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Another question about Brigantine Leon - 302 tons, built in 1880 in Norway

 

I am trying to understand if she more likely had iron hanging knees or wooden.  Crothers seems to indicate that by the end of the 1800s iron was in common use due to the lack of suitable lumber in America and yet Desmond shows only wooden knees in his photos and he was writing in 1918 to help train ship builders then.  Furthering my confusion it seems that Scandinavia would have run out of good roots before America, suggesting that the use of iron would have occurred even sooner.

 

I would sure appreciate any suggestions that folks have on this question including any other sources.

 

Thanks,

 

Doug

 

 

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Doug,

 

I can’t answer your question as shipbuilding, particularly of small merchant vessels varied by country and locale.  I did find a couple of references that you may find to be of interest.  First is the SL-4 wreck found in the Netherlands but identified as a Mid Nineteenth British Collier brig.  Lodging knees were wood but hanging knees for the upper deck were iron.  The lower deck did not use knees.  Instead, they used U shaped iron straps that ran along each side of each deck beam and around the outside of the frame.  Jonathan Adams describes this setup in “A Maritime Archaeology of Ships.”

 

Basil Greenhill describes the construction of a three masted Schooner by the residents of the Finnish Island of Aaland. Although,this vessel was built on an unimproved buildingbsite, not a shipyard he points out that one of the vessel’s builders was a skilled blacksmith hand forging ironwork from scrap iron purchased in Sweden.  The book is The Evolution of the Wooden Ship.

 

Was this vessel classified by a classification society such as Lloyd’s or Det Norske Veritas?  If so the vassel’s rating and the classification Society rules at the time should provide your answer.

 

Roger

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Doug:

Leon was built in 1880 and her 1882 Lloyds Record of American and Foreign Shipping entry gives her classification as A 1-1. It says she was built of fir, pine, and oak. She was copper and iron fastened. She had a metal sheathed bottom. 

 

She was surveyed by Lloyds at Laurvig in January 1881, just a few weeks after her launch in December 1880. Their surveys are kept at National Maritime Museum, I believe. I would contact NMM and see if they have her original survey. That would answer a lot of questions.  

 

Russ

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Good advice to contact the NMM.

 

However, I would bet that she had iron knees. There would have been plenty of iron in Norway and Sweden (e.g. from Kiruna). Iron knees would make more room in the hold and being stronger.

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Roger, Russ, welfalck,

 

I am blown away by the information that you guys know about and have access to.  I will be following up on all your suggestions and , of course, I will try to get a copy of the 1881 survey.

 

Thank you all so much!

 

Doug

 

PS I have already gone through a transition, from one level of quality of workmanship to a higher level, working on this model as a result of my recent contact with the Ship Model Society of New Jersey (USA).  Now I am going through a similar transition regarding the quality of research.  Thanks again.

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Doug:

Please do not limit yourself to the original survey. She was surveyed numerous times over her career. Some of them, they might not have, so get the earliest survey you can.  Good luck with your search. 

 

Russ

 

 

 

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Russ,

 

I've got some more info also.  Yes, the archives have moved back to Lloyd's where they are being digitized and will be available in January 2019. 

 

In my communications with Lloyd's they report finding the ship (I sent them a bunch of identifying info), however they never classed it and therefore they never surveyed her.  They also report that she was classed with Det Norske Veritas and hence they would have surveyed her but who knows if the surveys are archived.  I've written to DNV but have not heard from them.  I've also written NMM asking if they have archived stuff from DNV and I've not heard from them either. 

 

Do you remember where you found the info about the January 1881 Lloyd's survey?  I searched about 10 Lloyd's registers from 1880 til 1899 and none of them had any reference to Leon.

 

Also this is my first blog experience and I wonder if followup communications like ours are generally done in the blog or in separate vehicle such as email?

 

Thanks for you help on this Russ - the potential for a lot of very useful information from a survey is so high.

 

Doug

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Doug:

The information on Lloyd's surveys being digitized is good to know. 

 

I found the listing of Leon in Lloyd's Record of American and Foreign Shipping. Those volumes are digitized at Mystic Seaport Museum. They have several decades of these publications online. 

 

https://research.mysticseaport.org/ships/?post_type=mystic_items 

 

The initial survey was done in Laurvig so that would be housed DNV, wherever that is located. 

 

Unless someone complains, we can continue here. Or you can contact me via PM. 

 

Russ

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Personally, I think that such discussions are useful and interesting, as they convey information beyond the immediate topic. It is the essence of fora to have such discussions in the open and not behind the scenes via PMs.

 

Good to know that the Lloyds volumes are being digitised, as many libraries do not have all the volumes. What about Bureau Veritas ?

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10 hours ago, russ said:

 

The initial survey was done in Laurvig so that would be housed DNV, wherever that is located. 

 

Laurvig is today Larvik in Norway F.Y.I.

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Nick,

 

Your one sentence post is intriguing:  First, I am unfamiliar with "a beam shelf with chocks"  and an internet search didn't help - can you tell me what that arrangement is or give me a reference? Second,  where on earth did you get such a piece of information?  Where ever it comes from probably has more info too which I would love to tap into.  Every detail about the interior that I have collected so far comes in the form of "most likely she had..." or "it was common practice in Scandinavia to ..." or "Of these 6 vessels similar to Leon, 4 used ..."  I am currently trying to find classification surveys and reports on Leon to provide really specific info but so far have been unsuccessful

 

Thanks very much for your doubly intriguing post!

 

Doug

 

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Hi Doug, I have just looked at you build log of the Leon, really very nice work.

Years ago I discovered Underhill's work and was impressed that here was an amazing resource when

such resources were non- existent apart from odd sources such as Davis. I eventually started re-drafting from

poorly reproduced drafts and were what I felt was in places deviations from full size practice

in order to produce and acceptable build in those days. the horn timbers were a case in point.

That is not to say many lovely models have been produced. A member of this forum Jack Nastyface

produced an excellent model before the MSB crash, and may be contactable.

 

However my source is purely from the book  Plank on Frame Models Vol 1. My interpretation may be

incorrect. On page 80 diag. 58 is a small drawing of the deck beams and the chocks. There is a diag. 57

showing fabrication of lodging knees. A following couple of diags. on page 108 indicating normal practice,

not used in the Leon. The last para on page 109 is appropriate to read in conjunction.

 

NOW does this mean hanging knees were omitted, or have I as said before gotten it wrong? A model in

a museum in Dartmouth, up the coast from here shows no hanging knees, though it is fully planked and 

coppered and difficult to ascertain,  it is obvious the model was build following Underhill to the letter. I have no rememberance of Jack Nastyface's model having hanging knees either.

 

As I may have stirred up a hornet's nest, I apologise if this is all in vain. However by my reckoning it would be

iron if hanging knees were fitted.

 

Regards, Nick

 

 

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Nick,

 

I refuse to accept any apology because this back and forth is so valuable regardless of what the endgame is.  I am on retreat now and didn't bring Underhill but when I get home I will certainly read those passages carefully.  One problem with Underhill is that he doesn't really address the interior at all except to say that the scantlings of the structural elements are too heavy.  Unfortunately I didn't read that sentence until after all the frames and longitudinals were cut and installed.   Thus I had to pare down the sides of the keelson to make it reasonable.  The frames I left as Underhill specified!  In any event, when I put all the info on this subject together I'll be sure to post it.

 

Thanks again,

 

Doug

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Doug:

I am huge Underhill fan. When I got into wooden shipmodeling, his books were among the first I read and I still refer to his work whenever I need a pick me up.

 

However, his work is a secondary source while the Lloyd survey would be a primary source. The primary source is contemporary with the ship and far outweighs information from a secondary source written decades after the ship went out of service. So, simply because Underhill built his model without hanging knees does not mean that the ship did or did not have hanging knees. This all boils down to what you are after in the modeling process. You can build the model exactly as Underhill did and the result will be a fine model for which you can be justifiably proud. Or, you can research the vessel and attempt to build it as it actually was built. The result will be a fine model for which you can be justifiably proud. The difference is, which one will please you personally the most? I always tell people to build the model that pleases them best. 

 

Russ

 

 

 

 

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Couldn't agree more, Russ.  There are several irons in the fire for surveys and I even got a call from DNV this morning.  Tomorrow morning he's going to get back to me with any information he can find.

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Doug:

Well done. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. 

 

Russ

 

 

 

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Folks,

 

It's been a while since I've posted but I think I've pretty much exhausted my possible sources.  I'd already mentioned that Lloyd's never classed Leon so they never surveyed her although Lloyd's register has a number of entries for her with some technical info as Russ has pointed out.  Leon was classed with Det Norsk Veritas (DNV) - the classification society in Norway.  Unfortunately A fellow there said that because she was a pretty standard little ship with no fame or notoriety he figured that DNV would not have any survey info (or any other info) archived .  Apparently DNV only archive info on well known ships.  The only remaining source that I'm aware of is Merseyside Maritime Museum where an outfit Martime Archives (I think) does most of their research but it is temporarily not available and there is no ready date so.... I think I'll just continue with using NRG MSW and other data.  I just remembered I'm also trying to get DNV requirements in 1880.

 

Thanks enormously for all the ideas and support.  I'll be back\

Doug

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