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rigging thread sizes

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New to rigging!!! Thread provided w/kit is kind of ratty but do not have a clue as to which sizes to use for what ! seems like the should be a specific

Dia. (MM) for shrouds, ratlines, standing rigging etc. also is it still policy to use beeswax. Not sure where to buy & how much is req'd

Lots of questions, hoping for some answers. Thanks in advance. Model is 64 scale. 


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Your best option is to go to Syren and get a range of sizes of replacement line, it's much better than that from the kit, whatever that kit is. Museums recommend you do not use beeswax as it is acidic and will eat away the rigging in the long run. If you want to use wax, use paraffin.


For what sizes to use, you need to buy books on rigging and fitting out ships.


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  • 2 weeks later...

You can kind of ballpark guesstimate rigging sizes. Especially if you keep in mind the running rigging has to fit into the sailors hands! Any rope thicker than two inches would be too large to grab and haul on so make yourself a cardboard cut-out crew figure of the proper scale for your model. If the hands on your figure are too small to see? You better not use any very thick thread for rigging. You can get by with three different thicknesses of running rigging, unless your model is very large. The standing rigging can be worked out based on the mainstay, which is the thickest material on the ship. The shrouds are slightly smaller, the topmast shrouds are further slightly smaller. All the standing rigging gets smaller the higher up it goes in the rig until at its highest point it’s about as thick as your “medium size” running rigging. 

You can gain a lot of comprehension from looking at photos of actual historic square rig ships, look for photos of the coiled rigging on the pins and you will see typical size ranges. 


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Over all, the chart is a huge time saver, but always best to double check.  It helped me find a couple errors that I made when preparing the mast and spar scantlings for Litchfield 1695.  But be careful using the chart at http://modelshipworldforum.com/ship-model-rigging-and-sails.php as there are errors n the chart.  For example, for a 4th rate between 1685 and 1699 it gives a length of the spritsail yard as 90 feet.  According to Lees' Masting and Rigging for this period, the length should be 1/2 the length of the fore topmast, that is 90 feet divided by 2 = 45 feet.  The sprit topsail yard is in turn 1/2 the length of the sprit sail yard, that is 22.5 feet, not 45 feet as shown on the chart.  I suspect the length of the spritsail yard was taken as the same as the fore topmast by mistake rather than 1/2 the length.  Also, the sprit topmast should be 17.8' long, not 12.6 feet using the Lees' calculation that it is 0.33 X the length of the main topmast for this time period. These may be the only errors in the entire data file but as always, check (measure) twice, cut once. 





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Simplified running rigging, from thickest to thinnest line, is determined-logically- by the load the line is expected to take. So the halyard used to raise the topsail Yard is going to be thicker than the one assigned to the Tgallant and Royal yards, which are considerably smaller. The exact same principle applies to the braces on all those yards too, and their Lifts. The lightest and thinnest lines will be the Buntlines, which are only used to lift the weight of the sail when it’s no longer drawing wind.

the other consideration is when you have a block and tackle on the end of a line: the pennant ( the part the blocks is fixed to) is always going to be much thicker than the falls of the tackle-the line that’s rove through the sheaves of the tackle.

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