Jump to content

USS Constitution by usedtosail - FINISHED - Model Shipways - scale 1/76

Recommended Posts

Time for an update. I have all of the topmasts installed with their associated bits & bobs on the caps and crosstrees. Many of the blocks will be installed with hooks, but I have stropped them and installed the eyebolts for them. Some blocks are installed directly on eyebolts.


In order to continue the bowsprit rigging on the jibboom, I need the sprit sail yard. I made it on the lathe from some round dowel, since it is mostly round. Here I have stained it and am in the process of painting the yard arms black, which is the color scheme i am using for the lower yards. In order to install this spar with the footropes installed, I need to remove the lashing on the third bobstay, which I installed a while ago. Not a big deal, but one of those mistakes that I should have anticipated. I also need to install the sling holding this yard to the bowsprit while installing the yard, as it has seizings on both sides of the bowsprit.


The other task I have been doing is getting all of the blocks ready for the rigging. I am using the kit supplied blocks and I thought I would show how I am cleaning them up. I start by using a small file to knock back the corners of the squarish blocks, so they are more oval. I do this in two dimensions so the edges are rounded too. Here you can see the kit supplied blocks on the right and a filed block to the left of those and in the cap.DSC_0006-095.JPG.144925210047d5010e679996ea93b140.JPG

I then turn these in the block tumbler shown below. I got this from Model Expo a few years ago and beefed up the insides a bit.DSC_0007-090.JPG.cdf269a693fe81950c9972307a0008e3.JPG

I run the tumbler on the dress press at about 1200 RPM or 1/4 of the speed of the press, for a few minutes. While it is running, I hold the container up so there is good contact of the sandpaper inside with the bottom of the cup.DSC_0008-060.JPG.9fdebfaa923b909f06032ac9ca3c12fe.JPG

Here is what the blocks look like out of the tumbler. There is quite a bit of sawdust inside and I am always surprised that there is anything left in the cup when I open it. I just picture everything inside turning to dust.DSC_0009-065.JPG.dc9a887211473718dccbe7acac1a74a2.JPG

I then stain the blocks using a dedicated cap using an old paint brush. I dip the brush in stain and roll the brush around within the blocks until they are covered on all sides. Here the blocks are the left have been stained and the blocks on the right are waiting for their turn.DSC_0010-048.JPG.c7d1d47beeb082fa56a523051ef75a2c.JPG

I also needed some sister blocks for the lower yard rigging, so I made some out of 1/4 by 1/8 inch basswood. Unfortunately I did not take pictures during the process, but I will describe it. I first drilled two lines of evenly spaced holes along the length of the wood strip, then used a round file to make grooves on each side between the line of holes for the top and bottom sheaves. I sanded the edges round, then cut the individual blocks from the wood strip. I cut these so they were fairly thick, then thinned them down on the disk sander. I also used a file and sandpaper to get the final shape on each one. I used a triangular file to make the stropping groove around each one, then tumbled and stained them like I did the other blocks. Here they are just before staining.DSC_0004-140.JPG.2e77413eb6bdcfd2d58b9dd08dd0a941.JPG

Next up is to finish and install the sprit sail yard, then on to the futtock shrouds on the other masts.


Link to post
Share on other sites

I finished rigging the jibboom, which included rigging the spritsail yard. It has 8 bullseyes on it to direct lines from the bowsprit to the bow pin rail and cathead. Here is a shot while I was installing them.To get them to be parallel with the yard, I first ran a line around the bulleye and seized it, then while the glue on the seizing was drying I twisted a 90 bend at the seizing. After the glue dried the excess lines now ran at 90 degrees to the bullseye, so I just tied them to the yard with an overhand knot and fix it to the yard. I stropped other blocks with loops that fit over the yard arms for the lifts and braces.


I added the footropes and one side of the parrel line to hold the yard to the bowsprit, then carefully slid the yard between the second and third bobstays to get it into position. I thought I was going to have to undo the lashing on the third bobstay, but I am glad I waited to try this first. I then tied the other end of the yard parrel. At this point I was able to add the lines from the jibboom that go to the blocks and bullseyes on the cathead, and the martingale stays which are seized to the dolphin striker. I still have a few loose ends to cut and the jibboom footropes to add in this picture, which I have done since I took it. I also tightened the lashing on the starboard fixed guy, which is the line that has that funny bend at the tip of the jibboom.


I am finding these electronic test clips invaluable for rigging. Here I am using them to mark the location of the next knot to tie in the jibboom footrope, as well as providing a handle on the other end of the line. They are perfect for holding two lines together while seizing them, and for forming small loops around, as I am doing for the futtock shrouds.


And that is what is coming. I have all of the fore futtock shrouds made and the 2 Bentinck shrouds. Now I need to make the extensions that fit in the loop of the Bentinck shrouds.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a great Father's Day weekend. My wife and I took a tour around Boston harbor Saturday afternoon to view the tall ships which are in town. Saw the Bluenose II and the Pride of Baltimore II, as well as about 20 other large and small sailing ships. Yesterday my son took me out for ice cream and mini golf. But, I did manage to get some time in the shop too, so here is what I have been working on.


Bentinck shrouds - The futtock shrouds are usually wrapped around the futtock stave and seized to the lower shrouds on most ships of this period. On the Constitution, however, the futtock shrouds end in a loop that is lashed around the futtock stave and shroud, into a futtock extension on the other side of the shrouds. These extensions have loops on both ends and go through a bullseye at the top of the Bentinck shroud. The Bentinck shrouds have bullseyes on the lower ends that are lashed to a similar bullseye on the waterway. There are a lot of parts to these that require a lot of seizings to make. I think I can do a seizing blindfolded now. Also, all of these lines are served, so I started by serving a long length of black line for the shrouds and extensions. I then seized the bullseyes to the larger shroud lines, and then served them the whole length. I had to drill out the hole in the upper bullseyes so I could get three served lines to fit inside the hole. Note my large spool holder attachment for the Syren Serving Machine.


I stropped the two lower bullseyes with hooks, seized in a lashing line, and hooked them into eyebolts I had placed in the waterways months ago:DSC_0011-046.JPG.efb7c40060e4283351aca2e30c0ce77c.JPG

Here are the extensions being added to the shrouds. I made a loop on one end, threaded them through the bullseye, then seized the loop on the other end. I used some tick marks on the top of the card to get them the right length, or as close as I could get. The first picture shows them before I trimmed the loose ends of the seizings. I kind of cheated with the middle extension. it is supposed to be seized to the futtock stave, but instead I seized it to the bullseye, which was a lot easier, as I could do it off the model.


The futtock shrouds have a hook on one end, to hook into the stropping of the deadeyes on the fore and main mast tops. The other end is a loop, and I seized a lashing line into each loop.


Here are all the parts ready to install (except for the two bullseyes with hooks that I had already installed). Notice how there is a range of sizes for the futtock shrouds, so the loops end up at roughly the same distance from the futtock stave.


I installed these by first lashing the center futtock shroud to the center extension, then lashing the two bullseyes at the bottom of the Bentinck shrouds. I adjusted the two lashings until I got the spacing right, then lashed the rest of the futtock shrouds to the other extensions. The lashings go diagonally across the futtock stave, which of course I did not do with the first set, and got to redo them. Once they were all lashed I did a final adjustment then tied off all the lashings. I have left the lashings uncut for now in case I need to redo these, but I will fix the knots with some glue at some point and cut off the excess. Here is the starboard main futtock shrouds and extensions. I didn't get a picture of the extensions from the other side of the shrouds, but I may include one in a future post.DSC_0018-010.JPG.0465e76c4c8a9654c44b7bf0e1e77a51.JPG

And the bottom of the Bentinck shrouds:DSC_0019-007.JPG.b189144480315cbc2952363e195bc5a7.JPG

I still have the port main side to do, but i have most of the pieces ready for them. I will then make and install the mizzen futtock shrouds, which are more traditional and do not use the Bentinck shrouds. As always, thanks for you interest.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks Dave and Popeye, and for the likes. I haven't been in the workshop too much lately because of the holiday, but I did promise a few photos of the inside view of the futtock shroud extensions and Bentinck shrouds. So here they are:




I am going to give those lashings a coat of stain when I do the topmast shroud deadeye lashings, so they won't be so stark.

I have also added the mizzen shrouds and catherpins. The shrouds are wrapped around the futtock staves and lashed to the shroud underneath the stave. The plans show the catherpins straight from side to side, but the first shroud is even with the mast so unless the futtock staves stick way out forward there is no way I could see to get them straight, so they are angled back a little.



I have also tied all of the ratlines to the fore and main futtock shrouds but have not fixed the knots yet.


After that, I will finish up the breast stays and start on the topmast shrouds and deadeyes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Rob and Michael. I appreciate the support.


Well, the lower mast rigging is just about completed. I finished the ratlines on the futtock shrouds, added the breast backstays, and the sheer poles on them. I made the sheer poles from brass rod that I served in the serving machine, like the ones I made for the lower deadeyes. I also cleaned up a lot of the excess rigging line around the bow.



Next up is the topmast rigging, so I made a few more thimbles for the topmast burton pennants and will start making up the shrouds tonight.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Such amazingly clean work Tom.
Just a personal comment, I should have posted weeks ago..... As much as my trip to visit the Connie was a huge disappointment (due to the fact that she was completely stripped down of all rigging and literally everything on her gun deck removed) - The high point of my trip was the pleasure of meeting and spending some time with you, my friend.
Thanks for taking the time to join us for a cold one in beautiful Charlestown. 
Keep up the beautiful work.  You should be very proud.



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks popeye, Bill and Dave. It was a real pleasure meeting you too and your son.


I am working on the topmast shrouds, backstays, and stays. I have the fore shrouds in place with their deadeyes and lanyards, but have not fully tightened them up yet until the fore topmast stays are in place. I didn't like the way the burton pennants were (not) hanging, so I threaded some line through them and clamped that to the mast, then coated  them with slightly diluted white glue. They look much better now, as you can see in the last picture of the fore topmast.




Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks Popeye and the likes. I apologize for no update yet - I was on vacation all last week. I have started the fore topmast stay and preventer stay and will have pics when I have them in place. I would have been a lot closer if I didn't put the mice too close to the topmast last night. I really don't know how that happened. I was able to remove the serving line and reposition them, but I have to serve over them again before I can install them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So, I finished the fore topmast stay and fore topmast preventer stay. I started by making the two mice for the stays. I used my new lathe, which made the process much better than the mice I made for the lower stays. I was able to drill a hole precisely in the middle of a dowel for the line to go through, then rotate the lathe head slightly and cut a taper into the dowel for each mouse. After painting them black, I glued them to the line I had served for the stays. I then put them in the serving machine and served over the wood. This time, I used a diagonal pattern for the serving after coating the mouse in white glue, so it looks even more like the real thing then the first mice I made.



Once the serving was dry, I wrapped the stays over the topmast and ran them through the bees on the bow sprit. I then seized a bullseye into each end and lashed them to bullseyes at the bow.



I need to finish up the fore topmast shrouds and add the sheer poles, then I will move to the main topmast rigging (although you can see in the above picture that I have started adding the main topmast shrouds already).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Al and Popeye - happy belated birthday. I hope you did something fun.


Tim - I didn't look on the back before glueing the sandpaper to the drum, but from the front it looks like 100 or so. The paper on the shaft is finer, maybe 200 or so. I only tumbled the blocks, as the deadeyes look good out of the box.

Edited by usedtosail
Link to post
Share on other sites

First off, I want to extend my well wishes to you members in Houston and Florida. Hurricanes are a b****, don't mess with them, especially these monster storms.


I was having problems with the topmast deadeyes wanting to rotate in the top, sometimes a full 90 degrees or more, because I had made the holes a little oversize to get the strops through them more easily. I should have made them with thinner slots. But, I saw this trick in xken's build log, and it worked so well I wanted to make sure future readers of this log find it. By inserting a strip of wood through the deadeye lashings before tying the sheer poles to the shrouds, the deadeyes are held in the right direction and the seizing on the sheer pole holds them that way when the wood is removed. Thanks Ken for the tip.


The topmast futtock staves on the Constitution have 5 bullseyes lashed to them to guide the topG and royal shrouds to the mast top. I was going to use some bullseyes supplied with the kit, but as you see in this picture they are too big to fit on the 1/2 inch or so long staves. So, I made new bullseyes from brass tubing. I had always used a vice to hold tubing to cut it, but on a whim I bought a jewelers bench vise which provides a nice flat surface to cut on, and had much better results. In fact, I was able to cut all 30 bullseyes, with some spares, in less than an hour. And they did not crush or have rough edges like when cut in a vice. I blackened them and tied them to the staves with a single overhand knot that was fixed with glue.


I also made the two collars with single blocks that will go over the shrouds on the fore topmast for rigging the topmast yard. The collars are one strand of served line wrapped back on itself and held under a single seizing.


Here are the fore topmast futtock staves in place on the shrouds, with the catherpins on them too.


Stay safe and have a good weekend

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I added the main topmast stays which were a little tricky. They have a mouse on top like the other stays and go through bullseyes on the back of the fore mast, then down to bullseyes on the deck. I had placed the eyebolts for these bullseyes a while a go while outfitting the deck, but failed to add hook the bullseyes to them. These eyebolts are inside the fore pin rails so I found it impossible to get enough room to hook them. I then tried suspending the bullseye with the hook down from a loop of thread, which allowed me to get them hooked with tweezers from underneath the pin rail. The problem now was how to keep them hooked while I threaded the lashing between the bullseye on the end of the stay and the bullseye on the deck. That loop of thread turned out to be the trick, as I just looped it around some of the belaying pins in the pin rail and clamped it, which not only held the bullseye hook in the eyebolt, but also held the bullseye up so it was easier to get the lashing line through it. I was able to thread both stays without them coming unhooked. Here is the result. You can see how close to the pin rails these are.


And here is an overall view with the stays in place. I finished up the main topmast shrouds last night and have two of the four mizzen shrouds in place. I had to remove the fore futtock staves because they were too low and the catherpins would have interfered with the fore topmast. I was able to carefully cut them away from the shrouds, but I did have to cut off all the small bullseyes and tie them to new wood pieces. I installed the fore and main topmast futtock staves last night, and am working on the catherpins for these shrouds.


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the likes, guys.


Topmast rigging continues with the mizzen topmast. I added the topmast shrouds, stays and backstays, and next I need to add the sheer poles.DSC_0002-178.JPG.6ee1efa4cbe90b86b5dccb08141ff8aa.JPG

I also have started adding the ratlines to the fore topmast shrouds. Easier than the lower shrouds but still will take some time.


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I would suggest,before you get to the point of no return,if I may.Have another look at the AOS rigging section.The breast backstays as they are called come down from the Topmasthead and are set up as you have them with blocks.I  have this kit and am really looking forward to it and spend a good deal of time studying plans and photos of  the Connie in anticipation  of the day I can start on it.This ship has a really interesting (to me) rig.The MS rigging diagram doesn't show this clearly,although the picture on the box does,upon close examination.       Gary

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Gary. I completely got those wrong. I have the breast backstays on, but have them coming from the lower mast heads, not the topmast heads. I will have to take them off and redo them, but that is not a problem as I have had to redo many things as I have gone along. I have the AOS book but haven't been using it as I don't think it is very accurate, but in this case it is. The MS plans don't show the breast backstays in relation to the other standing rigging, but the picture of the breast backstay on the plan shows the loop at the top and does say to go around the topmast head.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

So the work on the topmast standing rigging is completed. All of the ratlines have been added to the topmast shrouds, and the breast stays have been redone to start at the topmast top. I apologize for the pictures, now and in the future, as the cluttered background makes it hard to see details. I do have a backdrop I can use but it in another room and I don't want to keep moving the model in and out. I was going to stop and take some good pictures after the topmast rigging was done. but I ended up just continuing on with the flying jibboom rigging.


Here are pictures of the in progress and completed topmast standing rigging.DSC_0007-093.JPG.228c31e848563bcf74bc6dd47b25e956.JPGDSC_0002-179.JPG.7378e0cfe01902e8e1701f39b7587aeb.JPGDSC_0003-170.JPG.04f0fded77b13feccc6cd2af8cd9e093.JPGDSC_0004-147.thumb.JPG.999890ed861fcf832bf70c039ed0b0df.JPG

And here you can see the start of the jibboom standing rigging, specifically the outer traveling and fixed guys, and outer martingale stays. I attached the flying jibboom to the bowsprit cap by drilling a hole through the boom into the cap, then gluing it in place with a piece of wire in the holes. This seems to have made a nice secure attachment, and I then placed a U shaped piece of wire over the flying jibboom as more of a decoration than an actual support. The metal bracket in the middle I glued to the end of the jibboom, so there is a good attachment at that end too. I wanted this to be well attached in case I bump it later.


Edited by usedtosail
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks popeye, and you folks who hit the like button.


I finished up the flying jibboom rigging that was started in the last pictures - the outer traveling and fixed guys, and the outer martingale stays and back ropes. In order to tension these, I added a temporary line to the flying jib boom traveler to hold it from sliding back. This will be removed later when the flying jib boom stay is added, which will pull the traveler forward.DSC_0003-171.JPG.b91b17e18ecf01d47e88c67c5061ec8d.JPGDSC_0004-148.JPG.25bc1d39254295cb8612c68b1bbdb023.JPG

I added the top gallant masts to all of the topmasts. These are a little harder to keep in line, and I have to keep checking them every time I add a new line. I added the topG trestle and crosstrees, which I had made earlier. I left the rear crosstrees off these when I made them because of the shoulder on the topG masts where the royal masts start (they are all one piece). There would be no way to slide the trestle trees over that shoulder, so I slipped the trestle trees on the mast at the topG shoulder and glued the rear crosstrees in place afterwards. This worked really well. I have not glued these to the masts, as I think the rigging will hold them in place. We will see. If I need to I think I can get some glue up under them. Once the topG masts were added, I glued the cheek blocks to the topmasts. I had also added blocks on loops for some of the stays, and I cut small chokes to hold the loops in place, which I glued on and painted black in place.


I started the top gallant (topG) rigging with the fore topG shrouds. It was interesting having to thread these through the tiny bullseyes on the topmast shroud staves. I had to stand on a step stool to get high enough to look down on the bullseyes to thread them, but it turned out easier than I thought it would. From the bullseyes, they go down to the eyebolts on the fore top. I threaded each one through an eyebolt, then kept it loose while I added a seizing, slid the seizing down to the eyebolt while putting tension on the loose end of the shroud, then fixing the seizing at the eyebolt.  This technique worked pretty well, although getting the tension right between shrouds proved more difficult than the lower shrouds.DSC_0006-101.JPG.8a9a2250d9c3a69f2b8461799afd38ee.JPGDSC_0007-094.JPG.e0c082bb3f14056fd493948ef7405c84.JPG

After the shrouds, I added the topG backstays, but did not tension them yet. I then added the jib stay, which required another mouse. I made this one the same way as the others, although it is smaller. I used very thin fly tying line to serve the stay and over the mouse.DSC_0008-065.JPG.8c6655a34181e85783df415dc35cc9ef.JPG

The jib stay goes through the traveller on the jib boom, then through the sheave in the end of the jib boom, and ends in a double block. There is a single block that is hooked to the bow sprit cap, and the tackle line runs to the bow pin rail. I hooked all that up this morning but did not get a picture. I also added the outer jib stay, which goes through the dolphin striker to an eye bolt at the bow, and flying jib stay, which goes through the traveler on the flying jib boom, but have not finished the outhaul for it yet.


I have also been playing around with different techniques for making rope coils to go onto the belaying pins. In the past I have always bent the whole coil around a 90 degree edge and hung the whole thing on the pin. Since then, I have seen examples of ropes with one loop that goes over the pin and the rest hangs straight down from the loop. This is what I am trying to get to. I will show the jig I use and how I am doing it in a future post.


Thanks for your interest.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...