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Hi Chuck. I am in the same boat as Toni and others in that I have not used any of your products, for no other reason than I enjoy doing these things for myself. Your advice to the community to learn to make their own rope is in my view a good thing to do. Your description of the "sweat shop" conditions of working 7 days a week in order to supply the community is all to common with cottage industries, where the proprietor has a very high standard, which is obviously the case with yourself.

Over the years that I have been involved with this forum and this aspect of model work I have learned a great deal from both yourself and many many others about how to do particular work related to the art of model shipbuilding. Your advice regarding how to make rope has been particularly useful and well received, by me and no doubt many others.

Your generosity of sharing your knowledge and skill at this hobby is of great value to us.

When I was in the business of doing commercial modelbuilding it was exhausting and made working on my own models and projects much more difficult, your decision to cut back on a very labor intensive aspect of your product line makes a lot of sense to me. Life is much too short to become a slave to a process no matter what it is.

To those that are sad about this all I can add is to follow chuck's advice and have a go at making your own rope, it is not as difficult as it sounds, yes you will have a few disappointments, but in the end your satisfaction will be its own reward.

 

Thanks for your formulas Chuck, and your help and advice over these past years.

 

Michael

 

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Might I suggest a thread for those of us that have some supplies of blocks and rope we are willing to part with to help those mid-build?    I bought packages in the past with a healthy buffer and have left overs (not a hoard by any definition) - not enough to cover any current or future build, but enough to supplement someone who might be short.   Id offer them for sale, but I'm not interested in adding to a hoard, rather helping someone out who might be caught short.   I'm sorry the situation has become what it is for Chuck and others, but am really looking forward to his free time to devote to new projects.    

 

I would say blocks over rope like many others - though it seems the decision has been made anyway!    I'm relieved actually.   I've been sitting around for the last few days trying to work out how you make these blocks, anticipating having to do it myself one day.   Glad to know I don't have to reverse engineer such a lovely product.  Rope I think I can figure out - I regularly make historic cords and "rope" for work using a very similar, though much larger scale process.   

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Justin Thank You...I have that covered but some folks are just too predictable...

Oh my GOOOOD!!!!  Its relentless.

 

 

2 hours ago, Chuck said:

I wont leave you hanging.   But please wait until I reopen so I concentrate on restocking everything else.  Dont start sending me requests 5 minutes from now.   I wont be listing rope for sale on my site again....as people not in this position will just buy it all...and all requests will be done outside of my ecommerce system.  Payments can be made via PayPal.   

 

I have received five requests from folks already......all were from people asking for me to make enough rope for a model they have yet to even start building.  Its still on the shelf in the box....Sometimes I hate my life.  😬

 

2 hours ago, Chuck said:

BUT.....I will not be able to make those that contact me 25 or 50 packages or something crazy like that.  I know I will have many contact me who will try and get me to make rope for all manner of things and not be entirely honest about needing just a handful of packages to wrap up their current rigging.

 

Please oh please wait till my store reopens and I have made enough blocks to restock.....and ropewalks.

 

And please oh pretty please....dont ask me to make rope for an entire ship model you havent even started rigging yet...if you are in the middle of rigging RIGHT NOW.....and need just a bit more to finish it up great.   I will gladly help you out.  

 

 

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Me too!!!    LOL

 

Just finished making a new batch of ropewalks and I am about to finish up a batch of longboat kits...

 

I have new mini kits for ladders, ships stoves, pumps and kevels and other parts that I have been just waiting to release but have had no time to do so...

 

They will be available in 1:64 and 1:48 scale

 

ladder2.jpg

 

ladder4.jpg

ladder5.jpg

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4 hours ago, Chuck said:

Which leaves me plenty of time to design and build the Winnie....then a POF cross section...a bunch of smaller craft.....the us sloop Hornet....And many more.  I have also been toying with the idea of making a fully framed frigate.  Just to give folks an alternative to all these Chinese versions out there.

Chuck, I cannot think of a better way to spend time than what you have in mind.

I agree with you on the 24/7 work thing and hope you do find a solution and have more time for your family and your own models, etc...

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Personally, I am looking forward to the release of that double capstan desktop display model kit you previewed a while back. (Like the one in your last picture above).   I can wait for the upcoming Rocket buying frenzy to subside before I get my own rope walk from you. 😉

 

Those stairs kits are impressive.  

Edited by Jack12477
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I’m sure you know the second you reopen the store it will immediately sell out, bought by the few people that see it first.  It’s not surprising when you have essential products for model making that many consider the industry standard. When these are suddenly withdrawn from the market, no matter how valid the reason, your admirers will rush to get what they can before it’s gone. This is what happens when you set the bar, no one wants to go back to average.

 

Like others I’ll look forward to your next projects and secretly hope they will include the option for the rope and blocks needed to complete them, equal to the high standard of the rest of the model.  Since you’ve stated you’ll close for good when you reach 60, I’m hoping you’re currently 49😁.

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Chuck, I agree to 100% with you change of direction. I guess you never predicted it was going to a 120% business, lol, where demand starts exceeding supply.

I am glad you have this choice, and I am glad I have your tools to make my own rope. Just need to get the thread so I can practice.  Thanks for the link in this matter.

Looking forward to see a tutorial of making blocks of your quality. 

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Im still going to make blocks.....As long as I have them as an exclusive product for sale I wont be divulging the process.  Plus it would take a long time to produce an in depth guide properly.   If it were written I could easily see it running into a 50 page document with plans for the jigs and specs for the tooling.  So that will be pushed off until I reach that ripe old age of 60 and retire from the bus entirely.

 

Chuck

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6 hours ago, Chuck said:

.its actually fun if you only have to make your own rope for the model

I've certainly loved the high quality rope that you make but, after reading some of the topics you posted about using the Rope Rocket, I think I might actually enjoy taking a crack at making my own rope. 

 

I'm glad that you will have more time to enjoy the hobby yourself and look forward to seeing the new models you develop in the future. 

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I am glad you have decided to ease back a little bit on the sweatshop labor. I would also vote for keeping the blocks versus the rope. Although as mentioned before in this thread I am surprised that you don’t increase your pricing. As someone said before you’re selling Lexus quality for Toyota prices. I’m not positive but you are super low prices may be contributing to the hoarding that is going on although you did mention someone bought $1200 worth of stuff recently. I think I mentioned it way back when you were getting out of the strip wood business I think you should really increase your prices to reflect the amount of time you’re spending on this products. Probably unpopular opinion but I think you should quadruple or more your prices for the rope. If someone wants your quality they need to pay for it. You would probably get some unhappy customers but unfortunately life is not fair and not everyone gets to drive around an S class Mercedes while only paying Ford prices. If someone doesn’t want to pay $20 for a single package of rope then I guess they don’t want to pay $20. I am glad you have decided on continuing to provide the blocks.
 

As I get older I am finding that time is more important to me than additional money. I could if I wanted to pick up a bunch more shifts and make a lot more money however the entire rest of my life would suffer so right now time for me is definitely more important. So I am happy that you’re rearranging your time spent. Looking forward to your new projects.

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Just my two cents: Chuck, you have given so much to this field; no one has a claim to how you spend your time. Having said that, my vote would be a) what ever the hell entertains you and b) continue to explore, innovate and push the boundaries of model making. As a new comer to this field, I’m amazed by how much raw innovation and thoughtfulness you have brought to bear! I will also note there is nothing wrong with being out of stock of for a few months or longer. It’s your life; do what makes sense. This merely a hobby; we will adapt. Thank you for all that you have shared with us.

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24 minutes ago, EricWilliamMarshall said:

I will also note there is nothing wrong with being out of stock of for a few months or longer

You probably havent worked direct with the consumer...LOL

 

They can be brutal.   I have a few leads on some potential rope makers.   But I am asking them all to first make a hundred packages of rope over 4 consecutive  days.  Just to see what it feels like.   If after that they havent changed their mind and the quality is really good and consistent....we would talk.

 

We shall see.  Now if I have to buy them and sell them at a higher price to cover taxes etc....nobody is going to get rich.  But if you want to start your own store and keep all the proceeds and deal with the consumers direct...I will even help you build a website and storefront.

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Chuck, 

 

I honestly have no idea how you do it all. with the quantity of products you are churning out, I'm surprised you have time for anything else in your life. I have never ordered from your website but look at your products pretty often, and your work is probably the best in the business. To think that all these blocks and rope is made by hand, you might as well be a factory worker in china. Your mention to having to make enough rope for 100 models a week is crazy... I don't mind tedious actions for a short while, but your output is just insane.  

 

Im glad to hear you are dropping the rope, its probably for the best. like others I will probably wait to buy your rope walk until after the surge of orders you will probably get when you open back up. 

 

I do have a question unrelated to blocks or rope, is the Queen Anne Style Barge Kit still available? I think the kit looks awesome and I have never really done a true POF build before, this kit looks like the perfect introduction to POF builds. Sorry if this question is being asked at the wrong time, I just like that model. 

 

Bradley

 

 

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Thank you for saying...

Yes the barge kit is still available.  I just havent had time to restock them for two months or so.  But now that I wont be making any more rope they will be in stock more often.  I just finished making a batch of Longboat kits today. 
 

Next up is getting a batch of chapter 5 parts on the shelf for Winnie.

 

Then i will start making another batch of barge kits.  so maybe towards the end if the month.
 

Its actually very liberating to have the time to concentrate on the kits.

 

 

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2 hours ago, MEDDO said:

I’m not positive but you are super low prices may be contributing to the hoarding that is going on although you did mention someone bought $1200 worth of stuff recently. I think I mentioned it way back when you were getting out of the strip wood business I think you should really increase your prices to reflect the amount of time you’re spending on this products. Probably unpopular opinion but I think you should quadruple or more your prices for the rope. If someone wants your quality they need to pay for it. You would probably get some unhappy customers but unfortunately life is not fair and not everyone gets to drive around an S class Mercedes while only paying Ford prices. If someone doesn’t want to pay $20 for a single package of rope then I guess they don’t want to pay $20

Chuck's reasonable prices and excellent quality is precisely what drove me to his site to begin with. Money doesn't grow on trees and actually receiving a quality product for a more than fair price is something from yesteryear and should be treasured. I don't think charging 20$ for a package of rope is the solution either. Those with the ability of buying 100 packs at a time will do so because they can.  Meanwhile, those that can't afford it will be deprived. I realize it's not being made to do anyone a favor but to supplement Chuck's retirement. In the end I hope Chuck does what suits his own life, time and ethical compass. Chuck, you have my vote whichever way you decide to go. Your Winchelsea was my introduction to ship modeling and I for one am very happy I went that route. When my Winnie is done, I will be bugging you for the next one and so on.

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I am saddened to hear that these products are going away and in hopes someone does pick up where you have left off Chuck, in reproducing them. But i understand fully and am proud to have your products complete my Alabama soon. 

 

Look forward to updates on your continued products.

 

Definitely enjoy your retirement, life's so short. 

Edited by J11
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On 2/8/2021 at 9:28 AM, Chuck said:

Thanks guys...It will take a few days to get all these orders out and then I have to start restocking.  I have 57 items currently out of stock just from the 4 hours of buying frenzy yesterday.   That will take some time as well.   I am not even sure where to begin.  

 

I dont mind teaching how to make the blocks but it is very expensive to make them.   If you dont have a Byrnes saw....mini drill press and Sherline mill you cant make them.   Then there will be the special cutting bits which could run you around $750.    In addition you would need to make a jig for every size block and use a very hard wood like boxwood.   Softer woods just crumble.

 

So this isnt for the faint of heart.  If someone out there however wants to make them for me......thousands of blocks per month,  I would be more than happy to help you get set up.   Then I would sell them in my store and you can have all the proceeds.  But this is quite the commitment.  So if you want a way to make a few bucks and want to learn, contact me via PM.   It would be even better if you were close by.  As time goes by you can also learn all of the other stuff and how to make them.   Then when I turn 60 you can have the business.   Sort of an apprentice in the meanwhile.  Because when I hit 60 and on my birthday....I am retiring all together.   I am not going to be mass producing stuff at that age.....so I will be looking for someone to hand off the business to.....free of charge.   I will just hand over the keys so-to-speak.  Just passing along the info and expertise.   But you have to buy your own equipment.  All of my projects will go to the NRG and they will get the rights to the plans.

 

I have been looking and asking and so far nobody is interested because its a ton of work.   But otherwise I will just create that tutorial in short while and hopefully someone will take up the challenge or at least make their own.  

 

I thought with all the ropewalks available folks would make their own rope too.  But most wont and prefer to just buy it already made.   That was why I came out with my ropewalk.  So few will make their own blocks and rope but at least the info will be out there.

 

 

Making my own blocks and rope I am greatly interested in. And I would like to obtain whatever equipment or tools needed. I'm 67 so not fully in on mass production yet. And I would love to obtain copies of your plans before they're no longer available.

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Making my own parts has always been my long term goals. I have a lot of years left for modeling and already have most of the equipment needed so I appreciate the tutorials when you have time.

 

As for my opinion on blocks vs rope, I pick to keep the blocks as well and for many of the reasons already mentioned. I love your rope and have used it on both of my previous large builds and will use what I can on the current, but I do think that making rope would be far easier for people to pick up and do themselves with less upfront expense than setting up to make the blocks. At least when comparing apples to apples. I've seen some easy block tutorials that did not make a very nice block. Serviceable sure, but not very aesthetically pleasing.

 

 

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Dropping rope is probably good for your sanity Chuck. I've made a ton rope and to be honest it gets pretty dull after 4 or 5. Doing 20-30 a day would be brutal. I wanted to make and sell rope but without some type of automation it's just sweatshop work. At least with making blocks there is kill and tools involved. Have you ever thought of automating the process for blocks? 

Edited by BenD
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Chuck has two rope making videos on his website.... https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPncZte1NZzmc-n7AMS7z6A/videos 

 

He also comments on the the rope walk he started using 7 years ago ... https://modelshipworld.com/topic/5435-curious-about-amati-ropewalk/?tab=comments#comment-158622    ...and shows how he simply modified it to replace the  handles with a 'variable speed motor drive'.

 

I bought the same rope walk during the great lockdown of 2020 but haven't got round to using it yet. I thought the handles were a bit sketchy but now that I see Chuck's mod then practicing making some rope will possibly be my next project.

 

Richard

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14 hours ago, BenD said:

Have you ever thought of automating the process for blocks?

Yes but with more automation for me the finished product loses some quality and there is a lot of waste....just my experience and opinion.  That is true of the rope as well.  I had one of those planetary machines and it was a nightmare getting consistent results.  Plus having to mess with those bobbins every time you wanted to make a different size. 
 

making larger rope in those machines is also a nightmare.  But call me old fashion....I think the results are best and you have much more control doing things by hand.  
 

This of course has its drawbacks as well when you need to make 15,000 blocks in a short period.  But wood bends and twists and the smaller the block, the more delicate and refined the process becomes.  I cant see any way to properly automate making 2mm double blocks without most of them breaking and chipping or just getting crushed.  Plus they just dont look good enough to my eye.

 

CNC blocks from Poland below....picture from their website...check out the smallest 2mm doubles  ....larger blocks are OK.  Its easy to make blocks 4mm and larger but when you get smaller automation doesnt work too well.

 

cnc blocks.jpg

 

 I can make a bunch of them without breaking even one during the process.  making subtle adjustments depending on the wood and how it might twist or how the grain is oriented.  Or even if the wood is a few thousanths of an inch different than the previous batch because of humidity or even the thicknessing of the wood.  A machine just follows the program every time and cant adjust according to real time conditions. My 2mm double blocks below...

 

2mmdoubleblocks.jpg

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