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Edge of Deck Plank Layout: Spirketting, Waterway, Margin Plank

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I'm getting ready to install the deck for my Lady Nelson (1803, 1:64) and I've been looking throughout MSW for a concise layout for what's at the edges of the deck.  All I've found are historical drawings and there are no instructions in the kit.  From the historical drawings, I drew what I think I should build, shown below.  Would appreciate any comments...John


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Mark, not sure of what you mean.  do you mean that the triangle I'm showing as a triangle is actually adjacent to the bulwark planks?  Where does the spirketting plank(s) go?  Hear is an adjusted drawing:



Gary, what you're showing in Figure 1 is basically that what I'm showing as the Margin Plank and the Waterway is one piece.  That may have been the case back then but most of the MSW build logs I've reviewed have it as two separate planks.  How have you dealt with this?



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John according to Peter Goodwin the water way and the margin plank was two different pieces of wood. . The waterway was a strake of specially fashioned plank worked fore and aft along each side of the ship across the ends of the deck beams. The function of the water way was to form a watertight seal between the side of the ship and the deck. If water was able to enter at this vulnerable area of the ships structure  both the ends of the beams and the ships timbers to which they were joined would become rotten. It was in the shape of a L as a easy way of looking at it shape.  The margin plank ran parallel to the ships side and fayed to the waterway. The function of this was to pre vent the normal straight deck planking from being tapered to a fine angle where it met the curvature of the ship's side at the fore and after ends. The margin plank was thus fashioned to receive the butts of those planks.  I added a couple of photo's showing how I did this on my Confederacy and a photo showing the Alfred. John if you put the waterway plank at the bottom  underneath the bulwark  planking and then butt the margin plank up next to the water way  that would be my way of doing it. I am not sure but am thinking that the bulwark planking and the spirketting are the same thing. Hope this helps sir. 

confederacy 55 040.jpg



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Your diagrams in post #1 and post #4  are quick and dirty POB kit shortcuts .
The final appearance would be essentially the same as actual practice.  But what you show is very different from actual practice.

The actual waterway is a thick and wide timber,  with 5 surfaces in cross section.  It butts against the inside face of the top timbers.  It has a slope or bevel on the top inside corner.
The kit saves itself lot of work by calling a triangular strip of wood - the waterway.  It is just the bevel of the waterway.
The margin plank ( and the waterway ) sat on a mortise/notch cut into the top of the deck beams.  The margin plank(s) are about twice thickness of the deck planks.  They add strength at the side and lock the waterway in place.   On the surface, none of this is seen.  The kit uses deck planking as the margin plank.  I hope your drawing is not to scale.  The margin plank needs to be wide enough to take the nibs.  The deck planks should be 10" wide at the maximum.  A smaller ship may only have one strake of margin planking?

The spirketting as a sort of inside wale.  It provides strength and is also subject to stress from the forward cannon trucks.  It actually sits on the waterway and reaches the underside of the gun port sills.  
The inside bulwark planking starts above the spirketting and is maybe about one half the thickness.


In Gary's post #3,  the four strakes of top and butt are on the main (gun) deck of a frigate.  They lay under the monster size guns. I can imagine the on recoil that those guns may hop as well as jerk on the rope springs and ring bolts at the spirketting.  Planks with added thickness and interlocked joinery for the stress there.  I doubt that is detail would apply to Lady Nelson.

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The odd thing I see in your drawing is the spirketting as a separate layer of planking inboard of the bulwark planking which includes the spirketting and quickwork or lining.   The spirketting is part of the bulwark inboard planking and is not an additional layer.  The spirketting would just be thicker piece or pieces as Jaager points out.   What you have labelled as the bulwark should be the frame (or if a POB, the top portion that appears as a frame.)  Using your sketch as a guide, I made some modifications that may help.  When all is said and done, if you go with the way you have it drawn,  it will look correct.    Note that according to Goodwin, the waterway was different in the  17th, 18th and 19th century although I do not know when exactly the changes were made.  The sketches I did are simplified, especially for the 19th century, but give you at least the shape of the waterway.









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I don't know much about LADY NELSON, but believe that she is a rather small ship ? There are many different ways for arranging the timberwork, depending of period, region and size of the ship.


In large ships, bulwark stanchions are pieces separate from the frames. Essentially, the hull ends at upper deck level with which it forms a closed, water-tight spaces (except for the hatches). The arrangements discussed above largely pertain to larger ships.


In small(er) ships, every other or every third frame is carried up to rail level and thus forms the bulwark stanchion. In general there is then no interior planking of the bulwark (and therefore no spirketting). In such cases there is a 'covering board' over the waterway that is notched or pierced for the stanchions. Sometimes, there aren't even separate covering boards and waterways, but just one massive plank. In such cases often the bulwark planking leaves a space of an inch or so above the covering board for effective drainage of the deck.


Not sure what is known about LADY NELSON, but it would be worthwhile to first check the sources on her and not to rely too much on the building instructions.

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Wefalck:  The LN was never a ship. It is Amati's version of a typical HM Cutter, circa 1803 and based on the Sherbourne class of cutters and yes, very small.


Druxey: Yes, exactly.  Not can I duplicate how it was built in the real world but how can I, as a modeler, replicate what was built.  And based on the drawings in this thread, I think I would tweak my original sketch, by raising the spirketting plank, and moving the waterway (now a trapizoid instead of a triangle) and the margin plank against the bulwark planks, under the spirketting plank.  See below:

image.png.c14a7dab02b33e908d34358fd9a13c5c.pngFeedback on this appreciated and thanks for your help...John

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Doesn't the NMM in Greenwich have some cutter models (from the time) on which one can see how it might have been done, so that one can see how to fake it ? Somehow, I have my doubts that these small cutters had bulwarks that were planked on the inside.


A very quick search with 'revenue cutter' turned this up:



Source: https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/86219.html (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich)



Source: https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/86220.html


And this, but from 1822:



Source: https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/86297.html


With some more search, one probably can find more details.


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If you look at the contemporary models of cutters in the gallery you will see some fine examples.  The spirketing is thicker and the top edge runs flush with the bottom of the gunports.   This can be easily faked and look just like actual practice.   For whatever reason this detail is always omitted on kits.  Even those so called newer and innovative kits.   Its easy to add this detail.


Whether in one layer or two.  I prefer two layers so I can adjust the run with the second layer of spirketing.  Then I follow that with a rounded or concave waterway.










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I'm building Cheerful, a 1806 cutter, just as Chuck describes.  It's fun to get all caught up in how it was done on a real ship, but there is the practicality of building a model that achieves the look, "faked" or not. I think your most recent drawing is consistent with what Chuck describes, and recognizing it is a block drawing, properly shows how it is done on a model.  


I built the Lady Nelson before knowing this and unfortunately without some of these features.  I'd encourage you to look at https://syrenshipmodelcompany.com and Chuck's monograph on Cheerful. The middle chapters address how to represent the deck of a cutter from a modeler's perspective.

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