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Plain laid ropes from 0,2 mm up to cable laid ropes 2 mm


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For my scale of 1:100 I needed to develop some skills new to me in rope making. 


This was what was needed: The range of 0,2 mm thread for ratlines and tampion lanyards and cable laid anchor cables of 2 mm.




This is the story of the odyssey ...



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First chapter: the rope walk




... simple wooden box, some cogwheel from Fischertechnik out of my dark juvenile past, 4 mm aluminum wire bent to hooks...




... the movable counter part and the runner ...




... some screws as guides for a 2,5 meter curtain rail ...




... and getting a range of crochet thread from the grandma shop in the city.




And these are the results - the three brown ones (nr 2, 5 and 8 from the bottom) are the reference from Krick 0,3, 0,5 and 0,7 mm:




Holy impatience, they are not yet dyed but I could not resist putting them in place to see how they react and look in place ...




... and, does not look too bad :-)






The build was rather easy and simple. But now it will get tricky: Finding the right materials and the right way of using it concerning the right amount of twisting and tension.


cogwheel - old stuff

Curtain rail - old stuff

Wood - 1,58 Euro

Aluminum - 1,50 Euro 

Feeling - priceless ;-)


All the best, Daniel

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Come on baby...don't fear the Reeper




Let´s go back to the glorious days, when a little dafi was all proud reporting about his own-build Reeperbahn (ropewalk) ...




... showing happily his first ropes ...




... and all the crochet threads he bought in the neighbourhood and the world-wide-web  ...




... and how he rope-walked and walked the rope ...




... changed his place into a painters place ...




... and did many-many-many test to find the one and only right and trueful color for his new ropes ...




... until he questioned: 


What am I doing here?


As nicely to be seen ...


... everything much to thick for his purpose ...  :-(


And the colors? Did not work either ... the pure stain wrong colors, mixing did not work ... the black was too blueish, mixing with dark brown resulted in blueish blackish ropes with a brown core as the brown penetrated and the black resided just on the surface ... other paints and inks were not so successful either ...




... and also the ropes were too uneven, the start always tighter done than the end, as can be seen, the middle line is the start and the one underneath is the same rope, just the end ...


... ok, think it over ...


... and especially ...


Don´t fear the Reeper

Edited by dafi
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Come on baby...don't fear the Reeper

Baby feel the thread...don't fear the Reeper


If one is stuck one should do what should have been done in the start - Listen to your inner voice and listen to the others :-)


Not: "I-wanna-have-a-ropewalk-and-do-same-nice-ropes-as-seen-on-the-modelling-exhibition" but "I-need-great-ropes-for-my-Vic" :-)


That changes a lot as I am building a completely different scale. Changes a lot towards the materials and the usage of the walk. So freshly focussed back to work:


First listen to the others:  Oli/Modellbaumechaniker and Holger/Pollux from my german forums gave me the right hints for the right materials. Fil au chinois and flyfishing lines were the right hints!


And this is what came:

The bigger bobbins are the fil au chinois, numbers for the colors see the picture

The smaller bobbin sare from the flyfishing, Uni-Thread green 8/0 the thin one, orange 6/0 the middle one, the thick 3/0 and the superthin 17/0





The fil au chinois is cotton with very little fussy bits, the Uni is free of fuzz :-)

The Uni has a large range of colors avaliable, unfortunately not all colors in all sizes. The 8/0 and 6/0 are great for my purpose, the 3/0 has the great appearence of colored dental floss and the 17/0 is also quite uneven and transparent.


First tests proved to be the right direction sizewise :-)


Left the fuzzy thread from the supermarket, my thinnest possibility before this date. Then comes the fil au chinois, the Uni 8/0 and the Uni17/0, always the original strand, then two, 3 and 6 stranded with blocks of 3 mm, 2 mm and 1,5 mm for comparison.




And the first test also showed that turning the axis by hand is a tad tiring and the cordless screwdriver is a little bit unhandy and also too insensitive ...




So ...


... reopening the Fischertechnik box from my youth, getting the motors out, glueing them with double sided tape onto the machinery, here the pretwisting side to be seen ... 




... and the laying side ...




... the motor can be turned sideways to reposition the hooks ...




... and felt was put untderneath for easy gliding, and a steel ruler in the middle to control the movements of the sliding parts :-)


Both sides were clampedto the rail to be able to put the yarn properly. After chasing behind the bobbin for several times, a holder like the sewing machines ones was introduced, and from there the the yarn was brought to the hooks of the pretwisting side - I am showing a 6-stranded rope - ...




... and after 3 times twice forth and back ... 




... the yarn was fixed on the laying side.




The steel ruler shows the movement of the slide - I use 10% on this rope - loosen the clamp on the laying side, the pretwisting hooks start turning and the opposite slide starts moving miraculously towards the predrilling slide :-)




If the required distance is achieved, I clamp both sides onto the rail, and the three strands are laid until the required tension is achieved ...




... some CA for fixing ...




...going with the fingernails over to release unwanted tension ...




... and you can make a clean cut :-)



Lessons learned


You can see two things:


First: I am not using any more the little guide block :-)

No difference to be seen apart from that it is much more even ;-)


Secondly: I am fixing both sides while laying the rope! In the first trials I had the trouble, that the start of the rope was coming out nicely tight and the second half was much more loose ...

I realised that at the start of laying the pretwisting slide does not move, and the shortening of the rope is only compensated by the lateral spreading of the yarn. Just later on the slide starts moving. But it was not just after I forgot once to remove the clamp of this slide and got out a great and even clean cable that I realised, that the loosness of the rope came from the missing tension on the other side.


The next tests without the guide and fixed slides prooved to be successful :-) Just if the motor is having to work too hard, I stop it and I loosen the tension a tad by carefully moving the slide and then contimue.



Come on baby...don't fear the Reeper

Baby feel the thread...don't fear the Reeper


... and the part that should be pronounced is: feel the thread :-)



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Baby feel the thread...don't fear the Reeper
... and now we are going through the thick ;-)
Some of the samples that came out:
Here are the different raw materials that were used from right to left:
No 20 crochet thread - the thinnest from the wool shop -, a 0,4 mm metal thread for comparison, the fuzzy yarn from the supermarket, the 3/0 Uni, the 6/0 Uni, das 8/0 Uni, the 17/0 uni and the fil au chinois. 
Here the macros from the tests (the laid ropes were done in an early stage, so they are still quite uneven), the numbers indicate the number of strands. 
Fil au chinois
8/0er Uni
After I found no color scale in the shop, I ordered all colors that were not unsuitable for sure. So I used the surplus colors for the tests, here the Rusty Brown:
The great result is, that I can do everything I need with the Uni 8/0  :-) :-) :-)
And again the numbers indicate the number of single strands. The AOTS of the Vic shows a nice tablature about all the ropes and their required sizes. And once again I see, that we often take too thick lines for the rigging ...
The lower shrouds should be a 30, the ratlines the pure yarn!!!  
Twists and turns
Apart from the 2 and 3 stranded rope it is possible to make Z and S laid ropes as required :-) Those two ones mentioned have first to be untwisted, which results in a more uneven rope. But as they are so thin that it is impossible to be seen in a model of that scale, there is always a possibility of cheating ;-) :-)
One of the reasons to do my own rope was to be able to choose the color. The available once for the standing rigging are too black, the one for the running rigging to colorful. Research in the reenactment-scene shows faded grey ropes: http://europe-today.ru/2012/03/stroitelstvo-kak-1200-let-nazad/.
I choose the color Tan, as it is avaliable in 8/0 and 6/0 and I will help perhaps with a little bit of ink once it is installed.
For the black I found a nice solution: I mix colors while laying :-)
Black with dark brown gives exactely the shade I found on old tarred ropes :-) 
The color can be nicely adjusted by the quantities of the colors within the mixing. Also you can nicely see the different hands on the picture.
As for the running rigging I will possibly also mix in some strands of a less colorful yarn. 
Laying cables
And then the hour of truth: Using the self made ropes to make cables for anchor and shrouds:
Looks promising ;-)
Baby feel the thread...don't fear the Reeper
The best is, the production now goes so easily and uncomplicatedly that I will not prepare to much rope in advance and will lay it as "just in time production" in the needed quantity and thickness while rigging :-)
So the first production for the lower deck is done ...
... and please tune in again when we come to the next line of the famous song ...
Come on baby...don't fear the Reeper
Baby feel the thread...don't fear the Reeper
We'll be able to tie...don't fear the Reeper
Alles Gute, Daniel
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Sometimes, yes sometimes I wonder why-why-why ...


... but after looking at my first lashing trials done with supermarket yarn for the tampions and the apron, 0,3 Krick line for the lashing and a breech rope laid out of the same material ...




... and when I compare with my own material ...




... I do remember why :-)


Lieber Gruß, Daniel

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Oh these days I used the whole 2,5 meters of my Reeperbahn :-)




The anchor cables and messengers were due


As the small motors were to small dimensioned, I had to use the electric drill. And for long ropes or ropes with many single threads ...




... one has to knot each of the three strands on the predrilling side together for not getting small lumps. Three of the resulting cables were laid further to create the bigger ones ...




... and for an enjoyable result :-)


The anchor cable has a diameter of 2 mm which equals about 24" circumference on the original, the messenger should have about the half, this one being still too thick with 1,5 mm. This means, half of the yarn is not resulting into half the diameter.


Interesting is, that even though I used the same proportions of the colors Tan and Rusty Dun, the resulting cable have different colors. Possibly because the messenger is tighter laid, there is not as much light from the surface penetrating the outer yarn and being reflected inside.


To compensate I added one part of white to the existing two colors ...




... and the result can be seen compared to the middle messenger. On the bottom the thinner messenger of 1 mm is shown, which - using the same colors as the first one - appears lighter due to be laid less tight.




That the first messenger was laid too tight I realised, as some of the outer fibres were broken ...




... so less tension was used for the following cables. The problems on the broken one I was able to fix by cutting off the bitts and smoothening it with Uhu-Plast.


Next came parcelling and servig


That one is for you Evan ;-)

I realised, that on a lot of great models, the parcelling and serving made the cable too thick, due to the too thick diameter of the material used. But as the fishing line is like dental floss, it flattens up while beeing wrapped around ... 




... and even shows the structure underneath, something I saw on the originals :-)

Still a little ink or chalk to get the plastic gloss off, and it will be ok.


And of course I could not resist, to try out a spliced eye on the messenger :-)

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Come on baby...don't fear the Reeper

Baby feel the thread...don't fear the Reeper

We are ready to tie...don't fear the Reeper


I still owe you the last line ...

(oh what a pun!!!)


... but how did this start again? I just wanted to try out the new blocks ...






... but the packet string was apparently not the right thing. That is why I had my fun on the Reeperbahn ;-)


And I realised something else: The blocks were too small for the 32 pounder :-0


That´s why I am now using the smaller 12-pounder for the next test - it was faster than doing bigger blocks ;-)


Here a picture from a working stage, comparing old and new ...




... and this was the result:






Not yet perfect, but the direction is right :-)


Lieber Gruß, Daniel




Come on baby...don't fear the Reeper

Baby feel the thread...don't fear the Reeper

We are ready to tie...don't fear the Reeper

Baby, I´m your man ... 


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I recently went through a similar loop of experimenting with various fly-tying threads from UNI-thread and Sheer. When looking for more threads, I came across the company Veevus in Denmark (http://veevus.dk/en/), who seem to be quite new on the market. I ordered some spools via the electronic bay from the USA, as this was a lot cheaper than from European sources. The Veevus thread is really good and available down to 16/0. The downside is that the colour range in beiges is a bit limited, but they got one that can go as hemp or linen.


Another downside with these man-fibres is that they are rather springy compared to linen. You almost cannot leave the ends of your ropes unsecured, as they spring open as soon as you touch it. Also I found it impossible to make real(!) splices because of this. I may (re-)adopt the cheating method with a needle to showed in another thread.


And, yes, one doesn't really need the travelling bobbin, as already suggested by Bernard Frölich in his book. When working with the fly-tying threads I found that first tension builts up as the strands are twisted together. I ease this by releasing the tailstock of the rope walk. Later when I turn this end to twist the future rope together, some to the twist unwinds and the rope becomes longer again, which I compensate by moving the tailstock out again. It is important to keep a rather uniform tension. Unfortunately, the tailstock doesn't slide very well on my ropewalk due to the lever action of the rope. So I have to move it by hand.


I'll be showing soon some results from my endeavours in the building log on the Zuiderzee-botter.



Edited by wefalck
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  • 2 years later...

my word sir is not enough to come close to your work here......the only itty bitty thing I can offer, is as a fisherman I use split shot to help take the tension out of line for anchors, or other  heavy  standing rigging...just take a .25 ounce and let it hang on the piece for a few days then use it after all the tension is released


appreciate your post



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