H.M.S. Fly - Main Rigging


The rigging as shown on the plan sheets in the kit have been drawn following extensive research, both contemporary and modern to ensure the rigging layout is as accurate as we can make it.

The rigging is based upon the original directives from the Admiralty of the “1773 Establishment”; This was a standardized masting and rigging directive for each class of ship.

Brush on diluted PVA woodglue for the majority of the knots. Super glue can be applied to the ends of the rigging thread to aid pushing it through the holes in the blocks. (But do not use superglue for anything else unless you are fully experienced and fully conversant with the rigging of period ships, and have adopted your own techniques that work best for you)
Shrouds are first to be set up. The correct sequence should be as follows; Forward, starboard, Forward port alternately. 1.3mm black thread is used for the fore and main lower shrouds, and 1mm black thread is used for the mizzen lower shrouds. Roughly measure out the length of each pair of shrouds by offering up the thread to the mast and cut the required number of pairs before setting up. One end of each shroud should be rigged with a deadeye. The upper and lower deadeyes need to be spaced correctly, if not, the different spacing could potentially ruin the overall effect of the completed model. To
ensure the spacing of the upper and lower deadeyes are in uniform, fabricate a simple spacing jig as follows;

Cut two lengths of 1mm wire 35mm long, bend 10mm from each end to an angle of 90deg. This should leave about 15mm between each end The same style of jig can be made from 0.7mm wire for the 5mm and 3.5mm deadeyes with a spacing of about 12mm.

One end of the jig can be inserted into the middle hole of the lower deadeye on the chainplate with the other end inserted into the middle hole on the shroud deadeye. Thread the loose end of the shroud through the top, around the mast and back through the top down to the second deadeye on the chainplate. Insert a loose deadeye into the second spacing jig with the other end of the jig in the corresponding chainplate deadeye. The loose end of the shroud should then be wrapped around the deadeye, and then seized into place using 0.25mm thread. Secure the pair of shrouds as with the tackle pendants and push the knot up to the bolster. Rig the lanyards to the deadeyes using 0.5mm natural thread. Continue this technique until all lower mast shrouds have been set up.

Each pair of shrouds should be reasonably taut, but not too taut as this could bend the masts out of alignment.

A ‘Futtock stave’ should now be attached to each set of shrouds, about 50mm down from the top. These are made by cutting 1mm brass wire to just a little longer than the length of the spread of the shrouds. Secure the bar horizontally to each shroud using the smallest diameter thread and paint black. The ‘Catharpins’ are to be rigged to the Futtock Staves next. The ‘Catharpins’ job was to keep the lower shrouds taught. Three individual lengths of 0.5mm black thread are to be rigged as clearly shown on the ‘Rigging Sequence one and two’ drawings. Only two sets are required on the mizzen.

The 3.5mm deadeyes for the futtock shrouds can now be set up.  Take the thread down to the futtock stave, wrap it once around the stave and tie the futtock shroud to the lower shroud, just under the futtock stave. Repeat until all the futtock shrouds and deadeyes are set up. Set up the topmast shrouds as shown in the ‘Rigging Sequence one and two’ drawings

Set up the topmast futtock shrouds, again using 1mm brass wire and paint black. Set up the topgallant shrouds using 0.5mm black thread. There should be one pair each side of the fore and main masts. Secure the shrouds to the hound position on the topgallant mast. The end of the thread should then be pushed through the corresponding hole located at the end of each crosstree and finally down to the Topmast shroud futtock staves, where the ends are tied off.

Chris Watton ©

Thank you Chris. I am so glad we have your expertise on this topic.


Pictures and more to follow in 2014