails to these coils so they won't unravel.




And voila! All done! On to the next ones...







Edited by petervisser
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Wow, Peter, this is a good description.  Thanks for the pictures as well as the clear description of your technique.  I'm definitely going to be looking back over this as I start working on my running rigging, and probably seeking your advice.



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Peter, that was a marvelous demonstration and beautifully described. We also got a glimpse of some fine model work in the background. I like the look of the deck and the color of the mast!


I'm gathering that the secret here is the lacquer that keeps the line "tame" and in place while additional coils are being added. But I also learned about the toothpick tool; gotta have one!



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