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Stropping and Seizing

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I am building the 18th Century Longboat




Can anyone show me how to strop a block with an eye on the bottom of the block and seized to the boom on top of the block as in the photo below. The photo is from Chucks log. Thanks very much, Mike



Edited by Stuntflyer
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On real blocks the strop is a long-spliced loop of line.  The seizing that tightens the strop around the block also pinches off the eyes/beckets.   The upper block in your image would have a becket at either end, the lower block would have a single becket and get attached to the traveler via a shackle or ring.  The upper block would be lashed to the boom and there would usually be a couple of cleats on the boom to keep it in place.


When I make beckets, cringles, etc; I hold the eye open with a round toothpick, dowell, etc, depending on the size of the eye, and seize between the block and becket(s) with enough turns to make everything snug.

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The strop used on a real rope strop block is made from a rope grommet.




which is made by unlaying one strand out of a three stranded rope and then laying this single strand up alongside itself. The result is a rope ring with no visible end. Achieving this in small diameter line used on ship models would be very difficult so you would have to fake this up somehow. I would suggest unlaying each end of some thread of a correct length and gluing the frayed ends alongside the cheek of the block you are using, blending them together from each direction. When its dry you could put on your seizings and form the eyes.

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This one uses a thimble in the eye.




As for making the strop grommet, I just pass the line around the block and cross it at the end where the eye will be.  Lash it with some thread, or a drop of CA place your nail/pin/toothpick or whatever will hold the eye open for you.  Turn the line around the nail to make the eye, crossing it again between the block and the eye where it crossed before.  seize it good and tight, trim the ends close and you're done - no need to unlay line the size of sewing thread.

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Here are some pictures of a full size block that I made aways back, it only has one eye but to make a second eye you would just need a larger loop of rope and seize the eye around the boom first then seize the second around the block.





To seize start from the eye end and make a loop as shown,


then begin wrapping (if on a block wrap towards the block) around the rope being seized,


once you reach the end of your seize pull the end through the loop created earlier.


then pull the loop tight until the loop disappears inside the seize,


and lastly cut the ends off.




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Once you get the basics of seizing a strop around the block the rest is just variations on the same theme.  For the becket at the bottom of the block you can do two things.  1.  Make the strop longer and create another eye just like the one at the top or  2. make a small grommet (a circle of rope like the picture of the strop above) looped through the bottom of the strop.  The standing part of your tackle fall will the be attached to this grommet with a becket bend.


For the attachment to a boom or spar, again there were different ways to accomplish this depending on the particular location and type of block.  One way is to strop the block is with two long eyes that would just about meet around the boom.  The two eyes would then be lashed together to hold the block securely against the boom.  The other method is to strop the block with any eye and a tail.  The tail is passed around the boom through the eye and the seized to itself.


The idea behind seizing blocks to a spar in this way is that it allows the block to be removed without cutting the strop.  All you would have to do is cut a seizing.  Re-stropping blocks all the time would be a pain in the ****.  Blocks were normally fitted with their strops off the ship in the ship yards were the proper tension could be applied to the seizings.

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  • 1 month later...

Here is a photo I took on the Pride of Baltimore II showing a rope stropped block with a becket. This block has a becket on the bottom, the part with the shackle through it holding it to the ringbolt in the deck.  On your model the becket is larger than the one shown and is the part that is fitted around the boom.


The rope grommet which IS the Strop was made large enough to fit around the block AND have enough material left over to form the two seized eyes on either side of the block. In this case the strop was served and leathered to keep it from chafing. The seizings which formed the eyes were done with a lighter colored line and show up well in the photo. Metal thimbles are set into the seized eyes but this is not always done.


On your model you will have to make up some sort of loop of line appropriately thick enough for your strop, and long enough to go around the block, the spar on one side of the block and the small eye on the other. Making the seizings to form the eyes should present no trouble.


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  • 2 months later...

I have looked at the various posts, references and videos about stropping and seizing a block and am left with a really really basic newbee question (which is magnified by the fact that I am trying to learn on a 3mm block...): after I wrap a thread around the block as the strop and leave a bit of a loop to seize for a becket, I am still left with the 2 dangling ends of the tread.  I expect on the real thing those ends were spliced together to form a continuous loop, but how do I handle this on the model?

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If stropping a block to a yard, the strop is not continuous. It has a small loop or 'ear' at each end instead. These ears go around the yard and a lashing is made between the two ears to hold the assembly to the yard. Otherwise, the part around and below the block looks like the pictures that have been posted.

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