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USS Constitution, need a clear picture of futtock shrouds


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Does anyone have a good picture of how the futtock shrouds on the USS Constitution are attached to the 'Bentinck' shrouds?

My plans call for a ring (actually a 1/8" thimble) but that does not seem right. The five futtock shrouds and the Bentinck shroud barely fit through a 1/8 inch hole, let alone a thimble of that outside dimension.


I believe the ring is larger but how much?

Also I would like to see a picture of how this is rigged to the deck, the waterways, in particular.

The closest I can come up with is shown below.


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If you can wait till tomorrow I will try and get you some more detailed pictures onboard the ship.

That would be great Henry. Thanks for the offer.


I mentioned in my build log that the plans call for a tackle with heart shaped blocks. I don't have any but I do have some deadeyes that are shaped that way. Perhaps they might work, but I will certainly wait until you can clarify this for me.


I like to add that I was planning to put a fairly large eyebolt in the waterway half way between the two cannonades. Is that about the right location? How are the blocks attached to this? A hook or more permanent?

Edited by Modeler12
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I have those pics for you.

It looks like the bentinck shroud legs are middled through a thimble eyespliced into the shroud, the splice served.  There are 4 legs, the center pair are not actually shroud legs but they look like a long seizing, frapped, between the middle futtock shrouds and the bentinck shroud thimble.  The other 3 legs have a thimble spliced into each end with a frapped seizing attaching them to the futtock stave. The shroud legs are served their entire length.


The lower end of the bentinck shroud is seized around a heart with a throat and four round seizings.  The lower heart is stropped double with two eyes. The eyes are held with a pin through an eyebolt in the waterway.  The lanyard starts with an eye splice in the upper heart and the end is hitched round the shroud at the throat seizing end the bitter end seized to one of the parts of the laniard.


Also visible in the photos is the attachments of the catharpin legs.  You can also see that the bentinck shroud is served where there may be chafe from other rigging.


Hope this info helps.










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My goodness, Henry, that is great work. Many thanks.

I will have to digest some of this, but I already know that I have more work in stall.


Your details are perfect about the futtock shroud attachments. I knew that the futtock shrouds did not simply go under the stave and down. That is why I tried to make that transition piece in my log, but then again that becomes very detailed and complicated.


However, I see that the bentnick shroud does have a large thimble at its end and the futtock lines are looped through that. I did not know that the bentnick's splice was served because it was so hidden in the previous pictures. This clarifies this view. I already made some metal loops to take their place and probably will leave it at that for my port side.


The plans did call for the attachment to the waterways to be where you have shown it in one of your pictures. I am surprised because that seems to be a spot that interferes with the operation of the gun to the right. But what do I know.

Again I have drilled holes and was ready to mount the eyebolts a bit further to the left of what is shown. Need to rethink!


The attachment to the waterways is simple, permanent, but does require that special block(s). They don't look like 'hearts' but I am still tempted to use the deadeyes I have to take their place. After all, this is a rather permanent situation and my approach still is to make things look a bit 'real', even if it isn't.


From all I have now I am more satisfied about my rigging from here on. So, Henry, my most thankfulness goes your way, my friend, my 'young salt'. I appreciate this.

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I do have one more question about the ratlines going up to the platform. And this is not just for my friend, Henry, please.

It looks like the ratlines on the main shrouds going up to the futtock stave continue along the futtock shrouds (and that is what the plans call for). In one of Henry's pictures it also shows more 'futtock staves' going up along the main shrouds to the little hole above.



Q??? Would sailors climb up along the futtock line (almost upside down) to get to the platform, or would they go on to the small opening shown in Henry's picture???

Either way, I would not like to do that now.


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Hello Jay...


No self-respecting topman would climb thru the lubbers hole - they'd clamber to the tops from the ratlines.  They'd likely only ascend on the weather side so that the natural forces would press them against the shrouds.  Have a look at this contemporary painting of the crew going aloft to shorten sail for battle:




I am enjoying your build very much and have a keen interest in your rigging details.



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Thanks Evan, that pictures tells a lot. To think that those men were climbing and working up there with strong winds blowing all around them and the ship pitching every which way. I can appreciate the saying that 'one hand for the man and one for the ship'.


Now I am a bit hesitant about my build log with people like you keeping an eye about what I am doing.

This whole project is a new adventure for me, I am learning a lot as I go along, but I also am enjoying the challenges. There are numerous times when I make changes because something does not look or seem right. Some times I think that I might have to start all over again. But then I change my mind and realize that there will be a 'next time'.


After looking at the photographs Henry took aboard the ship, I have decided to make my own special 'heart shaped' blocks for the tackle at the bottom of the bentnick shrouds. They certainly look unique.

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There are additional staves above the futtock stave on the shrouds currently.  I think that they are there because there are plenty of land-lubbers that go aloft when the ship makes her turnaround cruises

I noticed that Henry, and that is why I was wondering. At this point I can still add those extra staves as long as they are long pieces of wire that I can glue to the shrouds and then trim off later.


I also made some plans to pre-assemble the futtock lines, staves and bentnick shrouds. But I cover that in my build log. I also will be using some deadeyes with larger holes for the tackle on deck. Again your pictures are very helpful for all of this.

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