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abelson

Fair American by abelson - Model Shipways - Scale 1:48 - second wooden ship build

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Posted (edited)

After a 45-year hiatus from my first build (Model Shipways Rattle Snake solid hull) I decide to build another. I'm retired and living in a condo, so I needed a hobby. I chose the Fair American because it was similar to the Rattle Snake and I wanted to try a plank-on-bulkhead model. I started the build April 12, 2019. So far, I'm pleased with the progress. I wish that had taken more progress photos. Going forward, I will try to take more photos to document the progress. When I received the kit, I went through the parts list to make sure everything was in the box.  I labeled some wood parts but not all. In hindsight, I wish I had labeled all the wood parts. Like some other modelers, I found the keel was too short. I made one of the proper length from scrape material and continued on.

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Edited by abelson
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Posted (edited)

Continuing with the build, just a note on the keel. I should have pinned the keel because it became detached at some point in the built. I basically followed the instructional manual but improvised it. I beveled the bulkheads before installing and cut the rabbit. After placing the bulkheads, I proceeded with the bow and stern filler blocks. These were tricky and very time consuming. Being able to see 3-dimesionally is a must for these. I didn’t find the Buttlock L&M templates to be helpful.

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I made the transom frame in one complete piece, glued it in place, and then glued on the counter planking. One mistake I made here was setting the widow frames too low -no big deal, part of improvising. I filled the minor spaces between planks with natural wood filler which I have found to be invaluable. 

 

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After making the hatch coamings, I turned my attention to the gun port framing. With that complete, I painted the hatch coamings, installed the grating, and glued coamings in-place.  Next, installed and painted the waterway, and house front, the fancy rail and cap, main deck thick plank, and main deck outer plank,  quarter deck, transom forward side plank, and the transom cap. At this point, I'm about 4 weeks into the build. Ready for inboard and outboard bulwark planks. 

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Edited by abelson
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Posted (edited)

Continuing the build, installed the black strake and main whale, then the inboard and outboard bulwark plank. The inboard plank was more difficult than the outboard plank. I wasn't totally happy with the way that the inboard plank came out, but with some wood filler and sanding it looks pretty good.

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With trepidation, I turned my attention to the lower hull plank. I read Planking the Built-up Ship Model and was a bit overwhelmed. I tried the batten approach but abandoned it as I thought it was purely subjective as to what is "fair & easy lines."  I did not follow the conventional/correct planking procedures, rather, I let my eyes and judgement guide me - trial and error. I used the tapered ends of toothpicks as trunnels. I pre-drilled the plank before tapping in the trunnel. This forms a nice wedge to hold the plank in place. I applied glue at each bulkhead. After the glue dried, the trunnels were trimmed and sanded/filed. I purchased the ModelExpo hull planking clamps, but found them not be useful. I started planking at the main whale down and later switched to the keel where I installed the wide garboard  and first board strake. I did not cut any quarter checked stealers, and used a few half-checked stealers. Though unconventional, I found tapered planks effective to fill-in gaps between planks. Wood filler covers irregularities and  imperfections.  All-in-all, after a  lot of filing and sanding, I'm pleased with how the planking turned out, considering it is my first P-O-B and that I intend to paint it rather than show it off. The most difficult part, for me, was the planking at the transcom filler. I used heat and horsing (bending), but I couldn't bend the plank sufficiently to avoid breaking. I just left the break in-place and sanded/filed it later. I some instances at the aft filler block, I used a thicker, short piece of wood and sanded/filed it down. At this stage, I'm 8 weeks into the build.

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Edited by abelson
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Posted (edited)

Continuing the build, with the planking complete, next came the beak head. I made the cheek knees in two pieces. I traced the profile from Sheet 1 onto  wax paper and transferred the image to a piece of stock by using a pointer to mark the outline in the wood. I marked the outline with a pencil and then cut the shape with a coping saw – this worked out well. For me, the head rail knees were the most difficult part. I decided to partially paint the wales, black strake, and outboard bulwark plank at the bow before placing the cheek knees. I made the fore tack boomkins, timber heads, and knight heads. The timber heads, and knight heads are intricate. The cat heads were from laser cut stock. I was experimenting with gold gilt and decided to try it on the beak head - looks good so far.

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The fashion piece at the transom was a bit if a challenge because of the angles but, once I figured it out, with some filing and shaping it looks natural.

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Next up, the quarter deck fancy rail, stanchions and cap. The stanchions are intricate. I didn't dowel them. I carved the hance from stock. So that I wouldn't have to carve two, I carved one block to shape and cut it in half to make the two hances.  This worked out well and saved some time.

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Edited by abelson
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Hello! I noticed that you have been starting a new topic for each update. I have merged them together for you into this thread. Pleas add additional updates here by using the reply option at the bottom of the thread. Thanks!

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Next up, the flag staff chock and socket and the main sheet horse (I used the 0.032" dia wire for this), gangway steps, and quarter badges. On the quarter badges, I used the transom window frame castings for the window mullions and glued a piece of clear plastic to the back of the quarter badge to simulate glass. The problem with this, the quarter badge doesn't sit completely flush against the bulwark.

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I cleared-the-deck of in-board fittings, cleaned the main and quarter deck plank with alcohol, and applied two coats of polyurethane water base clear satin.

I fashioned the rudder from 3/4”x 3/16” stock, shaped it, and added the chatter groove. I made the pintles and gudgeons from 1/64”x3/32” brass strips and attached them with pins. I added pins to fix the rudder to the stern post - holding off on this for now.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Decided to concentrate on the guns. I pre-assembled all of carriages. This was a mistake, as I found that the axles are fragile and easily break-off when you try to mount the wheels. The axles are also square and need to be rounded to fit the wheels and to give it an authentic look. I made a prototype. I cut-off the axles and replaced them with tooth picks of the proper length for an authentic look when the wheels are attached. I made the transom, quoin bed and quoin from scrap material. The quoins are small and tedious. I used a #412 belaying pin – I think it looks out of scale. The transoms aren’t really necessary because you don’t see them when the guns are in-place but, for authenticity, I decided to incorporate them. The eyebolts for the gun carriage look too small. I haven’t decided whether to add them. Painting the guns is tedious. I painted the wheels before punching them out. In hindsight, I wish I had done the same with the gun carriages. I’m contemplating spray painting the guns. Not sure if I’ll add the gun straps, yet. I'm satisfied with the prototype – only 13 more to go. Yaks!

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Edited by abelson
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Progress update: Finished all fourteen cannons, except for some eyelets. I decided to replace the #412 (3/16”) belaying pins for the quoins with a larger 5/16” belaying pins. The larger pins look more to scale. Spray painted the gun barrels and the anchors with matte black paint. Decided that I will rig the cannons – purchased additional 3/32” single and double blocks, and cordage, from Model Expo. The 3/32” blocks are very small and difficult to work with, so I used 1/8” walnut single and double blocks instead.  I’m holding off on gluing the various inboard fittings until cannon rigging is complete. I painted the capstan and drilled the hole in the deck plank to mount the capstan and added the pawls. I noticed the capstan in the main deck photo on page 42 of the Instruction Manual is quite detailed. I haven’t seen this detail on any member build logs. I’m curious what other modelers have done with the capstan and where I can find details.

 Added panels to front of quarter deck cabin. Completed the steering wheel. I flopped the position of the steering wheel and the standard because I think it looks better. It’s not authentic, but I like it anyway. Also, added the decorative trim to the stern transom. Painted the trim and the edge of the fancy cap with gold glit. Even though the windows are not in the correct position I’m happy with the way the transom came out. Holding off on Installing the rudder.At this point, I’m about 16 weeks into the build.

 

 

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Getting back to rigging the cannons. I purchased 26 gauge black copper at Michael's – it’s more flexibile than 20 gauge that came with the kit. I bent the wire around the single blocks and twisted the wire using flat nose pliers, and then formed a hook at one end using needle nose pliers with round ends. I found that there was enough space at the opposite end of the block to pass 0.3 mm manila hemp tackle line between the block and the wire. I passed the tackle line through bees wax to make it more pliable to work with. Next, I tied the tackle line to the single block which will be attached to the eyelet on the cannon. I followed the same procedure for the double blocks which will be attached to an eyelet on the inboard bulwark. Note: I used double blocks as shown in Figure 20 in the Instruction Manual, but I have read where some modelers have said double blocks are not correct. The tackle line was weaved through the blocks by hand – a tedious job, as you know. Reaming the block holes helps in passing the line through. Even with bees wax, the line tends to unravel when it passes through the block. The cleaner the cut at the end of the line, the easier it is to pass through the blocks. A thought I could use a small sewing needle but it’s too difficult to thread the 0.3 mm hemp. I’d like to know what other modelers have done to ease the process of weaving the lines. So far, four tackle lines complete. The tackle lines look a little sloppy. I'm hoping that they'll look better when rigged on the cannons.

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2 hours ago, Gregory said:

FWIW The long guns on HMS Victory  and USS Constitution  use the double + single block arrangement as seen in your plans..

Thanks for the info.

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3 hours ago, Jonathan11 said:

Here's a diagram you might like for your records also:

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3 hours ago, Jonathan11 said:

Here's a diagram you might like for your records also:

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Thanks.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/6/2019 at 10:34 AM, abelson said:

 

 

 

Continuing the discussion on rigging the cannons, I completed rigging one cannon – looks good IMO. I followed the arrangement of the breeching and out haul tackle eyebolts in Fig, 20. I notice some build logs reversed the arrangement of the breech line and tackle line eyebolts. I found the arrangement in Fig. 20 gives you more room for attaching lines. With the carriage and attached gun barrel off the model, I seized one end of breech line to eyebolt, snaked breach line through split rings on carriage, wrapped it around the end of the cannon, and seized the other end of breech line to eyebolt. With the carriage on the model, I glued the breech line eyebolts into pre-drilled holes in the bulwark (I had to exercise care in drilling the holes so as not to penetrate the bulwark). Without gluing the carriage to the deck, I attached the out haul tackle to the carriage eye bolt and the bulwark eyebolt and then tightened the lines. The strop wire hooks on the tackle blocks made it fairly easy, though tricky, to attach the blocks to the eyebolts. The tackle lines will be trimmed and glued to the deck, and coils made and glued at the end of the line – not sure whether I will do this as the work progresses or after all the carriages have been rigged. One thing I discovered, in following the plans, there isn’t sufficient space between the cabin face and the aft gun ports (see photo). I lost a little space when I added panels to the cabin face, which I didn’t account for. In hindsight, I wish that I had read some build logs before I framed the gun ports, as many of builders recognized this and made adjustments in their build. Oh well, chalk it up to experience. It will be difficult to rig the aft cannons. I might just eliminate them. I’d like to know what other builders have done in this circumstance. FYI, I followed the recommendation of another build log and applied dab of 50/50 mix of wood glue and water to the end of the tackle line, which prevents the line from unraveling and facilitates treading the line trough the blocks. 

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Edited by abelson
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Posted (edited)

Completed rigging another cannon. Added the breech lines to the remaining 12 cannons and completed the outhaul tackle lines off the cannon. Decided to take a break from rigging to make a display board. I had a piece of 1” select maple from a home improvements project that I cut to 5 ½” x 20”. I pre-drilled holes for brass display pedestals. I chamfered the edges, sanded it, and applied 2 coats of Minwax PolyShades Stain & Polyurethane gloss Bombay Mahogany and one finish coat of polyurethane, and mounted the model. While waiting for an MS fittings order, I focused my attention on building the main and fore tops. The kit includes laser cut tops. The Instruction Manual says “you will find they require detailing” but it doesn’t say where you can find the detailing. The plans don’t show details of the top of the tops. I found some other build logs that had photos of detailed main and fore tops, so I mimicked a fellow builder. PS, I discovered Chuck Passaro-MS Brig Syren Prototype Build which details the tops. Passaro's build has a wealth of information.  The topmast crosstrees and trestletrees where built from scrap timber. Note: The Instruction Manual says the trestletrees are laser cut, but the kit does not include laser cut trestletrees. I glued the crosstrees to the tops. The trestletrees will be glued later whence top and fore masts have been built.

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Squared and beveled the main mast and fore mast, flattened the sides for the bibbs, and created the tenon for the cap as depicted on Sheet 2. Using the squared section of the masts as a guide, I glued the trestletrees to the main and fore mast tops and added chocks and bolsters. With the tops in temporary position, I glued the bibbs to the masts.  Next, I drilled holes in the mast cleats and temporarily installed the cleats for effect. I plan to paint the masts black above the bibb and burnt umber below the bibbs. Next up, the bowsprit.

 

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Edited by abelson
Added reference to Chuck Passaro-MS Brig Syren Prototype Build

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Progress update: Except for painting and adding eyebolts to the cap, completed the bowsprit and jib boom. The bowsprit gammoning cleats were made from walnut cleats, cut and trimmed to scale. I traced the image of the bees on Sheet 2 onto wax paper and transferred the image to scrap wood by using a pointer to mark the outline in the wood. I connected the darts with a pencil and then cut the shape with a coping saw – I’m pleased with it.

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Completed the main topmast, topgallant mast and topgallant. The Fair American kit parts list says to use 5/32” dowels for the fore and top masts and 3/16” for the fore and main yards. The fore and main top mast caps have a 3/16” diameter opening. Consequently, when the 5/32” dowels are filed and sanded to the proportions shown on Sheet 2, they look too small for the cap opening. I think 3/16” dowels would be a better choice. I ended up making the main mast cap from scrap wood so that the fore mast fits tighter. Also, the castings for the small mast caps have a 3/16” square opening which is too big for the 5/32” dowels if used for the fore and top masts. I made these from scrap wood as well. I made the topgallant trestle trees from 3/16” stock, and the crosstrees from 5/32” stock. The FA parts list doesn’t indicate what size strips are to be used for trestletrees and crosstrees. I took the advice of Chuck Passaro's Syren build log and drilled the holes in the crosstress before fabricating them. Sheet 2 doesn’t show an end view of the topgallant trestletrees. I assumed, therefore, that the trestletrees are shaped like the main and fore top trestletress. I need to add the cap eyebolts and the topgallant mast truck. Next up, the fore topmast, fore topgallant mast, and topgallant.

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After a week on vacation, I’m back on the model. I read and studied more build logs and realized that, although I’m not an expert by any means, some aspects of my build are as good if not better than those of more experienced modelers.  This is reassuring, as the goal for my current build is to be at least as good or better than my first build (45 years ago). I’m now about 5 months into the build. So far so good, but the more difficult part (the rigging) is yet to come. You can never study and research enough. I’ve made mistakes, which will only be noticeable to an expert eye. I realize the errors of my ways and accept my imperfections. As for progress, I completed the fore topmast, fore topgallant mast, topgallant, and topgallant mast truck.  I primed and painted the bowsprit and jib boom, the main and fore masts, the main and fore top masts, the main and fore tops, trestletrees, and caps, and the topgallant mast in the black and umber scheme.

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Returning to the cannons, completed rigging the cannons – phew, glad that’s done. I decided to add the coils as I completed the cannons. I snipped the 0.3 mm manila hemp tackle line and left a short piece which I glued to the deck. When I assembled the tackle lines originally, I used a 6-inch length of hemp for each tackle line. After it was snipped, I found the remaining length was ample for forming the coils.  l ran the remaining line through bees wax, coiled it around a 1/8” dowel, and then flattened it out somewhat. Each coil was glued to the deck with a dab of wood glue. I’ve added the deck fittings temporarily just to see how everything looks. Next up, the mast yards.

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Abelson , this log sure makes the awful instructions a lot easier to follow. Keep it up ! Your build looks great !

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Thank you. I try to impart a little practical experience. I’m not an expert by any means, but I do recognize shortcomings in plans and instructions. It’s my engineering background. I’m glad my buildlog is helpful. Stay tuned for more.

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Posted (edited)

Continuing the build, after seeing wooldings and reading discussions on them on other build logs, I decided to add them to the fore mast. Note: Wooldings are not discussed in the FA instruction manual nor shown on the drawings. I located the bottom woolding just above the heart for the main preventer stay. The remaining wooldings are spaced 4 feet apart. I used 1mm black nylon for the wooldings and wrapped each one 10 times. I didn’t use hoops above and below the wooldings because they were not common until the 1800s. I found the attached diagram very helpful, and it worked well, for securing the wooldings.  Next, I added a 5/32” heart to the fore mast for the main preventer stay. Spent considerable time studying the rigging plan, instruction manual, and build logs before assembling the bowsprit and jib boom – this is of paramount importance. Fashioned the bowsprit heart and collar and attached it to the bowsprit as depicted in Detail N on the rigging plan.  I made the shroud collar and bob stay collar with 5/32” deadeyes as depicted in Detail D and attached them to the bowsprit. Added 1/8” single blocks (SB) to the bowsprit cap for the sprit sail yard lifts and the jib stay. Added a 1/8” SB to the jib boom for the fore gallant stay, Fashioned the jib stay traveler from 20-gauge wire. Attached the jib boom to the bowsprit.  Glued the bowsprit in-place and secured it with gammoning. Waxed 0.55mm cordage and seized and eye at one end. Passed the other cut end through the eye and then rove it through the gammon hole in the beak head as illustrated in Fig. 27 in the instruction manual. Fashioned some cargo hooks from 1/16" eyebolts and spray painted them black - I'll need more of these. I plan to use them to hook the shrouds to the futtock plates as well.

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Moved on to the fore and main tops. Fashioned the deadeye futtock plates from 20-gauge wire. Note: the #439 strap rings shown in Fig.33B do not come with the kit and are no longer available from MS. I used needle nose pliers to strap the deadeyes and create and eye for the futtocks hooks. I formed the strap such that the cut ends fell in the middle of the strap. I didn’t solder them because the ends are not visible when inserted in the main and fore tops. I did file them flat, however.

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Completed the main lower yard, main topsail yard, main topgallant yard, fore lower yard, fore topsail yard, spritsail yard, fore topgallant yard, main gaff, and main boom. For the main and fore lower yards, the 3/16” dowels aren’t big enough to create the 8-sided effect without using the built-up method in Fig. 22. I couldn’t accomplish the profile of the yards as depicted on Plan Sheet 2 using the built-up method, but I’m satisfied with how they turned out anyway.  In hindsight, I would have used a larger diameter dowel and created the octagonal effect by filing instead of the built-up method. I fashioned the sling cleats from 3/16” x 3/32” wood strips. I traced the pattern from Sheet 2 and used a razor saw to carefully cut out the image. With some filing, I had one cleat to the general configuration shown on Sheet 2. I used this cleat as a template to create the rest of the cleats. The sling cleats for the topgallant yards and the main gaff, though not as ornate, are small and difficult to fashion. I made them slightly larger then depicted on Sheet 2. I attached the cleats with wood glue and later added a drop of CA adhesive to secure them. Securing the cleats with CA makes it easier to file them without fear of breaking them after they’ve been installed. The yards, main gaff, and boom were primed and painted black in keeping with the FA color scheme. I fashioned the boom goose neck and eyebolt from 20-gauge wire. The eyebolt is attached to the main mast as depicted on Sheet 2. Note: The rigging plan shows bent irons at the ends of the main and lower yards. These are for stunsail booms, which are not discussed nor depicted on the plans. I discovered these from other build logs. I’m planning to add them to my build. Chuck Passaro's Syren build log has a good discussion on how to fashion the stunsail boom irons.  He recommends drilling holes for the boom irons into the end of the yards before you start tapering them as there is less of a chance of splitting yards.  I was able to drill the holes after the tapering the yards without splitting them, fortunately. In hindsight, would follow Chuck’s lead.  I found that there are enough 1/8” dowels to fashion the stunsail booms - I'll do this a a later date.

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Returning to the mast tops, I added the 1/8” blocks to the fore top for the sprite sail yard braces and to the main top for fore lower yard braces. I added to the fore mast the lead block (1/4”) for the main topmast stay and 1/8” blocks for the main top braces. To the main mast, I added  blocks (3/16”) for the main boom topping lifts and the main gaff peak halyard. To the fore mast, added 1/8" blocks for the main lower yard braces.  Next up? Probably the bowsprit shrouds, fore tack boomkin guys and the bob stay.

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Edited by abelson
spell check

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Looking great ! I just ordered the Luck Street Shipyard practicum. I'll let you know what it looks like when I get it.

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Made a little progress in the last few days. Seized the bowsprit shrouds to the deadeyes, lashed them to hooks, and attached them to eyes in the main wale. Seized the bob stay at the upper end to the deadeyes and at the lower end to a hole in the stem knee. Seized the fore tack bumpkin stays to an eye in the stem knee. Added 3/16” SB to each bumpkin for the fore tacks.  Note: the fore tacks P&S are not shown on the rigging plan. I looked back at the Rattlesnake rigging plan (my first build) which depicts the fore tack, fore sheet, and clew garnet and the 3-block assembly required for this (see attached). Chuck Passaro’s MS Brig Syren Prototype Build Log has a nice detail of the block assembly. The FA rigging plan does show a single block on the fore lower yard and on the main lower yard which I believe is the for the clew garnet. The fore sheet attaches to an eye on the ship side, passes through the clew block, through a sheave in the bulwark (shown on the rigging plan) and is belayed to a large cleat (shown on plan sheets 1 and 4). I’m getting ahead of myself here but, going forward, I think I’ll use the Rattlesnake rigging plan because it’s much more detailed. I forgot the sheave in the bulwark. If I’m going to add the fore sheets, then I’ll need to fit the sheaves – I need to give more thought to this. Also., the FA rigging plan doesn’t show the bowsprit and boom foot ropes. I’m not sure how to fashion them and haven’t found any discussion on them. Any suggestions fellow builders?  Next up? I might tackle (no pun intended) the bowsprit horses and netting.

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Edited by abelson
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Got the practicum yesterday. It's on a DVD so it's kinda hard to use. I'm not even close to the rigging part yet. If I find anything that covers the bowsprint I'll let you know.

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Thanks. The issue is how to knot the ropes so that the knots are evenly spaced on the foot ropes. From other builds, it looks like there are about 6 knots each side on the bowsprit.

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Why not use a seperate piece of rope for each knot, then tie on as many knots as you like, then slide them to create the spacing?

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17 minutes ago, abelson said:

The issue is how to knot the ropes so that the knots are evenly spaced on the foot ropes.

An eye splice is simply lashed to the outermost shroud and the line thereafter clove hitched around each successive shroud until you get to the last one in the line, where another eye splice is lashed to that shroud.  The clove hitch is easily adjusted when tying it so the length between the shrouds is even between each shroud. When all is done, a drop of thinned nail polish, shellac, or thinned PVA is applied to each knot to secure it.

 

See the source image

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31 minutes ago, abelson said:

The issue is how to knot the ropes so that the knots are evenly spaced on the foot ropes.

I'm no authority on rigging of this period, but I've never seen, nor ever stood on, a foot rope or horse with knots in it. All the ones I've ever seen are simply parceled, wormed, served, and tarred. It would seem that the knots would prevent sliding your feet along the rope continuously as you move on it. You'd have to lift your foot off the rope every time you came to a knot. "Stepping" on a foot rope (as called out "stepping on starboard" or stepping off port," as applicable, to alert all the other crew on that rope that you're shifting everyone's balance) isn't something you want to do any more than necessary. 

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