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"An Explanation of The Terms Used in Ship Building"

Slightly Abridged

From "The Shipwright's Vade-Mecum:..."

by David Steel, Sr. and/or Jr.

London: Printed for P[enelope]. Steel, at the Navigation-Warehouse, Little Tower Hill. 1805.



Search for terms & phrases, or key words in a phrase; expect to find them not only as 'headwords' followed by definitions 'in the standard location', but buried elsewhere in the body of that definition or that of some other phrase. For example, in the hawse and Open hawse are not defined per se, but are found in the body of the definition for HAWSE, viz.


The situation of the cables before a vessel's stem, when moored. Also the distance upon the water a little in advance of the stem; as, a vessel sails athwart the hawse, or anchors in the hawse of another.

Open hawse. When a vessel rides by two anchors, without any cross in her cables.


Although terms appear with essentially the same definitions in several dictionaries of the age; and since I am pressed for time; and there's little point to duplication of entries (in substance, if not verbatim): in the midst of a project to collect in HTML files on a computer hard-drive several maritime dictionaries, to facilitate lookup in one physical place rather than in several books in different physical locations, it became clear that, during transcription of Steel, begun with the intention of screening out entries that appeared with essentially the same definition(s) elsewhere, the overwhelming majority of entries from Steel were being retained. It appeared clearly faster to simply type them all in and skip the screening. This policy was adopted starting with the 'D's; though some entries before the 'D's are missing, thenceforth the transcription is unabridged.




There are minor text formatting differences between the original and this transcription, resulting from the 'html' definition-list format employed.

Transcribed by Christopher Morrison, December 1997.

While the content of the "Explanation..." itself is in the public domain, the typing involved in transcribing it was far from trivial; this transcription is therefore offered solely for non-commercial use only, viz., academic and personal use.

All new material (this prefatory commentary) copyright 1997, Christopher Morrison

Note: References to plates, figures, and pages elsewhere in the book are given for verisimilitude; none are included in this transcription.



That part of the ship's body abaft the midships or dead-flat. (See BODIES. See also DEAD FLAT.) This term is, however more particularly used in expressing the figure or shape of that part of the ship. (see BODY PLAN, Plate I.)


A cavity framed in the openings of the timbers, to admit fresh air into the ship, and convey the foul air out of it. They are, generally, and should be, placed in the largest openings so as to be clear for passing the air freely. (See Figure of the Air Funnel, on Plate I.)


In midships, or in the middle of the ship, either with regard to her length or breadth. Hence that timber, or frame, which has the greatesg breadth and capacity in the ship is denominated the midship bend. (See DEAD FLAT. See also Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The short pieces of plank, or of board, fastened to the sides of the ship, or to stantions [sic] under the fore channel, to prevent the bill of the anchor from tearing the ship's side. when fishing or drawing up the anchor. (See SHEER DRAUGHT, Plate I.) It is only used in the navy, and many ships upon which it was fitted have lately had it taken away.


A sort of ornament fixed on the quarters of small vessels near the stern, and containing, either a sash for the convenience of the cabin, or the representation of it. It is commonly decorated with carved work, as marine figures, martial instruments, &c.


The lowest part of the head-sails, or that part which partakes of the horizontal position. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The gallery in the stern of large ships. (See Sheer Draught, and Perpendicular View of the Stern, Plate I.)


The ornamental pillars, placed along, or in front of, the balcony in the stern and quarters of large ships.


A name given to small ships, especially to ships, having no head-rails, and to such as have three masts without a mizen top-sail.


The foot or lowest part of a pillar; or that part of a body over which rests, or is designed to rest.


The short platform at the fore-part of the upper-deck, in large ships, placed at the height of the ports from the deck, for the convenience of the chase-guns. Its termination aft is the bulk-head called the beak-head bulk-head, which incloses the fore-part of the ship. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The same as CAT BEAM, which see under the article BEAMS.


Large carlings which are used to frame the beak-head instead of a collar beam.


is the broadest beam in the ship, generally made in two breadths, tabled and bolted together. The fore-side is placed far enough forward to receive the heads of the stantions of the beak-head bulk-head. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV., and Half-breadth Plan, Plate I.)


is the beam upon which the stantions of the beak-head bulk-head stand. The upper side of it is kept well with the upper side of the upper deck port-sills, and lets down upon the spirketting at the side. But its casting over the bow-sprit, in the middle, giving it a form which in timber is not to be gotten without difficulty, a framing of two large carlings, and a stantion on each side of the bowsprit, is now generally substituted in its place. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


are those beams under the flat of the magazine, bread-room, and powder-room, where there is a double palleting. Those of the upper tier are of fir, and rabbets taken out of their edges to form scuttles.


A line rated along the inside of the ship, fore and aft, shewing the uppersides of the beams at the side of the ship.




An ornamental framing, made of stantions at the after beams of the forecastle, with a covering or top, under which the ship's bell is hung. In large ships the stantions are supported by knees. In small ships it is frequently built over the windlass.


The ends of compass or KNEE TIMBER.


A wooden case, or chest, which contains the compasses and the lights to shew them, by night, &c. It is divided into three compartments, with sliding shutters. Those at the side have a compass in each, and that in the middle is fitted to hold a lamp, or candles, which emit light on the compasses through a pane of glass on each side. In small vessels it is sometimes fixed before the companion, and the lights put in from the captain's ladderway, without going upon deck. On the deck of a ship of war there are always two binnacles, one for the use of the man who steers, and the other for him who cons, or superintends the steerage.


A frame of oak timber, whereon the cables or ropes are occasionally fastened. It consists of two upright pieces of oak, called Bitt-pinns, when the bitts are large, or of knees, when the bitts are small, with a cross-piece fastened horizontally athwartships near the head of them. The largest Bitts are commonly called the Riding Bitts, and are those to which the cables are fastened, when the ship rides at anchor. There are also small Bitts to belay ropes to, as the Bow-line and Brace Bitts, situated near the masts; the Fore Jear and Topsail Sheet Bitts, situated on the forecastle, and round the foremast; the Main Jear and Topsail Sheet Betts, which tenon into the foremost beam of the quarter deck. The Bitts round the mizen mast are generally formed with knees, and have sheave-holes for the topsail sheets, &c. (See Sheave-holes. See also Plans and Inboard Works, Plate III. and IV.)


The upright pieces of oak timber, let in and bolted to the beams of two decks at least, and to which the Cross-pieces are let on and bolted. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


The large piece of elm out of which the figure is carved at the head of the ship. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


are solid pieces of oak, let through the sides of the ship, and fitted with sheaves to lead the tacks, sheets, traces [sic], &c. into the ship. The block to lead in the main-tack, is fixed at the after end of the fore channel, or before the chestree, and close up under the sheer-strakes. The block for leading in the fore and spritsail sheets is fixed in the side close up under the sheer-strakes, and just before the fenders or steps of the gangway. The block for leading in the main-sheet is fixed through the side, clear of the wardroom bulkhead, or just before it on the upper deck of large ships. In frigates and smaller ships it is fayed upon the planksheer, abreast of the mizen-mast. The block for the main-brace and studding sail sheet is fixed on the plank sheer close aft. The blocks for the main and fore lifts are kevel-headed, and are fixed either inside or out abreast their respective masts. The blocks for the dorrick and the top and lift blocks, are fixed outside, a little abaft the mizen-mast; the former on the starboard, and the latter on the larboard side.


to lead in the catfall are fixed on the plank-sheer over the catheads. A sheave-hole is cut in each, with a snatch, that the fall may lead in fair upon deck. The hole need not be cut through on the outside. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


the ship, are two solid pieces of elm or oak, one fixed on each side of the stem, above the taffarel, and a snatch with a large score cut each way in the middle. When used, the hawser is hauled in through the snatch.


Small vessels, either open or decked. Rowing boats are open, and others are generally decked over. Boats are managed on the water by rowing and sailing, and are occasionally slight or strong, sharp or flat bottomed, open or decked, plain or ornamented, as they may be designed either celerity or burthen, for deep or shallow water, for sailing in a harbor or at sea, for convenience or pleasure.

The construction and the names of boats are different, according to the various purposes for which they are calculated, and the services required of them.

The largest that ships take to sea is the LONG-BOAT, (Plate IV.), built very strongly, and furnished with masts and sails.

The LAUNCH is a sort of LONG-BOAT, and is now generally taken to sea in its stead; but it is not built upon a principle of sailing, it being more flat, is broader, and more useful for weighing small anchors than the LONG-BOAT.

The BARGE is next in size, but very different from the former in its construction, having a slighter frame, and being more ornamented. It is constructed for rowing or sailing, having conveniences for ten or twelve oars, and two or three masts, and is chiefly used for the conveyance of admirals and other officers of rank to and from the ship.

The PINNACE is of the same form as the barge, but is something smaller, and never rows more than eight oars. It is for smaller ships, or for the use of officers of subordinate rank.

A YAWL is something less than the pinnace, nearly of the same form, and used for similar purposes. They are generally rowed with six oars.

The above boats are all carvel-built.

CUTTERS for ships are clincher-built, and are used for the conveyance of seamen, or the lighter stores. They are shorter and broader in proportion to their length than the long boat, and constructed either for rowing or sailing.



Holes cut through the fore part of the knee of the head, between the cheeks, large enough to admit the bobstay-collars, to which the bobstays are set up for the security of the bowsprit.


for securing GUNS, &c. have the part that enters into the wood cylindrical. Those for ring-bolts have the rings turned into an eye made at the head of the bolt. The rings are sometimes made angular, to receive many turns of lashing; such are the bolts for lashing the booms and spare anchors. Eye bolts have only an eye made at the head of the bolt, to which the tackles, &c. may be hooked. (See Midship Sections, Plate III.) Some eye-bolts have a shoulder to them, to resist a great strain, as the fish-tackle eye-bolt, which has a plate, or long strap, made under the eye to prevent its burying into the plank. The TOGGLE-BOLT [see Steel's "Art of Mastmaking."] has a flat head and a mortise through it, that receives a toggle or pin. Its use is to confine the ensign staff, &c. into its place, by means of a strap.


is a ring bolt, with two or more forelock holes in it, occasionally to belay or make fast towards the middle. It is used, with the wrain staff in the ring. for setting-to the planks.


A vessel of war, particularly designed for throwing shells from mortars. It was invented by the French, and said to have been first used in the bombardment of Algiers. Prior to that time the throwing of shells from sea was supposed impossible.


The beams which support the bomb-bed in bomb-vessels.


A projection of wood formerly left on the hawse-pieces, in wake of the hawse-holes, and which projected as far out as the plank inside and out. This method of fitting the hawse-holes is now, however, generally laid aside; as, among other advantages which attend the present practice, it is found that, as the method of boxing consumed an unnecessary quantity of large timber, this expence is now avoided; beside which, the planks, without boxing, run forward to the stem, and thereby strengthen the bow. The purpose of boxing is much better answered by a pipe of lead let through the holes, and turned with a flap inside and out, the undersides of which are the thickest, to allow for the wearing of the cable.

The term BOXING is also applied to the scarph of the lower piece of stem, let flatwise into the forefoot. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)



formerly called POINTERS, are also square pieces of timber fixed diagonally across the hold, to support the bilge and prevent the ship's working loose. (See Midship's Section, Plate III.) Braces were formerly fitted to extend from the bilge to the middle of the beam above.


Short crooked timbers, resembling knees, for support or ornament. The HAIR-BRACKET is the boundary of the aft part of the figurehead, and its lower part finishes with the fore part of the upper deck. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.) The CONSOLE BRACKET is a light piece of ornament, at the fore part of the quarter gallery, sometimes called a CANTING-LIVRE.


are carved ornaments on the munions, under the taffarel, at the arch of the cove, and sometimes under the balcony, &c.


A place parted off below the lower deck, close abaft, for the reception of the bread. It should always be very completely covered with tin or other metal not so liable to corrode. (See STORE ROOMS.)


(See Frames.)


The upper rail of the balcony, or of the breast-work at the fore part of the quarter deck. (See Sheer Draught and Perpendicular view of the Stern, Plate I., Inboard Works, Plate IV., and Plan of the Deck, Plate III.)


The stantions, with their rails, at the fore part of the quarter-deck. The breast-work fitted on the upper deck of such ships as have no quarter-deck serves to make a separation from the main-deck. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV., and Plan of the upper Deck, Plate III.)


A merchant vessel, having two masts, with the mainsail fore and aft, and not athwartships as in ships. In the Royal Navy, when cutter-built vessels are thus rigged, they are called CUTTER-BRIGS.


Pieces of elm plank barred close against the inside of the hawse-holes, to a cant below and under the hook above, to prevent the water from coming in. Those used at sea, denominated BLIND-BUCKLERS, have no aperture; but those used in a harbor, &c. when a ship is at anchor, and called RIDING-BUCKLERS, are made in two pieces, the upper piece rabbeting on the lower piece at the middle of the hawse-hole, and the two pieces, when joining, have a hole in the middle, large enough to admit the cable.




The various partitions which separate one part of a ship from another. Those in the hold are mostly built with rabbetted or cyphered plank, as are those of the magazine, to keep the powder securely from the cargo, ballast, or stowage in the hold. Thus likewise are the fish and bread-room bulkheads. Those upon the decks are mostly to separate the officers from the seamen; as the ward-room bulkhead, which is composed of doors and panels of joiner's work. Thus, also, the cabin and screen bulkheads, in large ships, inclose the cabin from the walk abaft, or balcony; and, forward, the gallery is inclosed by the beak-head bulk-head.

BUM-KIN, or more properly BOOM-KIN [bumkin, boomkin]

A projecting piece of oak or fir, on each bow of a ship, fayed down upon the false-rail, or upper rail of the head, with its heel cleated against the knight-head in large, and the bow in small ships. It is secured, outwards, by an iron strap, and rod or rope lashing, which confine it downwards to the knee or bow. It is ueed for the purpose of hauling down the fore-tack of the fore-sail.


Cased with harder metal, as that inserted into the holes of braces or sheaves to prevent their wearing, and, consequently, to take off friction.

CALLIPERS [calipers]

Compasses with circular legs, for taking correctly the diameter or size of the timber. There is a smaller sort for taking the diameter of bolts or any thing cylindrical.




The act of turning any thing completely over, so that the under surface shall lie upwards. It is otherwise said to be half or quarter canted.


The same as console bracket. (See BRACKETS.)


To stretch over any thing, as [CAST-KNEES]


or those hanging-knees which croak or arch over the corner of a gun-port, rider, &c.


The inner part of the cathead, that fays down upon the cat beam, in large ships, and under the forecastle beams of smaller ships.


A score cut lengthwise for a tenon to be fixed in, as the tenon at the heels of pillars, &c. Ledges may be chased-about into the carlings, or the carlings into the beams, by cutting the score or chase large enough at one end for it to sweep about into its place.


The ports at the bows, and through the stern of the ship. The former are made for the purpose of firing at an enemy a-head, and are called bow-chasers. The latter for the purpose of firing upon an enemy in pursuit, or for dismasting an enemy that may lie athwart the stern, in order to rake the ship.


Knees of oak timber which support the knee of the head, and which they also ornament by their shape and mouldings. They form the basis of the head, and connect the whole to the bows, through which and the knee they are bolted. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


are also the circular pieces on the aftside of the carrick bitts. (See Windlass, in Plate IV.)


Pieces of oak timber, fayed and bolted to the topsides, one on each side, abaft the fore-channels, with a sheave fitted in the upper part for the convenience of hauling home the main-tack. Its true situation is half the length of the main-yard before the centre of the man-mast. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


are larger [than CHOCKS?] pieces of oak timber fayed acrossthe dead-wood and heels of the first-futtocks, to make them equal in height with the floor. In merchant ships they are seldom used. Elm for this purpose may be used with the same advantage as oak, as along the midships it will be equally durable, and is less liable to split. (See Midship Section, Plate III.)


are a sort of cleat, fastened on the gunwale to support the sholes [sic]. WINDLASS CHOCKS are fastened inside the bows of small craft, to support the ends of the windlass.


A term applied to the construction of some vessels and boats, when the planks of the bottom are so disposed, that the lower edge of every plank overlays the next under it, and the fastenings go through and clinch or turn upon the timbers. It is opposed to the term CARVEL WORK.


Spreading the point of a bolt upon a ring, &c. by beating it with a hammer, in order to prevent its drawing.


Strong barriers, or bulkheads, stretching athwart a merchant ship, in several places, and behind which the crew may retreat when boarded by an enemy. They are therefore fitted with several loop-holes, through which the small arms may be fired, with other conveniences for the defense of the ship, and the annoyance of the adversary.


An apartment before the captain's cabin.


Those carlings that inclose the bomb-beds of bomb-vessels, and which are called carlings because they are shifted occasionally.


A small shifting kind of shed or galley, to cover the fire place of some merchant ships. It generally stands against the barricade on the fore-part of the quarter-deck, or shifts occasionally.


That part of the after platform, under the lower deck, between the store-rooms, where the wounded are taken down to be dressed in time of action, and where the surgeon has a repository for his medicines, &c.


To cast loose the forelocks or lashings of a sett, in order to take in closer to the plank.


In ships of war, the framing and sash lights upon the quarter-deck or round-house, through which the light passes to the commander's apartments; and, from the upper deck to the gun or messroom in frigates. In merchant ships it is the birthing or hord [sic] round the ladder-way, leading to the master's cabin, and in small ships is chiefly for the purpose of keeping the sea from beating down. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV. and Plan, Plate III.)


The art of lining and moulding timber, plank, &c. with the least possible waste, and one that the student can never make himself too well acquainted with.


Turning the ends of iron lodging knees so that they may hook into the beams.


A part of the stern; the lower counter being that arched part of the stern immediately above the wing transom. Above the lower counter is the second counter, the upper part of which is the under part of the lights or windows. The counters are parted by their rails, as the lower counter springs from the tuck-rail, and is terminated on the upper part by the lower counter-rail. From the upper part of the latter, springs the upper or second counter, its upper part terminating in the upper counter rail, which is immediately under the lights. (See Sheer Draught and Perpendicular View of the Stern, Plate I.)


The converse of the mould. (See MOULDING.) If, when a piece of timber, moulded on both sides, as the keelson, breast-hooks, riders, &c. is intended to fay at once, the operation is performed thus: after one edge is accurate trimmed to the mould, the windings or bevellings are taken square from the piece, and accurately applied to the part to which it is to be fayed, and one or sometimes three square spots set off on the counter-side. Then the counter-mould, after being exactly fayed, and the square spots marked, is laid on the piece, to answer the corresponding square spots there; and, they agreeing, the piece may be trimmed through to the fist moulding edge, and will not fail to answer. If there should be wanes on the piece, the mould had better be tacked fast to the side of the piece, and the edge of the mould taken square in; and, to be the more exact, the rase, or the wood to the edge of the mould, had better be taken away with a chisel, and dubbed through afterwards.


The ornamented rails athwart the stern, into which the counters finish. (See Sheer Draught and Perpendicular View of the Stern, Plate I.)


The right-aft timbers which form the stern. The longest run up and form the lights, while the shorter run up only to the under part of them, and help to strengthen the counter. The side counter timbers are mostly formed of two pieces, scarphed together in consequence of their peculiar shape, as they not only form the right-aft figure of the stern, but partake of the shape of the top-side also. Sometimes those right-aft are made in two. (See Sheer Draught, and Perpendicular View of the Stern, Plate I.)


The arched moulding sunk in at the foot or lower part of the taffarel. (See Sheer Draught, and Perpendicular View of the Stern, Plate I.)


A smaller sort of capstan, formed of a wooden piller, and three or more small whelps, whose lower end works in a socket, whilst the middle traverses or turns round in partners which clip it in a circle. Above the whelps are two holes to receive bars, that act as levers, and by which it is turned round. It serves as a capstan for raising of weights, &c.

By a machine of this kind, so simple in its construction, may be heaved up the frame timbers, &c. of vessels when building. For this purpose it is placed between two floor timbers, while the partners which clip it in the middle may be of four or five inch plank fastened on the same floors. A block is fastened beneath in the slip, with a central hole for its lower end to work in, as Fig. 5. on Plate III.

Besides the crab described here, there is another sort which is shorter and portable. The latter is fitted in a frame composed of cheeks, across which are the partners, and at the bottom a small platform to receive the spindle, as Fig. y, Plate III. [see photo of landborne version in Bunting, "A Day's Work", p. 151]



A strong frame of timber, &c. placed under the bottom of a ship in order to conduct her steadily in her ways till she is safely launched into water sufficient to float her. (See Frontispiece.)


Pieces of iron, shaped as an elbow, &c. and attached to the beams of the quarter-deck for the capstan bars to be stowed thereon; they are sometimes fitted to stow the bars under the boatskids. Others are drive in the upper part of the taffarel, to support the stern lanterns.


A term applied to plank when it curves or compasses much in short lengths.


Bored with holes alternately on the edges of planks, &c. to separate the fastenings, so as to avoid splitting the timbers or beams.


Deals, or fir plank, nailed in a temporary manner to the frames of the ship at a certain height, and by which the frames are kept to their proper breadths, until the deck-knees are fastened. The main and top-timber breadths are the heights mostly taken for spaling the frames, but the height of the ports is much better; yet this may be thought too high if the ship is long in building, or the ground not to be depended upon.


An iron lever, used to prize about the timbers, or any weight, particularly when in such a situation as not to be handled. Crows are if various sorts; some are opened at the end, with a claw for drawing nails, others have a moveable staple at the end for drawing small bolts or large nails. The latter are commonly called Engine Crows.


The same as BEAM-ARM. [q.v.]


The crooked timbers fayed and bolted upon the foot-waling abaft, for the security of the heels of the half-timbers. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.) Also stantions of iron or wood, whose upper parts are forked to receive rails, spare masts, yards, &c. and which are fixed along the sides and gangways.


The cabin abaft, under the round house of East India ships, for the captain's apartment.


A solid piece of cast iron, let into the step of the capstan, and in which the iron spindle works which is at the heel of the capstan.


A swift sailing vessel with one mast, more particularly described hereafter.


The elliptical curve line, forming the upper side of the floor timbers at the middle line of the ship. Also the line that forms the upper part of the knee of the head, above the cheeks. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV. on which the cutting down line is represented as limiting the depth of every floor timber at the middle line, and also the height of the upper part of the deadwood afore and abaft.)


The knee of the head. (See that Article.)


A piece of timber that faces on to the poppets on the bilgeways, and crosses them diagonally to keep them together. The plank that secures the heads of the poppets is called the dagger plank. The dagger seems to apply to any thing that stands diagonally or aslant.


Knees to supply the place of hanging knees. Their side arms are brought up aslant, or nearly to the underside of the beams adjoining. They are chiefly used to the lower deck beams of merchant ships, in order to preserve as much stowage in the hold as possible. Any straight hanging knees, not perpendicular to the side of the beam, are in general termed dagger knees. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


(See DAGGER, above.)


A short beam of fir, trimmed eight square towards the outer-end, and used as a crane, whereby the flukes of the anchor are hoisted to the gunwale without injuring the planks of the side.


Doors made of whole deal, with slit deal lining, fitted in a rabbet to the outside of the gallery doors, and bolted withinside, to prevent the water from flowing into the ship in case the quarter gallery should be carried away. [same idea as DEAD-LIGHTS. (CM)]


Oblate pieces of elm, fixed at the outer edges of the channels, with three holes in each of them, through which the laniards of the shrouds are reeved. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I. and Midship Section, Plate III.)


A name given to that timber or frame which has the greatest breadth and capacity in the ship, and which is generally called the midship bend. In those ships where there are several frames or timbers of equal breadth or capacity, that which is in the middle should be always considered as dead-flat, and distinguished as such by the character ['+' surrounded by a circle]. The timbers before dead-flat are marked A, B, C, &c. in order; and those abaft dead-flat by the figures 1, 2, 3, &c. The timbers adjacent to dead-flat, and which have no rising, are distinguished by the characters (A) (B) &c. and (1) (2) &c. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Shutters for the stern and gallery lights, to prevent the water from gushing into the ship in a high sea. They are made of whole deal, with slit deal linings, fitted on the outside, and bolted or otherwise fastened within, in bad weather.


Those parts of the floor or bottom throughout the ship's length, where the sweep or curve at the head of the floor timber is terminated, or inflects to join the keel. Hence, although the rising of the floor at the midship flat is but a few inches above the keel at that place, its height forward and aft increases according to the sharpness of form in the body. Therefore the rising of the floor in the sheer plan, is a curve [sic] line drawn at the height of the ends of the curve of the floor timbers, and limited at the main frame, or dead-flat, by the dead-rising; appearing in flat ships nearly parallel to the keel for some timbers afore and abaft the midship frame; for which reason these timbers are called flats: but in sharp ships it rises gradually from the main frame, and ends on the stem and post.


The eddy-water which the ship draws after her at her seat, or line of floatation in the water, particularly close aft. To this particular great attention should be paid in the construction of a vessel, especially in those with square tucks, for such being carried too low in the water, will be attended with great eddies or much dead-water. Vessels with a round buttock have but little or no dead-water, because, by the rounding or arching of such vessels abaft, the water more easily recovers its state of rest.


That part of the basis of a ship's body, forward and aft, which is formed by solid pieces of timber scarfed together lengthwise on the keel. These should be sufficiently sided to admit of a stepping or rabbet for the heels of the timbers, that the latter may not be countinued downwards to sharp edges; and they should be sufficiently high to seat the floors. Afore and abaft the floors the deadwood is continued to the cutting-down line, for the purpose of securing the heels of the cant-timbers. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)




Fir wood, of similar thickness to plank.


The decks are in a ship what floors are in a house. They are to support the artillery, stores, &c. and, with the beams, to connect the ship together. Their names arise from their situation, as Lower Deck, Middle Deck, Upper Deck, and Quarter Deck. When a deck stretches fore and aft upon one line, without any falls or intervals, it is called a Flush Deck. The space before the foremast bulkhead, under the quarter-deck, is often called the Half Deck; and, in some north country ships, the steerage is frequently called by this name.


A term signifying that the height of the topsides is much above the upper deck, as they are in most vessels in the Royal Navy.


The height between the floor and the lower deck. This is one of the principal dimensions given for the construction of a ship. It varies according to the height at which the guns are required to be carried from the water; or according to the trade for which a vessel is designed.


A line cutting the body-plan diagonally from the timbers to the middle line. It is square with, or perpendicular to, the shape of the timbers, or nearly so, till it meets the middle line. (See Body plan, Plate I.)


A narrow plank, made to a line formed on the half-breadth plan, by taking the intersections of the diagonal line with the timbers in the body-plan to where it cuts the middle line in its direction, and applying it to their respective stations on the half-breadth plan, which forms a curve to which the ribband is made as far as the cant body extends and the square frane adjoining. (Sed RIBBANDS.)


A draught or drawing representing the several timbers that compose the frame of the ship, so that they may be properly disposed with respect to the ports, &c. (See Disposition of the Frame in Plate III.) [analogous to a plating expansion drawing in metal hull construction (CM)]


An iron implement used by shipwrights, having a fang at one, or sometimes at each end, to be driven into any piece for supporting it while hewing, &c. Another sort has a fang in one end and an eye at the other, in which a rope may be fastened, and used to haul any thing along.


A shore particularly used in launching.


Planking of ships' [sic] bottoms twice. It is sometimes done to new ships when the original planking is thought to be too thin; and, in repairs, it strengthens the ship, without driving out the former fastenings.


A score at the end of a piece of wood resembling the end of a dove's tail, and into which a corresponding piece is fitted. It is cut larger within than without for the purpose of holding the two pieces together the more firmly. (See Perpendicular View of the Stern, Plate I.)


Metal plates, formed like dove-tails, and used to confine the heel of the stern-post and keel together.


Pieces fayed athwart the apron and lapped on the knight-heads or inside stuff above the upper deck.


The drawing or design of the ship, upon paper, describing the different parts, and from which the ship is to be built. it is mostly drawn by a scale of one quarter of an inch to a foot, so divided or graduated that the dimensions may be taken to one inch. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The depth of water a ship displaces when she is afloat. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The fall or declivity of a deck, which is generally of several inches. Drops are also small foliages of carved work in the stern-munions, &c.


Solid pieces, fitted at the drifts, to form the scroles. They are commonly mitered into the gunwale, but should rather be let in with square butts, as the caulking will stand better. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Those parts where the sheer is raised according to the heights of the decks or gangways, and where the rails are cut off and ended by scroles. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The foremost spur on the bilgeways; the heel of which is fayed to the foreside of the foremost poppet, and cleated on the bilgeways, and the sides of it stand fore and aft. It is now seldom used.


The head of a capstan, formed of semi-circular pieces of elm, which, framed together, form the circle into which the capstan bars are fixed. (See CAPSTAN.)


A state of decay in timber with white spungy [sic] veins, the most deceptive of any defect.


Working with an adze.




Pieces of oak or fir, about two inches square, nailed athwart the flat of the orlop, to prevent wet from damaging the cables, and to admit air. Dunnage battens are also used in sail-rooms, and in magazines, so as to form a vacant space beneath the sails and powder barrels. DUNNAGE, in general, signifies light wood, or similar materials, used to elevate the stowage.


The knee-pieces at the fore-part on the outside, at the height of the gunwale. (See Long Boat, Plate IV.)


Sawing or hewing it narrower.


Making good a deficiency in the length of any piece, by scarphing or butting, as at the end of deck-hooks, cheeks, or knees. The ekeing at the lower part of the supporter under the cat-head, is only to continue the shape and fashion of that part, being of no other service. We make this remark, because, if the supporter were stopt short without an ekeing, it would be better, as it [the ekeing] causes the side to rot, and it commonly appears fair to the eye in but one direction. The EKEING is also the piece of carved work under the lower part of the quarter-piece, at the aft part of the quarter gallery. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The orthographic draught, or perpendicular plan of a ship, whereon the heights and lengths are expressed. It is called by shipwrights the SHEER DRAUGHT. (See Plate I.)


A term applied to the fore part of a ship under the load-water line, expressive of its figure; as, "she has a fine entrance," &c.


A ship is said to swim on an even keel when she draws the same quantity of water abaft as forwards.


(See BOLTS.)


A piece of elm, generally tabled on to the fore part of the knee of the head, to assist the conversion of the main piece, and likewise to shorten the upper bolts, and prevent the cables from rubbing against them as the knee gets worn.


Letting one piece, about an inch in thickness, on to another, in order to strengthen it.


A term to denote the evenness or regularity of a curve or line.


The descent of a deck from a fair curve lengthwise, as frequently in the upper deck of yachts, or merchant ships, to give height to the commander's cabin, and sometimes forward at the hawse-holes.


The inclination which the topside has within a perpendicular. (See FLAIRING.)


A second keel, composed of elm-plank, or thick-stuff, fastened in a slight manner under the main keel, to prevent it from being rubbed. Its advantages also are, that, if the ship should strike the ground, the false keel will give way, and thus the main keel will be saved; and it will be the means of causing the ship to hold the wind better. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


A piece tabled on to the aft part of the heel of the main part of the stern post. It is to assist the conversion and preserve the main post, should the ship tail aground. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


A rail fayed down upon the upperside of the main or upper rail of the head. It is to strengthen the head-rail, and forms the seat of ease at the after end next the bow.


The timbers so called from their fashioning the after part of the ship in the plane of projection, by terminating the breadth and forming the shape of the stern. They are united to the ends of the transoms and to the dead-wood. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)

FAY, To.

To join one piece so close to another that there shall be no perceptible space between them.


Two pieces of oak-plank fayed edgeways, perpendicularly, against the topsides abreast the main hatchway, to prevent the sides of the ship from being rubbed by the hoisting of any thing on board. It appears, however from the construction of these fenders, that their only use, in the Royal Navy, can be, when any thing is to be parbuckled up the side; and, as this is very unusual, most weights being hoisted on board by the yard-tackles, or a derrick, so that the articles never touch ths sides, they are of little use, and had better be dispensed with, as thy are the means of rotting the sides in the parts on which they are affixed. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


A rail formerly let over the timber-heads above the plank-sheers of the quarter-deck and forecastle, and formerly worked similar to the plank-sheer, but lately planked up to it, excepting the taffarel fife-rail. (See Stern, Plate I.)


The principal piece of carved work or onrnament at the head of the ship.


A small place in the magazine, lined with lead, and wherein the powder is started loosely to fill the cartridges.


The intermediate timbers between the frames that are gotten up into their places singly after the frames are ribbanded and shored. (See the Disposition of them in Plate III.)


Pieces of fir fayed between the cheeks of the head; and the pieces in general, to which no particular denomination is otherwise given, applied or affixed wherever solidity is required; such as those, of oak, between the floors to which the kelson is fayed; and between the timbers, to receive the chain and preventer bolts, &c.


The carved ornaments of the quarter galleries. Those below the lower stool are called the lower finishings; and those above the upper stool, the upper finishings. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The fire-place and conveniencies in the gallery [sic] for cooking the provisions for the people. It is composed of a grate, iron-boilers, ovens, a smoke-jack, &c.


A place parted off in the after-hold, by bulkheads, between the spirit-room, bread-room, and powder-room. It was formerly used for stowing the salt-fish to be consumed on board; a practice long since discontinued. It is now used for the stowage of coals, and sometimes for spirits, which the ship is destined for a long voyage.


Those blocks that come through the sides and are bolted, as the sheet, tack, and brace blocks. (See BLOCKS.)


The reverse of falling or tumbling-home. As this can be only in the fore-part of the ship, it is said that a ship has a flairing-bow, when the topside falls outward fraom a perpendicular. Its uses are, to shorten the cathead, and yet keep the anchor clear of the bow. It also prevents the sea from breaking in upon the forecastle. (See Fore Body Plan, Plate I.)


A name given to the timbers a-midships that have no bevelings, and are similar to dead-flat, which is distinguished by these characters ['+' surrounded by a circle], (A) (B) (1) (2) &c. (See DEAD FLAT. See also Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The binding or curving of a line or figure. (See Inflected Curves.)


A sudden rising, or a greater curve than sheer, at the cheeks, catheads, &c.


As the ends or arms of the transoms, being gradually closed in proportion to their distance from the wing transoms downwards, become more narrow as they approach the keel, the general figure or curve which they thus describe, similar to the rising of the floors, is called the flight of the transoms.


The bottom of a ship, or all that part on each side of the keel, which approaches nearer to a horizontal than a perpendicular direction, and whereon the ship rests when aground.


The inflected curve that terminates the floor next the keel, and to which the floor hollow mould is made. (See Long-Boat on Plate IV.)


The ribband next below the floor-heads which supports the floors. This ribband should be well shored, and great pains should be taken to keep it fair and level, as the whole fabric depends very much thereon. (See RIBBANDS.)


The radii that sweep the heads of the floors. (See FRAMES. See also Sheer Draught and Body Plan, Plate I.)


The timbers that are fixed athwart the keel, and upon which the whole frame is erected. They generally extend as far forward as the fore-mast, and as far aft as the after square timber; and, sometimes, one or two cant-floors are added. (See FRAMES. See also Midship Section on Plate III.)


With a continued even surface; as a FLUSH DECK, which is a deck upon one continued line, without interruption, from fore to aft.


Is a term similar to the article FLIGHT, signifying a sudden deviation upwards from a sheer line, as the clamps of the lower deck fly -up abaft to prevent their great sny.


The rail that terminates the foot of the balcony, and in which the balusters step, if there be no pedestal rail. It rabbets over the ends of the deals of the deck. (See Sheer Draught and Perpendicular View of the Stern, Plate I.)


The inside plank of the ship's bottom. (See Midship Section, Plate III.)


The distinguishing character of all that part of a ship's frame and materials which lie towards the stem.


In the direction of the ship's length from head to stern.


That part of the ship's body, afore the midships or dead-flat. (See BODIES.) This term is more particularly used in expressing the figure or shape of that part of the ship. (See Body Plan, Plate I.)


The short deck above the upper deck forward.


The foremost piece of the keel. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


A thin circular wedge of iron, used to retain a bolt in its place, by being thrust through a mortise hole at the point of the bolt. It is sometimes turned or twisted round the bolt to prevent its drawing.


Nearest to the head of the ship.

FORE-PECK [sic].

Close forward under the lower deck.


(See BEAMS.)


In the fore-part of the ship.


A defect in timber, of a reddish cast or hue, proceeding from over-age, &c.


The bends of timber which form the body of the ship, each of which is composed of one floor-timber, two or three futtocks, and a top-timber on each side; which being united together, form the frame. Of these frames or bends, that which incloses the greatest space is called the midship or main frame or bend. The arms of the floor-timber form a very obtuse angle; and, in the other frames, this angle decreases or gradually becomes sharper, fore and aft, with the middle line of the ship. Those floors which form the acute angles afore and abaft are called the rising-floors. (See Body Plan, Plate I. and Midship Section, Plate III.)

A frame of timbers is commonly formed by arches of circles called sweeps, of which there are generally five. 1st. The floor-sweep, which is limited by a line in the body-plan, perpendicular to the plane of elevation, a little above the keel; and the height of this line above the keel is called the dead-rising. The upper part of this arch forms the head of the floor-timber. 2d. The lower breadth sweep; the centre of which is in the line representing the lower height of breadth. 3d. The reconciling sweep; this sweep joins the two former, without intersecting either [a geometrically precise way of saying "faired in" (cm)]; and makes a fair curve from the lower height of breadth to the rising line. If a straight line be drawn from the upper ecge of the keel to cut the back of the floor-sweep, the form of the midship frame below the lower height of breadth will be obtained. 4th. The upper breadth sweep; the centre of which is the line representing the upper height of breadth of the timbers. This sweep, described upwards, forms the lower part of the top-timber. 5th. The top-timber sweep, or back-sweep, is that which forms the hollow of the top-timber. This hollow is, however, very often formed by a mould, so placed as to touch the upper breadth sweep, and pass through the point, limiting the half-breadth of the top-timber.


The various timbers that compose a frame bend; as the floor-timber, the first, second, third, and fourth, futtocks, and top-timber, which are united, by a proper shift, to each other, and bolted through each shift. They are often kept open, for the advantage of the air, and fillings fayed between them in wake of the bolts. Some ships are composed of frames only, and are supposed to be of equal strength with others of larger scantling. (See Disposition, and Midship Section, Plate III.)


The ornamental carving or painting above the drift-rails, and likewise round the stern or bow. It is generally a representation of foliage or emblematic trophies of war, &c.


The prop of support of a lever in lifting or removing a heavy body.


Pieces to supply the deficiency of timber the moulding way.




The separate pieces of timber wo which the frame timbers are composed. They are named according to their situation, that nearest the keel being called the first futtock, the next above, the second futtock, &c. (See FRAMES. See also Midship Section, Plate III.)


The long narrow compartment, or balcony, projecting from the stern and quarters of a large ship. The stern gallery is usually decorated with a balustrade. (See QUARTER GALLERIES. See also Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The place appointed for the fire-hearth and the use of the cooks. It is generally under the forecastle or the fore-part of the ship.


A mortise hole cut through the knee of the head, between the cheeks, through which the rope passes that gammons the bowsprit. (See Head, Plate I.)


The narrow platforms within the sides, next the gunwales, which connect the quarter-deck to the forecastle. Each is composed of three or four Prussia deals fayed and bolted together edgewise.


The entrance into the ship by the steps on the side, which, of course, is best when flush with the quarter-deck. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


is a continuation of the quarter-deck to a knee before it, so as to form the gangway when the quarter-deck of itself reaches not forward enough. There is sometimes a fixed gangway, made at the aftpart of the forecastle in large ships, when the waist is longer than the customary length of a deal.




That strake of the bottom which is wrought next the keel, and rabbets therein. (See Planking, Plate III.)


The hinges upon which the rudder traverses. (See Rudder, in Sheer Draught, Plate I.) Also the metal pieces upon which a windlass works.


A large iron hook, fixed with a strap at the after end od the main channel, to stow the studding sail boom in.


is a sort of iron cleat, confined near the foremost end of the tiller, by means of thin iron plates, one on each side, which are bolted through the tiller, so that the goose-neck may move forward between the plate as in a groove. Its use is to shift forward as the tiller may shrink and go aft, to be kept fast in the rudder. The goose-neck is fastened by two screw eye-bolts, which go through it and jamb it upon the tiller.


Cut athwart the grain; as when the grain of the wood does not partake of the shape required; for instance, if a knee be cut out of a broad straight-grained plank, it is evident that the grain, being cut across, would be very short in one or both arms.


The lattice coverings of the hatchways, which are made with openings to admit air, or light, by cross battens and ledges. The openings should never be so large as to admit the heel of a man's shoe, as they may otherwise endanger those that pass over them.


A piece of elm timber, that completes the lower part of the knee of the head, and makes a finish with the fore-foot. It bolts to the stem, and is farther secured by two plates of copper in form of a horseshoe, and therefore called by that name. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)

GROMMETS. (for boats.)

Wreaths of rope which confine the oars to the pine in the gunwale.


Large pieces of timber, generally defective, which are laid upon piles driven in the ground, across the dock or slip, in order to make a good foundation to lay the blocks on, upon which the ship is to rest.


Curved or arched bars of iron fixed over the carved work of yachts, &c. particularly over the head and quarter pieces, to prevent their being damaged.




The after-part of the lower deck, parted off for the accomodation of the subaltern officers.


That horizontal plank which covers the heads of the timbers between the main and fore drifts. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


A rope extended from the head of sheers, and made fast at a distance on each side, by which they are kept steady.


The moulding which terminates the fore ends of the head rails, comes at the back of the figure, and breaks in fair with the upper cheek. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


(See PLAN.)


A curve in the floor plan, which limits the distances of the centres of the floor-sweeps from the middle line of the body-plan. (See Half Breadth Plan, Plate I.)


A sort of shutters [sic] made of deal, and fitted to the slope of those ports which have no hanging lids. They have a hole cut in them for the gun to go through.


The short timbers in the cant-bodies, which are answerable to the lower futtocks in the square body. (See Disposition in Plate III.)


The battens nailed to the sides of the beams, and to which the sailors hang their hammocks and bedding.


The tools used by shipwrights for driving nails and clenching bolts. Claw-hammers are the most convenient for the former purpose, having a claw at one end to draw the nail out if it splits or rocks in driving. Clench-hammers should be made of hard steel, with one end flat for clenching, and a face for smoothing the clench.


A sudden fall or break, as from the drifts forward and aft to the waist. Also those breaks in the rudder, &c. at those parts where it suddenly becomes narrower. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)

HANDSPEC. [cf. handspike]

A wooden bar, made of tough ash, and used as a lever to prize or remove great weights.


The engine represented in the margin [illus.] used to cant beams, or other weighty timbers. It consists of a box of elm, containing cogged iron wheels, of increasing powers. The outer one, which moves the rest, is put in motion by a winch on the outside, and is called either single or double, according to its increasing force. The outer figure here shewn represents the inside work separately. [crank turns pinion, which turns wheel w/ coaxial pinion, which works a rack]


Declining in the middle part from a horizontal right line, as the hanging of the decks, hanging of the sheer, &c.


A semi-circular iron, with a foot at each end, to receive nails, by which it is fixed to any part of a ship, to hang stages to, &c.


Those knees against the sides whose arms hang vertically or perpendicularly. (See Midship Sections, plate III.)


Pieces of oak similar to ribbands, but trimmed and bevelled to the shape of the body of the ship, and holding the fore and after cant bodies together undil the ship is planked. But this term is mostly applicable to those at the bow; hence arises the phrase "clean and full harpins," as the ship at this part is more or less acute. (See Fore-part of the Half-breadth Plan, Plate I.)


This term is applied when the edges of planks are cut to an under bevelling, to fay one upon another, as the birthing or sides of the well, so that no ballast may get in at the joints.


The coverings for the hatchways.


The square or oblong openings in the middle of the decks, for the convenience of lowering down goods; forming also the passages from one deck to another and into the hold, &c. (See Plans of Decks, Plates III. and IV.)


The breasthook over the hawse-holes. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


The timbers which form the bow of the ship, whose sides stand fore and aft or nearly so; that is, parallel to the middle line of the ship. (See Sheer Draught, plate I.)


The upper end of any thing; but more particularly applied to all the work fitted afore the stem, as the figure, the knees, rails, &c. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


signifies that there is no carved or ornamental figure at the head, but that the termination is formed and finished of by a volute, or scroll turning outwards. A FIDDLE HEAD signifies a similar kind of finish, but with the scroll turning aft or inwards.


The thwartship pieces which frame the hatchways and ladderways. (See Plans, Plates III. and IV.)


Those rails in the head which extend from the back of the figure to the cat-head and bows, which are not only ornamental to the frame but useful to that part of the ship. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The pieces that cross the rails of the head vertically. They are bolted through their heels to the cutting down of the knee, and unite the whole together. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The lower end of a timber, &c. A ship is also said to heel when she is not upright.


The two curved lines described on the sheer-plan, at the height of the main-breadth, or broadest part of the ship, at each timber. In the body-plan, they are horizontal lines at those heights on which the main-breadths of each timber are set off. In those lines are found the centres for sweeping the lower and upper breadth sweeps. (See MAIN BREADTH. See also Sheer Draught, and Body Plan, Plate I.)


The whole of the machinery astern, which serves to steer or guide the ship, as the rudder, the tiller, the wheel, &c.


That hole through the counter, through which the head of the rudder passes. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The piece of timber placed athwart the inside of the counter timbers at the height of the helm-port. It is bolted through every stern timber, and kneed at each end for the security of that part of the ship. (See Perpendicular View of the Stern, in Plate I.)


The handle of axes, adzes, mauls, &c.


The condition of a ship when the sheer has departed from that regular and pleasing curve with which it was originally built. This is often occasioned by the improper situation of the centre of gravity, when so posited as not to counterbalance the effort of the water in sustaining the ship, or by a great strain, or from the weakness of construction. The latter is the most common circumstance, particularly in some French ships, owing partly to their great length, sharpness of floor, or general want of strength in the junction of the component parts. (See HOGGING.)


A ship is said to hog when the middle part of her keel and bottom are so strained as to curve or arch upwards. This term is therefore opposed to sagging, which, applied in a similar manner, means by a different sort of strain, to curve downwards.

In order to elucidate this subject, let us suppose a vessel to be acted upon by several forces as in the figure a b, [a simple "force" diagram] with the forces or weight, e, f, acting downwards [at either end], and c, d, the pressure of the water, acting upwards [amidships; could be a single force; that there are two of them emphasizes the notion that the upwards force is applied to some extent over the length of the ship, but predominantly amidships]; the vessel may in this state be maintained in equilibrio, provided that it has a sufficient degree of strength; but, so soon as it begins to give way, we see that it must bend in a convex manner, since its middle would obey the forces c and d, acting upward, whilst its extremities would be actually forced downwards by the forces or weights e and f.

Vessels deficient in strength are generally found in such a situation; and, since similar effects continually act whilst the vessel is immersed in the water, it has happened but too often that the keel has experienced the bad effect of a strain.

Hence it is evident, that hogging may arise either from want of strength in the component parts of a vessel, or from disarrangement in the stowage.

Many long, deep, straight floored vessels, too slightly built, have been found to hog, owing to the great upward pressure of the water upon the broad part of the bottom; and it has been found that, the longer and larger ships are, the more easily have their bottoms bent or hogged, even when the stowage has been correct; and much more so when it has been unequally distributed towards the head and stern.

Ships deeply laden, with very heavy cargoes or materials nearly amidships, have, on the contrary, been sometimes found to sag downwards, in proportion as the weight of the cargo has exceeded the upward pressure of the water.

But, according to the present practice of building in Great Britain, these disadvantages are little to be feared; although, in a less advanced state of the art, they were frequently found in British vessels, and are still as frequently found in vessels of foreign construction; many of the latter being of too small scantlings and too slightly constructed. Even sharp built vessels of this country, upon the present construction, are seldom found to hog; and we presume that no vessel constructed agreeably to the Table of Dimensions and Scantlings, given hereafter, will be found so to do. But it is to be particularly observed, that these dimensions, with respect to the strength of the body, will not admit of diminution.

If, however, the relative dimensions be changed; and, if the length be increased, as recommended in some cases, in order to produce an increase in the velocity, or, if the ship is intended to be laden with very heavy materials, as lead, &c. the strength may be proportionably increased by enlarging the scantlings of the thickstuff at the joints of the timbers, &c.



That part of the ship below the lower deck, between the bulk-heads, which is reserved for the stowage of ballast, water, and provisions, in a ship of war; and for that of the cargo, in merchant vessels.


The same with Floor-hollow, which see. Sometimes the back sweep which forms the upper part of the top-timber is called the top-timber hollow.


The name given to all the foremost and aftermost planks of the bottom, both withinside and without. Also a covering to shelter the mortar in bomb-vessels. In merchant ships it is the birthing round the ladderway. (See COMPANION.)

HOODING-ENDS. [hood ends]

These ends of the planks which bury in the rabbets of the stem and stern post.

HOOK of the DECKS.



The act of working the edge of one plank, &c. into that of another, in such a manner that they cannot be drawn asunder endways. (See Kelson Scarphs, Inboard Works, Plate IV. and Planking, Plate III.)


Those ideal ribbands, used in laying off, which are taken off level or square with the middle line of the ship's body. (See RIBBANDS.)


Placing or proving any thing to stand square from the middle line of the ship, by setting an equal distance thereon from each side of the middle line; then bringing the same distance equally from some fixed spot in the middle line by a batten or staff of some length.


The round bar of iron which is fixed to the main rail and back of the figure in the head, with stantions, and to which is attached a netting for the safety of the men who have occasion to be in the head. Also the cross-pieces of timber tenoned on to the heads of the bitts for the booms to rest upon.


An iron fixed in a handle, and used with a beetle by caulkers, to horse-up or harden in the oakhams [oakums, presumably].


Large straps of iron or copper shaped like a horse-shoe and let into the stem, which gripe on opposite sides, through which they are bolted together to secure the gripe to the stem.


The whole frame or body of a ship, exclusive of the masts, yards, sails, and rigging.

JAMBS, for fixing the LIGHTS.

Thick broad pieces of oak, fixed up endways, and between which the magazine lights are fitted.


A term sometimes used for the scantling of the timbers the moulding way, but more particularly applied to those bolts in the knees, riders, &c. which are driven through the ship's sides, or athwartships, and therefore called "In and out Bolts."


Within the ship; as the Inboard Works, &c. (See Plate IV.)


A piece of oak timber, brought on and fayed to the foreside of the main stern-post, for the purpose of seating the transoms upon it. It is a great security to the ends of the planks, as the main post is seldom sufficiently afore the rabbet for that purpose, and is also a great strengthener to that part of the ship. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


The point in which one line crosses another.


The place where any two pieces are united. This term is, however, more particularly used to express the lines which are laid down in the mould-loft for the purpose of making the moulds for the timbers, as those lines exhibit the shape of the body between every two timbers, which is hence called the joints.


The tools used by the caulkers for driving the oakum.


The main and lowest timber of a ship, extending longitudinally from the stem to the stern-post. It is formed of several pieces, which are scarphed together endways, and form the basis of the whole structure, of course it is usually the first thing laid down upon the blocks for the construction of the ship. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)



KEELSON, or, more commonly, KELSON.

The timber formed of long square pieces of oak, fixed within the ship exactly over the keel) [sic] [ ( ] and which may therefore be considered as the counter part of the latter( [sic] [ ) ] for binding and strengthing the lower part of the ship, for which purpose it is fitted to, and laid upon, the middle of the floor-timbers, and bolted through the floor and keel. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


Pieces of oak plank, shaped like timber heads, and fixed into mortises cut through other pieces that are fastened to the insides of the ship. They answer the purpose of timber heads to belay the ropes to. [illus]


A sort of blocks [sic], having a sheave hole or two cut through fore and aft, and which are bolted to the ship's sides, nearly opposite the masts, to reeve the lifts, &c. [illus]


A dry piece of oak, &c. cut tapering, to drive into scarphs that have hook-butts.


A convenience for heating planks to make them pliable. A steam-kiln [steam box] is a trunk composed of deals, grooved neatly into each other, which is generally from three to four feet square, and from forty to sixty feet in length, having a door at each end. It is confined together by bolts driven through it at certain distances, which answer for bearers to rest the plank upon, and it is supported upon brick work. Beneath it, in the middle, is a large iron or copper boiler, or sometimes two boilers, which are then fixed near each end, the steam from which, issuing into the trunk, enters the pores of the plank and makes it pliable.


is shaped similar to the former, but with an open top. It is formed of sheets of copper rivetted togenther, and is fixed in brick work. Under each end, or in the middle, are furnaces to make the water boil, when the plank is in. The upper part is covered with shutters that are hoisted occasionally by small tackles. The dimensions, &c. of a copper boiler in one of the royal yards are, length, forty feet; breadth at the ends, four feet three inches; and in the middle, six feet; depth, two feet ten inches; and weight, fifty-three cwt. three quarters, and seven pound.


The crooked pieces of oak timber, by which the ends of the beams are secured to the sides of the ship. Of these, such as are fayed vertically to the sides are called hanging-knees, and such as are fixed parallel to, or with the hang of the deck, are called lodging-knees. (See Midship Section, Plate III. and Plans of the Deck, Plates III. and IV.)


That sort of crooked timber which forms, at its back or elbow, an angle of from forty-five to twenty-four degrees. The more acute this angle is, the more valuable is the timber on that account. But if their angle be more obtuse, they are said to be raking, and are proportionably less valuable, being of the less utility for the formation of knees, &c.


The large flat timber fayed edgeways upon the fore-part of the stem. It is formed by an assemblage of pieces of oak coaked or tabled together edgewise, by reason of its breadth, and it projects the length of the head. Its fore-part should form a handsome serpentine line, or inflected curve. The principal pieces are named the main-piece and lacing. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Large oak timbers fayed and bolted to each side of the stem, the heads of which run up sufficiently above the head of the stem to support the bowsprit, care being taken to cast them sufficiently open above the stem to the diameter of the bowsprit. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


A sudden angle made on some timbers by a quick reverse of shape, such as the knuckles of the counter timbers. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Those top-timbers in the fore-body whose heads stand perpendicular, and form an angle with the flair or hollow of the topside. This work is the best when the touch or knuckle is at the plank sheer. (See Fore-body in Plate I.)


Subject to labour, or to pitch and roll violently in a heavy sea, by which the masts and even the hull may be endangered. For by a successive heavy roll the rigging becomes loosened, and the masts at the same time may strain upon the shrouds with an effort which they will be unable to resist; to which may be added, that the continual agitation of the vessel loosens her joints, and makes her extremely leaky.


One of the principal pieces that compose the knee of the head, which runs up to the top of the hair-bracket, and to which the figure and rails of the head are secured.


Ladders are in a ship for the same purpose as stairs in a house, for the convenience of ascending or descending from one deck to another.


The openings in the decks wherein the ladders are placed. (See Plans, Plate III.)


The upper strake but one.


The machines made of tin and glass, to contain candles for the transmission of light to those parts of the ship where an unscreened candle cannot be placed, or where it would be dangerous, as on the poop, in the magazine, store-rooms, &c.


The mast carlings are said to lap upon the beams by reason of their great depth, and head-ledges at the ends lap over the coamings.


The remaining part of the ends of carlings, &c. which are to bear a great weight or pressure, such as the capstan-step. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


A term expressive of the condition of a vessel when she will not swim upright, owing to her sides being unequal.


The left-hand side of the ship, when looking forward from the stern.


The slip or descent whereon the ship is built, including the whole of the machinery used in launching. (See Frontispiece.)


A large boat now mostly used instead of the LONG BOAT. (See LONG BOAT.)


The act of sending the ship from off the slip into the water.


A set of planks mostly used to form the platform on each side of the ship, whereon the bilgeways slide for the purpose of launching. (See Frontispiece.)


The act of delineating the various parts of the ship, to its true size, upon the mould-loft floor, from the draught given, for the purpose of making the moulds. (See MOULDS.)


A name given to an hospital-ship for the reception of the sick, or of persons supposed to be infectious. It is also the name of a place parted off at the fore-part of the lower deck, in some merchant ships, for the convenience of laying up the provisions, stores, &c. necessary for the voyage.


The same with CLEAN, which see.


Oak or fir scantling used in framing the decks, which are let into the carlings athwartships. The ledges for gratings are similar, but arch or round up agreeable to the head-ledges. (See Lower Deck Plan, plate IV.)


The operation of separating a ship athwartships, and adding a certain portion to her length. It is performed by clearing or driving out all the fastenings in wake of the butts of those planks which may be retained, and the others are cut through. The after-end is then drawn apart to a limited distance equal to the additional length proposed. The keel is then made good, the floors crossed, and a sufficient number of timbers raised to fill up the vacancy produced by the separation. The kelson is then replaced to give good shift to the new scarphs of the keel, and as many beams as may be necessary are placed across the ship in the new interval, and the planks on the outside are replaced with a proper shift. The clamps and foot-waling within the ship are then supplied, the beams kneed, and the ship completed in all respects as before.


To fix or fit one timber or plank into another, as the ends of carlings into the beams, and the beams into the clamps, scores being made in each to receive the other.


HORIZONTAL; or as a base square with a perpendicular.


Lines determining the shape of a ship's body horizontally, or square from the middle line of the ship.


A line continued out, in a horizontal direction, from the intersection of an angle; or, where the cant-timbers may intersect the diagonal or ribband lines. (See Fore Body, Plate I.)


A bar of iron or wood to raise weights. The first and most simple of the mechanic powers. (See MECHANICS.)


An apartment fitted up with shelves, bins, and lockers, on the starboard side of the after platform, for the use of the first lieutenant.


A small place parted off from the magazine, and in which the lights for lighting the magazine are contained.






(See the next Article [LIMBER-PASSAGE.].)


A passage or channel formed throughout the whole length of the floor, on each side of the kelson, for giving water a free communication to the pumps. It is formed by the LIMBER-STRAKE on each side, a thick strake wrought next the kelson, from the upper-side of which the depth in the hold is always taken. This strake is kept about eleven inches from the kelson, and forms the passage fore and aft, which admits the water with a fair run to the pump-well. The upper part of the limber passage is formed by the LIMBER BOARDS, which are made to keep out all dirt and other obstructions. These boards are composed of short pieces of oak plank, one edge of which is fitted into a rabbet into the limber-strake, and the other edge bevelled with a descent against the kelson. They are fitted in short pieces for the convenience of taking up one or more, readily, in order to clear away any obstruction in the passage. When the limber boards are fitted, care should be taken to have the butts in those places where the bulkheads come, as there will be then no difficulty in taking those up which come near the bulkheads. A hole is bored in the middle of each butt to admit the end of a crow for prizing it up when required. To prevent the boards from being displaced, each should be marked with a figure corresponding with one on the limber-strake. (See Midship Section, Plate III.)


are square grooves cut through the underside of the floor-timber, about nine inches from the side of the keel on each side, through which water may run toward the pumps, in the whole length of the floors. This precaution is requisite in merchant ships only, where small quantities of water, by the heeling of the ship, may come through the ceiling and damage the cargo. It is for this reason that the lower futtocks of merchant ships are cut off short of the keel.


To cover one piece with another. Also to mark out the work, or make lines upon the floor with a chalked line.




The substance left at the ends, which would otherwise become sharp, and be liable to split; and, in other cases, could not bear caulking as the scarphs of the keel, stem, &c.




A name sometimes given to an apartment close before the great cabin bulkhead.


Small compartments, built of deal, in the cabins and store-rooms. (See SHOT LOCKERS.)


The largest and stoutest belonging to a ship. (See BOATS.)


Those timbers afore and abaft the floors, which form the floor and second futtock in one. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Small apertures through the bulk-heads, coamings, head-ledges, and other parts of merchant ships, through which the small arms are fired on an enemy who boards at close quarters.


The battens that inclose the upper part of the well, which are fixed at such an angle as to admit air, and yet prevent any dirt from being thrown into the well.


To place battens or boards at a certain angle, so as to admit air but not wet. The loovered or battened parts of ships'-wells are fixed in this manner to admit air and prevent persons from throwing filth of any kind into the well.




The fullest or roundest part of the bow.


The apartment used to lodge the powder in; which, in large ships, is situated forward, and in small ships abaft. It should always be situated as low down as possible.


Chief or principal, as opposed to any thing secondary or inferior. Thus the main-mast is used in contradistinction to the fore or mizen-mast; the main-keel, main-wales, main-hatchway, &c. are in like manner distinguished from the false-keel, channel-wales, and the fore and after hatchways, &c.


The broadest part of the ship at any particular timber or frame, which is distinguished on the sheer-draught by the upper and lower heights of breadth lines. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Half of the main-breadth, and thus called, because it is necessary to lay down on the plan but half of the figure of the ship, both sides being exactly alike. (See Sheer Draught [sic], Plate I.)


The term of distinction between the keel and the false-keel.


The same with STERN POST, and used to distinguish it from the false-post and the inner-post.


The lower wales, which are generally placed on the lower breadth, and so that the main-deck knee-bolts may come into them. (See WALES.)


A sort of wooden hammer, too well known to need description. The mallet used by caulkers to drive the oakum into the seams is in general very different from that of shipwrights, as it is longer and more cylindrical, and is hooped with iron at each end of the head, to prevent its splitting and wearing in the exercise of caulking. North-country shipwrights, who generally practice both branches, use the last-mentioned mallet upon all occasions.


An apartment extending athwart the ship immediately within the hawse-holes. It serves as a fence to interrupt the passage of water which may come in at the hawse-holes, or from the cable when heaving in; and the water thus prevented from running aft is returned into the sea by the manger scuppers, which are larger than the other scuppers on that account.


A line or edge parallel to the upper-side of the wing-transom, and about five inches below it, at which place terminate all the butts of the bottom planks abaft. The latter are made good by the tuck-rail. (See Perpendicular View of the Stern, Plate I.)


An apartment built on the larboard side of the after platform to receive the clothing of the marines.


Those large carlings which are placed at the sides of the mast-rooms for the purpose of framing the partners. (See CARLINGS.)


The long cylindrical pieces of timber, elevated upon the keel, and to which the yards and sails, &c. are attached. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Large hammers used for driving treenails, having a steel face at one end, and a point or pen [sic] drawn out at the other, and hence called a pin-maul. Double-headed mauls have a steel face at each end, of the same size, and are used for driving of bolts, &c.


A large cable laid rope used to heave in the cable by the main capstan.


That point in a ship above which the centre of gravity must by no means be placed; because, if it were, the vessel would be liable to overset. The meta-centre, which has also been called the shifting-centre, depends upon the situation of the centre of cavity; for it is that point where a vertical line drawn from the centre of cavity cuts a line passing through the centre of gravity, and is perpendicular to the keel. (See CENTRE.)


A line dividing the ship exactly in the middle. In the horizontal or half-breadth plan it is a right line bisecting the ship from the stem to the stern-post; and, in the plane of projection, or body-plan, it is a perpendicular line bisecting the ship from the keel to the height of the top of the side.


That timber in the stern which is placed in midships.


The three or four thick strakes worked along each side, between the lower and middle deck ports in three-decked ships. (See WALES.)


The middle of the ship, either with regard to her length or breadth. (See AMIDSHIPS.)


That bend which is called Dead-Flat. (See BENDS. See also Midship Section, Plate III.)


If two pieces of wood, &c. be joined so as to make a right angle, and the two ends be put together so as to form a line making an angle of 45 degrees, the joint is said to be mitered.


That mast, in a three-masted vessel, which is nearest the stern. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


A machine composed of a long pig of iron, traversing in a groove, which is raised by a pully, and let fall suddenly on the head of large bolts, for driving them in when the weight of mauls would be insufficient; such, for instance, as the dead-wood bolts, or the bolts that are driven in the knee of the head. This sort of monkey generally has a frame with handles, with a groove on the underside; it slides upon a ridge of iron fixed in a bed, and is drawn backwards and forcibly forwards by a rope on each side.


Making a treenail exactly cylindrical to a given size or diameter called the moot. Hence, when so made, it is said to be mooted.


A hole or hollow made of a certain size and depth in a piece of timber, &c. in order to receive the end of another piece with a tenon fitted exactly to fill it.


Belongs to the chapter on mechanics.


Pieces of deal or board made to the shape of the lines on the mould loft floor, as the timbers, harpins, ribbands, &c. for the purpose of cutting out the different pieces of timber, &c. for the ship. Also the thin flexible pieces of pear-tree or box, used in constructing the draughts and plans of ships, which are made in various shapes; viz. to the segments of circles from one foot to 22 feet radius, increasing six inches on each edge, and numerous elliptical curves with other figures* [*Moulds,&c. of every sort requisite for marine drawing may be had at STEEL'S Navigation Warehouse, Little Tower-Hill, London.]


Cut to the mould. Also the size or bigness of the timbers that way the mould is laid. (See SIDED.)


The act of marking out the true shape of any timber from the mould. Also any ornamental projections, as the rails, finishing, &c.


A place in building yards appropriated for laying off ships to their full size, for the purpose of making the moulds from which the whole frame, &c. is provided. The floor is one large even flat surface, and in general painted black, that the various lines may more easily be discerned. Some in laying off ships rase the lines in with a pointed instrument, while others only chalk them in. The size of mould-lofts are various, those in the royal yards are very large and commodious, but those in merchant yards are generally about 100 feet long and 30 feet wide.


The pieces that divide the lights in the stern and quarter galleries. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Iron pins of various descriptions for fastening board, plank, or iron work; viz. Deck Nails, or Spike nails, which are from 4 inches and a half to 12 inches long, have snug heads, and are used for fastening planks and the flat of the decks. Weight Nails are similar to deck nails, but not so fine, have square heads, and are used for fastening cleats, &c. Ribband Nails are similar to weight nails, with this difference, that they have large round heads, so as to be more easily drawn. They are used for fastening the ribbands, &c. Clamp Nails are short stout nails, with large heads, for fastening iron clamps. Port Nails, double and single, are similar to clamp nails, and used for fastening iron work. Rudder Nails are also similar, but used chiefly for fastening the pintles and braces. Filling Nails, are generally of cast iron, and driven very thick in the bottom planks instead of copper sheathing. Sheathing Nails [cf. ditto herein below] are used to fasten wood sheathing on the ship's bottom, to preserve the plank, and prevent the filling nails from tearing it too much. Nails of sorts are 4, 6, 8, 10, 24, 30, and 40 penny nails, all of different lengths, and used for nailing board, &c. Scupper Nails are short nails, with very broad heads, used to nail the flaps of the scuppers. Lead Nails are small round-headed nails for nailing of lead. Flat Nails are small sharp-pointed nails, with flat thin heads, for nailing the scarphs of moulds. Sheathing Nails [cf. ditto herein above] for nailing copper sheathing are of metal, cast in moulds, about one inch and a quarter long; the heads are flat on the upperside and counter-sunk below: the upperside is polished to obviate the adhesion of weeds. Boat Nails, used by boat-builders, are of various lengths, generally rose-headed, square at the points, and made both of copper and iron.




Broad pieces of oak, from 6 to 10 inches thick, (according to the size of the ship,) worked afore the hawse-holes on the outside of the ship, and likewise above and below them, in those ships which have no cheeks to support a bolster; the naval-hoods thus formed answering the same purpose.


A small neat moulding at the foot of the taffarel over the light. (See Stern, Plate I.)


An upright piece of timber to receive the tenon of the rails that lead from the breasthook to the gangway.


A treenail projecting from the bottom of the ship as a stop to the heads of shores. Also a treenail driven through the heels of shores into the slip to secure them.


The act of securing the heels of the shores.


A square fid of oak, or short carling, fixed through the head of the rudder of East India ships, to prevent the loss of the rudder in case of its being unshipt.


Old rope, untwisted and loosened like hemp, in order to be used in caulking.


in opposition to acute or sharp. As an obtuse angle, which is said to be without a square or right angle. Such angles are called by shipwrights standing bevellings. (See BEVELLINGS.)


A temporary deck below the lower deck of large ships, chiefly for the convenience of stowing away the cables. There is also a platform in the midships of smaller ships, called the orlop, and for the same purpose.


Projecting over; as over the stern, &c.


To run the butt of one plank to a certain distance beyond the next butt above or beneath it, in order to make stronger work.


On the outside of the ship, as "the out-board works," &c.


Any obtuse angle or standing bevelling is said to be "out-square." This term is however mostly applied to knee-timber, when the angle the arms make is greater than 45 degrees. (See Knee-Timber.)


Not twisting; as the surface of a timber or plank when it is a direct plane.


A slight platform, made above the bottom of the magazine, to keep the powder from moisture.


Stout pieces of iron, so placed near a capstan or windlass as to prevent a recoil, which owuld overpower the men at the bars when heaving.


A square or pane of thin board, framed in a thicker one, called a stile, and generally composed of two or more joined together. Such are the partitions by which the officers' cabins are formed on the lower deck; and such likewise are the framings of the great cabin bulkheads, &c. which consist of rails, stiles, and panels.


Those pieces of thick plank, &c. fitted into a rabbet in the mast or capstan carlings for the purpose of wedging the mast and steadying the capstan. Also any plank that is thick, or above the rest of the deck, for the purpose of steadying whatever passes through the deck, as the pumps, bowsprits, &c. (See Inboard Works, and Plans, Plates III. and IV.)


To lay on a coat of tar, &c. with a mop or brush, in order to preserve the wood and keep out water, when one or more pieces are scarphed together, as the beams, &c. the inside of the scarphs are paid with tar as a preservative; and the seams after they are caulked are fayed [sic] with pitch to keep the water from the oakum, &c.


A rail, about two inches thick, that is wrought over the foot-space rail, and in which there is a groove to steady the heels of the balusters of the galleries. (See Stern, Plate I.)


Flat columns or ornaments, prepared by the joiners, generally of deal, fluted or reeded, with moulded caps and bases, which are placed upon the munions of the ward-room lights, &c. for the purpose of ornamenting the stern and quarter-galleries, particularly when the walk or balcony does not project aft. They are likewise used on the munions of the bulkheads of captain's cabin and offices.


The square or turned pieces of timber erected perpendicularly under the middle of the beams for the support of the decks. (See Midship Sections, Plate III.)


(See BOATS.)


Short iron rods fixed occasionally in the drumheads of capstans, and through the ends of the bars, to prevent their unshipping. They are confined near their respective places by a chain. Others of a larger size, are driven through the bitts to belay ropes to; and smaller ones are fixed in racks in different parts of the ship to belay the rigging to. The upright parts of the bitts are also commonly called bitt-pins.


A ship with a very narrow round stern; whence all vessels, however small, having their sterns fashioned in this manner, are said to be pink-sterned.


Pins of iron occasionally drawn out to support the palls of the capstan, and fitted in plates.


Pins of iron or wood, fixed along the gunwales of some boats, (instead of rowlocks,) whose oars are confined by grommets. [single tholepins, thole-pins?]


Straps of mixt [sic] metal or of iron, fastened on the rudder, in the same manner as the braces on the stern-post, having a stout pin or hook at the ends, with the points downwards to enter in and rest upon the braces on which the rudder traverses or turns, as upon hinges, from side to side. Sometimes one or two are shorter than the rest, and work in a socket brace, whereby the rudder turns easier. The latter are called Dumb Pintles. Some are bushed, and others burred. (See Sheer Draught, Plate II.)


Tar, boiled to a harder and more tenacious substance.


The inclination or vibration of the ship lengthwise about her centre of gravity; or the motion by which she plunges her head and after part alternately into the hollow of the sea. This is a very dangerous motion, and, when considerable, not only retards the ship's way, but endangers the masts and strains the vessel.


The area or imaginary surface defined by or within any described lines. In ship-building, the Plan of Elevation, commonly called the SHEER DRAUGHT, is a side-plan of the ship, defined by a surface limited by the head afore, by the stern abaft, the keel below, and the upperside of the vessel above. The Horizontal Plan, commonly called the HALF BREADTH PLAN, comprehends all the lines describing the greatest breadth and length of the ship at different heights or sections. This is named half-breadth plan, because both sides of the ship being exactly alike, only one-half is represented. To the foregoing must be added, the Plan of Projection, commonly called the BODY PLAN, which exhibits the outline of the principal timbers, and the greatest heights and breadths of the same. (See the several Plans in Plate I., and Plans of the Decks, Plates III. and IV.)


is the horizontal appearance of them, to which the moulds are made, and the bevellings taken.


A general name for all timber, excepting fir, which is from one inch and a half to four inches thick. Of less dimensions it is called board.


Covering the outside of the timbers with plank; sometimes quaintly called skinning, the plank being the outer coating, when the vessel is not sheathed. (See Planking, Plate III.)


The pieces of plank laid horizontally over the timber-heads of the quarter-deck, forecastle, and round-house, for the purpose of covering the top of the side, hence sometimes called covering boards. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Are a sort of temporary or lighter kind of deck, those foreward [sic] and aft have the store-rooms and cabins on, and the platform in the midships have the cables stowed thereon.


Perpendicular or upright. The term originates from plumbum, or lead, as the perpendicular is generally ascertained by a lump of lead suspended by a cord, and generally called a Plumb Line.


A larger sort of plumb, formed conically and terminating in a point, for the more nicely adjusting any thing perpendicularly fo a given line.


Timbers sometimes fixed diagonally across the hold, to support the beams, &c.


The uppermost deck of a ship, abaft, commonly called the Round House.


Those pieces, mostly fir, which are fixed perpendicularly between the ship's bottom and the bilgeways, at the fore and aftermost parts of the ship, to support her in launching. (See Frontispiece.)


Iron hooks driven into the side of the ship; and to which the port-hinges are attached.


The shutters, hung with hinges, which inclose the ports in rough weather.


The square holes or opening in the side of the ship through which the guns are fired. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The same with Stern Post.


A convenient apartment, built abaft in large and forward in small ships, with racks, &c. for holding cartridges filled with powder.


The bolts driven through the lower end of the preventer-plates to assist the chain-bolts in heavy strains. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I., and Midship Section, Plate III.)


Stout plates of iron, bolted through the sides at the lower part of the chains, as an additional security. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I., and Midship Section, Plate III.)


Lifting or removing a heavy body by means of a lever.


The draught or scheme of the inboard works, which is usually described in red lines. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


(See PLAN.)


The same as Beam-Arm. (See BEAM-ARM.)


An imaginary timber, expressed by vertical lines in the sheer-draught, similar to the joints [q.v.] of the square timbers, and used nearly forward and aft to prove the fairness of the body. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


A name very frequently given to the head or foremost end of a vessel, particularly by the French.


The machine, fitted in the wells of ships, to draw water out of the hold. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


Cisterns fixed over the heads of the pumps, to receive the water until it is conveyed through the sides of the ship by the pump-dales.


Pipes fitted to the cisterns, to convey the water from them through the ship's sides.


The upper part of the topside abaft. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Timber under five inches square.


That deck in ships of war which extends from the main-mast to the stern. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The projections from the quarters abaft, fitted with sashes and balusters, and intended both for convenience and ornament to the aft part of the ship. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Substantial pieces of timber, mostly fir, that form the out-boundary of the stern, and connect the quarter-gallery to the stern and taffarel. (See Sheer Draught and Stern, Plate I.)


Rails fixed into stantions from the stern to the gangway, and serving as a fence to prevent any one from falling overboard, &c. or birthing up to the quarters. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


To give any thing a greater curve. For instance, "To Quicken the Sheer," is to shorten the radius by which the curve is struck; this term is therefore opposed to straightening the sheer.


A denomination given to the strakes which shut in between the spirkettings and clamps. (See Midship Section, Plate III.) By quickwork is also sometimes meant, all that part of a ship or vessel which is below the level of the surface of the water when she is laden.


A joint made by a groove, or channel, in a piece of timber cut for the purpose of receiving and securing the edge or ends of the planks, as the planks of the bottom into the keel, stem, or stern post, or the edge of one plank into another. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


A large square hole framed and cut through the buttock between the transoms, or forward in the bore, between the breasthooks, and through which masts, planks, deals, &c. are taken into store-ships, or merchant-ships, carrying such cargoes which, owing to their great length, cannot be gotten on board in any other way.


A sort of bolt having its point jagged or barbed to make it hold the more securely.


The long narrow pieces of fir or oak, with mouldings struck on them, which are fastened or sometimes wrought from the solid plank, as ornaments to the ship's sides, and also at the head and stern. The principal are as follow; the lower rail on the side, named the waist-rail; and the next above it. the sheer-rail, which are generally placed well with the sheer or top timber line, the rails next above the sheer-rail are called drift-rails, and the rails above the plank-sheer the fife-rails. The rails of the head are distinguished by the lower, middle, main, and upper rails; and the rails of the stern take their names from the parts where they are fixed, as tuck-rail, lower counter-rail, upper counter-rail, taffarel-rail, and taffarel-fife-rail. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.) To these may be added, the thwartship pieces of the framing of the great cabin bulkheads, &c.


The overhanging of the stem or stern beyond a perpendicular with the keel, or any part or thing that forms an obtuse angle with the horizon.




A small rope or line sometimes used for the purpose of forming the sheer or hang of the deck, for setting the beams fair, &c.


Horned pieces of oak, like belaying cleats, but much larger, bolted to the inside of the ship, in the waist, for belaying the tacks and sheets. Also those pieces of oak plank fixed between the ports, with semi-circular holes in them for keeping shot in.


The act of marking by a mould on a piece of timber; or any marks made by a tool called a rasing-knife. [rase]


The denomination of the different classes of ships, according to their number of guns. Thus those of 100 guns and all above, are called first rates; those of 98 and 90 guns, second rates; from 80 to 64 guns, third rates; from 60 go 50 guns, fourth rates; from 40 to 32 are fifth rates; and all under are sixth rates; excepting yachts, fire ships, and hospital ships, which are rated as fifth rates.


A hooked tool used by square-makers, to haul out the small chips when enlarging the butts for receiving a sufficient quantity of oakum.


A curve which reconciles the floor and lower-breadth sweeps together, and thus the shape of the body is formed below the breadth. (See FRAMES.)


To make one piece of work answer fair with the moulding or shape of the adjoining piece, and, more particularly, in the reversion of curves.


A term used by caulkers for opening the seams of the planks, that the oakum may be more readily admitted.


The large irons used by caulkers in opening the seams.


To make a sett near to another that cannot be sett on any more till it is taken on each side. (See SETT.)


Large open splits or shakes in timber, particularly in plank, occasioned by its being exposed to the wind and sun, &c.


(Preceding Chapters.)


The brass cleats on which the axles work.


The same with diagonal lines.


The longitudinal pieces of fir, about five inches square, nailed to the timbers of the square body (those of the same description in the cant body being shaped by a mould and called Harpins) to keep the body of the ship together, and in its proper shape, until the plank is brought on. The shores are placed beneath them. They are removed entirely when the planking comes on. The difference between Cant Ribbands and Square or Horizontal Ribbands is that the latter are only ideal, and used in laying off.


A figurative expression for the timbers or frames of a ship, arising from the comparison of it with the human body, as the keel with its kelson to the back bone, and the timbers to the ribs. For the former unite and support the whole fabric, since the stem and stern frame, which are elevated on the ends of the keel, may be said to be a continuation of it, and serve to connect and inclose the extremities, by the hawse pieces and transoms, as the keel forms and unites the bottom by the floor-timbers. The idea carried further may in a manner represent the muscular parts of the human fabric; for the wales, clumps [sic], and thickstuffs, at the different heads of the timbers, are as so many muscles or strong ligaments to connect the ribs together, while the thinner planking may be compared to the skin or covering wf the whole, and hence planking is often termed skinning. (See Midship Section, Plate III.)


Interior ribs to strengthen and bind the parts of a ship together, being fayed upon the inside stuff, and bolted through all. They are mostly used in ships of war, and are variously situated, as the Floor Riders, which are fayed athwart the kelson, and should be disposed upon the first futtocks of the ship. The next are the lower or first futtock riders, which fay alongside the floor-riders, and give scarph above them. These are completed by cross-chocks athwart their heels, that scarph to each side with hook and butt. The next are second futtock riders, which fay alongside of the first futtock riders, down to the floor riders, and run up to the orlop beams. The third futtock riders fay alongside the second futtock riders, scarph or meet the first futtock ridders, and run up to the gun-deck beams. The whole are bolted together fore and aft-wise. The riders next above the foregoing are called breadth riders, and are placed nearly in the broadest part of the ship (hence their name,) and diagonally so as to partake of two or more timbers, the strength depending much thereon. Lastly, the top-riders are the uppermost; they stand nearly the same as breadth riders, and very much strengthen the topside. Riders are not so much required in merchant ships as in ships of war, excepting floor and lower riders, (which are generally of iron,) because, in merchant ships the cargo being generally stowed low down, the upper works are not liable to strain and labour like those in ships of war laden high up with heavy metal.


Those pieces which form the quarter galleries between the stools. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.) Also a cast iron frame in which the dropping palls of a capstan traverse and bring up the capstan.


(See BOLTS.)


Circles of iron, or other metal, for lifting things by hand or securing the points of bolts, &c. Hatch Rings are those which are fixed to the hatches or scuttles, to open or shut them with. Port Rings are those which are fixed to the port or scuttle lids to haul them open by, or bar them in.


A term derived from the shape of a ship's bottom in general, which gradually narrows, or becomes sharper towards the stem and the stern post. On this account, the floor, towards the extremities of the ship, is raised or lifted above the keel: otherwise the shape would be so very acute, as not to be provided from timber with sufficient strength in the middle or cutting-down. The floor timbers forward and abaft, with regard to their general form and arrangement, are therefore gradually lifted or raised upon the solid body of wood called the dead or rising-wood, which must, of course, have more or less rising as the body of the ship assumes more or less fullness or capacity. (See DEAD RISING.)


is a narrow strake of board fastened withinside to support the thwarts.


A curve line, on the half-breadth plan, which determines the distance of the radius of the floor-sweeps from the middle line. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The floors forward and abaft, which, on account of the rising of the body, are the most difficult to be obtained, as they must be deeper in the throat or at the cutting down, to preserve strength.


An elliptical line, drawn on the plan of elevation, to determine the sweep of the floor-heads throughout the ship's length, which accordingly ascertains the shape of the bottom with regard to its being full or sharp. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


A square used in whole moulding, upon which is marked the height of the rising-line above the upper edge of the keel. (See Long Boat, on Plate IV.)


in whole moulding, is a curve line in the sheer plan, drawn at the intersection of the straight part of the bend mould, when continued to the middle line at each respective timber. (See Long Boat, on Plate IV.)




Cylindrical pieces of timber revolving on an axis, and so fixed above the deck, either horizontally or perpendicularly, as to prevent the chafing of the cable or hawser, &c. against the jear and top-sail sheet bitts, &c. Those placed forward in the manger are for the use of the voyal or messenger.


That motion by which a ship vibrates from side to side. Rolling is therefore a sort of revolution about an imaginary axis passing through the centre of gravity of the ship: so that the nearer the centre of gravity is to the keel, the more violent will be the roll, because the centre, about which the vibrations are made, is placed so low in the bottom, that the resistance made by the keel to the volume of water which it displaces in rolling, bears very little proportion to the force of the vibration above the centre of gravity, the radius of which extends as high as the mast-heads. But, if the centre of gravity is placed higher above the keel, the radius of the vibration will not only be diminished, but such and additional force to oppose the motion of rolling will be communicated to that part of the ship's bottom as may contribute to diminish this movement considerably.

It may be observed that, with respect to the formation of a ship's body, that shape which approaches nearest to a circle is the most liable to roll; as it is evident, that if this be agitated in the water, it will have nothing to restrain it; because the rolling or rotation about its centre displaces no more water than when it remains upright, and hence it becomes necessary to increase the depth of the keel, the rising of the floors, and the deadwood afore and abaft.



The different vacancies between the timbers, and likewise those between the beams, as the MAST-ROOMS, CAPSTAN-ROOM, HATCH-ROOM, &c. Also the different apartments or places of reserve, of which there are a number in a ship, as the Bread-Room, an apartment in the hold abaft for containing the bread for the ship's use. The Fish-Room, an apartment next adjoining, in which cured or dried fish was formerly stored, but which is now generally used as a coal-hole, and to stow spirits in. The Captain's and Lieutenant's Store-rooms, are two apartments built near each other on the starboard side of the after platform, for those officers to store their wine in, &c. Sail-Rooms are built between decks upon the orlop or lower deck to contain the spare sails. The Spirit-Room is built in the hold, next before the fish-room, to contain the spiritous liquors for the use of the ship's company. Besides these, there are several other store-rooms in which the carpenter's, boatswain's, and gunner's stores are kept; with the Steward's-Room, whence most of the provisions are issued, and which is the place appointed for the purser's steward to transact his business in. The Filling Room is a place parted off and lined with lead in the magazine, wherein the powder is started, in order to fill the cartridges.


The distance from the moulding edge of one timber to the moulding edge of the next timber, which is always equal to the breadth of two timbers, and two to four inches or more. The room and space of all ships that have ports should be so disposed that the scantling of the timber on each side of the lower ports, and the size of the ports fore and aft, may be equal to the distance of two rooms and space. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Rails along the waist and quarters, nearly breast-high, to prevent persons from falling overboard. This term originated from the practice in merchant vessels of carrying their rough or spare-gear in crutch-irons along their waist. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The segment of a circle that the stern partakes of from the wing-transom upward.


That part of the ship abaft, which is above the quarter-deck, fitted up with cabins, &c. for the accomodation of the officers. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Conveniencies [sic] or seats of ease for the officers. (See Half Breadth Plan, Plate I.)


The stern of a vessel whose bottom, wales, &c. are wrought quite aft, and unite in the stern-post. Few English vessels are built on this construction, excepting small vessels, as hoys, &c. (See SQUARE STERNED.)


The scores in the sides of boats wherein the oars or sculls are confined to row them with.


Square scuttles cut through the sides of frigates, sloops, and small vessels, one between each port in midships, through which the sweeps are worked to row them along in a calm or light wind. In point of utility they are therefore similar to rowlocks along the gunwale of boats.


The segment of a circle to which they are sided, or of beams to which they are moulded.


The machine, attached to the stern post, by the pintles and braces, which serve to direct the course of the ship. It is formed of several pieces of timber, of which the main piece is generally of oak, extends the whole length, and forms the head. The bearding piece, which forms the fore part, is of elm, and derives its name from its shape, because from the middle, each way, it is shaped angle-wise, or bearded to two-fifths of its thickness, or less if the stern-post is bearded back, that the rudder occasionally may form an obtuse angle with the ship's length. The other pieces are of fir. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Large pieces of fir, to fay or fill up the excavation on the side of the rudder hole; so that the helm being in midships the rudder may be fixed, and supposing the tiller broken, another might thus be supplied.


A name by which the pintles are frequently called. (See PINTLES.)


Ropes to prevent the loss of the rudder in case of its being unshipped by accident.


The narrowing of the ship abaft, as of the floor towards the stern-post, when it becomes no broader than the post itself.

This term is also used to signify the running or drawing of a line on the ship, or mould loft floor, as "to run the wale line," or deck line, &c.



A piece sometimes fayed upon the upper end of the lacing to secure the foremost ends of the main rails.


In seamanship, SAGGING to leeward, signifies the movement by which a ship makes considerable leeway, or is driven far to leeward of the course on which she apparently sails. But as a phrase applied to the hull of the ship is the very reverse of HOGGING, as then the midship part of the ship by straining arches upwards, whereas in sagging, by a different sort of strain, it curves downwards.


The surfaces of canvas, extended on or between the masts, to receive the force of the wind, and thereby press the vessel through the water.


(See ROOMS.)


A large pillar or stantion placed up diagonally on each side against the quarter-deck beam, and next afore the cabin bulkhead, with its lower end tenoned into a chase on the upper deck. It is used to bring the fish-tackle too [sic] when fishing the anchor, &c. This name is also given to the pillar immediately under the hatchways, having scores on each side, as steps, to go up and down by. This pillar is of so much larger scantling than the other pillars, as not to be too much weakened by the scores.


The most useful instruments used in carpentry. The hand-saw is the smallest, and is used by one hand. The two-hand or cross-cut-saw is much longer, and is used by two men. The whip-saw is the longest of all, being that generally used in a saw-pit, or for the more laborious purposes. The hack-saw is made of a scythe jagged at the edge, and used chiefly for cutting off iron bolts.


The graduated lines, divided into equal parts, and placed at the bottom of the sheer draught, &c. as a common measure for ascertaining the dimensions by the plan; and for this purpose each of the larger divisions represents a foot, and the subdivisions, inches. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The dimensions given for the timbers, plank, &c. Likewise, all quartering under five inches square, which is termed scantling; all above that size is called CARLING.


The letting of one piece of timber or plank into another with a lap, in such a manner, that both may appear as one solid and even surface, as keel-pieces stem pieces, clamps, &c.


A cutter-built vessel, but longer in proportion than a cutter, and having two masts, whose main-sail and fore-sail are spread upon a gaff or boom.


The after bulkhead under the round-house.


A powerful machine for lifting large bodies; and when placed against the gripe of a ship, to be launched for starting her [punct: sic]. It consists of two large poppets or male screws, having holes through their heads to admit levers, a bed formed by a large oblong piece of elm, with a female screw near each end to admit the poppets, and a sole of elm plank for the heels of the poppets to work on, agreeably to the annexed figure. [illus.] Those used as last described, have an inclined sole so as to stand square to the stem or knee.




A spinal ornament fastened at the drifts. (See DRIFTS.) Likewise the finish of the upper part of the hair bracket. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.) For SCROLL HEAD. (See HEAD.)


Leaden pipes let through the ship's side to convey the water from the decks.


Square openings cut through the decks, much less than the hatchways, for the purpose on handing small things up from deck to deck. There are also scuttles cut through the sides of the ship, some for the admission of air and light into the cabins between decks, and some between the ports, through which the sweeps are used, to row the ship along in calms, and one is cut in each port-lid of two-deck ships to admit air and light between decks.


A vessel that bears the sea firmly, without straining her masts, &c. is commonly said to be "a good sea-boat."


The openings between the edges of the planks when wrought.


A term applied to a ship kept standing a certain time after she is completely framed and dubbed out for planking, which should never be less than six months when circumstances will permit. Seasoned plank or timber is such as has been cut down and sawn out one season at least, particularly when thoroughly dry, and not liable to shrink.


The scarph or part trimmed out for a chock, &c. to fay to.


That part of the floor which fays on the deadwood; and of a transom which fays against the post.


That transom which is fayed and bolted to the counter-timbers, next above the deck transom, at the height of the port sills.


A draught or figure, representing the internal parts of the ship, at any particular place athwartships. (See Midship Section, Plate III.)


The act of making the planks, &c. fay close to the timbers, by driving wedges between the planks, &c. and a wrain-staff. Hence we say, "Set, or set away," meaning to exert more strength. The power or engine used for the purpose of setting is called a SETT, and is composed of two ring-bolts, and a wrain-staff, cleats, and lashings.


The small ring-bolts driven into the ports, or scuttles, and through which the lashing passes when the ports are barred in.


A natural defect in plank or timber when it is full of splits or clefts, and will not bear fastening or caulking.


A chain bolted through the topside, abaft the cathead, to retain the shank and flukes of the anchor when stowed.


A thin sort of doubling, or casing, or fir-board or sheet copper, and sometimes of both, over the ship's bottom, to protect the planks from worms, &c. Tar and hair, or brown paper dipt in tar and oil, is laid between the sheathing and the bottom.


A cylindrical wheel made of hard wood, moveable round a rim as its axis, and placed in a block, of which there are several in the sides of a ship, let through the side and chest-tree [sic], for assisting to lead the tacks and sheets on board, &c.


A compartment in a bomb-vessel, fitted up with shelves to receive bomb-shells when charged.


The longitudinal curve or hanging of the ship's side in a fore and aft direction. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The plan of elevation of a ship, whereon are described the outboard works, as the wales, sheer-rails, ports, drifts, head, quarters, post and stem, &c. the hang of each deck inside, the height of the water-lines, &c. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The narrow ornamental mouldings along the topside, which are parallel to the sheer. They are generally made of deal but are sometimes wrought from the solid plank. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The strake or strakes wrought in the topside, of which the upper edge is wrought well with the top-timber line, or top of the side, and the lower edge kept well with the upper part of the upper deck ports in midships, so as to be coutinued whole all fore and aft, and not cut by the ports. It forms the chief strength of the upper part of the topside, and is therefore always worked thicker than the other strakes, and scarphed with hook and butt between the drifts. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Those strakes of thick stuff in the topside of three-decked ships which are wrought between the middle and lower deck ports.


Two rough masts erected across the building slip, for hoisting the ship's frames, &c. They are lashed together at their upper ends, with tackles depending from the intersection at top; and are kept upright by guys extending forward and aft from the heads. The heels are lashed to prevent their spreading.

That some judgement may be formed of the dimensions of sheers, we subjoin the following, which are sufficient for raising the stern-frame of the largest ship in the English navy. Two masts, each nineteen inches and a half in diameter, and sixty-six feet long, spread at the heels, from out to outside, forty-six feet four inches. The tackles, consisting of four treble blocks, twenty-eight inches long, the sheaves brass coaked. The falls new eight-inch rope. One treble block lashed, so as to be fixed to the aft part of the sheers, and another to the foreside. Shivers to stand nearly athwartships, and fair with the leading-block at the heels of the sheers, to prevent the fall from rubbing against the cheeks of the blocks. One treble block lashed to the back of the stern frame, between the deck and filling transoms, to stand athwartships, and lead to the opposite sheer. To have a double tackle at the head of the stern-post, the fall 3-1/2 inch rope, to bowse the head forward occasionally, with a double tackle at the heel of 4-1/2 inch rope, to ease it forward or bowse it aft as required. One double tackle at each end of the wing transom, called horning tackles, to lead to the standards most convenient to horn or square the frame as wanted. The after treble block at the sheer head is to plumb the after part of the wing transom as nearly as possible, and the guys to steady the sheer-heads, two to lead forward and two aft on each side of the slip, to be seven inch hawsers.



A term applied to disposing the butts of the planks, &c. so that they may over launch each other without reducing the length, and so as to gain the most strength. The planks of the bottom, in British-built ships of war, have a six-feet shift with three planks between each butt, so that the planks run twenty-four feet long. In the bottoms of merchant ships they have a six-feet shift with only two planks between each butt; making but eighteen-feet planks in length. The shift of the timbers are more or less according to the contract. (See Disposition of the Frame, and Planking expanded, Plate III.)


The act of setting off the length of the planks of the bottom, topside, &c. that the butts may over-run each other, in order to make a good shift. (See Planking, Plate III.) Replacing old stuff with new is also called shifting.


Pieces of oak or plank, placed under the soles of the standards; or under the heels of the shores, in docks or slips where there are no groundways, to enable them to sustain the weight required without sinking. Old hanging port-lids are particularly suitable and useful for this purpose.


Those pieces of timber fixed under the ribbands, or against the sides and bottom of the ship to prop her up whilst building.


Apartments built up in the hold to contain the shot. Also pieces of oak plank, fixed against the head-ledges and coamings of the hatch and ladderways, or against the side between the ports to contain the shot; for which purpose they are hollowed out to near one-third of its diameter, so that the balls lie in them about one inch asunder. It is the latter that are termed garlands.


The contraction or loss of substance in timber as it gets dry.


The range of large ropes extended from each side of the ship to the mast-heads for the support of the masts.


The stern timber which partakes of the shape of the topside and heels upon the end of the wing transom. (See Disposition, Plate III.)


The size or dimensions of timber the contrary way to the moulding, or mould side.


The pieces of plank, or timber, let in horizontally between the frames to form the lower and upper sides of the ports, and between the timbers for scuttles, &c.


The different places marked upon the moulds where the respective bevellings are to be applied, as the lower sirmark, floor sirmark, &c.


The after part of the keel, or that part whereon the stern-post is fixed.


One or two-pieces [sic] of four-inch plank, put up endways under the skeg of the ship, to steady the after part a little when in the act of launching. They are confined to the bottom of the ship by a hinge. The upper part is rounded, and they should be so carefully fixed as to fall readily when the ship starts; for the writer hereof once saw a seventy-four-gun ship detained from launching by her skeg-shore only.


Pieces of oak plank, formed to the topside of the ship, and extending vertically from the wales to the top of the side. Their use is, to preserve the ship's side from being injured by weighty bodies, when hoisted into or lowered out of the ship, but as they are seldom wanted, for the reason heretofore given under the article FENDERS, their tendency to conduce to the decay of the sides ought to explode them.


A term often used for planking. (See RIBS.)


Pieces of compass timber fayed and bolted upon the transoms and timbers adjoining, withinside, to strengthen the buttock of the ship.


Tapering pieces of plank, used to drive under the false keel, and settle the ship upon.


An invention of the ingenious Captain Schank, of the Royal Navy, to prevent vessels from being driven to leeward by a side wind. They are composed of plank of various breadths, erected vertically, so as to slide up and down, through the keel.


are the planks upon which the bilgeways slide in launching.


The foundation laid for the purpose of building the ship upon, and launching her.


According to the general acceptation of the word, a small merchant or coasting vessel with one mast. But all ships of the Royal Navy carrying less than twenty guns, and being above the class of gun-vessels, are denominated sloops, excepting bomb-vessels and fire-ships.


The place appointed for the purser to keep the ship's slops in. (See ROOMS.)


To hance or bevel the end of any thing so as to fay upon an inclined plane.


A vessel similar in construction to a brig, but the largest of vessels fitted with two masts. It has a square foresail and mainsail, with a trysail abaft, resembling the mizen of a ship, and hoisted by a gaff upon a small mast, close abaft the main-mast, which is called the trysail mast.


A term applied to planks when their edges round or curve upwards. The great sny occasioned in full bows or buttocks is only to be prevented by introducing steelers. (See STEELERS.)


A sort of lining to prevent wearing or tearing away the main part to which it may be attached; as the rudder, bilgeways, &c. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Keeping the frames of a ship to their proper breadths by the cross-spales, which should so remain till some of the deck knees are bolted. (See CROSS-SPALES.)


A large bolt driven through the forecastle and upper deck beams, and forelocked under each beam. It has a large square ring at the head, for the purpose of receiving the end of the davit. It has however been long since disused in the Royal Navy, as the davits are more commodiously fixed in the fore-channels.


Small firs used in making staging.


Small wooden pins, which are driven into nail-holes, to prevent leaking, &c.


The dimensions taken from a straight line, a mould's edge, or rule-staff, to any given line or edge.


A place built abaft the after-hold to contain the spirits. (See ROOMS.)

SPIRKITTING. [sic; spirketting, spirketing]

A thick strake, or strakes, wrought within side upon the ends of the beams or waterways. In ships that have ports the spirkitting reaches from the waterways to the upperside of the lower sill, which is generally of two strakes, wrought anchor-stock fashion; in this case, the planks should always be such as will work as broad as possible, admitting the butts be about six inches broad. (See Midship Section, Plate III.)


Boards or plank fixed to an obtuse angle, to throw the light into the filling room of a magazine.


A term indicating that a plank, &c. is strained so much in the working as to crack or fly open and so as to be nearly broken off. To SPRING, is to quicken or raise the sheer.


A channel left above the ends of a deck to prevent water from coming any further.


Large pieces of timber, the lower ends of which are fixed to the bilgeways, and the upper ends fayed and bolted to the ship's bottom. They are used in some of the Royal Yards, although not by merchant builders, as an additional security to the bilgeways in case any other part should fail in launching the ship.




An instrument formed by a stock and a tongue, fixed at right angles. To SQUARE is to horn or form with right angles; and to STAND-SQUARE is to stand or be at right angles relatively to some object.


The figure which comprehends all the timbers whose areas or planes are perpendicular to the keel, which is all that portion of a ship between the cant-bodies. (See BODIES.)


A shipwright who cuts the butts to receive the oakum, and prepares the work ready for the caulkers.


The same as horizontal ribbands. (See RIBBANDS.)


A term applied to ships whose wing-transom is at right angles, or nearly at right angles, with the stern-post, and towards the upper side of which the upper planks of the bottom butt, or finish, in a rabbet formed by the tuck-rail; the other part of the plank stopping at the side counter timbers, by which means the stern may be commodiously fitted with sashes, walks, &c. All British ships are now built upon this principle, whilst many of other nations are still constructed by the ancient methods; hence we so fraquently hear the prhase of "square-sterned and British built," as our practice in this respect justly claims the superiority over that of all nations.


The timbers which stand square with, or perpendicular to, the keel. (See SQUARE BODY.)


A name given to the after part of a ship's bottom when terminated in the same direction up and down as the wing-transom, and the planks of the bottom end in a rabbet at the foreside of the fashion piece; whereas ships with a buttock are round or circular, and the planks of the bottom end upon the wing-transom.


That quality which enables a ship to keep herself steadily in the water, without rolling or pitching. Stability in the construction, is only to be acquired, by fixing the centre of gravity at a certain distance below the meta-centre, because the stability of the vessel increases with the altitude of the meta-centre above the center of gravity. But when the meta-centre coincides with the centre of gravity, the vessel has no tendency whatever to remove out of the situation into which it may be put. Thus if the vessel be inclined either to the starboard or larboard side, it will remain in that position till a new force is impressed upon it; in this case, therefore, the vessel would not be able to carry sail, and is consequently unfit for the purposes of navigation. If the meta-centre falls below the common centre of gravity, the vessel will immediately overset.

As the meta-centre, or its determination, is of the utmost importance in the construction of ships, the student who wishes to make himself more particularly acquainted therewith, may see the subject more fully illustrated in the "Elements and Practice of Naval Architecture." [also by Steel, 1805]



The platforms on which the shipwrights work.


Large knees, of oak or iron, fayed on the deck and against the side. The arm upon the deck is bolted through the beams and clenched beneath, and the other arm through the ship's side. Their use is, for strengthening the sides, and resisting any violent or sudden shock. (See Midship Section, Plate III.)

There is also a standard fayed on the gun-deck against the apron forward, another against the transoms abaft, and one in the head upon the knee, when the piece against the stem does not run high enough for the hole of the main-stay collar.



are also large poles, set up endways at certain distances round the slips, and to which the spars are hung to support the staying. They have cleats nailed along the fore and after sides, at about two feet distance, in nearly the whole length.


A term applied to a bevelling which is obtuse, or without a square, to distinguish it from an acute or under bevelling, which is within a square.


The upright pieces of quartering in a bulkhead, breastwork, &c. Likewise the iron uprights, fixed round the quarters for the netting, and along the waist, to ship the rail in, &c.


Crooked fastenings. KEEL-STAPLES are generally made of copper, from six to twelve inches long, with a jagged hook at each end. They are driven into the sides of the main and false keels to fasten them.


The right hand side of the ship when looking forward from the stern.


Large ropes to support the masts which are extended towards the forepart of the ship counteracting the effort of the shrouds which mostly lead abaft, and thereby keeping the mast in a steady position.

STEELER. [stealer]

A name given to the foremost or aftermost plank, in a strake which drops short of the stem and stern-post, and of which the end or butt nearest the rabbet is worked very narrow, and well forward or aft. Their use is, to take out the snying edge occasioned by a full bow, or sudden circular buttock. (See Planking Expanded, Plate III.)


The wheel on the quarter deck to which the tiller rope is connected; and by turning of which, the helm is moved or kept in any fixed position. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


The main timber at the fore-part of the ship, formed, by the combination of several pieces, into a circular shape, and erected vertically to receive the ends of the bow planks, which are united to it by means of a rabbet. Its lower end scarphs or boxes into the keel, through which the rabbet is also carried, and the bottom unites in the same manner. (See RIBS. See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


A piece of compass timber, wrought on the aft part of the apron withinside, the lower end of which scarphs into the kelson. Its upper end is continued as high as the middle or upper-deck; and its use is to succour the scarphs of apron, as that does those of the stem. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


A rabbet sunk in the dead-wood, at the bearding-line, whereon the heels of the timbers rest. (See BEARDING LINE. See also Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The steps into which the heels of the masts are fixed, are large pieces of timber. Those for the main and fore masts are fixed across the kelson, and that for the mizen mast upon the lower deck beams.

The holes or mortises into which the masts step, should have sufficeint wood on each side to accord in strength with the tenon left at the heel of the mast, and the hole should be cut rather less than the tenon, as an allowance for shrinking. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)



A solid lump of oak, fixed on the beams, in which the heel of the capstan works. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


The pieces of quartering, with mouldings, nailed to the sides, amidships, about nine inches asunder, from the wale upwards, for the convenience of persons getting on board. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The after part of the ship extending from the wing-transom upwards, being terminated above by the taffarel, below by the counters, and on the sides by the quarter-pieces. It therefore comprehends the lights or windows of the captain's cabin, &c. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The strong frame of timber, composed of the stern-post, transom and fashion-piece, which form the basis of the whole stern.


The principal piece of timber in the stern-frame, on which the rudder is hung, and to which the transoms are bolted. It therefore terminates the ship below the wing-transom, and its lower end is tenoned into the keel. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


An apartment built on the larboard side of the after platform, whence the purser's steward issues the provisions to the ship's company, and where he makes up his accounts, &c.


Stable or steady. (See STABILITY.)


The upright pieces of the framing of the great cabin bulkheads, &c. which comprehends the panels.


An iron or copper plate, that turns upwards on each side of a ship's keel and dead-wood, at the fore-foot, or at her skeg, and bolts through all. This can only be necessary when the dead-wood bolts are driven short, or are supposed to be insufficient.


The elevation of a ship's cathead or bowsprit; or the angle which either makes with the horizon. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Pieces of plank, bolted to the quarters, for the purpose of forming and erecting the galleries. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.) Also ornamental blocks for the poop lanterns to stand on abaft. (See BACKSTAY STOOLS.)


The poppets, timber, &c. used to fill up the vacancy between the upper-side of the bilgeways and the ship's bottom, for supporting her when launching. (See Frontispiece.)


Large ring-bolts, driven through the deck and beams before the main-hatch, for the use of the stoppers. They are carefully clinched on iron plates beneath.


Short ropes, with a knot at one end, and the other end turned round a thimble into the ring of the stopper-bolts, by which, and its laniard, the cable is confined.


The several apartments built upon the platform to contain the different officers' stores. (See ROOMS.)


The space before and abaft dead-flat, in which the ship is of the same uniform breadth, or of the same breadth as at ['+' surrounded by a circle] or dead-flat. (See DEAD FLAT.)


One breadth of plank wrought from one end of the ship to the other, either within or without board.


One or two strakes of plank withinside, next under the gunwale, answering to the sheer-strake withoutside, scarphed in the same manner as the sheer-strake, giving shift to the scarphs of the sheer-strake, and bolted through the ship's side into the sheer-strake between the drifts, to give greater strength; as this part requires all the security that is possible to be given in order to assist the sheer. (See Midship Section, Plate III.)


That part which when afloat, is above the water, anciently expressed by the name of Dead Work.


The circular knees placed under the catheads for their security and support. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The tapered part of the whelps, between the chocks of the capstan, upon which, when judiciously hollowed, the messenger may surge itself without any other incumbrance.




A semi-circular plank, fixed up under the beams near the fore-end of the tiller, which it supports.

On the foreside of the sweep is a groove for the tiller rope, in which groove rollers are fixed to enliven the rope. On the aftside is a ledge or rabbet defended with iron plate, on which the goose-neck of the tiller traverses.



The various parts of the bodies shaped by segments of circles. Such are the floor-sweeps, lower breadth-sweep, upper breadth-sweep, and back-sweep, or toptimber-hollow. (See FRAME. See also Body Plan, Plate I.)


A mode of joining, by over-lapping the edge of one plank upon another, with a bevelling edge, instead of rabbetting, in such a manner that both planks shall make a plain surface, though not a flat or square joint. (See HARRIS-CUT.)


Letting one piece of timber into another by alternate scores or projections from the middle, so that it cannot be drawn asunder either lengthwise or sidewise. (See Beams of the Lower Deck Plan, Plate IV.)


An assemblage of two or more blocks connected by a rope called the fall reeved through their mortises, and used for lifting or removing weighty bodies.


The upper part of the ship's stern, usually ornamented with carved work or moulding, the ends of which unite to the quarter-pieces. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


To let one piece of timber into another, when the lap forms a sort of wedge, so that it cannot come asunder endwise. (See the Stern in Plate I.)


To come up with a set and make it fast again closer to the plank, as it works nearer to the timbers. (See Set.)


The juices of the pine or fir-tree boiled to a thick consistence, and used to pay the joints between scarphs of beams, &c. and also the outside of the ship; because, by filling up the pores of the wood, it prevents the sun from splitting, and the wet from rotting it.


Chipping it with an adze, or boring it with a small auger, for the purpose of ascertaining its quality or defects.


A term applied to the direction that any line, &c. seems to point out. Thus we say, "let the line or mould teach fair to such a spot, rase," &c.


The square part at the end of one piece of timber diminished so as to fix in a hole of another piece, called a mortise, for joining or fastening the two pieces together.


Pieces of carved work placed under each end of the taffarel, upon the side stern-timber, and reaching as low down as the foot-rail of the balcony.


A name for sided timber, exceeding four inches, but not being more than twelve inches, in thickness.


The battens or pins which form the rowlocks of a boat.


The inside of knee timber at the middle or turn of the arms. Also the midship part of the floor timbers and transoms.


The benches in a boat whereon the rowers sit to manage their oars.


Across the ship, or from one side to the other. RIGHT ATHWART, signifies square, or at right angles, with the keel.


A regular row of any thing, as of carlings, of shores, of ships, &c. (See Lower Deck Plan, Plate IV.)


A piece of timber (which should be straight grained and free from knots) fitted into the head of the rudder as a lever for the purpose of moving it from side to side, in order to steer the ship. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)


A name generally given to the pieces of timber which compose the frame of a ship, (See Plate III.), as floor-timbers, futtock-timbers, and toptimbers (See Midship Section, Plate III.); as also the stem or head-timbers, and the stern-timbers. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.) Sometimes those carved ornaments upon the munions, in the stead of pilasters, are called stern-timbers.


(See the latter.)


A long tapered end of one piece of timber made to fay into a scarph at the end of another piece. This method is used to gain length, and is called tongueing. (See Tonguing.)


The moveable part by which the angles or bevellings are taken.


is a sort of moulding usually made at the caps and bases of turned or round pillars to taper or hance the round part into the square.


is lengthening the main-piece of timber by another piece generally shorter. The one piece is fitted into the other by a long tapering tenon or tongue, and both are bolted and sometimes hooped together.


The cubical content, or burthen of a ship in tons; which is commonly estimated by a fantastical rule, given hereafter, producing what is denominated the builder's tonnage. The real burthen a ship is to carry, when brought down in the water to the load draught of water intended in the construction, may be found by the rules given in the subsequent part of this work.

The word is derived from a ton, or weight of water equal to 2000 pounds; for it appears that anciently, a cubic foot of water, weighing 62-1/2 pounds, was assumed as a general standard for liquids. This cubic foot, multiplied by 32, gives 2000, the original weight of a ton. Hence 8 chbic feet of water made a hogshead, and 4 hogshead a ton, in capacity and denomination as well as weight.



Any unnecessary weight aloft, either on the topside of the ship or about its tops and rigging.


A method of working English plank so as to make good conversion. As the plank runs very narrow at the top clear of sap, this is done by disposing the top-end of every plank within six feet of the butt end of the plank above or below it, letting every plank work as broad as it will hold clear of sap, by which method only can every other seam produce a fair edge. (See Planking, Plate III.)


A name given to all that part of a ship's side above the main-wales.


The timbers which form the topside. The first general tier which reach the top are called long top-timbers, and those below are called the short top-timbers. (See Frames. See also Disposition, Plate III, and Midship Section, Plate III.)


The curve limiting the height of the sheer at the given breadth of the top-timbers.


A section containing one half of the ship, at the height of the top-timber line, perpendicular to the plane of elevation.




The broadest part of a plank worked top and butt, which place is six feet from the butt-end, or, the the middle of a plank worked anchor-stock fashion. Also the sudden angles of the stern-timbers at the counters, &c.


A term for the carved work, between the cheeks at the heel of the figure.


The thwartship timbers which are bolted to the stern-post, in order to form the buttock; and of which the curves, forming the round aft, are represented on the horizontal, or half-breadth plan of the ship. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Knees bolted to the transoms, and the side of the ship in the direction of the transoms. These knees when they cross the transoms are called SLEEPERS.


Moving a ship from one situation to another by hawsers only.


Two snatch blocks, fitted one on each side above the taffarel to admit a hawser, when transporting the ship from one place to another.


A thwartship view of any part of the ship; but may be more properly applied when the section is not strictly athwartships. (See Midship Section, Plate III.)


The whole length of the keel upon a straight line.


Battens about two inches thick and four inches broad, nailed up under the deck between the beams, and which the sailors trice up the middle of their hammocks out of the headway.


To work or finish any piece of timber or plank into its proper form or shape.


Cylindrical oak pins driven through the planks and timbers of a vessel to fasten or connect them together. These certainly make the best fastenings when driven quite through, and caulked or wedged inside. They should be made of the very best oak split out near the butt, and perfectly dry or well seasoned.


Short pieces of carved work, mostly in small ships, fitted under the taffarel in the same manner as the term-pieces.


The aft part of the ship where the ends of the planks of the bottom are terminated by the tuck-rail, and all below the wing-transom when it partakes of the figure of the wing-transom as far as the fashion-pieces. (See SQUARE TUCK.)


The rail which is wrought well with the upper side of the wing-transom, and forms a rabbet for the purpose of caulking the butt ends of the planks of the bottom. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The inclination of the top-side from a perpendicular towards the centre or the middle of the ship. The top-sides of three-decked ships have the greatest tumbling home, for the purpose of clearing the upper works from the smoke and fire of the lower guns. The advantages and disadvantages of tumbling home sides will be found discussed hereafter.


A term applied to any bevelling that is within a square, or forming an acute angle. (See BEVELLING.)


To remove any thing from its place, or the situation in which it is generally used. Thus, to unship the tiller, is to take it out of the rudder-head.


A large rope, used to unmoor, or heave up the anchor, by communicating the effect of the capstan to the cable.




The highest of those decks which are continued throughout the whole length of a ship, without falls or interruption. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV. and its Plan, Plate III.)




A strake thicker than those of the bottom, wrought round the gun-wales.


A general name given to all that part of the ship above the wales; or all that part which may be considered as separated from the bottom by the main-wale. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The position of a ship when she neither inclines to one side nor the other. Hence any thing is said to be upright when square with, or perpendicular to, the keel.

As the ship when building lies with a declivity for the purpose of launching, it is evident, that every thing within her intended to be perpendicular or upright, when afloat, must be set so much farther aft as its upper part or head inclines from a plumb or perpendicular in its length, according to the angle made by the declivity of the ship in the same length.



A name given to that part of the top-side above the upper deck, between the main and fore drifts. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


The principal strakes of thickstuff wrought on the outside of the ship upon the main-breadth, or broadest part of the body, and which are called the main-wales. Also those that are wrought between the ports, which are called the channel-wales and middle or sheer-wales. The main-wales are the lower wales, which are generally placed on the lower breadth. (See the respective Articles. See also Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


A term applied to the top-sides of a ship when the main-breadth is continued very low down and very high up, so that the top-sides appear straight and upright like a wall.


The apartment in which the officers mess, &c. next under the captain's cabin.


A shifting strake along the top-sides of a small vessel, used occasionally to keep out the sea. (See Long Boat, Plate IV.)


Those horizontal lines, supposed to be described by the surface of the water on the bottom of a ship, and which are exhibited at certain depths upon the sheer-draught. Of these, the most particular are those denominated the Light Water Line and the Load Water Line; the former, namely, the light-water line, being that line which shews the depression of the ship's body in the water, when light or unladen, as when first launched; and the latter, which exhibits the same when laden with her guns and ballast or cargo. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.) In the half-breadth plan these lines are curves limiting the half-breadth of the ship at the height of the corresponding lines in the sheer-plan.


The edge of the deck next the timbers, which is wrought thicker than the rest of the deck, and so hollowed to the thickness of the deck as to form a gutter or channel for the water to run through the scuppers. (See Upper Deck Plan, Plate III. and Midship Section, Plate III.)


A triangular solid, much used in the construction of a ship, and too well known to need description. It is one of the mechanic powers, the most simple and of the greatest force. (See MECHANICS.)


The apartment formed in the middle of the hold, by bulkheads erected to inclose the pumps, and protect them from injury, which might otherwise accrue from the lading and ballast, and also to give ready admittance for examining the state of the pumps, &c. (See Inboard Works, Plate IV.)

The well in a fishing smack is a strong apartment to contain live fish, built water-tight in the middle of the hold, with a number of holes through its bottom, by means of which the fish are continually supplied with water, and preserved alive.



also implies in the same range or even with a surface.


This term implies that the grain of the wood follows the shape required, as in knee timber, &c.


The brackets or projecting parts of a capstan from the barrel. (See CAPSTAN.)


A term applied to the bodies of those ships which are so constructed, that one mould made to the midship bend, with the addition of a floor-hollow, will mould all the timbers below the main-breadth, in the square-body.

Before the art of ship-building was brought to its present perfection, the method of whole-moulding was in great repute, and was much practised by the unskilful; as, however, the art improved, this method became less approved of in the construction of ships, whose form of the midship bend was required to be such, that if they were whole-moulded nearly forward and aft, they would not only be incapable of rising in a heavy sea, but be deprived in a great measure of the more advantageous use of the rudder; for, by whole-moulding, no more is narrowed at the floor than at the main-breadth; nor must the rising line lift any more than the lower height of breadth, which according to the form of some midship-bends, would make a very ill constructed body.

How far whole moulding may be used without injury may be seen by the Long Boat treated of hereafter; boats being now the only vessels in which this method is practiced.



A small windlass, with an iron axis, hung in rhodings or gudgeons, with a conical piece of timber at each end without the cheeks. It is heaved round by two iron handles, formed by cranks or winches, from which it takes its name.


Twisting or curving. Hence the expression "winding" is used in opposition to "out of winding." (See OUT OF WINDING.)


is a piece of deal on which the windings of the side counter timber is marked, and from which the outside of the said timber is trimmed by a batten kept out of winding by the marks on the board, and a mould made to the shape of the topside.


An horizontal machine, composed of timber, and used in merchant ships for heaving up their anchors in lieu of a capstan. (See Inboard Work, Plate IV. and Upper Deck Plan, Plate III.)


Pieces of oak or elm, fastened to the sides of small vessels, and by which the ends of the windlass are suspended.


The places next the side upon the orlop, usually parted off in ships of war, that the carpenter and his crew may have access round the ship, in time of action, to plug up shot holes, &c.


The uppermost transom in the stern-frame, upon which the heels of the counter timbers are let in and rest. It is by some called the main-transoms. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I)


Within the ship.


Without the ship.


This term implies that when a treenail, &c. is driven through its point is directly even with the inside surface, whether plank or timber.


A piece of elm or oak, closely fitted, and sheathed with copper, in the throating or score of the pintle, near the load-water line; so that, when the rudder is hung, and the wood-lock nailed in its place, it cannot rise, because the latter butts against the underside of the brace and butt of the score. (See Sheer Draught, Plate I.)


Ring bolts, used when planking with two or more forelock holes in the end for taking in the sett, as the plank, &c. works nearer to the timbers.


A sort of stout billets of tough wood, tapered at the ends so as to go into the ring of the wrain-bolt to make the sets necessary for bringing-to the planks or thickstuff to the timbers.


An ancient name given to that part of the ship near the floor-heads and second futtock heels, which, when a ship lies aground, bears the greatest strain.


The long cylindrical pieces of timber, suspended upon the masts to extend the sails to the wind.


A vessel of state or pleasure, usually employed to carry noble personages, and accordingly fitted with convenient apartments and suitable furniture.


(See BOATS.)