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Modeler12

Making rope coils

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MSW 1 had a couple topics about making rope coils. I would like to review some of that and perhaps others can add to this.

There are at least two types of rope coils. The first is the spirally wrapped one that might lie on deck. The second is the coil that is part of belaying a line on a cleat or belaying pin. I'll cover them one at a time.

 

There is a fellow (help??) who made a fixture to make the flat coils. I took a similar approach with some materials on hand. I took a piece of plastic that is not kind to PVA glue, made a wooden block with a hole in it and a nail. I coated the line with a thinned bit of glue. Then using the nail I pushed the line through the hole of the plastic and into the hole of the wood. Now I have a sandwich with the line being the lunch meat. 

post-246-0-13105000-1363968508.jpg  post-246-0-26940800-1363968518.jpg

 

Instead of wrapping the line around, I turned the block while holding the sandwich loosely together so the meat does not fall out.

post-246-0-19701900-1363968529.jpg  post-246-0-95183700-1363968548.jpg

 

When I think I have about enough, I let the whole thing sit a while (but not too long!) You can see that some are not perfect, but good enough.

        post-246-0-73517200-1363968573.jpg

 

I'll cover the second type of coil in the next thread.

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Belaying a line around a pin is the first step.

post-246-0-69830600-1363969126.jpg   post-246-0-46521800-1363969137.jpg

 

I cheat a bit and do this first when belaying around a pin or cleat. I make the first couple turns and put a dab of CA on the line to hold it in place. Then I cut the line!!!

Next I take the same line I just cut (or another section of the same material) and make the coil. The fixture is simply two nails, a pin and some thinned PVA glue. Wrap as shown, let dry a bit and remove.

post-246-0-93046100-1363969156.jpg   post-246-0-24201400-1363969179.jpg

 

Again they are not perfect but that is life. The last picture shows the two truss tackles with a double and single block that are 2.5 mm. Pretty small. A cleat was mounted on the mast just above the top.

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Thanks for sharing, Jay.  The belaying pin coils look like the way I was taught to do it, a couple of turns around the pin flipping the last one to lock it, coil the rope in front of the pin, then pull the working end through the coil with a twist and loop it over the pin, forming a hanger.

 

Isn't it amazing how many jigs start with "put a nail (or two nails) in a block...

 

Bob

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Jay,

 

Would the fellow you refer to be Hubert Sicard? He produced a nice video demonstrating his rope coiling device made from old CD covers. This can be seen at http://www.shipmodeling.ca/aa000099av.html.  

 

Ian M.

Yup that' s the one. It is a nice demonstration. Somehow I stumbled onto the same idea but did not do as nice a job of making my gadget.

Thanks for mentioning Hubert web posting.

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Thanks a lot Jay - the funny thing is I was looking for this thread last week when I was finishing off a build and wanting some suggestions for rope coils! It'll definitely come in handy on the next one.

hamilton

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I use this jig to make my pin coils. Just some nails in an angled piece of wood. When the coils are made, I spray them with hair spray and let dry. The plastic push pins allow for easy removal. Has worked very good for me.

post-975-0-19093400-1364216460.jpg

Edited by Ulises Victoria

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There are a couple more ways to do the coil around a belaying pin. One is to use the line that you have hitched around the pin. You make another flat coil with some more line and hang the coil around the hitched line. The picture below should tell you the story.

post-246-0-84985700-1364249984.jpg

 

What I like to do is to make the coils ahead of time and store them until I need them. I use several different sizes. Below is one variation of what I showed earlier. It ends up looking a bit more like the photographs. I make a series of small loops on a board with brats and hook those through the coil. 

post-246-0-17835200-1364250004.jpg  post-246-0-59608000-1364250022.jpg

 

post-246-0-60511700-1364250032.jpg  This shows a couple just looped around a pin.

 

Keep in mind that the sailors had to be able to grab the line and know exactly how it is looped around the pin. They would have to do this blindly in the dark and heavy seas. Hence all lines were belayed the same way.

Edited by Modeler12

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There are a couple more ways to do the coil around a belaying pin. One is to use the line that you have hitched around the pin. You make another flat coil with some more line and hang the coil around the hitched line. The picture below should tell you the story.

attachicon.gifrigging 39.jpg

Thanks for the photo - this is what I was trying to describe in words!

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I have a put together a similar method of rope coiling. I think these could be a more permanent solution.  I have made a number of these `rope coilers' so I can coil multiple ropes and save time.

post-1505-0-13817500-1403392849_thumb.jpg

These are  `counters' used in primary school to help with maths. (I'm a teacher)

They are available on ebay for about $5.00 per 100 (AUS)

The beauty of them is that they are transparent so you can see what you are doing!

(just search for transparent coloured counters - on ebay)

post-1505-0-42165500-1403393102_thumb.jpg

Take two counters and drill a small hole in the centre of each (just large enough to push a push pin through)

post-1505-0-50911700-1403393209_thumb.jpg

superglue a push pin to one of the counters.

post-1505-0-65997500-1403393259_thumb.jpg

After soaking your rope in a solution of white glue and water, thread the end of it through the counter that does not have the push pin attached. Then push the other counter (with the push pin) through the hole in the bottom counter.( This traps the rope so it won't come loose when you turn it.

post-1505-0-65072100-1403393449_thumb.jpgpost-1505-0-39922400-1403393467_thumb.jpg

Now you need to make something on which to mount your rope coiler.

I nailed a nail (with the pointy end removed) through a base board. I then drilled a hole through  the centre of  a piece of dowel which was then placed over the nail . The dowel was loose enough to rotate on the nail.

post-1505-0-13690600-1403393618_thumb.jpg

Now place the rope coiler on top of your rotating dowel rod. I have drilled a small hole in the top of the dowel and forced the push pin down so it is firm but the gap between the two counters is enough for the rope to go through (this is adjustable depending on the diameter of the rope being coiled) . Rotate the dowel with one hand while feeding the line between the two

counters in a even fashion with the other hand (you can see through the transparent counter to check that all is well!) When complete, remove the rope coiler from the top of the dowel and allow to dry overnight. You can then make more - if you have made multiple rope coilers.

post-1505-0-75960200-1403393969_thumb.jpgpost-1505-0-16045300-1403394000_thumb.jpg

After the coil is dry, carefully remove it from the coiler by cutting and levering from the coiler - which can then be reused.

post-1505-0-03812500-1403394111_thumb.jpg

Because the counters are thicker and sturdier than a piece of plastic taken from packaging, you will get no flexing and a more uniform result .You now have a good looking rope coil.

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Thanks for posting this and to all for the very valuable additional comments.  Very timely as I've been struggling to get some decent coils myself!

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Sadly Hubert passed on several months ago.  Thankfully his family says they will continue to keep his site open as a homage to him.  He contributed much to this hobby and will be missed.

Tom

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What if I wanna make a rope coil that looks like this? I read that you can dip the coil in 50/50 wood glue/water and then let the coil hold its shape. Has anyone tried this?

 

I guess I would form the coil, tie it on, and then rig the rope with a portion I didn't soak in glue?

post-1335-0-33000700-1405759095_thumb.jpg

Edited by mkmossop

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Hi.

Yes some glues are better than others :) some glues dry with a shine :(

I have used this method lots of times.

 

Regards Antony?

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Jay,

 

The third nail (pin) is so simple and effective.  Thanks for sharing.

 

Allan

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sorry to "throw cold water" on such an interesting topic, but nice as those flat coils lying on the deck of a  model  look, did they really have them on full size ships? I mean what would happen when a heavy sea washed over the decks?  Geoff

Edited by geoff

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Geoff,

 

You make a good point. 'Decorative' as rope coils might look on the decks of a model, this wasn't normal ship practice. There was a good reason for this – it encouraged rot.

 

Everything was done on board ship to minimise wear and tear (which after all means money spent) and this included the running rigging. Wherever possible rope coils were hung from the belaying pin they were associated with, or perhaps from a cleat if a large rope, so that no part of it touched the deck. Apart from gravity, this also allowed air to circulate around it and so dry it. Ropes left lying on deck would probably never dry out, being repeatedly wetted by either salt or fresh water. If you consider a deck (with rope coils laid on it) which has just been rained on, or a sea has come over the side, the deck itself might gradually dry out, but you can bet that that part of it under the coils will still remain wet or damp – an ideal situation for rot to set in.

 

Apart from that a heavy sea coming aboard would also leave the coils in a hopeless tangle, so coils on deck are also a safety hazard. From experience, the only time you would normally see a large amount of rope on deck, is when the ship is either setting or furling sail, or engaged in some manouver such as tacking or wearing. At these times, you have to be very careful where you put your feet, and you should never stand on a rope in this situation if you can avoid it – in case it moved without warning. The last order normally given after such an operation was to 'tidy up the spaghetti' – ie, coil up, and hang the running rigging from its pin. I should mention that this practice is followed today, even though the rope concerned might perhaps be modern Polypropolene, which will probably also deteriorate eventually.

Edited by Stockholm tar

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The most common place i see ropes coiled on models is beside cannons ,does the same theory apply here ,?? if so were they hung over the gun carriages or to a pin shipside  You must admit if done well they look great coiled .!!

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Mkmossop,

 

I did the Flemish coils for my gun rigging on my Badger using the technique of coiling the line around a pin on top of painters tape, but thought they looked a little too neat.  For the remaining coils, I decided to have coils that looked more like yours.  What I did was again use painters tape, this time wrapping the line around a pin, putting diluted PVA on the line, and in one motion, pull the pin and put another piece of painters tape on top -- essentially, as you pull the pin the line loosens and gets messy, but by putting the second piece of painters tape on top, you help freeze the coil in position.  I then wait a while for the glue to dry, remove the tape and you have your coil.  Now, the coils come out randomly that way, and some you'll end up throwing out, but to me I preferred the result to the Flemish coils.

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Shihawk,

 

I think the positions of the tackles would depend on what position the gun was in – whether run in, run out, or housed for bad weather.

 

Many modellers like to show the side tackles in a tight coil, sometimes known as a cheese, beside the gun, but I think this was usually only done for inspection purposes, and at other times they would have been coiled as per normal. During action of course, they probably wouldn't have been coiled at all. I don't really know, but I would imagine the coils would only have been on the deck during action, and the above mentioned inspections, and at other times would have been hung from the gun. This would have kept them out of the way probably for two reasons: 1) the gun decks would have been washed too; 2) the deck was also used as living space, and tables were also hung between the guns for the men to eat at. You can see that in this situation they would have been a hazard.

 

When the guns were secured for heavy weather, the gun was hauled up to the ship's side and the muzzle triced up to two ringbolts above the port. The side tackles were obviously hauled taught, and I believe the length of line was then hitched around the tackle itself just below the blocks, in a series of hitches, to use up the rope. Alternatively I have seen a drawing where the ends of the tackles are passed over the gun barrel to the opposite side, and tightly hitched to the opposite tackle. All ot this of course was to prevent the gun from moving, and I think wedges were also placed under the trucks.

 

I have not heard or read of belaying pins being used below decks for the coils or attached to the ship's side, only cleats in the deckhead for the gun port lid tackles.

 

I hope this helps – although I am not an expert on this!

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A word in favor of the Flemish Coil. The schooner Pioneer (1885) which is owned and operated by the South Street Seaport Museum in Manhattan and sails three times a day nearly every day ALWAYS flemishes down her Fore Sheet on deck. Its too long to coil and hang and the lead block for the sheet is amidships on the deck in front of the Main Mast. There is no other place to put it, it has to be flemished. A round coil would be in the center of the busiest part of the deck. Flemished, it can be walked over yet still be available for running.

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Going to have to make one up to see how much kinking and  knotting happens when ran out from the outside of the coil without unrolling that coil in the reverse of how it was made. Believe the line would need to to be returned to the state it was in before the Flemish Coil was made, then flaked down in order for it to run cleanly through a block. I will find out.

jud

Edited by jud

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Well I made a Flemish Coil, had about 6 feet of cotton rope with my leather tools, about a 1/4 inch diameter rope we call cloths line rope, Kind of wimmpy and you can twist it with more turns than you could twist  hemp rope before it starts to kink. The cotton rope quickly formed spirals instead of hanging flat. A firmer rope would have looped back on itself and kinked before the coil was halfway unwound.. Small scale test, but the rope did just what I expected it to do. Kind of like winding a line on a spool then holding the spool and taking the line off the end, instead of unwinding, same effect.

jud

Edited by jud

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