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Restoration of Full Rigged Sailing Ship Model by ikkypaul - FINISHED

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Thank you Ron, it has been almost like reliving the lad's experience of building this model.  The sea was in his blood and at 14 he went off to sea - one ship he served in was the 4 master Edward Sewall in the early 1900s.  From his letters, that was a very tough ship to be in.  Thanks for your interest in this anonymous vessel.


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Build Log. Restoration of Full Rigged Sailing Ship Model

Posting #7  7 February 2018

My Posting #6 (21 August 2017) touched on restoration of suchitems as ships’s boats, rudder, deckhouse.  Now came the pattern-making for the 29 sails, 11 fore and aft, and 18 square sails.

With no original sails to work from this was a considerable task involving much reading and analysis of sail plans of actual square riggers, as well as study of photos of real ships, and even spending a day at sea on the restored 1874 barque “James Craig” based in Sydney NSW, to appreciate and understand the principles of sail-making. For you windjammer enthusiasts a day trip on her outside the Sydney Harbour is a “must do” if you are visiting this lovely city.  Of concern was getting the sails to be in realistic proportions to each other on each mast, and then each mast’s sail set from mast to mast.

After much sketching and measurements – length, height and roaches – I was able to cut the prototypes out of paper.   Laying them out on the floor in their proper order suddenly brought home to me what a “wind machine” the ship in real life would be!


Setting the curves (roaches) for the lower edge of the sails was achieved by using a piece of plastic electrical cable conduit to make a bow (as in archery) and setting the bend by adjusting the length of the string between the ends.  This gave a perfect template for each sail – they all had unique curves! (See Photo)


To check them for fitting to each yard, I ‘blue-tacked’ them in place – this resulted in slight adjustment of some of the roaches to ensure the eventual workability of the running rigging, particularly the braces. 

For the sails I used the linen backing of a sheet of draughtsman’s blueprint ‘paper’ which is the fabric encased in wax.  A friend about 40 years ago recommended using this linen as being suitable, and so it has proved.  Boiling this in water with a little dishwashing liquid, I was left with the fine linen, something like ‘lawn’ fabric – very fine and soft textured.

Once satisfied with the patterns, cutting out the sails ensued and my method is as indicated in the photo of the mizzen course (Crojack).

 My very understanding wife now came to my aid, and the dining table became the sail loft! She hemmed each of the 29 sails on her sewing machine – with very pleasing results.  Purists might say the hems are a little over scale but a practical result was priority. 


Bolt-roping was my next challenge – using a thread of 0.5mm diameter and sewing it onto the sails with 0.1mm diameter thread, the result is as you see in the photo.  Keeping a tension on the sailcloth during the stitching was made easy by the use of a jig with numerous holes for pins to locate the corners of the sail, and using tiny paper clips (mini bulldog clips)and rubber bands to a pin.


Rings (hanks) for bending the fore and aft sails was the next step.  These I made from brass rod of 0.81mm diameter, wound round a 3.0 mm shank of a crochet hook like a spring, then cut off with fine side cutters.  190 such rings were required.  Spacing them along the luff of each sail was determined by scaling down from the 27inch - 36inch range given in Underhill’s “Masting & Rigging”.


Then the bending on of the fore and aft sails as shown.  A bradawl hole in the sails enabled the rings to be fitted and closed.  A crude but effective method. 


2015-02-10 1 Paper sails stuck on for appraisal-640x480.jpg

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Build Log. Restoration of Full Rigged Sailing Ship Model

Posting #8  1 May 2018


Completing the fore and aft sails entailed making some “hanks” to attach the sail to the spanker gaff.  These were contrived with copper wire bent as shown and capable of opening to fit onto the gaff without having to remove fixed fittings.





A piece I meant to include in the last blog is this photo showing the holding of the sails in tension while stitching on the bolt-ropes. Then shows the set of square sails all with bolt ropes, aft’ side upwards! The bolt ropes are actually on the forward side.



For a change of task the anchor rigging was made up – the lower purchase block fitted with a hook for attachment to the anchor shackle.  Than two anchors were supplied from Cornwall Model Boats UK, www.cornwallmodelboats.co.uk/ and are as near to scale as available.  The cat heads are the original ones.



Bending on the square sails was fairly easy with the sheets, clew and bunt lines with “shackles” for attaching already in place. Shown here is the main royal sail bent on.



Then came my 80th birthday celebrations, when all our extended family were present.  It seemed an excellent opportunity to included a “Basin Trial” of the ship, albeit with only fore and aft sails plus the main square sails bent on.




Very little else has been done since September, except to complete the bending on of the full suit of sails and making a start on the awkward task of properly belaying all the approximately 200 lines to their respective pins.  By Christmas I had replaced the broken starboard poop fiferail and made a new one for the port side as well.  For convenience both are a fraction longer than originally.  So here she is as she will look, more or less, at full completion. 



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Thank you druxey,  what is left is the proper belaying of the majority of the lines to their pins -  a fiddly task,  the proper stowage of all four boats, fitting the capstans and replacing a few frayed lines like the braces which have suffered during recent months.

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Impressive job on the restoration!  This model bears a reasonable resemblance to the Wavertree, at South Street Seaport, in NYC, which has, itself, just recently undergone a fairly significant restoration of her interior bulkheads, exterior plating and masts and spars.  Work, there, is on-going.

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Thanks for this info.  Have just had a quick look at the photos - my model I agree is pretty close the the Wavertree which seems a little larger.  I'll study her more later.  This is the first time I have had a suggestion like yours.  Many thanks. Paul (NZ)

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Build Log. Restoration of Full Rigged Sailing Ship Model

Posting #9  20 June 2018


The very vexed question for me over the past 3 months has been how to effectively coil the loose end of belayed lines in a presentable and tidy manner.  I didn’t find any forum discussions on this particular task, although there must be quite a few modellers who have somehow met the challenge.

 Attached photos I think are self explanatory.


The practical constraints to work within are:

·        In limited space a man’s fingers make it a very difficult job,

·        Being a working model, in my case, all lines have to be their functional length,

·        Lines also have to be workable to enable adjustments for sail handling.


After many attempts I have devised a practical, albeit still a bit fiddly, device and technique. I hope the photos will help to clarify my solution.


The parts of the device are:

-         a U shaped length of welding rod provide two prongs (tines),

-         a cut down length of a basic biro (ball-point) pen with endcap,

-         a thin cable tie,

-         small wooden wedge to push into biro and jam the cable-tie

The tool used is a small end crochet hook.



1.     Feed thin end of cable-tie through the biro body to exit through the cap.

2.     Feed protruding end of cable-tie back through the cap, thus forming a loop.

3.     Place loop over one of the prongs.

4.     Coil line (rope) on the prongs.

5.     Bring cable-tie loop up and over the prong.

6.     Tighten loop on the coil, and jam tight with wedge.

7.     Remove coil from both prongs.

8.     Make a few turns of line around the coil to give it a waist.

9.     Poke a crochet hook through the one end of the coil towards the standing end of the line.

10. Hook onto the standing end of the line and pull it through the coil to form a loop.

11. Place the coil loop onto the belaying pin. JOB DONE!


Note: if the lines are a bit springy I find moistening them with diluted PVA glue helps to make them behave better!  (A tip I learned from a ship modelling book.)
















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Build Log. Restoration of Full Rigged Sailing Ship Model

Posting #10  26 June 2018



By way of a supplement to my posting # 9, the photo of the Port poop fife rail shows what I was starting with – lines all over the place – very un-seaman like.

For comparison of "before and after" I now place it here again along with a photo of the Starboard Poop Fife rail after belaying the lines using my line coiling device.  Still not perfect but improving with practice!




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Build Log. Restoration of Full Rigged Sailing Ship Model

Posting #11, 17 June 2019 – Final instalment.


To those kind modellers who have been following this project so far, my apologies for taking so long in bringing it all to completion.

In the months since my last posting the work was mainly inspecting, adjusting and tidying up all aspects of the rigging.  Some of these tasks:

-         setting the sails for almost running free, for wind coming fine over the starboard quarter (my preference) and this exercise spread over a couple of days. You can imagine removing each belaying pin, bracing each of the 18 square sails around plus sheeting the 9 fore and aft sails, and then belaying them all tidily as practicable. 

-         setting up the rigging associated with the ship’s boats – for stowing the two on top of the deckhouse, making gripes for the two amidships and their hoisting gear (falls). 

-         installing anchor cable securing and slipping arrangements.

-         replacing some lines (eg. braces) which had become very chafed over time.

-         repairs jibboom (bowsprit) rigging.




The highlight of the project was her re-launch on 17 November 2018.  With the ship weighing 11 kg (24 lbs) and cradle 4.7 kg (10.4 lbs), gentle transportation for this  fragile vessel in a motor vehicle and subsequently carrying her over the sand to the sea was an issue.  My solution was the stretcher carrier shown below.  The ships original cradle sits in a tray which is slung between removable poles.  At a point just forward of the mainmast the ship was lashed down for security.  Removal of the 2 metre poles facilitates use of a people mover vehicle, in which the ship sits athwartships for travel.

Below are a few photos serve to round off the restoration’s completion.  Should any one like to see any aspect not pictured please ask and I’ll try to oblige.  I do have a very brief video of the model sailing – again, give me an email address so I can email it to you. Photos:

1.   Newly named JANE JACOBSEN (after Jules' mother's maiden name)

2.   Original figurehead

3.      View from top of Mainmast

4.    Arrangement of transportation

5.   Replication of 1899 photo - Paul - with Auckland NZ's Rangitoto Island as backdrop

6.   JANE JACOBSEN starboard tacking.1426021676_20181117BowsofJANEJACOBSENb111-640x480.png.fb418205604c14ade5d0e2d9d1365c50.png






I have written the full story of this model and about the life of Julius Huffam, and how I decided to name her the Jane Jacobsen, which I will post in the appropriate place in modelshipworld if allowed.  The model has been gifted to the Motueka Museum near Nelson New Zealand.

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To Granpa Phil, Barkeater and Louie da fly, many thanks for your kind remarks, and to those who "liked"my efforts and result, a warm thank you too.  

It has been one of the most satisfying things I have done in my life.

One discovery I have made is to find that the ship Antiope is very similar to the Jane Jacobsen in many details of its righ and main deck arrangements.

(Written on back of painting: "'ANTIOPE' - Type: Ship (wool clipper) (?). Builder: Reid, Glasgow; August 1866. Dimensions: 242' 3" x 38' 4" x 23' 7". Tonnage: 1443.") 

Very best wishes to you all, Paul

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One of my favorite pictures of all times is the one of you and the ship, you up to your knees in water with a loving hand on the stern of the Jane Jacobsen with her sails proudly set. Thank you for posting the build log and for sharing that picture celebrating a very special moment. 

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Posted (edited)

Keith, many thanks for your generous and kind comment.  This restoration has been one of the most fulfiling experiences in my life, and made the more so because I see it as a lasting memorial to my uncle Julius who built it before just before 1899 and after serving as a soldier in WW1 and finally in the occupation force in Cologne Germany, died there in that phenomenal influenza epidemic in January 1919. 

It has been such a pleasure to be able to share the whole story of the ship and its builder with modelshipworld members.

Paul Huffam

Edited by ikkypaul
Typing error (restoration)

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