Bluenose Canadian Schooner

Belaying Pins and Eyebolts

December 10, 2016

Day 253.

When I start adding in the machinery, the deck is going to start getting a little crowded.  So while I’ve got space to work, I’m going to go ahead and install the various belaying pins and eyebolts that will be used later for rigging.

Belaying pins are just metal pins that are placed around the ship.  They provide a place to hang, wrap, or tie off rigging lines.  Belaying pins are typically provided with the kit.  The Model Shipways Bluenose kit provides belaying pins as brass pieces.

I’m actually really pleased with the quality of the belaying pins in the Model Shipways kit. They are 1:64 scale, so they are notably larger than the ones in my Phantom kit.  Being brass instead of cast metal (or wood), they are very precisely shaped and have perfectly consistent quality and finish.

It is worth noting that I’ve seen some build logs with the Model Shipways Bluenose kit that appear to use belaying pins made from white metal (perhaps metal castings).  I’m not sure if older versions of the kit came with different belaying pins, or if those were 3rd party pins that were purchased separately.  I do prefer the brass pins in my kit, so I’m happy.


Belaying pins and eyebolts are made of brass, and are really small.

In addition to the belaying pins, the rigging also requires a number of eyebolts.  These are also provided by the kit, and are fashioned from brass wire.

Both the pins and eyebolts are very small.  A small annoyance – the ‘shafts’ of the two are different sizes.  This means that I’ll need to drill holes for all the pins, then change drill bits, then drill the holes for the eyebolts.

For things like pins and eyebolts that I’ll use at random times, I write the drill bit size down on the bag once I figure it out.  This makes it easier to quickly drill the right size hole later own the road.  The bit size will be different for nearly every kit since it depends on the specific pins/eyebolts being used.

I started at the stern and worked my way forward.  Using the plans, I identified the location of each belaying pin down one side of the quarter deck.  Each location was marked in pencil, then holes were drilled with a #64 bit.  A quick scrub with an eraser removed any remaining pencil marks after the hole were drilled.

Each pin was held with a pair of needle-nose pilers while some CA glue was brushed onto the shaft.  Only a very, very small amount of glue is necessary.  If you can see the glue on the pin, you’ve brushed on too much.  Once a light application of glue is made, the pin is stuck into a hole.


The first holes are drilled along the rail, and the first belaying pin is glued in place.

This goes pretty quickly assuming you do things in passes.  I marked all the holes on the quarter deck, then drilled them all, then glued in all the pins.  I repeated the process on the fore deck.


Belaying pins installed along the fore deck rail.

Once the belaying pins were all in place, the same process was followed for the eyebolts.

Eyebolts require just a bit more work, as the stems of the eyebolts are too long.  The eyebolts get trimmed so they don’t extend below the rail.  This just requires a quick cut and test fit before each eyebolt is glued in.


Eyebolts added along the fore deck.

There were also a few belaying pins that got installed on the fife rail.

In total, I counted 39 belaying pins and 18 eyebolts.  That’s a lot of tiny holes to drill.


When all these fittings are installed, the ship starts to look a lot more complete.

While adding belaying pins to the fife rail, I decided to go ahead and add the snatch blocks I missed while building the fife rail.

The snatch blocks are not provided in the kit, so I made them out of wood.  These things are tiny, so as long as they are approximately the right size and shape, I’ll be happy.


Snatch blocks are tiny little pieces on the sides of the fife rail where rope can be tied off.

These will get painted next time I’ve got the paint out.  While installing all the pins I noticed a few spots on the inside of the bulwarks I want to touch up, so I’ll be doing a ‘white paint pass’ soon.


Snatch blocks and belaying pins installed on the fife rail.