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maurice de saxe

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  1. Concorde was not English but French, built as a privateer for the War of the Spanish Succession (Queen Anne's War) by a slave trading dynasty in Nantes and adapted (probably minimally) for slaving when peace came. Documentary evidence supports this and also indicates it was about 200-300 tons and was pierced for 20 guns on the main deck, with other guns on the forecastle and quarterdeck. Blackbeard apparently added weapons - numbers not know but maybe taking the total to more than 40 (which more than likely included swivels). Archaeological evidence supports the French origin, specifically some plank fastening patterns, the carrying of the garboard strake over the sternpost beyond the rabbet to its after face, and the spacing of draft marks at intervals corresponding to French rather than English feet. From this we can conclude that a good basis for extrapolating its appearance would be a contemporary (i.e. 1690-1710) French privateer or small frigate. One valid starting point would be the draft of the Advice Prize, a French privateer armed with 18 guns taken into the Royal Navy in 1704, whose take-off draft is extant at NMM (plan 6186). Jean Boudriot also has useful material for small French frigates from the first quarter of the 18th century in his books, Fregate Marine de France 1650-1850 and Fregate Legere L'Aurore - 1697. Overall, in fact, we do have some sound basis for creating a reasonable representation while acknowledging that insufficient archaeological remains have survived to generate an accurate reconstruction.
  2. Shellac is a finishing material, French polish is a finishing technique. Shellac, when purchased ready made, is barely thicker in consistency than water and usually is applied with a pad but can be brushed. its glossiness depends upon the number of coats applied - hence the "trickiness" of its application, since going back over an area, even when it is still wet, tends to correspond to a second coat and, therefore, greater gloss (this also happens when shellac builds up in crevices - which can be hard to avoid). French polishing is the process of applying multiple coats of shellac and polishing each with a pad dampened, usually with methylated spirits. that's the process seen in the earlier image, and it always produces a very high deep gloss finish (bat it's an awful lot of work).

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