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September 2014
Vol 4, Issue 9


News,Tips and Happenings

Dear Shipmate:

September already! Hard to believe the summer has gone by so quickly. Starting September 29th, we will be holding a 5-day class on how to properly spile and plank a hull. I'm happy to say that one of the participants is a returning student from the spring rigging class.

LATEST UPDATE: We did have one cancellation.  If you are interested, please contact me, or anyone else at BlueJacket for details.

This month we also finished a custom built fishing trawler for a customer.

In This Issue
Nautical Terms
Model of the month
Something Fun
Tip of the Month
final message
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Nautical terms and origins

Cringle - A ropework loop on the edge of a sail, especially for reefing. This word travelled a bit.  Its origin was Old English, cranc, bent, then it went to German and Dutch kringle, ring, then back to English.

Housing - Said of the part of the mast below the main deck, also of the inboard part of the bowsprit; sometimes called the bury.  The word probably comes, in this sense, from the Middle English busing, and the Old French houce, both of the same general meaning.

Orlop - The lowest full-length deck of an early sailing ship, the word is still heard on some modern merchant vessels. Earlier it was a partial deck, especially of smaller ships. The word appears to come from this latter meaning, and is from the Dutch overlope, overlap, via Middle English.

Trestletrees - The fore-and-aft timbers at the masthead of a sailing vessel, to support the crosstrees.  The word trestle came, via Middle English, from the Old French, trestal, crossbar.

Information is from the book "Origins of Sea Terms" by John G. Rogers
copyright 1985 Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc. and available from BlueJacket. 
Model of the Month - Slocum's Spray

Captain Joshua Slocum sailed around the world alone in this vessel.  It took him 3 years to complete the journey, and his book "SPRAY, Sailing Alone Around the World"  is one of the great adventure stories of all time. His ship was a rebuilt 100-year old oyster smack, modified for the voyage, which was in 1895-1898.  There were no navigation aids, no GPS, no cell or satellite phones, nothing but him and his nautical savvy.  Even radio wasn't invented until 9 years after his voyage.

BlueJacket's kit is 3/8" = 1' scale (ratio 32:1) which makes a 25" long model.  Construction is plank-on-bulkhead, with laser-cut parts. Rigging line and Britannia metal fittings of course, and we even include sailcloth and a display cradle.

I am using our kit of the Spray to teach a class in planking. We will be learning how to properly spile planks and get them to lay fair with the hull.  I choose the Spray because she has 3/32" thick planking, she is a reasonable size with planks that are 15" or less, and has a pleasing hull form. Here are a couple of photos of the construction getting ready for planking.    

Of course, part of the process is to smooth the lines of the bulkheads.  Here is a shot before smoothing.  It's close, but a few passes of sandpaper will do wonders. 

What's on the workbench?
Nic's bench:

I am making slow but sure progress on the Portland.  Since the cargo deck has open doorways, I decided to add some "cargo" which will barely be seen, but adds something when you look.  Some barrels, sacks and boxes, a bale of cotton, and some castings I can't identify.

Al's bench:

The building progresses nicely on the Alabama prototype, and the final photoetch artwork is prepared. We are adding some people forms on the photoetch, they would be 5'8" in scale. Here's what they look like:

The modeler will be able to position them by bending the joints, and then fill them out with gesso, bondo, spackle, green putty, epoxy, auto body glaze, anything to fatten them up.  Or he may decide to just paint them flat white and install them, which would give an "institutional" look to the model, like some museum displays.
Something fun



Tip of the Month  -  Making rope coils

A model looks odd if you just tie a line to the belaying pin or cleat and do not add a rope coil.  On real ships, there is always rope that is draped over the pin after it is tied off.  There are several popular ways this can be done, and here are some examples.

First, a sketch from one of our own instruction manuals

Next, from Ship Modeling from Stem to Stern by Milton Roth,
TAB Books, copyright 1988

And lastly, from Ship Modeling SImplified by Frank Mastini,
International Marine, division of McGraw-Hill, copyright1990 

Personally, I use a simple jig made from clothespins and a scrap stick.
First, clamp a piece of line to the jig.

Next, wrap the line around the two pins, and clamp the end with a reversed clothespin that has a small hole in it.  This step is important because it prevents the coil from accidentally slipping off the pins prematurely.

the last step is to run the end of the line through the groove and bring it up and over, so you can tie it off.  A spot of diluted Elmer's and you are ready to take it off and trim the ends.

Thanks for your support


My final message in this newsletter will always be the same because it is what BlueJacket has done for 109 years, and we're not about to stop.


We appreciate our customers, we exist for our customers, and we listen to our customers. What we do is fun, just as I will try to make this newsletter. If you have any suggestions or comments, still, as always, please just give us a shout!


There's nothing I'd rather do than work on, or talk about model boats. Have fun!  




Nic Damuck

BlueJacket Shipcrafters, Inc.