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Standing Rigging

Lucky Star

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No matter how tight I try to pull standing rigging, time eventually causes it to sag or pull it too tight and some other piece of standing rigging goes limp. Anyone have any tricks? Will the black (cotton?) thread tighten/shrink with an application of water?


Lucky Star

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Several things spring to mind , It certainly could be the thread and perhaps changing the type will help or pre stretching is another option . Another point is to make sure that your masts are very firmly fixed before starting rigging otherwise the rigging will pull them back and forward as you tighten it , your masts should hold the rigging in place not the other way round . Lastly rigging on real ships i believe was not always overly taught although for modelling purposes it looks better if not too saggy but there is no need to overtighten . I don,t think adding water will help , pre stretching for a couple of days may be best . Others will have better ideas but i hope this is some help ?

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Hi Lucky Star,


I used a mixture of beeswax and turpentine to coat all the thread I put on the ship. All the thread was also hardened. All of my standing rigging also had to be dyed black. I chose to use India Ink. My process was to take a length of the rope, run it through the ink and my fingers to make sure it soaked in well. Then I hung to dry over night. The next day I ran the beeswax mixture over it and ran it through a paper towel. This removed all excess of the was mixture and any dye that was not soaked in the rope. At this point it was ready to rig to the ship. I did it right after the wax was put on it. This helped stiffen the rope after it was in place.  


If you search this forum you will also find out about hardening the ropes. This is done by hanging the rope with a weight over several hours to allow the fibers to stretch and set in. This can be overdone and damage the rope if the weight is too heavy. The idea is just to give it a gentle stretch. Some rope (such as that supplied by Syren) is already hardened and lightly waxed so it is ready to go straight out of the package.


A couple of points I would raise. There are differing opinions about the use of beeswax. You can find a number of threads on this subject.


Next, there are those that attach their masts to the ship (re glued) and those that use the rigging to hold the masts in place. I fall into the latter group. My feeling is a mast foot that is glued deep in the hull will be a problem if it ever has to be repaired. What I did was to leave the standing rigging cinched as I installed it, but not terminated until the ship and all standing rigging had a chance to settle in. As I ran additional rigging I might find an area that needed to be tightened up or loosened a bit. This allowed me to do the final mast alignments once all the standing rigging was on the ship and stable. Once this was done, I terminated and dressed the ends. This process took a number of weeks so the rigging was able to settle in before termination.



This is the process that worked for me. That doesn't mean it will for you. Try different modelers methods until you find what works for you.

Edited by robnbill
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