Jump to content

Yard arm tapering


Recommended Posts

I am sure this topic has been discussed but after searching unsuccessfully for a while

I decided to be lazy and ask the question anew.


I would like to see how you experts taper yard arms. I am still learning and

have had some success but I would like others ideas.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello. I put them to spin in a drill at low speed and just hold a piece of sandpaper on the other end. HTH.

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


Current Project Build Log: HMS Surprise 1790. Artesania Latina 1/48

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

Wish List: Le Soleil Royal, 1/64 Amati Victory


So much to build, so little time!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I turn all of my yards from square stock on a mini lathe. I use a spindle steady rest for those very thin and fragile yards to keep them from wobbling/breaking.


Anything that can't be put in the lathe is done as Jan suggests, by hand with a file, mini block plane, or sanding stick.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could always do it the way they were done in the real world.  Start with square stock (thereby insuring no bend in the stick), mark the taper and with a "7 - 10 - 7 fan" and cut it down to 8-sided, (then 16 depending on scale), then sand round.

This way you'll actually develop some very useful skills.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

JT here is a rough copy of such a fan someone posted on this site I think (sorry cannot recall who).  These are the proportions by which to reduce square stock to get an octagon (the 10 is the meat that remains).  Simply place the square stock on the fan so that the edges of the stock meet the outer edges of the '7' fan lines, then mark the wood with the other lines. The lines should be ruled with a straight edge back towards the centre to reflect the angle of taper rquired.  For some yards, not direct to the centre but to the point of transition from straight octagonal to taperered round.   These then give you the guide lines to which you reduce the square stock with plane, chisel, file or.... :)


Note: the square stock should be reduced to the appropriate thickness before starting, such that the width of the meat [10] ends up wide enough, that after rounding, is the correct diameter of the round - this takes a little calculation.  Always better to err on 'bigger' so that you can reduce; harder to add :)  Once you have the round, even in taper, it is relatively easy to maintain it with further sanding.






Edited by BANYAN

If at first you do not suceed, try, and then try again!
Current build: HMCSS Victoria (Scratch)

Next build: HMAS Vampire (3D printed resin, scratch 1:350)

Built:          Battle Station (Scratch) and HM Bark Endeavour 1768 (kit 1:64)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't cringe this made sound crude to all you perfectionists (do not take offense no criticism intended you sometimes have to work with whats at hand))  but having no top end tools,  I used a dremel with a sanding drum, held stock by hand and slowly rotated starting at the middle worked out intermittently checked with a micrometer, I ended up with with some hollows that were easy to sand out with sheet sandpaper it's pretty fast. only had to redo one on hms vic.

John Allen


Current builds HMS Victory-Mamoli

On deck

USS Tecumseh, CSS Hunley scratch build, Double hull Polynesian canoe (Holakea) scratch build



Waka Taua Maori War Canoe, Armed Launch-Panart, Diligence English Revenue Cutter-Marine  Model Co. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it depends on the size of the spar you are making. If its above a certain size its probably best, for the sake of accuracy, to start with square stock and, by using cutting tools, get the spar to eight or sixteen sides and taper at that point. With the hard geometric edges you can better judge the proportions and bring a little science into how you taper. BELLOW a certain size the taper can be best accomplished through sanding alone- either with sanding sticks or chucked into a rotary tool of your choice or both. This method is better for smaller stuff since you can remove material SLOWLY and gradually approach the taper you want. Trying to shave off slices with a knife or plane at a smaller scale, you are more likely to mess up by removing too much material in one pass. What size determines the method? I would say it depends on your ability to control the amount of material your plane or knife blade can remove.




 Niagara USS Constitution 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Same as the rest. Drill works for me. Leave about 30-45mm extra on the spar/ yard to slot into the drill.

Once the yard is spun down to the correct Dia, simply cut of the 30-45mm extra.

This saves marking your already spun peice from the drills chuck. Hope thes all help you.

Regards, Scott


Current build: 1:75 Friesland, Mamoli


Completed builds:

1:64 Rattlesnake, Mamoli  -  1:64 HMS Bounty, Mamoli  -  1:54 Adventure, Amati  -  1:80 King of the Mississippi, AL

1:64 Blue Shadow, Mamoli  -  1:64 Leida Dutch pleasure boat, Corel  -  1:60 HMS President Mantra, Sergal


Awaiting construction:

1:89 Hermione La Fayette AL  -  1:48 Perserverance, Modelers shipyard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I shape mine purely by hand and eye, marking the end grain with a black dot the size/diameter I wish the yard needs to finish up. Then I mark the position from where the taper starts. Using a good small hand file I file to the end from the start mark carefully rotating the yard on the edge of my work bench until the correct profile is obtained. I have used this technique on all 3 of my models to date now never fails. Just to finish I twist the yard in some fine abrasive to give a good finish that's about 30 in total. No machines used or needed.






Current build Trumpeter Arizona 1:200 with White Ensign PE and a Nautilus Wooden Deck.

Built Caldercraft Convulsion, HM Brig Badger and HMS Snake.

Awaiting - Zvelda HMS Dreadnought planning to get the Pontos Deck and PE Upgrades, Panart 1:23 Gun deck model and couple of the cannon kits Manatu - French siege mortar, and American coastal cannon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...