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Great Harry / Henry Grace a Dieu - Restoration

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The Central Ohio Shipwrights has been chartered to restore an old model of a British carrack of the 16th Century.  It sports four (or five, if you count the bowsprit). The mizzenmast and bonaventure midden masts have lanteen sails.  While there are Spanish carracks of similar design, they only influenced GHs construction.  
This model has few lines in place, has broken woodwork and is in sore need of cleaning. It is missing a few pieces that will have to be reproduced. Club members are researching, drawing rigging plans, inventorying, and cleaning.  Stay tuned. 

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Are you able to share any of the model's history and can you provide a photo of the complete model? 

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Good to see this build log starting, Boxbuilds.

 

I discovered the person I thought was a part-time volunteer at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, where there's an almost identical model, was actually at the Maritime Museum, quite a distance away. I've sent a message to a friend of mine who I think used to be employed by the Powerhouse, but that was quite a few years ago. I'm waiting on an answer. Might be of use - I'll just have to wait to find out.

 

I'm looking forward to seeing your progress on this build. If there's any help I can give, please let me know. 

 

Steven

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Thanks.  Yes we'll put up a pic as we received it.  This is , I believe the original 1514 configuration of the GH before its redesign and streamline work in 1557. Bill Nyberg and I are working on rigging plans so this'll be a good time to get more detail. The ship was renamed the Edward after Henry's death so that may provide another source...

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6/23/20.  Planning and start of work    
The ship has been photographed. An inventory of the existing model and parts was made. This allowed our members to know the model’s condition, the tasks involved and what must be remade. The tasks are being shared among club members, as appropriate. 
   A distributed approach to projects was carefully considered by the club. The project benefits from the talents of the team members and the task list is finished more quickly.  Of course good communication and attention to the task dependencies is essential.  Clear plans are important. A rigging plan is being constructed from Pics of a twin model at the  museum of applied arts and sciences in Australia. Other drawings will likewise maintain consistency with the original. Each member will be adding to this log regarding their work.

   Another key aspect of the project is understanding the owners’ expectations. They become our goals and guide. In this case the owners asked for a restoration that retains the aged appearance they grew up with. Over the years the ship condition deteriorated. The gallery roof is gone, there is damaged and missing woodwork, a sail is missing and the rigging is “gone.”

    Cleaning is started. It is bringing out underlying colors and gold trim was discovered.     To access the complete hull the guns, gunports, rigging fragments, masts, yards, bowsprit and sails were removed.  The cleaning will target dirt and show the original detail that were lost to age. 
    Some guns, blocks and dead eyes are missing. Drawings of these items are done. And prototypes to compare with original parts are being completed. It is of Note that this model’s parts are unique and don’t conform with conventional commercial parts.  Once the missing pieces are ready, the parts, yards, masts and rigging plans will be sent to the team member who will rig them. 
    

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This is a project after my own heart. It will take quite a bit of judgment to keep as close as possible to the client's brief (repaired but still looking aged) while replacing missing parts. Are you planning to "age" the new parts or leave them new-looking to show what's been replaced? And how about the cleaning? I expect even once cleaned the ship will retain much of its patina, but I'd say that would also be a judgment call.

 

I'll be following with great interest.

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Louie da fly

I have contacted the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) in Sidney, the Photo Library, about the photo they have posted of "Great Harry" H 3476. Harry Ree wrote back with a photo of the Great Harry from the starboard side of the model, showing more details of her rigging. It is not of the best quality. They will provide a new digital photo. but due to Covid-19 and other priorities it could take 6-8 weeks. Without plans available, this may be the only way we can duplicate the rigging on our model. 

Appreciate your help and that the museum is the "Powerhouse" that holds the model. From their web site I found the reference to the Photo Library and their contact information. 

Thanks again.

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I will now confine my comments to this build log rather then my own. My focus is trying to understand and draw the rigging plan for our model. We have three models to study to understand how she was rigged (NMM, Greenwich - rigging in bad shape; Our model - rigging mostly removed before we took possession; and the model at the Powerhouse Museum, Sidney.) The Powerhouse Museum had two photos of their model, one from the port side (shown above) and one from the starboard side, showing how she is rigged. I signed all the papers to get a copy of the models starboard side this morning. 

The owner stipulated that she want the vessel rigged as it was with one exception: How the yards are fastened to the masts. In the model when we received it, the yards were wired to the masts. the owner has asked us to replace the wire with rope. 

 image.png.c75a23e8de64481691a57508080137ea.png 

The above worked from the 13th to 18th C. (Mondfeld).  Mondfeld, Deane's and Steel mention lateen yards but not how they are held to the mast

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Rigged as above would allow the Lateen yard to swing with the wind without binding and also allow the yard to be lowered to the deck. Though 18th C., I doubt that rigging a lateen yard had not changed in 200 years. 

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Hi Feathermerchant,

 

That looks very good. They certainly had parrel trucks at that time (the earliest evidence I've found is the beginning of the 15th century). And they found a parrel truck among the aftefacts of the Mary Rose. I saw it when I was over there in 2009.

 

That lateen rig looks very good. There's a diagram in my post of June 9 at  

 (kindly supplied by Woodrat of this forum) of the support for a lateen yard, but this is specifically Mediterranean, with a fixed block (called a calcet) at the very top of the mast. I'm sure that wouldn't apply to the Great Harry, and that the one you're proposing is better for the job. 

 

Unfortunately as I've mentioned elsewhere on this forum, they're "relocating" the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta, about 12 miles out of Sydney, on a floodplain, and as I read the information, making it "interactive" (i.e. dumbing it down to attract the kiddies). So their model is likely to vanish into some store-room oblivion like the crate at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The photo they supply of the starboard side is probably the best you're going to get in the foreseeable future.

 

Their model's rigging is nice and complete, but it's quite possible (considering how alike their model and yours are) that their yards are also wired on. Time will tell. I think you're best to go with what you have in mind.  

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The cleaning is basically done. I am comparing the "look" with the MAAS model and they are close...so I didn't clean too deeply. The guns, gunport covers, rigging and masts have been removed. 

  The masts and yards will be shipped to the member that's going to rig them. We are missing  topsail, topgallant, main and lanteen yards -- one of each.  The flag masts are also going to need replacing.  Feathermerchant will provide replacement yards. He is also getting the rigging.  It is three diameters: .5, 1, 1.5 mm (lanyards, running rigging, and stays respectively).  IMG_1082.thumb.jpg.cc8cbf8c85fe5d901da78c1f0b064540.jpg

 

It is nice to see the colors and gold trim come out Unfortunately, the dirt covered myriad splits/cracks.  None threaten the integrity.  It will be better to leave them alone.  It adds age character.  The gun covers and guns will be replaced soon 

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Very nice. Scrubs up well - much crisper and cleaner but still retains its patina of age. You've managed to balance the two very well - a difficult job. My hat's off to you.

 

By the way, regarding the support for the mizzen lateen, do you have (or have access to) The Rigging of Ships in the Days of the Spritsail Topmast 1600-1720 by R.C.  Anderson? On pages 231-241 it has a good explanation of this subject with diagrams, from a time and place considerably closer to the Great Harry than the examples above.

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Keith, thats is a good question and we do not have a crisp answer. Family says it came to America with a great grandfather when he emigrated either before or around the turn of the century from Germany. The Powerhouse Museum dates it at 1920's but does not know the maker. NMM, Greenwich dates theirs as possibly early 19th C. reconstruction, based upon an engraving published in 1756.  That is a 100 year span and raises the question: Who and where? We have three models, America, UK, & Aus. that are almost identical.  What we do know is that our model has a plaque in the keel that has Germany on it. I expect that we have the same craftsman duplicating the mode. In this mix we have the Great Exhibition of 1851 (Crystal Palace), in Hyde Park, London where a model of the "Great Harry" had been made for display.  The Crystal places was moved to south London in 1854 and stood until 1936 when it was burned down.

 

So the question is: Is the Great harry in the US & Aus. a one-off to the Great Harry at NMM and did a local guild in Germany build the models for sale?

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Steven, I have Anderson.  Finished reading Mark Myers, masters thesis "The Evolution of Hull Design in Sixteenth-Century English Ship-Of-War" (Texas A&M). Henry VII (early 1500's and Elizabeth (Late 1500's) were the major builders of English ships and both changed the hull designs but appears that there was not that much change in rigging. That said, Anderson wrote his book in 1883 based on source materials from the 16-1700's. I am going to assume that the rigging of ships in Henry's VIII's time did not change that much by the early 1600's.  Since I have now a starboard view of the Auz. model, I should be able to draw out the rigging plan for "The Great Harry" when the model was built. This is a restoration back to how it looked 60 years ago with the exception of how the yards were fastened to the masts. The model, when we picked her up, had the yards wired to the masts and the owner asked if we could replace the wire with rope.  That said, Anderson becomes our technical source for how to rig a 1600 vessel since I have not found a technical source for the 1500's. 

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 FM, thank you for answering. I assume it's a solid hull? The paint though worn doesn't appear to be flaking which speaks to the love and care it's received all these years. This is an exciting adventure of research and restoration, thank you for letting us share in the adventure. 

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Besides the wire Feathermerchent describes, closer inspection also shows small nails used to reinforce the joint. Many of the techniques used to tie lines is non-standard. The pics attached show stay lines and futtock shrouds  around a top; deadeye attachment to the shrouds; a half hitch commonly used around the masts; and, deadeye attachment to the hull.    Some lines are attached to the hull tied around a nail. Uncommon or unlike a ship of this age, it has fife rails with belaying pins at the base of the fore and main masts.

   Deadeye positions along the hull only seem to support the lower shrouds. The masts are a single piece of dowel with turned crows nests slipped over them into position. They are supposed to be topped by a cap and flag mast. Hopefully this will contribute to the veracity of the rigging plan. 

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13 hours ago, Feathermerchant said:

Steven, I have Anderson. 

That's good news. I think you're on the right track using that as a source, as it reflects the state of knowledge about the time the model was built.

 

13 hours ago, Feathermerchant said:

Finished reading Mark Myers, masters thesis "The Evolution of Hull Design in Sixteenth-Century English Ship-Of-War"

Yes, that's one of my "go-to" sources with ships of this period.

 

 

13 hours ago, Feathermerchant said:

Anderson becomes our technical source for how to rig a 1600 vessel since I have not found a technical source for the 1500's. 

And as far as I know, none exists. There are some contemporary paintings that show rigging, but I have grave doubts about the maritime knowledge of the artist (for example on the Embarkation at Dover, the mizzen masts have square sails!)

 

Thanks very much for those beautifully clear, detailed photos. It gives a very good idea of the job you have ahead of you. In my opinion your strategy in repairing the model is exactly right.

 

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There are several repair tasks to do. One of the pot metal anchors was broken in half.  To avoid scorch marks I might have caused with a torch, I used a resistance soldering tool to mend it.  After cleaning, fluxing and tinning the parts I set them up in a jig.  That gave me two hands to work with and was important when the metal took so long to reach temperature.   Cleaning off the residue and a dab of matching paint and it is presentable again. 

The rear galley once had a roof. The Australian model still has it. It is made of card stock.  only fragments of fragile black and gold painted card stock remained. Using the Aussie ship I frabricated a similar roof.  It's received a first coat of paint. Gold trim will be applied and weathered once the base coat is finished. I placed piece of the old roof on the new one in the pic to compare the contour and gold trim. That trim is different than that in the Aussie model which looks light blue. 

  Also reworked the stand... simple clean and glue job. 

 

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Looks like we have another rigging dilemma: 1 The number of deadeyes on the MAAS model main mast appears to differ from our model; 2  the tops on the MAAS model have deadeyes/lanyards but not ours (see att diagram); 3  the MAAS beak head is decorated with columns and arched portals different from ours; and, 4 as mentioned before, the masts have flag masts and caps.  

top rig plan (2).jpg

I lean towards getting with the owners, showing them the differences and recommending replicating the MAAS model.  One of them may have been repaired in the past and my money is on the less detailed one......but who knows.  

Rigging the upper shrouds in either case is incorrect.  The lines are tied off below the top and are brought up outside the top like a futtock shroud.  But the line is continued above the top and attached to the mast like a shroud.  Ratlines are tied to the upper shrouds. From a distance the rigging appears familiar but was obviously an expedient in manufacture. 

A confusing issue is he construction on our model. Where the MAAS model shows 7 deadeyes for the main mast, ours shows 5.  I looked for evidence of where 2 other deadeyes might be attached on the bulwark of our model and found none (see blowup pic). The wire chain plate from the lower deadeye to the hull goes through a hole drilled in the bulwark and down the side of the hull where it is grounded on a nail.  While I can't see evidence from the photo available, perhaps the missing main shroud deadeye attachment is simply to the side of the hull unlike its mates.  

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Interesting difference - certainly neither of them are correct with the shrouds passing outside the top. - it would go against all normal practice.

 

Looking at contemporary art, the pictures of the Great Harry in the Anthony Roll and the Embarkation at Dover both show them terminating at the top as you'd expect, but the first doesn't show deadeyes even on the lower shrouds, and the second only shows the lower row of deadeyes for the main shrouds, not the lanyards or the upper row of deadeyes. As far as I can see neither of these are to be relied on, and that goes for almost all contemporary art - they just don't bother to show deadeyes at all.)

 

One exception is a galleon from 1533 by Holbein,

 

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which shows them beautifully on the lower shrouds, but not on the topmast ones.

 

What you do about it is another question - yes, it seems incorrect, but if that's the way the model was originally made, perhaps it's best to duplicate it, mistakes and all.

 

5 hours ago, Boxbuilds said:

I lean towards getting with the owners, showing them the differences and recommending replicating the MAAS model.

I agree, but regarding the number of shrouds and deadeyes, perhaps it would be best to go with what you've got if you can't see any evidence that the other two were ever there. It might just be that one model was made with 5 shrouds per side and the other with 7. The MAAS model does seem a little more sophisticated than the one you have, and may have included more detail right from the start.

 

One last thing - would it be possible to post some photos of the model as it was originally received? I know you have it in a thread in another section of MSW, but it would be good to have the original condition photos to compare with the restoration as it progresses.

 

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41 minutes ago, Boxbuilds said:

here is the delivered mode

If the model had been on eBay the description would have read, " Needs a good cleaning and some of the lines need to be replaced. Easy fix for someone who is handy" Thank goodness is was saved from that fate. 

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