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Mark P

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About Mark P

  • Birthday 09/08/1960

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  • Location
    Rutland, England
  • Interests
    Sailing ship models, scratch built. History, art, architecture, cultural.

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  1. Good Morning Vulcan; I would suspect that oars would be lashed to the thwarts (different boats would almost certainly have had different lengths of oars. The contracts for supplying these are very specific about lengths, of which there are a large variety) and the masts and yards would perhaps be also. These latter, though, could also have been lashed to the skid beams or the spare topmasts etc on which the longboat was stowed. The rigging and sails were probably removed and stowed in a sail room or the bo'sun's store room. As the boat might not be used for a long time, anything left in the bottom of the boat would be exposed to damp, and would only dry slowly, leaving them vulnerable to rot, especially the canvas sails. However, if you are depicting the boat being hoisted out, I would believe that all the masts and rigging would be brought out of store, and put on board before she was hoisted, ready to be stepped and set up once she was in the water. Some boats had lockers under the seats, and perhaps in the bow. Some of the rigging may have been stored in these, in which case it would be unseen during the hoisting. All the best, Mark P
  2. Good Evening Pop; If you are referring to the very early days of artillery on ships, Henry VIII up to the early 17th century, the gun carriages were very different to those with which we are more familiar. Some of those recovered from the Mary Rose were designed to lay flat on the deck, strapped to a baulk of timber, with a removable breech section, which was wedged in place before firing. As these were the lighter ones, they may well have been used on the more upwardly-curved parts of the upper decks. I am not sure how the recoil was contained. Look up the guns in the Mary Rose museum. This design would be unaffected by any sideways lean from the angle of the deck. This degree of curvature would not have been repeated on the lower decks, where the heavier guns were located, because these decks were actually built with a step downwards towards the stern, giving a split-level deck. This was very common prior to around 1620. When full-length unbroken decks were introduced, they became known as 'over-leaping' decks, from which we derive the word 'orlop'. In the early 17th century, this term was applied to all continuous decks. A ship could contain 2 or 3 orlop decks, known as the upper and lower orlop, etc. How far into the Elizabethan era this type of gun continued in use I am not sure, but shipbuilders gradually reduced the amount of sheer (curvature) so any problems caused by this would have diminished. And for large parts of those times, and well into the 17th century, guns were often not fitted to the upper most parts of the stern or the forecastle on most ships. All the best, Mark P
  3. Good Evening Allan; Regarding wrecks, there are attempts being made to authorize the salvage and/or investigation of timbers from the Anne, burnt on the beach to avoid capture after being damaged by cannon fire in the Battle of Beachy Head in 1690. Similarly, the remains of the London, which blew up in the Thames Estuary, killing most of her crew and their families who were aboard, whilst anchored at The Nore in 1665. Apparently, a very well-preserved gun carriage was recently recovered from near the latter ship. Something to look into! All the best, Mark
  4. Good Morning Hank; I wish you all the best with your shed conversion, and many years of happy modelling! I have to say that to almost anyone living in England, the idea of a 'garden' as big as yours is unthinkable. So much space! I know America is a big place, but you seem to have half of it in your back yard! All the best, Mark P
  5. Good Evening Bruce; Unless I have misunderstood your last post, there is no mistake in your earlier postings. The date of your letter is post 1750. I only mentioned the previous New Year custom as a possible reason for a mistake on Rif Winfield's part (or his assistant) All the best, Mark P
  6. Good Evening Bruce; Thanks for the clarification. Thirteen months would seem an excessive delay, certainly. I think the most likely answer is a typo in Rif Winfield's book. It should probably read that the work was done in Feb-May 1778, not 1779. One factor that may influence this is that until 1750 the official New Year began on the 25th March, Lady Day, one of the year's quarter days. So prior to 1750, any documents dated from January to 24th March in any year would nowadays be dated to the following year. It is possible that this mindset may have caused an error to creep in to the entry. With so many dates to think of when compiling his book, and many prior to 1750 needing to be updated, I would not be surprised if this was the case. All the best, Mark P
  7. Good Evening Bruce; It is likely that your reference is the date of the decision to order her to be coppered. What is the date of the letter you are quoting? It would seem normal enough for the order to precede the action by some months, which would seem to be corroborated by the fact that the letter you mention changes the dockyard where the work is to be done, to Chatham as mentioned in Rif Winfield's book extract above. The actual work being carried out was then dependent upon a dry dock being available. Bringing in a new ship to work on was normally planned some time in advance, to take place as soon as work on a dock's current occupant was completed. As the book lists the coppering being commenced in February the following year, this would seem consistent with the letter you quote, if it is dated a few months prior to then, in Autumn or late 1778. All the best, Mark P
  8. Good Morning Phil & Edward; Rif Winfield's book British Warships of the Sailing Navy lists Triton as being coppered at Chatham from February to April 1779. This is probably taken from the ship's progress book in the National Archives, which lists the main dockyard events in the lives of all Navy vessels. If you are depicting Triton as first launched, I would not copper her. All the best, Mark P
  9. Further to Richard's reply above, the main drawback to the use of copper was its electrolytic reaction with seawater and the iron bolts holding the timbers together, causing rapid corrosion and weakening of the fastenings. This was overcome by replacing all of a ship's bolts below water level with ones made of a bronze-based metal, or 'mixt metal' as it was called. I believe that 'Muntz metal' was another name for this. Once the Navy Board and Admiralty had agreed the necessity for this, and swallowed the expense, a programme of coppering all ships as they came into dock for routine maintenance was adopted. This programme was well underway by the mid 1770s, and by 1780 it is safe to assume that all Naval ships were coppered. Further interesting points are that coppering had apparently been used for a number of years prior to the Alarm experiment, by Liverpool-based merchant ships. And when the warrant for coppering Alarm was sent to Woolwich dockyard, it gave strict instructions that all workmen involved were to be publicly gathered and 'that they may be in no doubt', were to be told that any attempts to embezzle or secrete (steal, basically) any quantity of offcuts of copper would result in instant dismissal, and being proceeded against with the full force of the law. Copper was valuable stuff, and the temptation to men whose pay was months or years in arrears must have been high. All the best, Mark P
  10. Thanks Alan, not just for the continuing build log, but also for the photography article. Full of good advice. Wish I could have been there! As for having a meeting in a tool store: a very canny move on somebody's part! I really, really wish I could have been there! All the best, Mark P
  11. Good Evening all; Chuck's comments about the amount of waste are very true, if the situation in the States is anything like that in England. I have purchased or been given boxwood from trees grown here, and there are a lot of sections with wild grain; clusters of small knots; large knots; bent at all angles branches; and twisted grain, like a rope. The bent parts can, sawn with some care, provide compass timber, which is very useful, but the time required is not likely to be economical compared to the small amount of timber which results. In all the other cases, the wood is good for nothing, really. During seasoning it will often distort to a remarkable degree, and could not possibly be sold on. Frequently, the wood contains dark markings, or streaks. I could show you pieces of boxwood (I know it is boxwood because I saw it in the tree, and it still had leaves on when I collected it) which you would swear were pine by its striped appearance as seasoned timber (the weight makes it clear it is not pine, though!) I have discarded about half of all the boxwood I have bought. That still leaves a good quantity, but I would not want to do this commercially. I wish Chuck all the best with this.
  12. Good Evening Doug; Thank you for your post. If the knee was seen more as a method of fastening the beam securely to the ship's side, then its substitution by a dovetailed joint would seem reasonable enough. Thank you also Druxey, for mentioning the Swan volume. David Antscherl's books are indeed a valuable source for any modeller, and well worth obtaining. All the best, Mark P
  13. Good Evening Gentlemen; Thank you Brandon for the original posting and info, and Don & Gregory for the follow-ups. I have looked in the British Library catalogue, and there are actually three editions of this book, dating from 1747, 1757 & 1775. I will take a look at the earlier two editions and see what Mr Robinson had to say about cannon and mortars in them. All the best, Mark P
  14. Good Evening Allan; I hope you are enjoying your labours. I understand what you mean about doing it for love. Another item of interest with deck beams, which no-one will expect you to replicate, not even yourself, is this: alternating beams were laid 'top and butt'. This was the practice of having the root end of the trunk from which the beam was sawn laid alternately to port and starboard. This was because the root end was tougher and more resistant to rot, and meant that, all other things being equal, there would not be a weakness caused by a run of beam ends rotting at the same time. A further precaution was to drill a horizontal hole into the heart of the beam's ends, and then insert a red-hot iron in the hole, charring the wood, which also helped prevent rot. In addition, a further hole could be bored upwards from the underside of the beam, to intersect with this horizontal hole, thus allowing the circulation of air to help dry out any damp in the beam end. All the best, Mark P
  15. Good Evening Allan; It does indeed refer to dovetailing, as Druxey says. The beams were normally dovetailed on the end, and the dovetail was let down around 1" into the top of the clamp. I'm not sure if the dovetail was worked through the full height of the beam, or merely the part which was set down in the mortice in the clamp. Sources seem to vary on this. All the best, Mark

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