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Hi all, friends. It's been a long time since last time I laid anchor on this dock. I hope not to have lost my modeller's hand neither my english speaking.

A few months ago I started a new model, the ancient spanish cargo "Mataro's cog" inspired to the Catalan ex-voto now exposed in the Rotterdam's naval museum. I'm used to scratch-buildings but wanting to spare time, I decided to buy the Amati proposal - that seemed a really well done kit.

During my work, my scratch builder spirit popped out and I started to change many things - with the only limit imposed by the basic structure - trying to aim my model to the ancient paintings that show similar ships, as possible .... also adding to the model something that in my opinion couldn't be missing in a cargo vessel (e.g: a windlass or a capstan). As said, my work has already started, but I would like to show some phases of work that have already been completed, before to pass in "on time" mode.

 

As I see, this is not the first log about this model so I'll not bore you, repeating what has been already said about the ship. Anyway, I'm available for any clarification and further information. I have been basing my work mostly on Heinrich Winter's  drawings, as shown in his book (Delius Klasing edition) and photos of the museum's model. For shapes and coluours I based my work - as said - on ancient paintings. I think, first planking is not interesting,  (if not, I'll post something about it) so I start with the first changing I did: the shape of the stern and the hight of the rear bulwark. The internal deck's course was uncorrected, and that fail has beeen reproduced by the kit designers on the external. Following the kit drawings and intructions I'd have had many problems at the moment to place the second planking on the bulwark. 

 

I hope you'll find all this interesting.

Cheers

Alessandro

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Second step, demolition of the whole internal structure of the rear deck area. Two reasons: first, the height wasn't correct, unrealistic; no one could stand under the upper deck, too low. Second, I wanted to let the internal bulwark open, not covered; so I had to make something thinner than the kit purposal. False bulwark (plywood) , plus internal planking (walnut), plus external planking (walnut) made a thickness of about 3 - 3,5 mm and it would have been unrealistic; in addition, the three layers - seen from above - would have been ugly, really.

 

So, I decided to remove the upper bulwark, lay the internal planking of the main deck, make the beams of the upper deck (I find not realistic  to use 5x5 mm strips, as Amati's purposal), make the ribs of the whole rear area (deck plus upper deck), then lay the internal and external planking on the ribs. Double trick: 1) external and internal planking are staggered, so the structure is strong and without cracks; 2) the different thickness of the bulwark (3 mm in the lower section, 2 mm in the upper one) is masked by the external decoration frame.

 

I used a light color walnut for planking and padouk wood for frames. So, the result is something that remembers the colours of the Catalan flag (yellow and red) as seen in some paintings. 

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Lovely hull shape, almost sexy…


Perhaps you know, but just in case – besides Heinrich Winter’s very close plans of the real model-ship, there is also an interesting attempt at its reconstruction by Portia Takakjian (Model Shipwright 72, 1990, pp. 4–14). Maybe worth a look too.


Looking forward for the next stages…

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Thanks, Waldemar. I didn't know the publication, this morning I've found it by a U.K. seller and just bought ! I'm glad to see your interest in this log, if you need I'm available for any detail.

 

Third step. Clinker planking of the external bow; demolition of the internal area (under the castle) and internal clinker planking; laying of the second row of rear external planking; laying of the low frame (from rear to bow, under the clinker - padouc wood); done the upper part of the stern.

I made clinker planking with two different techniques. External was made by overlapping thin slices of walnut wood; internal was made by juxtaposing them (after having thinned one side). I matched internal and esternal sections to simulate they're the same

The superstructure  you see at the top of clinker planking is the support of the beams that will be posed as the base of the castle.

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Your ship’s getting cool with the new planking. Nice effect of the „Catalan national” wood colours.


Most eagerly waiting for your choices regarding the internal fitting’s layout: position, shape and number of windlass(es), capstan(s), pump(s), companionway(s), stairway(s)/ladder(s), anchor(s) and its handling/fastening, mast(s), all the Mediterranean rigging, perhaps some invigorating flags here and there.


Are you going to make lavatory holes in the sterncastle overhang, as can be seen on the Bremen Cog?

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Uh, I didn' have thougt to lavatory holes! Now - after customization of the stern - there's place. I know what to think in the next few days 🤙

 

Regarding the internal layout, I'm inspired by northen eurpoean cogs. I think, what you can see in a Mediterrnean cog of the XV century couldn't be far different from its "ancestor" of the late XIV century. So, I think to place either a windlass or a capstan, like in the Bremen cog.

The capstan on the upper deck: the hole close to the little castle (you can see in the original model) couldn't be done for a mast - no sense in the whole layout of the ship - but could be the interlocking for a capstan, like in the Bremen cog, it's in the same place.

About the windlass... I'm not sure to place it just rear the main mast, like in the Bremen cog. I prefer to think it between the main bitt and the anchor holes ... now, after the demolition, there's a lot of space.

 

Cheers

Alex

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Posted (edited)

I like your solution of a windlass in the forecastle. This is not in accord with its placement in the Bremen Cog (and some other contemporary cog finds), but – on the other hand – it seems very typical for the most, if not all, „slightly” later ships.

 

This way, the windlass on your model would operate the anchors only, and the capstan mounted on halfdeck behind the mast would be dedicated to lifting cargo, hoisting the yard and perhaps to bracing this yard too. Is this correct? Logical I would say.

Edited by Waldemar
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Posted (edited)

Exact, Waldemar. In my opinion: this was a cargo ship, so the crew needed systems to operate, as far as their mates did in northern Europe. For this reason they probably had same devices, being look-a-like ships. I don't know if the layout I'm forecasting is fully correct, but I hope ... that crew tanks me. 
The windlass is for the anchors and for the mooring of the ship; the capstan is for the goods and lifts the heavy yard. How could the crew had lift that enormous wooden pole without space to get in line and pull, behind the main mast?

 

Thanks for the visit, Patrick.

 

Cheers

Alex

Edited by Foremast
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Posted (edited)

As to the winding gear, there are also some other, tempting possibilities: mounting a capstan or a windlass on the main deck behind the mast, ie. at one level with hawse holes and the forecastle crossbeam (riding bitts). These are shown below on the attached pictures.

 

This way just one device could serve all needs. What do you think of it?

 

 

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Sandro Botticelli, The Punishment of Korah and the Stoning of Moses

 

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Part of the reconstruction drawing of the Santa Maria by J. Serrano (note also a pump close to the mainmast)

Edited by Waldemar
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Posted (edited)

I had considered that layout. The issue is, the uncorrect lenght/width ratio of the model. If it had been 2.5 (as usual for these ships in that era) no problem, but with a ratio of 1.7 (like in the model) the longitudinal space under the rear castle is a real challenge for any fitting distribution. 

I have to keep in mind, overall, the lenght of the tiller and the underneath part of the yard's pole (is the term "yard" correct? I mean where the halyard is pulled ... some problems with the naval english ... 😁) because I haven't a lot useful space between them. If I put the capstan just back the mast - or between the tiller and the wooden pole - the crew wouldn'have space enough to turn around it with its bars. 

So, I thought to put the capstan on the upper deck, and a pump close to the mast - where usually is placed. 

 

Thanks

Alex

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Edited by Foremast
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The position of the pump is probably correct.
A capstan cannot stand on this upper deck (then the rudder can no longer turn) 
Probably ther was only one windlass in the forecastle for lifting the anchor and the main yard.

 

 

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Agree. This model's extreme proportions are certainly the source of such constraints and hence – difficult choices. This is why I am trying to consult these matters with other builders of this very ship and to see their effort's results as well (I am building my „copy” of the Mataro model too, plank-on-frame fashion, somewhat stylized, hull already accomplished).

 

Eventually it is quite probable that I will apply your solutions to these baffling dilemmas...

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Thanks for your support, Patrick and Waldemar.

The capstan shown in the drawing you posted, Patrick, is a heavy device. I think it was intendend for a multi-pourposal use (including anchors lifting). I'm asking to myself: is it thinkable to split functions in heavy work (anchors and big goods) and light works (little goods and yard)? If possible, the solution just seems the one chosen by northern shipwrights of the XV century: Cogs had both a windlass or a capstan; a light capstan without any support beneath, as shown in the Bremen shipwreck (photos attached, plus detail of a great scale of the same ship's model). As an alternative I could think to two windlasses, but in my opinion only one of them - in the forecastle - couldn't be used to lift the yard, cause of the position of the yard's pole (i still don't know the proper name, it's circled in red😁

 

All this is only a free thinking, obviously .... 

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4 hours ago, Foremast said:

All this is only a free thinking, obviously .... 

Same problem for 16th century ships 😉

And, that's why my next model is probably a coca. A lot of free thinking and a lot of room for interpretation.

 

I think there is a lot of difference between a cog and a coca 

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Posted (edited)

Many thanks for your explanations.


Alex, the part you have encircled in red – knighthead, was drawn indeed by Heinrich Winter in his plans of the Mataro model. It was also drawn by Björn Landström in his reconstruction drawing, as can be seen below. Yet – strangely enough – there is no such element on the photographs of the original model. A lost part? Or maybe just over-interpretation? I do not know. Perhaps some of you can resolve this issue.

 

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(Coloured) reconstruction drawing of the Mataro model by Björn Landström

 

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A photograph taken lately by MSW member. No knighthead visible.


One more point. If it is assumed that the proportions of the model (and some of its fittings) are not quite to scale, the same may be true for the length of the tiller. In other words, it may be simply oversized (or not proportionately scaled to the model's length). Also, the very lack of many vital devices (such as pumps, winding gear, cooking facilities) suggests that the builder was not aiming at the perfect accuracy or realism.


Alex, I can only hope that all these questions do not bother you. Just looking for a solution, both workable in practice and conforming to contemporary evidence. And that’s why your log may be of great help.

 

P.S. Although the term „coca” is very similar to „cog”, it is also regarded by many as an equivalent of „carrack”.

Edited by Waldemar
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No bother  at all, friends! I’m here to discuss, trying to fill a bit the lack of knowledge. I consider this model  a challenge and the more we investigate, the more we can find solutions. Your model will be better than mine and perhaps the next one will be even more. I’m glad to be considered a sort of Guinea pig😄

I know, Cog can’t be  assimilated to Coca, neither Carrack nor generic Nao. But facing similar issues on similar ships (for tonnage and sailing), perhaps the shipwrights founded similar solutions. After all, round ships were born in Northern Europe and 1380 a.d. (Bremen cog) si not far from 1450 a.d. (Coca), neither Bremen and Barcelona are so distant, thinking to medieval trade paths. 
 

cheers

Alex

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About the knighthead (...thanks!👌 ) : somewhere it had necessarily to be placed, because the yard needed to be lifted and kept in position. No idea if it's more plausible as placed in the upper halfdeck or in the maindeck - no hole on the deck as a clue - but I'm almost sure that a lifting device had to be placed back it. As previuos said, the mainyard was too heavy. 

 

Now, thanks to you guys, I have a monkey on my shoulder. If also the tiller is out of scale, as suggested by Waldemar, a windlass could be placed back the mast and also back the knighthead, if it's on the maindeck too; so, only one windlass could serve the anchors and the main yard, as pointed up by Patrick. Solution that out of dubt is in according with maditerranean ships of the XV century.

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Alex, I must confess that the solution you have described above is my favourite: a) it is compatible with the KISS principle (Keep It SSimple) and b) contemporary evidence, c) seems to be geometrically practical, d) still leaves enough space for possible companionways, cabins or cooking facilities in the sterncastle at the ship's sides and e) may be quite comfortably applied to the actual model as well – it requires only a small hole in the halfdeck for passing the main halyard, close to its forward edge, and possibly shortening the rudder’s tiller.

 

More, it gives the freedom to make another important choice: namely, to install a mizzenmast on the halfdeck or – alternatively – a small capstan in its place, just for light-duty tasks such as bracing the (main)yard or cargo lifting. And I am very curious about your preferences in this matter too.

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Fourth step. Pasted the false beams, following the bending of the deck and respecting Winter's scheme. First section of the planking posed; it's dark walnut wood made. Splicing of the strips in evidence, as in the upper part of the planking: every strip has been lightly filed on both edges before the pasting. I have slithered a cutter blade between the strips, after the bonding, to remove glue residues and obtain the effect shown in the pictures.

 

I made a few drop planks to avoid excessive thinning of the strips at the bow and stern. 

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Fifth and last step. Planking of the second section of the hull and the third one of the right side. Every section will be completed by doubling the terminal laths, to make the sheer strakes. First section: ends just beneath the false beams, the overlaying lath will be red, like others. Second section: ends 4 laths under and the overlying lath will be heavy brown color. Third section: ends 6 laths under and the overlying lath will be heavy brown color as well. The cover laths will be posed over the light brown oversized ones, matching the junctions. To be sure about a good matching, the lath below is a bit thinner than that above and this one will be a bit concave on the internal side too. 

I've made a few drop planks to follow the accentuate bending of the sheer strakes, that I made as it results by Winter's drawings. I don't know if they are too many but at this point I had no choice, I had to reduce the planking's size from 30 mm (maximun, between the sheer strakes in the central area)  to 7/13 mm (terminal, at the stern and the bow) and it was impossible to thin every strip evenly : 1-1,5 mm (gauged in scale: 6-9 cm) had no-sense.

Last photo, project.

 

End of the "flashback". From this point every update will be in real time. Thanks for your attention.

 

Cheers Alex

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As to the discussion about knightheads on post #19: Instead of a knighthead for the main yard, it seems to me that on the picture of the Mataro model there is a heavy block attached to a deck beam in the middle of the quarter deck, which could have served as a knighthead. 

As to the discussion about the capstan: there are several examples of small capstans of which the foot rests in a clamp underneath the deckbeams, which leaves enough space for a tiller to pass.

But maybe I am intervering into a discussion I do not completely understand?

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You've hit the mark, Ab. Thanks for the very interesting notation. I'm trying (also Waldemar, I'm sure) to imagine how the crew could work on that kind of ship, lacking lots of clues about the internal fittings. I think, the hole on the quarterdeck - circled in red - could mark the position of a capstan and now your notation confirms me that it's possible: through the hole could pass the rotation pin, and beneath (clamped to beams) there was a support tightened to the upper part. Now has its sense the strange-shaped, holed piece of timber that lays on the rear deck of the Bremen cog, shown in the post#17: it's the upper part of the foot, intended to be clamped underneath with another similar wooden board. 

A heavy block simplifies a lot the fittings and clears out a lot of space. 

Now a  new question: how could the crew rise up to the upper decks? I thought through ladders in correspondence of the holes - circled in green - but not excluding pegs fixed to the side - circled in yellow. In the forecastle, I'd exclude a bowsprit, the hole - blue - suggest a ladder.

 

Thanks for the attention

Alex

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Posted (edited)

Well, I have promised myself to not make too much mess in the Alex’s log, but I can not resist, as the „winding gear” issue is simply not yet satisfactorily solved for the Mediterranean vessels of the Mataro model age (perhaps I should create another log for such discussion, Alex?).

 

Ab, it is a very happy circumstance you have entered here. Please take a look at another picture (below), taken from a different angle at the Mataro model halfdeck. It is quite possible indeed, that originally there was a block (serving as knighthead) fixed to a halfdeck beam, but now the main yard tie is simply lashed to the railing close to the mast. All extant blocks/tackles (perhaps for shrouds only) are fixed at the ship’s sides.

 

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There is no doubt that light-duty capstans could be constructed without long spindle underneath, which is known also from your fantastic books, articles and plans (BTW – many, many thanks for all of them, for their highest quality, attractiveness, data and ideas they contain).

 

The real challenge here is to answer the following questions:

 

How many winding devices could (or should) the Mataro model actually have?
Of what type – capstan(s) or windlass(es)? 
In what place – forecastle, waist, sterncastle, halfdeck? 
Should a second device, mounted on the halfdeck, be really needed? Maybe Bremen Cog is the exception in this aspect, not the rule? 
Or, why should we look at the then less advanced Northern shipbuilding practices at all?
Is it possible to correctly arrange winding gear, both structurally and geometrically, with just one device, called sguindazo or guindazo in the XV-century Venetian manuscript?

 

Well, enough for now, thanks for looking, if some of you have reached so far…

Edited by Waldemar
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Why create a new topic when this is already on the right track? After all, I love mess! I hope everyone interested come here and mess up all our reasonings, so to write a new page of this model. Feel free to write whatelse you think.

Mataro cog lacks of many superstructures. But a few points should be considered, before asking to ourselves how many (and which tipe of) winding gears could be present.

- It is not possible the mainyard could be lifted pulling the rope whith hands only. It was too heavy and the space was too  little to do it, on the deck or on the halfdeck, was the same. Somewhere, a gear had to be installed. As well, somewhere a kinghead or a block had to be installed: the rope which pulled the yard had to pass through a device. A device with pulleys, to reduce the effort. 

- It is not possible the arrangement of ropes shown in the model. Every rope couldn't be pulled directily by the crew from top to down and simply wrapped to the railing. Ropes had to be pulled from bottom to up and turned through a block or a ring placed on the deck, then hanged somewhere (included railings) or - why not - let on the deck, once tied to a ring or on the rope itself. Somewhere, blocks or rings had to be present on the deck, close to the mast.

Now, your question: does it exist a single position where a single winding gear could lift yard, goods and anchors?

Perhaps yes, if the hole in the halfdeck is the passage of the main yard's rope, and a block is installed on the main deck, rear the mast and forward the winding gear. It's difficult to imagine a kinghead in this configuration and it's also difficult to imagine a capstan: too much interference with the tiller. The device should be a windlass.

Perhaps not, if we want to follow till the end the strange configuration shown in the model (the main mast placed in the main deck but the manoeuvring positions on the upper halfdeck - this is the real origin of many complications). This needs all systems on the halfdeck, including a winding gear. In this configuration we can imagine either a kinghead (passing through the hole near the mainmast - as supposed by Winter and Landstrom) or a block (in the same position: the hole could be just the effect of its ripping). All this needs a winding gear on the same deck; a capstan, probably, less bulky. This also need a secon winding gear for anchors and heavy goods. 

This is only my thinking, no claim of thruth, obviously

 

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