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Rigging tools how are they used

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I have seen some rigging tools on the net, they have a hook at one end and what looks like a grip on the other end, how are rigging tools actually used, would be grateful to see if they are of any practical use or just a gimmick. Anything that makes the task easier is good but I do not want to waste money. They are made by amati I think. attachment=293839:41uR46-zK-L.jpg]


Current build: Caldercraft 1:64 HM Brig Supply


Finished builds: HMS Endeavours longboat

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These tools are always handy but not esssential. They are not too hard to make yourself from brass wire and a piece of wood for a handle.Cepends on if you have the time to make or prefer just to buy. One thing about homemade tools is that one is not so hesitant to modify them if needed, as theres no capital involved. Bill in Idaho

Bill, in Idaho

Completed Mamoli Halifax and Billings Viking ship in 2015

Next  Model Shipways Syren

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Making your own is easy- cut half the eye off a larger needle and glue it into the end of a wooden dowel.  For pulling, make a hook in the end of a slim piece of  hard wood.  The idea is to push and pull the lines where you cannot get your hands or where the distance is beyond the reach of your tweezers.




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Just buy them, you can get them for like $13.00 on ebay. So at that price, why spend the time making your own when you could be spending that time working on your model. The most useful tool to me is the one with the flat end and a groove cut into it for pushing the rigging line onto playing pins. BUt you will need some type of rigging tools depending on the size of the model. The smaller the model the more the tools are needed.




Edited by mtdoramike
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I mostly just use my fine point tweezers but I did pick up a pack of dentist picks at Harbor Freight for a couple of dollars a few years ago. It was a 10 piece set that have a variety points and hooks that I have found useful on occasion. I have eyed that set that you are questioning and have been curious if it is helpful or not. I'm sure though that like most tools, it's what works best for you and trial and error is really the best way of finding out.


If you do happen to try them, let us know how they work.

"A Smooth Sea NEVER made a Skilled Sailor"
- John George Hermanson 



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I have that exact set - the hook and angled/bent point are useful for getting line under and around a belaying pin.  I also find the bent point useful for holding a line down while I wrapped it around something and also till the glue sets up a bit. They are long enough to reach into the deck area thru the rigging and getting into tight spots.


You can also use ordinary crochet hooks for a lot of rigging - get the smaller size ones, example US #5 or #7. I use the ones show above a lot as well as the crochet hooks. Or as others say - make your own.

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Like Jack, I have these hooks.

I use them quite a lot.

The hook end is good for reaching into the rigging to snag and pull through a line.

And the slot end work the same in reverse, it can be used to push a line through a tangle of other rigging.

And a combination of the tool and tweezers is great for belaying round a pin.


Of course making your own would not be too much of a challenge.


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HI Nick, at what scale do you work? In my Prins Willem (Corel 1:100), these thigs tend to be on the large side (their length is OK to reach, but they tend to get caught by the other rigging.  A long hooked tweezer does the work better in my opinion.

I also use a needle threader to get those lines through the blocks. doesn't cost anything, but is a great help.



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Currently I'm at 1:72 on Caldercraft's Victory.

Been doing the rigging for a while and I also use my various tweezers a lot.

For blocks I CA the end of the line to form a needle, still need to hold the block with tweezers though.



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When I started building sailing ships, I always took the following approach when in the rigging stages. I reached a point in which I thought: "Oh, I wish there was a tool to do this or that in this or that way"... and then went to making it. Usually needles in various sizes and old paint brush handles was all that was required to do the job. :)


Hope this helps :)

There aren't but two options: do it FAST, or do it RIGHT.


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Future projects already in my stash: Panart: San Felipe 1/75; OcCre: Santísima Trinidad 1/90;

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So much to build, so little time!



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On the "how to use" question, have a look at a log by Peter Visser in the "Masting, Rigging and Sails" section which gives a nicely illustrated description on the use of (at least some of) this type of tool. <Link to log>

Edited by ianmajor

Ian M.


Current build: HMS Unicorn  (1748) - Corel Kit


Advice from my Grandfather to me. The only people who don't make mistakes are those who stand back and watch. The trick is not to repeat the error. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Check the local sewing stores and you will find a number of items made for thread pulling that are very helpful.



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Kate Cory Scratch Built


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Benjamin W. Latham Scratch Built

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Charles W. Morgan Model Shipways Kit

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I think tools like this make more sense to the tool merchandising people than they do to actual model builders. As a product, they have the appeal of being easy to manufacture and ship and they appear practical. From the standpoint of a model builder they do not bring much to the table when it comes to implementation. Molded handles don't add functionality in a case like this and limit, to some extent, where the tool can be menouvered. A spool of stout wire, which can maybe be found in the same price range, will provide the model builder with a lot more functionality over many more model building applications. Easily cut and bent to the desired length and shape, no store bought tool will match the adaptability of simple thick bendable wire. In actual use, I am using the wire to get lines onto fife rails my thick fingers cant reach through the shrouds and stays. A straight tool will not be as useful as a wire I can bend an elbow into in order to customize it to get around the whatsit that is blocking access to the pin I am trying to belay to.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie




 Niagara USS Constitution 


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  • 1 year later...

Using a tool I shaped from the flattened non-hook end of a crochet hook, I was struggling mightily to belay lines in the tight spaces under my pin rails.  The tool was just too large and I couldn't maneuver the line easily.  I came up with the idea of inserting the pointed end of a sewing needle into a thin dowel (actually a throwaway chopstick from a Chinese restaurant) and threading the line to be belayed through the eye.  Here are the old and new tools:


Instant success!  The needle's eye easily gets the thread around the bottom end of the pin, and makes it easy to form and place the final locking loop.


Andrew Bodge

Finished:  Muscongus Bay Lobster Smack (Midwest / Model Shipways)

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Andrew,  you can cut the eye on the needle such to give you an open area to lay the thread into the eye rather than having to feed it through the eye.  This useful when trying to "catch" a line that has one end secured and you need to belay the other end.

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

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