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I was looking at some photo's on line of some very old ship in bottle's and found something interesting.  Below is a photo from Michel Bardet's website.  This is a sib from 1900 to 1915 that he restored.  Does it look like the running rigging is one continuous line?  




I've seen and used that technique on the back stays and it works very well at keeping the lines equally tight.  I had never seen it used for the running rigging though.  I think it's an interesting idea.      

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Years ago I restored a model of a schooner rigged like this, with mostly a continuous line.  The forwardmost shroud from one mast would continue as the sheet for the sail of the mast ahead, then topping lift, gaff halyard, etc..  Eventually it led to the foremast where a couple more forestays completed the job.  That rig was no where nearly as complex as M. Bardot's restoration, which is most impressive.

In general, I try to use a variety of weights of thread and line to better represent the variety of line in a ship's rigging.

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I agree. At the very least I like to use black lines for the stays and brown for the running lines. That's interesting that they would use the same continuous line for stays and running lines though. What I like about this method is the ability to adjust the tightness of the lines equally. I've always ran separate running lines and getting them equal is a real pain.

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Nice photo of the restoration of this ship.  This is beautiful, and to think of the history this ship and bottle has been a party to.  Over 100 years old.  What a story to be told.


As for the rigging,  even with a single line, everything does look tight and crisp.  



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The running rigging on the ship posted cannot be one continuous line mostly because all of the braces lead from the tips of the yards to a block and a two parted line. It's all those two part lines that gives the impression of a lot of lines. As near as I can tell, the only running rigging on this barque is those braces. The only rigging mistake I can see is a stay from the peak of mast #4 down to the taff rail. This cannot be because that stay would interfere with the gaff and boom every time this barque tacks. I suspect it's a feature from the original build. This model is much better than the models I've seen where the tips of all the yards have lines that go to the tips of all the other yards just to have lots of lines which indicates that the builder had no idea what any of the lines did. I think it's important to understand the use of every line on a ship in order to model them.


All of the square sails here are oversize with clews (corners) that are too long. Sails operate most efficiently when tight. The clews are drawn tight with sheets that go through sheaves fitted in the yard below it. To make it possible for the sails to be tight the sail cannot be larger than that space like they are here with clews that overlap the sail below. The gores (the curved cuts across the foot of the sail) here are also excessive, possibly exaggerated by overlong clews.



An illustration of a topsail from Darcy Lever's book "The Young Sea Officer's Sheet Anchor" (1809).

Notice that the foot (bottom edge) of this sail is straight without a gore and is typical of all square sails.

There is some stretch in the fabric which gives the appearance of a gore. Shallow gores in the sails on our

models give the illusion that the sail has a compound curve which is very difficult to duplicate with flat paper.

a) reef bands,  B) cringles used when reefing the sail,  c) bow-line cringles [bow-lines held the windward

edge of a sail into the wind but were uncommon by 1800 and had disappeared by the 1820's],  d) cringle

for reef-tackle pendent,  g) patches applied to reinforce cringles here, can also be used at clews. This image

does not show buntline cringles along the foot. Topsails also had a lining centered on the aft side from the

foot part way up to take wear from the top and topmast deadeyes and shrouds and be periodically replaced

rather than wearing on the sail itself. This lining sometimes shows up on topgallant sails as well.


Getting lines "tight" and balanced is a problem all sailing ship modelers encounter. It's easy to start too tight and place a lot of stress on the spars and lines, a situation to be avoided. It's easier to get lines "tight" on large static models by eye and feel than it is on our miniatures. I use weights, in the form of three sizes of spring clothespins (mini, small and standard), to apply just enough tension to a line so that it looks straight and balances the loads from other lines. I usually have several lines tensioned with these weights before I start gluing the lines that need to be secured.


I use black thread for standing rigging and several shades from medium brown to light tan (to replicate differing amounts of wear and sun-bleaching) for running rigging, both basic colors in many sizes. I also have artists grade markers in a few shades of tan to color threads to vary the color of running rigging further.



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Your right it's not a continuous line with the lines running from the spars to the blocks.  My focus was on the double lines running out of the blocks.  I do have my doubts though that it is one continuous line through out the whole ship.  I think it maybe one line behind each mast.  


Good idea on the weights I may have to try that.  


Good call of the aft most line too.  The back stay look a little loose on that part and I wonder if they were to small and to far forward to hold the mast well so he added the line to compensate.  I've used a line running off the gaff to the boom and then the control line on the boom for a similar purpose with out it being as noticeable.  Of coarse this keeps the spanker perfectly straight with no tack in it at all.  The best thing to do is get the back stays to work correctly so the spanker can be modeled as desired.   

Edited by DSiemens
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I took a closer look with my IPad and tried my best to blow the picture up and I see the mistake on the aft line and ... I traced one line from the mizzen brace or crojack brace upward and it eventually terminates from the mizzen-lower topsail to the mizzen upper topsail. I still take my hat off to the modeller because the illusion is still there that it's busy with lots of lines.

This brings me back to reality to what I am getting into regarding the rigging challenges on the Presseun and how much I really want to show!

Yikes ... Jeff

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Jeff you picked a heck of ship for rigging.  You've got the patience though.  One thing I do before rigging is draw out a rigging plan.  I've set up my own sort of key to help me know what's what.  I draw the masts and spars and then draw the rigging lines.  Where I want a thread blow or hole for the rigging to pass through I put an open circle.  For knots I put a filled in circle.  Below is my rigging pattern for my yacht America.  I just hope I'm better known for my modeling then my drawing skills. 




I tried a couple of new things when I did this ship.  First was cutting off lines at the mast as opposed to the bow.  Second was the lines for the flag.  I put a line through two thread blocks and then printed a paper flag that folded in half.  I glued the flag on where the line tied together.  What I ended up with was a flag that could be raised and lowered and placed where ever I wanted it.  


Things to keep in mind is where the lines go when folded down.  If a line stretches to tight when folded down you may want to figure out a different method for that line.  Fold it down and raise it outside the bottle using only what you would use in the bottle.  It's good practice and it can show you where your snags will be.


 George Fulfit built a large model of the Kruzenshtern in a video called Steady as She Goes.  I need to find it on dvd since I don't see it online any more.  Anyway a method he used was to put wax paper between the masts and between some of the lines where he figured he would have issues with them tangling up.  As he pulled the masts up and slowly brought the lines in place he would use tweezers and hooks to pull the wax paper out.  Come to think of it he put wax paper down over the sea as he put the ship in.  This is a good practice too because if the masts hit the sea base they may pick up clay or paint then you end up with a blue tipped mast or spar that doesn't look very good.  


Now I'm rambling.  I'm certain your ship will look great Jeff.  Your taking your time and doing your research and I think it's paying off.       

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That old ship in bottle repair with the continuous line was a glimpse into an old technique, but I don't feel there is much opportunity for it to work if you are trying to do a thorough job of trying to represent a ship's rigging.  This is a small model from a few years ago I'd hoped would have fewer lines coming out the bottle neck because it was a simple, basic design.  I was surprised to count 23 lines coming out of the hull and bowsprit when she was ready to go.  Barks are a little easier than ships because the mizzen braces all lead aft to the jigger mast.

Since the model was small, a little over 2" high and 4 1/4 " long, I decided to use light gray thread for the lower standing rigging, light gray fly tying silk for the upper and light tan fly tying silk for the running rigging.  Sails here are cigarette paper, but I think I'll try something else when working at this size again.  In this case the cigarette paper didn't travel too well in the journey down the neck. 



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Excellent team work here Gentlemen!


I am learning a lot off of you guys. :)


Daniel I tried to get George Fulfit's video sent to me but I struck out. There is a library in Vancouver Canada that has it but they do not loan it out. :angry: 


I tried Quebec city in Canada and in particular the National Film Board and struck out as well. I gave up!


I am still debating the continuous method however it really can't be 'too continuous' as things eventually have to terminate. I just don't know how I am going to pull it off so the rigging plan is a must.  


You are right Alex.... the Preussen is going to get pretty hairy quickly. This method is very tempting so... I am researching this and thanks for the tip, greatly appreciated my friend!


Daniel... no doubt I'll have to do up a rigging plan in great detail and engineer everything out to keep things straight and I already know lots of blocks will have to be omitted.



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I fully agree with Jeff.  Nice work guys!  I too learn from every comment.  Thanks to all who participate.


I spent a fair amount of time looking for George's video too, all to no avail. It is very elusive.  I would sure like to view it though.


I think the rigging plan is a must, especially on complicated ships.  I usually end up making a couple of plans to see what rigging to do and in what order to keep the foul ups to a minimum




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Greetings All,


I have done something similar to this idea several times in the past. When making my tiny pocket watch case models the spars are tiny enough, made from insect mounting pin pieces, and having to tie lines to spars makes a really big knot, at least they look huge at that scale. So I will often use a single line, tied once, or even just wrapped once, around a spar then lead to another, etc.. Mostly I use this for bowsprit rigging, where a single line can be run for almost all the rigging on one side of the bowsprit. Even with running rigging this will work to some extent, but of course none of these types of models have any sort of control rigging needs.


I often use a single line for all the braces on one side of a given mast, this is for my smaller scale 3" light bulb models. I can do this because I use accurate rigging, where a line with a knot/block at one end is tied to the yard end, then the brace line fed through. I start an end point for a royal yard sail, go through the lead line with the block, then back to the mast where the line started, but somewhere lower down, then the line runs to the block/knot line from the next lowest yard on that side of the mast, then back to the mast behind, usually, and so on down to the course sail, where the final lead runs through the deck and into the hollowed area beneath, and is what is used to tighten all the braces on that side of that mast. It takes a little practice and care when tightening the line inside the bulb, I use wire tools to pull it at various points from top to bottom as I tighten the line.


I use a similar technique for the clew/sheet lines on the square sails on one side of a given mast. I start at the clew endpoint of the yard for the royal sail, then pass the line down to a hole in the bottom corner of that sail, this is the clew part of the line, then it passes through a thread block tied near the outer end of the yard below, this part is then the sheet line, then through it's sail corner, and so on down to the course sail, where the line then becomes that sail's sheet line and passes through the deck. Same as with the brace/clew line, I use wire tools to tighten sections of the line as I pull on the end of the line outside the bulb. This is not quite accurate rigging, the clew lines really should be doubled at the sail corner, where they really pass through a block, but at small scales and to keep the number of control rigging lines down to a minimum, this does work OK.


I consider a rigging plan essential, most times it's like the one above, just a sketch, or two or three, to define how I am going to rig my model. It's the only way to plan ahead and tie thread blocks to mast/spar locations before I put those parts onto the model. Much easier to do it off the model, where all the other "stuff" isn't in the way.


Anchor's A Weigh!

John Fox III

Ladysmith, WI

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I agree with John that a rigging plan is essential. I use a drawing program on my computer and prepare hull, masting and rigging plans at some preliminary scale usually well before I have selected the bottle I'm going to use. It's a simple matter to scale that entire preliminary draft up or down to suit the bottle later and further refine the details. Here are the first two pages of my Ogallala build done before I had selected a bottle.



Both of these were later reduced in size to 1/96 scale to fit my selected bottle.



I later narrowed the beam and axles to suit my bottle.


The drawing program I used allowed the use of layers that can be turned on or off so that I can look at individual groups of components or turn off groups that are in the way to see what I need. The program also allows for multiple pages so I used these two sheets (after I reduced them to the size I needed) to generate three more pages of detail drawings such as patterns for the components used in the hull, which was plank on bulkhead in two pieces (upper and lower hull), and detailed individual spar drawings, etc. I also made some changes and additions as a result of further research when I put my trained spiders to work on the rigging.



Rigging plan drawn for Esmeralda, now on the bench.


There is one thing I have not seen mentioned in the SiB how-to books I have read that is very important. Lines that run from a higher point or level with its termination on another mast forward (look at lines 9, 10 & 11 in red, the topmast stays, and 7 & 8, the main mast stays) need to be adjustable at one end or the other because the distance between the end points will increase when the masts are hinged back for insertion in the bottle. This is also true with the horizontal mast-to-mast stay at the top of the lower masts, shown in blue. It is now a red line that will be secured at the foremast after the masts are raised in the bottle. This jpeg image of the rigging doesn't reflect this change but the drawings in the drawing program format show the correction. Lines that go down as they go aft can be fixed at both ends. Now look at the fore yard braces in green, they can be fixed at their ends at the opposite ends of each yard and will be free to pass through a hole or eyebolt in the mainmast. Look carefully at the foresail yard braces. This line starts at the bulwark near the main mast, passes freely through a thread block, then freely through the mainmast (hole or eyebolt) and through another thread block near the other end of the yard, then down to the opposite side bulwark. This may seem to be a problem but if you look closer you will see that the distance from the end point at the bulwark to the thread block will shorten greatly as the masts hinge back and allow enough length to pass through the thread block to where it will be needed to compensate for the increase in distance from the thread blocks to the hole in the mainmast. Of course, I will verify this when I rig this line and test that it works as planned long before the vessel goes into the bottle. The topsail yard braces may prove to be a problem, I will find out for sure when I rig and test the foremast. It's much easier to work out these rigging details digitally or on paper than it is with wood and thread.


Remember, if a line goes down as it goes forward it needs to be adjustable at one end, if it goes down as it goes aft it can be fixed at both ends, but verify. It's much easier to change an adjustable line into a fixed line than to change a fixed line into one that's adjustable, especially inside the bottle.


I hope this helps.

Edited by Dave Fellingham
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Some good tips and tricks... thanks for sharing.


excellent computer skills and drawing of E's rigging. Thanks for posting!

I am learning a great deal here.

Thanks again ... Jeff



 I agree 100%.  Every time I login, I'm finding myself amazed at the level of knowledge, and craftsmanship of our members.



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