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Thread: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

  1. #1
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    Default Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    I've noticed that historic replicas, especially of bigger boats, do not use "normal" jib hanks. This makes sense due to the sizes involved, but I hadn't thought of it before.

    So how are these used in practice? Do these ships only rarely unbend the sails? I'm picturing somebody out there dropping all shackle bits overboard as he attempts to unbend the sail in a rising sea.




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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    The fellow from PT foundry ,Pete,just gave me a short tutorial on these. They make em in different sizes. These big ships have their stays doubled up. The bronze is made of a special blend that is extra hard and also springy,the springy part is important as it holds em together. Oppose to spring piston hanks.He made the "hanks" for Eagle.
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 11-07-2017 at 02:27 PM.

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Those are a much more complicated version of these:


    Which are the hanks that the ships the replicas are replicating would have used. Attached by passing a lashing through the luff cringles and through the loops. And no the forestaysail and jibs would only have been handed if heavy weather canvas was set for the voyage instead of the lighter working sails.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    One of the things that never made it to the market is a jib hank that L. Francis Herreshoff invented works single handed so that the other can hang on to the ship.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    That's how the Wichard small boat hanks work. They're drastically easier to work with than piston hanks - one hand for the hank and one left over to hold onto the boat with. I would never own another headsail with piston hanks.

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Looking at the first photo I wonder if the shackles and pins aren't ones that have a 'slot and catch' feature so the pin is turned only part way and then will partially withdraw for removal and not be lost. I also see a cast eye on the shackle as well as on the pin with a lanyard between.

    Somewhat like this main halyard shackle: https://goo.gl/images/pbgt3H
    Last edited by rbgarr; 11-07-2017 at 03:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    Looking at the first photo I wonder if the shackles and pins aren't ones that have a 'slot and catch' feature so the pin is turned only part way and then will partially withdraw for removal and not be lost. I also see a cast eye on the shackle as well as on the pin with a lanyard between.
    I don't think that is a lanyard, looks more like a mousing to stop the pin unwinding.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Herreshoff's jib hanks were simply a double hook that looked a bit like a short bronze cloths pin. All that was needed to load them on the stay was to aim at it with the clip in hand and it automatically spread its jaws apart and grabbed the stay. Removal was a single handed affair consisting of a one hand pinch on the convenient pair of ears. It was a damn ingenious piece of gear! It is a shame it never was produced for sale. L. Francis had made up a whole lot of them out of bronze plate stock. They filled up a drawer in his shop to overflowing.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 11-07-2017 at 04:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Speaking of Wichard hanks, does anyone know where to find the sew-on variety? Do they even make 'em anymore? They're not shown in their current catalog...

    Jim


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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Do the Wichard hanks catch things they shouldn't?

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Port Townsend now produces sewn on jib hanks.
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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Herreshoff's jib hanks were simply a double hook that looked a bit like a short bronze cloths pin. All that was needed to load them on the stay was to aim at it with the clip in hand and it automatically spread its jaws apart and grabbed the stay. Removal was a single handed affair consisting of a one hand pinch on the convenient pair of ears. It was a damn ingenious piece of gear! It is a shame it never was produced for sale. L. Francis had made up a whole lot of them out of bronze plate stock. They filled up a drawer in his shop to overflowing.
    Jay
    Based on sister hooks?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Let's hope metal hanks are a thing of the past

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Let's hope metal hanks are a thing of the past

    Elaborate, please.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Based on sister hooks?
    Same basic concept but drastically different.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Although I don't like going off shore with roller reefing headsails, they are pretty handy for daysailing and coastal cruising. When you are used to the tricks of handling slotted foils they also work well and don't force you to carry the bulk of a reefed sail forward in a blow, especially at night!
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 11-08-2017 at 11:20 AM.

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    The fellow from PT foundry ,Pete,just gave me a short tutorial on these. They make em in different sizes.
    Cool! I did the patterns for that entire range of jib hanks! From CGC Eagle-huge to aw-shucks cute. I can't remember for sure, but Pete had me do a whole series of maybe ten different sizes? He handed me a couple originals and a couple suggestions for improvement and turned me loose. One of my first patternmaking jobs:





    I don't think that is a lanyard, looks more like a mousing to stop the pin unwinding.
    Yes, that's correct. However, the pins *can* be completely removed; they are not captive.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Quote Originally Posted by jgjones View Post
    Speaking of Wichard hanks, does anyone know where to find the sew-on variety? Do they even make 'em anymore? They're not shown in their current catalog...
    That is a good question. I don't even see jib hanks in their catalogue or on their web site.

    However... Toplicht (auf Deutschland) has these sew-on Merriman pattern hanks in bronze:

    http://www.toplicht.de/en/shop/takel...orm-aus-bronze


    Very tasty!

    And Wichard has these "soft shackles" -- looks like grommits made from Dyneema to me -- that also look tasty:

    http://marine.wichard.com/rubrique-S...000000-ME.html



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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Let's hope metal hanks are a thing of the past
    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Elaborate, please.

    Jeff
    As Nick says above, soft shackles resemble grommets, and wear much less. There's no chance of them hurting anyone when flailing around, they wear less, they won't accidentally clip on another stay. A much better solution, and you can make them yourself.

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    I know Wichard has been in the business for a long time but that fiddly bit of stainless just looks...fiddly. Little bits like that are fine on a sunny day on a stationary boat but what about a cold wet rainy night?

    I have made up a bunch of soft shackles for anchoring blocks and such on Marianita, you do have to get the "eye" end sized right -not too big or too small- but they are one piece and you can make them up from short bits of dyneema that would otherwise go to waste.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    I'm now using the Wichard hanks that Todd refers to above. These are not the piston variety and they can be set and removed with one hand. I find this a valuable trait on Emily Ruth, a small daysailer, because to reach the forestay and handle the jib I must kneel on the foredeck. Fussing around with anything up there isn't my first choice for fun. Although the hanks haven't caused any apparent chafe, that is obviously a possibility wherever metal contacts. So soft shackles/hanks would be great. Can anyone point me towards a one handed model?

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    The reason I started this thread was that my headstays are served dyneema. The serving is a little bit odd in that it makes the stays too large for my piston hanks. Shackles like the OP would work well, but might chafe too much. I've thought about using climbing quick draw caribiners, very much like the wichard hanks, and also soft shackles.

    These pics were sent to me by Brion Toss, I've made up a couple for testing. The advantage is that they stay captive to the stay when you remove the sail. They can go directly on the stay or around a round sailmakers thimble.






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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Those are brilliant!
    Steve

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    I find this a valuable trait on Emily Ruth, a small daysailer, because to reach the forestay and handle the jib I must kneel on the foredeck. Fussing around with anything up there isn't my first choice for fun.
    +1 aboard Bucephalus. Sitting on the bowsprit of a small boat fussing with jib hanks isn't something I look forward to.

    The reason I started this thread was that my headstays are served dyneema. The serving is a little bit odd in that it makes the stays too large for my piston hanks.
    I would be worried about the amount of drag betwen the soft eye hanks and the served forestay not allowing the jib to come down expediently, as sometimes needs to happen. Have you found this to be at all the case?

    I *really* like the idea of served Dyneema standing rigging, so I'm watching this general topic closely to see how the details are ironed out.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Currently I am using bits of the tarred twine as hanks. There is some drag but has not been an issue really. The dyneema is super slippery so should be better as a hank. With thimbles is probably best.

    I'm not sure I think serving the headstay is the right thing to do. Replacing that one or two ropes every 8 years due to UV really isn't that bad. I may have more of a maintenance headache keeping the serving happy with the chafe of whatever hank system I end up using.

    I do plan to install downhauls, at least to the jib.

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Another option although not a particularly visually pleasing one is to put a pvc pipe around the headstay so that the jib hanks slide on the pvc rather than chafing the serving. And yes, in my experience traditional brass jib hanks are used similarly to classic wooden fish hanks, in that the sail served onto the hank, and cannot be quickly removed, a fact that becomes incredibly apparent the first time one bends a jib on upside-down.
    Nicholas

  27. #27

    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Interesting thread, kind of timely for me as I just yesterday pulled a bunch of steam bent oak jib hanks out of under the shed roof, something I'd sort of forgotten I had but in spite of that recall very clearly where and when I got the things. In the mid 60s while working summers for Jim Nisbet in Camden, Jim took us down to Thomaston where an old chandlery, which had been closed for some time, was being sold and the contents all were going separately. I got myself a half dozen blocks, large enough to use as stools, with the sheaves removed good for holding books and magazines. I also got a half dozen serving mallets, some small and some large enough to serve 2" wire. I also got this lot of steamed bent oak jib hanks, eleven of them along with a small mast hoop and a fid. The jib hanks were "new old stock", lord knows how old but easily pre-20th century. A couple of the things had split but the rest remained firm and true.



    Same image but cropped and "enhanced" to emphasize the structure of one of the hanks. Don't intend to insult anyone by simplifying the image but find it's easier to make out details with a bit of "enhancement".



    Now, if anyone can comment on these and "learn me" more about the things I'd welcome your effort. The jib hanks we used on the schooners Mattie and Mercantile were wrought iron, somewhat like the one that Peerie Ma posted an image of, but without the little twist to the end-eyes and without the pretty white paint job. We'd mouse the things to the jib and stays'l with marline in the spring and that was that. A couple times since then I've forged some of those wrought iron hanks for myself but having some good iron have never had to paint them...'course not having a schooner I never have put them to use, making them was just a kind of pilgrimage for me.

    Anyway on this Christmas Eve I wish you all an abundance of happiness, health and good cheer.

    Regards, Rob

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Wow! That is very cool. I had no idea such a thing existed. Can you provide some overall dimensions for the bent hanks?

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Pert Lowell and Co still make these wooden steam bent hanks, for all sizes including Constitution. they are made of red oak and steamed around a form and the tails are cut half way through on opposite sides so they slot into each other, the jib is bent into the V formed by the fish tail, the lashing also keeps the two ends of the hank locked together.

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    These steam bent banks are commonly called jesus fish, the sail is bent on with a length of jute, the first 4 are fun to tie, the next 150 are not.
    Nicholas

  31. #31

    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Taking a lead from Daniel Noyes I contacted Pert Lowell and got this reply back from Ralph Johnson:

    Thank you for your inquiry concerning mast hanks. We indeed have made them in the past. They are not currently on our price lists since it has been 15 years since anyone has ordered them. They were/are not easy to make. Unlike mast hoops the material has to be twice as thick and the bends/radii are much smaller than the corresponding hoop sizes would be. The breakage rate is about 80%. Of course if we had the luxury of going into a forest and cutting the perfect oak tree down, and milling it in less than a week the stock might be green enough to boil and bend. Not only is there an inside form but there is an outside metal band to keep the grain from raising. It takes 3 people. The last time we made them was in 2002. They were for the Ticonderoga and they had an inside diameter of 3 inches. They ordered 50 of them. The 6 ones for the Constitution (1996), they ordered 100. If you were interested in new ones we shall have to talk about lead times and material costs to get appropriate stock. I am not finding any photos in my digital archives. If you need some shots of ones hanging around the shop let me know and I shall take a shot or two during the Holidays. Thank you.

    Looks like they haven't made any in quite a while but still have the equipment for that. So I will submit any photos he sends on when I get them.

    Rob

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    Default Re: Historic Ship Jib Hanks

    Jay, have you an example or a diagram of the hanks LFH designed? I'm interested to know how they worked and what they looked like.
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