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Pinrail rope coils


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I am having trouble getting my coils of line to sit on the pinrails in a realistic fashion.


I use a jig to create the coils and leave a loop of line that will wrap around the top of each belaying pin. I even use the jig to try to stiffen that loop in a way that will fall around the pin so that the coil then dangles under the pinrail. But the stiffness of the lines causes each coil to lean out away from the pinrail in an unrealistic manner. Some of these coils hang ok, but most don't fall like they would under the influence of gravity. Any suggestions?


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You could pin the coil in place with a needle until the glue dries? My advice though would be to abandon the literal replication of real-world use. Your coil hanging appears to be correct but as you note, the stiffness of the line itself is out of scale and it won’t drape properly. I’m in favor of simply gluing the pre-formed coil over the belayed line and if you want that short bit of line wrapped once through the top of the coil, that bit could be the tail of the actual line on the pin or it could just be a half-inch long scrap piece not attached to the pin or the coil, if it’s two ends disappear behind the coil nobody will know it’s a cheat.

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 I saw someone here once make a small jig out of a block of wood with 2 nails. Each nail was on a different face of the wood and then after they wrap the line around that the nails they then wetted down the line with dilute white glue and let it dry. Once they took the nails out the coil was bent at an angle. And when they laid it on top of the belaying pin it seem to drape over the side and hang down straight. 

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Hi JD,

I also find these coils devilishly hard to make look half decent. The lightweight line just doesn't have the heft it needs to hang naturally. My method is similar to yours in that I use a jig to make the coil. I pretty much follow J Brent's method which he shows in the video below, but it has been only with many failed attempts that I can get even close to an acceptable result. 


While I don't think your coils actually look all that bad, one suggestion I might make is to make your coils a little longer, so that they're more elongated and less round, and make the loop that goes over the pin a little shorter. Let the top portion of the coil rest against, or even on, the pin rail rather than hang below it.


When I belay the actual line to the pin, I only give it one turn around the pin rather than several, which leaves quite a bit more space for the coil to be attached separately. I secure it with a small dab of CA glue. (J Brent gives it quite a few turns, but I think it works better to leave as much room as possible.)  I don't generally use CA glue on rigging, but this is one place where it seems to work well. I then make the coil the way J Brent does, bringing a small loop from back to front, which will be the loop that goes over the top of the pin. There will be a bit of trial and error here, spacing the nails on the jig, getting the right length for the coil. I also experiment with the number of turns around the nails, usually four or five. (I think a coil that is a bit too heavy, rather than one that is a bit too light is more forgiving in its appearance and gives a little more material to play around with, once it's in position.)  I carefully lift the coil off the nails with tweezers, before having applied any glue and then apply a very small dab of CA glue on the back side of the coil at the top. I make sure that it's a very small amount to ensure that it doesn't wick through to the front, because it will discolour the line. I don't tend to use any diluted white glue on the coil, especially on the front because it seems that no matter how dilute I make it, it still discolours the line. I make sure the glue has set well before hanging the coil. 


I then put a small dab of CA glue on the rail, in front of the pin, place the loop over the pin and press the coil against the rail, maybe even pushing the coil under the rail in an attempt to get it to appear to be hanging straight down rather than sticking straight out which they tend to want to do. I leave long ends on the coil. Once it's secure on the pin, I cut the back one off short so that it can't be seen and cut the front one off long, about the same length as the coil.  




Here are some of the coils on my Constitution.


The other thing, of course, is to not worry about it too much. Every ship that I have ever visited has coils hanging in a lot messier and haphazard fashion than most modelers would tolerate.:D


Not sure if that's of help or not, and I'm not trying to suggest that I have the definitive approach (or result), but I do share your frustration with this aspect of any build.


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Thanks for all the replies so far. Meddo, here is a picture of my jig, which fits what you are describing:


Frankie, I am going to play with your idea of using scrap line to tie a coil to the pin. 

David, I too try to keep away from CA but I am finding its use important in cases like this. I agree that using a different shape of coil may be helpful. More recently I have been able to make the coils less round and more long by strapping the coil temporarily with thread and painting it with dilute glue, then removing the binding thread. Two of the larger coils of line in the pictures were shaped in this way.


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I have spent fify years practicing - but i can only do them well at a 1:1 scale !


I dont have any pics at moment - swopping PCs,  but any success i have had is as follows


first get the right line gauge -

tie off the actiual line to the belay and leave it ready

soak coil line in dilute PVA -

form main coil either by wrapping round some pins or some sort of former  - leave loose ends

For a former i usually just use the "blades" of a pair of pliers with the handles taped to position.

But formers can be carved wood or rolled paper or just having a rake through my tool box the following came up - oval tool handle and a new idea i have just had -  the bodies of little aluminium "toothpaste "tubes of cheap super glue have the advantage of being able to be shaped somewhat.

Anyway get a coil to your satisfaction,  - if you wish after its set soak the top a bit in water and just put a wee bend in to go over the edge of  the rack.


Then talke the appropraite free end and wrap it to form the loop - note that the loop in the real pic does NOT pinch the top of the coil - lighter lines are tighter/


You  can follow real practice - any sailing text book  -but there are a number of variations in practice to creat the "hanging loop"  but this one  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uvX_dvuIYc

is more or less how I do it snip the loose end and ...


Sorry I have no pics - I am just out of hospital but I will se if I can mange some tomorrow



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Hi Jd

I had the same problem.

In the first link it will show how I make coils. The way I make them does help them to lay right.


The next link will show how I hold coil in place while the glue dries

Before I place the coil on the pin and pin rail I will put some water down glue on the rope that bends around the pin. If need be I will also put some on the coil. This will soften the rope and make it so it will flex easier. Then I use the next link


Hope this helps


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  • 4 weeks later...

Turns out that a lot of the improvement is due to a change in the way I make the rope coils. Hard to describe; better learned by just doing. But I essentially wrap the coil with two wraps of line at the "top" of the coil. Then I used a small needle to open up those wraps, and one of the tails was passed through the space created by the needle. This created a loop at the top of the coil that could be adjusted depending on the needs of a particular spot on the pinrail. Once that was determined, the loop was fixed within the wraps with glue, and the tails were trimmed. 


The other part of the improvement came with following the suggestion above (thanks David) of placing a dot of CA glue (which I also try to avoid) on the underlying wraps of line on the pinrail, then placing the loop on the pinrail so the dot of CA secures the coil to the underlying wraps. I also would sometimes use a block of wood on the deck to force the coil up against the pinrail so it wouldn't be inclined to lean out in an unnatural fashion. 


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  • 2 months later...

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