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HMC Sherbourne 1763 by tkay11 FINISHED – Caldercraft – Scale 1:64 - A Novice’s Caldercraft Sherbourne

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1. Shot


The first problem resulting from my making the cannon to the scale of 3-pounders was that the shot I had put in the shot racks was clearly too large. So I searched around for 1mm shot that could be painted black. Black plastic ones guaranteed to be exactly 1mm are very expensive. Steel ball bearings proved useless as I couldn’t get them to take black. I ended up getting 200gm of 1mm steel carbon pellets from eBay. It’s the type that’s used to fill soft toys.


It turned out that the stated 1mm was a bit variable, so although the shot is now roughly the right size, I failed in achieving symmetry of placement in the shot racks (which also had to be re-made – as you’ll notice in several of the pictures in the rest of the log, which appears over the next few postings).


I now realise I didn’t try gun blue on the steel ball bearings, so that may be worth a try in future.


2. Seizings


For the rigging of the cannon, first thing to do was prepare the seizings. In this I followed the idea from the late Hubert Sicard in wrapping line around a drill bit and holding it in place with two forceps/haemostats whilst glue was applied. The drill bit was coated with beeswax for each seizing made. I used CA glue at first but eventually shifted to using diluted PVA glue which is far kinder to the thread, leaves it a bit flexible, takes up stain, and does not discolour the thread.





3. Blocks

Again because of the smaller size of the guns, I found that the blocks with their hooks I had originally made were too long to fit between the rear-most eye on the side of the cannon and the eye in the bulwark. Furthermore, if I stuck with the double-sheaved blocks, the smallest I could make them to take 0.25mm thread made them still seem enormously wide compared to the guns.


This posed quite a challenge which I tried to get round in two ways:


a. using only one single-sheaved block attached to the bulwark.


This I justified in thinking that the lighter cannon might have been pulled back using only a single sheave pulley.


I also thought of using one block only, with a line going straight to the hook that attached to the rear of the gun carriage. I reckoned that when I wrapped the line round the blocks it would be hard to tell that there were one or two blocks there at all. This was the first approach I used and did this for all 8 cannon.


This is similar to the approach that some people use. Thus George Bandurek put two blocks on a wire and wrapped the line around the whole assembly. Others have carved a small length of wood to the dimensions of two blocks linked by their ropes and then wrapped line around that. However, although that was relatively successful, I reckoned I should have another try at doing it in keeping with the proper rigging.


b. So I tried making the blocks and hooks even smaller.


I stuck to the idea of having single-sheaved blocks, but this still required several stages.


The first was to find a way of marking the blocks out. I followed Frolich’s suggestion of making a scribe. At first I couldn’t think how to do it as he seemed to suggest just sticking pins in wood, and the smallest pins I could find were too wide to be used as scribes with a depth stop.


Eventually I cottoned on: I filed down the sides of the pins until they were the correct width for the sheave and then sandwich them between leaves of wood against an end stop. You’ll see the process in the following pictures.










With the smaller block came the need for a smaller hook. I squeezed a 0.4mm piece of copper wire in a vice, then drilled a 0.3mm hole through the flattened end. Finished off by curving the remaining wire to a hook shape and cutting off.










I could now strop the blocks.







At last I could rig the cannon. First the breeching tackle. This I made up to 0.5mm diameter using the ropewalk I had made from an old shaver.




Then the ropes could all be attached. Note that I dyed the lines with walnut dye first. The lines are attached to the bulwarks and the cannon, but left loose. This allows the lines then to be tightened until the gun is firmly against the bulwark, at which point it is glued to the deck.


Note also that I allowed the line in the rearmost block to terminate at that block, rather than link it to the foremost block. This was simply because that line would not be seen when the blocks were wrapped for stowage.







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Captain’s companionway


I’d been looking at the plans and decided I’d scrap my long companionway, build a captain’s companionway to the height it is in the plans and place it aft, by the tiller.


This left me with a dilemma. If I placed the doors of this companionway facing forward, it would leave small room for people moving in and out since the next hatchway is only 2 feet in front. If I had the doors opening to the rear, they would be getting in the way of the tiller. I didn’t think of making them open sideways – partly because the plans show a line on the companionway going side to side, which seemed to me to indicate the roof opening in the fore/aft direction.


In the end I decided I’d have the doors opening forwards. I reckoned 2ft was still room to get in and out, and the doors certainly opened comfortably into that space.


To build this I drew up some plans in TurboCAD, then made a block from balsa wood to act as the form around which the walls would be placed.


I used pear wood from pen blanks that I bought on eBay.


The hinges were made of a strip of brass with a 0.5mm brass rod placed across the middle. The whole assembly was then finished with linseed oil.














After all that I decided to add the ship’s bell to the roof. This would be in a handy position for whomever was at the tiller.


I made the uprights from some pear strips with a wood lathe. The bell I had to buy (an Amati fitting) as I don’t have means of turning brass at the moment.


You’ll see the completed bell later in the log in the following posts.


Second companionway


Although the next hatch forward is shown in the plans as a normal hatch, I couldn’t resist keeping the glass-covered companionway I had previously made to fit this position. I had put so much effort into building it that I decided to give those down below light as well as some protection from the elements. Naughty but nice.



Remaining hatches re-made


This left the remaining hatches aft and fore of the main hatch. I had made them with the kit gratings, but since I had remade the main hatch with much smaller gratings to be in line with the likely real size, the small hatches looked incongruous. So I remade those using some of the combs I had not used in making the main hatch.


In doing this I stumbled across a very handy little ploy that overcame the fact that some of the combs were not evenly spaced – several of them had slightly widening gaps as they moved along the comb as a result of my not being too careful with the saw. However, by taking the combs in the batches from which they were originally cut, I could then just interleave the remaining combs upside down and the overall appearance was of a correctly-spaced grating.




The assembly was then covered with dilute PVA, cut to size and placed in coamings. You will see the pictures of these remaining hatches later in the build log where other aspects of the deck furniture are shown.



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Boom crutch

After studying the plans, and asking a question about it in the thread ‘Is this a boom support and how is it fitted?’ at http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/7051-is-this-a-boom-support-and-how-is-it-fitted/?p=207835, I decided to make one.


At first my idea was to make a stick and add a curved section to the top. This proved impossible. So my next step was to carve it out of a single sheet of pear. I started by drawing an outline to the dimensions shown on the plan.




This also proved impossible as the pear simply snapped every time I cut out the outline.


However, it worked with boxwood.




Then there was the need for holders for the support. Following Chuck’s modelling of the Cheerful, mentioned in the post about boom supports mentioned above, I decided to have holders on either side of the stern, allowing the boom support to be placed on either side according to where it decided to have a little rest when it was tired.


I made these holders out of brass tubing. Then glued them to the bulwarks with epoxy and kept them in place with a drill bit and Blu-Tak (a kind of oily putty).








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Rudder coat


Following many others, I decided I’d try to fix a coat on the rudder. I started by holding some cotton over the rudder and its hole with some self-gripping tweezers. This allowed me to make a rough outline for cutting.




I then glued some brass sheet to a strip of wood, and, after drawing the correct diameter circles with a pair of dividers, cut it away with a jeweller’s saw. I then drilled holes for the retaining bolts.






Brass rod was then pushed through the holes, silver soldered and cut off flush on one side. On the other side the rods were filed down to an even height to represent the bolt heads.






You’ll note I stuck the kit’s letters on the transom for the ship’s name. They’re ugly close up, but at normal viewing distance they’re tolerable.





It was clear that the tiller I had made previously was too long and too low to be usable with the captain’s companionway so close.


So I made a new one that was both shorter and s-shaped so that it would be on level with a person’s elbow.







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Entry ladders


Next up were the entry ladders. Not much to comment on here (apart from the very crude workmanship which I am afraid marks me well out from all other Sherbourne builders).


The inner steps were made by pasting a plan made in TurboCAD onto a strip of wood, then cutting at the correct angle. A razor saw was used to cut the joints for the steps.








My first attempt at the stanchions was to turn boxwood on the lathe, but they were rather ungainly compared to brass. So I made the stanchions from a simple brass rod topped by a brass tube which was silver soldered. The base was another brass tube, also silver-soldered. The stanchions were set into the rails.with epoxy adhesive.




You’ll note that I decided to put the ropes through the steps rather than letting them hang loose.







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Pin rails


Following the other Sherbourne builds, I put pin rails at the stern, and modified the ones under the main mast shrouds.


The kit’s belaying pins are way too large. I had to buy the belaying pins as I found I couldn’t make wood ones small enough (although I now realise I could do so with boxwood). I coloured the brass ones with brown paint to make them look a little more like wood.


You’ll notice the square galley pipe I put in, following the plans for the Cutter Alert. I also decided to omit the pin rail that is provided in the kit to go in front of the mast. This is because I felt the deck was really crowded at that point, that the galley needed some space below, and that I might be able to have enough belaying points anyway. Let’s hope that’s right!


You’ll also note the strip of Sellotape I have put across the mast hole to stop small pieces being lost down that hole.







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Again, looking at the plans, and at Gregor’s excellent example, I thought I’d have some fun trying to make a windlass as per the plans from the NMM. I drew one up in TurboCAD, and took a strip of pear wood and marked out the octagon with dividers as shown in the picture.





I then made a jig with a Proxxon FET table saw. Luckily this saw can be tilted to 45o, so it was easy to cut two strips at that angle and lay them together as in the photo. The edges were planed off as far as the markings in turn using a small David plane with a razor blade.




The pattern for the cogwheel was drawn in CAD, pasted onto the end of a dowel and the edges filed to the pattern.




The windlass is held by two blocks fixed to the bulwarks. Again a plan was made with TurboCAD. The windlass enters the blocks at an angle of 82o. In order to drill the hole at the correct angle, a protractor was used to set up the table saw. A stick of ordinary wood was then cut at that angle and used as a base for the block. The hole for the windlass was then drilled with the drill stand.






Because the block also abuts against the spirketting, a chisel was used to carve space out from the edge of each block.




The windlass was then put in the wood lathe and the ends turned to make the holding rods as per the plans.


The windlass was then cut in half and the two ends glued to either side of the cog wheel. Holes were drilled into the windlass and squared off with a steel nail. Black paper bands were placed around the windlass to simulate iron bands.


Note that the pawl assembly and the bowsprit stand are not yet glued to the deck. These will be replaced with new assemblies as will be seen later in the log.


The assembly was then glued to the bulwarks.










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Belaying rack at bow


Having decided on this type of windlass, it was clear I couldn’t follow the type of belaying rack that Dirk used in his build, or the type of rack that Petersson displayed in his drawings of HMS Expedition in the book ‘Rigging Period Fore and Aft Craft’.


I also studied Gregor’s approach of putting the rack right at the stem, but decided I’d do something silly and make a rack attached to the pawl post. Again I drew up a set of plans with TurboCAD and used tracings to cut the wood and drill the holes.


I cut out the joints using the table saw.




A knee for the pawl was similarly cut out with a jeweller’s saw.




My first attempt was to have a short rack on either side, as follows:




However, as soon as I attached the bowsprit, I realised that the pins under the bowsprit would be hard to reach, so I modified the rack on either side to be longer.


While doing this, I saw that the bowsprit I had made was going to be problematic, so I need to have a short digression.




My first thought was to do as the kit suggests and square off the end of the kit 6mm dowel. This means that the squared sides have to be smaller than the diameter while the diagonals match it. I did do this, squaring off the kit dowel using my modified Proxxon drill stand as a mill. (See ‘How to modify Proxxon MB 140 drill stand to act as mill’ at http://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/4539-how-to-modify-proxxon-mb-140-drill-stand-to-act-as-mill/?p=130660).




However, looking at other builds and at pictures of contemporary models, it is clear that the diagonals are cut down to the diameter, leaving the square sides the same size as the diameter.


This in turn meant that the kit parts for the bowsprit stand would have to be discarded as they are made with the idea that the kit bowsprit is squared down. So I re-designed the bowsprit stand in line with other builds, as well as contemporary models of cutters. You can see the modified stand along with the modified pin racks in the next photos.






Having got that end of the bowsprit correct, I turned my attention to the sheave at the tip. I had used 9mm dowel to make the new bowsprit but I squared off both ends so that I could mill the groove for the sheave vertically and drill its axle horizontally.




The groove for the sheave was quite easily milled out with a 0.8mm milling bit by holding the squared end of the dowel firmly in a vice. The sheave itself I made from a bit of boxwood that I had turned to a 3mm diameter. I cut the sheave to 0.6mm width on the wood lathe, making a small 0.3mm notch in the rim for the rope and then sawing off the remaining stalks.








I held the sheave in a 0.5mm black copper wire to insert it into the groove and then drilled a 0.6mm hold transversely for the axle. I made the axle out of a piece of bamboo passed through a drawplate.










It was now that I came to my current problem. I tried dyeing and staining pieces of dowel to see if I could achieve the kind of finish that others have achieved. I used oak dye, walnut stain, very concentrated tea, tea with ferric acetate made from steel wool dissolved in white vinegar (4% acetic acid), and refined linseed oil. Nicest was the plain tea but the finish was very blotchy. The linseed oil was good, but not dark enough. So I have ended up ordering pear wood, and will make the bowsprit, mast, boom and spars from that.


I will also be spending time now on building a serving machine and making another ropewalk as my old electric shaver that I had modified has now given up its ghost.



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Beautifully done, Tony. I especially admire your effort to make everything by yourself, and doing such a good job with that. I'd need a new dictionary to express my admiration properly. And thanks for showing and explaining every step and experience so generously.


Reading your posts, one question arose (it might be a problem of perspective in your pictures): Does the belaying rack at the bow interfere with the free running of the anchor cable? - I imagine the cable will be streched between windlass and hawse hole at certain times. I think the cable goes (in two turns, or even three) over the windlass, so there might be a problem.


It was fun to read your postings almost in real time, with constantly another, new one popping up, showing more wonders to stare at!


All the best,


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I agree, there's a lot to take in there, and you have certainly taken a lot of trouble to get it looking right.


Gregor perhaps has a point regarding the anchor cable, but generally it's all looking good. :)

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Yes, I thought about the anchor cable. I wasn't sure whether the cable would run along the ground, under the windlass, and then back over it. If it runs along the ground we're fine. Otherwise I could raise the rack so it is above the windlass, attached to the top of the pawl. What do you think.


Thanks, guys, for the nice comments. You can all see I'm learning tons from you, so really you should all be giving yourselves a nice pat on the back for good mentoring!



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I think, to get the cable up, it should go over the windlass: Then the crew can turn the windlass by pulling the hand spikes down with their own weight. If the cable went unter the windlass, they would have to lift the hand spikes to get the cable up. Sitting in my office, I have to wait till evening to consult a picture showing a working windlass (tested with a pen and a cable for my iPhone).   ;)



Here the picture, from Harland: Seamanship in the Age of Sail, p. 263


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Normally the cable would run over the top of the windlass barrel from the hawsehole, and pass around it about three times from the centre outwards, before running aft along the deck to the main hatch. If you think about how it operates, it would have to go over the top. When not in use, the cable would probably lie on the deck, but when being hauled in it would run in a straight line from the windlass to the hawsehole, ie. a few feet off the deck – which is when it would come into contact with the coiled lines on your rail. (It looks like Gregor has found the ultimate test!)


Anyway, I'm off to pat myself on the back. Now, how do you do that...? :huh:

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Ah well, it was worth a try, and I am happy practising my joining skills. I'll have a re-think and see how to improve the rack at the bow. Thanks, Gregor and Kester, for the usual intelligent and insightful input.



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There's always something to learn from a read of your log Tony, I'm constantly impressed by your approach to a build, and what a fine job you're making of Sherbourne. :)



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Wow.. that's quite a series of posts/updates, and some fantastic workmanship and problem solving.  You and many others here on MSW continue to raise the bar for how to build kits.  Not sure I'll be able to achieve many of these things (like that sheave!) for some time, but it's awesome to see how you are doing things like this.

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Thanks very much, B.E. and Brian. Actually I'd like to keep stressing that it's me that is learning -- so really I am just feeding back the approach that you and others have intimated through your work. It's not just a question of the actual techniques used, but the way of thinking about problems as they arise.


What is so interesting is that for almost every stage when I look at it first I can't believe I can do it. Then I settle down to think about it, and remind myself that the masters are just as human as I am -- so if they can do it, then I should be able to as well -- albeit with a lot of practice. I then try various approaches out, and something nearly always works in the end. I have done most of the steps about three or four times before accepting the result (as I have tried to stress in my log). Even if the finish is not quite as good as I would like, I have to compromise and say to myself that more experience will allow me to finish it better in future. Thus it's clear that my cannon are not nearly as nicely finished as most, but now I am confident that next time I do cannon I'll do them better as I have learnt from each part of their construction.


For example, Brian, you'd be amazed at how easy the sheave was. I only attempted it that way because I couldn't think of another way to do it (I don't have a metal-working lathe), and my mind went back to using the wood lathe for turning the cannon barrels. I remembered how beautifully boxwood turned and all I needed was a sharp chisel. I thought it didn't really matter that the sheave wasn't metal. The groove on the rim was just with the tip of the parting tool in my set of Proxxon wood turning chisels. I myself couldn't quite believe how straightforward it was. You don't even need a wood lathe to do it -- I've seen examples of fine miniature wood turning using a Proxxon drill and home-made chisels. So take heart: most of the time you can do all of these little tricks. It just takes thinking of them, and that comes with watching what all the masters on this forum have done. Most of them will tell you that they too were novices once, and went through the same process -- which is why they are so willing to help out when you ask questions. You then learn more by doing it yourself and finding out what works for you with the tools you have. This is my very first model (apart from a few plastic kits 50 years ago) and if I can do it, then you certainly can!


Soon I'll have to start the rigging. Believe me, I am really anxious about it, but I'm confident that once I start it'll all begin to make sense.



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Just a small update. I've taken Kester's and Gregor's advice and re-fashioned the pin racks -- in the sense that I'm keeping the idea but making them higher so that the belaying pins do not foul the anchor cable.


First off is a shot of the raw wood version.




Now a shot to show the clearance. The angle doesn't show the extent of clearance, but it is two cable widths. The bowsprit clears the rail quite easily.




Finally a shot to show the view from above.




If anyone feels that this is totally out of historic possibility, please do go ahead and offer some suggestions. As you can see, I'm always willing to listen and modify in the light of wiser counsel!


Thanks again to Gregor and Kester for keeping an eye on this question!



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Well, as I suggested in my last log entry, I remade the bowsprit in pear as I was so disappointed with my attempts at staining the dowels from the kit. What a lovely wood is pear!


This time I decided I’d look at how masts and spars were made, so I bought the low cost paperback facsimile edition from the Cambridge University Press of the first three volumes of Steel’s Elements and Practice of Rigging, Seamanship and Naval Tactics which I have discussed in another post at:




Using the measurements given by Steel, as well as by Biddlecombe in his 1848 book on the Art of Rigging, I started with square stock (instead of using dowel), used the lathe to cut it to the correct dimensions and completed it by sanding.




I then used a furniture cream made from beeswax and turpentine to polish it and give it a lovely golden colour.




Reading Steel and Biddlecombe led me to a number of questions, such as how to rig the sheave at the heel of the bowsprit, which was discussed at




I decided in the end just to make the sheave at the heel, and presume it would only be rigged when pulling out the bowsprit.







I spent some time figuring out how to make the cranse iron at the tip of the bowsprit. Given the fact that I chose to have a bobstay, I had to make it with 4 hoops. You can see the discussion on bobstays at




Initially I thought I’d try to silver solder hoops on to the iron, which I would have made from some brass tubing. However, it was clear that this would be very difficult to do since the heat from the torch would melt solder in hoops already fitted.


I therefore decided to go the simple route, mimic the iron with black cartridge paper, drill holes in the iron, and glue hoops made from brass rod into the holes. You can see the sequence in the following photos:











Then came the jib traveller, which was easily made from a brass rod and copper wire, silver soldered together, blackened, painted and covered with matt varnish:









Time to provide the blocks, hooks and tackle for the bowsprit. I made my serving machine using some steel rod from an old inkjet printer, some wood I found as scrap and plastic gears which I had to buy. The alligator clips were modified by grinding the teeth down until they were parallel when opened, epoxying wooden blocks into them, and then surfacing the blocks with carborundum paper for grip.


As you can see, I used plastic clamps to provide the tension on the thread.







The serving machine was also adapted for stropping blocks, but since then I have been stropping blocks just using two alligator clips embedded in a block. All the same, here are the photos:









These I decided to make by cutting off 0.8mm thicknesses of thin-walled 1mm brass tube using my modified Proxxon which allowed me to adjust the height in increments. To stop the thimbles flying off into the universe, I first wrapped the tube in sticky tape. You’ll get the idea from the photo:





The next stage was to figure out how to wrap the rope round them together with the hook. This was really easy. All I had to do was to make the hook from copper wire, silver solder it whilst the thimble was in, then attach the rope and seize it.









Initially I was puzzled about how to make the thimbles as shown by Petersson for the topsail bowlines, so I posted a question at




The replies quickly pointed me to Jay Brent’s (modeller12) video at




which used the idea suggested by Bender at http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/1056-tying-blocks-to-yards-or-masts/?p=17489


I therefore used this method to make the thimbles as follows:









You may have noted that I’ve already tried a few ways of making blocks. I don’t think I’ll ever get it right. Nevertheless, I thought I’d try something else, using the same basic method suggested by Frolich which I have mentioned before. I found that using a straightforward pin was a bit difficult as I had to file it down to the correct width. Imagine my happiness at finding that Swann Morton no. 11 scalpel blades were only 0.4mm thick! Since the smallest hole I’m going to make for my blocks is 0.4mm, that’s perfect! All I have to do is provide wood of the appropriate thicknesses for the single, double and triple blocks.


I used the tables in zu Mondfeld’s book on Historic Ship Models to determine the size of the blocks by working up from the rope sizes suggested by Steel and Biddlecombe. The following pictures show how I assembled and used the blades that are to score the sides of the blocks: Note that I ground down the very tips of the blades to provide a stronger tip.









I built myself a new motorised vertical ropewalk along the same lines as the Prosak developed by Alexey Domanoff and by Antonyuk (http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/3593-hms-victory-cross-section-by-antony-scale-136/?p=133848), and put all these elements together.


It was very satisfying:








Next up: re-doing the belaying pins at the bow.



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Following my visit to Chatham, which I described at




I decided to change the belaying pin rack at the bow. Gregor, Dirk, Kester and myself have had different approaches to this, but two of the models I saw had their racks positioned fore-aft beside the bowsprit and linking to the pawl post. I therefore decided that this was a really neat solution, dismantled the belaying racks I had made and replaced them as follows:




You’ll see pictures of the contemporary models with this arrangement at the posting I have given above.


Next up: the main mast



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One of the tricky questions to answer was whether to place the top mast fore or aft of the main mast. The Alert AOTS book by Goodwin suggests placing it aft, as do the instructions and plans in the Sherbourne kit. Kester has followed this on his model and backed it during our discussion on whether or not to have topmast shrouds (http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/8622-topmast-shrouds-for-sherbourne/) where he said the following:


“I am not certain that Sherbourne was actually rigged with topmast backstays, which is probably why they are not shown on the plans (and seemingly something they have got right!).


The cutter shown in Petersson's 'Fore and Aft Craft' is based on the model in the Science Museum (or was), which I believe dates from around 1785. Earlier cutters, which of course included the Sherbourne, don't seem have had them due to the positioning of the topgallant mast, abaft the lower mast head. This was thought sufficient support, and thus they were not necessary.


Goodwin mentions this in his AOTS book on the Alert and goes on to say that topmast backstays were introduced later (around the 1780's), when the topgallant mast began to be stepped on the fore side of the lower mast head. The length of the upper mast was also lengthened which made them even more necessary. Even then, however, they don't seem to have given much support from aft. In the book, there is a drawing of the Alert on page 104, which shows a ticked line indicating a breast backstay, ie. on each side of the topgallant mast, but he stresses this may or may not have been fitted.”


Initially I was going to go for this placement as well, but following my visit to Chatham (http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/10370-18th-and-early-19th-century-cutter-models/) and seeing the 1763 cutter rigged with the topmast forward of the mast head, I decided to go with the rigging plan provided by Petersson.


One of the things in the back of my mind was the placing of the throat and peak halliards, which are given extra height by being attached to the back of the mast head. Another thought was that as I am a complete novice I felt more comfortable going for the detailed rigging plan provided by Petersson. At least there’s some kind of logic there!


So, after studying the dimensions of masts in Steel and Biddlecombe, I made some square pear stock and planed it with a David plane to an octagonal.


I left the mast octagonal from the heel up until just below where the stool for the boom is placed. This also allowed for neat placing of the cleats that go around the base of the mast.


I also left the mast octagonal at the hounds at the mast head. Otherwise, as with the bowsprit, I dimensioned the mast using the lathe and sanded it down.





After fiddling around with offcuts from the planning I had done on the masts I gave up and instead cut a 0.3mm slice of pear which I then cut into 1.7mm widths, soaked in water and wrapped around a dowel of the right diameter. This was then wrapped in cling film for an hour or so, then I had mast hoop material ready for cutting and gluing:







You can see the finished hoops in the picture that follows under the heading ‘Cleats’.





The AOTS book on the Alert shows a stool for the boom at the base of the mast. These stools were also on the cutters I had seen at Chatham. I made one by using the mast diameter to draw circles of the correct diameter using TurboCAD. These circles were then halved and pasted onto pear strips.


The following picture shows an early experiment. The final result is shown in the picture of the base of the mast in the following section on ‘Cleats’.







Instead of using the large cleats provided by the kit, I made them following Dan Vad’s method which you can see at




This method is really elegant in that it ensures an even width and length for the cleats. The only problem was positioning them at equal heights around the base of the mast. I drilled holes through their centres and passed 0.4mm copper wire through them, which I then glued with epoxy into holes drilled in the mast as follows:







After cutting off the ends of the wires and painting the lower mast, it looks as follows:





Please note that the base of the mast is not yet finished, hence the sanding marks at its base.





[EDIT: As a matter of interest to those interested in forward planning, I discovered too late that it would have been very handy not to have fitted the top mast and the top cap before adding the shrouds. If I had not fitted the top mast and cap, it would have been much easier not only to tie the shrouds very easily, but also to fit the two sets of pendants (mast tackle and back stay) in the correct manner.]


Although Petersson shows a sheave at the top of the mast head, I followed Goodwin in placing an eyebolt at the top which holds a block. This in turn links to the sheave at the bottom of the topmast for the toprope.


Please note that I should have placed the sheave lower at the bottom of the topmast in order to give more room for the mast to be lifted under the block. Just to pre-empt those who demand I replace it, I am not going to do it on this model as I want to get on with the rest of it!


A fid was placed in the heel of the topmast and another sheave drilled at its top for the topsail yard halliard.


Eyebolts were placed at the back of the mast head for the topping lift and the throat and peak halliards.







I made a top on the lathe and glued it to the topmast after drilling holes for the sheave for the pendant halliard.







I then made a pair of thimbles for the topsail lifts in the same way as I made the thimbles for the bowlines at the bowsprit.





Now to start the business of making the remaining masts and more rigging.



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I have been distracted away from ship models (in fact, most model making) for a while but am now preparing to return. A look through the MSW files revealed your build log.


I am most impressed! The quality of your research and then the execution sets a standard for the rest of us. And you even provide succinct descriptions of what you have done so that it is easy to follow. Superb. Do you have an expected date for completion, or is it just a case of keeping going until you finish?


Best wishes


George Bandurek

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George, it will be a delight to see you back at the forum with a new log. As you know, your work and your book have provided the central reference points for my own build, and as to the detailed explanations I can attribute much of that to your example as well! I am therefore really flattered that you have enjoyed my build thus far.


I have refrained from entering my log for a while for two reasons. The first is simply that I have been learning about the various ways of rigging the ship by pursuing various books as well as asking detailed questions on the forum. The other is that I have at the same time been thinking hard about how I might approach a plank-on-frame build in the future. All this, by the way, whilst running around in various countries on work. At the moment I'm deep in rural Zambia, and won't be able to get back to any modelling till I return in just over a week.


As to progress, I'm as far as having put on the shrouds and backstays, along with the mast tackle (or Burton pendants as they are referred to in Petersson). You may have noticed my question in the rigging forum about that tackle since I reckoned that Petersson had simplified it). When I get back, I'll probably post my progress up to that point although I'll be pretty busy until the end of November.


I have spent quite some time working at making blocks of various types at the correct scale, and making sure I could make the rope correctly for the various sizes. Part of that was experimenting with dyes, and I have now settled on using walnut powder dye as used by cabinet makers in various dilutions (as recommended by Frolich in his Art of Shp Modelling).


All this I find quite fascinating. It has been repeated many times on this forum that every single step is not only a lesson in history and skill in its own right, but that the piece in focus is also a model in its own right and that there are many ways of achieving a particular result. As a result I have no timetable to finish the build, but am very content just to plug along with each step and learn as much about it as I can. Of course I have made several mistakes along the way and have had to rebuild various parts many times, but I just put that down to the learning process and am always delighted that I can see some kind of progress -- though of course nothing to match the superb skills of the others from whom I learn so much.


I remember that you said you spent 7 years on your own Sherbourne, so it is quite possible I will spend that amount of time as well. It'll be interesting to see. You'll be interested to know that I have pretty much decided to put sails on the ship in the same manner as you did -- so this definitely extended my learning process as well as the planning for the various bits of sail rigging.


Thanks again, and apologies if I can't get on the internet for the next week to see if you reply!



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Looks very good. The Sherbourne is a beautiful little ship and it is so nice to see builders upgrading the kit so often. BTW this is my Sherbourne, about 6 weeks away from completition (Hope to finish it before chrismas). Second build, first was the schooner ballahoo (CC).



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Hello tkay11 here I am back. How are you?  after more than a year. planning to take up where I left off. I will take it easy and get all the stuf and tools in good shape before restart the build. Have to get in to it again. I hope to speak to later on and off course all the other Sherbourne builders good by for now.


By the way you made good progress on the build have to look in to more in detail. Looks verry good.

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As with the mast, I made the gaff and boom out of pear, again using the dimensions given by Steel, as well as by Biddlecombe in his 1848 book on the Art of Rigging.

The photo below shows the CAD drawings I made for the dimensions.



Similarly I made the yards using Steel’s dimensions, and used a template to put the battens around the yards. You’ll note that I experimented with different batten widths for each yard so that the battens would fit perfectly. I painted all the yards black after gluing on the battens. You'll see them once I get to the stage of rigging the yards.



I used a jig made out of paper clips for the deadeye spacing (following the idea on Hubert Sicard's site).




You’ll see later how these were rigged.


Following Petersson, I placed the pendants for the mast tackles first (he calls them Burton Pendants), along with the foresail halliard pendant, followed by the shrouds in their correct sequence. (I also placed the foresail halliard pendant at the same time, but forgot to take the picture -- you'll see that later in other photos).


[EDIT: As a matter of interest to those interested in forward planning, I discovered too late that it would have been very handy not to have fitted the top mast and the top cap before adding the shrouds. If I had not fitted the top mast and cap, it would have been much easier not only to tie the shrouds very easily, but also to fit the two sets of pendants (mast tackle and back stay) in the correct manner.]



I realised fairly quickly that it would be much easier to set up the mast in a small jig clamped to the desk so that I could keep the shrouds taut whilst stropping them at the top.




Next came the top rope, belayed to the ring on the jeer bitt and fastened to a cleat on the mast. The picture here shows only the lower end. You’ll see the part at the top later on (when you’ll also note that the distance between sheave and block is a bit too short, mea culpa).



This was done using the jig as follows.




Following the example of the models at Chatham, and the Petersson drawings, I left out a preventer stay and just have a main stay. The mouse is not done properly as I felt I hadn’t the skills to sew one, so I just made it on the wood lathe with a piece of wood.

You'll notice I haven't yet put rings on the main stay to hold the foresail. This is because I'll be making them in the crossover pattern shown in Marquardt.

You'll also notice the hook for the foresail halliard hooked to the back of the stem behind the main stay which links to a block round the cross trees and is fastened to the third belaying pin on the port side (which fastening you'll see in the photos relating to the deadeyes).


NOTE: I do recognise that the tidiness of my rigging, especially at the cross trees, is not up to the standard of most others in this forum, but I put this down to lack of experience and something to learn from!

AND OOOOOPS! [EDIT] Dirk noticed I'd slipped the main stay over the topmast. I really don't know how I did that as I knew better. All the same, it'll be changed!


[EDIT 2] Pictures of the corrected main stay in post http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/335-hmc-sherbourne-by-tkay11-–-caldercraft-–-scale-164-1763-a-novice’s-caldercraft-sherbourne/?p=373484 below.

So far, the summary of the state of the mainstay and rigging at the cross trees is shown in the following two photos.

You'll see here the lower yard sling which I haven't shown separately. I decided just to have a mast sling alone and have not included the mast halliards after a discussion I had about this in other posts. The general feeling was that the mast was often left just in the sling on such vessels, and Petersson also shows it without halliards -- as do some of the cutter models in Chatham.




I made the Burton pendants to attach to the mast tackles as shown in Petersson. They are used to haul things to the deck or act in helping the stowing of anchors.

However, I couldn’t make much sense of the diagram for the tackles used by Petersson. I had a discussion about this in separate posts, and people agreed that the diagram shown by Marquardt is more accurate. I therefore followed Marquardt.


And here is Marquardt's drawing:


And this is how the tackle looks on the model (note that whereas Marquardt shows a double block, I have used a fiddle block instead, in keeping with the tackle for the back stays):



I followed Petersson in the rigging of the backstays, despite not seeing this type of rigging elsewhere. What he shows seems to be the use of the tackle at the backstays to add a loading tackle in the middle. The drawing comes from a contemporary model.

This type of rigging required the addition of an extra cleat to the inside of the bulwarks as you can see.



The following gives the overview of work so far. You'll notice I haven't added the coils to the ropes on the belaying pins, but of course that will be done later in the build.


Next up (sometime, in the future, in a galaxy far far away) will be the work on the Jib with its halliard and the yards.


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