Tag Archives: pedestal

Ship’s Wheel

Started work on the Ship’s Wheel.

I swear, this is a delicate process because this Wheel is very small.

Here’s a picture of the Parts cutout.

Gluing outer ring on to Ship’s Wheel
Making a Dowel for a shaft small enough to fit through the middle.
One Ship’s Wheel
Finished the 2 Wheels and the Barrel
Ship’s Wheel done…
Steering Chain installed

The steering gear of earlier ships’s wheels sometimes consisted of a double wheel where each wheel was connected to the other with a wooden spindle that ran through a barrel or drum. The spindle was held up by two pedestals that rested on a wooden platform, often no more than a grate. A tiller rope or tiller chain (sometimes called a steering rope or steering chain) ran around the barrel in five or six loops and then down through two tiller rope/ chain slots at the top of the platform before connecting to two sheaves just below deck (one on either side of the ship’s wheel) and thence out to a pair of pulleys before coming back together at the tiller and connecting to the ship’s rudder. Movement of the wheels (which were connected and moved in unison) caused the tiller rope to wind in one of two directions and angled the tiller left or right. In a typical and intuitive arrangement, a forward-facing helmsman turning the wheel counterclockwise would cause the tiller to angle to starboard and therefore the rudder to swing to port causing the vessel to also turn to port (see animation). On many vessels the helmsman stood facing the rear of the ship with the ship’s wheel before him and the rest of the ship behind him— this still meant that the direction of travel of the wheel at its apex corresponded to the direction of turn of the ship. Having two wheels connected by an axle allowed two people to take the helm in severe weather when one person alone might not have had enough strength to control the ship’s movements.