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HMS Montague/ Alfred class by Gary B - 74 gun ship built in 1779 (garyshipwright)


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On 10/15/2020 at 1:16 PM, garyshipwright said:

Hello every one. Here is a small update on my build showing the stages that making a cast knee goes through to become a cast knee for my build. Also a few photos showing the fore mast partner on the  upper gun deck beams.The photo also show's the bolts being installed and is made up of 10 piece's of wood. Hope you enjoy the photo's

 

 

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Gary, beautiful work on the lodging and hanging knees. I was dreading starting that, but you make it look manageable!

 

Mark

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Thanks Mark and druxey your comments help keep me going, of course I have to thank the Swan guys, Greg and David  and their books for showing me some ideals that really help make the job a whole lot easier, such as how Greg would take a over size piece, get the joint to fit first and then cut out the rest of the item. Gives one lots of wiggle room. I take a over size piece and fit it to the wall and then cut out the front curve shape along with the upper edge of knee against the beam it self. Greg shows the stem and dead wood in vol 3, page 18 and  20.  Another thing to some that's not sure is take a piece of card file to fit the space. Put rubber cement on the open side and then clip it in place and the shape can then be filled in with small pieces to get the shape of that area. Once again thank you.   

Edited by garyshipwright
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hay guys have a two part question. On the hanging knees do we know what side those would be on such as on the aft side of the beam or the forward side?  Also for strength wise would it matter if it was on the fwd side or aft side?  Cast hanging knee's depending on the placement could take on a large curve in order to miss blocking gun ports adding on to the amount  and size of the timber itself? Your thoughts on the question would be most grateful. Thanks in advance. Gary

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Hello Gary,

I do not understand your question fully, but in front of the main mast the hanging knees are in front of the beam, behind the main mast they are behind the beam. That is what I could tell you, depending of the plan from the 1745 establishment and the Dorsetshire plan.

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Easy questions, Gary! The placement of the hanging knee to the beam was on the fore side forward and aft side aft. See:

 

https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/384163.html

 

although this is an earlier 1709 example.

 

As for cast knees, they were shaped from compass timber, so curved, twisted pieces would have been selected for best grain direction and strength, plus minimum wastage. (Think of the bottom of the trunk and main root area.)

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Per TFFM Vol 1 pg 257

Hanging Knee - fore side in fore body and aft side in aft body

that is to say hanging knees on forward beams go forward of the beam, and those on aft beams go to the aftside of the beam.

They bolt on the side to the beam not underneath so as to help prevent the beams from racking.

 

Lodging knees - aft side in the fore body and fore side in the aft body (just the opposite to the lodging knees otherwise they are on top of each other and that doesn't work very well)

 

The lodging knee end (running along the inside hull not the beam) was stepped to locked into a notch in the top outside corner of the hanging knee.

 

Hope you can understand this... that is to say that I hope I did a half decent job trying to describe it.

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Thanks every one and what if I said that when it came to the upper deck, if  I said that depends.  If one looks at the lay out of the gun deck of the Hampton court and the Dorsetshire  it does in fact show on the gun deck that the beams on the forward side of the pumps, were on the forward side and the beams, aft of the pumps on the aft side, so you guys are right, they could have this lay out. When I installed the knee's on Montague gun deck this is how I installed them but on the upper deck it's not the same. Now when you get to the upper deck looking at the Dorsetshire of 1757 you will noticed that they don't follow that lay out of the gun deck but in fact are on the fwd side of the beams but Hampton Court does keep the gun deck lay out when it comes to the knees.  If you look at the plan of the Dorsetshire on her upper gun deck 18 of the hanging knees were on the forward side of the beams and only 5 was on the aft per side. Now another plan that I have been using is the upper deck plan of the 74 gun ship Hector  of 1774. This one shows that 21 hanging knees on the forward side and only 7 on the aft side per side. When I look at the layout of the lower deck gun ports and the upper deck beams lay out I find my self seeing that normal hanging knees would fit on the fwd side easier then on the aft side because of the gun port below it. Plans of the Dorsetshire and the Hector shows this wasn't always true that they were not always like Hampton court on the upper deck.  Can anyone show me were this was written that this was done doing this time frame. Finding plans that show the placement of knees is rare, and  makes it just a little hard but if you have one that shows this please show it and would be most grateful for adding to our knowledge.    That why  I asked would it matter on which side it was installed on for strength. Sorry if my question confused any one. 

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Edited by garyshipwright
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Well, that is interesting, Gary. I presume the reason that their layout was so precisely recorded for Dorsetshire and Hector was that this was not typical. Usually standard features and fittings were omitted from plans as everyone back then knew where they were supposed to go.

 

Hector, I note, was built in a merchant yard by Barnard of Deptford. Is that significant? (Dorsetshire was built in the naval yard at Portsmouth.)

 

Does anyone have a better explanation?

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42 minutes ago, druxey said:

Well, that is interesting, Gary. I presume the reason that their layout was so precisely recorded for Dorsetshire and Hector was that this was not typical. Usually standard features and fittings were omitted from plans as everyone back then knew where they were supposed to go.

 

Hector, I note, was built in a merchant yard by Barnard of Deptford. Is that significant? (Dorsetshire was built in the naval yard at Portsmouth.)

 

Does anyone have a better explanation?

 

I give a shot at thinking outside the box.... given how long it took for drawings to be made, is it possible that Dorsetshire was originally supposed to be built at a "contractor's" yard?    Or it was an experiment?

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Well to throw another monkey in the mix I found another one, the Vengeance built in 1774 also of the Royal Oak Class designed by Williams and built by Randall, Rotherhithe and shows the upper deck hanging knees, which most are on the forward side. I take it that she was also built in a merchant yard. Well this brings up more question for me. If the hanging knees are post to go a certain way, should this have been inforced by the inspectors or was this just over looked. Both ships were drawn up by Williams so if he drew them showing the knees which is right and which is wrong. Even more question and no time machine. Well I took another look about were Dorsetshire and she seems to have the same set up with hanging knees on the forward side of the aft beams . Well this gives one something to ponder. 

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Edited by garyshipwright
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Thanks Hubac's and druxey.  Druxey I do have a book on the Barnard Dynasty c 1697-1851 writtern by  John Barnard who traces the history of four generation of the Barnard Family of Ship builders and they built a lot of ships for the Royal Navy and doesn't really say any thing on the knee's, which I didn't think it would but the Hector was in the book.  Am sure they had a good understanding of how they were to be built for them which as you said earlier was a experment or they approved it.  Thanks again. 

Edited by garyshipwright
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Hello Gary,

that is really interesting. I had only a short look at the gun deck plans, before I posted my comment. But realised later, that the upper gun deck of the Dorsetshire plan, was disordered on which side of the beams are the hanging knees.

 

When it is right what Druxsey said, that these plans where made „as build“ plans, then I would say, that the shipwrights had the choice where to locate the knees. At the plan for the 1745 establishment they followed mostly the for and aft theory. Because that was't a real ship they had drawn there. At the plans for the real ships, who where later build, are no knees drawn. Very interesting is here, that they did't plan hanging knees in the captains cabin at the upper gun deck!

 

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Hi Gary,

 

I just saw this string of posts on a very interesting question!

 

I struggled to understand the conflicts between the drawings that you, Siggi, Mark and druxey refer to, and also the directions I saw in the 1763 Marlborough contract, which say, "Every Beam of the Quarterdeck before the Mizen Mast & Every other Beam abaft, to be kneed with 1 Hanging & 1 Lodging Knee at Each End." And for the Roundhouse, "Every other Beam..."

Here is my best guess at how it works on the Bellona, whose ports do not align in the same way as the Dorsetshire, so I had to make "shipwright" best guesses at how to handle each location. I had to propose some pretty severely curved knees to make the rule work; I wonder if such trees exist!

It also puts some knees in the captain's quarters, which are not compatible with panelling....

 

Mark

 

 

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Gary,

 

I just remembered I was also looking at the inboard works drawing for the Arrogant, published in Lavery's Bellona AOS book, page 46. Have you seen the original? The way this is redrawn in the Lavery book leaves a lot of details unanswered. But it does show a few hanging knees aft of center on the forward side of the beam, for example, on the gundeck two ports forward of the stern, and another six ports forward of the stern.

 

Mark

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Hi Mark. No sir I have not seen the original other then the one in the AOS book.  Looks like what I was saying earlier that the ship wright shifted the hanging and lodging knees forward and backwards depending on the best place ment for them much like what we are finding out on our build's. I did find a answer for my question on Hector and Vengeance of 1774. Fincham said that the lodging knees were on the aft side of the beam on the aft side of the middle line and on the forward side on the forward side of the beam. So it seems am going in the right direction after all. I did find the middle line is at the forward capstain. It does seem that the layout of the upper deck was just a bit more hectic.

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HI Gary,

I just wrote some more thoughts about this over at my posting on the Bellona. I didn't want to mess up your site with a bunch of Bellona drawings. I discovered that there is a good reason for keeping the pattern consistent for the location of the hanging knees. That is because if you change back and forth at different points in the hull, you end up with a number of spaces between beams that have two hanging knees with no space for a lodging knee. I have seen only one example of this, in the drawing of the Arrogant of 1761, in Brian Lavery's book on the Bellona, page 46. But in this example, the spaces with two hanging knees are in places with little room for a lodging knee anyway.

Mark

 

 

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Good Morning Mark/Gary;

 

One thing which I think it is important to keep in mind is that the rule about lodging knees being fitted to the fore side of the beams in the aft half of the ship, and vice versa, was not based at all on structural considerations; it was due to the angle formed on the fore side of the aft beams being obtuse. Whereas by the alternative scenario, placing a lodging knee on the aft side of the aft beams, the angle would be acute, requiring timber which was more difficult and expensive to obtain. For this reason, I suspect that where a situation called for an incredibly curved 'cast' hanging knee, this may well have been a justification for fitting the lodging knee on the opposite side to the normal rule, thereby allowing the hanging knee to be straighter, with less of a cast.

 

Where this resulted in two lodging knees pointing at each other, the arm of one was tucked down below the arm of the other, so that they overlapped in side view; which you probably already know.

 

All the best,

 

Mark 

 

 

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Thanks Mark and Mark. Just more question and answer good sir's. When the rule was made it was based on William Sutherland, Shipbuilding Unveiled 1717 and those passage can be seen in Peter Goodwin book Sailing man of war page 75, bottom right hand side. Thing is am not sure how many folks have read his book or the 1711 The Ship Builders assistant but if you have would love to hear your view points.  When you look at the first page of the 1717 book it seems to reference the 1711 book.  Now you wonder how am able to read the 1711 book being of its age but Jean Boudriot Publication in 1989 did a reprint of it and I just happen to pick up one for my young library. I also have a computer copy of the 1711, 1717, 1729, 1755, 1766, and the 1784 to help me research them.  Now in Goodwin book on page 75 he says The hanging Knees are placed in the same position with the timbers, bolted both to beams and timbers for holding the beams to the sides. He goes on to say The beams ought to be placed one between and one under the ports of each deck, with this caution that the hanging knee may be placed clear of the ports and lodging knees abaft the beams forward and afore the beams  abaft, for the benefit of making these knees as much greater than a square or as obtuse and angle as possible for the easiness of procuring them. Now what one doesn't read from Goodwin is in William Sutherland book which at one time was only a dream to own. In the book of 1711 page 36 at the bottom of page, he says, There ought to be always this special remark in spacing the beam of each deck, that the knees of each beam may be place clear of the ports, that you may not be put to the shift of using dagger knees, or those that are crooked, which are seldom strong, and more difficult to purchase than straight. Now on page 39 he says, The beams ought to be place one between and one under the ports of each deck, with this caution, that the hanging knee may be placed clear of the ports and the lodging knees abaft the beams forward, and afore the beams abaft, for the benefit of making those knees as much without a square, or as obtuse and angle as possible for the Easiness of obtaining them. 

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Hi Gary,

 

You have done some remarkable research in some difficult to find sources. This is so interesting and helpful.

 

I am beginning to understand what a difficult business it was for the shipwright to lay out the beams. So many different issues to address, like one under each gunport, making way for hatches, partners, etc, not causing problems with acute angles in knees, or excessive casting of knees.

 

I also begin to see that no one rule could be fully carried out without violating another rule. The Bellona, for example, does not have beam under every port, and avoiding excessively cast hanging knees means violating the rule about which side of the beam the knee attaches to fore or aft of midships.

 

So I am beginning to think that all of these rules were ideals to aspire to, but the circumstances of individual ships meant that some rules would have to abandoned in favor of other rules in certain situations.

 

I don't yet see a pattern in the drawings or sources we have been looking at, to suggest which of the rules was always most important. It does seem to be using judgement in individual circumstances as how to best balance them all.

 

I also wondered, in my own case of the Bellona, whether shipwright Thomas Slade had not yet perfected the design of a 74, and so was creating some problems that he worked out in later ships. The gunports are very irregular towards the stern on the Bellona relative to other later 74s, for example. Maybe the beams got more organized later on. But I haven't really looked at later ships in detail to see if this is the case or not.

 

Just my first thoughts about what we are learning here!

 

Best wishes,

 

Mark

 

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Mark I am going to up loaded a photo of Sutherlands plan of the ship which shows this layout, that is as soon as my camera is charged.  I think druxey  hit the nail on the head, each shipwright some times had to make up his own mind to what was best for the ship he was building, and how precious timbers could be used in the building. When iron knees came in to use more am sure that many of the problems on placement of knees became a thing of the past. One thing that I find odd is that Steel and the Shipbuilder's Repository doesn't show or tell us about the direction of which side the hanging and lodging knees placement. Steel does show us them on the gun deck plate but are not shown on the upper deck plate. I find these things a little odd, but will continue to look for a answer. Sure would be nice to have that time machine right now. I did take a look at Stalkartt Naval Architecture 1787. Says the  lodging knees are generally disposed on that side of the beam,  which makes them the most without a square and the hanging knee placed clear of the ports and of standards on the deck below. 

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Edited by garyshipwright
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Yes sir it is. In the book by William Sutherland in 1711.  He says Fig D is a plan of the lower Gun deck, consisting of beams, Carlings, Ledges, Knees, Partners, Capstand,s, Cross pieces and bits. The Red in this plan is beams, the yellow, knees as arms to hold the knees and sides together, the green carlings, the blue is ledges and the bounding of the plan repressents the ships sides, out board plank yellow, the Timber black and the inside plank Green. Gary

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