Building Deck-Railings Using Thread, Cyanoacrylate, and Railing-Jigs

The deck railings are “thread-assemblies”; ie, they are made from thread that is simultaneously glued together and hardened with cyanoacrylate glue.  Having good railings is crucial for a good looking model so be sure to use this skill. 

Since Deck Railings always have nice right angles and straight runs, the easiest way to build them is to use a “Railings-Jig”. 

§         First, you need to make a jig:

I made mine (rather roughly) from a 7-inch piece of 1X4 mahogany board.  I cut out the middle with a jigsaw and rounded all of the corners with sandpaper. 

I drilled four holes (in each corner) and drove metal pins through so that the pins stick out about 3/8 inch on both sides.  (I used brazing rod for the pins.) These pins are used for tying off the thread (and they are really handy to have). 

You can see three more L-shaped pins attached to the inside.  These are used as attach points for making rat-line-rigging for sailing ships. 

§         In the plans, there is a template for each deck railing. 

§         Cut it out and temporarily glue it to the edge of the jig. 

§         Wrap thread around the width of the jig so that the thread matches the railing posts on the template. 

§         Next, wrap the thread round the length of the jig to make the rails. 

§         Tie off the thread. 

§         Now, push and slide the thread around so that the thread position matches the template. 

Most railings (as is the case with the Torrini) have two rails.  But, as shown in the pictures, I always wind a third "rail" at the bottom of each railing.  This railing is cut away eventually.  But in the meantime, it makes it possible to cut the bottom of the posts to exactly the right length. 

§         Next apply thin cyanoacrylate glue to the assembly to glue the interstices together and to harden the railings. 

There is a trick to avoid having the glue drop right though the jig:  Hold a small strip of paper towel between the dropper and the thread.  Let it actually rest on the thread.  The drops are caught by the strip of paper towel and are distributed to the thread.  

§         Let the cyanoacrylate glue dry. 

§         Now check each interstice to make sure that the threads are actually glued together.  (There is the occasional miss).  Re-glue such interstices with a toothpick dipped in cyanoacrylate glue. 

Now it is time to cut out the railings.  I use a small pair of sewing scissors.  There are four steps: 

(This railing is from the “Krakus”)

Here is the completed railing for the boat-deck:

When doing the cutting, I find that there is a particular way to place the railings against scissors that works better.