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Greetings everyone;


Here's one for the technical experts amongst us.  I am constructing a framing plan of the yacht 'Royal Caroline' of 1749.  The original draught has station lines drawn at every third frame: 3,6,9,12 etc.  The double frames (bends) will be on these lines.  Between these would normally be the filling frames,  one with a floor,  and one with first futtocks.


However,  I have a letter relating to her construction,  written by the master shipwright,  which says that they are having difficulty obtaining suitable timber for the floors at stations 8, 10, 11, 13 & 14. These are all filling frame stations,  yet they are adjacent,  with the exception of 8.  It would seem impossible that there would be floors at both stations under a standard arrangement.  My interpretation of this so far has been that it means all frames are double,  but I have never been truly comfortable with this hypothesis. 


My doubts have now increased,  as I seem to remember a framing pattern in which the floor timbers were made with one arm long,  and one arm short.  These were fixed to alternate from side to side with each other.  This would then also provide floor timbers at each filling frame station.


I have been unable to find any proper description or illustration of this method.  Goodwin mentions it,  and says that it is shown in one of his illustrations,  but I cannot interpret his drawing in this way (it just shows a standard arrangement of symmetrical floors and first futtocks)


Can anyone out there point me to a clear description of how this might have been done,  or better yet,  a decent illustration,  applicable to this period. 


Many thanks!


All the best,


Mark P



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In the AOTS volume covering Caroline, Bellabarba and Osculati have 2 paired frames  then two filling frames with a significant space volume between them.

The also show a chock connecting ends of the first futtocks over the keel. Looking again - in another deck view, they show all paired frames with a

space that is equal to half of the sided dimension of the paired frame.


I have not seen any framing patterns from English sources that have as many filling frames as you have proposed in your first paragraph.

The q3 frames is not a commonly used presentation, at least in warships - which Caroline is not.

The usual pattern is q2 to q4  stations per frame.   Towards the middle of the 19C.  the USN draftsmen seem to have gotten lazy and in

the mid ship region used q6 and then q8.


The ideal would be to have the upper works framing as light as practical and with a yacht more of this could be done.

Some proposals:

In warships, the topside framing would provide some protection from gun fire, so more would be used.

In the AOTS of HMS Beagle, Marquardt has one filling frame for every two paired frame sets.  The English tended to have narrow frame spaces.

In thinking about your question I think I may have a reason for the filling frames:  The thicker the framing timbers the longer it takes for the stock

to season,  With filling frames, the sided dimension of the true frames could be reduced by an inch or two and save a couple of years of seasoning 

 =  +/- 20% in the rule-of-thumb dimensions - probably a reasonable trade off.


There is an additional pattern with the first futtocks:   I think it more frequently used in France and North America = half floors or cross pieces.

These were about half the length of the floors.  Marquardt shows this with HMS Beagle, so it seems that the English used it. 

I see two advantages:  a reduction in the length of the timber saving resources  and  moving a potential weak point with hogging stress from the

midline to a more lateral location.

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Hi Jaager;

Thanks for your reply.  I have the Bellabarba/Osculati book,  it was this which inspired me to build the model.  But from a very early point in my own research I have discovered that the book is absolutely riddled with errors,  some of them very basic,  and cannot be used as a basis for any historically accurate model of the yacht.


I think I have not made the frame disposition clear:  there are normally 2 filling frames for every double (known as a bend)  If this is assumed for Royal Caroline,  then every pair of filling frames has a floor timber in both frames.  I cannot see how this would be done,  except if the floors are made with long and short arms,  alternating to Port & Starboard.  It is this method of construction,  if it does exist,  which I am trying to find out more about.


From what you say,  this may be shown in Marquardt's Beagle book,  but unfortunately I don't have a copy of this.  I will keep an eye out for a copy if it is not too expensive.  Does he show floors projecting alternately to Port and Starboard,  or are they both centred on the keel,  but made at different lengths.  Can anyone post a picture from this if it might help answer my query,  please?


All the best,


Mark P

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I have seen the alternating futtock 1 arrangement in a book or two, but with Beagle, the

filling frames had either a floor timber or a crossing piece over the keel - depending on

how they fell.  Because there is a odd number of frames, the bends alternate floors

as the member on the fore side.  The floors and F1 always alternate. 


I just spent too much time at NMM site looks at framing patterns for the first 1000 or so plans.

The bend- then two filling pattern seems to be the rule as it is also presented in Steel and Rees.

But often, the floors/F1 are almost solid at the keel.  Some times the bend pair stays together

and other examples show about as much separation as the filling frames.  In all cases the sided volume

that is open is a small proportion of the total - even at the sheer.  Marquardt's graphic shows more open

area than any plan I saw at NMM.  


To my eye, a model with framing showing that exactly follows the NMM plans would not be attractive at all.

Below the wale, it be close to a solid wall.  That said, the Davis convention of all paired with timber =

space looks a bit sparce.


The NMM plans - what few came up in the first 1000 - F1 -  bottom half butts deadwood ( even mid ship)

and the top half is a substantial chock.  No data on long arm/ short arm F1 over the keel.


As an aside, in Commerce de Marseille, ( all paired frames)  Delacroix doubles the incidence of floor timbers

at mid ship so that the floor timber always faces the center of the ship in every pair.



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I agree that ships of the line had the frame bends/filling frames arrangement described, but this does not seem always to have been the case with smaller vessels such as Royal Caroline. I would be cautious about projecting large warship practice on a smaller non-fighting vessel.

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Greetings Gentlemen;


Thank you Jaager for searching so many plans to try and find out more.  If the long/short alternating arm does not seem to exist,  then I will return to my earlier hypothesis,  that all the frames are double.


Thank you Druxey for your thoughts;  I checked out framing plans for some sloops and a brig,  and these mostly showed the double frame with two filling frames.  However,  as you say,  Royal Caroline was a non-fighting vessel,  and may well have been framed differently.  As a Royal yacht,  she was certainly a special case,  and would undoubtedly have been of a high specification. 


All double frames is presumably a much stronger construction than one with filler frames (if similar spaces between them are maintained)  I think that I will accept this as the method used (which would be just as well,  because I have drawn most of the disposition of frame plan already,  with double frames throughout)


Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.


All the best,


Mark P



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Hi Mark,

Would a framing arrangement with four filling frames between every pair of bends make sense here? At this point in the century, six filling frames were the norm between bends, but four are also possible.


There is a distance of 3x the room and space between your bend at 9 and your bend at 12, and each interval of the room and space contains room for two timbers (a floor and a lower futtock).

For instance: a bend centred on station line 9 would include a floor on the aft side of the line, then we would see a filling frame with a lower futtock just aft of that, then we hit station line 10, then a filling frame with a floor (which was apparently difficult for the yard to obtain), then a filling frame with a lower futtock, then station line 11, then a filling frame with a floor (again difficult for the yard to obtain), then a bend centred on station line 12 with its lower futtock on the forward side of the station line.


The NMM model of the Dolphin of 1731 (SLR0226, see NMM website) shows, in a stylized fashion, such an arrangement in its fore and aft bodies.

Something to mull over. That said, I agree that if you double all the frames, nobody will be able to prove you wrong.


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Thank you Druxey,  that is a good comment!


Rob,  thank you also.  Do you have any other instances of this number of filling frames,  this would be interesting to know more about.


For Royal Caroline I don't think this would have been the case,  though,  as the filling frames,  whilst similar in midships to the main bends,  and so perhaps not requiring to be numbered,  would certainly be different at the bow and stern.  This would seem to indicate that they would have to be individually numbered,  and the numbering system on the draught only allows two stations between each main station.


Also,  I have the scantlings of her timbers (10 1/2" & 9 1/2") and her room and space (5' 5 1/4")  and at six times filler frames and a floor and futtock from the main frames,  this will not fit into the available space.  It does fit with four filler frames,  but only with a very small gap between them (1", just over)  So four is a possibility,  but I think the numbering system works against this,  as set out above.


Nonetheless,  thank you for your suggestion,  and I would certainly like to know of more examples of this number of filling frames.  Everything I have seen previously has had a maximum of three filling frames (I have no knowledge of merchant practices,  though,  where it may have been more common)


All the best,


Mark P

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Although there is no joy in using filling frames from our perspective, what with their strength

being dependent on the weakest of glue joints - end grain to end grain,  in the actual vessels

liberal use of connecting chocks was probably the practice.  Some removed after the horizontal

planks and some partial chocks possibly remained.  In some instances, even the bends had a gap

above the floor timbers - which points to chocks being necessary.  The resulting structure was

probably a lot stronger by itself than we would suppose.  Ugly but strong.


Mark,  with R & S being 21.75 inches and the room published as 20 inches, I would feel some pain

as to how it would look in an exposed state.  I like the look of the space being 30-35% of the total.

For the look, I would want 7.5 x 7.5 x 6.75 .  MY OC tendency would fight me on this.


Of late, I have been exploring various USN Sloop-of-War and lofting them.  The framing is anything but

consistent when Chapelle's R&S is matched with scantling tables (Meade mostly) or the contract in HASN.



name                                R&S                 framing choice

Germantown                     30"                  10 x 10 x 10

Vincennes                          26"                  10 x 10 x  6

Peacock II                          25.5                10 x 10 x  5.5

Jamestown                         31"                 11 x 11 x 9

Warren                               23.31              10.5 x 10.5 x 2.31     (contract)


A curious part of Warren =  The space between the frames was filled with Fir or similar between the keel and

the riders at the head of the floors so that no ceiling was used - but it was still solid for stowage. 

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Jaager: Fillings between frames to the flooorheads was to provide a level surface to the limber channels and pumps. Otherwise water would pool in the air spaces near the keel and rot out the bottom. This was usual practice in British naval vessels. In merchant ships limber holes were notched into the underside of the floor frames close to the keel for water to drain to the pumps.

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Greetings Gentlemen;


Druxey:  thank you for the thought;  but don't worry,  I went off the idea of an all single framing pattern quite a while ago.  All my more recent work has been on the basis of an all double construction.


Jaager:  thank you for listing the various room and space and timber combinations.  10 x 10 is obviously the size of choice for most shipwrights working on these.


All the best,


Mark P

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