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Plank lengths for 1814 Brig of War

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I am in the midst of scratch building a POF model of the 1814 HM Brig Netley built in York on Lake Ontario. My research of marine archives both in Ontario and Greenwich turned up no drawings on the ship so I have done all the lines drawings myself based on similar sized ships of the era. I am now about to begin planking and cannot locate an answer to: "What is the typical length of plank used to sheath the hull of an 1814 Brig of War?"


Any suggestions on this issue would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

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During the war of 1812 the British built two schooners on Lake Huron.  One was named Tecumpseh.  Remains of Tecumpseh have been investigated by the Nautical Archeology Department of Texas A &M University.  See their website.  Their excellent book Coffins of the Brave also documents archeological evidence for both British and American vessels built during the war of 1812 on the Lakes.  A determined researcher can also find most of this information on their website as many graduate thesises are available for download.


I do not have access to the information at the moment but I believe that I have seen a planking drawing prepared by the RN for Tecumpseh’s construction.



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The contract for the Warren and Falmouth  1826  specifies that deck planking should average 40 feet and not exceed 10 inches width.

The ASA 1870  implies that hull planking wider than 15 inches is a special case.  The 8-12 inch wide range is probably a good place to live.

Given the 3D changes involved in sheathing a hull,  I keep that planking in the 20-25 foot length range.  Maybe fudge a bit longer if finishing a strake requires too short a piece.


Thickness data is easy to find,  width depends on the part,  length was limited by what the trees provided and the lumber jacks and sawyers could practically handle.  It is almost like the authors of the old texts were thinking: "you know what you can get, I don't need to tell you."

The 40 foot deck planking was likely from a species of southern Pine that was hardwood hard, straight, and tall, from primeval forest, all cut down and not really replaced, even if 200 years is long enough for them to be what they were then.

Edited by Jaager

NRG member 50 years




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Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  - POF timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - POF framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - POF framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


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Thank you Jaager for your information. Interestingly, I had pretty much settled on a 24' length as being reasonable. Based on what you have shared, I see I am in the right ballpark. I had found plenty of information on widths and thicknesses but had no luck on length. I gathered the length would depend on the material at hand but wasn't sure if there was an admiralty decree determining plank length. 


Thanks to you and Roger, I can continue with confidence.

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