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Hi guys,


I need some help from our Swan Class experts as well as our other members familiar with David Antscherl's TFFM series of books. 


I've been reviewing the section on Fore and Main-Mast partners on the gun- /upper deck (TFFM Vol II, pp 61-63) and I'm interested in adding the exposed portions of these mast partners (i.e. the areas protruding above the deck planking) to my Pegasus kit.


Below is the NMM upper deck plan of Pegasus showing the main mast partner encircled in red:



Based on this, as well as the TFFM plans, I drew my four interpretations of this particular component:


Drawing A shows the chocks (letters A to F) slightly higher than the deck planking and the mast wedges (G) slightly higher than the chocks and octagonal in shape:



Drawing B has the same arrangement as A, except for the circular shaped mast wedges: 




Drawing C  is similar to A, but includes the carlings (H and I) on each side among the components above the deck planking:





Drawing D is similar to C, except for the circular shaped mast wedges: 



I apologize in advance for the crude, ill-proportioned nature of my drawings, I think my 2 year old makes better shapes than me :P


May I know if which of these 4 drawings is the most appropriate for Pegasus?


Personally, I am leaning towards B since most of the scratchbuilt Swan Class ships I've seen show the carlings H and I to be lower/below the deck planking and both TFFM and Goodwin's  "Construction and Fitting..." book state that the octagonal shaped opening becomes rounded upon opening out or finishing of the mast partner. However, I am curious as to why the NMM plan shows an octagonal shaped opening for the mast wedge. Is this the finished shape of the mast wedge or did the plan intend to show how it looked like prior to opening out/finishing, hence the octagonal shape? 


Thanks in advance for the help guys.















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Hi Aldo, an interesting question, I  just went with the provided octagonal kit representations, it is an extremely crowded area around the Mainmast and very little can be seen once all the clutter is installed.


However, I would agree that  'B' is  probably the best representation, but if you are going to do it check carefully the fittings around the mast, there is very little room between the gallows bitts and the pump cisterns.


As for leaving the internal surround octagonal or rounding it off to meet the mast, not too sure about that, but I will be fitting a mast coat of sorts.


If I can find any contemporary evidence for one thing or the other I will update the post.





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Aldo, there are much better people to take advise from than myself and I have not looked at the partners on the upper deck but if you want to see how it looks on the lower deck go to the first page of my Atalanta (re)build.  This shows the partner with an octagonal exterior.  David discusses the round vs octagonal hole in Vol I.  Also, why don't you look at Danny's Vulture so see how he handled it.  His build log is in the process of being reposted.

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My understanding is that the octagonal space was cut back after assembly to become circular. The space between the partners' hole and the mast was filled with segmental wedges that were driven in. Once driven, the protruding ends of the wedges were cut and smoothed, then covered with a canvas 'boot'.

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Thanks very much for your inputs, M., Tony, and Druxey, I appreciate it :)


M., the excellent bashing you've done to your Pegasus kit has really inspired me to also improve my ship


Toni, I've had a look at your HMS Atalanta build and I believe congratulations are in order, you're doing a marvelous job on your build Ma'am and I hope to someday build one of these beautiful fully framed Swan Class ships. I've been keeping tabs on Danny's build way back on the old logs up to now and he has been very kind to lend me a helping hand in my humble little ship. I will be keeping an eye on your masterpiece.


Hi Druxey,


Thanks  very much for chiming in and sharing your inputs, it's nice to hear from the Master of Swan Class ships ;)  


I have resized the TFFM vol II plans to 1/64 and made a simplified mock up of the exposed portions of the mast partners based on my understanding of the texts and your explanation:





I understand that the fore and aft edges of the cross chocks should pass underneath the head ledges of the fore and main hatch coamings, however to avoid the difficult work, I plan to just trim the fore and aft edges of the cross chocks and just let them butt tightly against the coamings as seen below:




Did I interpret the texts and plans correctly?


One more thing that really bothers me is this NMM deck plan showing that the opening of the main mast partner is an octagonal shaped structure: 




Does this mean that the plan reflects an "unfinished" mast partner, or would it be more accurate for my particular ship if I follow the contemporary plan and just go for an octagonal mast wedge as seen below?




Once again, your opinions would be much appreciated, and I apologize in advance if my questions may seem a bit silly, I'm just learning the ropes on these new nautical terms ;)

Edited by rdsaplala
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Nothing is silly when it comes to the complexities of wooden shipbuilding. The octagonal space is the 'unfinished' partner, as you've stated. The finished one is very like your mock-up with the wedges made circular. I think you have it!

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  • 1 year later...

Hi everyone, sorry to resurrect this thread.  I have a related question as to the wedges and the partners.


I've built the partners as Aldo has in this thread, and will represent the wedges as circular, rather than octagonal.  If I add the ring of wedges on top of the partners, I'm left with a gap in the area between the corner chocks on either side of the partners - since the carlings lay under the deck planking level.  Here is an annotated version of one of Aldo's pictures to show what I mean (hope he doesn't mind):





How that gap between the circular wedge piece and the deck filled in that area?  I was thinking about adding planking over what would be the carlings, that would extend to cover the side of the octagon between the chocks.  But, there still would be a small vertical gap between the wedge ring and the deck.  The only thing that I can think to do is to have the wedges in that area extend down to the deck level, as opposed to merely sitting on top of the chocks. 


Thanks in advance!

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I discovered in my mast partners that there is indeed a slight problem when the octagonal structure is trimmed into a circle before installing the wedges. In order for the circle to circumscribe the octagon, the circle has to cut a bit into the sides of the carlings. The only alternative is to leave a gap, as Mike pointed out, and I could not see how the wedges would work gracefully within an odd-shaped opening.


Anyway, my thoughts....



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Hi Mike,


Good choice on including the mast partners, they should make for some interesting details in your Pegasus, which, by the way, is coming along beautifully my friend  :)

The "gap" you've mentioned is actually just a shadow from the lighting.

Here is a another picture of my mock up, which will hopefully clarify the relationship between the mast partners, wedges and deck planking (sorry for the poor quality, I used cellphone camera only  :blush:)






As can be seen, the mast wedges do extend down into the deck planking as you've mentioned and should have a nice tight fit into the circular opening of the partners. There should be no gaps between the wedges and the deck planking.

As you've also mentioned, the carlings will  not be seen as they will be covered by the deck planking.


By the way, as druxey has said in his first post, the mast wedges are composed of several pieces of wood that are driven into the mast partners so you may want to scribe some lines on the mast wedges to represent the separate pieces. Have a look at Danny's work below:




Just don't copy the triangular shaped partners, it's a unique feature to HMS Vulture and doesn't apply to Pegasus  ;)





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Thank you very much Aldo, that clears things up completely.  I probably wasn't very clear in my post, but I had been wondering if the mast wedges extend down to the deck.  Since that's the case, I can't just cut a ring that I lay on top of the main mast partners, but have to figure out how to extend the ring down to the deck in the gaps between the corner chocks.


Thanks Allan for the diagrams - they are very good illustrations on how the various components are put together.

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No problem Mike :) With regards to how to extend the ring down to the deck, perhaps you could cut the chocks as separate pieces from 1mm thick sheet using the TFFM drawings as patterns, making sure that they mate snugly on to the ring. The ring could be cut from a slightly thicker sheet (1.5-2mm) so it will be higher than the partners or can be made from your lathe. Once complete, the pieces could be laid directly on top of the planking like a jigsaw puzzle:









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Peter Goodwin gives a rather detailed explanation and provides sketches of the use of the wedges in his Construction and Fitting of the English Man of War on pages 169 and 171.


The opening area inside the partners is about 10" to 12" larger than the diameter of the mast thus the wedges are about 5 or 6 inches thick where they contact the mast and partners.  The corner chocks are dressed to the appropriate diameter, but he does not say or show the carlings or cross partners being dressed to form a circle.  He does say that many of the wedges had to be made "tailor made". 



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