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usf constellation rigging

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Take the perspective that serving was put on to protect the line beneath it from chafe and weather. I doubt you will ever find a definitive list of "what got served and what did not on this vessel at this date", but you can see there is consensus that the forwardmost shroud on every mast with a square yard on it will be served over its entire length- this because the sail would abrade it routinely. Also the portion of every shroud that encircles the masthead is served, and served for several feet below the tops too. The larger stays are often served over their entire length. nearly every splice on every stay will be served and nearly every eye thus formed. You COULD go ahead and serve every bit of all the standing rigging and I doubt anyone could say you were being inaccurate since its plausible this was sometimes done. My personal theory is that every boatswain on every ship would prefer to have everything served, but there would never be enough resources at hand to do it all so the serving would go onto the places that needed it most before other concerns aboard would necessitate spending the resources in material and manpower on other projects.

Edited by JerseyCity Frankie
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Depending on the scale of your model, adding actual serving will bulk up the rigging and if your serving thread is too thick, its going to be unrealistic. Actual serving stuff on a real ship is about as thick as a bootlace for most applications, with stuff as thick as 1/4" for the largest of the stays. Sometimes a coat of paint is going to be just as thick as an in-scale serving job on the lighter lines. Consider that a real serving will not transform the corkscrew shape of the line into a perfect cylinder, the peaks and valleys of the strands and scores will be smoothed over somewhat, but there is still a discernible corkscrew or helical shape to a line that has been served.

But do by all means serve some of the rigging! It takes the detail on your model to a better level of accuracy and it adds another level of texture to the whole impression of the ship.

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