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Connecting Staysails to the stays


vmwilson1
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I have almost completed by build of the HMS Bounty. I am about to place the various staysails on the various stays but I don’t want to just place the rings through the sails to connect to the stay. What I would like to do is to use small grommets at the edge of the staysail and then place the rings through the grommets to the stay. However, I need help in locating very small metal grommets with an outside diameter of 2mm or less. I have hunted the various web sites for hobbies and outlet stores.  There are millions of grommets available but the smallest I have been able to find are 3.175 mm. Any idea where I can find the extra small grommets?

Thanks for any help,

 

Vic

 

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I imitated grommets (at BOUNTY's time they wouldn't have been metal one, but 'sewn' ones) with blobs of coloured PVA glue on both side of the sail. After drying, this was pierced through with a needle to form the eyelet. The rings (if that is correct for BOUNTY and her time) were not actually fiddled through the rings (or sort of U-shaped gliders), but the sail was sewn through the grommets to the rings/gliders. Not difficult to do with fly-tying yarn of the appropriate size and colour.

Here is an example from about 200 years later and in 1:90 scale:

BotterModel-073.jpg

If you insist on metal grommets, there are hollow copper rivets from the realm of electronics that may be suitable. They would have to be turned down on the outside diameter to have the right proportions and shortened too.

Edited by wefalck
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Wefalk is correct. The sail grommets would definitely have been sewn. On larger sails, they probably would have worked the grommet around a metal ring with the stitches carried around it, which, when the grommet was complete, would hide the metal ring. There wouldn't have been "rings" on the stay.  I believe at Bounty's time they would have used a hank in the shape of a "U" of bent iron with eyes in each end, shaped something like the "monocle" on the hood of a cobra. The stay would go into the crotch of the "U" and a selvagee (a loop formed of several passes of small stuff) would be worked through one eye of the "U" fitting, through the sail grommet, through the other eye of the "U" fitting, until a sufficient number of passes had been made and then the selvage would be married with half hitch coxcombing between the two eyes. The open "U" shape permits the "hanks" to be removed from and replaced on the stay without unrigging the stay and the selvagee lashing and the shape of the "U" hank minimizes chafing of the sail grommets.

 

Prior to the use of the iron "hanks," clever steam-bent wooden "hanks" were used. These had notches in the ends so they could be opened to be attached or removed from the stay without the need to detach the stay. The "X" formed by the overlapping notch was seized with small stuff and lashed through the grommet, pulling the "X" of the "hank" against the bolt rope. This also prevented chafing of the sail.

 

hank.JPG

 

This information should eliminate your search for miniature thimbles, but in the future if the occasion arises and they aren't available in the size you want, one way to fabricate them is to take a suitably sized piece of copper or brass tubing, which is available in quite small sizes an anneal it well, cut off small sections of it and place one end of the section on a ball bearing or other round hard surface and place another ball bearing of the same size on the other end of the small section of tubing and gently hammer the top ball bearing. In this manner, provided the metal is annealed and doesn't work-harden (in which case it just needs to be annealed again,) the ends of the tubing will "roll" outward and form a thimble with the inside diameter of the tube. Lubricating the working surfaces when shaping thimbles in this way will make the task easier, as well.

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Yep, had the wooden hanks in front of my mental eyes, but forgot to mention them. One of the classical works on seamanship and/or rigging has a nice drawing that compares the different methods for attaching staysails. Checked Lees, Nares, Biddlecombe and Underhill, but couldn't find it 😐 

Lees, almost contemporary to the BOUNTY, actually shows jibs and other staysails attached without any hanks. A continuous rope runs through the grommets and around the stay. I think the rope was fastened with an eye-splice to the top cringle. A variant of this, which I remember from the above drawing, is whereby the rope is attached to the grommets with small stuff, touching the outside of the bolt-rope. One would need to do further research as to whether this would be acceptable for BOUNTY, but otherwise this may be a simple method avoiding the fiddly work with hanks.

Edited by wefalck
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The distance of the grommets/hanks seems to depend on the type of cloth and the width of the panels. I believe European linen cloths were woven in narrower runs than US American cotton cloth. It seems that there are one to two grommets per panel in European sails. It also depends on the type of sail, larger and heavy-weather one requiring more grommets.

I think at 1/128 scale hanks could be fashioned from springy bronze or molybdenum wire, which is available down to 0.03 mm diameter. The forged horseshoe-shaped hanks can be bent in a jig made from three pins (one larger diameter, the other two very thin) driven into a piece of hard wood. Wind the wire around and then clip off excess wire. Tie them to the (fake) grommets with 'small stuff' made from unravelling the smallest available (16/0) fly-tying yarn. As this can be very tiering to do on the model, I would perhaps do this before the sail goes up and set up the stay with the sail attached to - contrary to what is normally done.

Edited by wefalck
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4 hours ago, wefalck said:

I think at 1/128 scale hanks could be fashioned from springy bronze or molybdenum wire, which is available down to 0.03 mm diameter. The forged horseshoe-shaped hanks can be bent in a jig made from three pins (one larger diameter, the other two very thin) driven into a piece of hard wood. Wind the wire around and then clip off excess wire. Tie them to the (fake) grommets with 'small stuff' made from unravelling the smallest available (16/0) fly-tying yarn. As this can be very tiering to do on the model, I would perhaps do this before the sail goes up and set up the stay with the sail attached to - contrary to what is normally done.

I have the correct wire...its just the fabrication.  Your 3 pronged jig is doable...(I have used them before).  I have 3 pronged pliers and I can also make them by wrapping them around them after they are grasped in the plier.

They will need to be quite small and numerous.  A 10in sail will require roughly 40+ hanks.

4 jibs=160+, 6 6"staysails=144+.  Means I need to make roughly 304+ hanks for these sails.

 

What a work out that will be.

 

Rob

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