looking for advice

10th March 2010, 10:27
I have undertaken to restore this model to its former glory, its been neglected for decades by the looks of it, years of encrusted dust and some of the finer paintwork is very faded. The model is of very strong construction and I think probably very old, I intend to remove the dust using a toothbrush and a small vacuum cleaner, then re paint and possibly re-rig, the sails appear to be canvas, very stiff and yellow with age, any advice from a model maker or restorer would be appreciated, also does anyone know the likely name or nationality, the flags may be an obvious clue to those in the know. The model is about 3 feet in length and 3 feet high.

jerome morris
10th March 2010, 18:36
Hartonman, As a professional ship restorer, this is how I would go about it.
First, GENTLY remove the sails from the mast, if the yards can come off do so at the same time. Remove anything else that is hanging free.
Vacuum the vessel of debris, cut off any broke lines, undo knots.etc... I would then gently clean the vessel with Murphy's oil soap, using a good paint brush, not much water but enough to make it sudsy. Wipe up quickly, with a cotton rag, or such.
TRY to tighten the standing rigging if you can...go easy. If you can tighten them...mix up a soupy wood working glue and water. brush this on the standing rigging and let dry.
This will give the old stuff some strength. IF you can't tighten the rig, either leave it or replace all of it. (time consuming)
Once the standing rig is where you want it, clean the sails and retie them to the yards. This could be tricky as the thread will pull through the canvas quite easily.
You may have to glue a line around the perimeter of the sails to give yourself something strong to tie to.
You'll want a reference on 16th and 17th century rigs, though don't get carried away with detail...this model is a votive/ church/ somebodies idea of what a sailing ship should look like...So use your best judgment, as always.
Before you rehang the sails on the boat I would do any repainting if needed. And remember to go over the paint with some brownish black washes to "age" the tone of the color...Unless you want it to look very new...Up to you.
Nationality? Not sure but a good bet would be Spanish.
I'll think some more of this and be intouch. I visit daily so will keep an eye open here.

jerome morris
10th March 2010, 18:40
One more thing I would do,
Pin or screw the cradle to the hull, so that it will not fall to the floor if the model is moved at some point in the future.
This would want to be accomplished before rerigging is started.

10th March 2010, 19:24
OK thanks for the advice, i hope once i get started i'll be able to post update pictures. One thing, the main paint work on the hull and deck, I was wondering if a coat of varnish might be enough to keep the weathered look. Some of the detail will have to be renewed as its very faded.

jerome morris
11th March 2010, 16:15
Is the hull actually painted? It looks like weathered wood with some sort of clear sealer.
Anyway, here is my thought, if it is a clear sealer coating.
Orange or clear shellac would probably be original to the boat.
Is the finish that is there now kind of brownish with black spots. it is probably shellac.
You can test it by using a cotton swab and some denatured alcohol. rub a tiny area.
If it is shellac the alcohol will cut right through it. If it doesn't then it would have to be varnish.

11th March 2010, 17:02
Yes I think part of the hull is varnished and part painted, I'm working from the same picture as posted here because the model is 300 miles away at my sons house in London, I didn't risk bringing it home with me so will restore it during visits, the next one being in three weeks time, when I'll take better pictures and hopefully get started on the clean up, thank you for your advice thus far, its really appreciated.

jerome morris
12th March 2010, 17:20
One thing also. Before using the line/thread to re-rig. Be sure to run it through some bee's wax to reduce the fuzz common to small line.