George F. Campbell

The neophyte shipmodeller`s jackstay

The skid beams supported the ship's boats and spare masts and spars. Previous to the gangways, long spars rested on the ends of poop and forecastle supported in the middle by wooden crutches, and boats were supported on these spars if not on the deck under. The break of the poop deck often had curved side extensions to line up with the gangways, Fig. 40B.

The portable skid beams became permanent affairs attached underneath the gangways about 1790. After this the gangways gradually increased in width until the 1830's when they were joined together forming a complete deck, on warships.

Relics of the gangways and skid beams continued in the clippers and modern windjammers as in Fig. 40F. Skid beams across the after well deck rested on iron or wooden stanchions at the bulwarks with pillars near the centerline. A narrow planked gangway led to the beam on which rested the lifeboats. When island deckhouses were fitted the skid beams usually rested on them.

HANDRAILS including the taffrail, Fig. 40, around the stern, are difficult to form due to their fragility. They may be made from wood, tho sharp curves are almost impossible to bend from straight grain. Where necessary, piece up the rail, trimming when the glue is dry. Use a template (paper pattern) to get the exact alignment of stanchion holes thru the rail and into the bulwarks. Press the stanchion holes thru the rail and into the bulwarks. Press the stanchions in place, then the -rail on top of the stanchions. Alternative materials are plastic sheet or fiberboard. These will often make a neater joint than wood.


Ship model kits contain most of the deck -fittings and furniture. These are quite simply applied by drilling holes in the deck to take the mounting pegs or by applying glue. However let me say this, that cast fittings are but substitutes for the real thing — where you can, make your deck furniture of wood or brass. Excessive use of castings sets you back, craftwise, to the stage of plastic kits, yet without the cold, clean overall appearance of that kind of model.

Starting at the bow the first item is the WINDLASS. The barrels of the windlass lined up with the anchor hawse pipes, of course. The cast fitting is practical for this item. Small ships and schooners might have a small wooden windlass mounted on the bowsprit bitts or between chocks in the bulwarks, Fig. 4 IF. A ratchet rim with a gravity pawl hung from a centre post was usual. The barrel was 8-sided, tapering towards each end and pierced thru with holes to take handspikes. Mediaeval and earlier ships had a simple horizontal barrel with similar handspikes but placed in the after part of the hull so that it could be used for the anchor cable and also the halliards, and mast raising rope when the mast was portable.