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HMS Speedy by Delf - Vanguard Models - Scale 1:64 - Master Shipwright edition

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8 hours ago, DelF said:

I looked up 'euphroe' in Sailor's Word Book - A Dictionary of Nautical Terms by Admiral Smyth, published in 1867.

I’m trying to think what it means that you have or even know about a book with this title🤣😂

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Derek, i was lost in the mist with that uvrou.

So i look it up and maybe you know it all ready but here it is:

From The Collaborative International Dictionary


Euphroe or uphroe or uvrou.

A block or long slat of wood perforated for the passage of the crowfoot or cords by wich an awning is held up.


Now i need a drink!



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15 hours ago, glbarlow said:

I’m trying to think what it means that you have or even know about a book with this title🤣😂

It's a great book! One of several fine nautical dictionaries, including the one Edward kindly included in the previous post (none mention "sanding the rabbit's bottom" though 🐇😀) **


**other readers will need to visit Glenn's Lady Nelson  log for this reference.

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The last word on euphroes (hopefully!).


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, euphroe comes from the Dutch juffrouw, meaning deadeye, which in turn comes from jong +  vrouw = young woman, as Sjors said. According to the OED, earlier Dutch forms of the term young woman  included yuffrouw, which sounds even closer to euphroe.


Now I need a drink!

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22 hours ago, Sjors said:

A block or long slat of wood


8 hours ago, DelF said:

uphroe comes from the Dutch juffrouw,


20 hours ago, Edwardkenway said:

I'd been looking it up too

You guys have a lot of time on your hands 😄  I have very limited nautical knowledge as Derek will attest. I've always know this as that long skinny thingy with holes in it that the rope loops through back to the holes in the mast top thingy.  No dictionary used 😄


I may have to get the one Derek listed, I admit am frustrated sometimes not knowing what stuff is called - though thingy covers a lot of ground.

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45 minutes ago, glbarlow said:

thingy covers a lot of ground.

...but don't forget, some thingies are whotsits, and others are oojimaflips. And don't get me on to doodahs! (If you've not already guessed, I'm on my third largish glass of red).



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13 minutes ago, DelF said:

...but don't forget, some thingies are whotsits, and others are oojimaflips. And don't get me on to doodahs! (If you've not already guessed, I'm on my third largish glass of red).



Just don't forget the thingymabob that makes the wotchamacallit work!!

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On 6/15/2020 at 6:53 AM, DelF said:


The method I used was to rub the PE with a fine sanding stick followed by a cloth dipped in isopropyl alcohol, before applying Brass Black. After a minute or so I rinsed the PE in cold water, separated the chainplates from the sheet, rubbed them gently with a dry cloth to remove any loose surface blackening and dipped them in Brass Black again for a minute before final rinsing.


To insert deadeyes you have to widen the loops in the deadeyes. I found the best way to do this was by slipping the chainplate over a tapered metal rod and pressing it down until the loop was wide enough. In this photo I'm using Glenn's doggy dental tool (again!):








Far be it for me to provide advice to you.  Your work is excellent and I have learnt a lot from your builds.  However, I do know a thing or two about chemical blackening since I have a chemical background.   This reaction is actually very fast so if your blackening is taking 1 minute the surface is not clean enough.  On clean surfaces 10 to 20 seconds is enough.  The advantage of a clean surface is that the minimum amount of selenium is deposited (no flaking) and a very uniform blackening results.  Have a look at this post of mine which shows an extreme case of poor blackening



This is an example of a blackening problem which others may have experienced without knowing the reason.


These belaying pins were sold as being brass so on the right I used my usual technique of treating for 5 min with sodium hydrogen sulfate then blackening.  Even after about 1 min the result was poor.

On reflection they were very shiny so were probably lacquered. So on the left the treatment was: - rub with steel wool, soak in acetone for about 1 min, 5 min in sodium hydrogen sulfate then blackening. After only for 10 sec the result was excellent.




Incidentally, Sparex is just a very expensive packet of sodium hydrogen sulfate. So if you have access to the chemical itself it is much cheaper




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Hi John


Thanks for taking the time to share this information, and for your kind comment about my builds.


I should have mentioned this in my log (so thanks for prompting me!) but I have stopped using the method I described earlier. The problem was precisely the speed of action of the blackening solution that you highlight. Because I was brushing the solution onto the PE components rather than dipping them all in one go, it took quite some time to cover them all both sides and edges.  The 'minute or so' I described was mostly the time it took to apply the Brass Black. By that time, many of the components would have extra deposits of black that would rub off. Rubbing the excess off with a cloth and repeating the process worked, but in the end I figured it would be at least as quick to separate the components from the sheet and dip them all together in smaller batches. 


Thanks again



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Rigging the Spars


We should have been returning from Canada and Alaska about now, but that's had to be postponed 'til next year. Instead we're off to the beautiful North Yorkshire coast near Whitby, of Captain Cook and Dracula fame for a few days R & R. I'll sign off with a few notes about rigging the spars. There's a long way to go, but a lot of it is repetitive so I'll just highlight a couple of general points.


First off, the quality of the blocks is superb - better than any other commercial blocks I've come across. I've made a lot of my own boxwood blocks in the past but I can't match these:




If I was being slightly picky I would point out the limited number of sizes - for example the only single blocks are 3mm and 5mm (I bought 2mm blocks separately to rig the guns). A scratch builder might want to make a wider range to better reflect full size practice. At this scale I honestly don't think it'll stand out as a problem so I'm happy to go with the kit blocks.


As for the rigging line, the quality is reasonable if slightly furry. Running it through my fingers dipped in a 50:50 mix of PVA and water sorted that.  The kit supplies a good range of sizes in black and natural, the latter being a pleasing shade of off-white (ecru?). Certainly not the bright white that can spoil the look of an otherwise well-rigged model - to my eye, at least.

One odd point is that the plans often indicate that strops and other elements of standing rigging are to be made from natural thread. I can only assume a transcription error, as the photos in the manual clearly show black line being used where it should be.


On my previous build, Royal Caroline, I tried to follow full-size rigging practice as far as possible, for example serving strops where called for, and splicing eyes into the ends of strops so I could seize them round yards. I enjoyed it, but much of the work was virtually invisible, even at 1:48 scale. I will certainly carry some of that work forward into Speedy - for instance serving shrouds and stays where appropriate - but for less visible rigging elements I decided quick and easy was the way to go. 


So, to rig a block to a yard I just tied a short length of line round the block with a dab of ca to hold it in place. I then tied the line round the yard, making sure the simple half-knot was positioned where it would be least visible. Another blob of ca and trimming with a sharp scalpel blade and job done.




Where a ring is called for I first tied the line round a drill bit, in this case 1mm. With the drill bit still in place I tied the line round the block and proceeded as before:






On reflection, the ring is probably a tad too large - I might redo with a 0.8mm drill bit. (Edit: I've stiffened the rings with some fly-tying cement in the hope they'll retain their shape).


On rigging items that require seizing, like this brace pendant, I'm using the 18/0 fly fishing thread I've described before:




Right, off for that R & R!





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  • 2 weeks later...

Rigging the spars - silver soldering repairs!


Back in the dockyard after R&R in North Yorkshire. I'm still working on rigging the 130+ blocks and deadeyes required on the masts and yards. Rather than a string of posts setting out repetitive detail I'll just focus on any out-of-the-ordinary points.  


First up, a spot of repair work caused by clumsiness, whereby I managed to break one of the stunsail boom irons on the main yard. These components start out as flat pieces of photo-etch, with a score mark that enables you to bend them into a right angle:




The score mark is a weak point, and unfortunately I bent the boom iron in question a couple of times by mistake when rigging the yard and I had to bend it back into shape once too often. I considered making a new iron from scratch but decided instead to try soldering the bits back together.


Silver soldering has become one of my favourite techniques for joining metal. I struggled with it initially until I discovered silver solder paste. This does away with the need for separate fluxes and solder and makes the whole process so much easier, at least for the tiny components I work with. I suspect model railway engineers handling large chunks of brass might have a different perspective! Here's the kit I use:




Along with the paste is a refillable gas torch and a fireproof brick. All are readily available from jewellers' suppliers and elsewhere. The paste comes in small tubes - usually about 10g - and seems quite expensive (eg here). However I've had mine years, soldered literally hundreds of items with it, and I hardly seem to have used any. For the boom iron I used a tiny speck, smaller than a pinhead. You can buy different grades of paste, usually rated easy, medium and hard depending on the temperature they flow at. That's an issue if you have to solder a joint close to an existing joint, the idea being that you do the first joint with a higher melting point solder than the second joint, so you don't disturb the first when you solder the second. However that is rarely an issue - I get by with 'easy' solder 99% of the time.  


There's lots of information and how-to videos on the web, but for me the key points are that the surfaces to be joined must be clean and in close contact. I used a fine file to clean the boom iron and laid the two pieces flat on the fire brick, touching and with the tiny blob of solder sitting on top of the join. With such tiny components I don't apply the heat directly to the work. If I did, the gas jet would probably blow the components off the fire brick and/or melt the brass. Instead, I aim the flame about one inch to the side of the work then slowly move it closer, circling round to heat the work evenly. You'll know when the work is hot enough, because the paste suddenly liquifies and is wicked into the join. 




It takes a bit of practice to get a 'feel' for this - for getting just the right amount of heat to the work without melting it -  but it's a lot easier to master than I thought it would be, and once you've got the hang of it it's a doddle. 


One of the great things about silver soldered joints is their strength. Once I'd soldered the boom iron I was able to bend it back into shape , confident that it would be as strong as an unbroken piece of brass.




If you've not tried silver soldering, or if you've tried it and given it up as too difficult (as I almost did), then I'd encourage you to give it a go. As I said, the game changer for me was silver solder paste.


Hope this was of some interest.






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I agree Derek, my Silver solder kit is one of my most useful tools  when it comes to the 'ironwork'

The paste comes in different melting points which is useful when it comes to joining more than one item to one piece..


Envious of your Whitby trip, we should have been around there in July, but covid got in the way.



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Both of those places sound cold, but then I’m a Texan. We recently set a historic high for The Dallas area, 106 F, 41 C for those across the pond. That’s hot. Fortunately it was a one day thing.


Your a never ending source of skills Derek.  I think there is silver soldering in my future with Cheerful, the paste is something I’ll definitely try, I’ve only attempted it with the old spool of solder in the past with mixed result. 

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40 minutes ago, glbarlow said:

106 F, 41 C

Wow, that’s hot! The UK Record is 38.7 C/ 101.7 F  set in July last year - and not in North Yorkshire! It got close to 100 where I live - I was painting a fence that day and had to retreat indoors for several restorative beers. 

44 minutes ago, glbarlow said:

the paste is something I’ll definitely try,

Great - it’s so useful for many aspects of our hobby. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Rigging the spars - stropping blocks


Thanks as always for the likes and kind comments.


I should have said earlier, but one reason I'm not giving a blow-by-blow account of the rigging is that I've decided to follow the kit plans fairly closely, so anyone else building the model would learn little. On my previous fully-rigged ship, Royal Caroline, I did extensive research through the AOTS book on the royal yacht, Lees's Masting & Rigging and The Fully Framed Model (the 4th volume is great on rigging a 6th rate similar to RC). But that was primarily because the kit plans were so simplified and/or inaccurate, whereas I'm sure Chris has done the research needed to produce an accurate rigging plan for Speedy (so far as that is possible at 200+ years remove!). If I do decide to enhance the rigging in any way - anchor buoys is one possibility - I'll cover that in due course. 


Meanwhile I'll just stick to logging any unusual points, or points that might be of more general interest. Given that there are over 130 blocks and deadeyes to fit, I thought I'd say a little about the methods I'm using to strop them and fix them to the spars. Previously I mentioned the simple method I'm using where a block attaches directly to a yard (link here). However this method isn't always appropriate, for example where the knot would be visible or where you need more separation between the block and the spar. There are lots of ways people have developed to skin this particular cat; some, such as following full-size practice by making strops out of line spliced into seamless rings, lie outside my skill set. In the end I went for a variation on a method I first saw as a video, which in turn was based on this forum post by Bender. This technique works fine for larger blocks, but I found it fiddly for the many 3mm tiddlers on Speedy, and I thought the end result looked a bit clunky.


For my slightly modified method I used (for 3mm blocks) 0.25mm black line from the kit, 18/0 fly tying thread (as previously described) and thin CA. I normally use fly tying cement to fix rigging knots, but in this instance I decided I needed the added security of CA. This is because the seizing formed by the fly tying thread will only be 1 to 2mm wide and will need to hold the strop in place against any tension in the rigging. 


I started by seizing the block into a length of 0.25mm line, using the method I described when I was rigging the guns - ie knotting the thread alternatively above and below the line (link here). It can be difficult to snug the seizing tight up against the block, especially with thicker line, so I tried a couple of approaches. In the first picture below, I started the seizing a couple of mill away from the block and worked the seizing towards the block; in the second I wet the line with water and pinched it round the block with tweezers to get it to conform to the shape of the block better, then began the seizing as close as I could to the block and worked away:



The second result looks neater, and will produce a less clunky end product. In this example I'm seizing the block to a ring, so the next step is to thread the short length of line through the ring (much easier off the model!), fold it back over the block and hold the block and line together in the clip (unfortunately I only photographed this stage for the first seizing method, but the idea is the same):




The trick here is to fold back the line just enough to produce the gap you want between the block and the fitting.


Next, I repeated the over and under seizing, this time including the folded back line (this photo shows the result using a block stropped using the second seizing method):




After a tiny drop of thin CA and trimming:




The method works equally well with double blocks:




One variation that I touched on briefly before is where you need a ring in the strop. Initially I used a 1mm drill bit to make the ring but after deciding it was too large I substituted a 0.8mm needle. Soaking the rings in thin CA seems to keep their shape - you just have to be careful to move the line on the needle before it sets! Here, I'm doing four at once:






I started cutting 100mm/4 inch lengths of line for each strop but decided this was wasteful. Instead, I just used one end of a longer line, trimming it off close to the seizing when the CA had hardened. In this way I used less than 30 mm of line for each strop. May seem like penny pinching, but it actually makes your line go three times further.


By the way I can imagine some experienced modellers turning up their eyes at what they see as obvious points about rigging, but none of this stuff was obvious to me when I started, and if it helps one or two people then I'm happy.


I'm moving on to the bowsprit next which brings its own interesting challenges, for example with collars with one, two and four deadeyes seized into them. I'll cover that next.







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Rigging the spars - odds & sods


Many thanks for all the likes.


I had hoped to move on to the bowsprit by now, but some half-decent Autumn weather has kept me on various outdoor chores with only very limited time in the dockyard. Also, finishing off rigging the masts wasn't quite as straightforward as I'd expected, so I'll log another couple of wrinkles I've had to deal with.


First, I realise now that I was somewhat premature in gluing together the various components of the fore and main masts, the problem being that it now makes it more awkward to rig some of the required blocks. For example, a block and a thimble have to be set up on the fore topmast head as part of the rigging for the main topgallant and royal stays. With the fore topgallant mast and cap in place you can't just slip a loop of line over the masthead, and I found it impossible to seize the block or the thimble in situ. I resorted to cheating, which in this case meant seizing the block/thimble into the middle of a short length of line then tying the line round the masthead in such a way that the simple half knot was concealed in the gap between the masthead and the heel of the topgallant mast. A dab of CA and careful trimming with a scalpel and hopefully the 'cheat' is invisible:



Lift Blocks


I had more substantial problems with the fore and main lift blocks. The kit shows these as pairs of long tackle ("fiddle") blocks seized into spans, ie lines that wrap around the main and fore caps. Impossible once everything is glued in place, as the gap between the mastheads and topmast heels is too narrow for the blocks to fit. A worse problem in my case was the quality of the fiddle blocks. These are the only components I have come across that fall below the otherwise very high standard in this kit. They were out of scale (at 7mm they should have been 1.4mm thick according to the ratios laid down, not 3mm), they were not well finished and the sheave holes and grooves were off-centre making them difficult to rig. I made my own fiddle blocks from boxwood for Royal Caroline and was going to do so for Speedy, but when I checked standard references (including Rees's The Masting & Rigging of English Ships of War) I found that ships of this period could be rigged with either fiddle blocks or ordinary double blocks. I opted for the latter. The only fly in the ointment was that Rees also noted that from 1760 blocks would be seized to an eyebolt in the cap rather than to a span. I was loathe to drill the caps for eyebolts at this stage so I chose to assume that Speedy's builders hadn't caught up with the changed instruction and fitted spans 😬


In this instance I was able to rig the span partly in situ. I started off the model by seizing a double block into one end of a line which I then set round the cap in a clove hitch as per full-size practice (I've got to do some things right!). It was then a relatively easy task to seize the second block into the free end of the span:



The clove hitch also came in handy when it came to setting up pairs of blocks at the topgallant heads:




Much easier when you can get right round the spar in question!


Talking of knots, apart from the indispensable Ashley Book of Knots, my other goto reference is this website Animated Knots by Grog. Worth checking out if you've not used it.


One final point before I forget - I've found that the sheave holes in the blocks are only just big enough for their intended line. To avoid any problems in rigging on the ship, I've been drilling them all out to a very slightly wider diameter as I fit them to the various spars. 


On to the bowsprit.




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Do you have the masts already installed on the hull?  That would make adding block challenging, but seems like you’re solving the problems as you come to them. I also thing it’s always good practice to drill out the blocks before installing them, if nothing more to give the rope a smooth passage as it’s being run.


I’ve also been away from the bench due to having to reconstruct and renovate our kitchen due to a major water leak. Not fun.

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It looks like a great tool that quad hands.

I can not buy it in the Netherlands so i was looking at the USA for it but there not shipping to Europe!

I have to find another  way to get it.



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