BlueJacket blue sailor logo

March 2014
Vol 4, Issue 3


News,Tips and Happenings

Dear Shipmate:
March - Finally!  It's light out much later in the afternoon, the temps here are getting above freezing now & then, and there's an anticipation of Spring in the air.  The staff tells me that we are about to get into what Mainers call "mud season."  It doesn't sound like fun.

Don't forget that Sunday, March 9th is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.  It's spring, so you spring your clocks AHEAD one hour. Officially, it happens at 2.00 AM Sunday, but I'm going to do it just before I go to bed Saturday night.

Last month I showed a photo of brass eyes being darkened with our "Brass Brown" solution.  When I was putting my bottle away, I happened to notice the BlueJacket address on the label.  It says "S. Norwalk, Ct." - I guess I've had that bottle around for about 3 decades! 

In This Issue
Model of the Month
Something Fun
Tip of the Month
final message
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Nautical terms and origins
This section will become a regular part of each newsletter.  Enjoy.
Advance - The distance ahead on her old course that a vessel moves when making a turn.  The word comes from Latin, ante, then French, avant, and into English in the XVI century.  When it came into mariner's use is not clear, although it was in such use in the XVII century.

Burthen - An old term to express a vessel's carrying capacity.  At some time in the XVI century the word became burden.  It came from the Old English byrpen, meaning load.

Halyard (also Halliard) - A line on any craft, for hoisting sails, some spars, and flags.  This is a composite word, in effect "haul yard."  Haul is from Old French haler, and Old Saxon halar, both meaning haul.  Yard is from Old English and Old Saxon, gerd, for spar.

Taffrail - The rail around the uppermost deck in the stern of a vessel, earlier as the poop or quarterdeck.  An earlier spelling was tafferal, which referred more to the then customary ornamental treatment of the stern than to a rail.  The term appears to come from the early Dutch tafereel, a panel or tablet.  Some seamen-types pronounce it "taffr'l."

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  -  SS Lane Victory
We showed you this model "in progress" back in August and again in January.  Well, she is finished now and makes a most handsome presentation, in her cherry and brass case we made for her.  The model and case weigh in at 80 pounds.  We used 3/4 inch blocks for the ways to mount her with 7 extra long screws. The Lane Victory is a veteran of not only World War II, but also the Korean and Vietnam wars. Then in 1998 she was converted to a floating museum in San Pedro, CA just outside Los Angeles and is a US National Historical Landmark.  
Here's a shot of the stern.  Notice the secondary steering station and the gun tubs, photoetched railings and stairs.   
What is interesting is the amount of custom laser cutting we used to complete the model.  The ship has 16 winches, and they must all look alike.  Here's a picture of the raw assembly of styrene and laser, next to a finished winch. Laser cutting the housing and cage makes them all identical.
Another item which was repeated again and again is the fairlead openings. Identical cut parts means a uniform look.
The gravity davit assemblies look complicated, but the main frames are just three flat pieces sandwiched together, with a few pulleys and gussets.  Imagine trying to do all 8 of them identical without the aid of laser duplication. 
And speaking of gussets, the bulwarks are held up with hundreds of little triangular pieces.  It would be impossible to get this uniform look without (again) laser cutting exact replicas.  Even the  waterway clearance holes match.
And lastly, here's a mixed laser sheet with doors, mast tops, and footstands, all on one piece of wood.  Truly a magnificent model in 1/8 inch to the foot, it is almost 5 feet long (59 inches to be exact) and will end up in Denmark.
Something fun
A guy pulls into a lumberyard to buy two-by-fours.  He goes to the office and tells the salesman what he needs. "How long do you need them?" asks the sales clerk.  "Oh... let me check," the guy responds as he makes a call on his mobile phone.  A couple of minutes later, the customer hangs up, looks at the sales clerk, and says, "A pretty long time...we're building a house."
Tip of the Month  - Clove Hitch
  First, a little tip from Billy in Savannah, GA:
In order to keep CA glue fresh discard the original top and replace it with a map pin.  The pin has a good handle and the pin's length keeps the glue in good condition.
The Clove Hitch is yet another of the Four basic marine knots.  It's a bit tricky to get the hang of it, but once mastered, is very useful around the house as well as on the sea and in modeling.  Unlike the bowline, the clove hitch can come loose if not kept under constant tension.  For small diameter line like we use on models, if pulled taught, friction will keep it tight.
image curtesy of 
From wiki.answers:
A clove hitch is best used to attach a line (rope or cordage) to hand rail, stanchion, piling or to another piece of line. It can be tied two ways, one is to take the line and form an "x" over a bar and bring the bitter end back through again or to form two half hitches in the hand and then slide them over an object such as a stanchion. The clove hitch, while one of the most useful and common "knots" known, does have a tendency to slip in some types of cord. In wet line it can also become jammed. It is still a very useful knot. Very commonly used by mariners to hang fenders, extra line and even tie off to a piling, it has a multitude of uses. Cowboys used a variation to tie their horse off to the "hitching" post. Lastly the clove hitch should not be tied to square objects.
YouTube has a great one-minute video on how to tie a clove hitch.  Be aware that there is a short commercial message at the beginning: 
For modeling use, of course the clove hitch is used for ratlines, just as full-scale ships do it.  It is also used for tying the topping lift and horses (footropes) to booms and vang pendants to gaffs. The following drawings are from the book "Rigging Period Ship Models" by Lenarth Petersson. We carry this book in our gallery for sale.

Finally, if you take a clove hitch around one of its' own legs, it becomes a buntline hitch.
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.