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Blocks, making and supporting.


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Hi all,

I have just made a block using a method of my own (I assume), but it seems that most blocks used in yachts of "my" period (1880s) have an iron hook on one end. Now, making the hook and the lump it grows from is not a problem, but just how do you ensure it stays put when there's such a small glue area to rely upon?

 

Martin

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I gather, at this period and in yachting context, the blocks would have had an internal 'frame' or cage of wrought iron. The wooden shell is only there to keep the blocks from becoming entangled and shaving. Blocks with rope strops or external iron strops would be rather unusual on a yacht of the 1880s.

 

What scale are you working in ? If you are referring to the 1/16 scale, as your 'current build' seems to say, then there is nothing to prevent you from reproducing the prototype practice. That saves all the worries of hooks or eyes becoming detached.

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There are rope stropped blocks that have a fiber line Eye seized into one or both ends of a block and these can also have an iron hook if the grommet that makes up the rope strop is first worked with an iron eye in it before the block is assembled. Then there are internaly stropped blocks which have flat bar stock as a strop. Only the bent end emerges from the block. Again an iron hook can be incorporated at the outset into the blocks structure. Not all blocks will have hooks on them. I would say well less than a third on a typical rig. Hookless rope stropped blocks are fixed with seizing and hookless internaly stropped blocks are fixed with shackles. There's a LOT of block variations within both types I've described but this is the general picture. I do not know when internaly metal stropped blocks came in but certainly it was before the 20th century, going by old photos. 

IMG_2283.JPG

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I think that internally stropped blocks appeared around the middle of the 19th century and were certainly quite common in the last quarter of the 19th century. There were also blocks with external metal strops (used e.g. for catting anchors), but they were abandoned in favour of the interally stropped ones, because the metal axle is shorter in the latter, leading to less breakage.

 

One could add to the nice drawings above, that the chocks would have had bronze inserts as bearings for the axels; similarly the wooden sheave would have had a bronze bushing. Internally stropped blocks may have had cast-iron sheaves, particularly when the running part was wire.

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Hmm, many thanks, gents.  I was unaware of the internally stropped type and they must be what my boat had.

I am indeed talking about 1/16th scale, but I'm not sure I want to fiddle about with internal stropping even in that scale.

I was so pleased with my system for making the blocks by a form of mass production, that to make internal frames would put that right back to square one, but then it might be that to put any load on a scale block might mean doing so. I'm not sure I have the patience to make internal frames for dozens of blocks!  There are no rope stropped blocks on the boat as far as I can tell. Or externally iron stropped ones.

 

Thanks for your input, gents.

 

Martin

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Very nice, Chuck, but I dread to think how much by the time they get to England, what with having to pay the postman a tax bill, which I WILL NOT do.

I can buy from Modelling Timbers too and they are very fairly priced for the work involved, but the numbers I need make it unviable.  

 

Here's my one, a model of a 6" block, with a turned cap, in which a hook is soldered. The cap then has its stem superglued in to a tight fitting hole.  The stem of the cap has grooves turned in it to help with the glue.  If that doesn't hold (although it seems to be at present), I will have to replicate Chuck's very nice ones, with the difference of having hooks in the top of some of them.

 

Cheers,

Martin

001.JPG

002.JPG

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Here is an image of one of my blocks in use on an early yacht model.  The model was built by Steve Wheeler.  Its quite beautiful.  Steve is a master craftsman with these models. It shouldnt be too difficult to make the number of blocks you would need.  Its a far cry from the hundreds of blocks required on a typical "sticks and strings three master"

 

wheeler1.jpg

 

wheeler2.JPG

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Ah, I have just had a look at your website, Chuck and find that your prices are excellent, BUT you stop just short of where I need to be!  I need 3/8" blocks. There were some 5" blocks used, so I might very well send off for some of your 8mm kits.  Very nicely designed stuff.  Lovely looking website too, which always goes down well with me.

 

Cheers,

Martin

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Crossed posts there.  Very nice looking model indeed. A period of superb elegance.

If you ever want to do 6" (3/8") blocks I would be very interested.  I suppose I should add up just how many I will need.  My problem is this is a working model, so it may be that I can't use blocks as much as I hoped because quick rigging and adjustability may be a priority. I have never sailed scale before.  I have sailed almost nothing before!

 

Cheers,

Martin

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All you really have to do should you want a size I dont have listed  is let me know before you order....I can always make the sizes you need.  I just dont stock them because only a few people actually build that large and it doesnt pay to stock them as regular items.  If you need them laser cut without the sheaves so you can replace them with with your own metal working sheaves that is also possible.  I will just omit them.

 

And by the way....for those that do need externally metal stropped blocks like cathead blocks for anchors,   all you have to do is flip the orientation of the outside shells of each block.   With a bit of creativity these will serve many purposes.   I just cant stock them in every variation but hope that everyone can easily look at the parts and build them as they need them.   These are easily turned into working blocks by removing the laser cut wooden simulated sheave before assembly and inserting a brass sheave in its place.

 

Chuck

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Well, in that case, Chuck, I think we have a deal.  I am in the process of working out how many of each I need.  I already have deadeyes, so it's just blocks I'll need.  Probably best to stick with all 6" diameter.

Actually, I've just worked out the numbers and especially the postage, make it unviable.  I have to be very careful financially as I am retired now, so back to the bench, but many thanks for your time and I will recommend your excellent products wherever I can.

 

Cheers,

Martin

 

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