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I may be straining the premise that there is no such thing as a stupid question, but here goes anyway. I am thinking about "upping my game" by adding serving to the stays and shrouds on my next, but yet to be determined model. My question relates to seizing the shrouds at the mast top. It has always been my practice to double the shroud line over, place it in my helping hands and tie the seizing somewhere near, but not necessarily at the loop. Then place the loop over the mast top and slide the seizing up snug to the mast.

 

I imagine that it would be all but impossible to slide the seizing over a served line. If I'm wrong on that notion and it is possible to slide the seizing, then I can't foresee an issue. However, if that is in fact the case, what is a good method to locate the seizing in exactly the right spot without sliding it? Would I place the loop over the mast top, perhaps clamp the lines together at a snug point, remove the clamped line from the mast and then add the seizing at the point where I placed the clamp? Or is there some other obvious approach that is staring me in the face and I just can't see it.

 

Many thanks and all thoughts are most welcome.

David

Edited by David Lester
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Go with the way it was done in real life for square riggers.

First things first. The seizing should not be snug up to the mast.  It properly falls just below the bolster on the trestle trees.  That in itself will give you some wiggle room for errors in placement.

 

To make up the shrouds for fitting. Measure the length of your shroud pair. Middle the pair and make a mark at the mid point. Now worm and serve the center third of the shroud pair. On many ships the forward most shroud was served its entire length.  So, for the first pair of shrouds on each side you will be serving two thirds of the shroud pair.  Measure from the center point the distance that will place the seizing at or near the bottom of the bolster and clap on a round seizing. Your shroud pair is now ready to go over the mast head. Put the eye up through the lubbers hole and over the mast head and snug it down over the mast tackle pendants which should be fitted in the same manner. For each subsequent shroud pair slightly vary the location of the seizing so that each seizing comes below the previous one. 

 

If all works out correctly, your seizing will fall at or near the bottom of the bolster and your service should extend to slightly below where the futtock stave is lashed onto the shrouds. You also get the benefit of doing all this work off the ship.  You can even remove the whole thing easily to turn in your deadeyes off the ship. Just number your shrouds so they go back in the same place.

 

Regards,

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Henry, are you sure the seizings were below the bolsters?   The bight was served about eight feet on each side from the middle.   Perhaps Longridge was wrong but he shows the seizing then goes on every pair above the bolster, tight against the mast. (Fold out on page 212 in the Anatomy of Nelson's Ships)    I looked at a few dozen photos of contemporary models but cannot find any closeups that show this clearly one way or the other, but the way the shrouds are tight against each other at the bight, it seems they are seized high and tight.   Hope someone has some clear photos of this area on some contemporary models.  

Allan

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From Steel, Art of Rigging, Part II Directions for the Performance of Operations Incidental to Rigging; and for Preparing It On Shore:

 

"The bights of shrouds are seized together to the circumference of the mast heads; the seizing of the first shroud is put on below the bolster, or the trestle trees, with seven under and six riding turns, and a double cross turn over all. The seizing of each shroud is to be laid its breadth below the next, and clear of each other to prevent chafing. Vessels having four pairs, the foremost shroud and pendant are one."

 

In this section he also mentions that the shroud were wormed  one fourth the length from the center to the eye on each side. Parcelled one and a half fathoms on each side of the middle, then served for one fourth the length.

 

Regards,

Edited by popeye2sea
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Henry,

Steel was 1805 but the Ontario was in 1780, so MAYBE  these seizings were done differently in these two periods of time. It is interesting though that this change was made at all.   Steel did not make up these things on his own, so it appears the practice described was in place by 1805, but and I wonder why.   It would be interesting to know how Longridge came up with his version unless it was done differently when Victory was launched in 1778.   If Longridge has it wrong, there are a lot  of models out there that are wrong as well.  I searched for clear photos of the tops of Victory today but none of them are clear as to where the bights as seized.  This is definitely an interesting thread.  Wish I was closer to Preble Hall to get a close look at some of the contemporary models.  Perhaps a member with copies of the Rogers Collection books can spot something.     

Allan

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Yes Henry your are correct, but contemporary to 1805,   maybe not to 1780 (Ontario) or 1788 (Victory).  My question is when did the seizing move to below the bolster, 1600, 1700, 1800?  There is some definitive contemporary information, if only on models, before 1805 to double check, but unfortunately I do not have any close by since heading south.   I have always trusted Steel for about 1800 and beyond unless I  have the contract and/or drawings of the ship I am researching.  Look at the scantlings he lists and those of the Shipbuilder's Repository in 1788.  There are a lot of differences in that span of 17 years which is why I wonder about the rigging practices.  We know the sizes of masts, spars, and lines changed many times between the early 17th century and the 19th century, the last one of significance being in 1794 so it may be that the methods of rigging the lines changed with the times as well.  Maybe not, but I would not rely on Steel for ships built before 1794 without confirmation from other contemporary sources.   I hope some member here has some close up photos of these bights on contemporary models before 1794.   I have reached out to Preble Hall asking for feedback on ships from the 17th and 19th century and hopefully they will reply.  

Allan

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  • David Lester changed the title to Serving on Shrouds Question
On 6/10/2021 at 6:03 PM, Seahawk1313 said:

I  seize my served shroud on a shaped piece of wood slightly larger then the mast head.  I find working the lines off the mast and the model easier-Hal 

I do basically the same thing.   I make a dummy and tie to that, doing nearly all the work using that and a Quad-Hands.

Edited by Justin P.
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