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Thread: Making deadeyes

  1. #1
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    Default Making deadeyes

    Hi guys,

    I am making some deadeyes for my shrouds and was wondering if there was a formula for the diameter of the eye, spacing of the wholes, thickness, etc.

    My boat is approximately 21 feet on deck and about 8ft in beam if that helps.

    Just trying to figure out what would look aesthetically pleasing as well as properly functional.

    Thanks,

    David George

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    .
    Hi David,

    Welcome to the Forum. I hope you spend many happy hours here.

    Deadeyes we would make for your vessel (depending on knowing more about the rig) would probably be about 4" dia, 3/4" thick, and with holes about as third as big again as the lanyards and roughly one diameter away from each other.

    Here are some of the last batch we made up (bigger than you would need) --


    Note that the upper deadeyes here have semi-circular chases around the outside to take rope shrouds, while those for the lowers have been cut flat to suit steel straps. You'd want to arrange for yours to be made to suit your own situation. Also note that the two outside holes are placed on a diameter, that one hole in each of the upper deadeyes is left with a firm shoulder on the inboard side (ie no lead-in for the lanyard as do all the others, so that the lanyard's stopper-knot has something firm to lodge against,) and finally that the grain direction is at right angles to the pull of the parts of the lanyard .

    Hope this helps.

    Mike
    Visit us to see how we help people complete classic boats authentically.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    Hi David,
    Welcome aboard! Heres one that has always been good reading even though its near ancient, http://hnsa.org/doc/luce/index.htm Theres been lots of writings on these subjects in the appendices it gives you lots of old traditional works of these ship wrights. This is another book with lots of cool old stuff!, http://books.google.com/books?id=3Sm...age&q=&f=false
    Depending on how traditonal you want to get I've got a bunch more! Best of luck to you!
    Paul

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    The comments in #2 are pretty comprehensive. You might find yourself buffeted with conflicting advice on boat rigging. Some people feel that their way of doing it is the only way, which is demonstrably not true. The trick is to go ahead and make the damn things, and if they aren't perfect, well, try again.
    My experience with deadeyes is all on schooners, fairly big boats, 60-90' LOD. It's standard practice to use a cable come-along to heave the lanyards taut when setting up the lanyards. It's critical when yarning that hard on a line that the passage through the deadeye not have any sharp corners.
    At the North End Shipyard, in Rockland, Maine, they've done some pretty big boat projects. Deadeyes were make early on, and kept in a bucket of oil for a year or two, in a warm place.
    The recipe for the oil seems to be a place for debate. Linseed oil, raw or boiled? Tung oil? Kerosene? Weasel piss? cayenne pepper? 14 drops of varnish?
    Choice of wood. In New England you see locust and lignum vitae used, but some of the tropical woods like horseflesh, ironwood, or greenheart might work.
    I've also seen nice deadeyes made out of Minnesota burr oak, which is a straggly tree that has dense wood with a very interlocked grain. Makes it difficult to work, doesn't like to split for firewood, but good for this purpose. By those standards, elm might be all right.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    Quote Originally Posted by Wooden Boat Fittings View Post
    .
    and finally that the grain direction is at right angles to the pull of the parts of the lanyard .

    Hope this helps.

    Mike
    Thanks Mike,

    So I have a piece of Lignum Vitae that is 5 x 5 x 48 inches. I was planning on cutting a piece off of that and turning it in a lathe.

    I would put the grain of the wood longitudinally through the piece from the inboard to the outboard of the deadeye.

    Will that still work as far as strength goes?

    Thanks,

    David George

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    See......... "The Marlinspike Sailor" by Hervey Garrett Smith

    Page 71



    A great source for info on many things such as Deadeyes and blocks... suggested sizes etc for deadeyes and good description on construction. Note, holes drilled are all above the horizontal midline... and grooves are softened with radiused corners...

    A thread on deadeyes....
    http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/show...light=deadeyes

    RodB

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    Quote Originally Posted by David George View Post
    I would put the grain of the wood longitudinally through the piece from the inboard to the outboard of the deadeye.

    Will that still work as far as strength goes?
    Well in principle it would be wrong, as the wood from which the deadeyes are made is more likely to crush under the loads applied by shroud and lanyard if the grain runs transversely through the fitting.

    On the other hand, yours would certainly be an easier way to make them as you could turn all the chases (and for that matter, drill all the lanyard holes) with several deadeyes still as one piece.

    One would always of course use a hardwood for deadeyes; the ones above were merbau which is fine, but your LV is the very best. So in practice, and for this size vessel, I imagine your idea would work fine.

    (And do please report back on how the process went, won't you?)

    Mike
    Visit us to see how we help people complete classic boats authentically.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    Although I've never turned lignam vitae, I've heard tell it's so hard you have to turn it on an engine lathe, machining it like metal. They say it can't be turned on a wood lathe. Anybody know if this is true for sure or just scuttlebutt?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    .
    Actually I wondered about that too, Bob. I've never worked it, but I believe it's so hard it was used for shaft bearings in the old days. So a machinist's lathe might indeed be the answer.

    I know Chuck swears by osage orange too -- which I've also not worked, but which I'm sure can't be as hard as lignum vitae.

    Back to David -- have you experience in working LV, or might you perhaps be better off with a different wood?

    Mike
    Visit us to see how we help people complete classic boats authentically.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    I've never worked with it before, but there's a first time for everything.

    I imagine the folks that used LV in the past had to try it for the first time at one point also.

    Now, to be sure, I'm making some trial runs before I cut into my good wood.

    I had some scraps lying around today and I made up a deadeye today just to re-acquaint myself with the lathe. It went well, but the proportions are a little off as far as hole placement. I'll mess around with it until I'm happy with it then I'll give the LV a try.

    Thanks everyone for the links and the responses. Some good pics.

    The one thread with the stropped blocks was gorgeous.

    Cheers,

    Dave G.


    I emailed Bob over at lignum-vitae.com and this is what he said regarding turning it on a wood lathe:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    >>Comments: Hi there,

    >>I am currently making deadeyes for the shrouds of a small sailboat that I am
    >>building.

    >>Is there any special equipment that I need to turn Lignum Vitae on a wood
    >>lathe?

    >>Thanks,

    >>Dave G.

    >Nothing but very sharp tools and taking your time to allow the tool to
    >remove material at a comfortable rate and not pushing it. Good luck, Bob
    Last edited by David George; 08-14-2009 at 11:44 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    Although I've never turned lignam vitae, I've heard tell it's so hard you have to turn it on an engine lathe, machining it like metal. They say it can't be turned on a wood lathe. Anybody know if this is true for sure or just scuttlebutt?


    Lignum Vitae turns just fine on a wood lathe , use a scraping tool,you get a ribbon that shoots out and turns to dust .
    I like turning itmore than most other woods.

    I have turned it on a wood lathe and metal lathe , using carbon steel, high speed steel , and carbide, i have not had any problems
    with whatever machine i used.

    the only issue i can see might be workholding.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    Well here are some practice mockups made out of poplar.

    After a couple more trial runs I will try my hand at the LV.

    Note I have not carved the channels leading into the holes that relieve chafe on the rope.

    Still trying to decide how to go about that. One person suggested clamping the pieces at an angle and use a forstner bit and a drill press.




  13. #13
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    If I remember rightly there was an article by harry Bryan in WB about making a tool for this very job .It used a cheap chisel , say 1/2" wide ground to a smooth semicircle on the back edge and the resulting edge sharpened .I could then be used to ream the hole to shape .

    I can't recall which issue .
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    Quote Originally Posted by Wooden Boat Fittings View Post
    .
    Actually I wondered about that too, Bob. I've never worked it, but I believe it's so hard it was used for shaft bearings in the old days. So a machinist's lathe might indeed be the answer.

    I know Chuck swears by osage orange too -- which I've also not worked, but which I'm sure can't be as hard as lignum vitae.

    Back to David -- have you experience in working LV, or might you perhaps be better off with a different wood?

    Mike
    I've never seen a wood too hard to turn ....difficult grain , certainly , but scraping usually works .I can turn any of the Oz hardwoods ,but perhaps I'd use the metal lathe for gidgee !

    re bearings , I've successfully used tallow wood soaked in diesel as line shaft bearings , circular saw packing blocks and bandsaw guides on a wide band .Great stuff with a nice interlocked grain and lots of natural oils !
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    Wood varies in hardness plus or minus 25% depending on moisture content. The common scale used to measure hardness is the Janka scale, based on air dried to 12% moisture...some relative hardnesses for a few woods are:
    Lignum Vitae........20
    Osage Orange........9.1
    Ipe......................16.4
    Greenheart............10.5
    Bubinga.................12.0
    Angelique................5.7
    Indian Rosewood.....14.1

    I used Osage orange for the shells of blocks on my boat, and for the handles on the belaying pins. I did make several from Indian Rosewood as that's what I had scraps of when doing the interior trim/handholds etc. All the exterior wood was dropped into boiled linseed oil in an old crock pot set on low, and left for several days to 2-3 weeks. Longer would have worked well also.
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Making deadeyes

    Note I have not carved the channels leading into the holes that relieve chafe on the rope.

    Still trying to decide how to go about that. One person suggested clamping the pieces at an angle and use a forstner bit and a drill press.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Very nice job... You sure have the lathe use down...


    Heres some machined scores on teak blocks Bob Albers has had made in volume in the past... a local CnC shop from Bob's plans...



    I realize your going to be working with LV... and intend to machine the slots.... but perhaps some of the following will help... The Oak worked on below was kinda hard... but nowhere near as hard as LV. I had this from a previous em to a interested party... thought it might be of some help.


    The "carved channels" you mentioned (called a "score" are most easily done with a gouge. Note" Its much easier if you are cutting the slot with the grain... so we were sure to orient the grain on the block before drilling the holes on the drill press.

    Its quite easy to just begin at a proper distance from the hole and carefully tap the gouge towards the hole increasing the depth as you near the hole.

    If you are not going with the grain, then you have to carefully outline the entire "score" with a standard bench chisel then carefully use the gouge to do the actual depth cuts. Once you do this...you will be sure to orient the grain up and down from then on.

    Once you have the basic "score" cut out I liked to use a round "Sureform" micro plane to smooth things up...

    http://www.woodcraft.com/Family/2002...ing-Tools.aspx

    then... you can insure uniformity and aesthetics..by using a small 2" by 3/4" diameter sanding drum on a hand drill. They have a good one Woodcraft.

    http://www.woodcraft.com/Family/2000276/2000276.aspx

    Using the 3/4" sanding drum I was able to very quickly get a very uniform slot (They make a 1/2" drum for smaller scores). The sanding drum following the gouge etc.. made for a sharp edge on the score at the surface of the cheek... I used a piece of dowel wrapped with 80 grit sandpaper to soften these edges...

    Originally, bob used the gouge followed by a large rat tail file to quickly finish the "score", but we found the sanding drum was quicker and better. Additionally, the end of the "score" that enters the hole needs to have a severe radius formed for the line to smootly run thru... and we found the easiest way to do this was with a power rasp tool on a drill. I found one like this at Lowes for under $5.

    http://www.tooled-up.com/Product.asp?PID=12498

    A piece of 3/4 dowel wrapped with 80 grit sandpaper was nice for the finishing touches on the "score and radius entering the hole.

    Oak deadeye...



    Bob had to remind me a few times that these deadeyes would end up being covered with pine tar etc and lines... and hardley show much at all... they were not "works of art"...

    RodB
    Last edited by RodB; 08-16-2009 at 10:22 AM.

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