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Keeping Standing Rigging Tight


capnharv2
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I'll be starting to rig my MS Constitution soon, but I want to do it differently (you could say the hard way). I would like to install the bowsprit and lower masts first, install shrouds and stays, then proceed to the topmasts/jiboom and do the same, and finally the topgallants and flying jiboom. Only after I have the standing rigging done will I start installing yards and running rigging. I believe this process is the way ships are historically rigged, and is documented in Darcy Lever's Young Officers' Sheet Anchor. Most folks recommend building up the entire mast with as much rigging installed as possible, then installing all the rigging at once. It's probably easier, but I want to see the ship as it would have looked while the rigging was being installed. I've thought about installing a set of sheer poles to show the lower masts being put in (fortunately, I didn't think about if for long).

 

One thing I'm concerned about is the potential for slack in previously installed standing rigging when I get to the next set of masts. I plan to use cotton rigging, but I know I've had a problem with slack in a lower shroud/stay when I rig something above it. I used to see it more when I built plastic ship models-it seems they had much more flexible plastic masts.

 

Any thoughts or ideas on how to keep the rigging tight as one progresses?

 

Thanks,

 

Harvey

 

 

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Harvey,

 

Your planned rigging is exactly the way I rig my models.  The trick is to get as much rigging as possible already fitted on each yard before they go aloft.

 

As for rigging tautness, don't finally fix any of your standing rigging until the entire ship is rigged - i.e., tie everything off, but leave the 'tails on the lines and don't glue anything.  That way you'll be able to make any final adjustments that might be necessary.

 

John

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Thanks John.

 

Putting most of the lines on the yards sounds good (that's the way we do it on our real boat). What I wanted to avoid was a complete mast assembly with upper shrouds and stays hanging there while the lower lines are being rigged. Any tall ship that is getting spars put in goes one spar at a time. And I want my model to tell that story while she's being rigged (and displayed when I'm not rigging her).

 

I agree that waiting till everything is in place before final adjustments and trimming is the right way to go. I have had a problem with earlier rigged lines and knots letting go. For example, I may be pulling an upper forestay taut and the temporary knot holding a lower stay becomes loose. Would cotton line help keep that from happening?

 

Thanks again,

 

Harvey

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Harvey,

 

Cotton isn't as liable to slipping as some synthetic fibres, however I think the trick is to leave a reasonable length on the end after temporarily securing the line.  That way the knot isn't so liable to give way and you also have something to play with if you need to adjust the tension.

 

John

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I believe the traditional knot on deadeyes (at least I've always used it) is the cow hitch. I know when I've secured the deadeyes on our boat that that knot won't hold worth a darn, and it's not until the deadeye lanyard is seized that the shroud won't slip.

 

Since the shrouds aren't permanently secured until all the standing rigging is attached, I assume that the ratlines will have to wait?

 

Thanks,

 

Harvey

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Best if the ratlines are left until the standing rigging is finally tensioned.  I know that this leaves a lot of ratlines to do in one hit, but you have a better chance of ending up with better looking rigging.

 

John

I do this as well. Yes, lots of lines all over the place but I can adjust accordingly.  Also once I have all the shrouds in place I add a drop of clear nail polish.  Once dry you won't even see it.

Marc

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hey Harvey

 

I am about the same place as you. Just finishing up all my line details. I will also be using cotton line. So far I really like Coats and Clark brand.I am thiniking of doing the rigging the same way as you. I will have to give it a try. I will do as much off the model and then install as I go.

 

My biggest problem is I am going to try and build a working case for the Conny. I will make the front and back sides removable so I can rig her. Kind of like a big rectangle box with removeable front and back plexiglass sides for the rigging. That way I can keep the dust and animals out.

 

Looking forward to your progress.

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  • 2 weeks later...

One thing I always do prior to rigging is to stretch whatever cord I'm using (I try to avoid synthetic cord, because most, in my experience, has a tendency to take on un-natural curves depending on air temperature, etc). I take as long a line as possible, usually the depth from my upstairs ceiling to ground floor level - about 14' (4.30 metres). I weight the line using lead fishing weights or plumber's weights and leave for as long as possible; usually six months or more. Touch wood I've never had any line go slack that's been stretched.

 

One important point to bear in mind is to stretch each line separately as lines of different circumferences will stretch to different lengths.

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Torrens; (  leave for as long as possible; usually six months or more ). This sounds like experience talking and a very worthwhile tip to pass on.  I may never get to the rigging stage but I will remember your rope stretching method.

 

thanks

jud

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Thanks Michael. I hardened some of my line for a day or 2. I'll hang it with weights again and leave it there longer. Depending on my build speed, I may be able to wait 6 months.

 

I was hoping that using cotton would help is some aspects. It sounds like it will.

 

Harvey

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Janos,

 

What do you think the "average" humidity is? Both where you build your models and the place that you displayed them?

 

I grew up in southern Illinois, where the "average" summertime humidity is 70-80 % and the wintertime humidity is 10-15 % (anybody from back there, please correct me). I believe I would have a lot more trouble with rigging going slack back there (along with wood shrinking and breaking).

 

Here in the Pacific Northwest, it seems to be a more constant humidity than back home. The temperature extremes are also less. I live about a mile from a big lake (Lake Washington) and have displayed my models nearby another lake and Puget Sound (when we had access to the Coast Guard Museum), and I've never seen a problem with slack rigging.

 

But then, I don't think I've used all cotton before.

 

We'll see.

 

Thanks,

 

Harvey

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  • 7 years later...

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