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H.M. Cutter Alert by Blue Ensign - Vanguard Models - 1:64 scale

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Very nice work, how do you blacken the strops with the deadeyes in them? I assume you paint the blackening solution on the strop, does it dye the deadeye at all (this probably depends on the solution in use I imagine)?

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Post 44

Bits and pieces

Side steps

These are plain affairs that will stand a little enhancing with extra profiling. The kit items do however include the hand holds.

Two outboard steps are indicated although I note that four are shown on the Marshall painting.

Same problem here as with Cheerful; it looks like there ought to be additional steps.

Two steps may just pass muster with the open drift arrangement, effectively an extra step, but the distance between the upper of two steps and the closed in Drift rail is the same as the distance taken up by both two lower steps.

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For this reason, I have decided to fit three outboard steps, the added third step being fixed just above the sheer rail.

Inboard steps: the kit doesn’t provide these, whereas the Alert book shows a three-step inboard entry ladder between deck and Drift rail.

With my current set up a ladder would cover the shot rack and interfere with gun side tackles for the second from aft gun.

Still, I think there should be steps, so it looks like re-visiting the Rough-tree rail and shot rack.

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I identified the problem as the hance coming too far forward on the Drift-rail, preventing the ladders clearing the side tackles.

Worth mentioning that use of pva allows for painless removal of the rail, quite a delicate fitting, which would not have been the case had I used ca.

I keep use of ca to the absolute minimum on my builds, there is often a need to do modifications and ca tends to make the wood brittle and using acetone to loosen ca can be a messy business.

 

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The hance has been modified, the shot rack moved aft, and the inboard ladders installed.

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Layout looks more logical to my eye now.

Not yet ready to fix the deck fittings but it’s been a while since I reviewed the layout.

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Time to move on.

B.E.

12/12/2019

 

 

 

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Post 45

A few more bits and pieces.

 

Scuppers

These are given as four in number each side with a diameter of 2½” (0.99mm at scale)

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They are made from thin slices of aluminium tubing flattened on the anvil.

 

Iron plates for Backstays

As with the Chainplates I fashioned these from some brass strip.

 

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According to the Alert Book drawings these are for (from aft) the Running Backstay, Running Backstay Tackle, and Standing Backstay. (set up with deadeyes.)

The kit rigging follows the Alert book.

 

The subject of Backstays.

There is a confusion in my mind about the notation used in relation to the rigging in the Alert Book. There are several instances where the description for the same line varies across the different drawings.

For instance, drawing H22/2 shows ratlines across all five connections along the channel whereas on H4/1 they terminate at shroud four.

The book narrative notes that:- a fifth pair of deadeyes were added for the Standing Backstay, - on the channel and shown in drawing H4/1

However, drawing D1/1 annotates this as being a shroud deadeye, with the first of the iron plates aft of the channels as relating to the standing backstay. The aft two plates being for the standing end and tackle of the running backstay.

So how many standing backstays are there?

Strangely, the rigging table in the Alert Book (taken from Steel) does not list backstays for the lower masts, only the T’gallant standing Backstay is mentioned.

 

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Backstay rigging as I recognise it.

 

The use of deadeyes on the iron plate, ostensibly the same size as for the shrouds along the channel doesn’t sit easy with my eye. Tackles are usually seen hooked into iron plates on Cutters.

The question remains, if the first iron plate is indeed for a standing backstay, what size line is it, and is the use of deadeyes a drawing error.

The kit indicates use of 0.75mm ø line which scales up to a 6” circumference line, as with the shrouds.

Steel gives the circumference of the shroud lines as 8” scaling to a 1mm ø line.

None of the cutter models I have seen have a deadeye arrangement for this standing backstay, except those based on Goodwin’s Alert book, which the kit follows.

 

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The Hawke model with the usual tackle secured Backstays.

 

I note that Lennarth Petersson in his book Rigging Period Fore-and-Aft Craft shows yet another variation on backstay tackles, but tackles they are, not deadeyes.

Having looked extensively thro’ all my rigging books and at many cutter models, I have decided not to use deadeyes for the backstays and I have formed all the plates to take hooks.

How I will rig the tackles I can now safely leave until later.

 

B.E.

16/12/2019

 

Edited by Blue Ensign

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Post 46

Gun rigging (Part 1)

For this I will be using Syren rigging line and blocks.

The kit provided rectangular single hole blocks belong to a gone-by kit era, and there are many better options now available.

Breeching line 4¼” circ; 24’ length.

This scales to 0.54mm ø and with a length of 114mm.

I am using Syren 0.63mm line.

114mm scale length seems a bit long on the model, the breeching rope needs to have slack to allow for recoil and look realistic, but too much and it simply looks untidy. Conversely one of my pet hates is a breeching line too tight that would allow no recoil at all.

I played around with the length and decided on an 80mm line.

Attaching the line to the bulwark rings and over the button and thro’ the carriage rings is a fiddly business and connecting the line to the bulwark rings I find almost impossible to do neatly with the gun insitu.

One of the objectives is to not have the splice around the bulwark ring too bulky.

Modellers cannot do better than follow Chuck’s method as given in his Cheerful build.

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A simple jig is used to hold the bulwark rings at the correct distance apart. One seizing is made, I use 0.1mm Morope line and a needle, the carriage side rings are slipped over the line and the other seizing made.

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The line at the centre is split apart to fit over the gun button, and the job is done.

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Trial fit on the deck.

 

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Difficult to properly arrange the breeching rope at this stage as neither gun nor rings are yet fixed, but the prime objective of confirming the line length is achieved.

 

I can now at last fix some of the hatches in place.

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The Main hatch grating has been modified to allow passage of the anchor cables.

 

Twelve sets of Breeching lines have now to be made up. Not one of my favourite jobs, a rather tiresome exercise.

 

B.E.

18/12/2019

 

 

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Thank you Gregory,  that is just the test version which won't be used on the model, but I think I will have had enough of them by the time I've completed  twelve pairs.….. and then there's the side tackles. 🙄

 

B.E.

 

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Post 47

Looking at Anchors.

Taking a break from the tricky business of gun rigging preparation I’ve had a look at the anchors.

According to the Alert Book five anchors were carried:

1 sheet anchor 17/18cwt

2 bower anchor 14/15cwt

1 stream anchor 6cwt

1 kedge anchor 3cwt

The kit provides two white metal cast anchors to represent the bowers. They are cleanly made and to an accurate scale for the Sheet anchor (Best Bower), but perhaps a tad large (by 5mm) for the smaller Bower usually stowed on the port bow.

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Alongside are outsourced anchors to represent the smaller Stream and Kedge anchors.

I was less impressed by the wooden stocks; they had caught my eye on the photo’s in the kit build manual, looking too thin and without the depth to allow proper shaping.

 Ideally, they should be deeper in the centre section to allow for a taper upwards towards the arm ends.

They did however reflect the taper towards the arm ends when in plan view.

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The issue can be seen here, the upper stocks are from a Caldercraft anchor kit which are properly split down the centre and allow for shaping.

The lower stocks are the kit provided items which for me don’t pass muster.

 

Using the Caldercraft stock as a template, replacement Boxwood versions were made cut out of 3mm sheet.

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I will leave the finishing off until later and return to a last push to complete the Breeching lines, seven down, five to go.

 

B.E.

20/12/2019

 

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Post 48

Gun rigging (Part 2)

 The breeching ropes are at last attached, and scuffs on the iron work touched in.

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It is time to fix the guns in place along the bulwarks.

A small dot of pva is applied to the trucks to fix them to the deck, and the breeching lines can then be attached to the bulwark.

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Quite fiddly getting the eyebolts into the bulwark holes without marking the paintwork or even worse the gun blackening.

 

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The eyebolts also have to be orientated to allow the Breeching line to hang properly.

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The Breeching lines are not glued down and it’s quite nice not to have to fight them to get them to drape naturally.

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I’m quite pleased with the look of her, but now onto those side tackles, 24 tackles to make up, - what joy. 🙄

Happy Christmas to my fellow MSW members, and thank you to those who have shown interest in my build over the past six months.

 

B.E.

24/12/2019

 

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Post 49

Hull completion

This post marks six months into the build and completion of the hull by the fitting of the gun side tackles and remaining deck fittings.

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That’s it for 2019.

Wishing my fellow MSW members successful modelling in 2020

 

 

B.E.

29/12/2019

 

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Very nice work! I received this key for Christmas and I can’t wait to dive into it (although I plan on sticking closer to the kit contents as it will be my first planking kit). I really appreciate your log and I’m certain that I will reference it if I get the urge to indulge the build. Have a happy new year!

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Hi Maurice,very very nice indeed,super job👍. I look forward to the continuation next year.

 

I had a rethink on my Speedwell POB. Didn't like the filler blocks fwd of the front bulkhead so they were chiseled out. Made the upper

parts of the bollard timbers and 4 hawse timbers from pear and fitted them. Had to do some "surgery" on the fwd bulkhead and part of

the lower filler blocks. Looks very much better. It was quite a job making these parts with a fretsaw,razor saw and files:Whew:

 

Regards and I wish you a Happy New Year.

 

Dave :dancetl6:

 

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Thank you Jim, much appreciated. 🙂

 

@ VTH - I'm sure you will enjoy this kit especially if you have the newer version with enhanced fittings. It's a good first planking  subject, not too bluff in the bows.

 

@ Dave - Thanks Dave, I'm always pleased when I reach this stage of a build. Hope things go well with Speedwell in 2020.

 

Happy New Year Guys.

 

B.E.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Post 50

 

Draught markings

This is an opportune time to add the draught markings down the stem.

I found these quite tricky things to apply, getting the spacing and orientation looking right.

 

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They were chemically blackened and once fixed a weathering powder mix was sparingly applied.

 

Galley chimney.

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I remodelled this from a piece of Boxwood sheathed in lead foil.

 

The Guard rope stanchions are not immediately required, but a convenient time to blacken and trial fit them.

 

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To my eye the provided kit stanchions looked a little heavy for the scale. Fortunately, I had some stanchions left over from my Pegasus build which are finer in profile and I used them in preference.

They will be put aside until the rigging is completed; they present as perfect snag magnets.

 

Carrick Bitt pin racks (parts 57,58)

These fit thro’ slots in the Carrick Bitts and in the Pawl Bitt strongback.

 

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Came across a little problem here; when I came to fit these, instead of running level between the two bitts they angled upwards because the slot on the Pawl bitts was higher than on the Carrick bitts.

I have no idea how this has come about; I had checked the fit during the assembly stage, and it seemed ok, or at least I thought it did.

The windlass assembly is firmly fixed to the deck, so removal and re-working was not an option.

 

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A bit of very careful scalpel work on the Pawl bitts was required, followed by some filler and re-painting.

Inclusion of these pin racks stems from the Alert book and is duplicated in the kit.

Still not sure about them on cutters of this period but there is a need for them when it comes to rigging so I follow suit.

 

The kit provides brass etched belaying pins which didn’t suit my eye.

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The Alert book drawings show what are termed belaying posts, more rectangular in shape than a traditional pin, and I opted for these instead using some 1mm Boxwood section.

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I need to shape the posts a little more and test them for strength.

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Time to look at the masts and yards.

 

 

B.E.

03/01/20

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Blue Ensign

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Posted (edited)

Post 51

Square-sails, Crossjacks, and Spread-yards - What’s it all about?

 

To properly rig a cutter of this era these need to be understood, and I start out not being very clear at all.

I am particularly interested in the Square-sail yard, a peculiarity of this type of cutter, also referred to as a Crossjack yard (by Steel).

 I am unfamiliar with both the yard and rigging associated with it.

The Alert book narrative indicates that the Square-sail yard was set flying between the Topsail yard and the Spread-sail yard which held the foot of the Topsail.

The Spread-sail yard in this case is what we would think of and performs the same function as the Crossjack Yard on a Square rigger.

 

Horse for Square-sail yard.

 

Steel lists a ‘horse down the mast’ associated with the Crossjack yard which for our purposes is the Square-sail Yard.

The Horse has an eye splice at the upper end lashed to masthead.

The Lower end is set up with deadeyes and lanyard to an eyebolt in the deck forward of the mast.

Horse 5” circ. (0.63mm ø line) 7” deadeyes (3mm at scale)

 

Marquardt, Eighteenth-century Rigs and Rigging provides the most comprehensive description and drawings.

Topsail rigged vessels had the horse fitted forward of the crossjack yard*. The horse was led through an aft facing thimble on the Square-sail yard.

 

Note: *I have taken this reference to the crossjack yard as relating to the Spread-sail yard, otherwise it makes no sense to me.

 

In relation to the Square-sail or Crossjack Marquardt writes:

Bent to the yard and comparable to a main or fore course, this sail was usually known as only as a Square sail, though Steel called it a crossjack. The latter name was used by Falconer only for the sail carried on the crossjack yard of a three masted ship, and he commented ‘this sail, however, has generally been found of little service and is therefore very seldom used.’

 

The Square-sail was only bent to a crossjack yard if the vessel did not carry a square topsail (Alert did)

If a topsail was set, it was bent to an extra yard known as a square-sail yard, or club yard, which was hoisted up to the crossjack yard.

 

In vessels with only a Topgallant mast stepped, (as with Alert) this yard was hoisted past the crossjack yard to below the hounds.

 

The square-sail frequently had a bib to fill the space left by the deeply roached topsail.

 

 

Use of a Horse is not mentioned in either the Alert book or the Kit rigging instructions.

If a horse is to be fitted, then an eyebolt will be required at the foot of the mast to secure the deadeye.

I mocked up a mast/yard arrangement to clear the set up in my mind and establish the position for the lower deadeye on the deck.

 

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The Square-sail yard can thus be lowered to the deck, running down the horse.

 

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I trial fitted the arrangement on the model and I think it works.

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 The deadeyes can be made up off the model and be hooked or seized to a deck eyebolt which I can now put into place.

 

 

B.E.

05/01/2020

 

Edited by Blue Ensign

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I don't think Alert had this B.E. It comes later with the "newer" rig and the reduction of yards. and I think not even for all British cutters.

 

Dirk

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I would have to disagree Dirk, I rather think that the yard and horse were dispensed with in the later rigs.

I think Alert sits right in the period where  this square-sail arrangement would apply. The Square-sail yard is listed on the Original plans for Alert, and Steel includes the Horse  in the rigging requirements for a cutter.

The later arrangement is shown on a model in the Alert book, circa 1785. It is annotated as... showing improved and standardised rig. The spread-yard by this period had been omitted and the foot of the  topsail spread on the square sail yard. The longer topgallant mast was stepped afore the lower mast head.

 

It makes sense to me that having both square-sail and spread-sail yards on Alert, that a horse would have been used.

 

Whilst I accept that there were probably many variations in cutter rig during the last quarter of the 18th century, I think I will stick with the horse. if nothing else it will make an interesting variation.🙂

 

Cheers,

 

B.E.

 

 

 

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No worry Dirk, it took me ages to get my head around the set up. It doesn't help that different terms are used for the same yard..🙄

 

B.E.

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😉

 

I'm still sure there where no Horse and Steel describes the "newer" rig but if you wanna do it, I like to suggest to do it with the spread yard as this seems to be usually driven, while the square sail not.

 

Dirk

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Posted (edited)

My understanding is that the Spread-yard was there purely to  attach the clews of the Topsail and as such would have had a truss arrangement to secure the yard to the mast. I can't see how a horse would have been of regular benefit, as the Topsail was the sail most likely set .

The Square-sail yard ran up and down on the horse to above the Spread-yard, and when used  presumably had the sail attached at deck level,  as far as I can see there were no footropes on the Square-sail yard.

 

ps. William Falconer's dictionary published in 1780, also describes use of the Horse.

HORSE is also a thick rope, extended in a perpendicular direction near the fore or after-side of a mast, for the purpose of hoisting or extending some sail thereon. When it is fixed before a mast, it is calculated for the use of a sail called the square-sail, whose yard being attached to the horse, by means of a traveller, or bull's-eye, which slides up and down occasionally, is retained in a steady position, either when the sail is set, or whilst it is hoisting or lowering. When the horse is placed abaft or behind a mast, it is intended for the try-sail of a snow, and is accordingly very rarely fixed in this position, except in those sloops of war which occasionally assume the form of snows, in order to deceive the enemy.

 

One may presume that Falconer was writing before 1780 which puts his description as being extant at the time of  the Alert 1777.

 

B.E.

Edited by Blue Ensign

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1 hour ago, Blue Ensign said:

I can't see how a horse would have been of regular benefit, as the Topsail was the sail most likely set .

Unfortunately my English is not good enough to argue clearly so this will be my last post about 🙂 It was meant as "compromise" to do a horse for the spread yard (as you like to show it, what a good reason is imo, I did these kind of compromises too :-)) as I am still sure there were NO horse at all.

 

Especially not for a yard that rarely would have been attached. Most contemporary Sloops, Hoys and Cutters (all kinda the same rig ... the word "cutter" came up on 1761 the first time) drawings I know very very rarely show the square yard rigged. There is just the Hawke Model showing ALL yards  rigged and with sails though! To truss any of these yards is a "problem" as both interfere with the gaff. They might be both flying (even I had to truss them because of the tension of the rig).

 

🙂

 

cheers

 

Dirk

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Posted (edited)

Post 52

Mast and Yards

 

In preparation for mast and yard making, my standard approach is to firstly compare the given dimensions across several sources.

I compared the scale lengths as per a) the kit.  b) Steel. c) The Alert Book. d) Admiralty Plan.

 

The Bowsprit I have already made to the kit dimensions, which are very close to the Admiralty plan notation.

 

The main/topmast  is  the first job. (In Cutters the main/topmast are combined to make one lower mast.

                           Kit            Steel       Alert book      Adm Plan

 

Length                367mm      419.1      423.9mm     373.8mm

Diameter                8mm        8.7mm      8.7mm         8.0mm

With a diameter of 20” (8mm scale)

 

*The quarters work out as follows:

                   Partners     1st Qtr           2nd Qtr           3rd Qtr

                       20”         19¾”            18¾”               178”

Scale 1:64        8mm       7.83mm       7.44mm          6.8mm

*Taken from Steel.

 

The kit taper from 8mm to 7mm is close enough, and the dimensions given in the kit instructions matches those of the Alert Book.

 

I like to mark the quarters on the dowel to get as far as possible an even taper during sanding.

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4236

I am making the mast from some Ramin dowel, so this will entail either adding the square section above the cheeks with some square stock or taking the riskier route of squaring off the top end of the mast.

 

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I squared off the top section by hand and eye using a fine chisel, content in the knowledge that I could always cut it off If I didn’t like it.

Where the cheeks fit, the mast needs to be flattened off and some more fine chiselling is required to set the cheeks into the mast sides.

 

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I somehow lost the kit provided cheeks, but they are easily replaced, cut from Boxwood sheet.

Treenails were added to secure the cheeks.

Note: there is an orientation to the cheeks, the top is angled upwards aft. This is to compensate for the rake of the mast when fitted and will bring the trestletrees level.

With the cheeks in place, the Trestletrees can be test fitted, these follow the line of the cheeks.

I used the kit provided laser cut versions which were accurately cut and robust for what is usually a fragile kit item.

 

T’gallant Mast

 

All the references agree to the scale length of 170mm (35’6”)

A shorter Storm T’gallant mast of 25’ scaling to 119mm could be used if height is an issue on the model.

The kit indicates use of 4mm dowel for the T’gallant mast, but I think there should be a square heel on the mast to fit into the trestletree.

 

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I made the mast from 4mm square stuff and rounded the mast on the lathe.

The incorporated Pole head is very narrow (1.5mm ø).

2mm was the smallest diameter I risked on the lathe lest the part snap, and the pole head was finished by hand.

The final test is does it all fit together with the Mast Cap.

Yes it does.😃

 

A  minor point for the detail obsessed, the hole in the mast-cap to fit the tenon on the lower masthead should really be square not round, as should the Masthead tenon.

 

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I replaced the kit part with a Boxwood version.

 

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Still stuff to do on the masts, sheaves to cut, cleats to add, and finish to be decided.

 

 

B.E.

08/01/2020

 

Edited by Blue Ensign

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Post 53

 

Booms and Gaffs

 

Another case of confusing terminology here.

 

The kit lists a Main Boom (283mm) and a Driver Boom(181mm)

I think the Gaff has been misnamed as a Driver Boom in the kit instructions, altho’ the overall dimensions are in keeping with a Gaff.

 

The Alert Book Drawings have a (Main)Boom (273.75mm) and a Gaff, (171mm) but also show a Storm Gaff (79.5mm) and a Driver Boom (184.5mm).

 Sizes scaled up from 1:96 drawings.

 

The Admiralty plan lists:

A Boom            58’10” (280mm)   12⅝” ø (5mm)

A Gaff              40’ 0” (190.5mm)   9” ø  (3.6mm)   

A Storm Gaff    17’ 0” (81mm)       93/8” ø (3.72mm) 

A Driver Boom 27’ 0” (128.5mm)   6¾” ø (2.7mm)

 

The Alert Book links the Driver Boom to the Storm Gaff, presumably for carrying reduced sail. The Main Boom is linked to the Gaff.

 

Steel

 

Main Boom 66’ (14¼”ø)  (314mm)   

Gaff 49’ 6” (10¼”ø)         (235.7mm)

Driver Boom 42’ (8”ø)      (200mm)

Storm Gaff 21’  ( 8¼”ø)    (100mm)

 

As can be seen there are variations, some of them greater than others, so you pays your money and takes your choice.

 

For my build I am going with the kit despite the gaff about the gaff.

 

Booms were not evenly tapered, and ship and cutter booms differed in their proportions.

 

According to Steel:- For Cutters.

The maximum dimension is towards the outer end at the point of the sheet, just inboard of the stern.

Taper is then made both inboard and outboard to given proportions.

 

The inboard section is quartered as follows;

Max scale diameter 5mm

1st Qtr         2nd Qtr         3rd Qtr           4th Qtr

40/41          11/12           7/8                2/3

 4.87mm     4.58              4.37mm        3.3mm

 

Outboard section

 

 Mid Point         End

    11/12           ¾

  4.58mm        3.75mm

 

I made a boom to these proportions and it looks good to my eye.

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This shape is not reflected in the kit where the maximum diameter is at the inboard end, tapering to 3mm at the outboard end.

 

The Jaws

 

The kit provides a simplified all-in-one version that simply slots over the end of the boom. In practise the jaw and tongue were made up of separate sides, port and starboard, fayed and bolted to the chamfered boom end.

 

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The ‘iron’ bands are only there temporarily at present.

 

I don’t really like kit boom jaws they always look unconvincing. I did use the kit version, but I split it and fined it down to suit my eye.

 

One of the worst examples I have seen of pre-formed boom jaws, is a lumpy, clumpy, blocky, example provided in the Pickle kit, but it is easily remedied.

 

The Gaff

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This was made as per the Boom, but the maximum dimension is 19mm from the inboard end.

 

Maximum scale diameter 3mm.

1st Qtr         2nd Qtr         3rd Qtr           4th Qtr

40/41          11/12             4/5              ¾

 

There is still the finishing to do but that can wait until the yards are made.

 

My aim is to get the sawdusty element out of the way and clean up before I get onto the finishing.

 

B.E.

10/01/2020

Edited by Blue Ensign

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I really like this build, well done!

Maybe u have written it earlier but what type of Wood are u using for the decks and the 2nd planking?

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Thank you Vane.

I used Boxwood  strip for both Deck and hull planking.

Above the wale I used the kit provided  1mm thick Boxwood Strip, (which is actually supplied for the decking), and below the wale some thinner stuff, 0.7mm thick.

I also used the thinner Boxwood strip for the decking.

 

Cheers,

 

B.E.

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