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Modeling The Extreme Clipper

Young America


Volume 3: Masting and Rigging

By Edward J. Tosti

Distributed by: SeaWatchBooks LLC, 2019

9“ x 12”, hardcover, dust jacket, 256 pages

Illustrations, drawings, CD, bibliography, index

ISBN 978-1-7320162-4-8

www.seawatchbooks.com, seawatchbooks@gmail.com


 In an opening Forward, SeaWatchBooks, LLC Publisher, Bob Friedman, offers some thoughts on this remarkable book and series:  “This is the third and final volume  on building the clipper, Young America, 1853.  Ed Tosti’s work on this subject reaches the pinnacle of ship modeling art and technique. I believe the three volumes will stand as an ultimate master class on all needed skills including painstaking research, drafting of plans, techniques, woodworking, metal work, and most of all in the art of masting and rigging.  Ed’s ubiquitous talents also include the creation of custom tools and jigs to solve particular construction challenges.  In my sixty years of being involved in the world of model ships, I have never experienced a work as Ed’s Young America, and I doubt we will see anything like it in the future.”


   This writer couldn’t have stated it any better.  There is no doubt that Volume 3 puts an exclamation point on a series that will be a benchmark reference for mid-nineteenth century merchant ship construction in general, and model ship building techniques in particular.

   Volume 3 is basically broken down into three segments.  The first deals with construction of the masts, yards, spars and their fitting out with hardware and furniture.  The second portion concentrates on producing the rigging elements such as rope, chain, wire and blocks.  The remainder of the book puts it all together, and is appropriately called “rigging ship.”

   Tosti points out that unlike the first two books, which follow a sequence of steps for building Young America, number three breaks away from this practice, and groups the construction of similar components into a single chapter.  One example would be all the spars described in Chapter 27.  The author emphasizes that he is not implying that all the spars should be made at one time.  He states that which components should initially be constructed should be left to the modeler.  Becoming familiar with the contents of this book will be of considerable assistance in the planning phase.  For those that still feel that some sort of structure should be offered, Tosti states that Chapters 34 and 35 provide ideas and suggestions for sequencing.


   This volume also comes with a CD that supplements the contents in the book, and includes posts from the author’s online build log.  The order in which these posts appear coincides with the sequence Tosti used for the rigging process.  The author’s attention to detail is amazing.  Other unique bits of information on this disk include belaying plans, conversion charts for the two scales featured in this treatise, printing instructions for the attached PDF files, and a simplified rigging list for those wanting to cut back on the daunting task of rigging a clipper ship.

   Volume 3 comes with 13 sheets of plans that relate to rigging Young America, yet none of them provide a highly detailed overall rigging plan.  This is due to one of the more remarkable aspects of Volume 3, Appendix 1.  Referred to as the “Rigging List”, this extensive table alone might  be worth the cost of this book.  It fully defines each rigging line, and is the key to the entire rigging process.

   This appendix includes line naming, descriptions, size, type, color, serving requirements, needed components, and setup notes.  This last item is especially important since these notes go hand in hand with identification numbers that are assigned to each line.  These numbers can be found on many drawings, diagrams and photos, and facilitate prefabrication while also identifying connections, belaying points and routings.


   A common feature that appears in all of Ed Tosti’s books is the crossed file and hammer symbol.  This diagram is featured in the index, and next to the headers for various construction procedures. It indicates that a special tool/fixture was used to fabricate certain elements of the model.  It appears at least 10 times in Volume 3.


   One of the most common fittings found on 19th century ships were the many types of iron bands, and the author devotes considerable attention to their fabrication, mounting, shape and coloration.  It was not uncommon for different examples to be utilized on the same mast.


    There is a second appendix, which contains a list of all the large format drawings included with each volume.  This list does not include the small format drawings found on CD’s.  A total of 24 drawings are noted, which represents an impressive portfolio of plans.  This book also includes a very nice 8 page full color section.


   One interesting aspect of Volume 3 is the use of italicized words that may be unfamiliar to the reader.  Tosti states that rather than including an extensive glossary, these uncommon words are italicized when first used, and include some definition.

   Although this volume compliments the first two books, it possesses enough information to be a stand alone reference on 19th Century rigging techniques.  Ed Tosti is to be congratulated on a most remarkable achievement.  Needless to say, Young America, 1853, Volume 3 is highly recommended!

Reviewed by BobF





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