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


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Thanks Phil.

 

1 hour ago, PhillH said:

I am going to have to get some quadhands

I can highly recommend the quadhands. They come in a variety of formats - different numbers of arms and different bases - so I'm sure you'll find one to suit. I got mine from Amazon.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Topmast shrouds - ratlines etc.

Topsail yard lifts

 

I've finished adding futtock staves and rattling down the topmast shrouds. Still nowhere near perfect, but slightly better than my attempts on the lower shrouds.

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For the futtock staves I used the 0.5mm brass rod supplied in the kit. On the lower masts I'd found it difficult to hold the staves in place whilst lashing them to the shrouds, but this time round I copied the method @glennard2523 used in his Duchess of Kingston build, which keeps the quadhands well out of the way:

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I departed slightly from the kit instructions when it came to the topsail yard lifts. The kit calls for a 3mm single block to be seized between the first and second shrouds on each side of each mast, above the futtock staves. The kit solution is a modified version of full-size practice where a sister block would have been fitted in this location - a very thin long block, with two sheaves placed one above the other. After reeving through the lift block at the yard arm the lift would go down through the lower of the two sheaves in the sister block.

 

Try as I might, I couldn't get a block to fit properly between the shrouds - possibly because I'd served the shrouds making them thicker and less flexible. I tried flattening the sides of a block and deepening the grooves, but it still felt wrong:

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Fortunately help was at hand in the shape of Lees' Masting & Rigging, which notes that an alternative arrangement was in use prior to 1790 whereby ordinary blocks were lashed to the topmast head on long strops that suspended them just below the crosstrees. 

 

The next question was how to rig the standing parts of the topsail yard lifts. I may have missed it, but I couldn't find a clear picture of this in the instructions and plans. However I believe one common method at the time was to use a span clove hitched around the topmast head. The span was a length of tarred rope with a thimble eye spliced into each end; the lifts were then seized to the thimbles.

 

To make each span I used 140mm of 0.5mm line - seems a lot but you need to allow for the clove hitch and splicing round the thimbles. For the latter I used brass tube - 1.6mm O.D./0.8mm I.D. - cut into 1.5mm lengths on the Preac saw using the finest blade. To support the tube and prevent the cut piece flying off I inserted a length of 0.8mm wire into the tube:

 

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The next step was to use a spring-loaded punch to squash the tube into a thimble shape:

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I've tried using an ordinary punch with light hammer blows, but found it difficult to get consistent results. Luckily, the spring-loaded punch seems to deliver just the right amount of force needed to produce a good shape. 

 

After blackening with brass black I seized the thimbles in the ends of the spans with simulated splices. To get the line to sit snuggly round the thimble I used two seizings with fly-tying thread - the first worked towards the thimble (note: yet another use for a cocktail stick!)...

IMG_3357.thumb.JPG.621854d26eb7c4c4476c34a6b913955e.JPG 

...and the second away:

IMG_3360.thumb.JPG.1948c860f4f476df228c8b70d1c18443.JPGI trimmed the spare end of line at an angle before I seized over it in order to make the result as much like a splice as possible. Fortunately, the thimbles were thin enough to fit between the topmast head and the heel of the topgallant mast, which meant I could prepare them off the model then clove hitch them round the mast cap. They can be seen in the first photo in this entry.

 

Next, it's on to the various topmast stays and backstays.

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20 hours ago, glennard2523 said:

I'm glad my method has helped you. I have learnt so much from your build

Thanks Glenn - this forum is all about learning from each other.

 

16 hours ago, glbarlow said:

I found this simple tool for cutting brass tube using a jewelers saw.

Thanks for the kind words Glenn, and thanks for the link to the tube jig. I must confess cutting brass on the Preac has always made me a tad nervous. I've had a look on the web and it looks like similar products are available over here. I'll definitely get one.

 

Derek

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Backstays

 

Speedy has standing and shifting backstays on both fore and main masts. The standing backstays presented an interesting challenge. In full size practice the port and starboard backstays would have been formed from a single length of rope, fitted round the topmast head with a "tongue" - a short length of rope spliced across the bend in the backstay. This is sometimes called a horseshoe splice given it's shape. The challenge would be to replicate this on the model. With the mast caps already fixed in place I couldn't make the tongue splice totally off the model and just slip it over the masthead, but I was keen to give it a go.

 

The kit uses 0.75mm line for the backstays, which I felt was a bit heavy. Instead, I decided to use some 0.6mm stuff I had left over from a previous model. The backstays would have been served to about 2 feet below the crosstrees - 9.5mm at scale - and after measuring on the model this meant I had to serve the middle 44mm of the rope. This was straightforward (see post #486 for details of using the Syren serving machine). Slightly trickier was preparing the tongue. I needed a 6mm piece of served rope for this, not counting the ends which need to be 'spliced' into the backstay. The picture shows the tongue being prepared on the Serv-o-matic.

 

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I've left plenty of spare serving thread at each end to serve over the joins.

 

The next picture shows the tongue cut free, with the ends cut at angles to join with the backstay:

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Next, I applied a small blob of PVA to one cut end and clamped it against the backstay:

 

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When the PVA was dry I removed the clamp and used the spare thread to continue serving over the join. To make it easier to wrap and to make it extra secure I brushed some dilute PVA over the serving thread before starting to wind it round, then finished with a half hitch. I didn't think it looked too bad. Call me weird, but I think there's something very satisfying about seeing a stack of served rope growing round a masthead - it just looks better than unserved rope to my eye.

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The colour is way off in this shot - the masts are not yellow! Of course the really tricky part was completing the second join as that had to be done on the model. However it turned out to be easier than I expected, albeit a bit tight.  As before, I glued and clamped the join then completed the serving. 

 

The final job was to turn a 3mm deadeye into each end of the backstay and rig lanyards:

 

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Apologies for the focus. I'm following my usual practice and leaving final tightening of the lanyards until all stays are in place.

 

Shifting backstays next, which hopefully will be a bit easier.

 

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Thanks Glenn. Unfortunately I think I’ve just spotted one detail I got wrong on the back stay! I’m pretty sure the stays should go down between the 2nd and 3rd crosstrees (like the shrouds) rather than aft of them. I’ll double check and re-rig if necessary. 

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9 minutes ago, glbarlow said:

your attention to the smallest detail

Thanks Glenn - the attention to detail can be tiresome in some aspects of life (ask my wife 😬). Btw, our posts must have crossed, as I was responding to Scarborough Glenn's in my previous one.

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Shifting backstays

 

Speedy carried shifting backstays on both masts, fitted after the standing versions. According to Longridge's The Anatomy of Nelson's Ships, shifting backstays were clenched individually to the topmast heads. I'm not 100% sure from the references I've found, but I think 'clenched' in this context this means fastening the backstay round the masthead in such a way as to facilitate removal (as the name suggests, shifting backstays were not permanent parts of the rigging).

 

I started by forming a fake eye-splice in the end of a length of 0.5mm line using fly tying thread in the usual way, cutting the end at an angle to ensure a neat finish.

 

IMG_3408.thumb.JPG.3b443400203c647abe8b96a67e98c35e.JPG As with standing backstays, the shifters were served to about two feet (9.5mm) below the crosstrees. Starting with on the starboard side I test fitted the stay to mark where the serving should finish, then it was on to the Serv-o-matic:

 

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The eye proved handy as the photo above shows, and all went well on the main starboard backstay. However, I must have put too much tension on the line when I did the port side as the eye pulled loose 😲. Fortunately I'd just finished serving so it was a comparatively easy job to unpick the fly silk and redo the splice.

 

Here's both shifting backstays fitted to the main topmast head:

 

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Now I've got into the swing of it it shouldn't take long to finish rigging the backstays and then it's on to the stays and preventer stays.

 

Derek

 

 

 

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Thanks Theodosius. I’m glad you’re finding my log useful, and hope you’re enjoying building Speedy as much as I am. 
 

Derek 

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Posted (edited)

More stays

 

Finishing rigging the four shifting backstays was quite straightforward, albeit quite a lengthy job with 12 blocks and eight eyes required. The picture shows the arrangement at the port side of the foremast, with the explanation following:

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A 5mm single block is seized into the end of the backstay - near the top middle of the shot. A runner (0.5mm tarred line) reeves through the block, with the aft end seized to an eyebolt in the channel between the second and third deadeyes. A 3mm single block is seized into the other end of the runner, with a second block seized to an eyebolt just aft of the first deadeye. I formed a ring on lower end of the upper 3mm block in the manner I've previously described, to which the fall (0.25mm running rigging) is seized. The fall reeves through the lower 3mm block, back up through the upper block then down again. In the words of one reference (Longridge) "the fall is expended round its own parts". A lovely and concise way of saying the spare end wraps around the tackle. I'll probably finish it with a hitch round the tackle when I finally tension all the rigging.

 

Topmast stays & preventer stays

 

These stays are normally half the diameter of their lower mast counterparts, which suggests 0.65mm & 0.5mm for Speedy. I chose to go with 0.75 and 0.5mm line which I felt was close enough. Each stay was served and set up with an eye and mouse in exactly the same way as before (here), just with correspondingly smaller mice. Starting at the main mast I  differed slightly from the kit plans by putting the preventer stay over the masthead first. This seems in line with reference sources such as Lees.

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The preventer stay reeves through a 5mm single block seized to the foremast just below the catharpins, and the stay through a similar block seized round the foremast head above the shrouds. NB I should have drilled the blocks out to accommodate these large diameter stays before fitting them - doing so in situ was tricky and curse-inducing 😡.

IMG_3467.thumb.JPG.79a9a70e0990bf237b829a48a8e58526.JPG

 

I departed very slightly from the plans when it came to rigging the main topmast stays at deck level. The plans show each mainmast stay ending in a 4mm double block rigged to a single block hooked to an eyebolt abaft the foremast - the preventer stay on the port side and the stay on the starboard. The running ends of the tackle then belay to the bitts. I decided to use a long-tackle ("fiddle") block rather than a standard double, and to hitch the running end round the tackle. I felt that both these minor variations were more in keeping with the sources I've read (and I fancied having a go at making my own fiddle blocks!).

 

There was nothing fancy about making the fiddle blocks. Each block had to be 6mm long, so I started with a strip of box, 1.2mm by 3mm, drilled holes for the rigging line, shaped the block with swiss files then cut it to length. The result doesn't pass very close scrutiny, but once it's seized into the stay it doesn't look too bad.

 

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I used one of the PE hooks for the 3mm block - it looks slightly out of scale in the first picture but again, when it's on the model I think it's acceptable.

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I really must get some wax on that line - the fuzziness in close-up looks horrifying! And I must start dusting the model more.

 

Fore topmast stays next.

 

Derek

 

Edited by DelF
Correction - I wrongly said kit plans did not show how topmast stays belayed
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I would argue that Shifting Backstays are indeed part of the standing rig. Shifting doesn't imply they get used sometimes and not other times. that would mean they are not permanent standing rigging. They shift backstays between port and stbd side depending what tack they are on. They are not removable in that they are more easily disconnected from the masthead. They are a required part of the rig and it would seriously compromise the rig if they were not made up properly at sea, IE. the rig could come down on their heads quite easily if they don't shift their backstays every time they come about. 

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Yes Indeed, part of the standing rigging.  There is no pressure on the leeward backstay, so it can be loosened.  This is actually vital as the ship moves off the wind ( wind from the side) because the boom then has to be moved outward and a tight leeward stay would foul the boom.  In fact the capsize of the American yacht in the Americas cup was caused by just this fact. fo some reason the leeward stay did not release and over she went!

 

John

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"Running" backstays are part of the "required " rigging - without them you can lose bits of mast. I think I have noted before that  an old cutter i skippered long ago -actually lost  her topmast (after my time) because of a foul up with the running backstay.

 

However in my experience the lines are not treated in quite the same way as true fixed standing rigging . They have to have some adjustment tackle at the end which is normally like any other running rigging because it needs to move and be finely adjusted.

Above the tackle fitting though it can be treated quite like  standing rigging except it needs so be somewhat more flexible because the downwind stay will normally be taken and stowed forrard near the base of the mast to keep  clear of the boom

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Posted (edited)
On 4/5/2021 at 4:26 PM, DelF said:

I think 'clenched' in this context this means fastening the backstay round the masthead in such a way as to facilitate removal (as the name suggests, shifting backstays were not permanent parts of the rigging).

I seem to have started some hares running with this comment. Perhaps I should have said 'not fixed' rather than 'not permanent', as evidenced by them being set up with blocks and tackle rather than deadeyes and lanyards? They were  'shifted' to meet the needs of the ship by hauling alternate sides tight as the ship tacked.

 

At the same time, it's important to recognise that usage and terminology change across time and across navies - I suspect modern yachts differ considerably from 18th century warships in that regard. For the 18th Century English Navy James Lees is one of the foremost experts, and in The Masting & Rigging of English Ships of War 1625-1860 he says "Shifting backstay size is given in the rigging tables, but this would not be seen generally as it was only used to give additional stay to the mast when sailing , and would be unrove in port or whenever it was thought fit" [my emphasis]. So are shifting backstays permanent or not? You pays your money and you takes your choice.

 

Semantics aside, I'd be interested to know if I got my interpretation of 'clenched' right?

Edited by DelF
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5 hours ago, glbarlow said:

Your workmanship is topped by your knowledge of all things nautical.

Thanks Glenn. On the nautical knowledge front, I'm still learning! 🙂

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On 4/9/2021 at 9:42 PM, DelF said:

Thanks Theodosius. I’m glad you’re finding my log useful, and hope you’re enjoying building Speedy as much as I am. 
 

Derek 

 

Well yes, thanks, even though I feel a little bit tired of the sanding... 🙂

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On 4/12/2021 at 4:44 PM, DelF said:

I couldn't tell from the plans exactly how the main topmast stays were rigged at deck level.

Oops! With apologies to Chris, I've just spotted a very clear diagram on the plans showing exactly how the  stays should be rigged. The same method I used, with two minor variations - the use of a double block rather than a fiddle block, and  the running end of the tackle belayed to the bitts rather than hitching round the tackle (my preferred method).

 

I'll edit the log accordingly.

 

Derek

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Fore topmast stays

 

Thanks as always for the likes and kind comments - they are very much appreciated.

 

I finished rigging the fore topmast stay and preventer stay today - I'm enjoying this stage of the build and it feels like the end of the standing rigging is in sight. There were no new features or techniques in rigging these stays so I won't go into much detail. The served mouse and eye arrangement at the masthead was standard, as was the lead through the bees. I've seen different ways of rigging the other end of these stays, for example with deadeyes and lanyards or with fiddle blocks, but I was happy to go with the kit plans which showed a 4mm double block seized in the end of the stay and a 3mm single block hooked to an eyebolt in the bows. Here's how Speedy looks with all the topmast stays and backstays rigged:

IMG_3480.thumb.JPG.17a8b1b68c04434a5bfb8050a5d1317d.JPG

With most of the standing rigging in place I'll tension all the stays which should tidy up all those lanyards and other lines.

 

One thing worth noting is yet another tool to add to the collection. Glenn (@glbarlow) pointed me to some cuticle cutters that Ryland Craze had recommended for trimming rigging. I ordered them yesterday from Amazon (here), they arrived today and they're superb. Previously I'd used Xuron micro-shears which I thought were the best flush cutters I could get- here they are alongside the new pair:

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The main advantage of the new cutter is that it cuts totally flush, even in the tightest of spots. As Glenn says in his Cheerful log, they're so sharp you can cut through wooden blocks if you're not careful.

 

Whilst on tools, I ordered the tube cutter Glenn recommended earlier in this log and it's also a considerable improvement over using the table saw. I'll show it in more detail shortly when I need to make some more thimbles.

 

Topgallant and royal stays next.

 

Derek

Edited by DelF
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Posted (edited)

The rigging looks great as does the model. When I get to Flirt your log will be my constant reference. 
 

Let’s make sure our wives don’t learn how much we’ve influenced each other’s tool purchases. 
 

btw, it’s Cheerful, not Alert😁

Edited by glbarlow
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Gregory said:

Did those come in the kit, and are they wood

They're PE from the kit, but proper scale and when painted they look round and realistic, not flat. Much better than the usual kit offerings.

 

1 hour ago, glennard2523 said:

I always need new tools

Me too (although 'need' is stretching it a bit!)

 

1 hour ago, glbarlow said:

Let’s make sure our wives don’t learn how much we’ve influenced each other’s tool purchases. 

My lips are sealed😬🤐 .

 

 

Edited by DelF
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Great hint about the side cutters - I have a great pair which were designed for trimming microcircuits - but they are over twenty years old and the edge is just about gone but I was shocked to find that though they are still made they were over £50 ( say $70) and MY admiral does ask questions too ! But these look great value !

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