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Here is another structural question pertaining to late 19th-century merchant ships.


In the 1891 brigantine Galilee, there were massive waterway timbers (11 in. by 15 in.) visible in the photos provided by the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (ignore the albatross). It is apparent that the waterways, or something else, filled in the open space between the stanchions formed by the upper frames.




My question is this: Were the waterways notched for each stanchion, or were there filling pieces (or whatever they are called) added to close off the spaces between stanchions? Since the ship's bulwarks are open, there were no covering boards to prevent the entry of seawater between the frames. The following image from my digital model illustrates the question.




Thanks in advance for your assistance.

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   I have two factors in mind:  Butting the waterway against the inside face of the stanchions and filling the gaps between with single pieces ( filling chocks ) looks like it would be less costly.  The down side is the additional seam to caulk.  The only easy way to secure the floating pieces would be from the outside plank.  The alternatives that I see are boring a hole thru each piece and into the waterway - for a trunnel.  And/or  a toe nailed trunnel into the stanchion.   Done above it is then another source of water incursion. Done from below, no fun at all to do.

A wide and notched waterway, while it  appears to be better for the ship,  the necessary extra width of the waterway and the waste from the notches rules against this.  The waterway is too thick to waste on a function that a thinner piece of wood would serve.


The 1903 Rules from the ABS have this to say:


section 22 ------ Must be fitted on each tier of beams, theyshould be of logs of the greatest possible length, well fayed to the timbers and beams, and thoroughly fastened with a through bolt into each beam, and two horizontal bolts through frames and clinched, the butts must be close jointed, and scarphed vertically where practicable, and be placed between the scarphs in the clamps underneath.


section 23-------The lock-strakes adjoining the waterway should be scarphed and jogged over the beams.  These scarphs to shift with those in waterways.   These strakes should be fastened vertically, with two clinch-bolts through every beam, and horizontally, with one bolt through every second timber.  The stringers on the waterways should also be scarphed, and fastened with two bolts through every timber, and in vessels over 500 tons should be bolted edgewise.


I checked Desmond and Estep.   

Although not singled out,  all of the waterways butt against the inside face of the timber extensions.  The lock strakes are a second waterway,  The stringers are a second or inner clamp, below the beams.

They sort of show a covering board ( filling chock ) between the plank-sheer and the waterway.  The definition of plank-sheer = the pieces of plank laid horizontally over timber-heads of quarter deck and forecastle, for the purpose of covering the top of the side; hence sometimes called covering-boards.


NOW I remember - it is the outside plank that is notched if anything is.



For a model, if the waterway is to be painted, butting the waterway and using a lot of filling pieces, saves to nightmare of getting a lot of notches done with precision.  The pieces are easy if you have the tools.  The paint will obscure the method.   If clear finished wood, the plank above the plank-sheer would make it impossible to see if a notched plank or filling pieces are used.

NRG member 45 years



HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner -  framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner -  timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835  ship - timbers ready for assembly


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

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


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Thank you for the detailed response, Jaager.


Now that I know what to look for, I went back to the DTM photos and discovered that there indeed appears to be a seam between the inboard waterway and the pieces filling in between the stanchions. That certainly makes a lot of sense.




I appreciate your input.






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There were in practice many different ways of doing this and the numbers and names of the timbers involved seem to vary. There is normally a fairly massive piece running on the inside of the stanchions. Sometimes it has the half-round waterways cut out in the lower part. Sometimes the waterways is a smaller timber, about double the thickness of the planking and the same width that runs between the larger baulk and the planking. The space between the stanchions can be filled in, but more often there is a thin covering board that is notched out for the stanchions. This covering board may be set-in from the outside and forms a line visible from the outside, forming a sort of narrow shelf. The bulkwark may be raisde above the covering board by a couple of centimeters to allow water to drain outboard. This is often the case in smaller ships, where every second or third frame actually forms the bulwark stanchions.



panta rhei - Everything is in flux



M-et-M-72.jpg  Banner-AKHS-72.jpg  Banner-AAMM-72.jpg  ImagoOrbis-72.jpg
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