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I'm in the process of building Bluenose II from a Billings kit.  The sail material they included is very stiff and would be impossible to create furled sails with.  Anyone got any suggestions on what kind of substitute material might be best?

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Use silkspan, not silk but a light paper like covering used by model airplane builders.  For furled sails on my recently completed longboat I taped it to an open frame like a picture frame.  I then sprayed it with thinned acrylic paint before cutting out my sails.

 

Roger

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CofF

Finding sails that are of scale thickness in woven cloth is difficult.  Silkspan is a great substitute in general but high thread count bed sheets or pillow cases (800 or more TPI) look good and if they are to be furled, you can cut them short so they are not too bulky when furled.    

Allan

Edited by allanyed

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Silk span is a well regarded material but I found it a bit scarce and pricy. Apparently it’s the preferred material for the outer skin applied to flying balsa aircraft. You may know all this already but I’m writing to suggest that you can easily start experimenting using ordinary tissue paper, which is much easier to lay your hands on and very inexpensive.

my technique is to wet the tissue paper with water diluted white glue, then drape the material onto a suitably sized wood dowl wrapped in plastic film. You can poke and prod the wet lump into an approximation of the “sail bundle” you want to create and then allow to dry overnight. When dry the tissue hardens into very convincing scale wrinkles and can be painted. wet tissue paper is an unforgiving medium and you can’t fully control it so I usually make four or five at the same time then later select the nicest one.

a trick I’ve learned is that you can simulate the dents and wrinkles created by gaskets by twisting single short lengths of thin wire around the wet bundle and thus squeezes into the wet bundle leaving convincing bulges after the wire is later removed.

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Do a bit of searching on the Forum, the various techniques and options for materials have been discussed before here.

 

Just to make it clear, there is/used to be finely woven silk (silkspan in the USA, but this may be product name) and silk-paper for covering model aircraft wings and other parts. Both materials can make useful sails and have their pros and cons. It depends inter alia on the scale one is working in. A substitute for 'silkspan' may be also the fabric that is used for screen-printing, but I have no practical experience with it. It seems to be easier to get than 'silkspan' these days.

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Wefalck,

 

Here in the USA the silk-paper used to cover model aircraft surfaces is called Silkspan.  I was able to buy a large sheet at a local hobby shop for $3 US.

 

Roger

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