Tying Ratlines - advice

Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
8
Points
8

I’m seeking some guidance from the wise. I am building the Caldercraft DIANA, I’ve completed the lower shrouds and about to start the ratlines - see attached. I intend to use clove hitches to secure my 0.25mm, stained, line. I wonder if anyone has a good technique for doing this at a steady, predictable pace - I’ve tried a couple of times but the tensioning is a little hit and miss across the horizontal And will look odd unless done correctly. Also how do you tie them neatly towards the top where the spacing between the shrouds is quite small? I know this will take several weeks but it would be good to know if there is a method which helps consistency. Thanks. Peter
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    280.1 KB · Views: 25
Joined
Aug 21, 2019
Messages
376
Points
323

. Background music. This is many hours of work
1. Short lengths of line-slightly more that each row requires makes for easier handling.
2. Not too taunt, and I found "sagging" impossible to equally reproduce.
3. Stiffening as you finish each row- dilute pva or nail vanish etc.
4. repeat checking that the paper pattern guide remains horizontal
5. Beg, borrow, steal or even buy a pair of artery (small curved) surgical clamps
6.Every so often, clip ends. I find a simple small pair of dressmakers scissors (sprung) useful
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2018
Messages
1,266
Points
443

Location
Baltimore, Maryland USA
Probably off my rocker but rat lines are fun for me I use a sheet of paper behind the shrouds with tic marks where I want to tie each run I pull the line taunt as I tie each Clove hitch. Don't glue anything until the whole run is tied down, this way you can adjust the run level with the one before. I try and have no drooping lines as mentioned its near impossible to get them the same and its easier to tie them straight anyhow. Just keep an eye on your shroud lines so none get pulled out of the natural way the run.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2019
Messages
538
Points
198

Location
Roswell, Ga
Probably off my rocker but rat lines are fun for me I use a sheet of paper behind the shrouds with tic marks where I want to tie each run I pull the line taunt as I tie each Clove hitch. Don't glue anything until the whole run is tied down, this way you can adjust the run level with the one before. I try and have no drooping lines as mentioned its near impossible to get them the same and its easier to tie them straight anyhow. Just keep an eye on your shroud lines so none get pulled out of the natural way the run.
Yeah, you're off your rocker..... just joking. I do them the same way. With a big bottle booze. Just have to be careful that they don't start to list when I do.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2018
Messages
1,266
Points
443

Location
Baltimore, Maryland USA
Definately i wax my lines some folks don't and some just flat out use waaaay to much. I use 3 pulls through the wax in both directions then I slick it down with a few rapid pulls through my fingers. I've seen some use so much that they loose the wrap detail of the siezing and any serving in that area. You just want enough to to keep the fuzz away and give the line alittle body. The wax will help with rat lining.
I have a few bottles of Booze here, but my skill set under the influence is nada. I can tell the next morning when I go look and it appears as though my Grandson age 6 has had some arts and crafts time with my build as the focal point lol
However I will fully celebrate a hard won battle often when I shut the shop lights off.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 4, 2018
Messages
1,266
Points
443

Location
Baltimore, Maryland USA
Great advice everyone. I have yet to find a perfect technique from anyone. After several hundred knots I still managed to cut pieces too short and cursing. Here’s a pic of a great little jig to keep your shrouds straight while tying. It’s just two pieces of scrap wood held by spring clips.View attachment 195314
I've learned to order extra line so I can have extra for rat lines. I use a method where I decide where I want the rat line run to lay, span the line across all the shrouds then I use that length X4 I'd always have enough to complete the run.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2018
Messages
794
Points
403

Location
Ramsey, Minnesota, USA
I’m seeking some guidance from the wise. I am building the Caldercraft DIANA, I’ve completed the lower shrouds and about to start the ratlines - see attached. I intend to use clove hitches to secure my 0.25mm, stained, line. I wonder if anyone has a good technique for doing this at a steady, predictable pace - I’ve tried a couple of times but the tensioning is a little hit and miss across the horizontal And will look odd unless done correctly. Also how do you tie them neatly towards the top where the spacing between the shrouds is quite small? I know this will take several weeks but it would be good to know if there is a method which helps consistency. Thanks. Peter
Hello Peter, I can help take the guesswork out of maintaining proper tension in ratline tying.

Take a look at my build log, starting at Post #188, and make the tool shown in Post #193. Glue strips of sandpaper or emery cloth to the inside gripping surfaces. The jig clamps onto the shrouds horizontally. Read the posts and you'll see how that ratline jig 1) holds the shrouds at their proper distances apart while you tie the ratlines with clove hitches, 2) spaces the ratline knots from the row you just tied below, and 3) acts as a straight edge that keeps the clove hitched on a nice, horizontal line. You can work on the port side shrouds, then use a ruler to match the heights of rows of ratlines relative to the bulwark, such that both sets of ratlines, port and starboard, match up in number, spacing, and height locations as you go. I grab the ruler and check the height of the ratline row I'm tying with the one on the opposite side every three rows or so. Everything will come out pretty even, and there is minimal knot position adjustment, which can suck up LOTS of your time. Tweaking is minimized. The secure each knot with a paint brush with diluted PVA glue. Each ratline section should be a tiny bit slack to look realistic, but if they are taut, that's okay as long as they are not too taut and pull the shrouds out of position.

Tying Ratlines on La Couronne

1606360635624.png
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2019
Messages
436
Points
323

Personally, I like to dab 1cm or so with CA glue at the running end of the line. Then I'll use this stiffened line like a needle to thread the clove-hitches pretty quickly. The idea of a clamp of some sort on the shrouds to keep from pulling them out of line is a good one. Darius's shroud clamp above is as good as any I have seen, but a couple short pieces of 5mm thick timber and some spring-clamps will do just as well.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2018
Messages
1,266
Points
443

Location
Baltimore, Maryland USA
Hello Peter, I can help take the guesswork out of maintaining proper tension in ratline tying.

Take a look at my build log, starting at Post #188, and make the tool shown in Post #193. Glue strips of sandpaper or emery cloth to the inside gripping surfaces. The jig clamps onto the shrouds horizontally. Read the posts and you'll see how that ratline jig 1) holds the shrouds at their proper distances apart while you tie the ratlines with clove hitches, 2) spaces the ratline knots from the row you just tied below, and 3) acts as a straight edge that keeps the clove hitched on a nice, horizontal line. You can work on the port side shrouds, then use a ruler to match the heights of rows of ratlines relative to the bulwark, such that both sets of ratlines, port and starboard, match up in number, spacing, and height locations as you go. I grab the ruler and check the height of the ratline row I'm tying with the one on the opposite side every three rows or so. Everything will come out pretty even, and there is minimal knot position adjustment, which can suck up LOTS of your time. Tweaking is minimized. The secure each knot with a paint brush with diluted PVA glue. Each ratline section should be a tiny bit slack to look realistic, but if they are taut, that's okay as long as they are not too taut and pull the shrouds out of position.

Tying Ratlines on La Couronne

View attachment 195338
such a great idea. like I said I use paper with tic marks I could follow this device and save time adjusting the knots in the middle of the run, I can usually get them fairly straight but I do wander off because the reference I use is the last run I tied since your hands are in the way most of the time its difficult to run lines without having to adjust at least one knot per run this will give a reference above and much easier to follow. Thank you for this little jig Brother I'm definitely making this tomorrow after breakfast.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2013
Messages
929
Points
393

Location
Sydney
Does anyone wax the line to give it a little structure and prevent/reduce awkward kinks? I’ve seen some people wax them. Off to get a bottle of hooch - might impact on the quality of knots!
No. Wax covers (or, rather fills up) the structure of the line, and more importantly dust will happily sit on the lines, never to be removed again. Otherwise a bit of Pálinka helps a lot!
János
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2018
Messages
794
Points
403

Location
Ramsey, Minnesota, USA
such a great idea. like I said I use paper with tic marks I could follow this device and save time adjusting the knots in the middle of the run, I can usually get them fairly straight but I do wander off because the reference I use is the last run I tied since your hands are in the way most of the time its difficult to run lines without having to adjust at least one knot per run this will give a reference above and much easier to follow. Thank you for this little jig Brother I'm definitely making this tomorrow after breakfast.
The jig, being narrow, rests on top of the last row you tied, and keeps the gap between the rows of knots regular. Also, as you tie the knots, the line is guided by the jig such that the knot is placed on top of the wood of the jig, and consistently so if you tighten the knot angling the loose end in your hand consistently. You can have a paper guide behind it, but as you get better, you may not need it.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2018
Messages
1,266
Points
443

Location
Baltimore, Maryland USA
The jig, being narrow, rests on top of the last row you tied, and keeps the gap between the rows of knots regular. Also, as you tie the knots, the line is guided by the jig such that the knot is placed on top of the wood of the jig, and consistently so if you tighten the knot angling the loose end in your hand consistently. You can have a paper guide behind it, but as you get better, you may not need it.
yes I saw that I wouldn't be able to use it that way because I tie by hand with fingers it would be in the way and frustrate me to no end lol I really should learn to tie knots with tweezers. I'm gonna use it as a guide above, I'll keep it one or two runs ahead of the one I'm putting in
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2019
Messages
376
Points
323

yes I saw that I wouldn't be able to use it that way because I tie by hand with fingers it would be in the way and frustrate me to no end lol I really should learn to tie knots with tweezers. I'm gonna use it as a guide above, I'll keep it one or two runs ahead of the one I'm putting in
Check out on Utube how doctors tie nots with and without instruments.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2018
Messages
794
Points
403

Location
Ramsey, Minnesota, USA
yes I saw that I wouldn't be able to use it that way because I tie by hand with fingers it would be in the way and frustrate me to no end lol I really should learn to tie knots with tweezers. I'm gonna use it as a guide above, I'll keep it one or two runs ahead of the one I'm putting in
Using a needle helps you pass the thread through. When things get tight, a small set of needle nosed pliers helps position the thread. The jig never gets in my way until you get close to the top, where you just tie the last few rows by hand.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2019
Messages
538
Points
198

Location
Roswell, Ga
Does anyone wax the line to give it a little structure and prevent/reduce awkward kinks? I’ve seen some people wax them. Off to get a bottle of hooch - might impact on the quality of knots!
when they start listing.... youve drank too much..... damnit... they still arent straot......(?)
 
Top