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Stropping Blocks

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Hello all! I’m having great difficulty with this concept and am wondering if anyone has a solution? Essentially, I need to strop double blocks for rigging the cannons on my ship, but I am rather confused as to what happens to the end of the line. It seems like it is supposed to feed back into itself? That seems a little beyond my capabilities, but I’m very curious to see what others do. It’s something that’s so common, I don’t see the actual process mentioned very often, nor do I see it detailed much at larger scales. At a smaller scale, it’s a lot easier to give the illusion of a properly stropped block, but at this scale I am at a loss for how to proceed. Any help is greatly appreciated! Here are a couple pictures to illustrate what I mean. (I know, the last picture is definitely not the best way of doing it, right?)







Current build(s):

Continental Gunboat Philadelphia by Model Shipways



Completed build(s):

Model Shipways Phantom



Member of:

The Nautical Research Guild

N.R.M.S.S. (Nautical Research and Model Ship Society)

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There are various ways of doing it. The problem, of course, is that full-sized blocks are stropped with strops that are laid up from a single strand of rope laid back on itself to form a continuous loop.


A seizing is then worked around a thimble which tightens the strop around the block and the thimble. (The thimble in the photo is incorrect. It is a thimble made for modern wire cable, not fiber cordage. I got the photo off of google images, so...)


You can lay up your own strops if you are really anal about it, but that's very difficult at small scales. I used to say "impossible," but from what I've seen of some people's work on this forum, I don't use that word when speaking about ship modeling anymore! Frankly, I've always found even making strops for full-size blocks a difficult bit of work, primarily because the modern synthetic rope used for it modernly does not hold it's shape or "twist" the way hemp rope does.


Others have their favorite methods of depicting a stropped blocks for models. Some books recommend gluing the line together on the block, generally at the bottom, opposite the thimble or wetting the end of a tail with some glue and then whipping it, for tailed blocks. I've never liked that option so much because I don't trust glue to hold the kinds of stresses rigging lines are sometimes subject to. I try to devise a way to knot the line so as to achieve a real "strop" that holds the block as in full-size rigging practice. I tie a loop the size of the strop I need, and then place the knot (usually a square knot) at the point of the juncture between the thimble (or the loop in the strop, if a thimble isn't being used,) and then tie the customary racking seizing on top of the knot so that it is hidden from view. Whether the strop is served depends on the scale. If it's to be served, it has to be done before it is placed over the block and thimble. The connecting knot can be hidden in the service, obviously, and then concealed by the seizing. I then apply a clear shellac to the cordage. The shellac sold in paint and hardware stores is "two pound cut," (the thickness of the mixture ratio of alcohol and shellac flakes) and this is generally very thin, so it wicks in easily with just a touch of a paintbrush. There's no need to mask the block, if you are careful applying the shellac. It will be invisible when dry and will "cement" the strop and seizing very well. (Some swear by CA ("super glue") for this application. It's just my preference, but I avoid using CA for anything unless absolutely necessary. I follow the USN/Mystic Seaport archival materials standards to the greatest extent possible. Shellac is soluble in alcohol and can be washed off and undone, unlike some other adhesives. 


See post #1572 and following on page 53 of archjofo's scratch-build log for La Creole (1827) if you want to learn how to make blocks that will knock your lights out. He's working at a quarter inch to the foot. Note how he actually splices his strops at the bottom, leaving the splice unserved so it appears as a "pudding" at the bottom of the block, which is perfectly accurate. The puddings were used to protect the strop where it was exposed to the most chafe and impacts.









Edited by Bob Cleek
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But as you gun tackles wont have svere stress, the method shown in your manual works fine, and will prevent uggly oversized knots.....

the two ends that need to be glued are half hitched to each other, so no diffucult splicing or so.



Edited by amateur
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