Tuesday, November 27, 2012

18 - Ratlines

Fabricating the bowsprit shrouds provided me with some insight into how I might go about producing the ratlines on the mast shrouds. Fortunately, the white glue that I was using for most of the construction dried clear and made it suitable to secure the ratlines to the shrouds. Now the purist might suggest that the ratlines should be tied off, but with the number that I was facing, that was not going to be an option. In fact, once the glue drys, the result looks quite acceptable, IMO, even close up.

Next, I had to determine how many ratlines I was looking at. Had a couple of good photographs of Bluenose II that clearly depicted the ratlines, to the extent that I was able to count the numbers involved. I could even determine when the ratlines changed from spanning three shrouds to spanning four (near the mast head where the shrouds taper close together). As a double check, I also calculated the numbers based on the vertical separation, which according to Jenson, is about 15 inches. The results agreed within one or two lines, which was fine by me.

I then produced a paper template based on these numbers and marked off the critical dimensions of mast height and locations of the chainplates/deadeyes at deck level.

Here I've set up the shrouds for the port side forward mast. (The template has not yet been placed on the board, underneath the shrouds.)

From here, it was merely a matter of cutting suitable lengths of thread to form the ratlines. In the case of the forward mast shrouds that was 36; for the main mast shrouds, it was 41. In the photo below, the board is set up for the port main mast shrouds and the first run of glue points has been run up the centre shroud. Two more runs would be required for the shrouds on either side - and near the top where the shrouds taper close together, the ratlines span four shrouds.

Once the ratlines had been secured, it was time to add the shear pole that is positioned across the row of top deadeyes. I used white glue to initially set the rod in place, then followed that up with thread to replicate Jenson's drawings. 

Lastly, I needed to adjust the deadeyes and secure the lanyards. Once again, Jenson's drawings provided a clear description of what the end result should look like. (The more astute among you may notice that my top deadeyes aren't quite the pear shape he illustrates - something I didn't notice until it was too late!)

Following Jenson's drawings, I tightened each deadeye and tied off the lanyard accordingly.

Here are the four sets of shrouds.

A close-up of the deadeyes and chain plates.

And during a trial fit to see how they will look once installed.

Must admit that I'm glad to have this out of the way. It took some time to complete but I think the detail achieved will add to the overall appearance of the model when installed.

This brings me right up to date with the project. Not sure what is on tap next so you'll just have to watch this space!

17 - Shrouds

Back in Post 12 , I undertook to rig the deadeyes and chainstays with lanyards, forming the kit that would eventually be used to tension the mast shrouds. I guess I had been procrastinating since I hadn't figured out how I would eventually fit them to the hull and rig the shrouds. Besides, it looked like it might be a fair bit of work!

Finally I could put it off no longer so took a look at the full size items to see what was involved.

Noted that each shroud was white-coated where it looped around the deadeye and up to the end of the seizing. For future reference, also noted that the ratlines were not stretched taut between the shrouds but rather sagged quite significantly.

I had also happened to catch sight of a video of the stepping of the masts on the recently refurbished Bluenose II and saw that the shrouds were already fixed to the masts and the upper deadeyes were already in place (and white coated as per the picture above). I considered following a similar approach with my model but on reflection, figured that would be difficult to implement. Even if I were able to get the shrouds properly tensioned, fitting the ratlines (which involved gluing) would be problematic.

Although the shrouds on the full size vessel do not terminate at the top of the mast but continue unbroken down to the other side, I figured I could cheat a bit on this aspect. In other words, I would fabricate complete shroud assemblies for each side of the ship (four in total), using a template board. This would allow me to pre-position all the pieces in their correct locations, attach the ratlines and then easily(?) mount the finished assemblies to the hull and mast.

With that resolved, I first experimented with the shrouds and deadeyes. It was apparent that painting the shroud after looping it around the deadeye was a non-starter. Also, I needed to make sure that the length of the seized portion was equal for all shrouds. By applying paint to selected portions of the shroud, I was able to pre-whiten the length that went around the deadeye and a smaller spot of paint would indicate where the seizing needed to terminate.

I also thought that a jig might be useful in positioning both deadeyes so that each shroud would be similar. Here is my attempt at such a jig.

However, this proved to be difficult to work with. In fact, I found I was able to adjust the scale deadeyes in exactly the same manner as the full-size versions, so I shortly dispensed with this jig, although in the following pictures I was still trying to work with it.

Here is the end of a shroud, painted in two locations: where the shroud will loop around the deadeye; and a small spot indicating where to terminate the seized end. I didn't want to paint the full section as I intended to glue the ends together and was concerned that the paint might impair adhesion.

Here is the shroud initially looped around the deadeye.

Once the loop was formed, used a clamp to hold it in position.

 A dab of cyanoacrylate ("crazy glue") completed the first part of the job.

When I took a closer look at the resulting assembly in preparation for rigging the shrouds and ratlines, I decided that the twine I'd previously used for the lanyards was too small - and not the right colour. Since rigging the deadeyes, I had subsequently used a larger scale thread for the bowsprit shrouds and felt that this would better serve as the lanyard for the deadeyes. Plus it was black!

Nothing to do but snip the threads in all 18 deadeye sets and start over! But this time, it was a little easier, since the end of the thicker thread could be stiffened with a bit of glue and once dry, allowed for easy threading.

And a few loops later, pretty much back to where we were before!

Having got that sorted, still needed to finish off the seizing. Using the same size thread, started at the deadeye and worked my way out. (As an aside, the line used for seizing should theoretically be about 1/8th the diameter of the line being seized but I didn't have the patience to go to that detail! Also note the thicker lanyards are in place by this time.)

Wound out to the mark, ready for trimming and some white paint to finish the job. Also used a dab of cyanoacrylate to secure the ends of the seizing. 

As before, repeat 18 times and we're ready to tackle the ratlines. 'Til the next time.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

16 - Ship's Wheel

This will be a short post, as it only involves the ship's wheel and the associated cabinet that houses the rudder steering mechanism.

In keeping with the other features of this model, the original wheel that came with the model was woefully undersized and resembled the full-size version only by virtue of being circular.

Here is a shot of the full-size wheel on Bluenose II, which I assume would be roughly the same size as that on the original Bluenose.

After determining the scale dimensions of the wheel, began construction by soldering four pieces of copper wire together to form the spokes. Then formed a circle with larger gauge wire and soldered this to the spokes. Sanding this flat achieved a reasonable representation of the rim.

All that remained was to slide eight small pieces of wood on the end of each spoke to form the handles and solder a small disk to the centre for the hub. The result is probably OK from a distance; close-up, it's not all that great. 

   The wheel box was also straightforward. 

And a side-by-side comparison:

Next time, I'll show what I've done for the shrouds.

Friday, November 23, 2012

15 - Anchors and Catheads

Having gotten the windlass out of the way, figured it would be timely to take a look at the anchors. Certainly the plastic versions that came with the model, were, as with many other items on this model, a far cry from resembling anything like the real thing.

Jenson doesn't provide a lot of detail but he does include a sketch of one type of anchor, as well as the overall dimensions. He refers to two different types: a 'Fisherman' anchor and a 'Kedge' anchor but only provides a detailed drawing of one type:

Not knowing a lot about anchors, did a little research on-line. According to Wikipedia, the Fisherman anchor is known by a number of names:

" The Admiralty Pattern, "A.P.", or simply "Admiralty", and also known as "Fisherman", is the most familiar among non-sailors. It consists of a central shank with a ring or shackle for attaching the rode. At one end of the shank there are two arms, carrying the flukes, while the stock is mounted to the other end, at ninety degrees to the arms. When the anchor lands on the bottom, it will generally fall over with the arms parallel to the seabed. As a strain comes onto the rode, the stock will dig into the bottom, canting the anchor until one of the flukes catches and digs into the bottom.

The basic design remained unchanged for centuries, with the most significant changes being to the overall proportions, and a move from wooden stocks to those of iron. Since one fluke always protrudes up from the set anchor, there is a great tendency of the rode to foul the anchor as the vessel swings due to wind or current shifts. When this happens, the anchor may be pulled out of the bottom, and in some cases may need to be hauled up to be re-set. In the mid-19th century, numerous modifications were attempted to alleviate these problems, as well as improve holding power, including one-armed mooring anchors. The most successful of these patent anchors, the Trotman Anchor, introduced a pivot where the arms join the shank, allowing the "idle" arm to fold against the shank."

The picture below illustrates the Fisherman anchor:

Interestingly, Jenson provides several different names (Club, Fishing and Banks) for the anchors in his overview drawings, compared to the names he used elsewhere.

However, the important thing is to replicate the two types of anchors and not worry too much about terminology!

I didn't take any photos of the build process as it was fairly straightforward. The only tricky part was creating a hole on the respective shanks to mount the stocks. A little bending of sections of the brass wire I was using for the shanks, combined with a bit of soldering, produced acceptable results. 

Here is what I ended up with - think they compare quite favourably with the plastic originals! Note that I hadn't installed the rings at this point.

To complete this area of the deck, I fashioned the catheads (davits) used to assist in releasing and retrieving the anchors. As near as I can tell (and as depicted in Jenson's drawing above) there was only one cathead on-board and it was moved as required from one side of the deck to the other, using permanently installed sockets. However, I decided to make two in order to rig both anchors simultaneously. 

From the same Wikipedia article:

" Handling and storage of these anchors requires special equipment and procedures. Once the anchor is hauled up to the hawsepipe, the ring end is hoisted up to the end of a timber projecting from the bow known as the cathead. The crown of the anchor is then hauled up with a heavy tackle until one fluke can be hooked over the rail. This is known as "catting and fishing" the anchor. Before dropping the anchor, the fishing process is reversed, and the anchor is dropped from the end of the cathead."

Again, Jenson doesn't provide a lot of detail but I came across a picture on-line, as well as a drawing in a Model Shipways Bluenose Instruction Manual. (Model Shipways Manual) 

With these as guides, was able to fashion a couple of catheads, including the sockets, that should do the job.

Note that the anchors now have rope-wrapped rings and the jewelry chain I picked up at Michaels looks to be just about the right scale size for the anchor chain! They even had a smaller chain that I can use for the hoist chain! (Wonder where all the dust came from!)

That's it for now. Next time, I'll cover the wheel box.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

14 - Windlass

Back to the model after a holiday to the East Coast. Just missed the launch of the "new" Bluenose II in Lunenburg at the end of September. However, while it would have been a memorable experience to be present at the launch, the current state of fitment of the vessel would have afforded me little in the way of details for my model. Hopefully, will get to see the fully refurbished ship sometime in the future (although if and when I do, might be too late to benefit this particular model!)

During our holiday, made an overnight stop in Saint Andrews-by-the-Sea. While checking out the shops on the main street, caught sight of a familiar-looking model in the front window of a Home Hardware store.

On taking a look from inside, it turned out to be an identical version of the model I'm currently reworking for this blog.

Whoever assembled this one went as far as the manufacturer intended. Doesn't look too bad from a distance but of course the details start to pale when you take a close look; all the same deficiencies are evident in this model as well. 

With this diversion out of the way, time to catch up with the deck furniture I've been working on. Since I had the bowsprit out of the way, figured I might as well carry on from the bow to the stern. This meant tackling the windlass but that presented another issue - what type to build?

Over the years, the original windlass on the Bluenose II had been swapped out for more modern versions, such that the latest is a small, compact electric one, which is what Jenson depicts in his book. 

While simple to replicate and faithful to the current Bluenose II, I felt it would detract from the look and feel of the original Bluenose, which is what this model is supposed to represent. 

Fortunately, Jenson includes drawings of the original version of the windlass that was used on fishing schooners of the day and which was the original fitment on the Bluenose II (and presumably Bluenose I).     

Thus I decided to go with the older windlass and in so doing, committed to replicating the original Bluenose, as opposed to the Bluenose II. This means I won't be building out all the deck furniture that Jenson depicts in his book but the upside is that it shouldn't take as long to finish this model!

I didn't take photos of the windlass construction but tried to adhere to Jenson's drawings as much as possible. Most of the construction was straightforward, with the exception of the gears. However, came across a web site that provides an on-line tool to generate gear shapes (http://woodgears.ca/gear/index.html). Using this app, generated a variety of gear shapes which I then applied to a thin sheet of boxwood. 

With a little cutting and trimming, produced passable gears, at least for a non-functioning application. Here is the end result.

I think it compares favourably to the limited fitting provided with the model:

For the time being, the windlass is put aside, awaiting installation at a later date.

Next time, I'll address related items - the anchors.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

13 - Bowsprit

Today I'll cover the fabrication of the bowsprit. This can pretty much be fully assembled and installed without relying on any other yet-to-be-fabricated elements of the boat, which makes it suitable for this juncture of the build.

I started with the metal fittings used as attachment points for the bowsprit shrouds and upper and lower bobstays. (These also provide the attachment for the jib and jib topsail stays, so they have a fair number of  attaching points.) As with other metal fittings of this type, I fabricated them from metal strips of copper plate, with attaching points soldered on as necessary. Neglected to take any shots of the results but here are the two end fittings after installation.

Next I fabricated two turnbuckles used in conjunction with the bobstays. Needless to say, they are non-functioning but from a distance serve the purpose.

The other metal fittings were a few more hoops for the bowsprit itself and the small chainstays for the shrouds.

After that, I decided to pre-fabricate the safety-net (?) that is slung below the bowsprit. In hindsight, should have waited until I had twine of the appropriate size but instead went with what I had on-hand. The finished rope appears to be a bit on the large size and stiffer than the full-scale item, but again, think I can live with the result. To make the net, traced out the shape on paper and then wrapped the template around a cardboard tube formed into a cone shape. I  then laid out the lines and applied white glue at the intersection points.

As can be seen, the end result is fairly rigid! (As an aside, I have not been looking forward to tying the ratlines on the mast shrouds, but this approach seems to yield an acceptable result so it may not be as much of a chore as I anticipated - just have to make sure the lines are the right scale!)

Now it was merely a matter of assembling all the bits and pieces to make up the bowsprit. 

A couple of notes on the bowsprit before I sign off.

First, according to Jenson, the two bobstays are different sizes and both are quite large; the upper is 31/2" diameter steel bar and the lower is 41/2" steel bar. However, when I mocked up a section of steel wire at the scale size, it didn't look right so I opted to go with a smaller gauge wire, equivalent to roughly 2" diameter for both bobstays.

Secondly, Jenson specifies the four full-scale bobstay shrouds as steel wire rope, 21/2" diameter. (The same goes for the two footropes.) While I had access to some small-scale wire rope, I didn't relish the thought of trying to splice the cable to form the loop at each end; in fact, doubt that I could do it in any event. As an alternative, used a suitably sized section of line.

I still doubt that the bobstays were the diameter that Jenson detailed. In another diagram, he details the diameter of the end of the bowsprit as eight inches. Here is a shot of the full-scale ship and the bobstays don't look to be twice the size of the shrouds and they certainly don't look to be half the size of the bowsprit. 

Here is a comparison of the full-scale bowsprit and my representation. Once the rest of the upper rigging is installed, think it will look just fine! If I really get keen, may try my hand at weaving a loop in my small scale wire rope. It it turns out, may consider a retro-fit....

Now to figure out what to tackle next.... maybe some deck furniture for a change of pace!